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tastesgoodwhatisit's Profile

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One Day in Victoria (Cruise Docked)

I like Red Fish Blue Fish in the harbour itself - really excellent fish and chips and other sea-foody items. It's basically a permanent food truck affair (in a repurposed cargo container) with some outdoor seating - if the weather's nice it's a great place to sit and view the water.

http://www.redfish-bluefish.com/

9 minutes ago
tastesgoodwhatisit in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Pretzel Buns

That's my problem - I love good bagels, and don't mind the chewing but they are thin enough to take a reasonably sized bite easily.

A pretzel bun with filling is too thick to do that, and doesn't compress down the way a regular hamburger bun doesn't. So I can struggle to take a bite that is too large to chew comfortably, or I have to deconstruct it before eating it.

I love traditional pretzels, but I find the pretzel buns a bit gummy unless they're very well made.

The German bakery near my work sells them, and I doubt there's any American food trend influence going on there - they sell pure-German baked goods plus some with Taiwanese influence.

about 2 hours ago
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

Chicken Skin Uses

Japanese chicken skin yakitori - thread onto a skewer, season with salt, and grill until crispy. Serve with beer.

about 3 hours ago
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

Favorite ways to eat fresh tomatoes and corn?

Tomato and bread salad - make large toasted croutons, and dice some good ripe tomatoes. About half an hour before you are going to eat, toss the croutons, tomatoes, some finely diced onion, fresh herbs with olive oil, wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes, and serve.

Roast shucked corn on the grill, cool, slice off the kernels, and toss with finely diced onion, lime juice, cilantro and salt for roasted corn salsa.

2 days ago
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

Instant Breakfast Cereal

I second the idea of buying plain instant oatmeal and seasoning it yourself - you can make up individual serving packets to keep at work. Things to add - dried fruit (cranberries, apples, apricots, berries), toasted nuts or seeds, spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg), almond milk powder, brown sugar, etc.

Or check out a good Asian grocery - there are various just add water Chinese porridges that can be quite tasty, with various grains and nuts, and very different from western porridges. Rice porridge is a staple breakfast item, and there are various other grains mixed in.

Jul 08, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

Famous Regional Food you find embarrassing or disgusting?

I hate to disillusion you, but fries and gravy is standard Canadian fare, outside of poutine itself. At KFC, when you order a mega meal, the bucket of gravy is for the fries (no biscuits or mashed potatoes are involved).

Jul 08, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

Low calorie mint syrup for summer drinks

I think the main issue is probably how you extract the mint flavour. As a previous poster said, heat will give you mint tea, but soaking in cold water won't give you that intense flavour you want. The problem is that the flavour is contained in oils which don't dissolve well in water. Most recipes to make your own mint syrup involve using mint extract, not fresh mint.

What I would probably try is to first make an intense mint extract, using lots of fresh mint and vodka. Then you can mix the extract with the sweetener of your choice to make the syrup, or add the extract directly to the drink.

For home extract making, the alcohol generally is necessary. The only alternative I've seen is to make alcohol free extracts involves using vinegar as the base, and then adding sugar, which probably won't duplicate the flavour you're looking for. Commercial manufacture generally involves high tech chemistry not available to a home cook, for their flavours.

Jul 06, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

Super low-cal muffins

I did the math for a few recipes.

A low fat, no sugar bran muffin recipe made with skim milk and unsweetened applesauce came out to 130 calories for a standard size muffin - most of the calories were from the flour and raisins.

A non diet bran muffin recipe with sugar and butter came out to 220 calories per muffin.

This, of course, is for a recipe standard muffin, which is generally smaller than a bakery muffin - just looking up the calories in a bran muffin gives 300 calories for a medium muffin.

By my calculations, the flour required to hold the muffin together (not including oat bran) comes to more than 28 calories per muffin by itself.

So either it has been created with some sort of chemical cocktail that bears no resemblance to a muffin recipe, or the label is badly wrong.

Jul 03, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking
1

what is the science behind keeping fat at room temp?

For food to go bad, you need a contaminant (bacteria, yeast, mould), you need something for the contaminant to eat so it can multiply, and you need an environment where the contaminant can thrive.

So preserving food is the science of removing at least one of those requirements. For example - pressure canning sterilizes the food so there is no bacteria in it. No bacteria, no spoilage. Drying and salting makes it hard for the contaminants to multiply - most moulds and bacteria need moisture to survive. (Salt draws moisture out of cells, which dries it, and high enough salt contents can kill bacteria). Vacuum sealing can remove oxygen, which again, is needed for many types of spoilage. Freezing and refrigerating prevents bacteria from multiplying - they like body temperature best.

With pure fats, you have no water, and no oxygen except at the surface, so the contaminants that spoil other food can't survive.

Fat can go bad though - it can go rancid, which involves a chemical change in the fat generally caused by exposure to air, or heating. Rancid fat tastes and smells bad, so if your duck fat or frying oil smells unpleasant, toss it.

