r

Roland Parker's Profile

Title Last Reply

Meringue tower -- what is "golden caster sugar"?

Caster sugar is finer than regular sugar but not "powdered." It still retains the granular form, the difference was that caster dissolves more easily and evenly, making it ideal for meringues and the ubiquitous ingredient in pavlovas. Golden caster sugar has a slight caramel flavor that some British cooks like.

I would actually use regular granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. I suspect powdered sugar would change the texture of the meringue. If you have a food processor or blender, you can try whizzing regular sugar to grind it up more finely and that's a pretty good approximation of caster sugar. Alternatively you should be able to find superfine sugar for sale in the US quite easily and superfine sugar is pretty much the same as caster sugar.

Dec 14, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

White Worcestershire sauce

For most of my life LP sold the traditional worcester sauce, which you used on steaks or as flavoring for ground beef, and a white wine worcester sauce, meant for chicken dishes. Most people used it as a chicken marinade, so several years ago I wasn't surprised to discover that the white wine sauce was officially rebranded into a chicken marinade. As far as I can tell, it's still the same sauce.

Dec 14, 2014
Roland Parker in General Topics

Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake...substitutions??

Ground hazelnut will probably be richer than ground almond. But it's probably worth a shot. Hazelnut and chocolate is a classic combination.

I have made cakes with ground walnuts and they were fine.

Dec 07, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Dumpling disaster, any ideas?

You may want to deep fry your dumplings as an alternative to steaming if you want a crisper texture. If the oil is hot enough it should crisp the dumpling skins without penetrating it and causing it to dissolve.

Dec 07, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Are carrots DYED to cover up the dirt on their skins ?

No.

I quickly rinse carrots before using. I don't bother peeling them anymore.

Dec 07, 2014
Roland Parker in General Topics

Christmas - Influenced by Thanksgiving or not

Our big Christmas dinner is Christmas Eve.

Poultry for Thanksgiving, beef for Christmas Eve.

We are probably more formal people than most, but Thanksgiving is, by our standards, a casual and relaxing day and spans the afternoon into early evening. Christmas Eve is much more formal and starts in the early evening and lasts till midnight.

Christmas Eve is more festive and has more rituals.

By contrast, Christmas day is a day of relaxing and playing games and spending time with the immediate family.

Dec 07, 2014
Roland Parker in General Topics

Christmas - Influenced by Thanksgiving or not

We still steam a traditional British plum pudding every year, with hard sauce on the side. My mother makes the pudding a month in advance on stirring up Sunday.

Dec 07, 2014
Roland Parker in General Topics

Dumpling disaster, any ideas?

Follow a recipe!

When you are making something that involves dough, you are dealing with science. Unless you have substantial prior experience with doughs of various types it's always best to follow a proven recipe and not wing it based on appearances.

Rice flour won't have the gluten you need to form dough. You also didn't have a binder to hold together the flour. Your dumpling was just rice flour and water and salt. You had to add so much rice flour to turn it into a mass, but once you added extra water in the pan it just dissolved that mass.

Dec 07, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Resorts, not cities, with great food

Hmm...mmm....

I am not a fan of Bali for various reasons. Overdeveloped and over commercialized and places like Ubud are startling juxtapositions of the first and third worlds. But the island does have its charms and as with any place in the world, it's best to go with an open mind.

Dec 07, 2014
Roland Parker in General Topics

Qatar, Bahrain and EAE recommendations please

They're all more or less the same. None of the places has a special local cuisine distinguishable from the other, nor is their local cuisine worth seeking out except for the novelty.

Lots of great Indian/Pakistani and Lebanese.

Dubai has a lot of excellent food, both high and low end. Most of the high ends are reincarnations of their western equivalent so what I describe below is mostly "low" end patronized by their respective expat community.

I enjoy Gazebo for North Indian, Calicut Paragon for South Indian and Manvaar for Rajasthani. Gazebo has several locations across Dubai. Calicut Paragon and Manvaar are in Karama, the heart of Dubai's Indian community. An excellent Pakistani option is Barbecue Delight, which also has several locations.

Al Mallah on Al Diyafah for cheap and tasty Lebanese and schwamas. Karam Beirut for more sophisticated Lebanese, and there are locations in both the Dubai Mall and Mall of Emirates.

Hazan's lasagne...can I make the noodles in advance?

This is cheating a bit but you can do what I do and that is to go to a good Italian grocery and buy their fresh homemade pasta.

It probably won't be quite as thin as the homemade ones you can make yourself, but it's fresh and more importantly, saves a lot of time.

