Post by Alex W. Post by Kevrob Post by Alex W. Post by Rick Johnson
On Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 10:24:22 AM UTC-5, Kevrob
How accurate would the film they made out of Roddy Doyle's "The
Van" be in that regard? Loved the books, and the flicks.
Probably very accurate.
Chip fat or oil, when constantly heated for around 72 hours,
actually changes its molecular structure. It delivers utterly
Post by Kevrob Post by Alex W. Post by Rick Johnson
I always giggle when i see those ridiculous infomercials
that peddle their latest pet version of the non-stick pan.
And they always make sure to point out how you will: "no
longer need butter or oil to cook your food". Of course, what
they don't mention is how dry and tasteless the result will
That is also a consequence of many consumers insisting on the
leanest cuts of meat.
I see people buying ground beef, at a premium, with only 10% fat
content. That's silly. Your burger will be dry as a bone, and
you might break your teeth on the thing! I get 20% fat beef and
grill it or broil it. Fat runs off, so it is still reasonably
lean. I don't like to pan fry, and have the beef swim in fat,
though I've heard chefs on cooking programs make the case that
burgers are better fried than broiled or grilled.
To make matters worse, food safety authorities around the world are
in a bit of a panic about the risk of E Coli and other bugs causing
illness in what they deem to be "under-cooked" burgers. They
recommend that all burger patties are cooked right through until no
pink is visible and juices run clear. Of course, this makes
already lean beef even tougher.
I've read the solution is to grind your own chuck or sirloin. My
mother would occasionally do that, especially the year we got a large
freezer and she and some friends bought a side of beef from a
butcher, all separated and wrapped and divvied it up. She cooked for
11, and this was during the inflation of the 1970s. We looked for any
way to stretch the shrinking dollar. If you keep a clean kitchen and
clean the meat grinder well e coli shouldn't be a problem.
My brother-in-law buys half a cow at a time, and keeps it in the
butcher's aging room. This not only keeps down the cost but delivers a
I go to the same butcher, and have him mince the piece of meat for me
that I have selected. It's not that I do not trust the bloke -- he is
very good indeed -- but that way, I get exactly what I want, and it is
Post by Alex W. Post by Kevrob
Just to confuse things, in restaurants, the flat cooking surface
used for frying burgers, eggs, etc. is called a "grill," as
opposed to a charcoal or gas grill with a gridiron design, or a
broiler pan with at tray with cutouts for fat to drip through.
I can see why they do this: the flat surface makes it easier for
un- or semi-trained cooks to flip large numbers of pre-made patties
without breaking them.
I resemble that remark. Working the flat grill at McDonalds was
easier than the mock-charcoal rig at Hardee's: a gas grill with faux
charcoal briquettes made of some kind of stone or ceramic with
gridiron panels set above the "rocks." It was frozen beef, and
sometimes, if you didn't scrape the grill well between sets of
patties, burgers would stick.
Let me guess: the job of cleaning that fake grill always went to the
employee who managed to piss off the manager....
With these sorts of practices, it is not hard to see why upmarket burger
joints have really taken off. It seems that I am far from the only one
who is willing to pay extra for high-quality fresh ingredients prepared
Post by Alex W. Post by Kevrob
I buy cheaper cuts and marinate them before grilling or
roasting. They usually turn out great, as far as I can tell. I
do wind up pouring a lot of grease into jars and disposing of
Is that grease, or runoff from the marinade?
As I learned watching "Julie & Julia," always pat your meat dry!
Imagine some of the runoff is marinade but I try not to use too much.
I find some, in a plastic bag of the "zip-lock" style with most of
the air squeezed out, beats a huge bowl of the stuff with the meat
drowning in it.
Good meat does not need lots of sauce. It should be allowed to shine on
its own merits. That's why I prefer dry rubs when I do anything to it
Post by Alex W. Post by Kevrob
My concession to low-fat eating regarding cheese is to make my
own pizza. I bought a pizza stone, and after getting dough at
the store, sauce it and add the toppings myself. I can limit
the cheese to a reasonable amount, and add as much fresh veg to
it as I please. They aren't equal to the best pizzeria pizza,
but I'd stand them up against the middle of the pack, and they
beat Domino's or Pizza Hut all hollow. No waiting for the
delivery guy, either! And, if I want anchovies, I have anchovies.
(I rinse them to lower the salt level, though.)
Why do you buy the dough? We actually make it ourselves -- it
takes only 15-20 minutes. Usually, we make a batch large enough
for three to four meals, portion them, and freeze what we don't use
that evening. The flavour and texture really is quite superior.
Although I must admit, we have not yet progressed to the level of
Italian mastery where a pizza dough spends most of its time being
tossed in the air....
I just haven't tried that yet. One of the local supermarkets leased
space to a revived pizzeria, which uses "an old family recipe." The
older generation closed up shop and retired some years ago. First I
bought their uncooked, unfrozen pies, and cooked them at home. Then
I bought their dough and sauce and took a stab at making a pie with
OK results. I've found less expensive dough and sauce, but I could
learn to make those myself.
Maybe I am a cynical old fart, but whenever I see advertisements and
slogans on the line of "old family recipe", I start running the other
way. All too often, it is just an advertising trick to evoke nostalgic
memories of the "good old days".
These days, I make more and more stuff myself. The cost saving is a
side benefit (I can run up a few pints of ketchup or basic tomato sauce
at a fraction of the cost of store-bought product): the main benefit is
the satisfaction of having actually *made* something, and something that
in many cases is far tastier to boot. Even sauces that I do buy int he
shops get an upgrade -- it's amazing what a few leaves of fresh basil, a
few chopped olives and other fresh ingredients can do to a jar of past
Post by Alex W.
Another trick is to make white pizzas. Leaving out the tomato
also reduces the use of cheese, I have found. A few slices of
mozzarella or goat's cheese is all it takes, as opposed to the
usual handfuls of mixed cheese....
I live near New haven, CT, home of Pepe's and the White Clam Pizza.
I've had some awesome white pies.
No mozz at all! I grew up on the Great South Bay and love clams.
Clams, mussels, oysters ... all good!
Let's forget that pizza and have a clam chowder cook-off!
I grew up on New York style thin-crust and when I lived in the
Midwest had my share of Chicago-style deep dish whatever-it-is that
they call pizza. (It tastes good, but it is sui generis.)
Sui generis is a good point. Pizza may have started life in Naples
(Italy, not FL) but these days it is truly international, and all
variants are as genuine and valid in themselves as any others. Chop
Suey is no less Chinese food because it was invented in the US, nor is
chicken tikka masala any less an Indian curry just because it hails from
argument BITD was Pizzeria Uno or Lou Malnati's? I am on a continual
quest to get dough to stretch to the proper thinness without
resorting to rolling, which squeezes the CO2 out of the dough, and
you want those bubbles to char, especially on the edge or lip of a
pizza: il cornicione. And yes, I let my uncooked pie rest on a
scattering of cornmeal so the bottom of the crust crisps without
sticking to the stone. Making my own dough is just a matter of time.
Charred edges are nice, but not universal. Maltese pizza, for example,
is made with sourdough and either does not have a cornicione at all, or
has it stuffed with cheese.
Pizza stones are tricky ... I was looking for one, and could not find
anything that would really work. So now we have decided to invest in a
proper pizza oven (gas-rather than wood-fired) where we can also make
all manner of other oven-made delicacies such as flammenkuchen
(Alsatian) and naan bread.
Kevin R (Without any Italian heritage at all....)
Me neither ... go figure, paesan!