MRubenzahl's Profile

Title Last Reply

Smoke 'n Wings BBQ Smoke House in San Jose

I just got back from there and like it a lot!

I just wrote a review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/smoke-n-wings...

Sep 17, 2013
MRubenzahl in San Francisco Bay Area

Dry aged beef?

Some, not all, Whole Foods have it. But unfortunately, theirs is aged 14 days which, unfortunately, is not sufficient. 21 days minimum, preferably 30.



Apr 04, 2013
MRubenzahl in San Francisco Bay Area


Have to disagree. I favor gas but to be fair, it needs to heat up before the food goes on if you want any searing. Preheat for 15 minutes.

Mar 30, 2013
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Best Bagels?

Where can I buy REALLY GOOD bagels in the San Jose area?

I mean good in the New York kind of way. Real, boiled before they're baked, chewy, fresh bagels.

Nov 05, 2012
MRubenzahl in San Francisco Bay Area

Pork Belly! Getting started!

Wow. Thanks, everyone. What great replies, so many choices. I've elected to do a slow roast from Jamie Oliver, and will include some aspects from the Gordon Ramsay video fourunder suggested. I am so looking forward to this.

Oct 19, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Pork Belly! Getting started!

I'm in the Bay Area and we are blessed with many Asian markets. Pretty much all of them have pork belly for about $4 a pound.

Oct 19, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Pork Belly! Getting started!

We're having a party. The assignment is to cook something you have never cooked before.

I'm a foodie and experienced home cook but have never cooked pork belly (amazing, huh!) So that's what I want to do. I am looking for suggestions or what to cook and any techniques and tips.

Some parameters:

- Eight guests

- Not too beginner-level. While I am a pork belly virgin, I'm an experienced cook who likes a challenge.

- Needs to be gluten-free since one of the guests is celiac.

- Needs to be delicious and hopefully, unusual and interesting. Spectacular, even

Thoughts? Ideas?

Oct 16, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Why does my roast chicken always do this?

Great research, Suzanne. From same article, there is also this bit, that applies to color near the bone:

13. What causes dark bones in cooked poultry?
Darkening of bones and meat around the bones occurs primarily in young (6-8 weeks) broiler-fryer chickens. Since the bones have not calcified or hardened completely, pigment from the bone marrow seeps through the bones and into the surrounding area. Freezing can also contribute to this darkening. This is an aesthetic issue and not a safety one. The meat is safe to eat when all parts have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Sep 20, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Bacony Question

You're right, I did just as you said (see reply to Katecm). And I did not want to share but I did give some chocolate covered bacon back to the person who gave me the bacon.

One must maintain bacon karma.

May 06, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Bacony Question

And indeed, I did just that! I made several strips on their own. One in a pan which I had with eggs that I fried in the rendered bacon fat; then I cooked several in the oven, sone of which I ate as is and some I coated in chocolate. I made some into "pig candy" (roast with brown sugar coating). And some I cooked with grilled shrimp, parsley, butter.

It was a good weekend!

May 06, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Bacony Question


A chef friend just gave me 3/4 pound of bacon he made himself. It looks a-ma-zing. Lean, luscious.

What should I make with it?

Would like to make something I can give back to him. Maybe some chocolate-covered bacon candy.

May 03, 2012
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Breakfast in Brown Bag -- Ideas?

Our volunteer organization is having a community service day -- a couple of hundred people working on half a dozen projects. We converge on a park at 8 AM and about a half hour later, we are off to the projects. My team is doing a breakfast in the form of a brown paper bag for each person.

Question is: What's in the bag?

We could do something easy -- serve coffee and fill the bags with a bagel or a pastry but would like to do something a little more imaginative. But it also can't involve a lot of production and we won't have a kitchen.


May 28, 2011
MRubenzahl in General Topics

Slow-Cooked Carne Adovada

Made this twice now. 6 oz of dried chilis?? First time I cut way, way back and only used 3-4 guajillos (maybe 1/2 oz.) Good and not spicy so second time I am making it with the full 6 oz. It makes nearly a quart of sauce which seems like an awful lot.

I will chime in later on how it tastes!

Jan 16, 2011
MRubenzahl in Recipes

Recommend a beginner's vegetarian cookbook?

Great ideas! Thank you. I went with Bittman's Veg Cookbook, as I think it's more basic and this guy -needs- basic.

By the way, someone on another board recommended the Moosewood books, also a great suggestion.

Dec 31, 2010
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Recommend a beginner's vegetarian cookbook?

I want to buy a cookbook for a friend who is a vegetarian (but eats fish, dairy, eggs). He is a total beginner in the kitchen.


Dec 29, 2010
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Internal Temperature of Roasted Turkey?

The old USAA guideline was about 180. Now they say 165. I remove mine from the oven when the deepest part of the breast reaches 150, and it coasts up to 160 as it rests, prior to carving. The dark meat should be about 10 degrees higher (which I achieve by starting the bird breast down, then flipping it after 45 minutes).

Those pop-up thermometers are usually 180 or so.

Brining (whether wet or dry) gives some leeway since you can be 10 degrees too high and not totally ruin the meat.

More: See my annual Turkey page: http://www.rubenzahl.com/turkey

Nov 21, 2010
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Where to find good yellow corn on the cob? [moved from General Topics board]

While freshness is not as crucial as it was before today's sweeter hybrids, which convert sugar to starch more slowly, it's still worth finding a place where the corn was picked hours, not days, ago. If you live in the South Bay, there is the Corn Palace, on Lawrence Expy between El Camino Real and Centra Expy.

It was run for many many decades by Ben and Joe Francia. Joe died a few years ago but Ben, who is about 90 now, is still there every day. They grow the corn, right there on Silicon Valley acreage, adjacent to the stand. They sold half the acreage for housing this year; who knows how long it will be there? But it's there now -- http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&s...

