Come all ye self-styled chefs and kitchen users, we must talk.

There are grinders where you can set the coarseness of the grind. They usually have ceramic mechanisms. I have two Weber ones and they are great. The plastic they are covered in is rugged and anti-slip -- a good thing when you need to season a pot of boiling stew (steam makes metal surfaces slippery and the steel mechanisms can be prone to rusting in such conditions).

IMAGE(http://www.riversidegardencentre.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/9d97ab6516a1b4e03c4379d7796df7d6/s/t/style-salt-and-pepper-red_1.jpg)

Thanks for this. My pepper mill bit the dust and the backup from when my partner and I merged households has a very course grind that I dislike. I will look for a Peugeot pepper mill.

It's cold and snowy out, so it's the perfect time for some nice warm soup. Specifically a tomato bisque to remind you of summer.

And this isn't some tomatoey goop with that nasty skin that you get from Cambell's. It's a soup that makes you wonder how a half dozen or so simple ingredients turns into something so danged delicious.

I made this for dinner earlier in the week and I'm making some more tonight. It is just crazy good.

Edwin wrote:

Any recommendations on a pepper grinder or mill? ours broke.

Unicorn pepper mills are the bomb.

Great article on the basics of flavor and how to use them cooking on-the-fly.

http://lifehacker.com/learn-to-make-any-dish-you-cook-better-with-the-science-1477864259

Picked up a 2.5-lb chuck roast, a couple of onions, some Shiner Bock, a can of chipotle peppers, and a can of beans (suck it, Texas!). That's right, this weekend is chili weekend 'round these parts.

Minarchist wrote:

Picked up a 2.5-lb chuck roast, a couple of onions, some Shiner Bock, a can of chipotle peppers, and a can of beans (suck it, Texas!). That's right, this weekend is chili weekend 'round these parts.

Heathen!

OK, so I need some new chef knives. Any recommendations? Would prefer a block (get it?) but really just looking for a good set of knives. Money is not much of an object here. My current set is almost 25 years old and cannot be sharpened any more.

Consumer Reports recommends this set.

Shun knives are fantastic! I would go for a Santoku over that Chef's knife, though. They're much easier to work with in my opinion. My brother has that Shun paring knife. It's very nice. You also would want to pick up a honing steel. I have the Shun one. See the frequently bought together bit for that.

Shun knives are awesome. I don't really need new knives but I'm still looking for an excuse to pick some up.

Edwin wrote:

Consumer Reports recommends this set.

While that's a really solid set, I'd probably spring the extra $120 for this. Same base knives, plus a few nice to have extras.

I made tamagoyaki for dinner this evening along with some rice and potato and onion miso soup. It was a big hit with the household.

I was really surprised how incredibly delicious it was! It's my new favorite way to cook eggs. Gonna try it with some green onions next time.

Thanks for sharing, sounds easy! I may give it a whirl this weekend, but with a round pan. I have a feeling the edges won't be as uniform as a result, but that's ok.

This past weekend we made Spaghetti Cupcakes, which was a hit with the kids

1 pound spaghetti cooked and cooled
4 eggs
1 cup of grated cheeses (we used Parm and Romano blend)
Salt & Pepper

1. Mix eggs and cheese in a large bowl
1a. Add any other ingredient here (chopped meats, spinach, onions)
2. Add spaghetti and evenly mix, season with salt and pepper as needed
3. Prepare/grease a cupcake tin
4. Add spaghetti mixture into tins
5. Sprinkle tops with a little more grated cheese and put in preheated oven at 400F for about 10 minutes.

When done, we took them out and quartered them. Easy finger food for the kiddos.

That sounds awesome brouhaha. My niece is coming to visit next week, so maybe something fun like that will get her eating something other than plain pasta.

I would think you could use a 9x5 loaf pan for tamagoyaki. The pan they used was probably wider and more shallow but it would give you a uniform length for the log roll.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

I would think you could use a 9x5 loaf pan for tamagoyaki. The pan they used was probably wider and more shallow but it would give you a uniform length for the log roll.

I think someone tried a bread pan in the comments without success. It might be a bit tricky to do the rolling with those sides. I bought a $20 pan off Amazon which is the one they use in the video from what I can tell. The round pan thing should work. A nonstick coating is the essential part because most of the oil ends up getting soaked up as you roll the egg back and forth. There's another video on japanesecooking101.com where they make tamagoyaki with green onions in a round pan. I think they just poured all the egg in the pan and then rolled it up. Once you get it rolled halfway, you can pull the egg to you so that you keep the log shape.

Ranger Rick wrote:

When we went to Italy a few years ago, and in Sienna had some amazing little almond cookies, called ricciarelli. Shortly after coming back, I found a recipe online and made them myself, and they were super-yummy.

My boss was having a Superbowl party and I've been meaning to make them again, so I dug out the recipe. Everyone went nuts for them. They're made with almond flour, so they're gluten-free, but they're chock full o' sugar so don't go thinking they're any good for you.

The recipe is here, I pretty much just followed the instructions and they turned out great. You will want to eat the whole batch in one sitting. They are addicting as hell. OM NOM NOM NOM.

I love you.

Get a room, you two.

We went to Italy a few years ago, and in Sienna had some amazing little almond cookies called ricciarelli. Shortly after coming back, I found a recipe online and made them myself, and they were super-yummy.

My boss was having a Superbowl party and I've been meaning to make them again, so I dug out the recipe. Everyone went nuts for them. They're made with almond flour, so they're gluten-free, but they're chock full o' sugar so don't go thinking they're any good for you.

The recipe is here, I pretty much just followed the instructions and they turned out great. You will want to eat the whole batch in one sitting. They are addicting as hell. OM NOM NOM NOM.

