c

Cookiephage's Profile

Title Last Reply

Quick Cilantro Tasting Question - what percentage taste soap?

In a NYTimes article today, there was a discussion about how vocal people are when they do not like cilantro. It offers a theory that the intensity of the dislike is directly linked to how we have developed strong associations to smells and tastes that have been vital to our adaptation and survival to today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/din...

I really like the suggestion at the end to cook the cilantro to break down some of the soapy-taste enzymes. Maybe I can learn to like it, or at least try to dislike it less.

Apr 14, 2010
Cookiephage in Not About Food

Quick Cilantro Tasting Question - what percentage taste soap?

The only thing that tastes scarier than cilantro is celery. or chives. or cheese. Funny how they all begin with "c"...

Feb 18, 2010
Cookiephage in Not About Food

giving a recipe and recipient can't make it right

Wow, this post struck a nerve. My college roommate would ask me for my recipes, many of which I had tweaked to optimal conditions on my own. I would even run through the recipes with her to teach her when I was cooking. When it came time to host a party, she would brush me aside and say "I've got this, you can help if you want". Then, because she is incredibly cheap and did not like to have to buy ingredients for the next batch, she would decrease the amount of sugar, cinnamon, curry powder, meat, whatever it was, to maybe 1/6 of what it was supposed to be. Imagine a whole pot of "curry" made of 5lbs of boiled potatoes, half an ounce of pork, a teaspoon of curry powder, and a whole lot of salt (minus the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, bay leaf, other spices and hour of slow simmering I had shown her ... ) It inevitably came out horrifyingly, but then she would say that it was *my* recipe. Infuriating.

I love sharing recipes and food know-how, and it feels rude not to when it is requested... but how to draw the line without seeming petty or competitive?

Feb 18, 2010
Cookiephage in Not About Food

Is anyone else bothered by all the talk about reducing salt intake?

Pure sodium is unstable and would spontaneously combust. It is super stable, however, complexed as Sodium Chloride (or iodide for iodized salt and the discouragement of gout in the western world), or table salt. Salt is necessary but definitely in moderation; our bodies wouldn't be able to function without sufficient sodium for countless body processes.

The hidden salt you mention, however is a big issue if people aren't aware of how much they're eating. Good point about inferior preparation/ingredients. Sometimes it's how I can tell how fresh ingredients were before they were cooked and served to me.

Jan 28, 2010
Cookiephage in General Topics

Is anyone else bothered by all the talk about reducing salt intake?

People underestimate the fantastic capacity of their kidneys to regulate fluid volume and electrolyte concentrations. Unless you have renal problems or existent hypertension, I don't think a pinch more or less salt will do much harm.

Jan 28, 2010
Cookiephage in General Topics

Foods you can't keep in the house because you can't stop yourself eating them

Stacey's Pita Chips and any kind of nut brittle. Oh, Mrs. Mays...

Jan 06, 2010
Cookiephage in General Topics

What's Your Favorite Chinese Take Out Order

Ewww. Take Out Chinese food!

Just kidding. I love any of the broccoli dishes- broccoli chicken, broccoli pork, broccoli beef, tofu, whatever. I usually look for a place with high turnover- it usually means the meats and veggies are really fresh, not to mention freshly prepared/cooked.

Also, I can't help myself when it comes to those sweet biscuits with granular sugar. Really addictive!

Jan 05, 2010
Cookiephage in General Topics

Adventures in sausage making...

That is very interesting information about emulsification; it's not something I've thought about, especially since I had to hand-cut everything. Talk about hand cramps... I will definitely read up on this and thank you for the tip!

Dec 17, 2009
Cookiephage in Home Cooking

Adventures in sausage making...

I am so glad to see you voice these concerns!! My father and I are microbiologists and are real PITAs about this kind of stuff. We just used the old-fashioned high salt preservation, though one of the ladies we worked will be bringing sodium metabisulphite for next time.

Dec 17, 2009
Cookiephage in Home Cooking

Adventures in sausage making...

Wow. The variety is amazing. what is your favorite to make/eat?

Dec 16, 2009
Cookiephage in Home Cooking

Adventures in sausage making...

Hi all! Thanks for your replies. I just had quite a time wresting with my home-made contraptions. I had a small plastic tube from a spool or something and wound the lining up the sides. I then fed the meat through the tube and tied between the links with a strong string.

Mistakes from this round: 1, marinating. The dry-rub meat was much easier to work with! 2, it is important to dampen the mood of anyone exhibiting overly enthusiastic motions, as s/he may overstuff and break the lining. several times. 3, Alanbarnes, you are totally right- the bubbles were a menace. Thankfully, we managed to avoid most of them after the first attempt. I don't think poking holes with skewers was the best way to get rid of them, however.

The leaner (sirloin) sausages will be hung to dry over the furnace in the very dry basement. The others will be smoked in the oven with wood chips or stir-fried with dinner tomorrow. Hooray!

Dec 16, 2009
Cookiephage in Home Cooking

Adventures in sausage making...

