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Best Fish Sauce

You've gotten some good advice here.
Red Boat if you can find it. I think it is the best available in the US.
Three Crabs second, Megachef third.

Just like so many other things, there are differences in fish sauces from manufacturer or countries of origin. I find the Thai and Philippines style fish sauces to be too fishy, so I tend to stay away from Tiparos. (Others swear by it.)

Vietnamese fish sauces seem to have more umami than others, and are not overbearing in their flavor. This is the basis of my recommendations for fish sauce.

The Red Boat tastes more like the fish sauces I have had and purchased in Vietnam.

I suggest giving several a try and seeing which one you prefer.

As for GMO content, to be honest I wouldn't worry about that.

Jul 12, 2014
wabi in General Topics

can someone explain cast iron to me?

I just have to comment. I dont know if I will contribute much, but cast iron is such an emotional subject among foodies...

You stated that you are largely a vegan household..and that you use stainless steel. Let me say that I am a firm believer in using what works for YOU. Any internet forum is full of blowhards that say you have to use this or that in order to be genuine or get this certain end result... I say bullshit. It's what works best for YOU.

All of that said, I am also a cast iron fan.

Cast iron excels and does things that other cookware just doesn't do as well.

Bakeware...you can use a cast iron skillet to make cornbread that no other pan or method can rival. Hundreds of years of millions of southern cooks can't be wrong. It works...period.

Meat.. the mere mention of the word is a pox to many vegan cooks, but cast iron (and carbon steel) do things with meat that stainless steel or non stick pans can only dream of. The Maillard Reaction...that interaction between cast iron, heat, and animal flesh that creates an umami and complexity of flavor that nothing else can even come close.

Even if you just cook meat minimally, you want it to cook it well.

Therein lies the strength of cast iron.

Use what tool works for you. Use what gets you to where you wanna be, what taste you want to achieve.

Cooking is a complex activity. Flavor depends on the interaction between ingredients, cooking techniques and cookware used. If the browning of foods, and the complexity of the Maillard Reaction are important in your cooking repertoire...then you should consider cast iron.

If you can do well and are satisfied with stainless steel...save your money and be happy. What you have works...that's all that is important.

Jul 03, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Need a food processor

The same thing happened with my 70's vintage Cuisinart. I ended up buying a Magimix. I know it's out of your intended budget...but the thing is a workhorse!

Jun 29, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Non-Stick Pan experiences

I think either one will work fine. I am picky about my cast iron, carbon steel pans and wok, but when it comes to non stick pans, I pick up whatever is cheap and sturdy...usually at Costco. In nonstick I would avoid the costly frying pans as their lives are definitely limited to a year or so even when you take care of them.

I use them for eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches, sometimes fish. Use plastic or silicone utensils to maximize their life, and never ever use high heat on them.

Jun 28, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Toaster recommendation

Kaleo!
I have to curse you....I've been looking for the "perfect" toaster forever. My current toaster is a Dualit...which is actually quite good. I like it in fact. BUT...I am a sucker for vintage cookware and appliances. To give the Readers Digest Condensed version...I love the classic stuff that works and stands the test of time.. (I've spent the last 2 years finding and collecting a collection of Griswold cast iron frying pans).

So since reading your post I have been cruising Ebay for a Sunbeam T-20..and purchased one today. Not a perfect specimen..but it works.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251493830271

I'll let you know what it's like once I get it and test drive it.

Have a great weekend guys.

wabi

Jun 27, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Ice Chests...Yeti versus Pelican versus Brute Box

I'm in the market for a bomb proof ice chest. I am looking for an ice chest for both cook outs, beach days, weekend camping trips, AND for hurricane preparedness. After Hurricane Iniki here in 1992 (It was Sept 11 btw...) Kauai didn't have electricity totally reestablished for 3 months. It wasn't fun. Having a good ice chest is key. I want one that is large, and that will survive lets just call them...rigorous conditions.

Yeti is really the gold standard for high end ice chests, they are built like the proverbial brick outhouse. But them come at a cost, they are not cheap.

