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From NY and desparately searching for cheese curd!!!

The Winter Park Publix at 440 N. Orlando Avenue (i.E., State Road 17/92) just reopened a few weeks ago, after being closed for many months for remodeling. As part of its renovation, the mix of products carried in the store has changed and moved more upscale. I noticed that the deli department, where the high-end cheeses are sold, now carries cheese curd, as of December 2014. (They sell cheeses at four different locations in the store.) I've never tried this food, but I've read people praising it on these boards.

Dec 21, 2014
gfr1111 in Florida
1

Gravy burning off?

Jounipesonen,

I think that your point is well taken. The actual cooking time is 25 minutes plus 15 minutes, plus 25 minutes, but I suppose that in so far as burning the gravy goes, it is only the last 25 minutes that one needs to be concerned about, since the gravy was not made until the last 25 minutes of cooking time. With the small amount of liquid that the cook put in the pan, I don't see how he could cook the bird for 25 minutes without burning the gravy.

Also, I think that keeping the skin crisp is a lost cause. The plate on the top will insure that the skin will be soggy, no matter what the cook does.

Sep 25, 2014
gfr1111 in Home Cooking

Silky Smooth Macaroni and Cheese - need Sodium Citrate.

First, I tried printing out the Modernist Cuisine article because I would really like to try this Mac 'n Cheese recipe with sodium citrate. I got 14 blank pages.

Then I tried printing out the article using the "print" icon included with the article. This time I got the introductory page (with no recipe on it), plus three pages of photographs, again with no recipe.

The recipe is there (in extremely small--unreadable-- print), but I am defeated as to how to get to it in readable form.

Happily, the posters' comments and CaptCrunch's recipe did print out in readable form, so I guess I will try his recipe, even though it does not include sodium citrate as an emusifier.

Worst Cooking Disaster Thread

I want to warn you about the botulism. Boiling the food with the botulism bacteria in it kills the bacteria, but it does not affect the already released super-powerful toxin already created by the botulism bacteria. So whatever it is that you made, it is NOT safe to eat.

As for my food disaster, I was once playing a board game with some friends. My little brother decided that he would make some hot fudge ice cream topping. He liked mine, so he followed the recipe which I had written out. When he got to the part about how much salt to add, I was distracted by the game I was playing, and I told him, "Oh, just add a little mountain," meaning a teaspoon or so. He filled his entire hand with salt and poured it into the chocolate mixture. Nothing could save that batch!

Sep 25, 2014
gfr1111 in Home Cooking

What happened to the Buca di Beppo in Tampa?

I think that Carrabba's is a much better restaurant than Bucca di
Beppo ever was. In fact, among chains, I would nominate Carrabba's as the number one Italian chain.

Sep 24, 2014
gfr1111 in Florida

DTW restaurant emphasizing healthful choices

This is a midwest board. Perhaps many people are not familiar with those counties. I'm not. That could explain the problem. Are those counties in Michigan? Indiana?

Sep 23, 2014
gfr1111 in Great Lakes

Issue roasting chicken thighs on foil lined baking sheet?

Although I hate overcooked meat, including poultry and fish (and generally find that people are fanatics about intentionally overcooking, safety being their concern), I have had the same problem that you reported about oven-baking chicken thighs and chicken legs. My probe thermometer (which I have tested and is accurate) consistently tells me that the legs or thighs are at 165, but later, I find them pink and underdone. I think that the bones throw off the readings.

I just anticipate this and roast to a higher temperature, cutting one or two open to see when the pink stops appearing.

C. Hampster recommends 180 degrees Fahrenheit for thighs and I can't argue with that. It seems reasonable. As she notes, chicken thighs are so fat-laden that the danger of them drying out is minimal. (Also, C. Hampster is rarely wrong about any advice she puts on these boards, in my observation.)

One last bit of advice: there is not much "carry over" with thighs or legs, so roast them to the temperature you want. I guess this is because the pieces of poultry are so small.

