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Worst Cooks in America

Saffron is hella cheap if you buy it at Costco. Remember you only really need like a pinch per a uncooked cup or two of rice anyways.

Dec 07, 2010
Bookwormgal in Food Media & News

Anyone actually tried Tyler Florence's Applebee's Dishes?

He completed his degree at http://www.jwu.edu/culinary/#fbid=Amp... which is like the Yale of cooking schools, and the restaurants he's worked at aren't just some chain restos or whatever - they are really hard pressure super high-end places so he obviously has cooking chops.

I tried some of his Applebee’s menu and yeah it was just "meh" but he's got some great cooking stores where I live, and his service staff there is impeccable!

It seems to me that maybe there is just a hint of jealously there? He's young and successful, something to be admired not put down just because you wish it was you? Personally I'd rather try and find out how people like that got to where they are so I can maybe imitate the success (but in my different field).

Does the Applebee's stuff improve Applebee's? YES!
Does that mean it's good? HARDLY (it's not hard to improve something that sucks)
Does that mean then you have to be a meanie and pick on the guy? NO

Dec 07, 2010
Bookwormgal in Chains

Kosher vegan restaurants

"3. Just because a restaurant is vegan does not mean that the staff are themselves vegan, and it's quite common for staff to bring in their own food and cook it in the kitchen. That can be anything, including pig." This statement is WRONG! The health codes of most cities are quite strict about this and don't allow you to bring outside food into the kitchen of a resto. Places have been closed for this reason. Check the city healthcode rating and that is a good measure of the honesty and integrity of those who own and work there.

Oct 24, 2010
Bookwormgal in Kosher

Kosher vegan restaurants

I'm sorry but your comment is kind of rude toward us "non-Jews" here.

Of course any decent restaurant worth it salt - Jewish or not - is going to be VERY careful about things like hygiene and especially bugs. Believe me none of us non-Jew Americans want to eat bugs either!

I've been to some Asian/South American countries where they actually eat bugs (Thailand & Ecuador for example) but that is a topic for a WHOLE different board! Not that I have a problem with them doing that, but as for me - no thank you!

In any case in the western world a good restos kitchen will have lightboxes, special sprayer nozzles, and other equipment design specifically to get out bugs and dirt FAST that a home kitchen or home chef might not be familiar with. Vegan restaurants in particular normally carry a LOT of equipment design for these purposes and are actually very pick about how they store their fruit and veggies so as to minimize any such things. I am not vegan myself but have inspected the kitchens of several such restaurants for my research (I'm a medical anthropology major who concentrates on the intersection of food/health/disease/tourism) and to be honest they are as clean (maybe even cleaner) on average than many of the kosher kitchen's and stores I've been too - particularly when it comes to keeping the floors clean.

Next it is the law that one cannot eat outside food in the kitchen of the resto one works in and must wash throughly with hot water hands up to the elbow before coming back into the kitchen as well as robe or 'chef whites' over his 'street' clothes. So even if he ate something you'd consider treif before coming in there is no way that stuff is getting into your meal if he is applying the health laws properly.

This is not because of religious reasons but because of the State and city's healthcodes. If one is worried one should go to the city's health department's website to see how vigilant that particular resto is. Frankly if a resto's marks are below 85% I wouldn't eat there kosher or not - because they are other issues that will get you sick.

Now I'm totally fine with eating only Kosher food, using kosher one use recyclable bakeware, and using my kosher certified biodigradble one use utensils around my Jewish friends - as a rule I use most that recyclable one use stuff for parties anyway not for the fact it's kosher but for the fact that it makes it easier on me.

However if it's just me and my fellow non-Jewish husband and we want to go out for a treif cheeseburger I'm totally going to do that too.

In conclusion you want to look at the rating their city gives that resto.

Oct 24, 2010
Bookwormgal in Kosher

any high quality sushi in brooklyn/queens??

Unless you live in the area I don't see why you would eat sushi in Brooklyn/Queens as it is not known for a high amount of Japanese.

Brooklyn has a long history of having some of the best Pizza outside of Italy and I would definately try some of that if I was there. Brooklyn & Queens also many ethnic enclaves of Orthodox Jews, Puerto Ricans, Irish as well as recent influxes of Chinese, Koreans, Russians, Ukrainians, Dominicans, Arabs, Mexicans, Caribbeans, and Pakistanis.

