tastesgoodwhatisit's Profile

Title Last Reply

Boneless skinless chicken breasts in slow cooker?

I find chicken breasts over cook very fast in the slow cooker - cooking for hours is going to give you dry breasts, no matter how much liquid you use.

I'd recommend using thighs or legs, which have more connective tissue and will stand up better to slow cooking. Bone in will increase cooking time as well. As a bonus, they're usually cheaper than boneless skinless breasts.

about 11 hours ago
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

French Press Coffee: How do I keep it warm?

I have this, which I think I got at Ikea. It's a French press, but with double metal walls, thermos like, and it keeps the coffee nice and hot - it makes two very large mugs worth of coffee, or 4 smaller cups.

As a bonus, it's lasted longer than any French Press I've had because I can't break it, and it's easy to clean.

Your most delicious and uncanny ways to eat Spam?

Spam stuffed bitter melon.

Saute some chopped onions, mix with spam and some breadcrumbs. Stuff a whole bitter melon (Chinese variety), wrap in foil, and bake until tender. Let it sit for a little bit, and then slice. It's good with rice.

What to make with giblets

Embrace the chewiness and make yakitori (works for hearts, too).

Things You Eat Frozen (or Thawed and Uncooked)

Cooked bacon.

5 course meal

I would strongly recommend food that you can make mostly ahead of time - it's not very romantic if you're in the kitchen, and he is in the dining room.

I'm a fan of Italy Italian for multi course meals for a good combination of delicious and simple.

For example

Antipasti - marinated olives and feta cheese with good bread (make ahead of time, bring to room temperature)

Primi - homemade ravioli with simple tomato sauce (small portions, make the sauce ahead of time, the ravioli cooks quickly.

Secondi - Ensalata del mare (seafood salad) with scallops, mussels, clams, squid etc. Made ahead of time. [I know this is usually listed as a salad, but I find it hearty enough for a main]. Serve with a side of lightly dressed steamed green beans (make ahead, serve at room temperature).

Ensalata - simple salad with good greens like rocket, with a basic oil and vinegar dressing. Make ahead.

Dessert - good quality vanilla ice cream with fresh fruit, or go all out and make tiramisu. Serve with coffee.

Finish with a small glass of limoncello, and have wine with the meal itself.

How The Coffee Shop Has Ruined Customer Service

I remember drinking a lot of really bad coffee before the Starbucks empire took over. Maxwell House sitting on the burner for an hour level of bad coffee. But free refills!

I actually patronize Starbucks these days because where I live it's the only coffee shop that actually sells plain, drip coffee. There are three or four other chains (Dante, Ikari, Mr Brown, etc) plus convenience stores, plus independent stores, but they don't serve drip, and I'm left with an Americano, which is not the same.

Need ideas for cooking meals without a kitchen

I agree with other posters that this will be a lot easier with a few other appliances. But with what you've got...

You can do meats in the microwave - I've had decent ginger chicken and miso pork that way. Thinly sliced beef can be used in hot soups and will cook in the soup broth. You can poach eggs in the microwave.

Couscous just needs boiling water, some ramen noodles and glass noodles don't need a stove. You can buy fresh Chinese noodles that are ready to use - add broth and leafy green vegetables for a soup, or refresh with boiling water to use in a cold noodle salad. You can bake potatoes in the microwave.

With the grill, cook up a bunch of meat, and store extras in the freezer. Then you can use it in simple soups, to top salads, in sandwiches, etc.

Does anybody else miss chicken skin?

I was at a Japanese izakaya recently that served chicken skin chips. Flat, palm sized pieces of chicken skin, cooked until crispy and seasoned with pepper salt.


Eva Airlines - has anyone had their food?

I fly EVA regularly - the food is generally decent by airline standards, nothing to write home about but edible. You'll get two meals and a snack on the trans-Pacific flight, and another light meal on the Taipei-Bangkok leg. Wine and beer are offered with dinner at no extra charge. I always go for the Chinese breakfast - congee, pickles, fish floss.

Service is generally very good by economy standards. The attendants are helpful and easy to find, and come around regularly during the flight with glasses of water and juice to offer and there are often complementary slippers provided on overnight flights. When I fly out of Vancouver the flight leaves at ~2am, and the airline provides complementary tea, coffee and ginger tea during the last few hours of the wait.

Given a choice, I'll take EVA over North American based airlines any day. Fortunately, when I fly for work I'm supposed to take Taiwanese airlines if possible.

