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  1. brianshaw

    Growing saffron

    Last year I decided to dedicate a small patch of fertile soil to a culinary experiment. I grow vegetables, fruit, and herbs. But growing saffron sounded interesting, challenging, and consistent with our Mediterranean climate. Twenty saffron crocus bulbs were planted nearly at the end of the...
  2. brianshaw

    French tart - thick or thin?

    Last year I saw a pastry in a French bakery, Parisian Flan, and became addicted. Unfortunately that bakery is 200 miles away and nobody I know of in my area makes this. So I found several recipes on the Internet and have been baking my own. Basically this is a pastry crust filled with pastry...
  3. brianshaw

    What do you think of this cake

    Not mine but I bought a slice... out of curiosity... I wish I remained curious. What do you think?
  4. brianshaw

    Tutorial: how Japanese knives are made

    Interesting article. Hope somebody enjoys and or learns something. (Also hope this hasn’t been previously posted)
  5. brianshaw

    Japanese knife sharpness

    I’m now a convert to the Japanese, not “fake Shun”, knife community. I’m cooking dinner at a friends house and used one of his knives. Not sure who made it but he says it was hand-wrought on the side of Mt Fuji and quenched in the tears, tears of joy, of virginal Geisha girls. And it was...
  6. brianshaw

    Egg whites for meringue

    What, if anything, is the functional and final product quality differences between egg whites used for meringue pastries - egg white (shell) vs egg white (mechanically separated in carton) vs powdered egg white (meringue powder)?
  7. brianshaw

    Can't turn off email notifications

    I have deselected "email notifications" and all notification types except reply to tracked thread... but I keep getting emails. What should I try next to stop the emails? I'd like to get notified at top of page rather than by email.
  8. brianshaw

    Food soviereignty

    A new law was passed in the Untied States state of Maine: Food Sovereignty... reducing red tape (and state inspections) on small food producers selling to home consumers. On the surface it seems like a good thing. Is it, or is there a hidden danger lurking...
  9. brianshaw

    British raised pork pies - typical dimensions?

    Raised pork pies, AKA Melton Mowbray Never ate one and never really paid attention to them, but now interested and thinking about making some. But what size?  What is typical and what serves one person with a fairly good appetite? Any and all...
  10. brianshaw

    Silverware quality and the "taste" of food

    One of my pet peeves when eating out is cheap silverware... especially when it has grime build-up. I dislike the feel of cheap (or weirdly designed) silverware and it often makes the food seem to taste less good. I really detest unclean silverware. A few water spots is annoying and I can easily...
  11. brianshaw

    New york's Carnegie Deli to close

    The end of an era.
  12. brianshaw

    Name this dish!

    Hey... I just invented a comfort food item that is sure to become a classic.... Perhaps very soon! Having an extensive English and New England background, further complicated with a healthy dose is Scottish ancestry and all that is associated with that... Was hungry for some breakfast but...
  13. brianshaw

    One a penny, two a penny...

    My Good Friday culinary tradition. Tomorrow: Tsoureki.
  14. brianshaw

    Sayonara suckers :)

    I had a revelation... an epiphany of sorts. My favorite knives are cheap carbon steel. Until recently my favorites are two that don't even have a makers mark on them. Recently I got a Forgecraft 10 inch chef knife and it became the sharpest knife in my quiver. So now I'm getting a couple...
  15. brianshaw

    British steamed pudding

    Being American but with a passion for British cooking I'm having a craving for steamed pudding.  We just don't get much of that in the US and the Heinz canned puddings are, well, ummm, errr... something I think could be better.  So I'm interested in making them myself. Only once have I done...
  16. brianshaw

    Fine hones: ceramic vs glass vs smooth steel

    I've always used a "standard steel" (rather coarsely ridged) for straightening the edge on German (Henckels four-star) and carbon steel American and French knives, and a 1200 grit ceramic for Western-style Japanese knives (Shun VG-10).  That combination seems to work well and over the years my...
  17. brianshaw

    Dried shishito peppers

    I have an abundance of shishito pepper this year and let a lot of them go red on the bush.  Not knowing what to do, and being too cheap to waste them, I dried the peppers and ground them. I've read that they don't dry very good but mine did.  Very similar to the Fresno chiles I did the same...
  18. brianshaw

    Beef tendon

    I must be living under a rock because over the weekend I had my first taste of beef tendon.  The guy at a local pho restaurant suggested it, but he warned that many people seem afraid of it.  What a wonderful taste sensation.  Pure gelatinous yumminess. Aside pho, what other beef tendon uses...
  19. brianshaw

    Canning and pickling salt

    The new project this year has been canning and pickling. All has been going well, until I did a little too much research. Now I need help from experienced canners and picklers... substitutions for canning and pickling salt. Canning and pickling salt simply does not seem to exist in my area...
  20. brianshaw

    Candy - hard circular disks

    I'm curious, what generic category of candy material is used to make those hard circular flavored disk candies with the trade name of Necco Wafer.  Is it gum paste, pastillage, or something else.  I saw a TV show in which those and candy hearts were stamped from a long sheet of candy "pasta"...
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