Re: Deal A Meal

1

anything that involved cutting in butter

No pie? No cobbler? No buttermilk biscuits? Take it to the Pete Singer thread, because that kind of life ain't worth living.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:30 PM
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McMegan should just sharpen her, or get sharp, knives, if cutting onions does such a number on her.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:32 PM
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Second time today? I must not have seen the first link in comments.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:32 PM
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There's just so much cooking that doesn't touch any of those that that list seems somewhat contrived. What, exactly, requires "hours of stirring"? And most things that serve 12 just take a larger pot; I can understand that being a dealbreaker if you don't have the pot, but that's pretty minor.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:34 PM
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Also, one can get cherry pitters, if really must. They also work on: olives!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:34 PM
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2: I had the same thought when I read that post of hers (due to someone linking to her earlier today).

Not just sharp knives, but the freshness of the onions themselves is relevant.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:35 PM
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Many things that serve 12 can be eaten as leftovers.

What, exactly, requires "hours of stirring"?

Risotto for 12?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:35 PM
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Sharp knives could also help with the garlic-shaving thing, although really, how often does that come up and why's it such a big deal? You can get razor blades at the drugstore. Kyocera makes a cheap ceramic mandoline.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:37 PM
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Prep time over one day also is also kind of weird, since lots of times that just means you do something for half an hour one day, and then the next day you do something else—no room in the fridge?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:37 PM
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Fondue forks are really useful for cherry pitting. (Which is incredibly annoying, but no cherry pitting means no cherry pie.)

I don't really have a dealbreaker -- I'll give anything a shot. But I don't cook much, with Buck home he still makes 7 out of 10 meals, easily.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:38 PM
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My recipe deal-breakers:

Cream of mushroom soup, Coolwhip, or Velveeta on the ingredient list
Sourdough starter
The word "oriental" in the title
Any laminated pastry made from scratch ("fold it like a business letter, then mark the edge with one tick...")

There are probably others, but I can't think of them.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:38 PM
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Kyocera makes a cheap ceramic mandoline.

You have a ceramic mandoline but no electric mixer?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:40 PM
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I have refrained from criticizing McMegan out of deference to people here who like her, but that list is painfully wrongheaded on several counts. She really shouldn't write about cooking.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:40 PM
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Effort greater than toast or oatmeal.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:40 PM
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Recipe dealbreaker: exotic background ingredients, meaning anything I'd have to buy a container of which would take me 3 years to use up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:41 PM
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Involves actual "cooking", rather than "preparing".


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:42 PM
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Any laminated pastry made from scratch

On this I'm with you. I look at puff-pastry recipes and think "Ooh, I bet that's good. But no." And I haven't tried sourdough in ages -- I always ended up with a starter smelling vaguely of feet. But on the other two, you're just being a snob: the question was "What's too much trouble" not "What recipes are you better than?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:42 PM
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painfully wrongheaded on several counts. She really shouldn't write about...

This applies with equal force to her writing on economic policy, urban planning, and much, much more.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:44 PM
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Making dulce de leche involved a lot of stirring, but it was so worth it, as Belle Lettre could testify.

Anything that requires more than one kind of fresh herb gets expensive very quickly, unless you have a kitchen garden or a cheap farmers' market source.



Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:47 PM
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The "no prep over a day", while weird in the abstract, makes sense if her kitchen really is tiny: I could see considering having half-prepared food around unbearably annoying if there's no counter or refrigerator space.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:47 PM
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12: I don't have a mandoline, I just know that Kyocera makes a cheap (and apparently decent) one.

And actually as of January I do have an electric mixer.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:47 PM
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Does "discussions of mortars and pestles, or a chinois" mean "mention of" or "requiring," as in she just won't use a mortar and pestle or chinois? That's just silly.

This applies with equal force to her writing on economic policy, urban planning, and much, much more.

True, but I'm trying to stay on topic.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:49 PM
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It applies for any x, really.

