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Paul Winalski

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Re: What I learned today

by Paul Winalski » Fri Nov 05, 2021 12:15 pm

Sometime back Jeff was lamenting that due to the Covid lockdown they sorely missed the smoky flavor of Chinese restaurant noodles, and lacking a chop suey range or high-BTU gas ring they couldn't make it themselves.

Last night I made pork lo mein. It was too cold out to use the 100,000 BTU gas ring, so I made it indoors using the tabletop butane gas ring. This doesn't deliver any more heat than the burners on my electric range, but it's specifically designed to be used with a wok so I prefer it for stir-frying. I followed my usual procedure of stir-frying sliced onions in some oil and then tossing in the cooked lo mein noodles. But this time instead of stir-frying the lot, I gave it an initial toss to mix everything together and then just let it sit and sizzle in the wok for 1/2 minute. I then gave it a toss or two to mix and repeated the procedure. After four minutes, there were dark brown spots on many of the noodles and some of the onion shreds as well. The rest of the cooking proceeded as usual.

This did the trick. There was that unmistakable smoky nuance to the finished dish. So it is possible to achieve this with conventional heat sources. But you need a well-seasoned wok or the noodles will tend to stick.

-Paul W.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: What I learned today

by Jeff Grossman » Fri Nov 05, 2021 2:54 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:But this time instead of stir-frying the lot, I gave it an initial toss to mix everything together and then just let it sit and sizzle in the wok for 1/2 minute. I then gave it a toss or two to mix and repeated the procedure. After four minutes, there were dark brown spots on many of the noodles and some of the onion shreds as well. The rest of the cooking proceeded as usual.

This did the trick. There was that unmistakable smoky nuance to the finished dish. So it is possible to achieve this with conventional heat sources. But you need a well-seasoned wok or the noodles will tend to stick.

Thanks, Paul! (And, good memory.) I think most of my cooking surfaces will cause sticking but maybe the ceramic pan won't; I keep it whistle clean.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What I learned today

by Paul Winalski » Sat Nov 06, 2021 11:01 am

Keeping everything very hot will reduce the probability of sticking. And don't stint on the cooking oil. I cooked up the entire one-pound package of fresh lo mein noodles and used half of that in the dish. The onions were stir-fried in 3-4 TBS of peanut oil before adding the noodles and doing the pan-searing trick. Too much oil, though, and you'll have a greasy finished dish. I suggest trying the technique out and, if you get sticking, abandon ship and revert to the simple stir-fry. A conventional steel wok shouldn't have any sticking problems if it's seasoned well and you're on high heat.

-Paul W.
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Jenise

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Re: What I learned today

by Jenise » Tue Nov 09, 2021 1:38 pm

Speaking of wok burners, we visited friends in Oregon this weekend. They have a beautiful home that they recently designed and completed, and she has two kitchens. One larger one open to the living room, and a smaller galley-style that links the outer kitchen to the dining room on the other side. In the galley area is a refrigerator, a 2nd DW and a gas stove with a wok burner. I mean to ask about the BTU's and didn't, but suspect it couldn't be that high because it didn't require a vent any stronger than one that comes in a microwave/vent combo.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What I learned today

by Paul Winalski » Wed Nov 10, 2021 1:35 pm

There's a Chinese kitchen supply store in Boston's Chinatown. Among the things they sell is a heavy duty gas stove hob with an incredibly mean-looking number of gas jets on it. I suspect it's a high-BTU hob that you can use to replace the normal hob on a home gas range.

-Paul W.
Last edited by Paul Winalski on Tue Dec 07, 2021 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jenise

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Re: What I learned today

by Jenise » Fri Nov 19, 2021 3:13 pm

Last night I learned that I quite like pork jowl as an ingredient! The slices weren't as thin as I'd believed, rather about 1/4" thick. Still, each strip was only 3/4" wide among the widest, so these were not large. I thawed the package with three possible directions in mind and finally let Bob pick--he chose paella. I cut the strips into about 1" lengths and then put all in a teflon skillet to brown and render off fat. Then I just built it as one would: bomba rice, onion, garlic, smoked paprika, a bit of tomato sauce, broth and green castelveltrano olives. (Yes, I skipped saffron, which I love but this time I wanted to feature the smoked paprika--for my tastes either/or works, but both if used together kind of cancel each other out.) Then simmered away until that wonderful crust formed on the bottom. We loved it.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: What I learned today

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:31 pm

I am making this recipe for the second time. I rated it excellent, and it makes a pretty presentation. I added cauliflower to the veggies as I had it from my CSA box last week. I love the garlic, ginger, lime, and honey additions.
https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/slow- ... ng-chicken
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Re: What I learned today

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Nov 20, 2021 5:41 pm

Oops, should have posted the above in Whats Cooking.
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Jenise

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Re: What I learned today

by Jenise » Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:06 pm

That's okay; happens to all of us.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What I learned today

by Jenise » Sat Nov 27, 2021 3:39 pm

Today I learned that adding honey to the sugar base for a caramel will prevent crystalization. It's the base mix for a walnut tart I plan to make soon.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What I learned today

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:42 pm

Katie Lee, on The Kitchen Saturday did a method with water and sugar and just let it sit in the pan and do its thing, no stirring but had to be watched carefully, as it began to turn golden, she swirled it then added the cream by whisking, Turned out to be a lovely sauce very silky, that even Geoffrey seemed to approve of! Served over some sort of cheesecake..
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Larry Greenly

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Re: What I learned today

by Larry Greenly » Mon Dec 06, 2021 7:50 pm

I like Ming. Seems like an okay guy. FWIW, he was a chef in Santa Fe in the '90s, I think.
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Christina Georgina

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Re: What I learned today

by Christina Georgina » Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:40 am

Picked up a jar of Black Garlic at Trader Joe's in DC. Not as pungent as the fresh clove so need to use more and allow rehydration but a great substitute to have on hand. Fell in love with the fresh stuff but very hard to find. This comes from South Africa.
Another recent Trader Joe's find is Ajika. My Russian friend who has traveled extensively in Georgia put me onto it and reports that it is the most authentic mix she's come across. Addictive.Imported from Georgia. Have gone through 3 bottles in as many months. It is great on/in everything - soups, stews, salads, fruit. It flies off the shelf but so far they are restocking
Mamma Mia !
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Dale Williams

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Re: What I learned today

by Dale Williams » Tue Dec 07, 2021 5:16 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I like Ming. Seems like an okay guy. FWIW, he was a chef in Santa Fe in the '90s, I think.


