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Lemon bars

Brown and crunchy=overbaked. You don't need a water bath for lemon bars, just keep an eye on them. While the water bath might help w/ the lemon layer, it won't allow the base to brown/cook. If you have uneven spots in the oven, keep unglazed tiles, a pizza/bread stone on the bottom rack. You can buy unglazed quarry tiles cheaply from home improvement stores.

about 1 hour ago
chowser in Home Cooking

Every Chinese food has the same taste , what spice that gives it that taste , I want to know the particular spice. Because after making my own Chinese food with garlic, ginger , licks , spring onions , etc it doesn't give me th e taste

If it's something that's in all the Chinese food the OP has had, I'm guessing it's not wok hay since many Chines restaurants serve food w/out it.

To the OP, are you creating your own spices, etc.? What is your technique? What is your background in cooking? It's hard to figure out what it is that you're missing when we don't know what you're doing.

about 9 hours ago
chowser in Home Cooking

What 'size' recipe for Wilton cake pan?

The question has been answered but I have to say I love the idea of renting specialty cake pans. I know far too many people who've bought them--it's not just the expense but the storage. I can't imagine paying for a pan that specific so renting is perfect.

1 day ago
chowser in Home Cooking

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

Stacy fared fine. Just ignore him, let him do his agar. It might put your team on the bottom but as long as you cook a good dish, you'll be safe. Keriann's problem is in making a bad raw corn salad, not in letting him do agar.

Braised pork shoulder instead of loin

I think it will be far better than the loin. I can't imagine a loin braised, especially when it says the longer the better. Tie the pork shoulder up if you don't want it pulled. Let it cool slightly before slicing. Something like this:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/an...

1 day ago
chowser in Home Cooking
1

Easy-to-pipe, delicious frosting recipes?

I wasn't sure about cooked flour either and waited a long time before trying it out. Now I'm a fan. As pricey chocolate goes, I buy mine from Trader Joe's but do try folding chocolate ganache into the cooked flour frosting. Cocoa works also but I like the richness the ganache adds. As bakesales go, it's about sales so I always go w/ cheap and easy like american buttercream but then pretty it up. Seriously, adding M&Ms sells far more quickly than using Valrhona chocolate!

1 day ago
chowser in Home Cooking

Easy-to-pipe, delicious frosting recipes?

I like to use cooked flour frosting as a base:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760095

It's a good vanilla w/out being overly sweet. Add chocolate ganache, coconut milk, lemon to it.

Stabilized whipped cream is good. I don't like gelatin stabilized ones but this w/ mascarpone and lemon curd is excellent (hard to resist just eating it!):

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Along those lines, instead of the regular cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar), I whip heavy cream/whipping cream w/ 8 oz cream cheese, a little sugar to taste, vanilla or rum until stiff peaks form. The disadvantage to these is that they need to be refrigerated so you can't just leave them out for days.

French, swiss, italian buttercreams hold up well and aren't overly sweet as American buttercream. I find french a little eggy, but that's a personal thing.

For chocolate, I either beat chocolate ganache, use Rose Levy Berenbaum's milk chocolate frosting from the Cake Bible (but use more bittersweet, less milk chocolate):

http://urbancomfort.typepad.com/urban...

Or this sour cream fudge frosting is excellent, a little tangy, not too sweet but I go light on the corn syrup. Refrigerate to the desired consistency for decorations.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

1 day ago
chowser in Home Cooking

Easy-to-pipe, delicious frosting recipes?

There are quite a few. Are you looking for a certain flavor? I thought of over a dozen in the time it took me to post this. It would be easier if you told us the flavor/type cupcake you're making to narrow it down.

Oct 23, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking

baked goods to prepare, freeze, then portion out to bake when desired?

I don't think balls are better as much as they're more appropriate for certain kinds of cookies like chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, the drop ones. But if you're not concerned about appearance/shape, it doesn't matter. I find it harder to slice a frozen log.

