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  1. emathias

    Are there any new techniques for making "margarine" type things from oils?

    In considering vegan dishes, I wanted to make some of my own butter substitutes.  I've had a few ideas, but what I REALLY want to do is make something the consistency of soft margarine from a high-quality pistachio oil. While I suppose I could apply traditional margarine techniques, I think it...
  2. emathias

    What's Your Favourite Restaurant?

    Here in Chicago, my go-to restaurant is Naha (Contemporary American/Californian).  I've taken a number of people there and I also eat at the bar on my own fairly regularly.  In addition to being great food, it used to be a great value.  The prices have gone up noticably over the past year, but...
  3. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine'

    I love this book.  Samuelsson has gotten a little more famous lately, with his appearances on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, but I've been a fan of his for at least 12 years now - well before he was much known outside of New York. I lived in Minneapolis for 2 1/2 years when Marcus Samuelsson...
  4. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Wüsthof 4151 Classic 10-Inch Bread Knife'

    This knife works best with dense, crusty breads, which it makes quick work of.  With softer breads, the blade is too thick and the serrations can tear the bread. I'm glad I have it, and it also works really well for chocolate bricks and similar hard, dense things, but I don't think it can be a...
  5. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Pasquini HMLVS Livietta T2 Espresso Machine'

    This automatically makes good coffee, either from ground beans or from pre-packaged E.S.E. packets.  It also has a steamer and will warm cups if left on the top. I think that for the money you have better options, as the normal retail price is over $1,000, I got it for $500 by agreeing to buy a...
  6. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Joyce Chen Classic Series 4 Piece Nonstick Wok Set'

    I got this for my birthday one year.  I cook a lot of Chinese food with Chinese friends, with just a regular stove.  I have this wok, and another, smaller wok.  I use the smaller one for 95% wok-required cooking.  This one is so big that when it's loaded up, there isn't much advantage to it vs...
  7. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'All-Clad Stainless 9-Inch French Skillet'

    This is a great, lightweight skillet for cooking just about anything.  It's just about perfect for cooking for 1-3 people, 4 in a pinch.  I don't have a lot of different pans, so I use it for everything from sauces to pan-fried steaks with solid results. When I'm done, it's easy to clean.  The...
  8. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Wüsthof Classic 6 1/2-Inch Hollow Cut Santoku Knife'

    I have two chef knives, this one and Wusthof's 8" classic cook's knife.  While I like them both a lot and use them both a lot, of the two, I prefer this one for most things.  It's lighter, the blade is slightly thinner which helps with precision, the hollowing helps avoid sticking, and I like...
  9. emathias

    What to do with LOTS of rendered bacon fat.

    Actually, making a confit with a crisp, semi-tart apple with it would be good, too.  Just drain the apples well when done.  Similarly, pan-frying apples at a higher heat with less fat would also be good, and you could use really tart apples and add some sugar to get a really nice savory-sweet...
  10. emathias

    What to do with LOTS of rendered bacon fat.

    Once when I had a bunch of bacon grease I took some average ham, cut it into cubes, rolled it in potato starch, and deep-fried it in the bacon grease.  I can't say it's something anyone should eat more than once or twice a year, but they were definitely little morsels of hammy, bacony goodness!
  11. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red'

    This is a great pot for long, slow cooking, and rugged enough for daily use, but is so heavy that I only use it when I need the even heat distribution. That said, it's a beautiful pot and looks nice sitting on my black stove - and when I do need even steady heat, it's great.  It's also great...
  12. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Classic 8-Inch Cook's Knife'

    I've used this knife for almost 10 years.  I sharpen it, when necessary, myself, and it's held up really well for all the tasks I've thrown at it. The handle isn't as form-fitting as some newer models, but the Classic design is classic for a reason.  Very usable, and 8" is neither too long nor...
  13. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice-Cream Maker, White'

    I've had this for a long time and never felt the need to replace it. For the price, it's a good value, however there are a variety of tradeoffs. The design is simple, easy to use and easy to clean (once it's warmed up).  I do recommend it, especially for apartment dwellers who only make ice...
  14. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'How to cook and eat in Chinese'

    I really like this book for historical reasons.  It is generally credited with coining the term "stir-fry" in the English language. It's very traditional in that there are no photographs or illustrations, just lists and descriptions of how to cook the ingredients into a meal. The book has a...
  15. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province'

    I bought this after liking Dunlop's first book, Land of Plenty. This book follows much the same format.  I'm not sure you strictly need both books if you're mainly looking for an intro to Chinese cooking, but if you want to go a little deeper into regional cusine and like her style, they make...
  16. emathias

    Review by 'emathias' on item 'Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking'

    I really like this cookbook. It has a decent number of photographs, without making every page a photo page. I don't like every page to be a photo page, since a good cookbook ends up getting used and a little messy. The author is native British, but graduated from culinary school in Sichuan, so...
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