Taipei airport isn't great for food options, although I think they're trying to improve it. Not bad or expensive, just not a lot of choice. However, it provides all the duty free and luxury gift shopping you could possibly want.

What brands of whole dried shiitake mushrooms -- from online sites -- do you recommend?

I trust Taiwanese grown mushrooms much more than Chinese, as well.

Winter Emergency Stock-Up

I'm not a huge canned vegetable person, so I'll only list canned products I'd be willing to eat - for me, canned corn is fine, but canned green beans are nasty, for example.

For shelf-stable stuff, I'd add a few tetra packs of shelf stable milk, dried mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, some canned corn, a few cans of soup (tomato, cream of mushroom), a jar of artichoke hearts, a jar of sauerkraut, a can of baby corn, maybe some pickled asparagus, some nuts. Plus, being sure to always be well stocked on pasta, rice, baking supplies, oatmeal and parmesan.

For the freezer - a bag or two of frozen vegetables, like green beans, peas and spinach. And root vegetables (beets, carrots, turnips, onions, potatoes) and cabbage all keep quite well, so making sure you've got these in your normal food rotation would help.

As a friend of mine said once about a winters as a child in rural Poland - potatoes and cabbage were what we had, so potatoes and cabbage were what we ate.

What brands of whole dried shiitake mushrooms -- from online sites -- do you recommend?

My experience is that the very pretty mushrooms, like the ones in the middle of the photo, are a lot more expensive than the others, but that it's mainly an appearance thing.

For cooking, I vastly prefer the smaller, thinner dried mushrooms. I don't particularly like the gummy texture that the larger mushrooms give when rehydrated, and they take a long time to rehydrate. With the smaller ones, I can snap off the stems when dried (and even break up into pieces before soaking), or use whole, and they're quick to use.

I do carefully avoid China origin mushrooms due to pesticides, because I like to use the soaking liquid. I tend to buy locally grown ones (probably not an option for you, though, as I'm in Asia). I do give a rinse with cold water before soaking, to rinse off any dust or grit.

One of my favourite dried shitake preparations is to take the small ones, trim the stems, and soak. Then I squeeze out all the water, and pan fry in butter until they start to brown, season with a bit of salt, and serve immediately. I learned this one on a cultural video about shitakes on a Japanese airline.

"Natural" color stains?

For fabrics, you use a mordant - a substance used to fix the dye into the fibres. It can be alkaline or acidic, depending on the dye, and getting a good mordant for each dye and fabric type can be quite complicated.

I think it's similar with the wood, fixing the dye to the wood fibres.

Are you focussed on using plant based dyes, or would you be interested in other substances?

My Dressing Has Too Much of a Bite

I suspect the garlic might be the problem. Raw garlic is very strong, and 7-8 cloves in about a cup of dressing is an awful lot.

I'm a total garlic fiend, and for that much dressing, I'd use maybe half a clove of crushed garlic at most, or more likely would smash two cloves with the side of a knife, let them marinate, and fish them out before dressing the salad. If the garlic were cooked, I'd happily double the amount.

Maybe cooking the dressing? The taste will be different, but it will mellow the garlic.

Salsa canning - oops!

I would say that if you're canning something other than jam (with a tested recipe from a reliable source, intended for room temperature storage) or vinegar based pickles, if you have to ask if it's safe you shouldn't be doing it.

If you're canning salsa in a water bath, and you can't tell me the pH of your final product, you shouldn't be doing it.

The basic rules for sugar/acid content and temperature of processing aren't that complicated, but if you don't understand them and don't know if you're doing it right, you can really get into trouble. I'll eat leftovers that sat out over night, cool my chicken stock on the stove, and I'll happily chow down on unidentifiable Asian night market food, but canning is not something I take risks with.

Food mythbusters . What's your belief or not ?

I find cheese mould depends on the type of cheese. Harder cheeses - something like parmesan or even cheddar, I'll happily grim off the mould. Something like brie, on the other hand, I'll pitch because the mould flavour get all through the cheese.

Searing meat makes it taste better, but doesn't keep in juices. Resting meat after taking out of the pan but before cutting it does, however.

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

For two people with a small freezer, I find that most of their fresh and frozen stuff is too much - the exceptions are cheese and sausages, which are much, much cheaper (and less sweet) than what I can buy at other stores, and jumbo packs of beef shanks.

