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canned sardines for a newbie

Wow!! Thank you so much for sharing that!! I'll be printing this!

May 15, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Soft Shell Crabs

I wish I could find them alive. I've been told that to force crabs to molt, places will remove the eyes. That's how they get so many where they freeze them. Alive and kicking is much better but I am able to settle for the frozen ones. I am sorry to hear that Wegmanns will no longer sell them that way.
Another variation for me is if I am making a toasted sandwich - I will somtimes include a small amount of fresh avocado with the crab.

May 10, 2012
Cremon in Home Cooking

What to eat with four year old sardines?

Remember that sardines in olive oil taste VERY different from sardines packed in water or other oil (non olive). Olive oil packed sardines already have an interesting, nutty flavor to them. I'll have mine on water biscuits or even triscuits - with milk so cold it almost starts to form ice crystals in it.

May 08, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Soft Shell Crabs

I use a chinese dredge consisting of 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of corn starch with some salt and pepper. I don't even bother with the egg. I pat them dry and flip them in the dredge and fry them in peanut oil. I'll either eat them in a sandwich of toasted bread or by themselves. And I eat every bit - leaving nothing behind. They are so delicious. Yes the inside is a little stronger in flavor but that's part of the experience for me.

Today I buy them frozen from the local farmers market and thaw them. Not quite the same as fresh but still better than none at all.

May 08, 2012
Cremon in Home Cooking

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

I remember eating butter sugar sandwiches growing up in Thailand. There's no way I could eat one now.

Apr 19, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Garlic powder & onion powder vs garlic & onion

+1 to Ramius's remark.

I am the same - I will use garlic powder or onion powder to stretch taco seasoning with some cumin powder. I do NOT use it for anything else. I mainly use the fresh stuff. I don't like dry herbs much either.

Apr 17, 2012
Cremon in Home Cooking

What Food Trend are You So Sick Of?

Ditto for me, pie.

Apr 10, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

I grew up eating the chicken ones. My mother would make them and she told me that as a toddler that was the one food she would make where I would clean my plate. The flavor has not changed in over 40 years.

I make savory pies now myself (steak and kidney as well as chicken pot pie with leeks). My crust is exactly like that on those old Swanson pies. I make mine two crust pies because like you - I have to have that gravy with that crust crunch. It's just as much a matter of taste as texture for me. Very pleasant memories growing up with those pies.

Mar 28, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

I was born in Alabama and lived there for 5 years before relocating to Bangkok, Thailand with my family. While still in Hunstville, I remember having fried frog legs and fried okra as a kid and loving it. Back then they were dirt cheap. I doubt those things are as comparatively inexpensive with regard to other foods today.

Mar 20, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

I remember so many Church food functions - fish fry's, crawfish boils, crab boils, and even one with all you can eat raw oysters where I ate so many I was gorged. Now, those church eats tend to be just pot lucks where members will cook a large version of a home recipe. You don't see those odd but delicious institutionalized preparations anymore. In the past, someone with contacts would get a bunch of odd food (like large fish filets or something) from some distributor that was trying to unload some test item that didn't sell well and make a church fund raiser out of it. I haven't seen that sort of thing in a LONG time.

Mar 20, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

mandatory tipping for larger groups [moved from Phoenix board]

Just because it's illegal doesn't mean managers won't skim tips: http://waiterpay.com/tag/mario-batali/

Mar 20, 2012
Cremon in Not About Food

mandatory tipping for larger groups [moved from Phoenix board]

Yeah, as I said if it ALL goes to the server then I don't really have a problem with it. But six people being considered a large party is definitely new to me. Other people may have seen the trend for a while but I haven't which is why I regarded it with suspicion. Every place I have ever been that does that starts the "large" count at ten.

Mar 15, 2012
Cremon in Not About Food

mandatory tipping for larger groups [moved from Phoenix board]

There was a time when the rule was 10 or more people was considered a large group and a precalculated 20% gratuity would be added to a party's check (or each check on the table if there were multiple checks) and this was stated clearly on the menu. In fact, very few non fast food places I frequent do NOT have a stated policy/warning on the menu for large group gratuity. But this example here looks like shameless margin padding, as the decision does not come from the waiters. I wonder how much of that 20% the waiter actually gets to keep. I will say that I have never had bad service while in a group of 10 or more. If I ever do, I will speak up and ask the tip to be removed. But 6 people being considered a large party? That is VERY new. I have NEVER seen or heard of such a thing before now and I am a frequent diner. You may want to ask the waiter if they get ALL of that gratuity (ask them to be honest). I'll stop complaining if all that goes to the waiter but if the house gets a cut, then there's your root cause for this "new" trend (profit padding) which is a despicable deviation from restaurant ettiquette.

