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What favorite food is such a labor of love, time, technique or even money that rarely make it but when you do…

I will gladly buy the ingredients to feed us both if you will construct! This sounds amazing.

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking

What favorite food is such a labor of love, time, technique or even money that rarely make it but when you do…

Great story, too!

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking

What are you drinking tonight?

I had not actually surveyed my collection prior to just then, but honestly, now that I am aware, it IS likely to affect the flavors I buy when I re-up. (But dang I really like the green apple, and the Lavender is a great alt. to creme de violette for Aviations)

As far as kid guests, if they get it at home, they can have it here. I also (with a fair amount of guilt) give kids Crystal Light even though I don't do artificial sweetener, because I know they get it at home anyway. Cow's milk as a beverage, same.

I did not say I am against or avoiding all dyes, just that blatant unnecessary ingestion of dyed stuff when there is an alternative isn't really my thing. Probably not going to give up Campari any time soon :)

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

What do you cook with that you've never tasted raw or plain?

Ot, but Is EAE different from CJD in that cooking destroys the offending proteins?

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in General Topics

What do you cook with that you've never tasted raw or plain?

Really fresh smoked paprika! On my list of things that I probably don't need to taste plain again soon. OTOH, now I have a reference for what really fresh should be like...

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in General Topics

What do you cook with that you've never tasted raw or plain?

Very well put.
Again excluding safety issue foods, what I find interesting is that some people seem to limit taste testing based on convention (you don't taste that plain because you just don't because why would you?), fear of the yuck factor, or both.

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in General Topics

Punch for a picnic?

Well, I had to google that and now I want to make it! I have never seen Amer Picon. Are you implying with the Torani reference that it's not sold in US or elsewhere anymore?

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

Grinding Pasella dryed peppers

I use a blade coffee grinder.

May 23, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking

Does Cooking Wreck Your House?

yikes. I hope it at least looks nice, because that is the price of hoods in the truly functional category.
Many hoods are convertible between ducted and non, so it's possible or likely that yours could be ducted if you were willing to put some effort in.

May 22, 2013
splatgirl in Not About Food

Straight up tasting

NOW THAT I'VE TRIED IT, I can completely understand drinking Campari neat and I agree with your observations about the sweet/bitter balance. Sometimes a little bit of something super intense is exactly what I desire.
I found it wasn't really all that different, intensity-wise, than Punt e Mes, which, from what I understand, is typically enjoyed neat.

May 22, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

What's in your CSA box #2!

This. Is. Awesome. And I agree that part of the appeal is the relationships. We've had the same farmer for eight years, and even though he drops off at places that may be a few miles closer to me, I always pick up at the farm because I enjoy the weekly visit there.
We've gotten coordinated veg+fruit shares in the past, but as far as I know what you've described does not exist anywhere here. How lucky you are!

May 22, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking

What do you cook with that you've never tasted raw or plain?

yea, I always taste my raw pizza and bread dough. With sourdough, I like to have a reference of how sour it is relative to whatever I did with my starter, but also to make sure I didn't forget the salt.

Fish sauce smells way funkier than it tastes, actually. It's one of the ways I got less afraid of adding it to things that wouldn't ever call for it.

May 22, 2013
splatgirl in General Topics

Poilâne bread

Mark the Kayser cereales as my favorite. Worth a metro trek for.

May 22, 2013
splatgirl in France

Poilâne bread

I've gotten it at Monoprix, but if you're asking, you'd probably find it worthwhile to go to the shop. It's better, as others have said, plus the experience is worth it.
Also get a slice of the custard tart if they have it!

May 22, 2013
splatgirl in France

What's in your CSA box #2!

Ot, but you have some version of CSA share that is collaborative supply vs. all from one farm? How does that work, exactly? I am not familiar with such a thing.

That is an awesome slew of salad ingredients! Nothing makes me happier.

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking

Does Cooking Wreck Your House?

I call the non-ducted wonders Barbie hoods. I put up a 30" one over my 66" of cooking surface because I needed a hood to get my CO. Code here does not specify size, cfm or anything beyond a "hood", which IMO, is the sole reason those stupid, useless things exist. My 1500cfm, 10” duct behemoth would have required a make up air source which is the really expensive version of cracking a window. Because I prefer the free option, I played their game with the $59 Barbie hood that IIRC we didn't even wire and installed the real one after inspection.

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Not About Food

What are you drinking tonight?

Yes, as I would have guessed. Technology and standardization of processes (spirits) vs. cheaper, easier ingredients (liqueurs).

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

What do you cook with that you've never tasted raw or plain?

Excluding things contraindicated for safety reasons, I taste everything I eat or cook with plain at least once. Some items that have been pointed out as "you would never eat/taste that plain" on another thread:
Vinegar
Salt
Pepper
Vanilla
Baking chocolate
Fish sauce

I have tasted all of these things plain. It's part of how I know whether it's worth it to pay $30/lb for chocolate or $3/lb, whether the $25 a bottle vanilla is better, or just how salty the fish sauce is. I don't expect these ingredients to taste great on their own or raw, but I find the flavor knowldge of them solo useful. I find I am more aware of subtleties in the finished dish when I have a mental flavor reference of the individual ingredients.
We all recognize that some things just taste better made a certain way, or the wisdom that quality ingredients make for a better product. I think knowing what specific things taste like alone is educational on these points and helps make me a better cook.

