ajanhelendam's Profile

Display Name: ajanhelendam
Member Since: 10/23/09

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If the salad I'm eating at home is just greens tossed with dressing, I will break out the chopsticks since they are more efficient than a fork since I find it difficult spearing our scooping the leaves at the end.

Become a Chopstick Master: The Salad Method
10/9/11 02:51 PM

The white button mushroom is the result of a mutation within the species.

Personally, Criminis taste the same as button. Any difference is probably due to age as you suggest as the flavor changes the older the mushrooms get. I prefer to buy the ones where the caps haven't opened yet.

Since they're priced the same at Costco where I live, I buy which ever is freshest.

What Are Cremini Mushrooms? A Few Mushroom Facts
10/7/11 05:10 PM

You can freeze them after they've been steamed.

My family individually wraps them in plastic wrap after they've cooled and released the bulk of moisture and then puts them in a Ziploc freezer bag.

Steaming them is the best way to reheat, but the microwave will do nicely if wrapped with a damp paper towel. If you aren't concerned with plastic you can omit the towel and microwave it wrapped.

While most places just use plain paper, parchment paper works a lot better from keeping the bottoms from sticking and since they also don't stick to the buns you can reuse them after the buns have been steamed.

As to equipment, any steamer should work including those vegetable steamers, though I have yet to try one. Personally, I have an ad hoc setup involving a 12" saute pan a 12 splatter guard and a 12" domed wok lid.

Fall Recipe: Vegetarian Steamed Buns
9/29/11 02:02 AM

I'm not sure who Paula Deen's audience actually is, but I seriously doubt it represents a large portion of America and thus I don't think she's that influential in American eating habits.

Let's face it, Food Network and any food related TV is not mainstream America. People are probably more influenced by food commercials while watching sports and the like.

I disagree with Bruni's assessment in regards to change. The markets change to reflect the demands of the consumer. For example, while the FDA has approved the use of rBST for increasing milk production in the US, the top 3 grocers which includes Wal-mart have opted not to sell such milk. In this case rBST it is banned for use in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the EU and thus probably contributed to consumer demand for milk produced without it here in the US.

I still believe the key to changing the American diet resides in the education system. I think the large part of the problem is what has been taught in the past and what had been omitted. This information is then passed onto the parent's who have little reason to disbelieve. The only problem is "getting it right" given US history regarding nutrition. Science apparently was often not part of the equation, so I'm not wholly convinced that we've done our due diligence yet.

Frank Bruni Speaks Out On "Culinary Elitism"
8/27/11 02:47 AM

I only print may be once a month or less on average but I still find it worthwhile to own an inexpensive black and white laser printer which doesn't have any of the maintenance issues of inkjet printing. While toner cartridges cost a whole lot more up front, the cost per page is typically less than an inkjet, and significantly less for infrequent printing.

As a best practice for being greener I'm all on board for reducing the amount of printing one needs to do by going digital when possible. However, it may not be greener to go so where else to print on the premise that it will be greener since there are going to be vary circumstance especially revolving around transportation.

Tips and Tools for Living and Working without a Printer
8/9/11 12:57 PM

All the talk about salt being a flavor enhancer while true is sort of misleading by omission. Anything that works primarily on taste is going to be a flavor enhancer. Salt just happens to be the most common and that could also be the reason why it's paired so often with pepper, because it's the most common as well.

While I don't use pepper in everything since I didn't grow up "salt and pepper to taste" or "salt to taste", I do often pair a taste with a smell more often than not.

Too Much Pepper! Why Is Black Pepper In Everything?
8/1/11 02:26 PM

Most of the diamond hole saw bits I've used were meant to be used with flowing water and at relatively low RPMs ~700. With water and at the lower speeds you shouldn't get any screeching. You only need a trickle of water to keep the bit lubricated but more importantly cooled. Under the correct conditions the bit should not be too hot to touch while in operation. If it is you should let it cool down unless you don't mind wearing out the bit prematurely.

The main reason these bits are in the flooring sections is that they are primarily intended for cutting holes in tiles for plumbing.

Instead of boring the hole from the inside of the planter, it's probably easier to flip the pot over and drill from the bottom.

While I've added holes to porcelain pots this way, There are some advantages of using the pots as cachepots as they are intended. It's easier to switch out plantings, especially seasonal plants. In places where the summer is hot and arid it's less wasteful when watering since there is no run off. The excess water will wick back into the soil faster than it will evaporate.

The importance of drainage holes is exaggerated. Soil composition and moisture retention are more critical to mitigating root rot. Drainage holes are only really good at alleviating gross over-watering. That's why it's still easy to kill succulents and citrus with over watering if planted in common potting soil.

How To Drill Holes in Plant Pots
7/27/11 02:30 PM

Another alternative, though not so green is using Pledge, which is pretty good at dissolving grime while leaving a basically lubricated surface.