Jul 04, 2010
MRubenzahl in San Francisco Bay Area

Ribs: Fast or Slow?

OK, found a thread on this topic on the Barbecue Bible's bulletin board <http://tinyurl.com/ltdjsf>. One person said that Ed smoked the ribs first, then put them on high heat before serving. That makes sense, if they are reporting it correctly.

I don't think you can do ribs in less than an hour -- of anyone has another experience, please advise.

Aug 10, 2009
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Ribs: Fast or Slow?

I love making ribs and I am good at it. My way is low and slow, 4-6 hours, with the last couple of hours, covered, to essentially braise. But then I saw Ed Mitchell.

Ed is a real North Carolina rib man, whom Bobby Flay challenged on Food Network. He clearly knows his ribs. But surprise!! He cooks them on high heat (he didn't say how high) for 20 minutes a side!!!

No, that can't be!

So what's the low-down (or maybe the high-up) on high heat ribs? What's your way?

Aug 10, 2009
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

I undercooked my cheesecake, can I re-cook it?

You have nothing to lose. I think you have a pretty good chance of success.

Cheesecake is really a custard and setting happens when the egg proteins entwine, trapping moisture. The trick will be to heat it very evenly. The center is now cold and getting it to temperature without overcooking the edges will be tricky. You want to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

I would heat it in a water bath. If it's in a springform pan, you will need to wrap the bottom and sides in foil to make it water tight. Maybe a 250 degree oven and start with water that is below boiling. Use an instant read thermometer and pull it when the internal temp reaches 155 (assuming it will go up another 5-10 degrees from accumulated heat.

Alternative would be to cook it for a long time in a very low oven.

Apr 30, 2007
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Toss Your Measuring Cups

Interesting comment that a cup of flour "correctly weighs 125 grams." It's a pretty good average but the number varies (which is why one should weigh, when possible. Too bad more US recipes don't specify the weight.

With regard to scales, I love my non-electronic Soehnle. Low-tech, but dead accurate and about $25!

Rose Levy Beranbaum (bread bible) recommends the scales from MyWeigh, and they look really good.

Jan 14, 2007
MRubenzahl in Features

Little tricks that help make cooking faster, easier?

I like having extras. I use them in containers. For instance, my flour canister has a 1-cup and 1/2-cup measure in there all the time. The dog food bin has a 1/3 cup measure. I keep the odd ones in a separate place and when I need another odd-valued measure, I look there.

Dec 03, 2006
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

Formatting is messed up

This story:


is seriously messed up. Paragraph breaks have no space or indent, URLs are posting as text, not links. Here is what I see (with Firefox on Mac OS X):

Ray Lampe knows grilling. Ray (a.k.a. Dr. BBQ), among the winningest champions on the barbecue-competition circuit, gave up his truck-driving career years ago to focus on his craft. Today, he travels around the country competing and teaching, and he shares his expertise in his book, "_Dr. BBQ’s Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook_":http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=316770. Before we get to Dr. BBQ’s advanced lessons, a little review is in order. Barbecuing is different than direct grilling, or quickly cooking tender cuts of meat at high temperatures (400oF or higher), with a heat source right under the food. Barbecuing, or “cool smoking,” is a method of cooking tougher cuts of meat very, very slowly at relatively low temperatures (215 to 250oF), with the heat source away from the food. While the meat leisurely cooks, three things occur: the meat’s fat renders out; the meat becomes so tender it practically falls off the bone; and the exterior caramelizes, producing a flavorful crust, or “bark” as it’s known in barbecue circles. The final product is tender and juicy, pink in color and smoky in flavor. Sound good? Follow the doctor’s advice laid out for you here. _Photographs by Formula z/s_ *The Cooker*
A charcoal kettle or gas grill can be easily adapted for indirect cooking. But if you want to get serious, we’ve got some alternatives. "The Big Green Egg":http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=441342
With an 18 1/4” grill, it’s one of the doc’s favorites. It grills, too—even pizza, with the ceramic deflector. It’s got the three things Doc says you need in a cooker: good insulation, good air circulation, and good fuel (it uses charcoal, not gas). ($869) "The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker":http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodli.asp?DeptNo=9500&ClassNo=9915&TopSku=210272
Looks like an elongated version of the company’s traditional kettle. The extra vertical space keeps the food away from the fire, allowing it to be cooked by ambient, not direct, heat. ($249) "Cookshack FEC100":http://www.cookshackamerica.com/

Sep 02, 2006
MRubenzahl in Site Talk

Granola Bars

I have made Alton Brown's Granola Bar recipe three times and it's excellent. Best tasting 'energy' bars I have ever had -- and at a whole lot less than a dollar a bar!!

I have made variations in the last batches. I add more nuts. In the last batch, I added shelled pistachios (yum).

re: There's a note about not cutting them until they are cool. It seems to me that they would crumble if you did that.

The key is that when you put them in the pan, press them down quite firmly. (I used a silicone spatula.) You want them pretty well compressed. The main binder is honey and when it cools, it gets firmer.

Also -- I warp some in foil and freeze them. Good for months (or so I suspect - they usually don't last that long).

Sep 02, 2006
MRubenzahl in Home Cooking

If You Ate 11.3 Pounds of Food, Would You Gain 11.3 Pounds in Weight?

The reason you seem to weigh the same is that you are eating or discharging less than your scale will reliably indicate. Urination is just a few ounces. A meal is probably not a pound.

If you weight yourself, then hold a meal in your hands and weigh yourself again, you weight will increase by the amount you are holding, yes? Same thing if you hold it in your stomach.

Sep 01, 2006
MRubenzahl in Features