However, cut the root part off of the onion before you start dicing it and tears will be much lessened.

In general, what almost all of the things on that list have in common is they would be much easier if one had a full-time professional staff of three or four people, or a group of female relatives confined to the house all day by religious law. To the extent that these preconditions is absent, then a lot of contemporary cookery-wankery is restricted to single, childless types with jobs that supply a lot of free time.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:51 PM
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If something requires a chinois, I guess I won't make it, 'cause I don't have one—don't even have a food mill—but that's a practical obstacle, not a principled one. And my mortar and pestle are wimptastic.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:51 PM
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My $9 cherry/olive pitter was a terrific purchase.

I dunno that I have a prep-related deal breaker. Ingredient wise? Uh, meat.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:53 PM
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the question was "What's too much trouble" not "What recipes are you better than?"

"Too much trouble" can be extended, though. For example, dealbreaker: unsubstitutable ingredients. Oh, 1.5 cups of heavy cream? No, thanks, only if I can substitute some milk, preferably low-fat, which will of course change things but will still be okay. Etc.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:55 PM
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Who among us has not suffered at the hands of a believer in the infinite transitivity of ingredient substitution?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:56 PM
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24: In that case, I declare that a duck press, and any discussions thereof, are a deal-breaker for me. For now, at least.

I very nearly bought a stand mixer last week, but I managed to resist the urge.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:56 PM
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McMegan cooks like a jackass. But she doesn't cook jackass, as it requires a spit, which I presume she does not have.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 7:58 PM
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8) The words "serves 12" unless I am having a huge party

Can she not divide by 2? Or by 3, or 4?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:00 PM
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In a pinch, you can substitute a goose press for a duck press, Jesus.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:01 PM
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27: Sweetheart, you have to trust people's judgment when they substitute. One doesn't do it willy-nilly, you know; which is why some recipes are dealbreakers.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:01 PM
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33

Not trying to be snarky here-- I have never heard of shaving garlic with a razor blade. When would that be called for?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:03 PM
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I think Gonerill's point is that sometimes one does do it when it's not advised, cilantro.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:03 PM
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27: Sweetheart, you have to trust people's judgment when they substitute. One doesn't do it willy-nilly, you know

I'm sure you don't. I'm just saying there are plenty of people who do believe in multi-part, multi-stranded substitution chains.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:04 PM
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I have never heard of shaving garlic with a razor blade. When would that be called for?

If it's been in the house for like, fourteen or fifteen years.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:05 PM
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34: I understand Gonerill's point, Benjy. Have I not said before that people who can't tell the difference between cilantro and parsley should be banned from the kitchen?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:06 PM
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38

Vintage garlic!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:06 PM
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Argh, this list is so boneheaded, I want to make deep-fried jackass with shaved garlic, minced onions, olives and freshly-pitted cherries just out of spite. For 12.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:06 PM
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Ooh.

Mine would be identical to Becks' list plus ben's 24 as practical objections, plus I don't have a mixer, so that cuts out a lot of recipes for me unless I have the time or inclination to mix it by hand.

I would also add, in the not dealbreaker-but-probably-not-going-to-happen column:

1) Anything that requires unusual spices that I am unlikely to need again. This goes double for fresh herbs.
2) Any rare or expensive ingredient. It's not exactly a principled objection, but it probably means I find another recipe.
3) Fresh mango. I am not buying a damned mango slicer, so they end up mangled.

After this evening's cooking adventure, I'm adding fresh artichokes to the list. Fucking little spiny globes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:07 PM
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Vintage garlic!

I was thinking more adolescent garlic.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:09 PM
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33: Blume, Paul Sorvino made the method famous in scene in Goodfellas. He says (in the movie) it makes the garlic "melt."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:09 PM
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The inclusion of an deal-breaking ingredient on the list (#6) just because you don't like it doesn't seem to be in keeping with what the original NYT article was talking about. Not wanting to cook things you don't like isn't the same as finding certain processes not worth the trouble.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:11 PM
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Who among us has not suffered at the hands of a believer in the infinite transitivity of ingredient substitution?

