Food?

Auggie

Well-known member
Like the bar tending and cocktails thread if anyone has a question or comment on food, especially eating out at higher end place, I can probably help you out. A few tips to start things off:

At home:
  • Fresh is best for almost everything. If cooking for a special event shop the morning of or the evening before to get your ingredients.
  • Get an air fryer, probably the best home gadget to come on to the market since the microwave.
  • Use an instant read thermometer when cooking your proteins and take off the heat source as soon as it hits the correct temp. Make sure to let it rest the proper amount of time too so the cooking process completes and the juices redistribute.
  • Use the correct surfaces to cook, if possible use cast iron or stainless steel to prepare everything outside of eggs.
At the restaurant:
  • Try something new. If confused what to order mention to the server what flavors you like and they can point you in a certain direction.
  • At a better restaurant take your time and enjoy the meal. Fine dinning is not a sprint.
  • When asked what temp you would like your protein I always go with chef's suggestion. Now I understand some have an aversion to medium rare or rare beef so if at a nicer steak house just order something else because you are wasting $s if you order a high end steak well done.
  • Orders something bubbly to start off the meal to open up the taste buds. Champagne is my choice but club soda, ginger ale, and pilsner/lite beers are also good choices.
 
 
What's the difference between the various oils (olive, vegetable, peanut, etc) and what they can do for pan recipes?

A couple weeks ago, I tried out this Asian noodle recipe from Binging with Babish. The noodles didn't turn out so great, but his tip for saving the oil which has been infused with scallions, onions, shallots, bay leaves, star anise pods and cilantro is masterful. He ain't lying when he says it is "wildy delicious". Lucky for me I had some empty squeeze bottles and this is my go-to cooking oil for the time being.
 
What's the difference between the various oils (olive, vegetable, peanut, etc) and what they can do for pan recipes?

A couple weeks ago, I tried out this Asian noodle recipe from Binging with Babish. The noodles didn't turn out so great, but his tip for saving the oil which has been infused with scallions, onions, shallots, bay leaves, star anise pods and cilantro is masterful. He ain't lying when he says it is "wildy delicious". Lucky for me I had some empty squeeze bottles and this is my go-to cooking oil for the time being.
It really depends on what temp and type of food you are cooking with as to the oil you should be using. When using for a pan recipe the key is smoke point: Heated past its smoke point, that fat starts to break down, releasing free radicals and a substance called acrolein, the chemical that gives burnt foods their acrid flavor and aroma. My biggest call out is stop using extra-virgin olive oil as an all purpose pan frying oil it has a low smoke point of 375 degrees. There were some that pushed this as a healthy alternative but I really think they were paid off by the industry to kick up sales. I really like EVOO in salads and as a substitute for butter with crusty breads, thats about it. My general pan frying oil these days is avocado oil, stuff is healthier, almost impossible to burn, and it actually has a neutral flavor profile. Speaking of which flavor profile is also driver in what oil to use, the wife bakes and she loves coconut oil as an alternative to less healthy fats and it also gives the food a slight hint of a milky nut flavor. Here is a simple guide to use when deciding on which cooking oil to use:


Fat cooking tip: Save your bacon grease in a separate can and if you make old school popcorn on the stove top use this instead of vegetable oil, will be the best tasting popcorn you have ever had.
 
Along those lines, if you prepare duck or duck or duck breasts, try to save the rendered duck fat. It can be used to fry other items, such as home made french fries - delish. Also has a high smoke point like safflower oil and a few others.
 
Can you recommend some good air fryer meals that are light on prep, only require a few simple ingredients, and are filling/high on protein?
 
Can you recommend some good air fryer meals that are light on prep, only require a few simple ingredients, and are filling/high on protein?
Not sure how much in light prep you mean but many recipes can be made a head of time and frozen so you can prepare quickly when pressed for time. Homemade egg rolls where you can play around with and control the ingredients is super easy plus make some fun different dipping sauces and you have a great quick meal. I also make ahead chicken tenders and have been experimenting with different coatings; along with panko you can use things like corn flakes, potato chips, and my fave crispy fried onions. Also empanadas are a great way to really jack up the protein and can be made ahead of time and frozen, using pre-made pie dough can make the process very fast.

A deep fryer tip is to not forget about using it for your veggies. I like to roast things like cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli to get a better flavor; toss in a slight splash of avocado oil then season with everything bagel spices and everyone at the table will finish their veggies. Also use the grill feature to quickly cook asparagus, gives that charred grilled flavor with out having to boot up your grill.
 
I like to roast things like cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli to get a better flavor; toss in a slight splash of avocado oil then season with everything bagel spices and everyone at the table will finish their veggies. Also use the grill feature to quickly cook asparagus, gives that charred grilled flavor with out having to boot up your grill.
Had a roommate from New Zealand, cooked veggies and potatoes that way. Not necessarily a light splash of oil and no additional seasoning needed. Left the tender and flavor in, with a little crunch in the skin. Also the first time I'd had full mushrooms fried in butter for breakfast with the eggs and bacon. Now a staple.
 