This journey had been long in the coming, but we are finally about to try our hand at home-made sausage making. My family is from Hunan, China, a province that is known for its cured and smoked foods. We've already successfully dried meats (pork belly dry-rubbed with peppercorns, salt, red pepper flakes, and liquor), but were looking to try our hand at other projects.

I used to dislike sausage as a child because my first introduction was to the sweet-smoked creations from Asian Supermarkets that taste like jerky (with more preservatives). But then, we moved to a town with a high concentration of Italian-Americans. Even the supermarkets carry foods like fresh mozzarella ('mootz') and locally-made sweet and spicy sausages with fennel and anise. Wow- what a difference! These flavor combinations are really delicious and I began to wonder about making my own, trying different textures and spice combinations.

As of right now, the casings are defrosting in the refrigerator and we've just put away the meats for the night. We're completely new to this, so we are trying a variety of cuts- belly, sirloin, rump. It has all been hand-chopped. Half is dry-rubbed, and the other half in marinade.

Current thoughts for flavorings:
-5-spice powder- cassia cinnamon, anise, sichuan peppercorns, white pepper, cloves (freshly ground), ginger, salt, shaoxing rice wine
-dried orange peel (just a little), dried red hot peppers (from our garden), salt, garlic
-pickled green hot chili peppers (also from our garden), ginger, rice liquor

I hope they come out well!
Has anyone else ever tried to make their own sausages?

Edit: This should probably be moved to the home-cooking board. Sorry!! I thought I was there when I posted...

Dec 15, 2009
Cookiephage in Home Cooking

A Eulogy for the Shopping Mall: What are/were your favorite food court foods?

Food court "Japanese" food: teriyaki chicken on the metal griddle, chopped up and sauteed with those big metal spatulas. Served with sauce over white rice with steamed veggies. My parents and I used to go to the mall just for that. It was amusing for my parentsto talk to the servers and realize they all spoke Chinese.

Dec 14, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

Left Lasagna Out All Night. Can I eat it?

It has been 2 weeks since your post, and I sure hope you've eaten/tossed it by now.

Just felt compelled to add $.02 more to this rich discussion... If you it a good sniff and detect any off-odors, the food has any pooling liquid, it was left uncovered overnight at room temperature (where I draw the line), you should probably toss it.

Dec 14, 2009
Cookiephage in Not About Food

Food paranoia?

Not every dish that has been left out overnight will cause illness, but nor is every such dish safe. Some people get sick from unwashed vegetables, and others eat "dirt" and proclaim that it's perfectly safe. Our immune systems are as individual as we are. I don't think there can be a blanket rule that protects everyone.

Part of the problem is just that people have not developed or lost appropriate instincts for food safety. Microorganisms require food, water, an appropriate temperature, and time to grow. Some species are more dangerous than others and since most people can't really tell the difference without a microscope/expert, the best way to protect oneself is to keep a close eye on where the food has come from/how it has been stored/how it is prepared before it is re/eaten. Appropriate storage of left-overs is important since some bacterial products (toxins) are heat-resistant.

I prefer to be safe than sorry, but I draw my own line based on what I know about my own body and the things that can grow on my food.

Dec 14, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

Chinese College Students

Looks like my father went on a potato farm and yours a sweet potato farm. I'm not sure if it would be worse to be sick of potatoes or sweet potatoes. I certainly couldn't choose!

Dec 02, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

Chinese College Students

Wow... digua xifan is an amazing comfort food... A thick porridge made with sticky rice and generous chunks of sweet potato is perfect for cold New England mornings. I know what I'm having this weekend!

Dec 02, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

Chinese College Students

My father was in the generation that was forced to labor in the countryside for years after high school. He and many in his generation have difficulty stomaching potatoes and sweet potatoes because that was pretty much all they ate.

However, he has begun to eat them again recently and we make stir-fried potatoes. It's one of my favorite dishes. Wash, peel, and cut the potatoes into thin strips (ours are almost julienned). We soak them briefly in water to wash off the starch, which will make them stick to the pan. First stir-fry some strips of meat with salt, garlic and ginger in vegetable oil, remove into separate dish when 80% done, and add the potatoes to the oil. When they are about cooked, add the meat back in and a small handful of green onions just before leaving the pan. It's very simple and really delicious.

Dec 01, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

Totally Disgusted at Supermarket--Am I too Finicky?

If seeing my groceries on the floor bothered me that much, I would have gotten extra bags to re-bag before placing in my clean car trunk... That or unloaded my groceries from the floor of my kitchen rather than countertops. I try not to think too much about it though...

It grosses me out more to touch the grocery cart handlebars. From being handled so often, they have higher chances of harboring live bacteria. Eww.

Nov 14, 2009
Cookiephage in Not About Food

reading on line recipe reveiws

I read reviews to research the dish I want to make. It is interesting to see what has and has not worked for other people. At most, I skim substitution-rich entries to avoid the junk, like the chocolate chips for cabbage (yuck!!)...

For the same reason, I look up as many other recipes for that dish that are available; gives me a better idea for proportions or what ingredients are crucial.