A Simple Green Fix For Creaky Doors
5/26/11 02:46 PM

Food safe mineral oil found at the pharmacy is probably the better alternative to WD-40 for lubricating door hinges than vegetable oils which do oxidize and become rancid regardless of how clean the hinge is. Using small amounts will probably make any foul odors negligible; however, the issue of the oxidizing oil becoming tacky/gummy is probably more problematic.

Since only small amounts are being used, buildup will be slow, so it will probably be a long while before the hinge becomes sticky or gummed up.

A Simple Green Fix For Creaky Doors
5/26/11 02:37 PM

It might deter some wasps, but the paper wasps near my house in Austin, TX could careless if the ceiling was a light blue (Rain Drop - Behr) or it's prior shade of a medium gray. Went with a lighter color to reflect more light and thus make the space brighter.

Repel Insects with Color!
5/1/11 03:41 AM

Actually, since this post is about green the Arthouse (http://arthousetexas.orgO should be museum to list considering it's involvement in green issues. One I can remember and was easy to google was:

Edible Estates regional prototype garden #5: AUSTIN, texas: http://www.fritzhaeg.com/garden/initiatives/edibleestates/austin.html

They've exhibited artist whose works dealt with sustainability either in the materials they use to the impact on the environment. Granted AMoA has as well, but Arthouse admission was free last time I went, though I'm not sure if that's changing since they're currently under renovations and will reopen this Fall.

A list of art museums in Austin with free admission that I can think of:

Blanton Museum of Art (http://www.blantonmuseum.org/) free on Thursday and opened late on the 3rd Thursday of the month.

Women and their Work (http://www.womenandtheirwork.org/)

Mexican American Cultural Center (http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/macc/)

A Green City Guide to Austin | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
7/22/10 04:33 PM

All the cultivars I know have white flowers; however, regular chives do have purple flowers. While regular chives have round hollow leaves, nira (garlic chives) are flat and not hollow.

Though garlic chives are invasive in that they spread very easily from seed and are prolific seed producers, there are plenty of ornamental alliums grown for their flowers. I'm not sure what the culinary worth of the ornamental varieties are. For example, ornamental sweet potato vines, though edible, apparently don't taste very good.

BTW, garlic chives are very easy to grow and are very tolerant of the conditions. They can be grown indoors and are definitely well suited to a container environment. If you dead head them, they won't spread.

For all the other names it could be going by in the ethic markets: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic_chives

Ingredient Spotlight: Nira (Garlic Chives) | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
7/21/10 12:31 PM

I think I have the same type shown in the pictures. I picked them up at an Asian grocery store and they were cheap. Less than $5 for 2, don't remember the exact price.

Since they're silicone removing the ice cubes are a cinch since the tray is pliable. I mainly use them for freezing stock and sauce since the form factor is easier to store and use like @salsa has mentioned.

Furthermore, they're pretty short and stack so they don't take much space in the freezer.

Stay Cool! Water Bottle Ice Cube Trays | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
7/2/10 09:21 PM

@kate_kate22 American Neufchâtel typically has 1/3 less fat than American Cream Cheese and tends to be softer.

Smear it On: Add Cream Cheese to Your Sandwiches | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
4/19/10 01:29 AM

if you planted the whole stalk with a lot of green you probably won't see much new growth since it's probably basically at it's full height already. You'll want to cut back the green to encourage new growth, the exception being if you planted a bunching type of onion which will eventually send up new stalks from the base.

I've had success planting ends as short as 1/2" since I like using the whites as well. The only draw back with this technique is unless you buy a bunching onion, the green onion plant will eventually mature ending up with a pretty thick stalk as you continue to harvest the top. The texture may not be as desirable depending on what type of green onion you started out with. With the exception of bunching onions, I can't tell them apart when their young, which happens to be the state you find them in the grocery store.

One advantage of growing from seed is that you can get a specific type of heirloom onion you might not be able to find at the grocery store. Once they reach edible size, instead of harvesting the whole onion, I just snip it back down to the base like chives so I can harvest them again a few weeks later.

Starting Onions the Easy Way | Apartment Therapy Re-Nest
4/7/10 07:11 PM

That place is ancient. The area surrounding that store was pretty ghetto in the 80s. I'm glad the city rebuilt/rehabbed the area during the late 80s through early 90s.

The reality is that the majority of American's aren't that big on seafood when compared to beef and chicken. Even on the coasts the seafood counter seems to be the smallest if it even exists. It really seems to depend on the demographics of the area or of the target consumer. Generally, fresh seafood is positioned as "high" end with stores such as WholeFoods as an example. Unless you find a large Asian market, in which, seafood is more important than beef. Actually, beef gets the least space. The pecking order is usually: Seafood (when available), pork, chicken, beef; the reverse of what I normally see at the big chain supermarkets.

Store Review: Chinatown Food Market Kansas City | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
3/27/10 02:38 AM

My current favorite in grating ginger is to the coarse microplanes that's marketed for cheese I think. The newer versions have an attachment like you see for mandolines, so that might keep your fingers from getting chewed up.