Oct 23, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking
1

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

Yeah. It comes in handy when you're on Chopped and only have 20 minutes to make an entree. I think it's knowing when to use it that's important. And both Keriann and Aaron don't. It's not a rabbit trick just to pull out for the sake of pulling it out which is what Keriann did with her olive oil snow when Richard Blais called her out on it. She seemed flabbergasted because she said the guests seemed to love it. I think they need to ask, "What's the point?" before they do it.

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

I agree about both Keriann and Aaron. I didn't like either of them. I felt bad for poor Stacy having to deal w/ all that bickering and was happy she pulled out good chicken, despite the two of them nagging her about it. Just keep your head down and let your food talk. And, as DGresh said, why do MG poorly if you don't "do" it? There's a place and time for it and neither she nor Aaron seem to have any idea. And, yeah, what's with a Patrick Swayze tattoo?

Oct 23, 2014
chowser in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

It did cross my mind as I was writing that that maybe they even asked her so it was prompted. But there was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way--she seemed so full of herself last night.

Oct 23, 2014
chowser in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

LOL, I did mean pan fried but dried is what usually happens! I want to know what she did to make everyone rave about it--I need the secret.

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

Dear Mei, please shut up about Michael Voltaggio already. Other contestants have worked for chefs more prestigious. No one cares.

Stacy played it smart w/ the challenge--just cook good food, stay out of the fray and let the dysfunctional teammates do what they will. Was it pan dried chicken breast she did? I wonder what made it so good. That's hard to get right.

baked goods to prepare, freeze, then portion out to bake when desired?

You only leave them until they freeze, half an hour to an hour and then put in ziplock bags.

Oct 22, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking

baked goods to prepare, freeze, then portion out to bake when desired?

I would cut the cinnamon rolls after rolling them, lay them on a cookie sheet w/out touching on parchment/wax paper and freeze. Then put them in an airtight container. Far easier than trying to slice a frozen log. I do similar w/ cookies, scoop, place dough balls on cookie sheet, freeze, then put in zip lock bag. They're excellent on a panini press, just 2-3 minutes to a cookie.

Oct 22, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking

Casseroles with or without lid?

I keep unglazed quarry tile on the bottom rack of the oven so they catch the drip and are easy to clean (mostly for baking bread, the easy clean is serendipitous). If you don't want to do that, put a cookie sheet on the rack below (and lazier than that, add a sheet of aluminum foil). You do want to remove the lid for the crunchiness. The inside of the oven is probably the easiest to clean if you have self-cleaning which most of us do at this point?

If you really want to cover, do braises. They'll be perfect as we enter the winter months, too.

Oct 22, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking

Recipes from NY Times

Jacquest Torres' chocolate chip cookies
Lahey's no knead bread

Oct 21, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking

French door refrigerators...

It's definitely a good idea to think about how you use your space. I often put full cookie sheets in the refrigerator and don't want to be clearing out all the shelves to do so so that was important. I've heard counter depth are better in that you don't get things forgotten in the back of the refrigerator as we often do. BTW, we're considering a remodel and weren't thinking of replacing ours until then but then our freezer stopped working as well and we think it's on its last leg. Bad timing. If we were remodeling, I'd have gotten a different one.

Oct 20, 2014
chowser in Cookware

French door refrigerators...

For us, we have the opposite problem where if you open a full size door, it barely has enough room. For a small space, you'll want to look at the space inside the counterdepth. I was convinced that i wanted one--it would have fit so much better, but the interior was tiny. If I could go taller and wider, I'd probably spring for one. There is also quite a bit difference in price. If I had the space, I'd also have considered Samsung's french door w/ a french door freezer on the bottom. Well laid out and the freezer seems so much more accessible.

Oct 20, 2014
chowser in Cookware

French door refrigerators...