A certain someone was fortunately cured of this years before I met him, but not before putting Frosted Flakes in spaghetti sauce.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:11 PM
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45

Cala, there are ways to slice and dice mangoes. Don't deprive yourself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:12 PM
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Fresh artichokes aren't that much trouble, and yum.

Olives and cherries probably aren't a good flavor combination. Maybe if the olives were oil-cured you'd have a better shot.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:13 PM
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He says (in the movie) it makes the garlic "melt."

More than, say, pulverizing it with a garlic press? (Though I'm a mincer myself when it comes to garlic.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:13 PM
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I have never heard of shaving garlic with a razor blade. When would that be called for?

There's a scene in Goodfellas where the imprisoned mobsters spend hours slicing their garlic with a razor so it liquefies in the sauce.

painfully wrongheaded on several counts. She really shouldn't write about...

McMegan's the master at adopting a really authoritative tone when she has no idea what she's talking about, and no desire to find out.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:14 PM
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Holy shit, I was pwned on my favorite scene in a 20 year old movie. I don't know if I love this place or hate it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:15 PM
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46: I think I prepared it wrong, but there were spines inside, too! How was I supposed to get spines out of the center of the artichoke?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:16 PM
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But the spines on the inside are usually not as sharp as the outer ones, are they? Or maybe you just had killer artichokes.

The first time I made artichokes, I cooked them far too little, and I had to take them back from my dinner guests and cook them some more. Embarrassing! But once you get used to them they're easy peasy. Don't give up, Cala!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:18 PM
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Actually, that wasn't my favorite scene in Goodfellas. I take that part back. Hard to pick a favorite scene in that movie, great from start to finish.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:18 PM
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53

The artichoke was, at least, an excellent delivery system for a lemon butter sauce.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:21 PM
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54

Are you sure it wasn't a cholla cactus?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:22 PM
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Cream of mushroom soup, Coolwhip, or Velveeta on the ingredient list

I would jokingly suggest substituting arugula for the Velveeta, but I wouldn't want to interrupt you mid latte-sip.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:22 PM
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For personal foibles, things that are too much work for the reward: yeah, fresh artichokes.

Also, tomatillos. I've never prepared them myself, but had dinner at a friend's, and watching her put together a tomatillo salsa was sheer torture. This was some time ago, but the peeling, the peeling. Ach.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:24 PM
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Every time I've cooked artichokes, I've done it by cutting them in quarters or, for the small ones, in halves, and removing the interior spines before cooking, but I've read—on RFTS's blog!—that with baby artichokes, the interiors are edible integral.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:25 PM
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the peeling, the peeling. Ach.

Scrooge McDuck with a sunburn.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:25 PM
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59

I fry or microwave a piece of protein, dice a stalk of celery & throw salad from a bag on it, and peel a fruit. I probably should eat a breakfast or lunch but can't seem to care. Sometimes I nibble cheese.

Anything more than that is a dealbreaker.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:32 PM
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Artichokes are dirt easy; you people are confusing me. You can pass half the effort off to your dinner guests!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:35 PM
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Ooh. I thought of another one. Anything requiring a rolling pin. I just don't have the counter or table space to put up with rolling out dough.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:37 PM
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62

No dough rolls out unless dough rolls in.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:39 PM
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Word to yo' rolling pin.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:39 PM
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I won't cook anything I have to beat to death with a 2x4.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:40 PM
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Agreed with Cala in 61. I have spaces that would be big enough for the dough, but they're too small to deal with the mess of the required flour.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:41 PM
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(And the fun part is that I do have the space. When shivbunny is not busy, he will roll out tortillas, fresh ravioli, all sorts of things. When I have to do it by myself, the kitchen is too small.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:42 PM
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Only the evil hate olives. Confirmation!

