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hlehmann's Profile

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Jersey Subs in Los Angeles

Jersey Mike's is just Subway with more flair. The sandwiches are OK, but look at the meat & cheese in the refrigerated case: giant logs of processed, water soaked food product, made in their own factory. They don't even have real prosciutto, just something they call 'Proscutinni' or some similar name created by their marketing department.

Feb 11, 2012
hlehmann in Features

How do you know a quarry tile is safe to cook on?

Many years ago some ceramic glazes contained lead, which caused health problems when exposed to acidic food, like in an orange juice pitcher. Quarry tile, as long as it's un-glazed, is made from clay, which is exactly what a fancy pizza stone is made from. My only complaint about using a quarry tile is that thay're too small for anything but tiny pizzas.

Apr 01, 2010
hlehmann in Cookware

Finding a whole brisket in the Valley

My wife always gets a brisket for passover, and always from Costco. Occasionally we'll also make it around christmas, and she's never had a problem finding it.

May 06, 2009
hlehmann in Los Angeles Area

Epicure Imports (Wholesale Food Warehouse) - Next Public Opening

I went on Saturday. my first time there. Basically just a dark warehouse, but they sure have a good selection. Picked up some chocolate, sea salt, & truffle oil. Most people that I saw there had a whole shopping cart full. What I bought was priced about 10-15% below what's available shopping on the internet (plus there's no shipping charge), so I'm happy. The checkout line wasn't too bad, and the employees were very eager to get me on their mailing list for the next time they have a public sale (early May, I believe).

Apr 04, 2009
hlehmann in Los Angeles Area

Help me find PEA TENDRILS!

I know they have them at the 99-Ranch market at Sepulveda & Victory; I just bought some there a couple of days ago.

Apr 03, 2009
hlehmann in Los Angeles Area

Seafood/Shellfish Restaurant for Mom's 70th Birthday - will drive almost anywhere in So Cal for her favorite food.

I tried Joes Crab Shack for the first this past weekend in Long Beach. Nothing special, sort of like a noisy TGI-Fridays. We tried the crab cakes, shrimp salad, fish & chips. Nobody tried the steam pots. I was hoping for oysters, but if isn't steamed or fried, this place isn't going to have it. I also made one new dining rule while I was there... never expect good food from a restaurant that has a gift shop.
It did have a nice view of the channel & docks, however.

Mar 18, 2009
hlehmann in Los Angeles Area

1yr old goose it still good?

I've certainly seen fat (of any kind) get rancid, but I've never seen it grow mold or anything like that. I'd say that if it still smells good, it probably is, especially if it's been refrigerated. I certainly wouldn't throw out duck fat if I could help it.

Mar 06, 2009
hlehmann in Home Cooking

Beginning a BBQ Journey

Be sure to try Zeke's in Montrose. They also have a 2nd location in Hollywood. Their spare ribs & pulled pork are awesome, especially with a side of sweet potato fries.

Mar 06, 2009
hlehmann in Los Angeles Area

Cookbooks I won't buy

I avoid any book that has the words "simple" or "for bachelors".

Seriously though, I really like some of the cookbooks from famous restaurants. Lately I've been cooking many of the recipes from the French Laundry Cookbook, and I have my eyes on the cookbook from The Tavern on the Green. I find their recipes inspiring, they're usually awesome, and I don't mind taking half of a Saturday afternoon cooking one meal, since I'm usually just cooking for two now, rather than an entire family.

Mar 06, 2009
hlehmann in Home Cooking

Why does my pizza stone stink?

I have Pampered Chef round pizza stone, it's been great for many years. It's unglazed brown ceramic, which I'm guessing yours is made of as well. I have never seasoned it in any way, nor have I felt the need to. It's got a nice black sheen to it now from years of burnt over drippings; Once in a while after it's cool I'll take it out and brush/scrape off any burnt on crumbs, but I haven't had to do that very often.

Mar 06, 2009
hlehmann in Cookware

Why no cast iron on cooking shows?

I'm guessing that a restaurant kitchen goes through a lot of pans in one shift; as they're used they're thrown onto a stack that eventually goes into a very hot, very soapy, commercial dish washer, which isn't the kind of thing that you can do with cast iron. I just rinse mine in very hot water and wipe it off with a paper towel, but in a commercial setting that may mean more work, not less.