Sep 20, 2014
gfr1111 in Home Cooking

Mistakes, I've made a few

Lamb da calculus, I'm also having trouble finding anyone who knows how to sharpen a Japanese knife (Global, in my case). All you have to do is ask him/her at what angle he/she would sharpen the blade and you know you have an ignoramus, no matter how much expertise he/she claims.

It's not like you can't find the answer out in five minutes on the internet (or on the directions for a Japanese knife, which comes with the purchase).

Also, the last "good old boy" (I live in Florida) to whom I brought my knife, chortled at my Global chef's knife's single bevel edge, showed it to his compatriot, and they had a good laugh about Japanese quality control. What bozos!

Anyway, I may have to mail my knives away to somewhere, which I hate to do, preferring to deal directly with a (human) knife sharpener, but so far, all I have encountered are uneducated louts and sixteen year old kids working at the local hardware store. (The kids are nice but I doubt their degree of expertise to qualify them to work on my hundred dollar plus knives.) But meanwhile, my Japanese blades are getting duller and duller . . .

Aug 25, 2014
gfr1111 in Cookware

Looking for light and upbeat or soothing conversational cooking shows

For light and upbeat, I would choose Ina Garten's "The Barefoot Contessa." For soothing, I would choose Laura Calder's "French Cooking at Home." Both shows do not require heavy attention to follow what is going on.

I also love Alton Brown's "Good Eats" for its humor and boatload of useful information, but it requires more concentration to follow and is more of a science show than the other two I have listed. So maybe this fits into the OP"s "great or complicated" category, except that it is so darned funny.

Aug 23, 2014
gfr1111 in Food Media & News

What is the back story of Laura Calder's "French Food at Home"?

When Laura Calder appeared on the Cooking Channel around the time of its inception, my understanding was that she had produced one season of 26 Canadian shows in 2007 and it was not until several years later that the American Food Network, trying to create a second channel, picked up her show. I further understood that by the time the Cooking Channel began airing her one season shows, she had decamped for France and no more shows were available.

Recently, I discovered that she has been making more shows in Canada, steadily, apparently for the last four years, at least.

Yet the Cooking Channel seems to be airing the same dozen or so shows--not 26--over and over and over and over again.

What gives? Are we ever going to see any other shows? This is one of my favorite cooking shows.

Aug 23, 2014
gfr1111 in Food Media & News

Anyone tried this recipe?

When I read the ingredients for this dish, my first question was, "Where's the flavor?" Look at the ingredients: butternut squash--essentially flavorless unless you add brown sugar, honey, or spices (which are not called for in this dish); penne pasta--nice texture, but flavorless; ricotta cheese--weird texture and flavorless; sage--plenty of flavor; parsley--essentially flavorless; parmesan cheese--plenty of flavor; hazelnuts--good texture, not much flavor; chicken broth--good flavor, if you make it from scratch, otherwise pretty bland and salty. My point is that it is pretty hard to make a flavorful dish out of parmesan cheese, sage, and chicken broth.

Dee S's comment is right on: "It was a bit boring . . ."

Aug 22, 2014
gfr1111 in Home Cooking

The best (store bought) hot dog buns

Bakery hot dog buns blow away those in the bread aisle, in my opinion. But among ones in the bread aisle, I like Pepperidge Farm.

Aug 18, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics
1

Just ate lobster for the first time

You're a frequent poster on these boards, RealMenJulienne, and you have a lively interest in food. Why in the world have you not tasted lobster before now? It just seems so unusual for a Chowhound.

I'm from the Chicago area originally, so I can understand the off-putting high price and the fact that Chicago is something like 700 miles inland. Still, it just flabbergasts (love that word) me.

I agree with the posters that you had an overcooked soft shell lobster. Since I was transplanted to Florida, I've had soft shell lobsters and they are not nearly as good as cold water ones.