It's not surprising they didn't have the nerve to put that one in writing. They were probably counting on most people either not noticing or not speaking up. Kudos to you for speaking up, Neville!!

Mar 14, 2012
Cremon in Not About Food

Smoky Mushroom Jalapeño Poppers

These recipes are all ok - but basically, what we have here are 13 takes on stuffed jalapeno peppers. While these do taste good - you have the same recipe (stuffed grilled jalapenos) repeated 13 times with a different filling in each one.

Mar 14, 2012
Cremon in Recipes

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

Veronica - thank you for the clarification!

Mar 13, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

Hey MoxieLouise. Have you ever had a Boston Egg Cream? There's no egg or cream in it - I think it's just a chocolate soda and that's what they called them in New York years ago. My father in law swears by them and misses them (you can't find them nowadays). Might be the same thing you are talking about.

Mar 12, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Your Favorite Retro Dishes

I have Chicken Cordon Blue often but it has been decades since I had Chicken Kiev. I have never had it in a restaurant but now I want to get the Tyson packaged version and make it just to taste it again.

Mar 08, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Easy Beef Stew

This recipe looks very simple and tasty!!
MommaJ - the total time the chuck will be cooking is 2 hours with this recipe here. 1 hour without vegetables and another hour with. Though your method cooks the meat for 2 hours and 15 minutes, they are pretty close.

Mar 07, 2012
Cremon in Recipes

Cooking for One: A Widow's Challenge

Hey Caroline1! Good seeing posts from you again. A turkey for one - yum! The first thing that comes to mind for me is all those turkey sandwiches that will be there the rest of the week for lunch with salt and lots of black pepper on them. I'd make the turkey just knowing I had those sandwiches to look forward to ;-)

Mar 07, 2012
Cremon in Home Cooking

what brand of fish sauce?

They are covered for much of the fermentation process. They are allowed to air out after the liquid is separated from the stuff at the bottom of the vat to clear the sauce and let most of the smell disperse.

Feb 28, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Until they get it together, go 3 blocks west to The Counter

Oh mine was fantastic. I ordered a burger with Brie and Gruyère cheeses, sauteed mushrooms, onions, thick bacon, mayonnaise and pesto sauce. I didn't have to put any seasoning on it. Now without the bacon and gourmet cheeses, I'd have probably put some salt and pepper on it myself. But it truly was not necessary with the burger build above.

Feb 21, 2012
Cremon in Los Angeles Area

Until they get it together, go 3 blocks west to The Counter

Latindancer - just curious - if you don't like the foil, how do you prefer they pack your to go order?

Feb 20, 2012
Cremon in Los Angeles Area

Until they get it together, go 3 blocks west to The Counter

The Counter has just about the best burger I have ever had. I have tried Five Guys and SmashBurger - both have good burgers and Smashburger has very good rosemary and olive oil fries. But the burger at The Counter was much better than either of the other two places. It's significantly more expensive though. But IMHO, well worth it.

Feb 20, 2012
Cremon in Los Angeles Area

what brand of fish sauce?

Actually, the "anchovy extract" is misleading. They don't actually add an extract of anchovies. I think they should be more clear on this but because they ferment the anchovies with salt until they liquefy and discard a paste from the bottom of the vat it's considered an extract of the anchovies. That is why they don't simply list anchovies as an ingredient. But I know lots of brands that say anchovy extract that make their fish sauce the old fashioned (proper) way so I wouldn't let that bother you when shopping for a good fish sauce.

Feb 20, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

What is your favorite "ethnic" food to make?

They are all rice noodles. The one I buy comes in a plastic bag and is silk screened with 3 female dancing silhouettes on it (one red, one blue and one green) with lots of Thai writing. The noodles are VERY cheap. I imagine they are all about the same quality, you know? The ingredient list for rice noodles is rather short - I don't know how a manufacturer could mess that up. I buy a half dozen packs at a time and they last my family and I a while. I also buy a lot of tamarind paste. You'll use that in a LOT of Thai cooking.

Hope you enjoy your Pad Thai - good luck!

Feb 16, 2012
Cremon in Home Cooking

Do you have a favorite I'm-alone-now-so-nobody-will-know favorite dish?

Oh how I understand where you are coming from. I love spanish octopus, sardines, kimchee and love anchovies on my pizza. All 4 of those foods have my wife and my daughter fleing the kitchen if I open those containers.

