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Roland Parker's Profile

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Oldest Restaurants in Baltimore area

I'm surprised no one mentioned Swallow at the Hollow, on York Road just off Northern Parkway. It's been around for ages, at least the 1950s I'm sure. A classic dive bar for North Baltimore, attracting a very diverse clientele from the blue collar to old money who could probably have bought the bar, lock stock and barrel, every single night.

I remember the hazy smoky days when we went there for great burgers. The smoke is thankfully gone but people say the burgers are still good.

PBS Heats Up Sundays With THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW {THREAD CONTAINS SPOILERS]

It's also still a dense crust, and hard by crust standards. But it does lend itself to creative forms easily. I was once at a party in the UK when someone made stacked meat pies baked in crust, but the pies were assembled to resemble a castle with a tower and battlements. The bakers of old, especially for posh households, would create food "art" out of hot water pastry.

For anyone wanting to have fun with their children while baking, the hot water crust could be ideal.

Great British Bake off

I just finished watching episode 6. I won't reveal the ending for those who haven't seen it but it was a delightful ending for once.

This has to be my all time favorite baking competition show. I almost can't watch it anymore because I don't want any of the final six competitors to lose. And they're such charming, pleasant people.

Any thoughts about the cakes made? The Princesstorte looked like a dentist's nightmare. All that sugar! Americans, thankfully, have never warmed up to marzipan (or is it odd that it's largely unknown in the US given our otherwise sweet tooth?).

As it is, I'm heartily looking forward to next week's episode. I wouldn't mind seeing some more savory baked goods as a break from episode six's intense sweetdom.

Quintessential Chesapeake Bay-area Dishes

Terrapin soup. Hardly fashionable these days (thank goodness) but was once an old staple.

Wildfowl, yes. Duck especially.

Maryland beaten biscuits.

Oyster - raw, fried, soup, stew, stuffing.

Stuffed shad.

Shad roe.

Other old Eastern Shore recipes are found at:

http://www.amazon.com/Favorite-Maryla...

Another great Maryland cookbook is:

http://www.amazon.com/Drink-Merry-Mar...

It has many little anecdotes. Since the book was first published in the 1930s, attempts at replicating the dialect is hardly politically correct these days but it is a fascinating insight into the time period and the cuisine of Maryland.

I'm not sure how much of a tradition Smith Island cake is. It exploded on the scene maybe ten years ago and before that it was very much a localized cake to Smith Island and I'm not aware of it carrying over to even the other parts of the eastern shore. Depends on your definition!

British Baking Show - Pies!

I come across it in desserts frequently. Well, about as frequently as I see it in the US, meaning those who love rhubarb will have it often while those who don't will never have it.

British desserts tend to be fruit oriented, not just cakes and pies but tarts and crumbles and stewed fruit with custard.

British Baking Show - Pies!

I hope it's only temporary. I would be devastated if I lost my sense of smell and especially taste. It happened to a relative of mine and she said all food tasted like cardboard mush and she only differed by the texture.

British Baking Show - Pies!

Poor Norman. Lavender?

I immediately thought of soap. And I'm sure Paul and Mary both did. Their reaction to the meringue was the most critical and negative of any of their comments so far this season. Yet they did it perfectly, just one or two simple words and a brief facial expression that let Norman know the lavender wasn't a good idea without making him feel like an idiot.

Norman is one of those bakers who make simple dishes to utter perfection and that has always been his strength this season. It's also why he survived the last four rounds as a perfectly executed simple dish is superior to a failed creative dish. But he didn't seem capable of genuinely thinking outside the box and elevating his dishes to the next level by adding a different twist to it despite all the hints from Paul and Mary. He must be one of those lovable but stubborn people and I knew he was going to have to go sooner or later.

British Baking Show - Pies!

Nothing to do with bin gate (which the show made explicitly clear wasn't really a scandal).

But Diana suffered a sudden loss of her sense of smell and taste, as a result of falling over. It's difficult to cook without those senses.

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-rad...

College Kid Blues

I don't know where you go to school but when I was in college (way back in the dark ages) there were various "houses" on campus associated with a certain group. I'm not necessarily talking about fraternities or sororities, but women's centers or international students centers, and they had fully operating kitchens. If you have a friend who's connected to one of these centers or houses, you might be able to use their kitchen facilities. Likewise, also speak with upperclassmen whose dorms have kitchens.

It would be a lot easier than trying to make chili in a microwave!

Jan 25, 2015
Roland Parker in Home Cooking
1

Can I use a frozen pie crust for cup cake pies

The short answer is yes.

My question is why do you want to make mini pot pies? Is it because you only have a cup cake tin and not a larger pie tin or baking dish?

In the Amish-Pennsylvania Dutch culinary tradition, pot pies are often made with the pie crust rolled out and cut into circles, baked separately (flat) and the "pot pie" served by ladling a helping of the creamy chicken filling on top of the baked (flat) crust. This does avoid the issue of soggy crust bottoms.

