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Best Yogurt on Earth?

The best yogurt I've had in my life is homemade whole milk yogurt using Saint Benoît Yogurt as a starter. I take a clean quart mason jar, fill it with whole milk, scald it in the microwave, let it cool to 115 degrees, and then thin 2T Saint Benoît Yogurt with a little of the milk, add it to the jar, put on the lid, shake, remove the lid, and leave it in a cold oven with the light bulb on for 2.5 hours. No sourness at all. No need for sugar, and I have a sweet tooth. Any other great starters that result in a yogurt without sourness at all?

Jun 08, 2010
moilechef in General Topics

Cooking turkey in a bag?

Tom, my turkey was small, between 12 and 14 lbs, but the "large" bag seemed tight.

What EXACTLY are the steps to making this come out perfectly? I feel highly motivated to make this work, because I love the ease, the lovely rich stock in the bottom of the bag, and the simple cleanup. Please, help!!

Do you shake the flour around in the bag to coat the bird? Do you put in the flour the night before or just before cooking? Do you oil the bird to keep it from sticking? Do you buy a bag that is extra-loose? Do you cook at 350 degrees? Do you put the bird on the bottom rack of the oven or the next rung up? My oven is small and hotter at the back than the front. Should I rotate it front to back halfway through? Do you use a probe thermometer? At what temperature do you take it out? How long do you rest it? In the bag or out of the bag?

Thank you sooooo much!

Nov 28, 2007
moilechef in Home Cooking

Cooking turkey in a bag?

I tried the Reynolds turkey roasting clear bag today. Roasted a hen (less than 15 lbs) at 350 degrees with 1 Tbl flour and the sliced onions and celery in the bottom of the bag.

Well, good thing it wasn't the big show with all the friends and relatives, because there were problems. The bird must have been done at 2 hours, but I didn't even insert the meat thermometer because the turkey was so pale. I just set a timer for another half hour and let it go, keeping it at 350. Well, after 15 minutes I finally put in the meat probe and it had already hit 209 degrees F, guaranteeing dry breast meat. ARGH. BUT the stock in the bottom was lovely -- I strained it into a saucepan, cooked the neck and giblets in it to enrich it further, thickened with flour, and it made a perfect gravy. Breast was dry dry dry dry dry. Found some good thigh meat. How do I fix these problems:

1) too pale when done
2) bag stuck to skin

Thanks!

Nov 27, 2007
moilechef in Home Cooking

San Diego restaurants are bad

I agree. SD food is sub sub par. And there is no excuse. There are reasons but no excuse. City too small? Portland is the great counterexample. Too much of a suburb? Look at LA. Weather too good? Look at the rest of the state! So much for excuses.

Now, as for reasons: Too many midwestern and military and lifetime San Diego people who have never eaten at at the best restaurants of Europe and Asia, because even if they traveled to Europe or Asia, they didn't seek out the best food. The thing about the great food cities is that they have plenty of acceptable food, quite a bit ot very good food, and even some food that dreams are made of, like the sauces at Oustau de Baumanière in Provence that I kept eating even after the fish was gone from my plate. (I've heard they've gone downhill...?)

The Asian food isn't as good as other California cities because the diverse ethnic populations to support it aren't as large. Milpitas has better regional Chinese.

Food in Chicago (Charlie Trotter's and Aruns in the late '90's when I lived there) is better, Portland (great example!) is better and thriving/experimenting and expanding. San Diego food is embarassing, disappointing, and frustrating.

No wonder my Bay Area relatives seem to feel that they play second fiddle to the restaurants when I go there.

Sure, every city/region has bad and mediocre food, including Bay Area, but the best food destinations have real gems which delight when found.

I have never had the Arun's/Charlie Trotters/Oustau de Baumanière/French Laundry experience in San Diego. Nor have I had the Boyle Heights Gas Station Taco (someone WILL tell me where I can at least get that in San Diego instead of this gringo-ified "Mexican" food) or the pinnacle of any ethnic food here. It must be here, since I did have the real thing at a hole-in-the-wall in a strip mall in Lake Elsinore...

Frustrated.

Nov 25, 2007
moilechef in San Diego

Best Dim Sum in SD?

There is no great dim sum in San Diego. If you find some, please send me an urgent message! China Max, Emerald, Jasmine and Pearl take shortcuts and don't make everything from scratch (typical mango pudding with an artificial flavor scent), but we go anyway because it feels familiar, if not very good. It's about the same as most cities, just not up to San Francisco level (made in small batches from scratch, hand-carried to your table so you don't have that horrid sterno scent, no mixes or frozen foods or shortcuts), so I suspect Toronto and Vancouver would also be at San Fran level.

Feb 22, 2007
moilechef in California

Hong Kong Dim Sum in San Diego?

BTW, Pearl is better than Emerald or Jasmine now that the Emerald/Pearl owner is always at Pearl. It is in fact a little better than Emerald was at its best, but still the same problem with taking shortcuts.

Jan 12, 2007
moilechef in California

Hong Kong Dim Sum in San Diego?

Nope, you can't get it. All three of the big dim sum houses here are quite conventional and large-scale in their operations. They cut corners like using mixes for the mango pudding, etc. The dumplings are often sticky. None are as good as Ton Kiang in San Fran, which makes everything fresh in small batches without shortcuts! Oh, how I miss that walk down Geary for the real thing. Nothing avante-garde there, just perfectly fresh, perfectly prepared, no carts, all hand-carried quickly from the kitchen. I think San Diego could certainly support such a place since it is superb but not palacial in size. The mediocre houses consistently have a line here and they are quite large.

Jan 12, 2007
moilechef in California