I'm a thoroughly bachelor cook, so much of McMegan's list makes sense to me. But for special occasions I don't mind prep time over a day or active prep over four hours. And if I had the time to shave garlic with a razor blade every day, I would. And I love chopping onions. So I guess I disagree with most of the list. But yes, deep frying is right out.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:44 PM
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More than, say, pulverizing it with a garlic press?

Marcella Hazan is absolutely against the garlic press, but I often use one anyway out of convenience. The Goodfellas line about the garlic melting is rubbish, from a culinary standpoint.

In the restaurant where I worked, we cut the tops off artichokes with a bread knife, and the spiny outer leaf ends with scissors. Just takes a few seconds. If the inner leaves are still sharp enough to hurt, well, surely a fresh artichoke is worth the sacrifice.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:44 PM
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59: Bob, you sound like my father (RIP). We once had an astonishingly hostile fight over the nature of the salad I was willing to eat, along with the chicken croquettes with gravy he was serving. He preferred iceberg lettuce tossed with mayonnaise. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:46 PM
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1-~50: Good god. Cooking threads are precisely eight gazillion, thirty three billion, nine hundred and forty seven thousand, six hundred and two times worse than swimming threads (rescued by Standpipe & mcmanus). Obviously an overwhelmingly minority position. Do carry on.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:50 PM
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Only the evil hate olives.

Shh. We try not to say these things out loud.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:52 PM
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I will deep-fry for company, but not for myself. Invite me over and I'll do fried okra! Tempura! I'm yours.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:54 PM
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73

Somebody hold down Stormcrow while we force a gardening thread on him.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:55 PM
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Evil was I ere I ate olives.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:55 PM
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Ah lived olives are 'ere, er, as evil, O devil? Ha!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:57 PM
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76

Ok, Jesus, I've got your recipe. You'll make a rack of venison confit (we'll call this the deep-frying, plus, it'll take a very long time), stuffed—moving inward—with a layer of garlic cut as thin as possible with a razor blade and then some oil-cured black olives, pitted and diced with maybe some cumin and juniper and some other stuff too, probably, I dunno. Make some onion jam (so you need to slice lots of onions very thin), and towards the end turn up the heat and add sour cherries and red wine, and use to sauce the venison.

I actually have no idea how big a venison rack is, but I guess that probably wouldn't serve 12.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:59 PM
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77

It may also taste godawful, but hey.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:00 PM
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78

Could do with more stirring, and a maybe a durian.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:02 PM
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Completely nonsensical palindromes aren't very interesting, Sifufis gnit sere tniy revt neras emordnil aplac isnesno nyl etel pmoc.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:02 PM
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76: elk confit!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:02 PM
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73: I love gardening* and fresh produce 'n'at. It's cooking (and cooking threads) that is the problem.

*Well, at least until the rats with hooves so overran my property that it became a constant losing battle with them. (And am so far unwilling to put up the kinds of fences that would keep them completely out.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:02 PM
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79: it's not completely nonsensical. You could construct a very plausible meaning for it, if you stretched.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:03 PM
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83

76 to 81.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:05 PM
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Alive was I ere I saw Evila.

A man, a ptah, a hat, Panama


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:06 PM
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83: Yeah saw that. They sleep behind my garage (where most of my veggie garden used to be). One night I am going to go all Colonel Kurtz on them. (Right now I am working on getting up to the right Brandoesque proportions. It's working well.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:09 PM
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Man on evil: o, olive, no. 'Nam!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:13 PM
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76: That sounds pretty good, though I'm not sure about the cumin and juniper, because I haven't used them much. You might have to write the recipe as "double rack of venison confit" to fulfill the "serves 12" requirement, but good lord, who could object? The whole thing could easily take over four hours to prepare.

