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Dungeness Crabs?

I found them at HMart in Edison for $8.99 lb, which is not too far from what you would pay on the West Coast this year.

Dec 31, 2014
CookbookRick in New Jersey

Dungeness Crabs?

Thanks Philly Ray. I live in South Orange. I am heading to the Chinese restaurant in Plainfield and maybe KMart in Edison. Kam Kuo is selling Jonahs as "large crabs," and that's not the same thing. I'll post if I find them.

Dec 31, 2014
CookbookRick in New Jersey

Early dinner and a walk around town

How far north? Maplewood has a very lovely self-contained village with a few browse-worthy gift stores and an excellent book store, WORDS. You can have a cocktail at Coda. The hot ticket restaurant is Arturo's, no reservations, long wait in line, but NYC-quality Italian food. You might snag a reservation at Lorena's, which is very expensive. Coda is a big neighborhood joint. Cheap Mexican, OK Thai, and couple of inexpensive pizza joints, too. The village is right off the shuttle problems. And there is a movie theater too, if you want to extend the evening. Happy New Year.

Dec 31, 2014
CookbookRick in New Jersey

Are Anahein chiles available near Cranford-Union County?

I assume that you mean fresh Anaheim chilies. In that case, the suggestion to use canned is not feasible. Did you look at ShopRite? I've seen them at my store in Springfield. Surprisingly, just because the new store on Rt 22 is big, they don't have as wide a selection as Springfield, but you can check there and Westfield. Anaheim chilies have a florescent pale green color and pointed tips. Cubanelles are a similar color, but the tips are more square. I am a cooking teacher, so I know this is solid information.

Dec 31, 2014
CookbookRick in New Jersey

Dungeness Crabs?

Has anyone seen Dungeness crabs in Chinese markets or elsewhere? (I remember that they had them for a couple of seasons at Shoprite in tanks.) I have a hankering to cook them for New Year's, as is the custom in my hometown of San Francisco, but I am trying to avoid a wild goose chase. I saw Jonah (not Dungeness) at a couple of Chinese stores already. Thanks.

Dec 31, 2014
CookbookRick in New Jersey

Do You Need a Pricey Culinary Degree to Be a Top Chef?

I got my Hotel and Restaurant Hospitality AA from to New York City Technical College, about halfway into my career, and it was reasonably priced as a member of the NY State system. I've been a food professional for over 30 years. This was an excellent article and told the story for all sides. I was mainly self-taught, but one of the advantages of going to school is meeting people that will help you along the way. If Keller and others were able to make an impression and get advanced, great, but in this crowded market, personal connections are going to help in job searches. But note that the $105K is for a BA. No one really needs a culinary BA to get a job these days unless you plan on teaching at a university that requires an higher degree. And nothing is substitute for experience eating outside of our country. The chefs I work with know that a degree from one culinary school over another makes little difference--the intern is only a body to chop parsley until proven otherwise. I often dine at restaurants where it is plain that the person who made my risotto had never been to Italy in his/her life.

Jul 15, 2014
CookbookRick in Features

Parmigiano in Northern NJ?

I used to buy chunks of Parm at either Costco in Union or Wine Library in Springfield for about $13.99. Both have jumped to $19.99. Does anyone know of a source that still has it at competitive prices? Thanks.

May 16, 2013
CookbookRick in New Jersey

Dungeness Crab: Season Over?

I am a homesick San Franciscan and I am coming home in early April (4 to 12). I can't remember the dates for the Dungeness crab season. I know that the season started late this year, and I am thinking that it might run late, too. Can anyone let me know the end of the commercial season? I can only find recreational season dates online. Thanks.

Korean Chicken Wings

Yes, this recipe is useless without a recommended sauce. Who edits this stuff?

Jan 02, 2013
CookbookRick in Recipes

Mustard-Peppercorn Rib Roast

Stacie22, don't risk ruining an expensive roast! There is an ages-old recipe from the NY Times (easy to find online with key words Serrane New York Times Roast Beef) where you roast the beef for about an hour at 500F, and then walk way from the stove for 2 hours. The beef can rest for another 2 to 4 hours (the USDA says only 2 hours) before serving. It is good and many people swear by it. You have to leave your oven on the entire time. Try it.

Dec 21, 2012
CookbookRick in Recipes

Help! I'm a foodie trapped in a family with weird diet issues!