Mar 03, 2009
hlehmann in Cookware

What is "The Pampered Chef"?

Can't swear that theirs are the best out there, but I have one , about 16" I think, that we've been using for the past 15 years or so. It just stays in the bottom of the oven; it's a good size, and it's smooth enough that food doesn't stick to it. I think we got our money's worth out of it.

Feb 10, 2009
hlehmann in Cookware

I need some mis en place/tidiness advice

- My main work space while cooking is only about 2 ft by 2 ft and sits between the stove and the fridge. The rest of the kitchen counters are usually cluttered with toaster, dish rack, etc..

- Recipe, if I'm using one, is held with a magnet to the side of the fridge for easy reference.
- Spice cabinet is in front of my face. I may dig out the spices that I need so I don't have to root for them when I'm in the middle of stir frying something, but as soon as I'm done with a spice it goes back into the cabinet.
- A medium bowl at the back of the counter to dump peels & scraps while prepping.
- Depending on the menu, a few 2-4 oz prep bowls to hold ingredients after they're cut.
- Most prep work is done with a single large knife. I frequently wash off the knife & cutting board when moving from one ingredient to the next, especially after cutting meat.
- Get everything prepped & measured first, and put extras back in the fridge/pantry before you start heating the pan.
- Any dish or bowl that I'm done with I'll either rinse and put in the dish rack, or put in the sink for my cleanup crew (i.e. wife & kids) to deal with.

It's easier, i think, to constantly straighten up & clean a little while you're working than to leave it all for last.

Feb 05, 2009
hlehmann in Home Cooking

Can you make Old Bay Seasoning

From the list of ingredients on the package, it's just a mixture of spices that you probably already have in you spice cabinet. I considered buying it once when it was in a recipe I was making, then decided to just use a mixture of what I already had rather than have yet another container of premixed spices in the kitchen.

Feb 03, 2009
hlehmann in Home Cooking

garlic press--am I doing something wrong, or is this a wasteful tool?

I used to use a garlic press, but I too have found that just using a knife is faster and easier. With a garlic press you still have to peel the garlic first, so the knife's already dirty anyway, and the garlic press is always difficult to clean. Remember the jail scene in Good Fellas? That's how I try to slice garlic; paper thin.

Jan 27, 2009
hlehmann in Cookware

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Whole wheat bread, almost any meltable cheese that's in the house, and a little brown mustard. Heat two cast iron pans until they almost start to smoke, turn off the burner, put the sandwich in one pan and lay the other pan on top. Takes about 30 seconds or so to cook. I usually spray a little vegetable spray on the pan surfaces first, but my pans are so old that nothing really sticks to them anymore, inside or out.
And of course a pickle on the side.

Jan 27, 2009
hlehmann in Home Cooking

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled cheese sandwich & tomato soup, definitely a regular combination on the school lunch menu when I was a kid.

Jan 27, 2009
hlehmann in Home Cooking

Cast Iron seasoning peals everytime I make stroganoff (sp?)

My cast iron pans haven't been seasoned since I got them, probably 20 years ago. I just wipe them out with a scrubby sponge (no soap!!) under very hot water. The outside, and to some extend, the rim do have some chipping or peeling of the built up black varnish that seems to accumulate after the first 5 years or so, but never enough that bare metal is exposed underneath. The inside, especially the bottom, is a smooth satiny black miracle surface. We've made things like spaghetti sauces (acidic , simmering a long time) many times, and it's never done anything to the pan itself.

Jan 19, 2009
hlehmann in Cookware

My Emeril cookware

I have a few Emeril saucepans, here's what I *don't* like about them: The sides are extremely thin. Although the bottom is copper clad, the diameter of the bottom is quite a bit smaller than the diameter of the entire pan. Unless you have a really small burner, the flames wind up heating the thin sides much faster than the bottom, resulting in scorching if you're not careful. Also, I was given the small 1 quart sauce pan at some point. The handle is so long & heavy in relation to the rest of the pan that it doesn't even stand up by itself when placed on a flat surface without anything in it to weigh it down.
I took a hacksaw & grinder to the handle to lighten it up enough that it no longer tips over. I noticed that the ones displayed in stores are always hanging on hooks to hide this "feature". I think they're the cookware equivalent of Anton Gusteau's frozen mexican food; something slapped together just to be able to sell it with the Emeril name.