I'll take a can of Vigo octopus, drain the oil and put it in a bowl with romaine lettuce and some cucumber, I'll drizzle a little olive oil on it a sprinkle it with Hawaiian rock salt. Awesome light lunch.

My wife and daughter don't understand my love for these foods. I have two boys - the younger one will eat this stuff with me but the other one (my oldest), while he won't duck for cover - doesn't care for my adventurous food choices.

Feb 16, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

Why is Cheese Forbidden in Authentic Italian Fish Cookery?

Kosher dietary laws forbid serving or eating dairy with meat - but that does not extend to fish. Kosher fish (that's fish that have scales, gills and fins on them) can be served with kosher dairy products and still be kashrut.

That being said, my favorite Italian dish is Linguine with White Clam Sauce (definitely NOT kosher) served with garlic and plenty of grated Parmigiano and Romano on top. I am now hungry just from having typed that!!

So blazes with tradition - eat what you like!!

Buon Appetito!!

Feb 15, 2012
Cremon in General Topics

What is your favorite "ethnic" food to make?

mcel215 - love your blog!!

My recipe will be at the bottom of this post.. Super H is an excellent supplier for any Asian cooking - they are all over the U.S.. I buy fresh Thai basil leaves from their produce section as well as fresh Thai Chili peppers. They have the most popular brands of fish sauce and they sell lychees in the can (a great fruit treat).

Pad Thai Recipe

½-1 lb of thin strips of chicken

½ lb peeled and deveined shrimp (if you like shrimp – use the full 1 lb of chicken if you don’t)

1 egg

3 cloves minced garlic

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

2 tablespoons fish sauce

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 minced shallots

1-1/2 cup green onions

2 tablespoons palm sugar

2 tablespoons tamarind paste

1/2 package Thai rice noodles

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup packed Thai basil leaves

1-1/2 cup bean sprouts

3 tablespoons well chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts

You can make Pad Thai with almost any meats or vegetables. Traditional recipes call for Tofu but I personally don't use it in mine. But you start by soaking the noodles in tepid water (don’t use hot water or the noodles will get too mushy - if that happens, your noodles will end up as one big gloppy mess). For the cooking I use a no-stick wok. Any kind of wok works best but if you don’t have a wok, a large pan will suffice (woks are cheap though – anyone cooking Asian food really ought to have one). Also, it works best if you have a 15,000+ BTU burner on your stove – one secret to Asian cooking is very high heat. Get the noodles to where they can be shaped in your hand but they aren’t super limp and expanded with water (or again - gloppy mess will result). For me, this takes less than 10 minutes with room temperature water. Also, I mix the palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind paste thoroughly before I start to get the palm sugar well dissolved (it’s hard to mix it in with the noodles evenly while it is a lumpy paste)

I like to cook the chicken and shrimp separately and scramble the egg before I even start the noodles – you can do it in the same pan while the noodles cook, but I like having the meats cooked already before I begin.

Ok, get the wok very hot. Preheat it – don’t add the oil until the wok has started to heat (too hot to touch).

Toss in the oil (it should smoke slightly with the heat), garlic and shallots and stir quickly. When the garlic starts to brown, drain the noodles and put them in the wok. Keep stirring or the noodles will start to stick.

Add the tamarind, the palm sugar, and fish sauce and stir. The liquids should evaporate with the intense heat – if they DON’T, your wok isn’t hot enough – keep a mental note for next time.

Dump the scrambled egg in and mix it in with the noodles.

Add the basil leaves and mix in quickly.

Add the chicken and shrimp and lime juice. At this point I taste a noodle – they should be chewy – not limp. If they are too dry, add a little water. I’ll also add more fish sauce at this point if I think it needs it.

Put in the white pepper, the green onions and bean sprouts (reserve half the bean sprouts) and mix well for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Take off the heat and serve. I will add a teaspoon of minced Thai chilli peppers to mine which will give it a strong kick. My family does not like the hot peppers so I omit it for theirs. But at this point, I sprinkle the chopped peanuts and reserved bean sprouts over the top and enjoy.

Feb 15, 2012
Cremon in Home Cooking

What is your favorite "ethnic" food to make?

Thai food. I grew up in Thailand so it's a comfort food from my childhood. I like making curries and noodle dishes such as Pad Thai or Drunken Noodle. But my favorite is Thai Basil and chili sauce seafood over steamed rice. And the one my family demands I make them the most is Thai Chicken Coconut soup.

Feb 14, 2012
Cremon in Home Cooking

Typical Foods of Every State/Region of US?

Yes - Predominantly northern MN.

Feb 14, 2012
Cremon in General Topics