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El Puerco's Profile

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Food Network: Canada vs US?

With the sale of Alliance Atlantis (FN Canada parent company) to Canwest Global (soul-less Cdn media giant), I fear that the overall quality may suffer if the focus changes from the love of food to the love of money.

Regardless, prepare for longer commercial breaks, endless programming promos for other channels, and super-imposed promos flying around taking up 1/3 of the screen DURING the show you are trying to watch.

Dec 31, 2007
El Puerco in Food Media & News

Freezing bread dough

I have frozen dough in batches, but not portions, and not sourdough. It was more of an experiment than anything. I don't recall any ill effects from freezing, although the frozen dough had to thaw in the fridge for 2 days. Formed rolls would be much less.

Flour, yeast, salt, and water are cheap. Just try a batch. I'd be interested in your results. It would be great if you could discover a good roll size that can be thawed and baked fresh in under 90 minutes.

Nov 17, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

How do I cook beef tenderloin?

I really love that idea, but I don't want to be attached to the grill that long. The hostess said she'll give instructions on cooking, I just thought I'd do some research first.

Sep 20, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

How do I cook beef tenderloin?

A neighbor is having a party on Saturday and has asked me to cook the beef tenderloin. I'm El Puerco, not El Beefo. I'm not a big beef fan and consequently don't know how to cook it. Since my name (and my fragile reputation, not to mention my immense ego) will be attached to it, I want to do it up right.

I have an oven, a gas grill, and a smoker (which will be busy with stuffed jalapenos). Any suggestions or tips?

Sep 19, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Help me turn my boyfriend into an okra lover

I personally like okra, but I must side with the people that question trying to change someone's opinion about a food. I am always willing to try something new, but I am 40 and secure in the fact that I don't like sweet potatoes. My mother still asks me to try them when we visit and I always respond that there are so many foods that I like, love, or haven't tried that I'm not even willing to go back to one that has failed. Sweet potatoes had their chance 30 years ago and they blew it.

Aug 31, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Pizza dough?

I don't have a recipe handy, but try any of these things;
1. Substitute a cup of AP flour with WW or multigrain.
2. Sub 1/2 cup AP with rye flour or semolina.
3. Add some garlic powder, white or brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, paprika, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, or your favorite spice to the flour before you mix.
4. Make a sourdough starter and use a cup. You'll have to alter for consistency.
5. Let the dough rise for 8-12 hours to develop some flavor.
6. Soak a cup of oats in a cup of boiling water. Leave a cup of flour and a cup of water out of your recipe to make up the difference. It's a little tougher than normal to work the dough.
7. Add a tbsp. of olive oil or molasses to the liquid.
8. Brush dough with olive oil before topping.

Aug 31, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Lunch for $3 or less in Hamilton?

My favorite cheap eats in Hamilton are:

Duarte's Supermarket Hefty Hoagie for $2 (Barton & Cheever)
Banh Mi for $1.50 (Cannon & Park)
BBQ Pizza (no relation to actual Barbecue) (Main & Ottawa)

Does anyone know other places in Hamilton where I can get lunch for $3 or less (tax in)? I work on the Mountain, but am not aware of any cheap eats there.

Tell me about pulled pork

I see that you're 'Somewhere in Ontario'. If you know where, tell me and I'll recommend a place to get pulled pork. Then, I recommend making it. You'll be hooked.

Check this out for more info

Aug 02, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Reheating pulled pork

I use several methods depending on what I'm making.

a) Tossing in a really hot pan with EVOO. The sugar carmelizes and tastes great (scrape off anything that burns to the pan and keep it with the meat).
b) Heating in a pot with 1/2" of apple juice or vinegar. I guess that's steaming.
c) In the oven in a casserole dish with a liquid at the bottom.
d) Microwave (just kidding)

I've used it in spaghetti sauce, scrambled eggs, quesadillas, soups, as a pizza topping, or just served as is with some potatoes.

Aug 02, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Anyone been to the National Buffalo Wing Festival?

I'm thinking of going to the festival and I'm wondering if I can expect a good day or over-priced parking, long lines, and expensive pigeon wings.

Anyone been?

Jul 27, 2007
El Puerco in Not About Food

Getting "Type-cast"

I have been type-cast for bread and potato salad. I agree that's it's a great compliment the first few times, but gets stale after a while.
A couple of misadventures ended these type-castings. Once I made dough ahead of time and cooked it at my Mothers. I set the timer for 15 minutes figuring I'd leave it if it needed more time. I was away from the kitchen and my sister removed it when the buzzer sounded. When I returned, I decided that trying to cook it more would ruin it. It was pretty doughy and they don't ask for bread anymore. I sometimes bring it and make sure it's top quality.

