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Flake Salts - Think they are worth it

Hi Guys -
I have been trying out some nice Flake Salts.
Wondering how you are using them.
I have been enjoying a citrus blend - flavor fish, veg and poultry dishes as a finishing salt. Adds a nice little crunch - don't mind that tumeric is in there for a yellow hue.

And, really love the smoked flake salt.
Anyone cooking with it ?
Favorite varieties ?

Apr 17, 2010
chefkk in Home Cooking

Napa Valley Farmer's Markets

Which Farmer's Markets are the best ?
How about road side fruit & vegetable stands ?
Thanks !

Apr 14, 2010
chefkk in San Francisco Bay Area

How did the Starbuck's Challenge go ?

Great instant coffee? - you think !
So I drove over to a local Starbucks to take the test.
Inside was a small table with two metal carafes, and mini paper taster cups.
The server poured two cups for me to try.
I thought immediately that the darker looking one was the "real brewed stuff "
Wrong. It was the instant - gross, thick and chalky.
Did I make my point ?
And, these slender packets are expensive, about 80 cents each.
I'd rather have Dunkin Donuts ( really dislike D & D), but better than
this instant. I really love good coffee, if you are out there and would buy this...
is it just convenient, or do you like the taste ?

Oct 06, 2009
chefkk in Chains

Best and Worst Food Magazines

Donna Hay is my favorite.
Oh the photos!
I get so inspired !
I am a professional chef... I look at the pictures and interpret from there.
Then I go to the market and get cooking.
The recipes are very simple and uncomplicated, although
international. Martha's quality is similar, but not quite there.

Oct 05, 2009
chefkk in Food Media & News

Gourmet magazine to close

Yea, I'm super surprised to see Gourmet fail. Never thought this could happen to such a staple in the food magazine business. I think their ads got extremely upscale. Cruises, fancy travel destinations.
What draws me to a food magazine is it's content .. accessible recipes that scream " wow - I want to make that ! " New ways with tired dishes, local interesting ingredients, healthier choices. Saveur is fine, not enough recipes, great international photos though.
To close .. as a reader and a REAL cook , I don't want to be treated like a moron from any food magazine. Challenge me with fabulous recipes, I am insulted with all the thirty minute (or ten minute ) recipes.
Anyone get Donna Hay from Australia ??
The best one BY FAR !!

Oct 05, 2009
chefkk in Food Media & News

Farmers' Markets in Westchester open on Sunday?

Piermont on Sundays ! ~ 5 minutes from Nyack. Small but worthwhile for Yuno's produce in the back.
Third generation Korean farmer, lots of unusual produce & great heirloom tomatoes
( in a week or two )

Blue Hill ~ Stone Barns ~ your thoughts !

Finally went on Saturday night after waiting 2 months for a reservation.
I really enjoyed my meal there last summer.
They are now serving " farm feasts " from the kitchen, there is NO menu.
There is a very comprehensive list of local ingredients for you to view.
Or waiter ( very stiff ) asked us for our food allergies and food dislikes.
Oh boy, one in our party does not eat butter or heavy cream.
A few others chimed in with ingredients from cabbage to cilantro.
Instead of asking us what we would not like to have, how about what
we WOULD like to enjoy ? I mentioned this, the waiter informed me there are NO requests.
I was salivating for ivory king salmon, bronze fennel, and dancer eggplant ...
So the five courses started arriving, all with a strong salt hand from the kitchen.
The food ranged from good, to I cook much better.
The desserts were disapointing, yuck to local beer ice cream.
Who has been here with this " non menu theme " ??
It did not work with a party of six with different restrictions.
I love the variety of local and heirloom ingredients but ...
Please write back with any opinions !
Any one else think they should also lighten up a little on the attitude ?

Oh, the potato & onion bread was fabulous !
~ chefkks

Trader Joe must haves.

Some of my favorites ...
Meatless meatballs.. yum ! My kids like the party meatballs ( small sized )
Natural frozen potato weges... frozen vegetable fried rice.
The dried fruits and nuts are a strong asset here.
If you bake, try there one pound plus baking bars... very reasonably priced.
Ps - Keep you receipts ... they will GLADLY give you your money back.
I once tried their salmon that was flash frozen ... hated it , got my money back.
Love this store , have fun !!

Sep 04, 2007
chefkk in Chains

Red Strips at Taco Bell

Recently on a family trip, we found ouselves at the Taco bell drive - thru.
Only our second visit, we did not have a bad experience last time, okay we were famished... the 99 cent chicken wrap thing with ranch dressing was'nt too bad.
We asked a lot of questions, and I ordered a chicken salad bowl.
The woman kept asking if I wanted " red strips " since I told her to hold the beans.

" Red strips " were not red bell peppers that I thought they would be but
red died and thin cut tortilla strips !
They did add some crunch, but .....

What do you guys think of the chicken ?
It kind of has the texture & flavor of pressed chicken served on airlines...
what exactly is it ??

Sep 04, 2007
chefkk in Chains

spice market - long review

I have had some really nice food here. The place is too big & over decorated for my taste,
but the Grilled Chicken with Kumquats was amazing !

