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Carbon steel wok from Sur La Table - should I replace it?

I have this 14" dia. wok from Sur La Table that I received as a gift.

http://www.surlatable.com/gs/sur-tabl...

The first problem is that it's very heavy; second, it's starting to show rust patches on the inside. I followed the instructions on prepping it, but it never achieved the patina that I've read about. Food sticks, and it's hard to manuever. So my question is, should I just get rid of it and get a lighter, more basic wok, or is it worth keeping and re-prepping? I'm wondering if anyone out there owns this same wok and likes using it?

Jun 05, 2010
sogi in Cookware

Pizza dough in a bread machine

I'm afraid I really don't know how that would affect the outcome - sorry. But I've also made Giada's pizza dough recipe in the bread machine with success; the crust wasn't as crispy as the one with semolina, but still good:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Jul 27, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Do you ever like the crappy better than the excellent?

I freakin' LOVE chapaghetti!!! The kooky name, the mini oil packet, all of it! :)

Jul 25, 2008
sogi in General Topics

Pizza dough in a bread machine

Just last weekend I made this pizza dough in my bread machine, without modifications:

http://www.rouxbe.com/recipes/247/pre...

I had never used semolina flour in pizza dough before (or anything, for that matter), and I have no idea if it's even authentic, but it did yield a nice, thin crispy crust. The recipe yield is eight 6"-8" pizzas, but i made mine into 4 larger ones, each of which fed two people.

Jul 25, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Help me figure out falafel failure please!

This falafel recipe came out perfect the first time I ever made it, and it's delicious:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

I think the only thing missing from your recipe is the flour, which should hold the whole thing together. I know the recipe calls for soaked (not cooked) chickpeas, but I mistakenly cooked mine the first time around, but they still came out well. Homemade falafel is the best!

Jul 24, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Help - My quinoa is mushy, not fluffy

Recently, I tried the steaming method for the first time and it was amazing. Before this, I could not get my quinoa to come out separate and fluffy. I used the method outlined in this recipe:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

It seems fussy but give it a try.

Jul 23, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Bread for beginners

I just started using the Simple Crusty Bread recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. It's so easy and quick! The recipe appeared in the NYTimes recently:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/din...

And as another post mentioned, the No-Knead bread is always a winner.

Jul 17, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Recipe Organization -- computer

I recently started to use a software called YummySoup!
http://www.hungryseacow.com/YummySoup...

I used the trial download (it's $20 to purchase, not too bad) and liked the interface a lot I love that you can browse recipes with photos in manner similar to coverflow in iTunes. It's also very simple to download recipes off the most popular cooking websites with a one-click operation, then all you have to do is categorize to your liking. I had kept PDF's of all interesting recipes downloaded off various websites (mostly LA Times and NY Times) but I am slowly moving these to YummySoup as well.

Jun 13, 2008
sogi in Not About Food

Kneading dough in stand mixer - first timer, please help!

I do own a bread machine, and you are absolutely right it makes good dough that can be baked off in the oven, but I plan to use the stand mixer for as many tasks as possible and am hoping it can help with my breadmaking as well. Plus the KA would look much cuter on my kitchen counter than my bulky bread machine. Yes, I am a total small appliance junkie! :)

Jan 26, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Kneading dough in stand mixer - first timer, please help!

That totally makes sense to go through a period of autolyse - being a novice baker, I had only read about the process. I love how neither Hensperger's book nor the Kitchenaid manual has suggested this! Thanks for the advice - I will definitely go with the rest period next time!

Jan 25, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Kneading dough in stand mixer - first timer, please help!

You know, I actually had a hunch that this book was not all it was cracked up to be - I had bought in on Amazon based on positive reviews on that site, but upon revisiting the reviews, it seemed most were from beginner bakers that had tried a few recipes from the book before writing these glowing reviews. I find the book to be a little annoying as well - I can't pinpoint specific examples, but I recall noticing certain discrepancies in her instructions and descriptions; and the section on technique and background and such is so short! Thanks for confirming my hunch - I think I will move on to Julia (always reliable) or try Berenbaum's Bread Bible instead.

