arashall's Profile

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Is a large skillet the best way to roast a whole chicken in the oven?

I do a similar thing with a cheap 9x13 cake pan and a cheap rack that sits on top of it. You don't have to spend a lot on a roasting pan to turn out great chicken.

Jul 22, 2015
arashall in Cookware
1

All I Wanted Was a Kir. A Kir!

This just made me smile. It reminded me of Madame Lane, my well-aged high school French teacher who drove an orange Camaro that was the same color as her hair. Her two favorite things on earth were Vouvray and Kir Royale. Every year, during the last week of school, the French club went out to dinner at the only French restaurant in town (which by chance had a classically trained chef), and she let us have Kir Royale. Too bad she would have been fired for that now (it was the '80s). We all felt so mature and very French ;-)

Jul 22, 2015
arashall in Spirits

Frozen Crawfish

Well, my brain just woke up. You can't make bisque. It requires the shells for making a stock.

Jul 22, 2015
arashall in General Topics

Frozen Crawfish

I've never heard of whole frozen crawfish. Any chance you can see through the packaging to tell what color they are? If they are bright pink/orange, then they were cooked before freezing. If not, they must have been frozen while alive (which I really can't imagine). I'm with the others. Crawfish boils require live crawfish. Make bisque, etouffee, pasta, fried, gumbo, or whatever else comes to mind from the frozen tails.

Jul 22, 2015
arashall in General Topics

Dual fuel range

I'm kind of late to this thread, but based on my parent's experience with Thermador range and wall oven(I cook at her house quite often), I'd urge caution. Another case of repeated service calls and expensive parts. They've finally given up and have one burner that won't light, and one that clicks constantly.

Jul 15, 2015
arashall in Cookware

Home, and what to hoard as a Texpat?

Texas pecans. They keep reasonably well in the freezer.

Jul 06, 2015
arashall in Texas

The best thing I ate on the 4th was.....

Cold fried chicken that I fried at home for our picnic.

Me again with another tomato in container question.

Tomatoes outgrowing the cage is a good thing! Just tie them gently to the cage or stakes for more support. They are tougher than you think.

Jul 02, 2015
arashall in Gardening

Three chocolate pies and their crust: a cooking experiment

Thanks for the research!

I don't think I've ever had a chocolate pie that beats French Silk. My recipe sounds slightly smaller than yours, but the same idea. Eggs, butter, sugar, chocolate beaten to within an inch of its life! When I'm feeling lazy, I use a graham cracker crust (or whatever cookie is handy, gingersnaps are good). I've done this with raw eggs for years, served it to many guests, and never had a problem.

Jun 17, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking

The Latest "Yay Me" thread

Yeah, his head is fine. His grandson was on the beach to witness the incident :-)

Italian egg cream in Houston?

Kenny & Ziggy's has them.

http://www.kennyandziggys.com/

Jun 09, 2015
arashall in Houston

The Latest "Yay Me" thread

Family gathering last weekend at Galveston, TX. Mullet is considered a baitfish here, but since nothing else was biting, I talked my Dad into netting some, because they were jumping everywhere right near the beach. So many that one literally jumped up and hit him in the head! The group was skeptical when I insisted that they are eaten in other places and we should try them. Threw them from the water onto the grill in a matter of minutes. One batch with butter and lemon, the other with olive oil and Mediterranean herb mix. They were delicious! Firm white meat, no "fishy" taste. Even the pickiest about fish had to admit they were wonderful.

Jun 09, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking

grill grates

If it's still within warranty, Weber will replace all of those party. They overnighted them to me. The burners have something like a 10 year warranty. The grates and flavor bars are less, maybe two years? It's worth a call to the 800 number to ask. They have great customer service.

Jun 09, 2015
arashall in Cookware

Help us plan our meals in Arequipa & Cusco

La Iberica chocolates, sold around town and in the airport at Arequipa are amazing! Buy extras of the simple blue and red pastilles to bring home. They have a fruity, cinnamon, flavor that comes from where the beans are grown, not from additives.

grill grates

I'm also a fan of the enameled cast iron. I have a little Weber Spirit, but upgraded the grates after the original set rusted out. This may not happen to you. I live in humid Houston, so we have a higher than normal potential for rust.

