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Jeff Grossman

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:08 am

Larry Greenly wrote:
I tase each one individually. (I go through a lot of batteries.)


Wow! Do you get any split ends?


Nope, the taser prongs are steel and very durable.
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Jenise

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:45 am

Watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen a week ago where they made Kung Pao Chicken. Cooking technique-wise, very midwestern--put the chicken in a plain teflon skillet, put the lid on, cook for awhile, then stir, put the lid back.... Ai yi yi.

But hey on rice? Never 2:1. About 1.25:1 max. I like singular kernels of rice and have good pans with lids that fit well and I don't lose steam from the pan. One's pan, the rice itself and cooking style/preferences will determine whether you need more or less. But I hate mushy rice, and 2:1 is too soft for me. I use less water than most.
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's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:39 pm

Jenise wrote:Cooking technique-wise, very midwestern--put the chicken in a plain teflon skillet, put the lid on, cook for awhile, then stir, put the lid back....


:shock: :shock: Did they use any dried chiles? If so, how many? Any Sichuan peppercorns?

Regarding rice: Mostly I use Thai jasmine rice with a water:rice ratio of 1.5:1. For aged Basmati rice, closer to 2:1 is more appropriate. I serve Uncle Ben's converted rice with Cajun dishes, and that (and other parboiled rice) needs 2.5: 1, and a longer cooking time.

Regarding Sichuan peppercorns: The ones you'll find in nearly all oriental markets in the USA are stale. They impart only a pale shadow of the fragrance and flavor of fresh (non-stale) ones. Ditto the dried chiles used in kung pao dishes. IMO the best source in the USA for Sichuan peppercorns and chiles is themalamarket.com, an online Sichuan grocery that directly imports their ingredients from Sichuan. The first time I made kung pao chicken using their Sichuan peppercorns and dried chiles it was a real eye-opener! So much more aromatic and flavorful.

One key to successful kung pao dishes is to avoid burning the chiles and Sichuan peppercorns. You need to cook them long enough, and in hot enough oil, to extract the aromatic oils, but if they burn it adds a harsh element to the flavor. Mise en place is critical here, as you only have seconds to get the next ingredients in to avoid burning.

-Paul W.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:50 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Regarding Sichuan peppercorns: The ones you'll find in nearly all oriental markets in the USA are stale. They impart only a pale shadow of the fragrance and flavor of fresh (non-stale) ones.

How about the mail order specialists like Penzey's?

One key to successful kung pao dishes is to avoid burning the chiles and Sichuan peppercorns. You need to cook them long enough, and in hot enough oil, to extract the aromatic oils, but if they burn it adds a harsh element to the flavor. Mise en place is critical here, as you only have seconds to get the next ingredients in to avoid burning.

Because the next ingredient will lower the pan temp as it hits? Or because the next ingredient will contribute steam as soon as it comes to temp? Or something else?
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Robin Garr » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:15 pm

Chinese fare for lunch because why not? Spicy tofu and stir-fried snow peas and onions topped with fresh cilantro.

spicy-tofu-snow-peas.JPG
Spicy tofu and stir-fried snow peas
spicy-tofu-snow-peas.JPG (254.37 KiB) Viewed 10551 times
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:46 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:How about the mail order specialists like Penzey's?


I don't have any personal experience with Penzey's Sichuan peppercorns. Unless they're importing directly from Sichuan, they'll be getting their peppercorns through the usual import chain, which means that they will be stale. But they probably do a faster turn-around than most local oriental retail markets, so I would expect them to be fresher than usual.

Mise en place is critical here, as you only have seconds to get the next ingredients in to avoid burning.

Because the next ingredient will lower the pan temp as it hits? Or because the next ingredient will contribute steam as soon as it comes to temp? Or something else?