There is one serious type of food poisoning that can occur when you have a mixture of oil and other foods. Botulism, unlike most food toxins, is anaerobic, which means that it thrives in low oxygen environments, like oil, and it can be fatal. So you have to be careful with things like infused oil, because if it has a few botulistm spores in it, it can quietly and flavourlessly go toxic. Commercial products are specially treated to prevent this, with methods not easily available to home cooks. High heat kills botulism, but if the food is already contaminated it won't become safe, and acid and salt prevent botulism from growing.

Something like duck fat or frying oil is generally quite safe, because you're heating it quite hot (botulism is killed at 120 C, which is hotter than boiling water, but colder than hot fat temperatures), any moisture boils out during the rendering process, and any small food particles left in have been thoroughly cooked.

Jul 02, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics
1

Salad Dressing: Home Cooking Dish of the Month for July 2014

Hydrogenated coconut oil melts at 36-40 C, virgin coconut oil at ~24 C.

So at a standard North American room temperature, they'd both be solid, but the pure oil would be close to melting temperature. Where I'm sitting right now, they'd both be liquid.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

Salad Dressing: Home Cooking Dish of the Month for July 2014

Miso-Lemon dressing

Zest and juice of half a lemon
~ 1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 teaspoons of miso paste (to taste)
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Blend well.

Goes very well tossed with halved, ripe cherry tomatoes and diced onions.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

cooking forums moving to facebook??

I do use Facebook. I use it exclusively to keep in touch with friends and family I actually know.

I don't do forums or games on Facebook, and I don't use Facebook to log into other sites. I like keeping different parts of my on-line life separate. If a forum insists on making you use Facebook or Google ID's to log in, I leave.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Food Media & News
8

summer chuck roast dishes?

The very thinly sliced meat will also stir fry well, and you you can make Japanese beef and rice bowls with it as well - both fairly quick cooking techniques.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

Cottage menu requires help!

For summer, I like doing big chunks of meat in the crockpot - ham, pot roast, pork shoulder, beef shanks, etc. What I often do is cook the meat overnight, cool, and toss it in the fridge. Then at dinner, I serve it cold and sliced, with mustard or other condiments on the side.

Do you have a rice cooker? That's a cool way to get a starch, and you can fancy it up - use tomato juice, wine and/or stock for some of the liquid and add herbs for tomato rice, add butter and cumin for cumin rice, lemon zest/juice and herbs for lemon rice, some chopped green onions and green peas, and so on.

Marinate chicken pieces in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and herbs, and throw on the grill. Grill whole shrimp (shell on). Get a package of frozen shellfish like mussels, and cook very quickly on the stove with a bit of white wine and aromatics, and serve with the pan juices, and crusty bread.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking

how long can duck fat sit out?

No problem.

I keep strained deep frying oil at room temperature, and I have ghee (clarified butter) that will last for months without going off.

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem using *stock* that had been sitting out (covered) overnight, if it wasn't too hot out, but I'd boil it well before using.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking
1

Sugar-free ketchup

Yes, I think ketchup has traditionally had both acid and sugar in it. That doesn't mean that you can't make a tarter ketchup than commercial, though.

Vinegar wise - pure vinegar is a 5% solution of acetic acid, which is by definition the exact opposite of "natural sweetness". Balsamic vinegars do have a natural sweetness, but that's because they actually have sugar in them - balsamic vinegar is about 15% sugar by weight (from the grapes), while distilled or red wine are very close to 0.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

A rant: At the meat counter: fools or liars?

That actually makes very good sense.

Would you really want to go to a store, and buy a "frozen chicken" that was squishy?

So the definition of frozen is the point at which the food will become completely solid, not the point at which excess water will freeze.

And I second previous posters - 32 F is the freezing point of pure water (at sea level, if you want to be really accurate). The freezing point of meat will be lower.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

"I Don't Cook"

I think it's also worth noting that "not cooking" is hardly a modern phenomenon, particularly in poor urban environments. As far back as Ancient Rome, you had urban populations who lived in tiny accommodations with no cooking facilities, and ate exclusively from street vendors and markets. That food was not modern processed food, but it wasn't necessarily very good quality - adulterated ingredients, insanitary preparation techniques, unidentified meat, etc.

On the other end of the spectrum, wealthy people had staffs to cook for them, and never needed to go near a kitchen themselves.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

Help! Intimate Rooftop Dinner Party Featuring Grilled Chicken?

I would recommend Marcella Hazan's Chicken al diavolo - it's simple, relatively cheap, and amazingly good.

It's basically bone in skin on chicken, marinated in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and lots of freshly cracked black peppercorns, and then grilled, basted with the extra marinade. The recipe calls for a whole flattened chicken, but you could do pieces as well.

For an appetizer you could go for a simple antipasto tray set out as people arrive - marinated olives, marinated mushrooms, some salami, some cheese, maybe some dishes of roast nuts.