Jan 24, 2015
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Bolognese sauce

There is gluten free pasta available. I would probably go that route. I've had bologna on polenta before and it always felt too rich. There's something about pasta that takes away some of the excess richness of the sauce and makes it a perfect dish.

Jan 20, 2015
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

Great British Baking Show -- Desserts (spoilers)

Apparently it was left out of the freezer for less than a minute.

Bolognese sauce

Here's my bolognese recipe. I cannot vouch for its authenticity but I can safely inform you that the recipe was passed to me by the Italian mother of a good childhood friend, and the mother herself was the daughter of an Italian count and countess. The count's family was from Trieste and the countess's family was from Lazio, the province surrounding Rome. This was the recipe the family used:

Butter
Olive oil
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery
1/4 pound of a cured ham product (pancetta if you can get it, Virginia cured or even baked ham also makes a good alternative, I prefer the Virginia ham because it adds flavor without excess fat).
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Chicken stock
1/2 cup light cream

Dice the onion, celery and carrot and cook in a blend of butter and olive oil (two tablespoons each) till soft and translucent, approximately 20 minutes.

Add the diced ham and cook for another ten - 15 minutes so the pork flavor infuses the onion mixture.

Add the ground meat and cook till browned.

Add the tomato paste. Stir till the paste has disintegrated evenly with the meat.

Add enough stock till the meat is covered by 1/4 inch of liquid (I have used both homemade chicken stock and water with a bullion cube). I find a couple cups of liquid is sufficient, depending on the size of pan you use.

Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat to as low as possible. Cook partially covered for at least an hour.If the liquid evaporates too quickly, add a bit more. I've cooked the sauce down for close to 1 1/2 hours, which seems to be ideal to me. Season as necessary.

You should end up with a slightly thick but still slightly runny meat sauce. Stir in 1/2 cup light cream (heavy cream tends to dilute the flavor).

Toss with 1 lb spaghetti. Serve with parmigiano reggiano.

I do know the Italian family omitted liver because they didn't like liver. I do not know why their version also omitted wine.

That's how we make bolognese in the Roland Parker household and it's one of our all time favorite dishes. Simple, straightforward and yet so good.

Jan 19, 2015
Roland Parker in Home Cooking
1

PBS Heats Up Sundays With THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW {THREAD CONTAINS SPOILERS]

And of course that lovely manor house in the background adds a wonderful backdrop to the ye olde English village imagery.

I love this program. It's amazing how different it is from American competition programs. The contestants are genuinely nice people and drawn from a wide range of oh, so English backgrounds. Someone the other day was asking me if I was rooting for a particular contestant and after thinking about it for a moment, I had to say I'm rooting for all of them!

How Would YOU Revive Chowhound?

It is the old threads that drive me crazy. I actually started a thread here on site about the old threads a few months back. I don't know why, but for some reason one of the big shifts over the last six months is that when I now log onto Chowhound, I see a page filled with threads that were started years and years ago (as far back as 2002!). Most of these threads seemed to have been bumped up by a new poster whose only contribution is "I agree" or to answer a question that has already been answered multiple times.....six or seven years ago.

When you see a page filled with old threads, it makes the site seem stale and, yes, dead. There's only a handful of old threads on very specific, long running topics that are worthwhile keeping open, such as the long thread on prime rib roasts, as it gets bumped up around every holiday and the secrets of roasting a perfect rib roast seems to be a constantly evolving process for many people, and there's a tremendous amount of useful information. But for most old threads, that's not the case.

I suggested that threads become locked after a certain time. Readable for those searching for information but can no longer be posted on. At the same time the moderators, with input from the posters, can use their indiscretion to allow certain long running threads to remain open.

But the moderators weren't keen on the idea.

Recommendation for your Holiday Beef or Lamb Roast ....

This is a cut and paste of a post I wrote for another thread but Fourunder suggested I include it here so that others may find my experience useful when preparing their roast beef.

After years, nay, decades of roasting a prime rib roast for Christmas Eve if you include cooking with my mother, I finally switched to the low and steady method a few years back and with great success. This year was slightly different because I took a bit of a gamble.

My problem has been that in addition to the beef I also needed time to roast proper British style crispy potatoes, which requires at least an hour at very high (500+ degree) heat, along with the yorkshire pudding, which also requires a high heat. Plus other things for the dinner. While the beef came out successfully in the past, there was never enough time for the truly crispy potatoes.

So, this year with an 11 pound / 4-rib roast and a 8:00 PM dining time, I started the roast at 1:45 PM that afternoon. Roast was already at room temperature since that morning, preheated the oven to 225, started browning the beef on the stove top on all sides, then at 2:00 PM I popped the roast into the oven. The thinking was that I'd bring it out at 6:00 PM and let it rest for close to two hours and use that time to cook the potatoes and pudding, and throw the roast back in at 7:45 for a quick warming at high heat.