Pelican is new to the high end ice chest market, but makes some nice ones. I've used their plastic cases for years, and use one for luggage on repeated trips to the 3rd world. Pelican cases simply WORK. Their ice chests are nice, but bulky and heavy. I don't know enough about their ice holding characteristics to comment on them. They are cheaper than the Yeti's and I have even seen them for sale at Costco.

Brute Box.. US made, not as heavy as the Yeti's and a bit cheaper in price. I read some reviews, but don't have or don't know anyone with real world experience with them.

I lean towards the Yeti's and have a Yeti Roadie chest already. It is their smaller car/6pack sized ice chest. I REALLY like it, and in an informal test at home here, it kept ice in it for 7 days. That's pretty impressive. One of the things that I would think of as a disaster scenario is the loss of electricity for an extended period of time, and preserving the food in my fridge and freezer for as long as I can. After Hurricane Iniki, the daily routine was going to the grocery store, buying a bag of ice, drinks and food...daily or every other day. Trust me, it wasn't fun. So you can see my desire for a well built ice chest.

Anyone have experience with these brands and can compare them?

Jun 26, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Automatic Stir Fried Wok

Oishi!

Jun 24, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Wok Shopping

Another vote for a wok with a handle. I happen to like the pow wok or peking pan. If the metal handle gets too hot, I just use a dishtowel or pot holder. I have an electric stove, so am used to using the flat bottom woks. Chem...I own all three sizes, and chose which one to use based on the dish I am making. My flat bottom hand hammered pow wok from e-woks is my sentimental favorite and gets the most use. As my choice in screen name suggests...after several years of use, it has its share of wabi. The other carbon steel woks from the Wok Shop, both the hand hammered and the US made pow wok are good woks as well.

Has anyone any experience with the Debuyer woks? I'm curious about them.

Jun 23, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Private Staub & Miyabe knife sale on Zwilling site...

Duffy..aloha.
I know a few guys that have reprofiled knives for others. Let me ask some questions. BTW the forum I was speaking about is called the Usual Suspect Network. (www.usualsuspect.net)

Jun 23, 2014
wabi in Cookware

local/unusual dining Kauai?

While one of Kauai's home town favorite places has closed...the Hanamaulu Cafe, the owners do have a take out place right next door called Ara's Sakana-ya. They have an awesome assortment of poke and local snacks as well as bento sushi plates and plate lunch. It is my absolute favorite place for poke. I like Ara's recipe, and they make it up fresh several times a day, so it is always FRESH. I stop there at least once or twice a week for poke.

Jun 22, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

Private Staub & Miyabe knife sale on Zwilling site...

Oh...I don't mind the knife talk at all. I'm a moderator on a knife forum and a good segment of my friends are knife makers. I can go on and on about knives...

That said, I just love well made gear, and the Staub stuff is awesome. At those prices I couldn't say no, even to the 12.75 cast iron bathtub!

I will be the one who uses it, my wife has arthritis in her wrists won't even go near a cast iron skillet.

Jun 22, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Private Staub & Miyabe knife sale on Zwilling site...

Ok...I'm bad, and a sucker for great prices.
Forget the quality of the knives...this is a GREAT sale on some Staub pieces. I ordered one of the large (12.75 qt) oval Staub Cocotte, and the 6.25 qt baking dishes. Not frequently used...you're right, but when you need a pan like this..you need it! I have my every day cookware, but there are times when you need LARGE pots, and nothing else will do.

Thank you blondelle for sharing this with us.

Jun 21, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Canisters for Dry Storage

I'm not a religious fanatic, just practical...I use Cambro plastic containers I get from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_kit...

It works for me.

Jun 21, 2014
wabi in Cookware

local/unusual dining Kauai?

Everyone has nailed it pretty good so far.
The only thing I might add is the Kauai Beer Company in Lihue which is only open a few days a week has "Beer Truck Thursday" in which they invite food trucks to park outside their brewery on Thursday evenings. The trucks vary week to week, but includes "The Green Pig" truck which is usually parked across from Kealia beach.

Jean Marie Josselin has a fine dining restaurant planned for Kapaa, but will take some time to renovate and build.

The only other place I might add is Pho Kauai next to the bowling alley in Lihue, Decent pho and very good banh mi which is not on the menu.

Jun 21, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

♬Walk Away Joe♬ Best cup to carry around a cool drink all day?

