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Corn beer?

Corn and rice are common adjuncts in many commercial beers, especially light beers. The idea is to add alcohol content while minimizing the carbohydrates, thus simpler starches/sugars ferment more completely then barley or wheat. This also yields the lighter taste that a lot of drinkers prefer.

As for a primarily corn based beer, I've never had one, but a beer made from fresh corn sounds like it has the potential to be very crisp and refreshing.

Aug 23, 2009
bsheitman in Beer

Best vanilla extract

Now that's taking whipped cream to another level! Excellent.

Apr 14, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Scrapple

Ah, maybe dredging in flour helps with the watery and somewhat crumbly texture. I'll definitely try that next time, 'cause I liked the flavor a lot.

Apr 14, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Scrapple

I'm probably in a minority but I don't much care for Rapa scrapple. It doesn't hold together well and it's a little watery. Rapa is better suited to slicing thinly and frying in oil about as deep as the scrapple is tall that way the crisp edges give it more stability. It uses mainly livers and I think that contributes to the texture (though they do use pork snouts).

Not having had the real deal scrapple, I can say among the commercial brands I like Hatfield scrapple the best...it's a little cornier, with a corresponding yellow hue...but it fries up deep ruddy gold and is wonderfully creamy in the middle. Not spiced quite as well as rappa, but the texture wins hands down. On the flip side, if you look closely, you can see the tiny little hairs from the pork skin...!

Apr 10, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Scrapple

Just as I read this I as chompin' down on some homemade bread piled high with scrapple and a sunny-side egg and thinkin'..."Damn if this isn't the best way to eat scrapple!"

It's the first time I tried that...definitely worth repeating though. I love scrapple and maple syrup, and am looking to try scrapple and fried apples when apples come back in season.

Apr 10, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Best vanilla extract

Yea, exactly..I like it in whipped cream. Totally takes it to another level. Now if I'm making vanilla ice cream, I'll probably stick to traditional vanilla. Like you said, it depends on the application.

Apr 08, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Thyme the Versatile Herb

I recently came across a lemon thyme plant...and I would have to agree it's an amazing herb. I could eat it right off the shrub. The lemon taste is very refreshing.

Apr 08, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Uses for Whey - the Real Deal, Not Powder

Thanks! This was a really interesting post...the possibilities..

Apr 08, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Help me get over seafood fears

I am disgraced! :">

Apr 08, 2009
bsheitman in General Topics

Lard, or butter in your crust? In your biscuits?

I was wondering the same thing which is what led me to this thread. In the past I've only used butter, but I used some fresh leaf lard yesterday and the results were amazing.

I like biscuits with tender, visually distinct layers of flaky heaven and that's what I got with lard which I've never gotten with butter.

I've used leaf lard in pie crusts both sweet and savoury and I find the flavor a bit bland, probably because I'm so used to all butter crusts...that being said...so freakin' tall and flaky!

Apr 08, 2009
bsheitman in Home Cooking

Hand hammered woks

I recently bought this wok. It's a great wok, don't get me wrong, but it looks like kinda a toned down version of the wooden-handled pow wok posted earlier in this thread.

So "authentic"...probably not, but it really does cook great and the price is right. That being said, if I found a genuinely hand-hammered wok, I'd buy it in a half second, give my current one away, never look back - I'm flaky that way. :)

Feb 05, 2009
bsheitman in Cookware

But is it CHEESE?

Wait I know...you wouldn't fill a cheese-stuffed-breaded-bacon-wrapped-deep-fried hot dog with real cheese now wouldja? That's Easy Cheese all the way.

http://moralauthority.wordpress.com/2...

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in Cheese

Help me get over seafood fears

About a month ago, I realized that if I had to choose one meat for the rest of my life it would certainly be seafood. The range and flexibility is endless. Even if we just limited it to fish and eliminated shellfish, and the various invertebrates....each fish tastes so different, even different parts of the fish when preparing a whole fish...

I wouldn't be missing out if I became a....piscitarian.....man I've been waiting to deploy that word for a long time. It almost felt natural too....so I have to use it 16 more times to make it part of my regular vocabulary right? ;)

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Authentic-What Does It Mean To You?

Well, by my definition, which suits me just fine...a Big Mac is a reproduction of what a real, idealized burger should be like. But I would never bite into a big mac and say...man, this is the real deal...it only tastes reminiscent of what a real authentic burger tastes like.