Feb 12, 2007
chefkk in Manhattan

Palma on Cornelia Street

I didn't get that vibe ... thanks for your candid remarks. I guess we were just happy they could take us without a reservation ... we were going to see Dave Attell at The Comedy Cellar & needed a place to eat. We shared 1 salad & had three mains.
Didn't feel ripped of because the food we ate was very good.
I'm bummed now, thought I found a great new place.

Feb 11, 2007
chefkk in Manhattan

Palma on Cornelia Street

Went last night for dinner.
It wasn't good... but great !
Anyone love this place ?? How come I didn't know about it ?
I ate a fish stew in a large bowl, with a flatbread crust baked on top.
The place is was small & noisy ... but sophisticated & very foodie.
Write and tell me of your experiences here !
Any other great west village places that you love ?

Feb 11, 2007
chefkk in Manhattan

What to do with fresh thyme?

Wrap your extra thyme in a paper towel, then seal in a baggie. This will stay fresh in your
fridge for at least 1 week.
To marinate chicken breasts, I mince some thyme, garlic, olive oil, lemon rind, freshly ground pepper and light soy. I use a grill pan ( because it is like 15 degrees outside ! ) and marinate the chicken, sometimes slicing it thin, for at least 1 hour. I buy thyme about once a week. You can also add it to panko bread crumbs with a little garlic, oil and sea salt. I sprinkle it over fish fillets and bake them until golden. Have fun.

Feb 05, 2007
chefkk in Home Cooking

Hershey's cacao reserve & single origin chocolates

Have you tried the bars ( I think bittersweet ) with pieces of cacao nibs
in them ... YUM !

Jan 11, 2007
chefkk in General Topics


chefkk's edamame appetizer

1 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 large elephant garlic clove ( peeled & sliced 1/8 " thick )
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 - 1/3 cup hellmanns mayonaisse
pinch of sea salt
pinch of freshed cracked pepper

Steam the edamame until cooked through,
about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute the elephant garlic in the olive oil over low heat until JUST golden,
about 10 minutes.
Add the edamame to a food processor with the cooked garlic, and the salt & pepper.
Add the mayonaisse, 1/4 cup first, and process until somewhat smooth.
Add additional mayonaisse if needed to make creamy, or a little water.
Don't undercook the edamame, they wil not puree correctly.
Adding them right to the food processor keeps them bright green !

Chill the puree, and serve with whole wheat crackers, toasted pita triangles ,or sliced toasted baguette slices.

This is pretty simple, and I think tastes great without too many ingtedients.
Try it ... let me know what you think !
( I used Trader Joes shelled Edamame )

Jan 10, 2007
chefkk in Home Cooking

did I buy good cookware?

I believe TJ max has some good kitchen items, lots of discontinued stuff that never makes it to the mainstream stores. IF you can, I would invest in one All Clad pot or pan. Food cooks so beautifully in it, they clean up great & will last a long time.

Jan 09, 2007
chefkk in Cookware

Oreo's - the post trans fat era

I wrote to Nabisco about a year ago asking them why they have not replaced the trans fat.
They " thanked me" for my comment. Well, what IS this replacement fat ?
Can you imagine what the whole Entemanns line will taste like without hydrogenated oils ?
Will they be able to exist ??

Jan 09, 2007
chefkk in General Topics

Who New ?- Trans fats in Starbuck's pastries ... Me!

I think Starbucks reacted when they had to. There sales are strong, why mess with a proven thing? Whole Food's message from the begining has been health concscience, they understood the benefit of not creating food with junk in it. Their customers are more purists... and they have found their niche. I guess the Starbuck's customer who buys a 720 calorie drink
can afford a treat with a little trans fat. Agree ?

Jan 03, 2007
chefkk in Food Media & News

Who New ?- Trans fats in Starbuck's pastries ... Me!

This seemed like an independent report. What choice does Starbucks have then to comply ?
It will be interesting to see how this plays out ...
I do love my pies with a tablespoon or two of crisco, maybe I should reformulate.
I'm not a big consumer of pastries ( I love to bake ). But, I never thought their stuff was bad either. I've tasted from my friend's plates. You know you have seasoned taste buds when you can taste the trans fat ! Be well.

Jan 03, 2007
chefkk in Food Media & News

Who New ?- Trans fats in Starbuck's pastries ... Me!

On the new's this morning Starbucks announced they are taking trans fats out of their pastries in six major cities. Who new trans fats were in these upscale delights ? Me !
I am an addicted cook and baker ( who graduated from culinary school ) - I know a thing or two about food ingredients. Those tempting pastries that sit behind glass displays all day I always knew were carriers of trans fats. Hydrgenated oil makes for a tender crumb, and is less expensive than butter. Mostly, these shortenings allow food to stay fresher longer - duh!
I buy few " prepared " desserts because they are mostly filled with this type of garbage.
Have you ever read the ingredient list on most commercial boxed cookies and cakes ?
I call them chemical projects. If my kids want these items, I make them read the ingredient list out loud, then count the number of ingredients. I can't remember the last time I made a cake with 42 ingredients.

Jan 03, 2007
chefkk in Food Media & News