Hydro Flask. They work.

Jun 19, 2014
wabi in Cookware

PSA Nakiri vs chicken bones!

(In my best Marlon Brando/Col Kurtz..)
The horror....the horror!

Jun 16, 2014
wabi in Cookware

addition to cast iron collection... $3!

He shoots...he scores!!
Nice snag.
I would LOVE a chicken fryer.

Jun 14, 2014
wabi in Cookware
1

top fine dining restaurant in entire Hawaiian islands

In Hawaii, it's hard to beat Alan Wongs.

Jun 10, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Da boto rock stay on Molokai.

May 26, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Killersmile, don't worry, I am not here to castigate you. Maui is Maui and Kauai is Kauai. The people of Kauai have consciously chosen to limit it's development and to keep the rural, "life in the slow lane" pace of life. Preserving Kauai as we like it does come with its costs, one being not being able to host a surfeit of fine dining restaurants. It's a tradeoff that we gladly accept. People come to Kauai for it's natural beauty and vibe, not for its countless celebrity chef restaurants.

We like Hamura's salty soup and the bubble gum stuck under the counter. We like the poke at Ara's sakana-ya and Fish Express. We like the basic breakfasts at Tip Top and Country Kitchen.

I am reminded why we like it here when I meet my friends monthly at Lydgate beach park with beer and pupus to watch the moon rise over the ocean.

There is no Alan Wongs here, no Nobu and no Eric Ripert. But I can say that the beer and pupus taste a whole lot better than any vintage wine and appetizer I have ever had anywhere in the world as I sit and watch that big ole moon emerge above the water with the trade winds blowing in my face.

Some say Maui no ka oi, but Kauai locals know better.

May 26, 2014
wabi in Hawaii
1

Any Kauai must-trys opened in the last three and a half years?

If you like Vietnamese, there is Pho Kauai in Lihue next to the bowling alley and down from Rob's Grill. The pho is very good. They have Banh Mi, but they are not on the menu. You have to ask for them. There is a Pho Kapaa, the pho is good, but don't order the Banh Mi.

Across the street from Kauai Village in Kapaa, (where Safeway is) there is a new condo complex. There is a restaurant in the back called Oasis on the Beach which is very good. It's also beach front so the scenery is wonderful.

There is a food truck called The Green Pig that parks across from Kealia beach which is good.

The Kauai Beer Company has an event every Thursday night where they invite 2 food trucks to park outside of their brewery/storefront. It's an early bird thing and runs from 5-8pm You can eat good food truck food and drink Kauai brewed beer. It's become quite popular.

Tiki Iniki in the Princeville shopping center is also worth it for dinner.

Those are the newer restaurants that I can think of. FWIW I am a Kauai resident, and I guess I like food enough to be an active member of Chowhound.

May 26, 2014
wabi in Hawaii
1

New York Times salted cast iron skillet steak recipe

I was just looking to try their recipe, and not having a good feel for how freaking hot they wanted the cast iron skillet...I followed the recipe as it was written. If I had written the article I would have commented about the smoke potential....

Lesson learned.

I too prefer a grilled steak.

Weber makes gas grills so we can fire up those baby's when we want to.

May 23, 2014
wabi in Home Cooking

New York Times salted cast iron skillet steak recipe

There was an article recently in the New York Times (NYT) food section recently about cooking steaks on a cast iron skillet, that involved salting the skillet, not the steak, cooking at high heat with the idea that it would create a nice crust on the steak.

The article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/14/din...

I thought I would give it a try. I normally cook my steaks on the grill at high heat...pre salted steaks go on high heat for 3 minutes per side for med rare. It's been my go to method for as long as I can recall.

I thought i would give this method a try as it would be nice for rainy days, and when I didn't want to mess with the grill.

The recipe/technique in the NYT is kiss simple, easy peasy I thought.

I heated up my large well seasoned Griswold cast iron skillet on high for several minutes. I could feel the heat radiating from it. The steak was dry, I had even had it under a fan to insure that it was really dry. (I really wanted a nice crust on that steak...dreams of Peter Luger

)

I salted the pan, and then gracefully laid the steak in the pan. I was met with a satisfying sizzle that told me a sear was on its way......