The former, I think. My recipe (Fuchsia Dunlop's actually) calls for heating oil, adding the dried chiles and Sichuan peppercorns, stir-frying until fragrant (30 seconds or less), then adding more aromatics and almost immediately after that the meat. This lowers the temperature enough to prevent the chiles and peppercorns from burning. If you're not ready to throw in the aromatics immediately, you'll scorch the chiles. Getting the timing just right takes practice. Add the aromatics too soon and the chiles/peppercorns won't have released their flavor enough. A couple of seconds too long and they start burning. The dish will still be good, but not great.

-Paul W.
Last edited by Paul Winalski on Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:47 pm

I could eat that, Robin! Simple yet delicious.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:09 pm

Thanks, Paul.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:20 pm

Paul Winalski wrote: :shock: :shock: Did they use any dried chiles? If so, how many? Any Sichuan peppercorns?

Yes, surprisingly, they used both, so the result at least had a gentle heat. They added celery just at the end which to my tastes (and I LOVE raw celery) would have been too raw. I suspect that was to preserve the green for the camera. IIRC, that and peanuts were the only other components.


Regarding rice: Mostly I use Thai jasmine rice with a water:rice ratio of 1.5:1. For aged Basmati rice, closer to 2:1 is more appropriate. I serve Uncle Ben's converted rice with Cajun dishes, and that (and other parboiled rice) needs 2.5: 1, and a longer cooking time.


We differ a lot. I don't have a thumbnail for aged basmati as it's been awhile since I've had any. Last bag I bought, 5 lbs in a burlap sack, got taken from me at the border. Apparently only Chinese rice can come into the U.S.--who knew. But Uncle Ben's? I cooked some just last night--12 minutes, 1:1. The one rice I tend to use a little more water for is Japanese short grain. Like I said in the post above, it's all about what you like.
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's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Larry Greenly » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:27 pm

Can someone tell me how to post an image? I can't seem to make it work.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:45 pm

On this software it's a multi-step process, and that's why so few of us post pictures we'd other wallpaper the joint with. I think there's a FAQ on it, lemme check.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:48 pm

Re: How do I post pictures
by Howie Hart » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:21 am

1. Make sure the picture is 500 x 500 pixels or smaller and in jpeg format.
2. Below the window where you type in text, is an "UPLOAD ATTACHMENT" window. Click on "Browse" to find the file you wish to upload.
3. Click on the file and then click on "Add the file".
4. After a short delay while the file is being uploaded, a "Place Inline" box will appear. Click on that and the file will be placed in your message.
5. You can then click on "Preview" to see the picture before you "Submit" it.


Re: How do I post pictures
by Cynthia Wenslow » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:32 am

We've recently increased the size allowed for photos to 640x600.

John, in addition to Howie's method, another way to do it is to load the required size photos to your Flickr account (since I know you have one). Then you can use the Img tag along the top of the post window and just insert the URL of the image on Flickr in between the Img tags. Using the attachment there is a limit to how many photos you can insert in a post (I forget how many it is). And also with using the Img tag, you don't get that annoying scroll bar happening.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Larry Greenly » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:35 pm

Thanks, Jenise, for the image advice, I'm going to try it now.

Jenise: But hey on rice? Never 2:1. About 1.25:1 max. I like singular kernels of rice and have good pans with lids that fit well and I don't lose steam from the pan. One's pan, the rice itself and cooking style/preferences will determine whether you need more or less. But I hate mushy rice, and 2:1 is too soft for me. I use less water than most.


I guess my rice didn't get the notice to be mushy. :mrgreen:

I used basmati rice 2:1, the results were singular grains, no blown ends, and slightly al dente. The humidity here is low, sometimes below 10 percent. And our boiling point is 202F.

Sometimes I use a French cook technique. Into a kettle of lots and lots of boiling water (like 100:1 or more), pour in your cup or two of rice and cook until done. No starchiness, separate grains. Freaky, huh?


Basmati rice.jpg
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Robin Garr » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:32 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:Thanks, Jenise, for the image advice, I'm going to try it now.