Jan 25, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Kneading dough in stand mixer - first timer, please help!

I am test driving a friend's Kitchenaid Artisan stand mixer to see if it's worth purchasing for bread-baking, and I ran across some problems with mixing and kneading bread dough.

I started with the White Mountain bread recipe (a sandwich type loaf bread) from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger, which I have made successfully by hand a few times. Using the stand mixer, and following the recipe's suggested guidelines, my dough ended up a mess - sticky, wet, would not hold together. I did not know what else to do but keep adding flour, hoping it would help the dough start to "pull away" from the bowl, but it would just quickly end up absorbed in the dough - I think I ended up putting in like 1 1/2 c more flour than the recipe called for! I ended up pulling it out and hand-kneading (adding even MORE flour - I know, disastrous!) and the bread turned out super chewy and not so great. I took a look at the Kitchenaid manual for help on this issue, and it states that for bread doughs you should never use the paddle attachment, only the dough hook, from the get-go (Hensperger's recipe said start with paddle, then switch to dough hook when dough comes together). OK, so I decided to try her pita recipe, this time using only the dough hook, but the same thing happened, in that I ended up adding an additional cup of flour beyond the recipe's amount, and got a really crusty and hard pita. Yuck.

So I need some help on basics of kneading dough in a stand mixer - how long do I need to knead for usually (for simple white breads) before it starts to come together? Is it ever okay to add MORE flour than called for if the dough looks too sticky? If the dough doesn't bunch on the hook and pull away, is it not ready to come out? I should mention that I am still a novice baker so I could use all the help I can get! Thanks!

Jan 25, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Julia Child TWC Tarte Tatin Recipe

I just made this for the first time for xmas dinner - it was so absolutely fantastic. I didn't have a baster on hand, so I ended up using a thin pastry brush and just dipped carefully into surround caramel and brushed the apples as they were cooking on the stove. The sugar-butter mixture does initially look weird and ruined (made me nervous!) before they become a wonderful brown caramel - it took me about 10 minutes to get there, I think. But this is definitely my new favorite dessert!

Jan 07, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Got any good bread machine recipes?

ooh, would you mind sharing your recipes for bread machine dumpling wrapper and pasta doughs? i've quit making bread in my machine (love handmade results much better), and it's sitting idle. thanks!!

Jan 02, 2008
sogi in Home Cooking

Best online resources to improve my cooking?

I second the Rouxbe website. They offer a 30-day trial or something for free, and the videos are excellent. The drill-down videos on techniques are especially helpful. It's nice to be able to see the written recipe first, then see how it's executed step by step.

Nov 13, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

ISO Nice restaurants in Claremont/LaVerne/Rancho Cucamonga Vicinity

I'm planning a bridal luncheon for about 8 girls, and need a recommendation in that area for a nice restaurant that is good for groups, any cuisine, and sort of special occasion-y. So far the only idea I've got is The Melting Pot in Rancho, but don't think they open until 3pm on a Saturday; or the Grapevine in LaVerne. Would ultimately prefer something that's not a chain, but open to any suggestions. Thanks!

Sep 30, 2007
sogi in Los Angeles Area

Barefoot Contessa Lemon Yogurt Cake

I did not care for it at all. The texture just wasn't light and tender as you would get with the full fat version, too dense and spongy for me, personally. I used full fat yogurt.

Sep 23, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

Sage: not just for turkeys?

white bean gratin sounds great! how do you make this dish? i'm always trying to think of what else to do with beans to make my toddler eat them.

Aug 09, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

What to do with whole milk??

you could make yogurt, ricotta cheese, ice cream (bittman's cornstarch ice cream calls for mostly whole milk, i think), pudding, panna cotta, hot cocoa. it's funny, i started drinking whole milk when my now 2yo started drinking cow's milk, just so we wouldn't have to buy too many various cartons, and now i'm having trouble going back to my 2%!

Aug 07, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

favorite lemon sorbet recipe?