Now that I think about it, the four-hour thing may be what irks me most about the list. Why not just say, "I hate cooking"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:13 PM
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I think it was implied that Colonel Kurtz became morbidly obese after, rather than before, he attained absolute power through brutality and insanity. After all, the last time he had been seen by the Americans he was a strapping hero of some sort.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:14 PM
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Juniper and venison go way back. I admit, cumin + juniper + oil-cured black olives is not something I'm completely certain about, but I think it would work.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:15 PM
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90

I don't see what the cumin is doing there at all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:18 PM
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91

Leno: "Locate potato, PETA colonel!"

[APPLAUSE]


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:18 PM
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And sorry about your deer problem, JP. Fencing's pretty much the only way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:20 PM
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Sifu, there's more latitude in the genre of the false palindrome, a form a friend and I developed some years ago. False palindromes aim at the euphony and not-quite-nonsensical nature of real palindromes, without the rigors of palindromic construction; they were inspired by a phrase from John McPhee's* La Place de la Concorde Suisse, "zap the hapless Alp."

*Stormcrow is alluding in 81, I assume, to McPhee's description of deer.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:24 PM
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I don't see what the cumin is doing there at all.

HANGIN' OUT!

I thought it would work well with the olives.

False palindromes aim at the euphony and not-quite-nonsensical nature of real palindromes, without the rigors of palindromic construction;

May I offer you some ginger ale, Jesus? (More.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:26 PM
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I think it was implied that Colonel Kurtz became morbidly obese after, rather than before, he attained absolute power through brutality and insanity

OK, and so now I'm on the getting obese part. (Plus tell it to 'Chef' ... hmmm, It's all coming together.)

Man! Lived a devil. 'Nam!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:27 PM
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Rennet's tire marks nae must "Ujone No jutsu" means okra merits tenner.

Hmm, these things are hard to write. I got stuck in the middle there.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:27 PM
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La Place de la Concorde Suisse

A swell book indeed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:27 PM
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I prefer the "slant palindrome" which is so much easier in our language with all its odd letter combinations that do not occur in reverse.

Veiled buoy over dhow shall hum ether, or so the mullahs would have you believe.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:31 PM
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94: I was confident that other men of genius, working independently, were making the same discovery.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:33 PM
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99: And w-lfs-n too!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:34 PM
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100: And Kobe!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:35 PM
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102

I won't cook anything I have to beat to death with a 2x4.

Sifu, you shouldn't make me snort when M/tch is sleeping.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:39 PM
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103

Hurry, you can probably still beat him to death while he's woozy.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:40 PM
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104

I have:

Leftover sauced pasta.
Leftover sauce.
Several cooked shortibs.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:54 PM
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Artichokes are one of the few things I cook.

I once brought a bag of freshly cut 'chokes (my folks grew them in the yard) to a party. Ended up getting a wife out of the deal. Also ended up learning that even tender baby chokies ought to be gutted.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:56 PM
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106

take your baby-choking anecdotes to the Peter Singer thread.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:59 PM
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She hates olives? Every one of the thousand different varieties, each capable of multiple different flavors depending on how it was pickled? She gets paid for these posts? I'm actually kind of impressed.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 9:59 PM
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108

Baby artichokes can be eaten whole if they're roasted right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:01 PM
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While I was at work today, a crowd of teenage boys came over and ate several half gallons of ice cream, to save it from melting in our powerless freezer. They also cooked frozen tater tots in oil on the gas stove. To my dealbreaker list, already long, I'd add sharing a kitchen house with teenage boys.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:03 PM
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What won't I bother to do in the kitchen?

---poaching. I don't really get poaching.
---pureeing. No blender, so if I can't do it with a hand mizer or a morter/pestle, I won't do it.
---deep frying. I've never been able to gauge oil temperature well enough to get it right, and I don't really like it anyway.
---Anything that involves more than one stock or involves a stock, a glaze, a reduction, and more stock. How much damned stock am I supposed to have on hand for these bastards?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:06 PM
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109: if they burn of down you won't have to share it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:06 PM
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92: Fencing's pretty much the only way.