With the potato salad, I subbed Ranch dressing because I was out of mayo. Bad move, but they don't ask for potato salad anymore.

Recently, I congratulated someone that was type-cast for trifle for breaking away and making a cake, even though others playfully expressed disappointment. She seemed grateful for the support.

Jul 24, 2007
El Puerco in Not About Food

Char-Grilled Corn on The Cob

I recently did corn in the husks on the top rack of the grill and heated them indirectly at about 350F. After 30 minutes they were hot, juicy, really tasty, and the husks and silks came off easily.

I agree that the char marks are tasty and attractive, but I think I've found my favorite way to do corn.

Jul 18, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Recipe Jockey or Chef?

I believe the OP is discussing the difference between being a creator(chef) and a RE-creator(recipe jockey). This reminds me of the Tin Man's search for a heart.

Let's review:
You have impeccable kitchen skills that allow you to serve food that people love.
You have the palate to choose recipes that people love.
You have a passion for food and cooking for people.
You strive to use the best ingredients possible in order to achieve the highest attainable quality.

Most would agree that a good chef should have all of those qualities. Now consider TV shows like Iron Chef America and Top Chef. How often do you hear a chef say, "This is my version of..."? ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!

So... experiment, take risks, accept that you may fail sometimes, and have fun. Choose a 'secret ingredient' and make a dish without a recipe. If it sucks, throw it out and try again. Choose a HungryLetsEat signature dish.

Back to the Tin Man. The wizard may have given him a heart-shaped clock from a second-hand store, but the truth was that he had a heart all along, he just never used it until it really mattered.

Jul 05, 2007
El Puerco in Not About Food

Best lunch between Toronto and Huntsville (not Weber's)

Other threads on Mike Love's say, "Great food, lousy service with a snarl." If he really ranted about being unappreciated, I'm a little leery about being near him with sharp knives around. Barrie is also hosting the Brews and BBQ Festival and that could easily turn into a longer stop.

I think Bracebridge is about an hour south of Novar, but it may make a great day trip.

Best lunch between Toronto and Huntsville (not Weber's)

I'll be driving from Hamilton to Huntsville on Saturday and if nobody has a better suggestion, I'll probably have lunch at Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge.

I've been to Weber's and I want to try something else.

Food markets around Huntsville

My family is renting a cottage near Novar starting Saturday and my wife and I will be responsible for cooking 2 meals. I'm not cooking for CHs, but I would appreciate any local and affordable recs for great breads, pies, cakes, farmer's markets, butchers, roadside fresh corn or berries, or whatever I shouldn't miss when I'm there.

In past years, my inspiration has been limited to the Foodland in Novar or the Independent in Huntsville. Please help.

Can I cook basmati rice in a crockpot?

I have a crockpot at work and have been making soups and stews mostly out of leftovers and soup bases.

I want to expand my menu, but I don't know if rice would turn out well. I get in about 7:30AM and eat lunch around 11:45. If rice works, when should I put in on?

Jun 26, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Ribs in vinegar?

I always use vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider, or balsamic) in pork marinades along with lemon juice, lime juice, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce in more or less equal parts for about 24 hours. The acids begin 'cooking' the meat and it goes a little brown, but it's OK. I think the acids add great flavour.
For a rub, start with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and add some of everything you like from your spice rack. Make sure you taste it. Keep in mind that some spices don't have much of an aroma. I rub and refrigerate for another 24 hours. I've heard that more than 4 hours doesn't make a difference, but the rub sets up nicely in that time.

Jun 14, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Drive Thru Etiquette

I have heard that a person with a large order at Tim Horton's (Canada's ubiqitous and insanely popular coffee spot, for those who may not know) will occasionally pay for the order of the car behind as an apology for taking so long. There was a small article in the local paper after 14 people in a row all paid for the order of the following car. Apparently, this also happens sometimes after someone cuts off another driver to get in line.

This is the closest thing to drive-thru etiquette that I'm aware of.

IMO, you're a sucker if you volunteer to pick up coffee or food for more than 4 people. Just get a pizza or anything where you can phone or fax the order in.

Jun 04, 2007
El Puerco in Not About Food

thrifting confessions

I got my pot rack for $35 and a number of utensils, measuring cups, baking racks, etc. for $1 or so.

I agree that Chowhounding should be about 'the deal' as well as good food.

May 27, 2007
El Puerco in Cookware

"Make a well" for the wet ingredients. Does anybody actually do this? Why?