The Caesar and grilled asparagus would both go well with that. Another salad option I like is also from Hazan - Romaine lettuce with a blue cheese dressing and toasted walnuts. I might add some really good bread to round it off.

I'm not a big wine expert, but if people prefer red wine, why not serve red wine, but not a really heavy, alcohol loaded one.

Jul 01, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Home Cooking
1

travel to Asia.. need host gifts

And I wish them luck - Taiwan in summer is not easy to take - it's not quite 8 in the morning, and it's already 85 F with 75% humidity.

Jun 30, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Not About Food

travel to Asia.. need host gifts

Nicely wrapped food-stuffs are probably best. Avoid meat or dairy products, because that's problematic coming through customs.

Jun 30, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Not About Food

So just what is a "Gourmet Kitchen?"

The catering comment is a good one. If someone does a lot of catered entertaining, the optimum requirements for the kitchen will be different than for home cooking for a small number of people. I've seen a few of these kitchens - they're not ones I would like for cooking in myself, but they're great if you've got a bunch of people preparing a reception for 50 guests.

Jun 29, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Cookware

Help me identify these fruits

It's called wax apple or water apple in Taiwan. You can eat the whole thing, although I usually leave off the end bits where the dried bits of the flower and the stem end up.

Jun 28, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

"I Don't Cook"

Home ovens are pretty much non existent in Taiwan. Apartments and kitchens tend to be very small, baking isn't a big part of the cuisine, and the summers are hot, humid and long (not to mention that the kitchen is almost never air conditioned). Kitchens tend to be designed more for quick stir-fry or steaming. My kitchen is pretty good by Taipei standards, and I have a two burner gas stove that won't do a low simmer, with a very powerful fuel hood, a small amount of counter space, and a large, single sink.

Jun 28, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

Butter versus Margarine

It does affect the texture of some baked goods - subbing different solid fats may give you a cookie that's chewier, or crispier, or spreads out more when baking.

Jun 27, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

"I Don't Cook"

I know a fair number of people who don't cook, and a number whose apartment doesn't contain cooking facilities. The two big longer term issues are cost (eating out tends to cost more than cooking), and nutrition (highly processed foods, lots of fat/starch/salt). But there are a ton of options out there, particularly in an urban area.

Food that doesn't need to be cooked - cereal, instant oatmeal, granola bars, yoghurt, fresh fruit, bagged salads and pre-cut vegetables, muffins, cheese and crackers, sandwiches, breads, pre-made dips.

Take out/Pick up - there are tons of options where I live, lots of little places that sell things like stir fried meat and vegetables, fried rice or noodles, soups and stews, deep fried, braised or grilled foods, roast duck, cold marinated vegetable dishes, dumplings etc.

Grocery Store - lots of pre-cooked reading to eat foods, various salads and the salad bar, the bakery section, cold meats and cheeses.

If you add in heating up stuff, you've got canned soups and stews, frozen french fries, fish sticks and chicken nuggets, frozen seasoned vegetables, pizzas, lasagna and pasta dishes, etc. etc.

Jun 27, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics
1

French hound coming to Seoul - Need a few insights

I don't know what it was called, but I had a fantastic cold beef broth soup in Seoul that was not at all spicy.

Jun 25, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in China & Southeast Asia

Dinner music - the host or the guest decides?

I'm even more baffled by the fact that someone would forcibly turn a dinner party into a dance!

But yeah, host sets the music. With family or a close friend, I think it would be okay to ask if a particular type of music be changed if it's something that really annoys you. And a considerate host will stop to consider if their own tastes in music are widely shared or not.

In the future, you can take the controls back, or just turn the music off all together.

Jun 25, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Not About Food
2

SOS: Elegant tea reception for 200

I think that whatever you decide on, you are definitely going to have to talk with her.

I think you can manage a simple tea-style *menu* with the resources you have, but doing elegant and great service is not something you want to rely on volunteers for.

I would give her the cost breakdown for the other wedding (food, decorating, service) so she knows what's involved. Then I'd give her one or two options for what she can do with her budget. By the sounds of it, the best two are going with the finger sandwich caterer, and hiring a few teenagers to manage the drinks, or to simplify the food to something that church-lady labour can manage.

To be blunt, though - a noonish wedding with people driving an hour or more to get there, followed by a reception with very light food and no seating? A lot of those 200 people are going to leave early to go get lunch and sit down for a while, so I think she's got other disappointments coming.

You can't buy a champagne wedding on a Budweiser budget. And volunteer labour is rarely up to producing a champagne wedding either.

Jun 24, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in General Topics

5 Gallon emergency water supply

That's a good point - tornados are very localized, so help is going to arrive fairly quickly. I'd see storing drinking water as important for the kind of disaster that strikes over a large area and will immobilize or strain rescue efforts, like typhoons, earthquakes or ice storms.

Jun 23, 2014
tastesgoodwhatisit in Not About Food