We tend to buy canned and dried goods, and alcohol - canned tomatoes and corn, coffee beans, breakfast cereal, mouthwash and toothpaste, tissues, beer, scotch - plus the occasional DVD and kitchenware or small appliances like a breadmaker and a sukiyaki grill.

Oct 02, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Chains

Help me create a soup-centered lunch menu

For the butternut squash soup, I'd pair it with a salad that features a sharp cheese - maybe spinach/blue cheese/cranberry, or a roasted beet, feta and walnut salad.

What's your favourite or most useful, kitchen item?

Apartments with limited cooking facilities.

I have lots of friends who live in apartments where the cooking facilities consist of a single hotplate, and maybe a microwave.

In that sort of situation, a multi-purpose electric device that stews/braises/steams/slow cooks/makes rice/does limited baking would be incredibly useful, particularly in small places where you don't have room to store multiple appliances.

Sep 30, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Cookware

Anchovy Paste: advise, please

I've done roast cauliflower where you sautee garlic in olive oil, add anchovy paste and lemon juice, toss with blanched cauliflower, and then layer with breadcrumbs and parmesan before roasting. The anchovy is very mellow, but adds a lot of umami.

Salad dressings

Two slightly less-usual ones I really like.

Olive oil, anchovy paste and a little bit of lemon juice. Good on bitter greens.

Olive oil, lemon zest and juice, miso and fresh ground black pepper. Very good on ripe tomatoes.

What goodies to send to Navy personnel

If you're doing brittle, pack it in an air tight container and include a desiccant pack, in case they are somewhere humid. In high humidity and heat, candy-like products will get sticky and melt from the humidity very quickly.

All-purpose red and white wines for cooking vegetables

I will often use sherry or brandy or even Chinese rice wine when I need a little bit of wine-like alcohol for cooking, as it keeps much better than wine does. If I'm planning on drinking with the meal, I'll open a bottle, but otherwise it's not worth it.

How to make nori less chewy

Ah, in that case, I'd role immediately before you eat. With something like hummus involved, it's going to get mushy pretty much immediately.

Or go the traditional onigiri route - use strips of nori and use them to pick up the fillings bite by bite, so the nori is nearly pristine.

Good vs. Bad Pizza: Is there such a huge difference?

There's definitely a huge difference between bad pizza and great pizza.

And your basic Pizza Hut is not bad pizza - it's decent fast-food style pizza (the "how much cheese can we stuff into this product" is another issue, though). It can get much worse. Think crust that simultaneously doughy, soggy and slightly burnt, too sweet tomato sauce, toppings that are either overcooked to cardboard/mushy or not cooked enough, gloopy, gummy cheese smothering the whole thing.

Now, I do think when you get to the different between really good pizza, great pizza, and fantastic pizza, the differences are smaller than cult-like adherents would like you to believe, and more up to personal preferences and/or snobbish turf wars.

How to make nori less chewy

In a sandwich, it's just going to get chewy.

For grocery store sushi, the nori is next to rice - it will get soggy, but not as fast as if you put it next to a paste like hummus.

If you want it crispy, leave it out and add it to the sandwich at the last minute.

As an aside - the absolute best wrapping I've seen for keeping nori crispy is what's used for convenience store onigiri in Japan and Taiwan.


Worst Cooking Disaster Thread

About 30 years ago, microwaves were becoming popular in the home market. My family bought one. It came with a cookbook.

One of the 'tips' in the cookbook informed us that if you microwaved a whole, unbroken coconut for five minutes on high, it made it really easy to get the meat out. For some reason, we happened to have a coconut on hand.

(I will note that this was well *before* I obtained multiple degrees in physics....)

So we wrapped the coconut in a towel, and started up the microwave. At about the 2.5 minute mark, there's a loud boom, and the door of the microwave flew open. The meat was easy to get out - in fact, the coconut, now missing part of its shell, was empty. There was liquified coconut on the inside of the microwave, the floor, and the opposite wall of the kitchen. The part of the towel in the path of the had all the fuzz blown off it.

Japanese Raman: Do you mix the ingredients before eating?

I've had some very good ramen in airports in Japan - it's a dish that's well suited to that sort of situation, as it's a combination of things that can be prepped well ahead of time, and things that are cooked quickly after ordering.

QUICK (15 mins) Dessert Recipes?

The OP said they're in Korea, though, and international shipping is expensive and not very fast.