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Making Matzo Ball Soup for Passover with the Wise Sons Deli Guys

Thank you for the response, Jbirdsall. I did, in fact, chill the soup overnight. But the grease seemed so enmeshed within the soup; it tasted oily and had a poor mouth feel. I ended up tossing the entire batch and beginning all over again with Marc Bittman's "quickie" chicken broth recipe. I believe my error was allowing the Wise Son recipe to heat to a full boil. When the recipe says "simmer gently" it means just that! BTW, the Wise Son's matzo ball recipe was splendid and the hit of Seder dinner.

Apr 15, 2014
nursesara in Features

Making Matzo Ball Soup for Passover with the Wise Sons Deli Guys

Leo! Evan! Help!! I followed the recipe for chicken soup to a tee - and ended up with a cloudy, oily soup with little differentiation between the fat layer and the soup. What did I do wrong?! Is there any hope of rehabilitating this batch? I'm nearly in tears!

Apr 11, 2014
nursesara in Features

El Yucateco Chipotle Hot Sauce

Thank you, HHC. When I posted that I'm sending my husband to check Mi Rancho Market, I meant to say Mi Pueblo market. Chavez is a great idea too. Again, thank you ~

Sep 09, 2013
nursesara in San Francisco Bay Area

Dinner and Bars near Fisherman's Wharf [San Francisco]

The worst meal I ever had was at a Fisherman's Wharf restaurant called Castagnola's. I'm a SF local but was up in the FW neighborhood with a friend and it was late - after 10pm - we decided to grab dinner at the closest open place. The meal was a surreal experience: the waitress addressed up in a deliberately fake and brash Cockney accent, the crew turned up the lights full blast early in our dinner as they began the process of cleaning up and an employee vacuumed the floor in our presence despite having the entire restaurant at his disposal. Admittedly, this occurred a loooong time ago (around the time you were born, actually!) but I bet the restaurant still exists -and I suggest avoiding it. You might try looking at the restaurant reviews on Open Table.com or SFgate.com.

Sep 09, 2013
nursesara in San Francisco Bay Area

El Yucateco Chipotle Hot Sauce

Hello - Does anybody know where I might find El Yucateco brand Chipolte Hot Sauce? I live on the SF peninsula in the San Mateo-Redwood City-Palo Alto area. I stumbled upon a recipe for Kim Chi style salsa, and the recipe heartily suggests using El Yucateco brand. I'm sending my husband to Mi Ranch tomorrow - but with little hope. Any other ideas?

Sep 09, 2013
nursesara in San Francisco Bay Area

The Single Most Overrated Dish

I agree! Bravo!!

May 21, 2013
nursesara in General Topics

The Single Most Overrated Dish

Yes - it was burned like that ... but maybe even a tad moreso. I recall that some of the crust was so cooked and brittle that pieces of the top layer had fallen through. In the other photos you posted the pizzas look appetizing with crust just a smidgen overcooked. Anyhow, I'm delighted the trend has passed. Or has It?!

May 21, 2013
nursesara in General Topics

What is your absolute favorite dish from your cultural heritage?

Charoset. It's a dish we eat only on Passover. It's a sweet mixture of fruit, nuts, wine, raisins and cinnamon that's spread on matzoh. Like all food on the Seder table, charoset is symbolic - it's meant to represent the mortar which the enslaved Jews used to make the bricks that built the pyramids so it tends to have a paste-like texture. Every family has its own recipe and Jews from all over the world use their own preferred local ingredients, so Sephardic Jews from Spain/Morocco will use more dates, apricots, prunes, ginger/cardamom spices than Ashkenazi Jews from Europe who tend to use apples, walnuts, honey and cinnamon. Either way, it is deeeelish. If you ever receive an invite to a Seder, by all means GO - and enjoy this once-a-year treat.

May 21, 2013
nursesara in General Topics

The Single Most Overrated Dish

Another over-rated food trend was the pizza with the burned crust. This was all the rage in the mid-late 90s, at least here in the Bay Area. I was a graduate student at the time and was so focused on my studies I was unhip to numerous current trends in music, food & culture. A friend kidnapped me and took me to some happening place on Folsom street (was it called Lulu's?) and I ordered a pizza. It turns out, thin pizza with burned crusts was their signature dish. When the pizza arrived - with a blackened, ashen ring with holes in it where the crust should have been - I gawked in shock; were they trying to sell me the kitchen's error?! The waitress returned my look of shock - amazed that I didn't know that singed blacked crusts were actually desirable. I asked her (nicely) to return it and bring me a salad and as she grumbled I thought I'd add some humor by saying "I think perhaps I prefer my pizza on the rare side!" but she didn't appear to respond to the humor.

May 21, 2013
nursesara in General Topics

The Single Most Overrated Dish

So NICE to find like-minded people posting to this question!

I thought I was the only one out here who avoided crab cakes - or graciously picked at it when served one at a gathering. I've never been able to discern the taste of crab; all I taste is fried oil and a burned outside and soggy undercooked inside. Moreover, serving crab cakes at a dinner party sequesters the hostess in the kitchen right before serving time and the dish tends to come out in batches, meaning guests are served piecemeal. Hosts take note and DITCH this dish.

May 16, 2013
nursesara in General Topics

Should You Tell Your Host He's About to Poison You?