Please try again and take some care. Have the lobster at an expensive seafood restaurant and make sure it is from cold water, preferably Canada, Maine, or Massachusetts. You are really missing out on something here.

Aug 18, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics

Where are Florida's best fish tacos?

California Tacos to Go at 1450 Skipper Road (near the intersection of Bearss East and Skipper Road) in Tampa has good fish tacos. This appears to be their specialty. You can miss them easily because they are on a curve of Bearss Road and set back from the road quite a bit. It's take-out and then you can eat on a wooden bench under some big trees, if you want.

I thought that they were quite good--for fish tacos--but I must admit that I don't "get" fish tacos. Fish tacos are so mildly flavored . . .

Aug 18, 2014
gfr1111 in Florida

Mayonnaise safety: A question about salmonella on the shell of the egg (from a skeptic)

I ditto what VTB said. Thanks! It is always fascinating to listen to someone who knows what they are talking about. You obviously do.

Aug 17, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics

Mayonnaise safety: A question about salmonella on the shell of the egg (from a skeptic)

Actually, I am not worried about it. I was being a bit sarcastic about the salmonella. The "crawling with unclean death" quotation is from a poem in science fiction writer Robert Heinlein's novel, "The Green Hills of Earth":

"We rot in the moulds of Venus,
We retch at her tainted breath.
Foul are her flooded jungles,
Crawling with unclean death."

I meant to suggest that our concern about salmonella in eggs is a bit overwrought, in my opinion. Still, the questions I asked are questions to which I would like to get the answers.

Aug 15, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics

Mayonnaise safety: A question about salmonella on the shell of the egg (from a skeptic)

I was recently looking at a recipe for "Japanese" mayo (which, incidentally, seems pretty much like "European" mayo to me), and came across a curious warning in a footnote that I should wash the eggs with water before cracking the eggs because they could be covered with salmonella. Would water be effective? Wouldn't something stronger be needed?

Now, I have read on these boards that the outside of eggs from commercial providers are treated with something (soap? alcohol?) to kill off or wash off any bacteria or viruses. Is this true or not?

I have also read that the "dangerous" salmonella which accompanies an egg is on the INSIDE of the egg and arrived there through the chicken's internal egg-making organs, as the egg was being created, and is not found on the outside of the egg. Is this true or not?

I have also read that the FDA, or other authoritative sources, estimates that the number of salmonella infected eggs is one in 10,000/20,000/30,000/40,000, depending on where you get your information.

So, are these correct statistics? Can everybody stop worrying about eggs "crawling with unclean death"? This skeptic would like to know.

Aug 15, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics

Looking for Mom's Bread Pudding Recipe

Fiona,

I think that Rainey's suggestion is a good one. Although I have never tried it, I suspect that you could slice the French bread in the recipe I posted much thicker and, as long as the bread was thoroughly soaked in the custard before baking, you would get the sort of bread pudding with a matrix of custard that you are thinking of. There would be almost no "free" custard, but there would be plenty of it in the bread.

Alternatively, you could slice the French bread slices fairly thinly, as called for in the recipe, but load the custard up with them, so that they don't just float on top. The pudding would have a bread component from top to bottom.

Aug 14, 2014
gfr1111 in Home Cooking

Have you ever made Boston Cream Pie?

Trishuntrapped,

Thanks so much for the recipe. I love it when Chowhounders actually provide recipes on these boards. So useful! It takes a lot of work and I appreciate it.

Aug 14, 2014
gfr1111 in Home Cooking

Is there anything better than Boars Head cold cuts?

I like Boar's Head products. But Usinger's is great. After I moved to Florida, I could rarely get Usinger's.

Aug 11, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics

If I add other flavorings, how much salt do I eliminate in a marinade?

I was watching America's Test Kitchen (ATK) the other day and Christopher Kimball advised that ATK had concluded that you only need two strengths of marinade: a half a cup of table salt to one gallon of water and one cup of table salt to one gallon of water. The lower concentration was good for turkey because of the six to twenty-four hour immersion time and the higher concentration was good for everything else, which required less immersion time.

