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sonia darrow's Profile

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Tips for slightly freezerburned chicken

Makes sense, thanks guys

May 24, 2012
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

I always ruin dried chickpeas - any tips?

I tried this yesterday and my chickpeas have a weird bitter taste (from the baking soda I think). How many peas is this supposed to be for? I probably just used about 2 c dried or so. Too high soda:peas ratio?

May 24, 2012
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Tips for slightly freezerburned chicken

I've thawed out a boneless skinless chicken breast & it looks a teensy bit worse for wear. I usually roast or bake chicken with bones, don't really know what to do with stovetop white meat. I was going to cook it with saucy tomatoes & beans for a mexican-ish thing with tortillas.

Should I brown it before braising in the sauce? Chop it up first, or braise it whole then shred it once cooked?

May 24, 2012
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Po'boys in Burlington, VT?

All the talk about Mardi Gras has got me wanting a good shrimp po'boy. I'd imagine some of the local restaurants are offering Louisiana fare this weekend in honor of the parade. Can anyone steer me in the right direction?

Mar 05, 2011
sonia darrow in Northern New England

Quick candied orange peels question

I've made candied orange and grapefruit peels. I plan on dipping at least some of them in chocolate. All of the recipes I've looked at seem to call for EITHER rolling in sugar OR coating in chocolate-- never both. Is there any reason not to do both? The peels are just so much easier to handle once they've been rolled in sugar. Will the chocolate just look a little lumpy over the grains of sugar, or is there some other reason this would fail?

Dec 22, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

quality of costco meats and seafood

Perhaps dietndesire meant "I never buy ground beef", not "You should never buy ground beef from Costco."

Nov 18, 2010
sonia darrow in Outer Boroughs

Rolls/Bread for Thanksgiving

I made this recipe last year and they were very tasty. It's a bit more involved, but you can make in advance and freeze.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/200...

Nov 15, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Sticky Cast Iron

Well, I'm afraid I can't report back about what methods I tried and how they worked: Before I got around to it, my roommate used the pan again and it's been completely stripped back down again! Actually my boyfriend used it too so I'm not sure who's responsible for the repeated stripping of the cast iron. Since this time it actually needed stripping, I'm not going to complain to anyone. I will just re-season more carefully, and then maybe hide the pan in a tall cupboard if this continues to be a problem.

Anyways, I guess the sticky oil must not have been too tenacious... I just assumed it was since I've dealt with semi-polymerized oil before and it's generally pretty horrible.

Nov 01, 2010
sonia darrow in Cookware

Sticky Cast Iron

I'm not sure if it's yellowish-- I suppose it could be, once you remove it from the pan where it all just looks black. Scraping before washing sounds like a good idea, and yes, regular soap seems to be pretty useless in these cases.

Oct 29, 2010
sonia darrow in Cookware

Sticky Cast Iron

I will probably try salt, then baking soda if that doesn't work. I'm a little skeptical of trying to fix it by just heating it more-- If I try that 3-stage heating thing and the results aren't satisfactory, will the goop then be even more difficult to remove?

I have a busy weekend ahead of me so I will probably do this next week, and I will report back with results.

Oct 29, 2010
sonia darrow in Cookware

Sticky Cast Iron

Nope, I clean it after use-- The sticky stuff happened because I tried to reseason the pan by wiping it with oil and leaving it in a warm oven for a while, and I used too much oil and low heat.

Unfortunately I think one of my roommates has been scrubbing the seasoning off (which is why it needed reseasoning in the first place). I told him about the no-soap rule, so maybe he's ignoring it or maybe he's scrubbing too hard.

Oct 29, 2010
sonia darrow in Cookware

Cast Iron delimma

I've heard that the black build-up on the exterior of old pans is actually a good thing, helps distribute heat better or something.

Oct 26, 2010
sonia darrow in Cookware

Sticky Cast Iron

I'm sorry to start a new topic as I know cast iron has been discussed very thoroughly, but I just want a quick answer to a specific question and I haven't found it yet in 20 minutes of reading old threads.

I botched the re-seasoning of a cast-iron skillet by not wiping enough oil out (and possibly baking at too low heat). I've found plenty of tips on how to properly season it next time, but what's the best way to strip off the sticky goo first? That stuff is tenacious! Any tricks, or is it just loads of soap, steel wool, and elbow grease?

Oct 26, 2010
sonia darrow in Cookware

What is one tip that you learned about cooking that was simple but made a huge difference? [old]

"4. Fire is you friend. A cooking instructor once told me that the biggest mistake home cooks make is being afraid to use enough heat."

Having lived with a few inexperienced cooks who think that the dial is always supposed to be on High, I might have to disagree with you there.

Oct 26, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Question Regarding Kidneys and/or Rabbits

I cooked the rabbit last night like this:
http://recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/1...

It tasted fine and I don't feel sick so I guess the smell was just the kidneys.

I feel bad but I think I might throw away the innards-- considering it's been several days since they thawed, and they're all in a bowl with the smelly kidneys. Some of the thawing did take place at room temperature (I know it's a no-no, but I had a ways to travel between the market and my fridge).

I thought the purplish thing might be lungs because it seemed really big for a liver (though I have no idea how big livers are supposed to get). The color did seem liverish though. The organs that were included were all still attached to the inside of the cavity, which is why I think I probably bruised the kidneys during removal.