Well, I checked the beef at 5:00 and after three hours it was already exactly at 125 degrees internal temperature! This is optimum if you want a rare-medium rare after letting it sit for a bit as the beef will continue to internally cook. But, whoa! This was earlier than I anticipated and I was afraid of the beef cooling too much before the dinner, even with the reheating at the end.

I wrapped the beef in tin foil and then wrapped the whole shebang with several flannel pillowcases and put it aside and hoped for the best. The beef sat from 5:00 till 8:30 when we finally got to the table and when I unwrapped the beef it was still quite warm. Really, quite warm. And a perfect medium rare with plenty of nice rare-ish pink in the center. So I never needed to put the beef back in the oven for a quick warming.

Everyone raved about the beef. And the potatoes. It was a great success and the lesson I learned this year is that as long as you wrap the beef warmly, it can sit and rest for hours and still be quite warm when you serve it.

Prime Rib Roast Successes and Disasters....

After years, nay, decades of roasting a prime rib roast for Christmas Eve if you include cooking with my mother, I finally switched to the low and steady method a few years back and with great success. This year was slightly different because I took a bit of a gamble.

My problem has been that in addition to the beef I also needed time to roast proper British style crispy potatoes, which requires at least an hour at very high (500+ degree) heat, along with the yorkshire pudding, which also requires a high heat. Plus other things for the dinner. While the beef came out successfully in the past, there was never enough time for the truly crispy potatoes.

So, this year with an 11 pound rib roast and a 8:00 PM dining time, I started the roast at 1:45 PM that afternoon. Roast was already at room temperature since that morning, preheated the oven to 225, started browning the beef on the stove top on all sides, then at 2:00 PM I popped the roast into the oven. The thinking was that I'd bring it out at 6:00 PM and let it rest for close to two hours and use that time to cook the potatoes and pudding, and throw the roast back in at 7:45 for a quick warming at high heat.

Well, I checked the beef at 5:00 and after three hours it was already exactly at 125 degrees internal temperature! This is optimum if you want a rare-medium rare after letting it sit for a bit as the beef will continue to internally cook. But, whoa! This was earlier than I anticipated and I was afraid of the beef cooling too much before the dinner, even with the reheating at the end.

I wrapped the beef in tin foil and then wrapped the whole shebang with several flannel pillowcases and put it aside and hoped for the best. The beef sat from 5:00 till 8:30 when we finally got to the table and when I unwrapped the beef it was still quite warm. Really, quite warm. And a perfect medium rare with plenty of nice rare-ish pink in the center. So I never needed to put the beef back in the oven for a quick warming.

Everyone raved about the beef. And the potatoes. It was a great success and the lesson I learned this year is that as long as you wrap the beef warmly, it can sit and rest for hours and still be quite warm when you serve it.

Dec 29, 2014
Roland Parker in Home Cooking

14 pound low-and-slow prime rib cooking time

Fourunder is the absolute expert on this topic so do default to him.

After years, nay, decades of roasting a prime rib roast for Christmas Eve if you include cooking with my mother, I finally switched to the low and steady method a few years back and with great success. This year was slightly different because I took a bit of a gamble.

My problem has been that in addition to the beef I also needed time to roast proper British style crispy potatoes, which requires at least an hour at very high (500+ degree) heat, along with the yorkshire pudding, which also requires a high heat. Plus other things for the dinner. While the beef came out successfully in the past, there was never enough time for the truly crispy potatoes.

So, this year with an 11 pound rib roast and a 8:00 PM dining time, I started the roast at 1:45 PM that afternoon. Roast was already at room temperature since that morning, preheated the oven to 225, started browning the beef on the stove top on all sides, then at 2:00 PM I popped the roast into the oven. The thinking was that I'd bring it out at 6:00 PM and let it rest for close to two hours and use that time to cook the potatoes and pudding, and throw the roast back in at 7:45 for a quick warming at high heat.

Well, I checked the beef at 5:00 and after three hours it was already exactly at 125 degrees internal temperature! This is optimum if you want a rare-medium rare after letting it sit for a bit as the beef will continue to internally cook. But, whoa! This was earlier than I anticipated and I was afraid of the beef cooling too much before the dinner, even with the reheating at the end.

I wrapped the beef in tin foil and then wrapped the whole shebang with several flannel pillowcases and put it aside and hoped for the best. The beef sat from 5:00 till 8:30 when we finally got to the table and when I unwrapped the beef it was still quite warm. Really, quite warm. And a perfect medium rare with plenty of nice rare-ish pink in the center. So I never needed to put the beef back in the oven for a quick warming.

Everyone raved about the beef. And the potatoes. It was a great success and the lesson I learned this year is that as long as you wrap the beef warmly, it can sit and rest for hours and still be quite warm when you serve it.

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