This all borders on being dangerously semantic and largely irrelevant though....

If the purpose of this exercise is to highlight the over zealous adherence to tradition and form as elitism then I must say I am no food snob, and I am as opposed to the rigid devotion and regimen which many cling to as it suffocates innovation. But I am a fan of food cooked with pride, and I love cultures that strive to protect their regional authenticity without sacrificing their originality. To me, a MakDonald's is a sacrifice of regional authenticity in an attempt to emulate what amounts to a good business model, but bad cooking.
Preserving your culture's culinary heritage It hardly squashes ingenuity, rather it encourages it, because these various culinary traditions are the building blocks for future dishes. Thus, a dish, may not contain all the typical ingredients considered proper, but it may perfectly capture the spirit of a dish, a rustic peasant dish, an elegant dessert, etc....and of course, Lobster on the beach in Maine.
But it's important to remember the the mass production of prepared food is a phenomenon recent to this century mostly, and previously most food was made by hand, no doubt with craftsmanship learned over the years, so it's not unreasonable to attach handmade/homecooked food with authenticity.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

I ate the entire pizza, and I bet you have too (ladies included)

I used to binge eat on CiCi's pizza (really, really bad tasting buffet style pizza). I'd wash it all down with countless glasses of Dr. Pepper and some syrupy sweet dessert pizzas. I never ever liked the food their, I just liked the unrestricted gluttony. I did the same thing at my first job: I would buy the Little Caesar's $5 pizza and eat the whole thing. I'd make sure I ate fast so I wouldn't get full. I don't even like Little Caesar's pizza....! So yes....you're wager is right on.

To this day, I don't understand that phase of my life, but I'm glad it's behind me.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Authentic-What Does It Mean To You?

Well, I'm glad we found some common ground. ;)

My previous BBQ example is stemming from the less-than-authentic but seriously good oven-baked ribs I'm slow-roasting right now I use a mustard only sauce as it carmelizes (rather than burns) throughout the cooking process....finish them off on the grill. It wouldn't win any competitions against slow smoked ribs, I suppose, and is only marginally authentic, but what good is tradition if it stifles improvisation and creativity....

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Help me get over seafood fears

I'm right with you on the seared Tuna. I'm not big on comparing seafood to land animals, but this gave me the sense I was eating a filet mignon....except not bland like real filet can be, rather, full-flavored and meaty.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

But is it CHEESE?

Ha...no ;) I can only think of one instance really, and that is on a english muffin/egg/bacon sandwhich. Otherwise....I prefer the real deal.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in Cheese

Hot Dogs Across America: What's regional to you?

In CNY, the big hot dog maker is Hoffman's, prolific producer of coneys(snappies) and some fine german style wieners with homemade mustard. Both are a natural casing variety with a mixture of Veal, Beef, and Pork. Either way, I like them on toasted new england buns with a eyewatering quantity of spicy brown.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Authentic-What Does It Mean To You?

And authenticity be damned, I love a big plate of meaty, greasy Chinese take-out too. :-)

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Authentic-What Does It Mean To You?

Authentic, on the surface is about staying true to a set standard. I can agree about that. On the other hand, there's obviously enough ambiguity regarding what's considered authentic to warrant a thread on the subject.

My definition of authentic is shaped not only by literal definition but by personal experience. For example, a lot of what's served as authentic cuisine at restaurants is more like a cheap knockoff. Why? because they sought to mass produce an experience and a technique that was a spontaneous fusion of time, place, ingredients, and ingenuity. Much of authentic regional cuisine is the symbiotic relationship between necessity and the inate human drive to make something better....call it art?
The idea that something can be reproduced, with inferior ingredients on a mass scale defeats the very concept behind culinary authenticity. Thus why buzz-words such as "hand-crafted" or "natural" still ring true to our ears though they have very little legal meaning. Often, non-traditional ingredients are added to make up the deficit in flavor, such as MSG in cheap soy sauce, or sugar or corn syrup as a flavor enhancer for less than fresh vegetables.
To use the barbeque sauce example. Say we want authentic Carolina BBQ sauce, and I go to a rib pit, and look at their sauce ingredients and find a list containing various unpronounceables and ingredients which are either invented or non-existent in the home kitchen, the sauce is no more authentic to me than a McRib sandwhich. When's the last time you made BBQ sauce with HFCS, MSG, BHT, and artificial smoke flavor anyway? So in that respect, authentic to me, though intimately connected with locale, is not synonymous with locally prepared cuisine. And, besides, a lot of Carolinans consider the ubiquitous tomato a grave heresy in their sauce :)
I consider these mass-produced, cheaper foods reproductions of an ideal which can only be achieved by using the best ingredients, not taking shortcuts, and, heck why not...having fun making it too.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Things you'd never make at home (because storebought is always best)?