Definitely. It's so important to see them and not order online, even though it's where we did our research. We quickly eliminated some models when we looked at them. There is also more room for negotiation than I would have thought. I was ready to pay sticker/sale price but the salesperson would offer better, like stainless for the price of white. I was also surprised, as you were saying, at the difference in usable storage space--some models might have had more cubic feet but not as usable for us.

Oct 20, 2014
chowser in Cookware

French door refrigerators...

The fewer options the better I found. All places will negotiate and give you the lowest price you can find so don't worry about where you go. We tried a few big box stores but ended up at a smaller appliance/kitchen store and they matched the price at the cheapest retailer. I like the space our new KA had but we also had a small refrigerator space in the kitchen.

Oct 19, 2014
chowser in Cookware

French door refrigerators...

Ding, ding--that's the one we just purchased. I appreciate everyone's help here. We opted not to get the outside ice/water because of the space it took and no fancy drinks door. Another factor was the price to add those features. Do I need to spend $500-600 more for each option? I didn't have a budget but I am practical about paying that much for extras. We got the KA Architect series, water dispenser on the inside which took little space. I'm hoping we don't have the drawer sticky problem but if we do, hopefully a Heloise hint like candle wax or WD40 would help. Ironically, we ended up w/ none of the options I asked about above but at the same time that's why all of your feedback was great--it made me realize I didn't need them and I saved over $1000 because of it!

Oct 19, 2014
chowser in Cookware

Question About Sweet Potatoes/Yams

It would work fine but would overwhelm the subtle flavor of the Japanese yams. They taste almost chestnut like to me and it would be a shame to lose that.

Oct 18, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking
1

French door refrigerators...

Thanks, everyone. This has all been incredibly helpful feedback. We had kind of ruled out the Samsung because I didn't like the drawers/shelves placement and the walls of the middle drawer (for the four door) seemed too thick w/ less space inside. But I will take another look. As the ice/water goes, losing space was something I noticed. Not only did it take up space inside, it make the remaining space seem awkward and unusable because of the shape. Especially helpful were the thoughts on the drinks door opening--we probably wouldn't use it much, though it seemed like a fun feature and you do pay a bit more for the option.

For those of you w/ counter width, do you ever miss the space? If we were going to a bigger refrigerator, it wouldn't be as big of a deal but ours is going to be small--about as small as you can get in a french door refrigerator. I wonder about putting in cookie trays, cakes, etc. while it's full of other foods.

Oct 17, 2014
chowser in Cookware

I swear it's not cocaine (electric mixer advice)

I do the towel around, too, like this (page down):

http://cakeeccentric.blogspot.com/

Oct 17, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking

French door refrigerators...

I've read a few threads on french door refrigerators but am hoping for some current feedback if anyone has one/recs. We only have a small space and are limited to certain models. Do you have and would you get again:

1) the four door model where the center drawer can be a freezer or refrigerator

2) ice maker/water dispenser

3) the door that can open to the drinks area

We can't get all three options. What order would you put those if you were to get a new refrigerator? Anything else to think about? We're replacing an old basic model, freezer on top, no other options so this will be an upgrade whatever we choose. I love the idea of the counter depth refrigerator but don't think it'll hold what we need (often full size cookie sheets). Thanks!

Oct 17, 2014
chowser in Cookware

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

It takes me weeks to sort out constestants and am so happy that they do identify the chef and where they work in subtitles. Unless contestants have something distinguishing, I can't tell them apart for a while.

Oct 17, 2014
chowser in Food Media & News

Baked spuds: To poke or not to poke?

I would take the chance of poking and not having an exploding potato vs. getting botulism, given an average of 22 people got it from food last year (no stats on how many got it from poking baked potatoes).

http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/d...

If you're that worried, you can just not poke deep into the potato. I just pierce the skin, not stab it to the center.

Oct 16, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking

Baked spuds: To poke or not to poke?

But they're also being cooked at a high heat for a long time. If you were eating them raw, it might possibly be a concern but not baked for an hour.

Oct 16, 2014
chowser in Home Cooking
1