Had a roommate from New Zealand, cooked veggies and potatoes that way. Not necessarily a light splash of oil and no additional seasoning needed. Left the tender and flavor in, with a little crunch in the skin. Also the first time I'd had full mushrooms fried in butter for breakfast with the eggs and bacon. Now a staple.
So when you had your roomate from New Zealand, I am to understand you had him with cooked veggies?

I thought canabolism was illegal in most all areas of the world? I've never tried human flesh, with or without veggies , mushrooms or the other seasonings.
 
Had a roommate from New Zealand, cooked veggies and potatoes that way. Not necessarily a light splash of oil and no additional seasoning needed. Left the tender and flavor in, with a little crunch in the skin. Also the first time I'd had full mushrooms fried in butter for breakfast with the eggs and bacon. Now a staple.
Man, I got to run out and get me some whole mushrooms and kick my breakfast up a notch. Sounds great.

So when you had your roomate from New Zealand, I am to understand you had him with cooked veggies?
I'm sure the kiwi flavor contrasts nicely with the veggies. Kinda like pineapple on pizza?
 
Starting to get deep into grilling/smoking season, anyone got a good tip or two to add?

I have one: grill your corn. My go to is to husk and put the corn directly on to the grill at medium high and turn about every 2 minutes or so until it reaches bout 50-75% caramelization. No oil or water needed. I then cut the corn off the the cob and place in a bowl and toss with a small amount of butter and salt, that's it. If looking for that Mexican street corn, elote, vibe that is popular now; go to Costco and buy their cilantro lime sauce and toss with that and add parm; if you wan to kick it up a notch add fresh cilantro, fresh lime zest or chopped jalapeno peppers. I personally don't like eating corn on the cobb, I fend it messy especially with facial hair and the toping are not uniformly applied or they slide off during the course of the meal.
 
Along those lines, if you prepare duck or duck or duck breasts, try to save the rendered duck fat. It can be used to fry other items, such as home made french fries - delish. Also has a high smoke point like safflower oil and a few others.
Always try to save the fat from almost any meat cooked. It's free, tastes better than most oils, and goes with the dishes you're using.

Bacon grease is a perfect example. Use that to fry up everything else after making it for breakfast. Makes eggs taste a lot better than butter, margarine, oil, or cooking spray. Doesn't take a lot either.
 
I do the same with bacon grease mostly because of convenience. I wouldn't take the taste of it over butter, or other oils. Not for eggs, potatoes, not for pasta, not for most anything. If I want bacon taste, say on salmon or chicken, I'll just wrap it in a strip when cooking. Seems to work ok.

One of the clickbaits probably, I read about a restaurant that deep fries it's burgers. Been using the same grease for like a hundred years. I want to go there.
 
A nice thing about Ohio is we've got a lot of high quality farms willing to sell pork fat very cheap from pasture raised pigs. Rendering pork fat into lard is as simple as throwing it into a crockpot overnight on low. Add in a splash of water to start so the bottom doesn't burn.

It's bacon fat except way higher quality. Do not buy lard from the store they feed those pigs trash and all those toxins get stored in the fat...
 
A nice thing about Ohio is we've got a lot of high quality farms willing to sell pork fat very cheap from pasture raised pigs. Rendering pork fat into lard is as simple as throwing it into a crockpot overnight on low. Add in a splash of water to start so the bottom doesn't burn.

It's bacon fat except way higher quality. Do not buy lard from the store they feed those pigs trash and all those toxins get stored in the fat...
nice tip. Other than hungarian turkey, what would you use it for?
 
Tip of the week.

Grow your own herbs. Things like basil, rosemary, and thyme are very easy and fresh versions of these are the best. Just stick them in 6" pots, place in correct sun/shade mix, and water as directed on the little cards. I will say that parsley and cilantro are tougher because once they go to seed they are not the same.
 
A classic from Goodfellas

Binging with Babish made this (as he does with several famous TV/movie food scenes) and posted the recipe to his site. I followed it myself and I concur - you gotta have the pork, that's the flavor

 
BTW I had some leftover pizza for lunch. Was going to reheat in the microwave as always until I remembered I had seen this:


1,000 times better than the microwave. The bottom is as crispy as a saltine cracker but with the added flavor of a good oil. Top is nice and moist without being too greasy.
I have moved over to an air fryer and drizzle some water on the top easier than the above pan frying method though that works very well too. Moves the hot air around so it crisp up the crust and heats the top at the same time, quicker. Adding a little milk to re-heated home made creamy pasta like spaghetti carbanara or mac n cheese is another reheat tip too.
 