Ferris, you sound smart enough to be more creative with your cooking ideas. Very often you can do a simple dish, and then add a couple of more ingredients for a more special recipe. Examples:

Make the simple tomato sauce for them, and top it with some fresh ricotta or goat cheese for you. Or saute some sausage and add it to your portion.

Do plain or marinated chicken breast for the folks, and but rub yours with a spice rub before cooking.

Make plain macaroni with a sauce of some kind for them, but turn your portion into mac and cheese.

Do simple fish fillets for Mom and Dad, and serve yours with garlicky cole slaw, chopped tomatoes, and warm tortillas for fish tacos.

And not to sound like an English teacher, but could you come up with another phrase for b*rf? While it isn't a cuss word, shouldn't we try to keep things appetizing around here? You made your point in your first post. No need to mention it again.

Aug 06, 2010
CookbookRick in General Topics

SOS : RIGHT size of soup cans for baking brioche???

hae, have you ever tried baking brioche in the traditional brioche tins? I am a professional baker, and it seems to me that baking brioche in canned soup tins is not such a great idea, unless you want a particularly large brioche that is good for a particular recipe. Otherwise, a brioche baked in a 13-oz volume can is going to be very big, and certainly more than one person would eat in a serving (Again, I can see that this might be needed for some recipes, such as a "stuffed" brioche.) I just make brioche this weekend, and scaled the dough about 2 3/4 ounces each. I baked a dozen in a muffin pan because I had lent out my brioche tins. They were gorgeous and the perfect size. I am also not a fan of recipes that require you to go out and buy and cook canned soup (yech) must to collect the tins, which are not made for reuse. OK, at a buck-something each, they are less expensive than brioche tins, I grant you, but it still goes back to the size of the finished baked goods: HUGE. Let us know how the recipe turns out. Karen is a very talented pastry chef and I hear good things about the book.

Jun 15, 2010
CookbookRick in Home Cooking

Looking for NYC-style steak in Bay Area

I was raised in the Bay Area, and now live in NJ. You are not likely to find what you want, any more than you would find fresh-cracked Dungeness crab and real sourdough in New York. When visiting SF and I want a good steak, I go either to San Francisco to Harris's on Van Ness or Izzy's in San Ramon. Are either of them worth a trip for you from Los Altos. I'm not sure... But you should have some good meals searching!

The Future of Cookbook Publishing

Thanks, dmd_kc, for bringing up how much you you trust your cookbooks. Not that there aren't mistakes in cookbooks, too, but at least you have a real person or brand standing behind their work with a book. I have rarely had a success with an online recipe unless it came from a source where the material had been paid for already (,,, etc., and has paid staff, too). Everyone wants free content--very few online food websites actually pay for it. This adversely affects the quality of the recipe, to say the least.

I am a food writer/cookbook author. Here's the problem with e-books from a cookbook author's viewpoint. I get paid a percentage of the wholesale price paid for the book. Very few people actually pay the $24.95 list price anymore, but let's use that as an example anyway. The wholesale price for the book at that price would be about $16.50, and I get about 8% of that, or $1.32. Now let's say that I got $20,000 advance on the book, which I use to to live on during the writing period, as well as pay for the groceries, and save enough towards that year's income tax. The $1.32 is applied to the $20,000 nut, and I don't get another cent until that advance is paid off. The more the wholesale price goes down, the less I have made towards the $20,000. My expenses for writing a good book haven't changed, only the return on my time. As I have to sell many more books to meet my $20,000 advance. So, I am not thrilled when a book that should garner $24.95 only gets $9.99 in an e-book edition.

Many people love their e-readers. But every time I see an e-reader, I think about the other people involved in book publishing whose livelihoods are affected when a "real" book isn't printed: the paper and ink purveyors, the binders, the warehouse staff, the truckers. There is an argument from electronic reader fans that they shouldn't pay more for an e-book because the peripheral costs (paper, etc) aren't there. Especially with star authors, a large piece of the cost goes to paying the writer. Why would a star writer continue to write books if they are making less money for the same amount of work?

I see a lot of people talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to the economy. They want cheap books, but they don't realize that the low cost is a trickle-down affecting thousands of other Americans, too. The slow death of Old School publishing is more important to our country than one might think. It isn't just about cheap books.

Feb 12, 2010
CookbookRick in Features

Bulk Chocolate?