Ah yeah, I know. I am just amazed at the increase in what they eat and how relentless they have become in the 20 or so years that I have lived here. I know it is related to population pressure, but there were scads back then as well, and yet they would only jump my low fence to get at fallen pears and tulips and a few other things. Now they knock down netting to get at day lillies, veggies, 60-year old rhodedendrons, holly, the bottom 5 feet of all my hemlocks, Hosta and just about anything else this side of daffodils and narcissus. (I am pretty much on a deer highway that cuts between a long strip of woodland at the edge of a bluff and another wooded area.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:07 PM
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I don't do shellfish; I'm so allergic to the stuff that even steaming clams makes me ill. Otherwise, I'll do things that take days if they sound interesting. I do make my own demi-glace. And I have two pounds of cherries in the fridge just waiting to be pitted and frozen for off-season cherry pie.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:09 PM
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I am pretty much on a deer highway

You mean... a venison highway? Which way to the on-ramp?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:13 PM
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107: Perhaps she hates the kind of olives that are generally called for by recipes, which is what this discussion is about. And about 99.9% of the time, there are two, maybe four types of olive that are ever mentioned in recipes.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:14 PM
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All she says is "I hate olives".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:18 PM
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73, 81: Ooooh! Gardening thread! Gardening thread! I'm growing corn this year! And soybeans. And a million kinds of tomatoes and some zucchini and melons and collards and all sorts of peppers.... All of which I will cook with.

Recipe dealbreakers? As a practical matter, anything time intensive. But that's totally not on principle. I used to make a fabulous rye bread that took three days.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:23 PM
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And about 99.9% of the time, there are two, maybe four types of olive that are ever mentioned in recipes.

Duh. Of course. Bet those turks feel like rubes after spending all those generations cultivating different varieties of olives only to have no one ever try them. Didn't they understand that there are only two types of olives: green ones and black ones. All others are superfluos.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 11:03 PM
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In the spirit of participating in what this discussion is about, prior to attending law school I worked at a small, upscale restaurant as a line cook and, eventually, pastry chef, and I will be happy if I never again have to pull sugar or remove the skin from roasted beets. That said, the most disgusting thing I ever had to do was devein (deshit) shrimp for hours on end. Shrimp are nasty little shit-filled creatures.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 11:42 PM
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I agree with 70.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 11:46 PM
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Shrimp are nasty little shit-filled creatures.

But tasty.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:41 AM
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I can't be arsed cooking anything that involves me peeling tomatoes. If I can't use chopped ones out of a tin, fresh ones with the skin still on, or passata, it won't get made. Also, I never cook anything that involves making pastry [of any kind] from scratch. I cook pretty well, in all different styles of cuisine, but the minute any 'fancy' cooking involving flour gets involved, I turn into a total incompetent.

re: 118

Also, I understand the olive hating. It's only been the last couple of years that I stopped finding them pretty repulsive [and I like olive oil]. These days I really enjoy them, but in relatively small quantities only. Puttanesca is, for me, spoiled by too many olives. And if someone doesn't like olives, why the shitting fuck should they spend ages sampling all of the different varieties to find one they do like? It's not like they are morally obliged to have an olive they like.*

* this should basically be a general rule.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:43 AM
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Opinionz? I haz them!
re:3:The guy Ray Liotta was in the joint with had a technique where he'd cut the garlic with a razor blade so the garlic would melt right in the oil. Though I will concede he put too many onions in the sauce.

Marinades and such don't count as "prep time", and "active prep time" under 4 hours? I spend two hours every night cooking, I can spare four for a special occasion. Hours of stirring means hours of reading plus the occasional cigarette. Heaven forfend.