In many recipes for doughs and batters, I see the instruction to 'make a well' in the dry ingredients to pour in the wet ingredients. I can't possibly imagine how this step would benefit the finished product.

Does anybody do it? Is there a reason or are you just following instructions?

May 20, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Do you use a side burner with your grill?

Initially, I used the SB a lot to make a whole meal outside. It's perfect for making rice or anything that can't be grilled. In the past year, I only used it once to make a sauce. However, since I have two grills, I did use one to keep chili and cider warm while making hotdogs for 80 kids on the other last October. That could have been a SB application.

When faced with this type of decision, I consider which course of action I'm more likely to regret some day. You may wish you'd bought it some day OR it wasn't the best $50 you've ever spent.

If you're using LPG instead of NG, that could be a bigger decision than getting the SB.

May 15, 2007
El Puerco in Cookware

Burned-out and in need of a quick one-dish meal

In a baking pan:
2 cups boiling water (stir your favourite spices into the water)
1 cup rice
Place sausages, chicken breasts, or pork chops, etc. on top
Scatter in frozen vegetables
Cover with foil, bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until rice is tender

IF you don't boil the water in a kettle first, this takes over an hour in the oven. Choose larger pieces of brocolli, cauliflower, etc. or they may be a bit overcooked.

May 13, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Mother's Day lunch near Oakville/Burlington border

My brother, sister, and I will be taking our mother for lunch on Sunday. Looking for something nicer than a roadhouse, but reasonably priced.

Has anyone tried the Great Lakes Grille on Lakeshore near Burloak?

How do I avoid soggy mushroom pizza syndrome?

Several TV chefs say not to wash mushrooms becasue they soak up water like a sponge. They suggest brushing them.

I've had 'wet' pizza problems, so I started using thicker sauce and dryer dough (harder to spread though) because almost everything on the pizza has moisture. Mushrooms are just the wettest.

If you're a mushroom fan, it'd be a shame if your solution was putting on less mushrooms.

Apr 30, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Overhead pot rack -- a good idea?

I will have a pot rack in my kitchen for the rest of my days. It's practical and looks great. I chose to wall-mount mine because I couldn't stand the thought of having to balance out a chain-hung version. It's beside the stove, above the dishwasher and microwave. The height was based on my wife's ability to use it.

I initially got annoyed by the s-hooks falling, so I tied them on with black plastic cable ties. That allows them to move, but stay in the position they're put into, and then hang straight with weight on them. I'll post a picture if people are interested.

Apr 24, 2007
El Puerco in Cookware

favorite MARINADE recipes for the grill

The official El Puerco marinade for pork is (more or less) equal parts of:
Soy sauce
Lemon juice
Lime juice
Vinegar (white, apple cider, red wine, or balsamic)
sometimes a touch of Hoisin sauce
for salts and acids

Rubs are made up on the spot with brown sugar, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon, sage, cumin, coriander, cardamom, paprika, or whatever is handy for savoury, sweet, and earthy tastes

Apr 23, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Breakfast in Hamilton, Ontario

What are you looking for? The West Town and The Egg and I seem to be the most popular places in the area, so I assume you're looking for something without the 'diner' ambience. I'm more of a glutton than a gourmand, so a huge plate of eggs, bacon, home fries, etc. for a fair price is my nirvana.

Glen Abbey golf course serves a Sunday Brunch for $30.95 per person. I haven't been there in years, but it may be what you're looking for. You might try other golf courses also.

Foil vs. Wrap when cookingq

I've never considered myself an expert on wrap, but if I can help just one person...

If you are covering a bowl or plate, grab the free end of the wrap in one hand with the roll in the other. Pull out enough to cover the bowl and put it over top curling the free end around the lip of the container. Then, and only then do you use the free end hand to hold the wrap near the cutting edge and move the roll so that the far end comes up and toward you, tearing the wrap. Then tightly curl the freshly cut end around the lip. Turn the work 90 degrees and stretch out the other direction and curl over the lip. This works well with stainless steel bowls or something with a well-defined edge. Plastic bowls do not seem to stick to plastic wrap.

If wrapping a loose food item, lay out the wrap on the counter, place food on, wrap free end over food and tear off.

Different brands have different clingability(?). I use Vita-wrap which comes in 1000 ft. packs.

Apr 21, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking

Foil vs. Wrap when cookingq

I use plastic instead of foil simply because it's cheaper, but only for storage. The air-tight factor is also key. Mrs. Puerco also hates plastic wrap. It's because of her poor technique, but that's one of those subjects that I don't bring up.

Apr 20, 2007
El Puerco in Home Cooking