Larry, I'm assuming you mean Ming Tsai (this looks like reply to something, but can't see what). I really like the original Blue Ginger cookbook.

Paul et al, I am planning on replacing our wok. Got as a wedding present years ago, but Betsy has never looked- a nonstick finish, which really isn't what you want. Planning on carbon steel. Any suggestions? I thought of Hexclad, but rather pricey for the twice a month we use wok. But still a contender. Amazon has lots of options. Any thoughts on brands (Yosukata, Babyltrl, etc)? My inclination is to go for flat bottom, not as traditional, but saves me having to buy a separate wok ring.Stove has a 25K burner, not true wok, but pretty hot.

Christina, so it's black garlic (fermented), but dried? I like BG so will look next time I'm in a TJs.
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Re: What I learned today

by Rahsaan » Wed Dec 08, 2021 3:04 am

On the topic of black garlic, I just learned that it existed. I saw some black garlic paste and was trying to figure out what it was, and then I noticed the 'fresh' black garlic itself. Google explained the details and I just started cooking with it. Very nice flavor and amazing color. At first my wife pushed it to the side because she thought it was something I burned, so I was happy to explain!
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Christina Georgina

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Re: What I learned today

by Christina Georgina » Wed Dec 08, 2021 8:19 am

I much prefer the fresh black garlic cloves to paste or dried but I would have to order online and I prefer to inspect it before purchase. The dried pales by comparison but does add a depth of unique flavor and it’s aroma is very characteristic of fresh.
Mamma Mia !
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Re: What I learned today

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Dec 08, 2021 1:14 pm

I make Momofuko eggs on a regular basis, always keep them in the marinade until all six eggs are gone. I love them for a fast breakfast with a bit of fresh fruit. The last time I made them, I was reaching for the soy sauce and next to it was a bottle of Pearl River Bridge Dark Soy Sauce. I have no idea why I bought it, so decided to use a little in the Momofuko egg mixture. Bad idea, it is so strong that it permeated the egg clear through the yolk. Way too strong for the purpose I used it for.
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Re: What I learned today

by Jenise » Wed Dec 08, 2021 2:13 pm

I do not know this thing called Ajika!!!!! But it sounds heavenly, here's a good Saveur article about it:

https://www.saveur.com/food/georgian-aj ... ainstream/

I must have some. BUT I'll bet I can find the real deal wet mixture in jars, as my area is home to many Russian immigrants (I just bought a dishwasher from a man named Igor) and there are several little stores devoted to products specific to their culture. Going shopping today!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What I learned today

by Paul Winalski » Thu Dec 09, 2021 12:54 pm

Tonight I'll be trying out a Thai recipe I found at the Importfood.com website. It's a bell pepper steak stir-fry seasoned with dried, ground bird's eye chiles, shallots, fish sauce, and Maggi seasoning.

-Paul W.
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Peter May

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Re: What I learned today

by Peter May » Thu Dec 09, 2021 1:04 pm

Sounds good, Paul. Have you a link to the recipe as I can't find it on the site
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Christina Georgina

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Re: What I learned today

by Christina Georgina » Thu Dec 09, 2021 10:21 pm

No two wet Ajikas are alike but do try more than one and try making your own. When I’m in NYC I get small containers at a Georgian deli in Sheepshead Bay. Fresh is perishable so use quickly. Blue fenugreek is absolutely essential IMHO so it should be in the ingredient list. If I’m making my own I stock up on the fenugreek and marigold petals at Kalustyan’s. TJ’s dry is so good I won’t make my own unless they stop stocking it
Mamma Mia !
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Re: What I learned today

by Jenise » Fri Dec 10, 2021 10:45 am

Never made it to the Europa store but did get to TJ's, so I now own Ajika. Love the Fenugreek aroma, which is also a flavor that stays with you. Shook some on marinating raw cauliflower to which pale pink radicchio and arugula would be added. Wonderful.

Oh, and TJ's had fresh baby corns in the produce dept. Never in my life have I seen them fresh before. Bought some. Don't know what I'm going to DO with them, but I have them!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: What I learned today

by Paul Winalski » Fri Dec 10, 2021 12:04 pm

Peter May wrote:Sounds good, Paul. Have you a link to the recipe as I can't find it on the site


You can find the recipe here..

The Thai pepper powder mentioned in the recipe is dried, ground Thai bird's-eye chiles. You can use cayenne pepper instead. Worcestershire sauce could be used instead of Maggi seasoning. For tapioca flour you could substitute cornstarch or arrowroot or potato starch. I made this with flank steak, as I usually do for stir-fried beef dishes. It came out a bit tough. I'll use a more tender steak cut next time.

-Paul W.

P. S. - The previous posting was meant for the "What's Cooking" thread, not this one. Sorry about that.
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Peter May

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Re: What I learned today

by Peter May » Fri Dec 10, 2021 12:48 pm

Thanks, Paul.
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