My husband and I were faced with a situation like this a few years ago. A couple we had recently befriended invited us over for dinner. The main course was a barbequed chicken dish. The raw chicken had been marinating in barbeque-like sauce. The host threaded the raw chicken on a skewer and proceeded to cook the skewers in the oven. After he removed the skewers from the over, he began dipping the cooked skewers into the sauce in which the raw chicken had marinated. My husband and I both glanced at one another. We ended up eating the chicken (and survived to tell the tale... ) but this topic lends itself to an interesting social conundrum.

Aug 13, 2012
nursesara in Features

Can I really bake dinner in a toaster oven?

My husband and I cook from scratch nearly every night - and I swear by our Krups oven. I find that food cooks just as well in the Krups as it does in our new GE Profile oven. Consider the environmental aspects on using a small countertop oven over heating-up a standard sized oven. That aspect alone makes it a win-win for everybody!

Jan 20, 2012
nursesara in Home Cooking

Phone Etiquette at the Table: The Rules Have Changed

I wonder if the age of the responder affects how he/she feels about cell phones in restaurants. For instance, does the majority of anti-cell users skew older than those who shrug at cell use in restaurants?

In the mid-90s, when cellphone use was much less prevalent, my husband and I hosted an out-of-town family member who just happens to be local celebrity in his home-town. In the middle of dinner at an elegant white-tablecloth restaurant in San Francisco, our guest pulled out his phone so we could all say hi to Mother. It never occurred to me that anybody would interrupt dinner to make a phone call -- let alone at a public dinner table! Talk about appalling manners; I was speechless!! (Don't forget: this occurred nearly 20 years ago.) This family member was not accustomed to anybody telling him what to do but fortunately, my husband, thinking quickly, told the loud-mouth visitor that our town has a local ordinance forbidding cell phone use in public. Not being local, he seemed surprised at hearing this bit of "public policy" but put his phone away nevertheless. Whew! We saved our nearby diners from having to endure hearing us holler our hellos to our hard-of-hearing mother. I'm afraid, tho, that times have changed - and we could never convince anybody of an ordinance forbidding public cell phone use.

Jan 01, 2012
nursesara in Features

Home Tours: Tacky?

Ohhhh -- these posts are terrific to read because my husband and I may be subjecting our guests to the House Tour overload. In October we completed a major down-to-the-studs remodel of a 1950s mid-century modern SF Peninsula home we purchased 5 years ago. Our architect turned this boxy Eichler wanna-be into a small elegant art gallery. In all fairness, the majority of our guests visited the house in the pre-renovation stage so offering a tour is somewhat appropriate. But thank you for the elegant reminder: if a guest appears interested in the remodel process and the materials, then continue with the tour. Otherwise, we should repair to the living room and enjoy our pre-dinner hor dourves and wine.

Dec 31, 2011
nursesara in Features

Dealing with Food Hoarders

Bravo, Kymmie0862! Great minds think alike!!

Dec 31, 2011
nursesara in Features

Dealing with Food Hoarders

Did somebody else already suggest a stealth raid? Perhaps during one of those midnight raids of the pantry, it might be possible to replace the aged canned or pasta goods surreptitiously? This requires a multi-step approach: taking an inventory, shopping on the sly and then replenishing the offending items. With this approach, one might ensure safety without offending the hosts. My 90-year old in-laws have cookies in their panty that remain unopened since the mid-90s - so I completely empathize with the contributors to this post.

Dec 31, 2011
nursesara in Features

Best-Ever Pie Crust?

I hope it's not too late for my reply - but I hope to dissuade you from baking your pie with the vodka crust. I've made it numerous times and I've found the vodka in pie crust creates a very pliable, easy-to-maneuver pie crust. For inexperienced bakers, this is a prime asset as your pie crust will look pretty in the dish. But ultimately vodka-laden pie crust lacks the delicious taste and texture that take pies to the award-winning level. To win the Le Cruset pie dish, I suggest considering Mark Bittman's "Flakey Pie Crust" recipe from the latest edition of How to Cook Everything. While this recipe is deceptively simple, it rendered a crust that appeared superior in texture, thickness and taste. Another alternative is a Lard and Butter Pie Crust. This recipe also renders an extraordinary flakey crust with a delicious taste and even better mouth feel. (For a recipe, Google Lard & butter pie crust and click on the 4th entry Leite's Culinaria.) Despite loving this pie crust, I stopped making it because my vegetarian friends couldn't partake. Whichever recipe you choose, always use the best quality butter available, preferably a high-fat European style like Plugra. Also, I suggest spending some time reading about crust making techniques. Just having a little background and exceptional ingredients can go a long way to winning the prize! Good luck!

Jul 02, 2010
nursesara in Home Cooking

Bushido (Mountain View)

We dined at Bushido last night. Sadly, we left a tad underwhelmed. Melanie Wong's description of the smoked pork motivated us to try this spot. But alas - as it turned out, no ramen items were available. The earnest, but hapless, young waiter explained that the kitchen had purchased a new meat slicer but lacked the space for its proper use and placement. Until the chef solved his logistic/space problem, no smoked pork items listed on the menu would be available. Disappointing. Otherwise, the meal was passable, but not especially memorable. Upshot: with all the other excellent dining options on Castro Street, the jury is out as to whether we'll return to Bushido.

Apr 17, 2010
nursesara in San Francisco Bay Area