I'm doing up a whole brisket this weekend without a smoker and debating whether to put it in the oven or on the warming rack of my propane grill. I have a smoking gun, but I'm worried it won't get enough smoke flavor to make it worth the time. If there's any tips or tricks for working with brisket I'd like to hear them too.
 
I'm doing up a whole brisket this weekend without a smoker and debating whether to put it in the oven or on the warming rack of my propane grill. I have a smoking gun, but I'm worried it won't get enough smoke flavor to make it worth the time. If there's any tips or tricks for working with brisket I'd like to hear them too.
I love smoked brisket and in the summer that is the only way I do it. That being said the Jews & the Irish (corn beef) really have this cut of meat down and you can check out various Jewish influenced recipes for ideas on how to cook out side of smoking. Because of its nature when not smoking it I cook "wet" so it doesn't dry out. Some tips:

  • When buying the meat try to get as much fat as possible running through the cut, this will help keep it moist. You can always separate out the left over grease when making the gravy afterwards. I also like the 2nd cut on the flat, while not the best for eating right away it helps with moisture and can be used for hash or some other left over dish.
  • Remember after seasoning it with your rub sear it before adding to whatever cooking vessel you use. This will give it a nice charred flavor to the meat.
  • I prefer a slow cooker to an oven, I feel I get a more moist cook out of it then even a submerged brisket in a broiling pan. Either way low and slow is the saying when cooking this cut.
  • I know you want to peak when cooking it but don't! That allows the built up moisture to escape and you have to start all over again building this up. I use a newer meat thermometer that is wireless and runs through an app to monitor cooking temp.
  • Like most cuts of meat allow it rest after taking out, I go at least 15 mins for brisket.
  • When cutting make sure to go across the grain and slice as thin as possible. Thick stringy chunks of meat show a lazy chef that is rushing to get the meat on the table, will kill even a well cooked and flavored brisket.
 
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What do you think of fast-casual restaurants?

I'm a very big fan and I prefer not to go to sit-down restaurants and be waited on anymore. The tipping has gotten out of hand and I feel that I get better service when I can get up and get my own drinks and condiments.

Recently had a weird situation with a server who forgot to bring out two key items after the food had been served. Both prevented me from enjoying the meal. I don't go to the fancy restaurants, so maybe it is the level of service I should expect from the national chains. But I much prefer the fast-casual with quality food and much faster service (which is me doing the work).
 
What do you think of fast-casual restaurants?

I'm a very big fan and I prefer not to go to sit-down restaurants and be waited on anymore. The tipping has gotten out of hand and I feel that I get better service when I can get up and get my own drinks and condiments.

Recently had a weird situation with a server who forgot to bring out two key items after the food had been served. Both prevented me from enjoying the meal. I don't go to the fancy restaurants, so maybe it is the level of service I should expect from the national chains. But I much prefer the fast-casual with quality food and much faster service (which is me doing the work).
Carry-out is just fine with me if it's a party of one. I'm far more likely to enjoy a meal when I'm not surrounded by a bunch of randos.
 
What do you think of fast-casual restaurants?

I'm a very big fan and I prefer not to go to sit-down restaurants and be waited on anymore. The tipping has gotten out of hand and I feel that I get better service when I can get up and get my own drinks and condiments.

Recently had a weird situation with a server who forgot to bring out two key items after the food had been served. Both prevented me from enjoying the meal. I don't go to the fancy restaurants, so maybe it is the level of service I should expect from the national chains. But I much prefer the fast-casual with quality food and much faster service (which is me doing the work).
For the most part I like them, the quality of the food is usually a lot better than a traditional fast food restaurant. The execution of customer interaction is where the breakdown happens and there seems to be few different ways to order and deliver the food. There is the chipotle method of going down the cook line in public, it works well in theory but there always seems to be a backup at the line because folks contemplate too deeply what they want or a popular item runs out. Then there is the order and get a number method and they run it out to your table method; this is better in the long run but too many times the order gets messed up as called out above or when really busy the runners have trouble locating the correct orders. In the get a number category Chick Fil A does the best job but places like Noodle & Co always seem to mess something up. Still much better food then pre made McD burgers.
 
Then there's the Panera method of ordering and then picking it up from the counter when it's ready.

I prefer fast casual when I'm out running errands and it's lunch time.
 
At the beach in North Carolina and cannot believe the amount of fried food southerners eat. Not just chicken either, they have this great bounty of seafood and it seems everything is served deep fried with greasy sides like hush puppies, french fries, fried okra, collards, etc... How about broiling some of that great flounder instead of coating with breading and sticking it in a fry pan with a ton of grease. My heart is stopping up just looking at the below picture...

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Food porn over the 4th of July weekend.

Fresh blackened koho salmon served medium rare with grilled corn on the cob.
 

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