If you are really set on Asian then Queens has a Little Manila (along Roosevelt), and in Flushing a Korean area (some really interesting stews and BBQ's) and a more Mandarin Chinatown (as oppossed to the very Fujinese one in Manhattan).

Sep 20, 2010
Bookwormgal in Outer Boroughs

does anyone still buy instant coffee?? canned vegetables?? condensed soup??

Yes those too are good reasons. Did anyone else feel the initial poster was a bit of a snob?

Sep 20, 2010
Bookwormgal in General Topics

does anyone still buy instant coffee?? canned vegetables?? condensed soup??

Have you tried frying canned chicken in bacon fat and using that in your casserole? You have to separate the water from the chicken and only fry the chicken but it turns REALLY crisp and yummy in the corners but stays moist in the casserole if you use the water it was in as part of the liquid in the casserole. So good. I also like to experiment with veggies in the casserole, though I am VERY partial to putting dried mushrooms and/or corn nibbles in there.

Sep 20, 2010
Bookwormgal in General Topics

does anyone still buy instant coffee?? canned vegetables?? condensed soup??

Try a latin or asian grocer in the big city nearest your area they should have guava fresh in season

Sep 20, 2010
Bookwormgal in General Topics

does anyone still buy instant coffee?? canned vegetables?? condensed soup??

Hey how about that my name is Valerie too!

Okay that aside sometimes I do use the onion soup mix, but most the time I just use regular onion powder in the body of the casserole itself and then like dried fried onion stuff (Ikea has a good one) on top instead of the French's onion strings - Ikea has a decent one as do most upscale groceries like Whole Foods or whatever your local one is. If not some hippy dippy healthfood stores have them IF they carry food. In those same places you can find organic dried onion soup mixes as well which usually has less salt and probably don't have the MSG content or at least have naturally occuring MSG rather than synthesized.

Which I use depends on who I'm serving southern relatives or snobby types or some group in between determine which things I used to make the casserole. There is always a noodle or rice ingredient, always a canned fish, always some form of mushroom and/or mushroom flavorant, always an onion component or two or three, always some garlic (powder or roasted or or fresh), and some pepper (black or paprika), some melted butter and/or Bremel & Brown, and if NONE of the previous components has a milk/cream in it then I add that too - sometimes I add cheese but this depends on who I'm serving. I also add other spices depending on the crowd, for example if there are a lot of Jewish people I might use Kosher egg noodles and Kosher mushroom soups (they have some really good ones) and if there are Indians I might add some 'curry' type spices into the mix and use chicken or some sort of veggie protein instead.

It's such a basic formula that you can really mix to make it fit the group.

To be honest I find the amount of sodium in most can concentrate soups to be so high I just use onion powder and dried onion flakes and it's profile tastes about the same but less salty. If you like a lot of onion soup based things but hate the MSG etc I recommend this one http://www.amazon.com/Onion-Soup-Dip-... but like I said before you can find a LOT of these at a local upscale grocer.

Sep 20, 2010
Bookwormgal in General Topics

West African & Cameroon Cuisine

Black-eyed peas and rice dishes similar to Joloff rice are common all over Africa and were brought here to the United States by African slaves and are thus especially popular in the southern states where most of their ancestors are today. Joloff rice is one ancestor of ‘red rice,’ ‘dirty rice,’ and many other similar dishes. Jollof rice which is also called one pot rice or ‘benachin’ is related to the Wolof People who are from The Gambia, Senegal, and to a smaller degree Mauritania – from there the dish spread to other parts of Africa.

Prawns are especially popular anywhere in Africa that there is a sizable ethically Portuguese population which would include any former Portuguese colonies and well as many of the former English colonies (as English ships also brought Portuguese people for farming) like South Africa. My favourite is Mozambique Peri-Peri Prawns, which are now popular all over the Southern African countries.

As for plantains and bananas, all members of the genus Musa are indigenous to the tropical regions of ANZO (Northern Australia, and Oceania,) and South East Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, etc). Food anthropology studies conclude that Portuguese Franciscan Friars are mainly responsible for bringing them both to the Caribbean, Latin America and to Africa, and they have become a staple starch for Niger-Congo Africans as well as an occasional dessert or snack ingredient to non-Black Africans (English, Afrikaners, etc) peoples over the last several hundreds of years.

REFERENCES

http://www.iita.org/cms/details/banan...

http://bananas.bioversityinternationa...