It worked! :D

FYI, Larry, the max size is now 800 x 800 pixels. It has gradually increased over the years to keep up with improving screen definition, but that's probably the top for this software - we don't want pictures wider than the forum column.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:04 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:Sometimes I use a French cook technique. Into a kettle of lots and lots of boiling water (like 100:1 or more), pour in your cup or two of rice and cook until done. No starchiness, separate grains. Freaky, huh?


They use a similar technique in India: put your cup of rice into a full pot of boiling water and then drain off the water when the rice is done. The Thais steam their rice in a porous basket set over boiling water. This technique is especially used for Thai glutinous (sticky) rice.

-Paul W.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:05 pm

Last night I made Chinese red-cooked chicken. Tonight will be Beijing meat sauce noodles.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:43 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:I guess my rice didn't get the notice to be mushy. :mrgreen:


Looks perfect. I just dislike the wet, overcooked rice misnomered as "fluffy", to my tastes anyway, the standard 2:1 or sometimes 2.5:1 ratio touted by Betty Crocker and just about every cookbook written in America up until about 1970 and still followed in every school cafeteria in the land. The goal seems to be the consistency of mashed potatoes. My stepmother was a believer. Used to make "fried rice". She was loyal to MJB brand rice, which she'd cook in a wide skillet for at least half an hour and then add, while still hot and in the same pan, lots of soy sauce, chopped green onions and diced "ham"--the chopped/pressed/formed square sandwich meat kind. And cook that for another half hour. She believed she nailed it, just like Yee Mee Loo's (a fave Chinese restaurant of our childhood).

Paul would love it. (NOT.)
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Larry Greenly » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:00 pm

In my early days as a teacher, I ate at the school cafeteria. I vividly remember one day eating a mound of mashed potatoes. The first bite shocked my mouth: no, it was extremely mushy rice. >ack<
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:50 pm

Jenise, and I'll bet that "fried rice" was made with that abominable artificial soy sauce made from soy extract, rather than naturally-brewed.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:13 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Jenise, and I'll bet that "fried rice" was made with that abominable artificial soy sauce made from soy extract, rather than naturally-brewed.

-Paul W.


Long ago, but I can guarantee you it was the only soy sauce available in white suburban grocery stores of the era: Kikkoman!
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Paul Winalski » Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:08 pm

Jenise wrote:[Long ago, but I can guarantee you it was the only soy sauce available in white suburban grocery stores of the era: Kikkoman!


Bravo!

B.K. (before Kikkoman), La Choy and Chun King were the major brands in white suburban grocery stores. Both of them bear the same relationship to real soy sauce as Miracle Whip does to real mayonnaise. I remember what an eye-opener it was when I first tasted Kikkoman--the first time I'd ever had real soy sauce. Even Chinese restaurants in those days served the fake stuff at table, although I suspect they used the real stuff to cook with.

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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Larry Greenly » Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:16 pm

Long ago, but I can guarantee you it was the only soy sauce available in white suburban grocery stores of the era: Kikkoman!


Yay! The Wisconsin-made brand!

OTOH, I have close to ten different brands and kinds of soy sauce, including Kimlan Premium that you recommended more than a decade ago.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:16 am

Larry Greenly wrote:
OTOH, I have close to ten different brands and kinds of soy sauce, including Kimlan Premium that you recommended more than a decade ago.


Over two decades ago! Would have been approx 1999. And I still use it/love it. It's my go-to condiment soy. I also have Pearl River Bridge soys (Mushroom and regular-light) for various purposes.
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Re: What's Cooking (Take Three!)

by Jenise » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:18 am

I am now hungry for fried rice. But that will have to wait.

Last night I made spaghetti (well, actually I used penne but same difference). I make a zillion different sauces but this was the style of my mother's without resorting to the Lawry's seasoning packets she did. Very comforting!
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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