I totally agree that this is a super-easy, tasty recipe - except that I cut down the sugar from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups, and still found it to be too sweet (tho my guests loved it this way). I would recommend starting with 1 cup and working your way up to achieve desired sweetness.

Jul 18, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

Chinese Soy Milk Question

Thanks - I actually used the milk in iced coffee today with simple syrup and it was pretty tasty!

Jul 15, 2007
sogi in General Topics

Chinese Soy Milk Question

I just purchased a plastic jug of unsweetened soy milk for the first time from the 99 Ranch market, and I guess I didn't really expect it to taste so different from American soy milk (Silk, etc.). It tastes like tofu water to me - not really offensive, but not very tasty either. What can I do with this milk to make it tastier? Or can I use it in cooking?

Jul 15, 2007
sogi in General Topics

Great Cooking Website

I just ran across this awesome website with great recipe and technique videos:

www.rouxbe.com

The videos are beautifully filmed and the voice instructions are really clear. There is a 30-day trial available but it ultimately requires a paid membership to view the recipe videos in its entirety. Don't know how useful it would be to seasoned home cooks - but for newbies like me, this kind of resource is wonderful and a great alternative to the celeb-chef-driven cooking shows on the Food Network!

Jul 07, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

DIY butter?

I just made butter for the first time in about 90 seconds using my kitchenaid immersion blender chopping attachment. I couldn't believe how fast it was! I used TJ's pasteurized heavy cream (in plastic bottle). The butter is very mild and sweet; I think I may try to sour/culture the cream next time for more flavor. It's fun to know that it's possible to make butter so quickly, but I'd only do this if I had some leftover heavy cream lying around...

Jul 03, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

simple frozen yogurt at home? (to rival pinkberry's taste)

I totally want to try it with the 2% Fage as well. I made mine with homemade yogurt (using starter of Trader Joe's full fat Greek yogurt and whole milk), strained, with only 1/4 c of sugar vs. the 1/2 c that I think the recipe calls for. Anyway, I'd love to try the lower fat option because I could eat a ton of this stuff!

Jun 04, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

simple frozen yogurt at home? (to rival pinkberry's taste)

There were two blogs I ran across recently that wrote about the fro yo recipe in David Lebovitz' new book "The Perfect Scoop":
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...
http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/05/pin...

I tried the plain version from 101 Cookbooks and it was really tasty.

Jun 04, 2007
sogi in Home Cooking

mario batali pizza pan?

There was a Los Angeles Time article a while back touting the excellence of this particular pizza pan. Funny thing is that I recall the retail price being around 49.95 or so at most stores, but today it seems most online vendors, including Amazon, are charging 59.95. Anyway, I noticed Lodge has a cast iron pizza pan for about 21.99, which is significantly less. So I was wondering if anyone has used the Mario Batali pan and if it's worth the extra money, or if a regular cast iron pan would perform just as well. It seems that the only difference is that the Batali pan has a porcelain coating all over, so seasoning is not required. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Mar 11, 2007
sogi in Cookware

help! my le creuset is ruined!

I thought it wasn't possible. I have a 5 qt french oven bought back in 2001 and that I absolutely love using. The last thing I did was boil penne pasta in it last night, and a few pieces of pasta bits stuck to the bottom and dried a bit. We got lazy and left the dishes for this morning. Hubby let the pot soak a bit in water then scrubbed as usual with dish sponge (scotch brite kitchen sponge). Next thing I knew, there are white spots along the interior bottom which upon closer look was where enamel had been chipped away! I know we've had food stuck on it before that came off with a little light pressure and was cleaned and ready to go. What did we do wrong this time? Is there any remedy or do I have to invest more money in a new one?

Oct 21, 2006
sogi in Cookware

what else can i make with pot roast cut?

Thanks for the great suggestions! Now it's just a matter of choosing which dish to make...

Sep 23, 2006
sogi in Home Cooking

what else can i make with pot roast cut?

I bought a 2-pack of beef labeled "pot roast" at Costco. Made pot roast with one, but would like to make something else with the other. I have no idea what cut of meat this is so I don't know what to do with it. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Sep 22, 2006
sogi in Home Cooking