Dealbreakers to me are deep frying and, to be honest, the dreaded m & p. Also, cognac. If I'm going to spend $40 on a bottle of alcohol I'll drink it, and if that makes me a philistine then I'll join the fucking PLO. Steak au Poivre is for suckers.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:59 AM
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Goddamnit, pwned by a thread I didn't even read. The temerity! Irl, the garlic doesn't melt, it just burns faster. But it also lets you stretch garlic farther; if you've only got two garlics and you need to make them four, do the goodfellas method, but only let them heat for fifteen or twenty seconds before you put in the next thing.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:06 AM
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I don't see what the cumin is doing there at all.

No harm is probably the best you can hope for there.

I don't understand people who don't like olives either - I've eaten them happily since I was about 4, but all my in-laws hate them (they hate anchovies too), so I have to accept that seemingly rational people can have that failing. If Mrs OFE hadn't been the exception in her family, it might have been a deal breaker - far more than bacon, for instance.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:20 AM
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Oh, and Cala is right about the rolling pins. We should all give up and cook delicious szechuan food. Seriously good cookbook, that one.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:22 AM
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Every one of the thousand different varieties, each capable of multiple different flavors depending on how it was pickled?

they all taste like olives though.

I know it's practically a cliche by the way, but she really is a terrible journalist.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:23 AM
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#59: I fry or microwave a piece of protein, dice a stalk of celery & throw salad from a bag on it, and peel a fruit

Bob, I think I may have identified the cause of your bad temper.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:26 AM
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And sorry about your deer problem, JP. Fencing's pretty much the only way.

Apparently this works - get some fresh lion dung* and sprinkle it around your flowerbeds. Deer will stay away for fear of being lionised.

(*From your local zoo)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:10 AM
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128. Yes, peeling fruit is a bastard of a time waster. Eat grapes, Bob.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:15 AM
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McMegan's the master at adopting a really authoritative tone when she has no idea what she's talking about, and no desire to find out.

...which made her such a natural fit for The Economist.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:27 AM
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And sorry about your deer problem, JP. Fencing's pretty much the only way.

Back home in Redstatia, it's fairly easy for a farmer (provided he is on good terms with the state wildlife biologist) to get "crop damage permits" that permit you to "harvest" a specified number of deer at your leisure. Buck or doe, in-season or out of season, rifle or bow and arrow, it doesn't matter. Officially, you have to supply evidence of the damage--photos, gnawed stalks, what have you--but when the deer population is high, the biologist will generally take the landowner at his word.

One of the small joys of visiting my parents in early adulthood was grabbing a .3030 and a permit from my father and procuring a nice young corn-fed doe (the meat of a young doe is so much better than the wily old bucks with the big antlers that trophy hunters are after) and serving up an entire venison filet.

I can recall (animal lovers and weak stomachs: stop reading here!) field dressing a doe on a dewy morning and finding the entire stomach bulging with steaming, half-digested kernels of field corn that the girl had been feasting on. The eastern whitetail is truly a delectable food source.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:48 AM
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poaching. I don't really get poaching.

I'll concur with this w/r/t fish and meat. But poached eggs are delightful: by themselves, on toast, on a frisée salade with lardons, and of course, eggs benedict!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:54 AM
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It's not poaching if you get a permit.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:58 AM
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I just noticed the apparent irony of following 132 with a comment about "I don't get poaching".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:00 AM
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pwned by Nápi. Should have previewed.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:00 AM
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My neighbours used to do a fair bit of poaching. They kept lurchers* and jack russells for the purpose. The bigger dogs were a menace if they escaped though. They killed my cat and another neighbour's too.

* in their case, wolfhound/greyhound or deerhound/greyhound crosses.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:37 AM
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It stinks that John doesn't have a proper windowsill, because I really want to grow some fresh herbs.

This weekend I think taht the answer would be anything that requires having teh oven on for more than 30 minutes. It's supposed to be in the 90s.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:50 AM
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I can recall (animal lovers and weak stomachs: stop reading here!) field dressing a doe on a dewy morning and finding the entire stomach bulging with steaming, half-digested kernels of field corn that the girl had been feasting on. The eastern whitetail is truly a delectable food source.