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mg...

Some other anthropology references like Anthrosource and Jstor that you need to be in the field to read so I won’t put them here because they are cost prohibitive and filled with field specific terms that really would just be a waste of your time to figure out. For the record I’m an Africanist, Anthropology major, non-profit fundraiser that works with many African charities, have been to Africa several times, and married to an African so though until I get my graduate degree (which is a good few years off) I cannot call myself ‘expert’ I am fairly knowledgeable beyond the norm.

May 17, 2010
Bookwormgal in General Topics

Jubba, Somali in San Jose

I like it cause it's kind of like Indian-South African food which I really like!

Nando's Chickenland: Anyone Eaten There?

I've eaten in the one's in South Africa plenty of times (hubby is from there) and I LOVED their chicken and their peri-peri livers (the last one might be too exotic for some). I can't wait until they open here it will be SO awesome. I'll be driving down from SF for that one.

Apr 21, 2010
Bookwormgal in Los Angeles Area

Are Bread Crumb Necessary for Meatballs?

Apr 12, 2010
Bookwormgal in Home Cooking

does anyone still buy instant coffee?? canned vegetables?? condensed soup??

While like every other foodie on this board I prefer fresh - or at least something that was tetrapacked when it was fresh - I have some canned items when I can't afford the item in tetrapack. Particularly with veggies I'm trying to save I like to 'freeze while fresh' or 'dehydrate' and then use later.

On the other hand there are some seafood products from parts of Spain and France that actually taste better AFTER the canning or glassing process so those I have in cans/glass jars as that is how they are processed and imported. Same with hard to find Asian items that ONLY come to the US in cans.

Plus there are some casseroles from my 'redneck' side that just don't taste right unless I use a can of condensed soup as per the recipe. I've tried replacing the 'canned condense soup' with leftovers of fresh or condensed tetrapack brands (which all cost significantly more) and well the end product came out 'meh' for more money. So on those dishes I stick with canned condensed soup.

I also have a small amount of instant coffee - NOT FOR DRINKING ICK - but for making desserts! Café Bustelo or Ferrara or Medaglia D' Oro or Caffe D'Vita, none of that Folgers or Tasteless Choice or Maxwell House or Starbucks VIA crap although imported from Mexico Nescafe (which is WAY stonger than what they make for the US market) can work in a pinch.

Does this make sense?

Apr 12, 2010
Bookwormgal in General Topics

Trader Joe's Cornbread Mix

I've used extra virgin olive oil for all sorts of these mixes and unless you are talking angelfood cake you can use evoo just fine.

Apr 02, 2010
Bookwormgal in General Topics

I am looking for a GREAT meatball recipe

I like to make something I call "Chicken Meatball Tika Marsala" where I make chicken meatballs, and mix 2 cups chicken marsala sauce with 2 cups tikka masala sauce, a melted stick of butter plus yogurt or sour cream to taste.

YUM!

Mar 29, 2010
Bookwormgal in Home Cooking

Are Bread Crumb Necessary for Meatballs?

Different countries use different starches to extend the meat. Others also put in bits of fruit (South East Asian and Southern African countries in particular) and I am personally fond of using dried apples - which are amazing when reconsituted in milk and meat fat! Dried apricots and/or cherries chopped down into really small pieces can also be yummy.

I find that too much gluten makes me get UTI's so I like to use potato flakes and eggs as my extenders rather than bread/crackers. I've also used rice flour, sweet potato flakes, and rice bread crumbs which work well with my 'Asian' and 'Hawaiin' inspired meatloafs.

Mar 29, 2010
Bookwormgal in Home Cooking

Jeremy Fox & crew leave Ubuntu!

I think this is a good thing though. I always thought it was completely nuts that a restaurant with a name out of South African philosophy was mostly vegetarian? I mean have they been to SA? It's like meat meat some veggies more veggies and then more meat followed by a chicken and then some starch (usually potato or bread). If they are going to really be Ubuntu then they should at least make an effort to have some South African dishes, even if it's only the vegetarian/starchy side dishes like Pap and Sous or Toasties bread or koeksisters (since this place is supposedly good with desserts).

You borrow a piece of culture so important from a culture as the concept of 'ubuntu' then you should respect it enough to represent!

Good places to eat in Fremont

Jack's can be good are bad depending on what you get. The prime rib I hear is excellent but their fish and chips suck, on and on an on...