Thanks everyone. I am staying very near Ghirardelli, so I checked it out. Yes, the only have the thin "baking bars," but in a good variety of semisweet, bittersweet 60%, milk, and white. Each bar is $1.85, so a full pound only cost me $7.40. Can't beat that! (Although I am not a Ghirardelli lover, my family won't care that it isn't El Rey.) Anyway, I decided that, considering the price, the tradeoff of taking the time to unwrap the bars is worth it. Also, the thin bars chop easily, and when you have 10 pounds of candy to make, it is a consideration. I definitely will check out the other venues so I am prepared next time. THANKS!

Bulk Chocolate?

I am visiting from the east coast, and need to buy bulk chocolate for my family's favorite candy, rocky road. I tried Trader Joe's, but they only carry Belgian bittersweet with almonds in it, unlike my local store in New Jersey, which carries it plain.

I am off to Ghirardelli Outlet in San Leandro, but frankly, they aren't my favorite (too much of a dark roast edge). Any comments on Rainbow Grocery? Also, are the prices good at Spun Sugar in Berkeley? I'd prefer shopping in the East Bay. And it doesn't have to be Valrhona or Scharffen Berger.

Thanks to all.

Golden Superfine Sugar???

What they mean is golden bakers' sugar. You can find it at specialty markets and online. India Tree is the usual manufacturer for this in the US. You can use regular superfine sugar or even granulated sugar without any ill effects. The golden bakers' sugar is very expensive--$3.99 a pound average, which is only about 2 1/4 cups. I am a recipe developer by trade, and I often have to sub granulated or superfine for golden bakers' sugar, so I know what I'm talking about! The idea to grind demerara or raw (turbinado) sugar is a good one, but the granulation may not be the same, and demerara doesn't cream well with butter.

Sep 19, 2009
CookbookRick in Home Cooking

Casual Dinner for 2 tonight

Our favorite place for casual and very tasty Italian is Le Zie on Seventh near 20th. It is Northern Italian and doesn't have the usual fare, although we are partial to the veal canneloni special. Also consider Korean in the West 30s. No recommendations in that area because I simply have forgotten. Also, if you want to go very cheap, Grand Sichuan on 9th and 24th has very unusual Chinese with the usual fare. You'll have enough leftover cash to have dessert and coffee at Rafaela's down the street on 9th near 18th.

Jul 18, 2009
CookbookRick in Manhattan

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Henry Bain Sauce

As a trained chef and cooking teacher, I think kramos' temperatures are too high. Don't forget to allow for carry-over cooking, as the beef will continue to cook outside of the oven from the retained heat of the oven. The proper temperatures are 140F for medium well, and 150F for well-done. (The USDA uses the higher temperatures in their charts, but chefs they ain't) Be sure to let the roasts stand for at least 10 minutes before carving them so the juices can redistribute themselves throughout the meat, and the retained oven heat can disipate and continue cooking the beef. The temperatures will rise about 10F. If you are nervous about doneness, you can go another 5F in the oven.

The truth is that beef tenderloin is a very lean cut, and it will dry out if cooked more than medium. Even if you prefer well-done meat, this well-done tenderloin cut turns out dry, tough, and cottony--not a good way to serve the most expensive beef roast at the butcher's! I suggest a cut with more intramuscular fat, such as top loin roast.

This could be a good recipe for a cold buffet because the lack of intramuscular fat in tenderloin sidesteps the problem of cold beef fat, which isn't too appetizing. I'd serve the top loin version hot.

Apr 27, 2009
CookbookRick in Recipes

Dim Sum in Northern NJ?

Any recommendations for dim sum near Maplewood, NJ? We are meeting friends for brunch, and we all have a craving, but can't make it into the city. We have done China Gourmet on Eagle Rock in West Orange, and found it only so-so. Any other suggestions? Should we try Noodle Chu in Parsippany, even though it is a schlep?

Mar 07, 2009
CookbookRick in New Jersey

Galaxy-Class Gnocchi

Um, I wonder where the greenmarket that supplied the peaches was located? I doubt if they meant Union Square Greenmarket! What this shows is that even a reputable restaurant like Hearth is not immune to using meaningless words to describe their menu items. Or that a presumably intelligent diner like kathryn would not think that something is odd to find them on an autumn menu. I would much more enjoy pears, and not peaches, in November with my duck. And the chef can find something other than tomato to serve with the farro salad, too. I am not saying that locovore is the only way to go, but if you live the Western Hemisphere, then the words tomatoes, peaches, and autumn do not belong together in truly fine menu.

Nov 04, 2008
CookbookRick in Features