That's when the fun started.

Accompanying the sizzle and sear was smoke. Not a little bit of smoke, a LOT of smoke. Like someone let off a smoke grenade in my kitchen. I have a small kitchen, with a recirculating fan above the stove, not a true exhaust fan. I had fans running in the house, but even these did not help with the volume of smoke that was being generated. I could barely see the skillet to flip the steak. To say my wife was alarmed is an understatement.
The steak was flipped as per the recipe, then taken out and rested under foil.

The results....

The steak's exterior was a bit too charred when the recipe was followed, though it remained a nice medium rare on the inside. I think you can get a the skillet too hot if you follow the recipe.

Smoke...Needless to say the house was full of it, and it was THICK. Don't try this recipe unless you have a good exhaust fan that vents to the outside of the house.

The recipe is a great concept, and may well work with some modifications, but I have to say I will continue doing my steaks on the grill....even if it is raining.

May 22, 2014
wabi in Home Cooking
1

Hawai'ian Source for Black 'Awa?

Ok the word is out among my N Shore contacts.
Gotta give it some time for the coconut wireless to travel.
No tanoa....we're very local style...use juice glass!

May 21, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

Ono Hawaiian Food

My brother and sister in law had a Hawaiian food restaurant here on Kauai (The Aloha Diner).
VERY modest, they made everything from scratch. Sadly they closed.

Notable dishes from the diner included a very good saimin and absolutely awesome pipikaula.

Though the diner is now closed, my sister in law will make a batch of saimin broth, and host a "saimin night" at their house.

My brother in laws pipikaula is almost legendary here.
He's very old school, and won't tell anyone his recipe. Even my sister in law does not know the recipe, and he claims he will take it to his grave.

When he makes up a batch of pipikaula he has to make a whole lot as everyone wants a bag of it.

May 20, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

Hawai'ian Source for Black 'Awa?

I put out the word about the 'awa. Give it a few days to travel around the north shore to see if there is any to be had.

I don't see as much 'awa recently, but I am sure there is some around.

My friend I mentioned was very much into 'awa and its production. Working for the Ag department, he had 'awa from all over. My wife and I would have him over for dinner, and inevitably he would bring a 1 gallon zip lock bag of 'awa. At one time I had bags and bags of it in my freezer. As I would make dinner, our friend would mix up a sizable batch of 'awa that we consumed while cooking.

May 20, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

Hawai'ian Source for Black 'Awa?

Kaleo..no promises.
Let me ask around.
My Awa source used to work for the state Ag Dept, but has retired and moved to da mainland. (The wife...)
But...he still comes back and forth.

May 18, 2014
wabi in Hawaii

Cast Iron

Kaleo...I drive by that place every day.
I live Kapaa, and work Lihue. My wife is a Hanamaulu girl. We both work Wilcox Hosp. So you know what we drive every day...

May 18, 2014
wabi in Cookware

Help...Need a good pizza sauce recipe

It's an old thread...but....I was doing a little research and came across this.
I've used it before. It's simple, easy to make, and makes a great pizza sauce.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

May 18, 2014
wabi in Home Cooking

Cast Iron

roro:
Howzit! I live on the windward side of Kauai, about 1 mile in from the ocean..rust and mildew I get...plenny.

My strategy for cast iron and carbon steel here in the corrosive zone is to make sure it is well seasoned. If you have some surface rust, clean it off with one of those green scratchy pads, and preseason it. (There's plenny methods, I use the Sheryl Canter method here: http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/201...

)

Once seasoned I store with the lightest coat of cooking oil. I put a small amount in the pan, spread it around with a paper towel, and then wipe it out.

After I use the skillets, I wash them WITHOUT SOAP, put them back on the stove, heat them up to insure they are totally dry, then wipe them out with the oily paper towel..then store them.

FWIW, that's what I do with my carbon steel woks as well.

If you wipe the pan out with one paper towel....it's not greasy, but there is enough of a thin film of oil to prevent rusting. I have a whole kitchen of Griswold cast iron, DeBuyer carbon steel and carbon steel woks. Rust is not a problem if you are conscientious and take these simple measures.

May 18, 2014
wabi in Cookware