Jun 08, 2015
arashall in Cookware

Sorbet, ice cream, and other frosty treats

I have a simple little ice cream maker that I received as a gift. I keep the bowl ready in my freezer all the time in the summer. I think it makes 1.5 quarts. A couple of days ago I threw the entire 1 pound container of overripe strawberries in the mini-chop, and then put them in a simple vanilla ice cream base. Fabulous! Very, very berry, and very, very easy. My recent favorite is using Penzey's cocoa and cinnamon in the same basic ice cream base (I don't measure - a couple of eggs, some sugar, a dash of vanilla and fill the rest up with cream). This makes a very rich, not overly sweet chocolate. I like your addition of orange to chocolate. I'll have to try that. This quick, easy ice cream is turning into a bad habit. Be warned :-)

Jun 05, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking

Do you make use of spice blends in your cooking?

Absolutely. I don't always have time for creative or precise use of spice. Like others who have replied, and Italian blend and herbs de provence are always in my cabinet. Also adobo and a Mediterranean blend from Phoenecia (a local grocery in Houston). Penzey's is a great place for getting blends, and their catalog and website have lots of recipe suggestions for how to use them.

Jun 04, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking
1

Modern Kitchen Outfitting on a Budget

You can get refurbished KA stand mixers from their website or amazon for a fraction of the new price. I have a lovely apple green one. Can't tell it's not brand new and have never had a problem with it.

Jun 03, 2015
arashall in Cookware

Hey Houston! BruceSW wants to know where to get a great sandwich!

The deli at the downtown Spec's does great sandwiches, for the very reasons that you mentioned.

Jun 01, 2015
arashall in Houston

Difficulty lighting my gas grill

As for the spark starter, check the battery. Lots of people don't realize it has a battery.

Coconut Ice Cream

May 27, 2015
arashall in Recipes

Taking 2 college guys to dinner help me please

What about a food truck tour instead of a sit-down dinner? That's very Austin, budget friendly, and probably fun for college guys.

May 22, 2015
arashall in Austin

Recommendation for a Grill and Where to buy it?

+1 on the Weber if your budget and grilling ambitions are just average. I've used a little Spirit for years, with excellent results.

If you do have a truck, Lowes will put it together for you, which saves some time. Weber customer service is great. It's like talking to your best friend's mom, in Minnesota :-)

May 21, 2015
arashall in Philadelphia
1

Pollinating Tomato Plants

You have plenty of advice on the tomatoes, but did anybody tell you to put the mints and oregano in their own separate containers (only as big as you want them to fill) because they will spread like crazy and take over your other herbs? The thyme will spread too, but not as wildly as mint.

I just stick the tomato in a big pot in full sun, water a lot if it's really hot, water less if it's not too hot, and give it some tomato food every so often. And fight pests if they appear.

May 21, 2015
arashall in Gardening

New Orleans to Austin

I second the recommendation to avoid 290! Just before you get to Columbus is a quirky place call the Industrial Country Market. It's a great place for kids. There's and outdoor art installation that constantly changes, a fish/lotus pond, and lots of etcetera. Not for a meal, but a fun stop. Lots of people pass it by because they don't realize what's really there and how amusing it can be. They have a green house with fabulous homegrown tomatoes and herbs for cheap.

May 20, 2015
arashall in Houston

New Orleans to Austin

Also on the way through town on I-10 (at Blalock) is 99 Ranch. It's a big Asian grocery store with a food court that would allow everyone to choose their own meal. It has a very popular Vietnamese crawfish place, as well as traditional Chinese offerings, Korean, and probably some other stuff I am forgetting. There's a smoothie shop, and an in-store bakery. Very economical choice, and the kids can run off some steam looking and interesting things in the market.

May 20, 2015
arashall in Houston

New Orleans to Austin

HUGE new Buckee's on I-10 in Baytown. Clean bathrooms, and tons of stuff for the kids. Not necessarily cheap, though. All of those goodies can add up fast.

May 20, 2015
arashall in Houston

Breakfast service near the Houston Convention Center

Breakfast? That's a tough one. Almost has to be a hotel, but I wouldn't call that fun. The Four Seasons does a really good job on meeting breakfasts. You might try Phoenicia Specialty Foods. They have a little bistro in the store. They might work something out with you, since it's family owned they can do whatever they want.

May 12, 2015
arashall in Houston

What to do with tough skirt steaks

Can I asked how you cut it? If you're not familiar with skirt steaks, be sure to cut across the grain, in thin pieces. As others mentioned, marinades (think fajitas) and a little rare also help.

Instacart

I don't know if the business model will hold up as they grow, but I've used Instacart in Houston several times, as have co-workers, and we have all be thoroughly impressed by the level of service. You pick which of several local grocery stores to use for the order, and then you can get anything in the store. They have even called to ask about a substitution when a certain flavor was out of stock.

May 07, 2015
arashall in Food Media & News