However, the recipe that they were doing called for a fifty/fifty solution of table salt and granulated sugar. They were creating much less than a gallon of marinade (for boneless, skinless, flavorless chicken breasts) and the ratio of salt/sugar was inconsistent with what Mr. Kimball had espoused, although close.

So my question is this: If you want to brine something and add in some other flavors, should you reduce the amount of salt? For example, it appears that (more or less), in the above recipe, sugar was substituted for the salt on a 1:1 basis. But I thought that the experts said that salt was the only compound that had the ability to permeate deep into the fowl, meat, or fish--something to do with osmosis. All other flavorings merely "hitch a ride" on the salt molecules.

So, if I start out with a salt to water ratio of 1:16 (one cup salt to 16 cups of water), and I want to flavor the meat with sugar, allspice, cloves, tarragon, pepper, vinegar, and ground unicorn horn, how much salt do I eliminate? Or am I looking at it wrong? Do I have to have the same 1:16 ratio of salt to get all the other flavors into the meat? If so, I do not eliminate ANY salt, just add in other flavors. So what should I do?

Aug 11, 2014
gfr1111 in Home Cooking

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

Wow! Zin1953, I bow to a master on the topic. Yes, I am requesting more information and suggestions, please. Thanks for all the insight. I will certainly try your suggestions above and more would definitely be appreciated.

You mentioned Remy-Martin as one of the "big four" which I had left out. I knew there was one I had forgotten and spotted it at Walgreen's. (This was before your suggestion to avoid the Big Four.) As penance, I bought a bottle ($24.99 on sale, down from about $30.00 normally). But from now on, I will embark on a program of trying all those brandies which you and the other posters on this page have recommended.

Thanks.

Aug 09, 2014
gfr1111 in Spirits

The Great Bay Leaf Hoax

I'll have to try Penzey's. Somehow, I never thought of buying bay leaves from them. I had become so conditioned to McCormick's and others' being flavorless that I never thought of them, although I have bought many other spices from Penzey's. Thanks for the observation, monavano.

Aug 09, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics

How good is your flavor imagination?

I think that I have a pretty good flavor imagination, much better than I used to have. But it is certainly not perfect because every once in a while, I imagine a dish will taste one way and it is either a very muted version of what I imagined (then subject to further tinkering) or just bad. On rare occasions, the dish is much better than I imagined. This happened once when I took my Greek salad recipe and added large quantities of fresh chopped herbs to it.

But an awful lot of the time, I just wing it in the kitchen when it's an everyday kind of meal--not when guests are coming over. The results are usually pretty good, but I usually have in mind a sort of base recipe that I have made in the past and am working off of that. Therefore, it is not entirely imagined flavor.

Aug 07, 2014
gfr1111 in General Topics

Call it something else, but please don't call it a margarita.

Absolutely!

Aug 07, 2014
gfr1111 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

Thanks, Kagemusha. I appreciate your taking the time to list some alternatives.

I've had Asbach Uralt (in fact, went on vacation last year to where it is produced--Rudesheim, Germany) and I thought it was too sweet.

My father swore by three star and seven star Greek Metaxa. I thought the drink was great, but it is more like an after dinner liqueur than a brandy--way too sweet.

I think I had Fundador when I lived in Mexico forty years ago, but maybe not. I'll try it and see how it is. Thanks for the suggestion.

Aug 07, 2014
gfr1111 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

JPC,

I didn't say that France had a monopoly on the production of drinkable brandy. Where did you get that from my post? I said that France seemed to produce more good brandy (smoother, less sweet, more aromatic) at a lower cost than I could find elsewhere. The goal of the posting was to find other equally good brandies at a comparable or lower cost.

"There are plenty of fine brandies from America, Spain, Eastern Europe and South America," you wrote. I'm looking for them. What are they called?