I dunno. Maybe I'll discard the kidneys and rinse the other organs, and try searing them. Is 4 days too far gone for organ meats?

Oct 21, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Question Regarding Kidneys and/or Rabbits

Well, it had obviously had some of its guts removed-- there were no intestines or reproductive organs, just (by my best guess) kidneys, heart, uh... liver? lungs? Possibly both. Something seemed lung-shaped but was more purple than I would have imagined lungs to be.

I got it from a farmer's market. Is it considered bad form to freeze organ meats?

Oct 20, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Question Regarding Kidneys and/or Rabbits

I'm about to cook a rabbit for the first time. I just finished the (somewhat daunting) task of cutting the thing up, and was surprised to find a bunch of organs inside the cavity.

I noticed a slightly odd smell while I was cutting the rabbit apart, and I'm wondering if it's just gaminess, or if it's spoiled (thawed it Sunday), or if it's because I handled the kidneys too roughly.

Is that something that happens when you're pulling guts out of an animal? The aroma could be described as vaguely pee-like I suppose.

Oct 20, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Allergic reaction to alcohol

I have never been to Japan. Since my last post I've had this happen a couple more times, with less intensity (and also less of a distinct "mask" thing). Most recently it happened after only having had a sip of alcohol, so I guess it's not related to over-indulging.

I plan on noting what I've had to drink in the future when it happens, to try and figure out if it's related to any ingredient in the drink.

That's really weird that you and others have developed the problem for the first time in Japan, what with the whole "Asian Flush" syndrome. Obviously it's just coincidence since Asian Flush is a genetic predisposition, but...

I wonder if it has to do with fusel oils, or some other incidental product of certain (but not all) brewing/distilling techniques. That could explain the regional correlation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusel_al...

Oct 20, 2010
sonia darrow in Spirits

Cupcake Help! Please:)

The reason people are warning you away from experimentation is that baking is chemistry; recipes are like delicate scientific formulas, and any change you make is likely to have unintended consequences.

If you take a basic vanilla cupcake recipe, for example, and add some melted chocolate (or cocoa) in order to turn them into chocolate cupcakes, you aren't just adding "chocolate flavor". You're also messing with the ratio of solid to liquid ingredients, and adding fat, and possibly changing the pH.

If you're really interested, I would recommend reading up on some of this chemistry so that you have some idea of what you're really doing whenever you tweak a recipe.

For example: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bakin...
This article clues you in on the fact that baking soda requires an acid in order to react-- which is why, say, if a recipe calls for lemon juice or buttermilk and you leave it out, your cupcakes may not rise.
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-dutch...
This bit on dutch cocoa also deals with the role of acidity/alkilinity in baking.

http://www.baking911.com/howto/how_ba...
This website is a bit cluttered but I believe it has a lot of useful info dealing with the nitty gritty basic facts of baking.

Aug 03, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Cooking with Sour Cherries

With a bit of practice and a paring knife, it's pretty easy to do by hand.

Aug 03, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Allergic reaction to alcohol

I've been known to hiccup when drunk. It always makes me laugh because it's such a stereotype. Then I'm stuck with a simultaneous case of giggles and hiccups, which can get a bit painful.

Aug 01, 2010
sonia darrow in Spirits

Allergic reaction to alcohol

I have the "mask pattern" thing too-- the skin around my eyes stays pale but everything else is extremely flushed, and I can feel the pulse of my heartbeat in the skin on my face and chest.

This has only happened to me 2 or 3 times, generally when I've had quite a bit.

Aug 01, 2010
sonia darrow in Spirits

How much should I tip the delivery guy?

Yeah, it blows my mind that delivery drivers have to pay their own gas, on top of earning next to nothing. I always try to overtip a bit.

Jul 30, 2010
sonia darrow in Not About Food

Your mom's weird cooking ... and other stories? (recipes encouraged)

Wow. I've always been a fan of leftover soup, but not like that.

Jul 30, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Simple method of preparing sweet potatoes

Slice the potatoes, add whole (peeled) shallots. Oil, s&p, and a drizzle of cider vinegar. Roast till both veggies are caramelized.

Jul 28, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Storing cans of maple syrup - weird crystals on the bottom?

That's normal. Just remove the mold, the rest of the syrup is still fine.

Jul 28, 2010
sonia darrow in General Topics

Home made hummous just not as good as restaurants

I just made my first truly successful hummus-- It's not all lumpy and grainy, not too dry, not too sour, and not overwhelmingly horribly garlicky (I like garlic, but I kept overdoing it in past hummus attempts).

Roasted garlic is the way to go! I used this recipe as a loose guideline, ended up using an entire lemon instead of just a few Tbsp:

http://andreasrecipes.com/2009/07/24/...

I also blended extra long, as people have suggested.
Didn't remove skins!

Jul 28, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

I Spit on Your Meat-Raising Livelihood

The title is funny. It is also appropriate because it refers to how the vegetarian fears she will be perceived.

Jul 28, 2010
sonia darrow in Features

Tapenade: Fish sauce instead of anchovies?

I didn't use the same volume of fish sauce as I would have of anchovies-- I just added a few drizzles, then tasted and added more.

Jul 26, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking

Tapenade: Fish sauce instead of anchovies?

Worked fine with the fish sauce! I'll be better prepared and use real anchovies next time.

Jul 18, 2010
sonia darrow in Home Cooking