The traditional ceramic or metal versions work okay, but if you have a stringy piece of ginger the fibers get all caught in between the nubs where as the coarse microplane is just coarse enough to cut the fibers.

Occasionally, I'll use the zesting microplaner if I want the ginger to be mushy pulp that will basically dissolve, but normally, I don't need much that fine.

What Is the Best Way To: Grate Ginger? | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
2/25/10 02:31 AM

I've used several different types of rice cookers and the design does make a difference, sometimes a very big difference. Though cooking rice isn't complicated, it does require consistency and the right size pot relative to the amount you're making on the stove.

I often eat about 1/2 cup of rice per meal. Cooking 1/2 cup of rice on the stove frankly is a pain in the butt considering I don't own a pot quite the right size and there's going to be issue of controlling the heat correctly when cooking that small of an amount.

Granted, most rice cookers on the market don't do well when cooking as little as 1/2 cup, but my Zojirushi 5-cup Neuro Fuzzy does so admirably. In fact it's so good at compensating that I don't have to presoak most rice, except for basmati which really benefits with at least an hour soak if I'm recalling correctly.

Furthermore, unlike the mid-range non-stick cookers, the rice is pretty much consistent from the bottom and the sides as to the center. No crust what so ever. So clean up is a snap.

Since it's microcomputer controlled it adapts quite well to cooking different types of rice, plus grains and other legumes. Cooking glutinous rice is no problem. Don't have to soak this one either. The current model, I believe, has specific setting for these specialty rices, so they probably do even a better job.

Once you figure out the ratios you can cook all sorts of rice dishes and what not. So yeah, instead of buying a small pot to cook rice and pretty much nothing else, I opted to getting a fancy rice cooker so I could make small amounts of rice, congee, glutinous rice, etc. Plus with the timer I can have things ready ahead of time.

Now, if you don't cook rice often then learning how to do it on the stove makes more sense than picking up rice cooker, even a cheap one; however, those microwave cookers are great for the occasional user and don't take up much room. If you use a casserole dish and lid, make sure it fits well so it keeps enough steam; otherwise, you're going to end up with boiled rice rather than steamed.

What Is the Best Way To: Cook Rice? | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
2/13/10 04:20 PM

@Kathyrn Hill - I live in Austin, TX. It's interesting to hear that SF has them. I'm guessing NYC probably has them too then.

I'm planning on growing some sweet potato leaves using some ornamentals and varieties I can buy at the grocery store. They seem to be pretty easy to grow based on the not so tasty tubers I had on hand that I threw in a pot with some dirt this summer. They've definitely multiplied, not sure what I'm going to do with them.

On a related note, Asian fruits selection is improving. It wasn't that long ago when Yali pears were basically only available on the coasts.

Know Your Asian Greens | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn
11/28/09 12:02 PM

FYI Choy, Choi, Tsoi are transliterations for the Chinese word (and related languages) for vegetable.

Choy Sum (literal translation: vegetable heart) which refers to the inner or tender stalks and tips of more than one type of vegetables depending on region). Cantonese use it to refer to the Yu Choy (Edible Rape) which is not pictured. Since mature Yu Choy can be tough, what you see in the market is Yu Choy Sum. For Cantonese speakers it ends up being just Choy Sum since that's the most popular type of Choy Sum and Yu Choy for Mandarin speakers. The other common Choy Sum is Bok Choy Sum which is pictured. I've seen this labelled as Taiwanese Bok Choy in the US, so I'm not sure if Choy Sum for Mandarin speakers refers to Bok Choy Sum in general or not.

Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage, Snow Cabbage) comes in a lot of different cultivars which includes tatsoi also known as Rosette Bok Choy and the all green variety known in the US as Baby Bok Choy or as I prefer Shanghai Cabbage since "Bok Choy" means "White Vegetable". Technically speaking, Bok Choys are all the same species Brassica rapa which includes Nappa Cabbage, some varieties of Mizuna and Common Turnip. You can think of them like you do for all the varieties of Lettuce out there.

I don't think I've seen Amaranth labelled as En Choy yet. It looks like it this particular transliteration comes via Austrailia? Yin Choy might be a more popular translation of 苋菜. Most of the time I see Amaranth labelled as Rau Dền (Vietnamese).

Kang Kong [Tagalog/Filipino], Ong Choy [Cantonese] (Water Spinach, Swamp Cabbage) is the Chinese Spinach I'm more familiar with. I'm guessing it's more popular than Amaranth since I've yet to see Amaranth served in an Asian restaurant.

Sweet Potato Leaves. I have yet to see them in US Asian grocery stores. Not all cultivars have pitchforked leaves; some are just heart shaped. It's pretty easy to grow your own by just buying a sweet potato and planting it. There are also ornamental varieties sold at nurseries. Just make sure it's Ipomoea batatas. Wild Sweet Potato Vine is a different species and poisonous.

Taro Leaves. Haven't seen time in the US yet either, but I do see the stems and of course the tuber of the Taro for sale.

Apartment Therapy The Kitchn | Know Your Asian Greens
10/23/09 04:21 AM