I was waiting for Tangle to jump Rick's bones on this one. BTW, you know about the gluten-free Girl Scout cookies, right? I'm getting a hookup from Boston.

sometimesdee wrote:

I was waiting for Tangle to jump Rick's bones on this one.

And thanks to the power of edits breaking the timestamp, I did it in -14 minutes

sometimesdee wrote:

I'm getting a hookup from Boston.

The troops here are insanely good at hawking the cookies. You see them constantly in the T stations when it's the normal season, and the local troop decided to be incredibly insidious a couple months ago and setup shop in the post office for the last weekend before Xmas.

The gluten-free cookies are only sold in certain areas, so it's either Philly or Eastern Mass for me. Which would you choose?

I think I'm about to pull the trigger on One of these badboys for my wife's birthday. We've been dying for a sous vide machine, but in city apartments there's just not enough space. Reviews say this is the real deal. Can't wait to try it out. If anyone has one, let me know how it works.

wanderingtaoist wrote:

There are grinders where you can set the coarseness of the grind. They usually have ceramic mechanisms. I have two Weber ones and they are great. The plastic they are covered in is rugged and anti-slip -- a good thing when you need to season a pot of boiling stew (steam makes metal surfaces slippery and the steel mechanisms can be prone to rusting in such conditions).

IMAGE(http://www.riversidegardencentre.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/9d97ab6516a1b4e03c4379d7796df7d6/s/t/style-salt-and-pepper-red_1.jpg)

I think I forgot to mention. My future in-laws very generously bought me a pair of these at christmas and they are awesome, thanks for the recommendation.

I now also really want one of those anova thingies.

The dude from PolyScience was on the Alton Browncast recently. It really got me jonesing for a sous vide setup. I work from home, so the idea of preparing food during my lunch break and then holding it until dinnertime in the sous vide bath is super appealing. Theirs look more expensive than the Anova ones, but I haven't done any research yet to see what's out there. I tend to trust Alton's gear recommendations explicitly though.

Phishposer wrote:

The dude from PolyScience was on the Alton Browncast recently. It really got me jonesing for a sous vide setup. I work from home, so the idea of preparing food during my lunch break and then holding it until dinnertime in the sous vide bath is super appealing. Theirs look more expensive than the Anova ones, but I haven't done any research yet to see what's out there. I tend to trust Alton's gear recommendations explicitly though.

My read of the reviews is that Annova and Polyscience are competitors at the real "science" level. Labs, engineering, etc. for precision equipment. The reviews by J. Kenji Lopez at Serious Eats (who I really like) are that the "consumer grade" sous vide from Annova is the real deal and in the last few months dropped from $299 to the current $199.

While I have no doubt that a $799 machine from Polyscience is an amazing piece of equipment, I can't imagine the difference is that great. Theree are 2 other consumer grade sous vide machines, one a kickstarter by a company called Sansaire and another for $299 by Nomiku. I would check out the Roundup by J. Kenji Lopez and there are specific reviews on the Anova and Sansaire products there as well. That roundup is just from December so its very current. I would say save the $500 and buy a good pot and vaccuum sealer machine

Dinner with our Swiss foodie friends was a rousing success! We tried to put together a more-or-less Southern menu, departing thematically a bit from where we have been in the past. I can't believe how well everything turned out, and they even paid us the high compliment of "I wish our Swiss friends could be here to taste this; then they'd understand how good American food can be." Which led into an interesting conversation about the size of America vs. Europe, regional cuisine variations, and at exactly what point in history the fast food and convenience food behemoths overtook things.

Anyway.

I'm mostly tooting my own horn at this point, but here's the menu, in case anyone is curious. The beverage pairings were far and away the most successful pairings I've ever created; they were also the ones I've put the most thought into. Almost as if the two things are related. Everything was made/smoked/canned/etc. in-house:

Appetizer:
Apple chutney, southern skillet cornbread (read: unsweetened), Vermont raw milk aged cheddar
paired with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Q ginger ale, muddled raspberries

1st course:
"Southern Eggs Benedict" — fresh buttermilk biscuits, loose poached egg, bacon, hollandaise
paired with Les Quinze Arpents brut Vouvray sparkling white wine (Vouvray is in the Loire valley of France. This was much creamier than a traditional brut champagne, but still not sweet.)

2nd course:
Broccoli Slaw — julienned broccoli, carrots, and radicchio, dressed with a spicy apple cider vinaigrette and served over the aforementioned skillet cornbread
paired with Duvel Belgian golden ale

3rd course:
Zucchini fritter, chile lime mayo, smoked pulled pork, "spicy sauce," mixed greens
paired with Stone Fence cocktail — Sailor Jerry rum, Angry Orchard "Iceman" hard cider, Peychaud's bitters

4th course:
Raspberry buttermilk cake and bourbon-vanilla ice cream
paired with 2005 Chateau Roumieu-Lacoste sauternes in a glass rinsed with Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon*

[size=9]*A trick I picked up from the most innovative restaurant in town, The Catbird Seat. It gives a strong nose of bourbon, but loses it in the mouth. Much like the ice cream did. It was the most talked-about pairing of the night, because it's such an interesting and deceptive idea.[/size]

We kept in the European style of eating, by which I mean we started at 7pm and ended around 1:15am. This confused the heck out of the wife and I at first, but we've since come to really enjoy it: more time for good conversation, lingering over the food, and not waddling around due to stuffing yourself so full in such a short time.

Pics or it didn't happen.

Minarchist wrote:

We kept in the European style of eating, by which I mean we started at 7pm and ended around 1:15am. This confused the heck out of the wife and I at first, but we've since come to really enjoy it: more time for good conversation, lingering over the food, and not waddling around due to stuffing yourself so full in such a short time.

I really want this to be the next American food-related movement.

It does give "slow food" a whole new meaning.