KR: this reads like you ate the kernels. Did you? (Rather nice, I should think; like porridge.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:55 AM
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I don't see what the cumin is doing there at all.
I read this as if it had come from Apocalypse Now:
"Do you find my use of cumin ... unsound?", etc...


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:59 AM
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And if someone doesn't like olives, why the shitting fuck should they spend ages sampling all of the different varieties to find one they do like? It's not like they are morally obliged to have an olive they like.

ttaM is my people.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:56 AM
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pastry or biscuits isn't as hard as you think, o blog peeps. and deep frying is amazing because freshly fried things taste amazing. that said I haven't fried anything in 8 months.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:29 AM
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deep frying is amazing because freshly fried things taste amazing

The rosie-toed one speaks wisdom. For my money, there's no better way to enjoy chicken or cod than deep fried.

My solution to the odor and grease problem is to take the electric skillet outside to do my deep frying. (This is easier for those of use who live in the 'burbs, obviously.)

One thing I have not yet done but one day intend to do is to deep fry the Thanksgiving turkey. I figure that the kit for turkey-frying has been around long enough and become common enough in my demographic that once-used ones should start showing up in yardsales within a year or so.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:54 AM
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143: just make sure that, when you burn the house down, you grab the turkey on the way out. The burns'll be worth the delicious flavor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:59 AM
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You're talking to the guy whose favorite method of stinging insect control was to incinerate the nests with a blast from a can of dimethyl ether sprayed over a lighted match. The slight risk of a catastrophic explosion is half the fun!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:40 PM
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Here I was feeling bad about my No 1, "Prep time over one hour", when all you anti-artichoke weirdos outed yourselves. They're the easiest thing in the world to cook. Cut the stem offf. Remove some of the outer leaves. Put it in boiling water for 30-40 minutes, depending on size. Melt some butter, add lemon, salt and pepper, and you're done.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:54 PM
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But I did exactly that and there were pointy bits on the inside!!!11!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:56 PM
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If the artichoke is cooked, you just scrape with a spoon and all that pointy stuff (the "choke") comes right off. Leaving the heart, which you cut into bits and dunk in butter and it's ridiculously good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:23 PM
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You can also grab the soft pointy bits in the middle and pull them off, and then use a spoon to scoop out the hairy bits.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:39 PM
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I'm chastised over (fussing over) the artichokes. Sounds simple enough. I'll need to have it with aioli, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:58 PM
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this reads like you ate the kernels. Did you? (Rather nice, I should think; like porridge.

Field corn only tastes good after it's been converted into delicious venison (beef, pork, etc.).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:04 PM
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I use a turkey frying kit to make my beer; it's the cheapest way to boil 6 gallons of liquid at a time. Don't bother looking for them at yard sales; just wait until a week after Thanksgiving.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:40 PM
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I'm not sure whether Cala is referring to the choke, or to the innermost, nearly translucent leaves, which will usually have a barb at the tip, and little or no 'meat' on the ends. Toss them.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:59 PM
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The choke takes 30 seconds to remove, and the delayed gratification makes the heart taste even better. The thing about the inner leaves is that you can eat almost the whole thing, so it doesn't really matter there's not much "meat".

Aioli does indeed go very well with artichoke.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 7-08 6:55 AM
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153: The latter.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 7-08 7:02 AM
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The inner leaves you can grab by the tip and just eat the ends off of; tender and delicious!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 7-08 7:03 AM
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I would distinguish between the inner leaves -- which swoop up far above the choke, like the outer leaves -- and the innermost, which hug the choke, and have very little vertical. Former are tender and delicious, although I don't grab by the tip, but take the whole bunch about 1 cm from the top. Latter can go with the choke into the leaf pile, so far as I'm concerned.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06- 7-08 7:33 AM
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