If you do want to make your own pasta you could lay the fresh pasta on dampened towels and refrigerate till you're ready to use them. The moisture will help prevent the pasta from drying out too much.

Dec 06, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Resorts, not cities, with great food

Ubud in Bali is a tourist town surrounded by small resort type hotels and has excellent food (best on Bali), both Indonesian and non-Indonesian. It may even have the best food in Indonesia, along with several wonderful coffee shops.

The Amalfi Coast in Italy, along with Capri, has marvelous food - if you know where to go and if you do, it's truly wonderful. And it's very much a resort area.

Wellfleet in Cape Cod for the seafood.

Dec 06, 2014
Roland Parker in General Topics

Weight your own vegetables at Wegmans

It may be a time saver at the checkout but it doesn't necessarily save you time on your shopping expedition.

The Wegmans self-weigh is pretty good, but in other supermarkets I have spent too much time trying to find the correct produce code in the scale. I remember at one market I couldn't find shallots in the scale and it wasn't listed under onions, nor was it listed with garlic. I had to pull over a store worker who finally found it under miscellaneous, and the link to miscellaneous wasn't necessarily in the most logical place either.

A decent cashier will have memorized almost all the codes for the produce and to be frank, it's just easier to let them do it. They can be very efficient and it doesn't slow down the checkout any more than an extra 30 seconds or a minute.

The only time I now bother self weighing is when I'm also self checking out.

Dec 02, 2014
Roland Parker in Chains

Weight your own vegetables at Wegmans

In Maryland, where I grew up, we never pre weighted the produce before taking them to the checkout line. It's only been in the last five or ten years that a few supermarkets started introducing them. They're now more ubiquitous, but from what I see in the lines not that many people bother pre weighting the produce. Those who do tend to be the ones in the self checkout lines.

Nov 25, 2014
Roland Parker in Chains

Best recipes for homemade Christmas gifts

I remember the thread from last year. It's one thing to exchange homemade goods among friends who you know well and trust each other, it's another thing to receive homemade gifts from students whose families you really don't know and have no idea what their houses are like. I'm not overly fussy but I can see why people will be. And some of the teachers mentioned they did have worries about rogue pupils sneaking poison or whatever into a baked good as a trick on a teacher.

Along with the germ phobic people, another reason for rejecting homemade food gifts was that it's simply not the kind of food they enjoy eating.

I have in the past received various homemade treats at Christmas. Some of it was well received. Others were not, such as homemade chocolate bark or homemade candy, because we're not a chocolate family and we don't really eat candy. Such gifts sit in the cupboard for months before finally being tossed out or given away to the cleaners.

Then I've also received homemade baked goods that were simply way too sweet for my taste. Some people will make "homemade" cookies out of prepackaged cookie dough (this was one of the common complaints mentioned by teachers in the thread last year) and frost it with readymade frosting. Every year I bake hundreds of homemade cookies, so I don't really need any more cookies and if it's clearly from a Pillsbury roll, it's going to be crumbled and fed to the birds.

And as much I enjoy a good jam or marmalade or chutney, I unfortunately don't use them very often. Many people also don't and the jars usually sit in the fridge for ages before being tossed out, and there have been years when I received a homemade jam only to discover that last year's jam was still in the fridge!

I love the concept of people making and exchanging homemade goods, much more so than buying useless gifts. But unfortunately there's still a tremendous amount of waste involved and I've long stopped giving away homemade treats at Christmas unless I know the receiver intimately and know they will definitely eat what I'm giving to them.

Weight your own vegetables at Wegmans

It's the norm, rather than the exception, for produce to be weighed at the cashier and not beforehand. It's only been relatively recent that weighing scales issuing price labels were added to the produce section in some supermarkets. In a way I'm surprised supermarkets are now allowing people to weigh the produce in advance because the temptation to cheat must be very real. You can slip in an extra apple or carrots too easily.

I've used the weighing scales a few times but always find it quicker to let the cashier weigh and scan the produce for me.

The woman behind you was being a moron.

Nov 24, 2014
Roland Parker in Chains
2

Buying Cherry Liqueur or Kirsch in the area

I have bought small bottles of kirsch at the Wine Source in Hampden, for baking purposes. It was perfectly fine.

NYT Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States

If in doubt, article in the Sun:

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013...

Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

It's a peculiar (and thankfully for me) food tradition but one I don't regret!

NYT Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States

Not everyone likes sauerkraut but this is the one state food that the NYTimes got correct. So many people in Maryland make and eat sauerkraut
only once a year - Thanksgiving. It's an established tradition widely covered and widely known within the state, especially in and around the Baltimore area.