I don't know if it qualifies as a simple food...but when I make rice pudding, I'm only aspiring to make it taste as good as KozyShack European Style rice pudding.... And I don't think I'm there yet. :-|

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Authentic-What Does It Mean To You?

The title of the thread is "What does Authentic Mean to You", not "What does Authentic Mean to Merriam-Webster".

I described what it meant to me. Are you still confused?

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Thyme the Versatile Herb

I used to overdo the herbs on everything. Then I went into a reactionary phase where I only salt and peppered things. Then I bypassed herbs and seasoned savoury dishes with "cookie" spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger(which I still enjoy doing). now only season with fresh herbs, and I enjoy fresh Rosemary the best...not very versatile, but hardy, and very aromatic, and it's just exactly right in some dishes.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

But is it CHEESE?

Most processed "cheese" undergo no fermentation process but are curdled with vinegar and emulsified with various gums and binders. They may not even be made with milk, but with milk powder.

Still...sometimes that taste is just right.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in Cheese

Authentic-What Does It Mean To You?

Authentic to me is food cooked without shortcuts, or cheap substitutions, made with care, using ingredients of good quality. Authentic is food without pretense, that is the sum total of seasonal availability, skill, and tradition.

Take Maine lobster on the beach, boiled in ocean water, served with drawn butter....that's authentic, Hell, I can see the boat it came off of...., I finished it with a wild blueberry pie, with a real butter crust. That's not what you get served at Red Lobster. See the difference?

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Best herbal tea to drink cold and unsweetened?

You might find it unconventional. But roasted dandelion root...like the one's wreaking havoc with the suburban, middle class, horticultural money-pit known as a lawn, make a great black tea-like(some say coffee...I can see that) tasting beverage. Sweeten it with a pinch (just a pinch!) of dried stevia leaves, and it'll be sweet without the calories. It's also very good for you. I make a big pitcher of this regularly, and I enjoy it's nutty, subtly sweet taste. Sometimes I toss some fresh or dried mint leaves, or some parsley and sage for good measure. Just experiment and have fun. Herbal tea's are naturally decaffeinated if that's important to you.

I roast a bunch after I go out "weeding". Also, in the spring, you can save the greens and use them as you would other bitter greens, but I wouldn't use summer greens as they're unbearably bitter.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Best vanilla extract

I like the TJ's madagascar vanilla...but lately, I've been really getting into their Tahitian vanilla, which is very, very different(not surprising considering it's a different species of plant, and contains very little of the compounds which give Bourbon vanilla it's "vanilla")

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Help me get over seafood fears

It seems like you're on the right track, most everything tastes better breaded and fried. I'm a big sucker for fried seafood.

If you want to jump right into seafood...get yourself a super fresh filet of salmon let's say, copper river salmon(tastes amazing and is very healthy) if you can find it, if not then just whatever's freshest. If you can enjoy an oily fish(which tend to be the more interesting and distinguished flavors from a culinary perspective) then there is indeed hope for youl Then rub it all over with salt and pepper, squeeze a lemon wedge and throw it on a hot grill. Glaze it with a sweet balsamic brown butter sauce a couple minutes before you're done and serve it on some asparagus. You'll find the smokiness from grilling is a strong enough flavor on its own that even people who don't tend to like fish still like grilled fish.

The fresher the fish, the less fishy it tastes...or more accurately, the true flavor of the fish comes out unmasked by the off odors produced from deteriorating proteins and fats.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics

Can we talk about canned salmon?

Prissiness is a luxury not afforded to the majority of the world's inhabitants. Ironic, as picky eating tends to make for a less nutritious meal.

My advice, prepare the salmon in ways which allow you to mash the salmon up whole, it's what canned salmon is best for anyway in my opinion.

May 15, 2008
bsheitman in General Topics