There seems to be a conceptual dividing line for tasting things plain that certain foods just do not cross in peoples' minds. Apparently mine is either broken or was deleted at some point.

Do you do this? What is your dividing line, or how do you classify things that you want to taste plain or raw vs. those you wouldn't? Is this based on a fear of the yuck factor, or something else?

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in General Topics

What are you drinking tonight?

OMD, what a supreme treat. Like a 70's twinkie. As someone who is a million percent certain that mega scaling and cheapification have changed most comestibles for the worse, this would be my dream cocktail experience.

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

Straight up tasting

I disagree. It's not about expectation, and it doesn' take a genius to figure out that straight Campari (or baking chocolate) might not be as tasty as that plus other stuff. That doesn't mean the experience isn't useful and informative.

You wouldn't make a Manhattan with $150 a bottle bourbon but you know why you wouldn't use that bourbon in a mixed drink because you've tasted it plain. In some cases you also know that a splash of water in that bourbon makes it even better, again because you've got a mental reference of the straight spirit to compare it to.
Just because a spirit (or food ingredient) isn't typically enjoyed straight doesn't mean understanding it in that state isn't useful, aka the whole point of the thread.

FWIW, I routinely taste both baking chocolate and fish sauce raw, as the need for more information or a renewed reference presents itself.

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

First cheesecake, any tips?

Double heavy duty foil wrap for water bath and then remove the wrap as soon as it comes out of the oven. The cooling cheesecake releases a lot of steam and moisture. Unless you live in a desert climate, this condensation will collect and puddle inside the wrapping, resulting in exactly what you were trying to avoid.
I could never figure out why my carefully double or triple wrapped cheesecakes still had "water" in the wrapping when I would go to remove it hours later, and then I finally realized it was collecting there during cooling.

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking
1

Straight up tasting

Do you not taste new-to-you food ingredients raw/plain? I cook without recipes most of the time. How would I know what do do with things? --I'm thinking my first season or two of CSA, here, when I got things like tatsoi and kohlrabi for the first time.

Cocktail ingredients are no different, at least not to me. Sure, I can follow a recipe, but the horizions are much broader and to me, much more fun when I have a flavor encyclopedia in my head.

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

What are you drinking tonight?

This.

A quick survey reveals the one item in my pantry containing artificial dye is a few flavors of the Monin soda syrups I keep around for kid guests. In the liquor cabinet, it's Campari, Peychaud's bitters and presumably the blue curaco although that is not labeled.
The most processed thing I consume, ever, beyond organic corn chips, salsa and bacon is probably booze, wine or beer. I cook (or grow, freeze, can) everything from scratch. Other than the Negroni, artificial dye isn't in much of anything I consume. I'd prefer the bugs, personally. I would also LOVE to do a side by side tasting of the bug and chemical dye Camparis.

May 21, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

What favorite food is such a labor of love, time, technique or even money that rarely make it but when you do…

Almond croissants, with homemade almond paste. Mostly because I love them way too much and would eat a dozen a week if I could.

May 20, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking
3

Straight up tasting

"Straight up tasting", the point being to create a flavor reference and understanding of the liquor or liqueur as an ingredient.

May 20, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

Spanish Coffee Glasses

I have two types. Both are thin borosilicate glass vs the thicker types you sometimes find in bars. All glass, not the type with the metal frame handles.
One set is Bodum, the Assam line, but not made any more from what I can tell. They are not the double wall stuff, but FWIW I have those, too and they are awesome.
The other set is Termisil. If you google that it looks like they are available via ebay and a couple other places.

May 20, 2013
splatgirl in Cookware

Straight up tasting

Based on the bitter liqueurs tangent on the "what are you drinking tonight" thread:
Punt e Mes vs. Campari, two different bitter+ sweet

Campari: smells like wet drywall or chalk. Taste is assertively bitter and syrupy sweet and not much else. Undertones remind me of cheap grain alcohol and chemicals, although maybe thats more my thinking about the red dye than tasting it.

Punt e Mes: smells like prunes. Quite bitter, but less assertively so. Citrus-y. Slightly less sweet and less alcohol burn at the back of the palate. More refined and much more going on, flavor-wise. Exactly what you'd expect from something described as a bitter vermouth.

Next, to compare these to Cynar. Any other suggestions for bitter liqueurs?

May 20, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

What are you drinking tonight?

Ohhh I was thinking Old Tom! But really, between being weirded out by the red dye aspect of Campari and finding it on the sweet side for my palate anyway, especially with the additional sweetness from vermouth, leaving it out completely suits. I will do a side by side of this and a standard Negroni next time.

May 20, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits

Yeast in thin crust pizza dough - is it really necessary?

Instructional, absolutely. Thank you!

May 20, 2013
splatgirl in Home Cooking

What are you drinking tonight?

" I guess you *could* argue that it's both an amaro and a sweet vermouth in one. "

Precisely.

May 20, 2013
splatgirl in Spirits