Aug 07, 2014
gfr1111 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

Ever since I was in my twenties, my hard liquor of choice has been French brandy. By "brandy," I mean cognac, armagnac, and any other "nacs" made in France. The good ones, like Courvoisier, Hennessy, and Martell, all seem superior to me to brandies made elsewhere. (There are many other French ones, as well, but these are the least expensive brands sold in the U.S. which seem absoutely great to me.) Whenever I try Mexican, Spanish, or American brandy, it seems too sweet, as if too much carmel "coloring/flavoring" had been added. And it is not as aromatic or smooth.

Is there anywhere outside of France where they make brandies competitive in flavor--dry, smooth, and aromatic--to the ones which I have named? I realize that if I spend a $100 or more on a bottle of brandy, I can probably find something similar somewhere, but for the price, say U.S. $40 per bottle, or less, is there anything made in (say) Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Portugal, Germany, Mexico, the United States, Brazil, Argentina which comes close to the quality of French brandy? And if not, why not?

Aug 06, 2014
gfr1111 in Spirits
1

Good eats & local cuisine in Holiday/ Tampa area ??

Seafood: Oystercatchers in the Hyatt on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, and Park Shore Grill at 300 Beach Drive N.E., in downtown St. Petersburg both are excellent. But this is high end dining. For less expensive seafood, try Frenchy's Original, or French's Rockaway Grill, both on Clearwater Beach, or Salt Rock Grill on Indian Rocks Beach (also owned by the Frenchy's people). They have great grouper sandwiches, a Florida specialty. Their other seafood is excellent, too. Mystic Fish Seafood in Palm Harbor, a little north of Tampa, gets good reviews, as does Shells in Tampa with two locations on Dale Mabrey and one on Fowler Avenue. (The shrimp pasta is their signature dish. You'll probably be eating at a wooden picnic bench but it is air-conditioned and inside.)

An aside: I can't disagree with the recommendation from Seminolegrl06 for Ted Peters' either. Nor do I think that you should miss Berne's Steak House, perhaps the best steakhouse in Florida and in New York food critic Jeffrey Steingarten's opinion, one of the best in the United States.

Greek cuisine: Go to Tarpon Springs and try the Greek salad or the same salad sans lettuce (called the "Greek Village Salad" or something similar and reputedly more authentic), grilled any kind of fish, or the charcoal grilled calamari (definitely chargrilled at Mykonos, but I think at the other restaurants which I recommend, as well, but I can't swear by it) at the Mykonos, Hellas, Costas, or Plaka restaurants. The charcoal makes all the difference. Mykonos is my favorite but it is low on ambience. Costas is extremely busy and crowded (at least on weekends), with a terrific attached bakery, but has better ambience. Hellas is usually quieter and has some dishes the other restaurants don't. Plaka is an up-and-comer.

Cracker cuisine: Try Wimauma Restaurant in Tampa at 4205 Macdill Avenue South. I mention the address because the restaurant is a bit off the beaten path. Some of their offerings are fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried Florida oysters, shrimp and grits, braised collard greens, hush puppies, cafe con leche mashed potatoes, lemon olive oil pound cake, banana ice cream, etc.

Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food at 642 S. 22nd St. South in St. Petersburg is another good choice. (But you are a New Yorker, so maybe you know about Sylvia's already.) You need to cross the bay from Tampa to St. Pete on 275. Then let your GPS do the thinking. It is not far from 275, but there is a confusing maze of streets to navigate. They are open for breakfast (as well as lunch and dinner). Some of their offerings are fried green tomatoes, chicken livers with brown gravy, chicken and waffles, salmon croquets, beef ribs with "secret" sauce, and fried chicken.

Both places offer barbequed ribs and barbequed "a lot of other stuff."

I hope that this helps.

Aug 04, 2014
gfr1111 in Florida

PCB dinner with a view ?

Where?

Aug 04, 2014
gfr1111 in Florida