Jan 12, 2009
hlehmann in Cookware

Best reasonably priced Pepper Grinder

I found one at Target, they call it a "Acrylic Pepper Mill Spinner", about 10 bucks. It can be set to a pretty course setting, which I like, and the big, water faucet style handle is easy to use when your hands are greasy. It's the one I keep near the stove at all times. I had one similar to the Peugot before, but it took too much work to get a reasonable amount of pepper out of the thing.

Jan 12, 2009
hlehmann in Cookware

How long will my stock last?

I made demi glace from our Thanksgiving turkey and put it in the fridge. I used bits of it off and on until about a week ago, when it started developing mold spots (I scraped
them off and put the remaining good part in the freezer). So, for me, it kept just fine if the refrigerator for about 5 weeks.

Jan 11, 2009
hlehmann in Home Cooking

website horribly broken

When I try to log in, I get redirected back to the login page, even though, as I later find out, my login was successful. When I click on "reply to original post', I get redirected to god knows where. It's a great site, but something's really effe'd up.

Jan 03, 2009
hlehmann in Site Talk

Husband Put Pamperchef Cooking Stone in Dishwasher

I have the same pizza stone, and I've never seasoned it any way. It looks pretty much what you would expect it to look like after sitting in the bottom of the oven for a few years, and works just fine.
If you complain about your husband treats your pizza stone, while calling his cutting board 'stupid & ugly', you both have a rough road ahead.

Dec 31, 2008
hlehmann in Cookware

Crooked at Hows Market

"Who regulates things such as this?"
Essentially nobody, from what I've ever been able to find out. The FDA only requires a Use-By date on infant formula, and the USDA only requires them on poultry if it's packaged at the farm. There's no law that states that food must still be tasty for X days after the "Sell-By" date. There are too many conditions that are out of the manufacturer's control (how much time do the groceries spend in your car on the way home, what's the temperature of your refrigerator, etc...)

Dec 23, 2008
hlehmann in Los Angeles Area

What to pair with potato pancakes??

If you want to get fancy, serve duck. If you render off the duck fat ahead of time, you can use it to cook the potato pancakes, Yum.
Oh, and if you call them potato pancakes instead of latkes, then of course they have to served with an apple compote, or at least apple sauce.

Dec 18, 2008
hlehmann in Home Cooking

Best probe thermometer?

Dec 18, 2008
hlehmann in Cookware

where do i buy a boiling water canner?

Here in L.A., I've seen canning equipment & jars at OSH. Check if there's a branch close to you.

Dec 18, 2008
hlehmann in Cookware

Help me find a lost recipe for edible fruitcake - no candied fruit

I made one recently from Alton Brown's recipe on It sounds similar, though it doesn't contain apple sauce. Lots of dried fruit, but no candied fruit.

Dec 17, 2008
hlehmann in Home Cooking

Electric Digital Meat Thermometer (probe)

I use the Pyrex Pro digital thermometer, which I think is the same one that was shown on Good Eats. It works very well, it's easy to set the temperature or time, and so far it's given me no trouble at all. The magnet on the back is also a pretty spiffy feature. The display is pretty big, and the wire is long enough that you set the unit on the back of the stove, out of the way while you're busy working on the rest of the meal.
I had another, somewhat cheaper one before that. Don't remember the brand but I got at Target. It barely lasted a week before the connection inside the probe started getting intermittent, causing it to read zero degrees unless you bent the wire just so.

Dec 15, 2008
hlehmann in Cookware

best recipe for latkes

I make latka's at least a few times a year. I always use a salad spinner; works great. Also, the key to not having the mix turn into a soggy swamp is DON'T ADD SALT TO THE MIX. I just keep my dish of kosher salt next to the stove and sprinkle a little on each batch as I cook them

Dec 08, 2008
hlehmann in Home Cooking