Nov 09, 2009
Cookiephage in Not About Food

What are your tried and true favorites from Epicurious.com

Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel. Gourmet, January 1996
double the streusel and the pie will disappear more quickly each time it is made.
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Nov 08, 2009
Cookiephage in Home Cooking

Why is frying food unhealthy?

Fried food gets such a bad reputation... Doesn't the healthiness depend on the food that is being fried? Like using a dinner roll to eat sauce or gravy left on the plate, breading soaks up frying grease. For salmon, it's no healthier to bake with a crust of butter or mayonnaise (as my roommate used to do!) than to fry in a few drops of olive oil.

There is also a difference between frying in mostly unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oil versus lard, which is solid at room temperature. When food is fried in lard, the fat will solidify instead of leaching out before you eat it.

Nov 07, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

A Namesake Post: The Perfect Cookie

I bit into a perfect peanut butter cookie today: with a diameter spanning from the tip of my thumb to pinky, it was light for its 10in^2 surface area as I balanced it gingerly between two fingers. A delicate nibble at the crisp edge yielded brittle brown sugar crystals. Farther in, softer rounded beads of caramel, and even farther in, toothsome stickiness punctuated by rogue pieces of nuts.

For a brief window of time, I forgot myself- the aromas, textures, and tastes built upon each other harmoniously, like a major triad. I thought about cookies (as I tend to do fairly often) and about how eating them has been thoroughly villainized in the past few years. Nowadays, even Cookie Monster says that cookies are a sometimes food, but for me, that's because I am always thinking about what could make them even better.

It is easy to dismiss the simplicity and lowly reputation of the humble cookie, but a perfect balance of sugar, salt, fat, flour, and character can be very difficult to come by. What do you think makes the ideal cookie?

Oct 16, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

Housewarming Party ideas?

Vote: Assorted with fusion. It looks like this menu can accommodate the widest range of preferences. I am Chinese-American and notice that the older generation of Chinese family friends tend to gravitate toward familiar foods, such as those containing rice.

A few ideas popped to mind as I was typing:
Curried dipping sauce with vegetable spring rolls- fry or bake until crispy. I have seen such items at Costco, though they are also easy to make.

Mushrooms stuffed with fragrant cooked rice (possibly mixed with mushroom stems/onions/etc), finished in the oven.

It sounds like you will be putting a lot of work into this meal- good luck!

Oct 14, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

New Sichuan Restaurant: Hao Sze Chuan in West Haven/Milford CT

My family had gotten wind of this 3-week old restaurant next to the Hong Kong Grocery branch on Route 1 a little down the road from University of New Haven.

The restaurant is still getting on its feet- there are only 2-3 menus available for a 40-seat space. The menu is half-Chinese half-English; between 3 families, we ordered a large variety of dishes. While we had some really spectacular fish stew dishes- the green pickled chili fish pot was really excellent as was the more traditional sichuanese peppercorn fish stew, the beef tendon was a miss for me as it was too chewy, and the kung pao chicken (traditionally oil-crisped on the outside) was over-fried. The vegetables were fresh- we ordered off the menu the Chinese hollow-stemmed greens. The dishes were well-seasoned and balanced; we requested the chef liberally apply chilis/peppercorns to taste (as we are all Hunanese/Sichuanese and very partial to spicy food). For 8 people and 9 dishes and brown rice, the bill came to just about $120. By the way, Yale employees have a 10% discount.

The service was really pleasant and the lady in charge is very friendly. We were given complimentary desserts and encouraged to spread the good word. It's too early to tell how the final version of the restaurant will look, but the chef from Chengdu is one of the better I have had in Southern CT.

What is a "food snob"?

A food snob is one who derives pleasure from only seeking foods/flavor combinations perceived to be uncommon/expensive/both. Food becomes a status symbol and social tool rather than a personal pleasure. I have a friend with whom I attended a wine tasting. After making a great fuss about being able to taste the different flavors and undertones (written on the card), he loudly proclaimed the order in which wines should be ranked... Later, after googling the prices of the wines, he changed his rankings accordingly.

Aug 30, 2009
Cookiephage in Not About Food

Grappa

I was just on the Chautaqua Wine Trail up in Western NY this past week. Mazza Vineyards near Lake Chautaqua had two kinds of grappa; it is about 1.5 hours from Niagara. As it was my first experience with grappa, I am not sure how to properly assess it.

Aug 04, 2009
Cookiephage in Spirits

Your latest 'addiction'?

Oh, and red peppers. Raw, grilled, pickled, stuffed, sauteed- I love it all.

Jun 06, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

Your latest 'addiction'?

Fuji apples. Crispy and the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Sometimes I cut them up and drizzle with honey and a dash of cinnamon. A sprinkle of raisins lifts it to another level.

Jun 06, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics

repulsive texture; heavenly taste?

It's like a slippery, granular film that covers the surface of your teeth... a pretty terrible sensation!

Jun 05, 2009
Cookiephage in General Topics