Water conscious methods for hand washing dishes

Having lived in England for a number of years and who still visits the UK twice a year on average to see family and friends, I'm curious as to what those "pretty strange hygiene habits" are? We can't be talking about not taking showers or using soap or deodorant?

Nov 21, 2014
Roland Parker in Not About Food

dessert uses for egg yolks

Yes, you can freeze yolks but you need to add either sugar or salt to them.

I usually have the reverse problem. What about custards or creme brûlée?

There are recipes for all yolk cakes floating around the internet. I've made a few in the past, and they were very yellow and quite good. My favorite was a yellow layer cake with chocolate icing.

Here's a very comprehensive listing of all yolk recipes and it conveniently breaks down the recipes by the amount of yolks you have! Not all are sweets, some are savory.

http://www.fortysomething.ca/2010/04/...

Nov 21, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Request for duck and prime rib but one oven

Traditional prime rib recipes have you set aside the beef, covered, to rest for a while before serving it. You can use the time to roast a duck.

Nov 21, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

NYT Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States

I'm from Maryland and can't argue with sauerkraut.

NYT Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States

Upstate New York has one of the great apple growing regions in the United States and is known for the variety of apples cultivated. So there are valid reasons for giving apple pie to New York.

And I love a good apple pie more than most desserts.

Water conscious methods for hand washing dishes

Well, a possible alternative is to use paper plates and plastic utensils for when you have a large gathering. Throw it away afterwards. Save the water for washing the pots and pans.

Not very environmentally friend but if water is a priority it *is* an alternative.

If you want to still use regular dishes, then scrape off as much of the food debris as possible and stack up the dishes. Fill up a basin with hot soapy water, as hot as you can get it without burning yourself. Dip the dishes into the basin, scrub ferociously for a few seconds, redip into the basin one more time, then quickly rinse off and put it aside to dry. Save the pots and pans for the end and let them soak in the basin for a bit before scrubbing them. You will use far less water than the dishwasher.

Nov 19, 2014
Roland Parker in Not About Food

Frosting without Butter?

If you are in Korea you must have access to tofu, no?

There are a few recipes for tofu frosting online. I cannot vouch for them but they may be worth a try.

Nov 19, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Can someone please identify the make of this pot?

If I had to guess at something, it's a cheap generic knockoff of a Le Creuset pot and sold cheaply at Target or Bed Bath Beyond, although there is something vaguely Ikeaish about the design.

Could be completely wrong, of course.

Nov 19, 2014
Roland Parker in Cookware

Restaurants near the Hippodrome in Baltimore

Sticking strictly to Mount Vernon, there's also Marie Louise Bistro a block or two north of the Monument on Charles Street. Several decent Thai options including Stang of Siam on nearby Calvert Street (probably the best Thai in the downtown area, although Thairish is apparently still going strong with its limited menu). Sascha's, on Charles, does a decent soup/sandwich lunch. Minato, a Japanese sushi bar, is also quite decent.

There's also City Cafe on Cathedral Street for modern American bistro food.

Is Mekong Delta still on Saratoga Street?

Why Chinese cuisines/dishes do not include raw vegetables...

Baltimore is my hometown and it's where my parents and sister's family still live. We also own a house in Baltimore.

But I have lived overseas for the majority of my adult life now. In Dubai for the last seven years, Jakarta before that (with a few years in Baltimore in between) and London even before that.

Like Phil, I've experienced the frustrations of being an expat in a country without a consistent supply of high quality fruits and vegetables. As Phil describes, it's very much hit or miss. The supermarket may have a wonderful batch of, say, apples just in, then for the next two months it's nothing but dreary flavorless apples. Or tomatoes. Or broccoli. And it doesn't necessarily matter if it's overnighted from Holland or the US. The UAE is a high income country but the logistics of importing almost everything that is to be consumed is still developing and the sheer distance means most of the produce that is imported are produce cultivated to travel well and in those produce the flavor is among the first to go.

Then we do have the origins of where the produce comes from. I'm in a position where I can buy carrots imported from Australia and carrots imported from China (the Chinese produce are always among the cheapest) so one can directly compare and contrast. And as someone whose family travels greatly and widely, not everything is equal worldwide and this applies to produce just as well.

Nov 18, 2014
Roland Parker in General Topics

Pie??? in Baltimore

Bonjour bakery on Falls Road just off Lake Avenue. Excellent French pastries and bread. They even sell quiches. They have a side business selling gourmet hot dogs called "Haute Dog Carte" and despite the twee name it's very good.

Downtown has Patisserie Poupon with two locations, one on Charles Street and the other on East Baltimore Street, it's where my wedding cake came from. Then there's Bonaparte in Fells Point. Of the two, Patisserie is better.