Where Have Those Fingers Been?
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Where Have Those Fingers Been?

At a certain restaurant you recommend, the quality of the steak was great but I couldn’t get past the fact that the guy at the grill put his fingers in his mouth no less than five times, all while continually touching the steaks as he cooked. I’ll bet you’re going to tell me that this goes on in most restaurants, but the kitchen is closed and you can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind? Is this really what we have to accept? If this place is going to seat people in front of the grill they need to speak with its chef about this problem. You couldn’t get me back there. Click for the answer. . . .

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The Cream Of The Cream
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The Cream Of The Cream

What’s the difference between whipping cream and heavy cream? Seems to me that a lot of recipes use the two terms interchangeably. And as long as I’m asking, what do you do with half-and-half? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Cast-Iron Skillets: Buying, Cleaning, And Seasoning.
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Cast-Iron Skillets: Buying, Cleaning, And Seasoning.

A. I think I want a couple of pieces of cast iron cookware. I am considering a twelve-inch fry pan and a five-quart dutch oven with lid in the Lodge Logic line. Is this a good choice? Click for the answer. . . .“>

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White Meat And Dark Meat
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White Meat And Dark Meat

[dropcap1]Q. [/dropcap1]My brother and I were reminiscing about our father, and his insistence that he knew the answer to every question. We worshipped him for that until one day I asked why the meat of chicken thighs and legs are dark, while breasts and wings are white. He said it was because of gravity, which pulled the bloods in a chicken down to the lower part of the bird. My brother then asked him if that were so, how come duck breast and wing meat is also dark? Click for the answer. . . .“>

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The Black Napkin
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The Black Napkin

Q. Why do restaurants place a white or light-colored napkin folded up on the plate, and then come by and swap it off for a black one? I’ve had it happen that they actually remove the white napkin from my lap! Seems that all restaurants that do this started doing it at the same time. I think it’s a secret signal of some sort to the wait staff, but I can’t figure out what it’s supposed to be saying. Do you know? Click for the answer. . . .“>

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Is Hubig’s Coming Back?
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Is Hubig’s Coming Back?

It’s been two years since the fire that shut down Hubig’s Pies. When are they going to be back in operation? They are–aren’t they? Please? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Growing Or Shrinking Recipes
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Growing Or Shrinking Recipes

Q. I have a rather large recipe for creamed spinach that I would like to reduce to a more family-friendly size. Do you know of a website or formula that will scale down the ingredients to a family-sized portion? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Filet Mignon Or Tournedos?
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Filet Mignon Or Tournedos?

Q. What exactly are the differences among filet mignon, tournedos, and tenderloin? I always ask the waiter about this, but the answer makes them seem like all the same thing. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Cooking With Wine
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Cooking With Wine

I am far from a wine expert, so can you recommend which wines are good for cooking when called for in a recipe? And, while I’m here, should I concern myself that some of the people coming over are teetotalers? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read more. . .

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Whither Beef Wellington?
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Whither Beef Wellington?

[dropcap1]Q. [/dropcap1]I saw a cooking show on TV recently that featured a dish called beef Wellington. It sounded very complicated to make, but I was interested in eating it. Which restaurant makes the best version?
Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Where Are The Good Reservations?
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Where Are The Good Reservations?

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every time I call a popular restaurant for a reservation, the voice on the restaurant’s line says that she only has tables at 5:15 and 9:45 p.m. Why is is so hard to get a reservation at a decent time, like 7:30 p.m.? It doesn’t even seem to help when I call weeks in advance. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Wild Mushrooms
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Wild Mushrooms

Can you recommend a field guide to edible mushrooms for our area (across the lake). I wonder if I’ve been wasting perfectly good mushrooms growing in my yard. Especially when I’m going to the store to buy cultivated mushrooms, which I hear are grown in disgusting conditions. I am familiar with the concern and caution surrounding eating wild ‘shrooms but you gotta start somewhere. Where? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Two Kinds Of Bordelaise Sauce?
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Two Kinds Of Bordelaise Sauce?

I was in a French restaurant in New York a few weeks ago. My entree was striped bass bordelaise. I thought of the fabulous redfish bordelaise served at Drago’s years ago. I also thought of the spaghetti bordelaise I’ve always loved at Mosca’s. Those dishes were made with a sauce of butter, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. But this New York place brought out the fish with a dark brown sauce. It looked something like marchand de vin sauce. When I told the waitress that this must be a mistake, she checked with the chef. He brought me a food encyclopedia which described bordelaise as the sauce they had served me. Is there one bordelaise sauce in New Orleans and another one everywhere else in the world? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Cookbook For The Bread Baker
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Cookbook For The Bread Baker

I am interested in learning how to bake bread. Do you have any recommendations in regards to good cookbooks for baking beginners? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs
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Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs

What’s the right way to peel a hard-boiled egg? What happens all the time is that after I crack it, the shell only breaks away in tiny flakes, and it takes forever to get them all off. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Eating Out Without Ballooning Out
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Eating Out Without Ballooning Out

I need to lose a few pounds, and know I should concentrate on eating chicken, fish, etc. However, I’m a little concerned about the sauces that come with most of these dishes. What are some sauces to avoid, and which ones are relatively “safe?” Or should I just accept the fact that when I eat out I’m in trouble?
Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Where To Find Beef And Veal Stock Bones
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Where To Find Beef And Veal Stock Bones

I’m curious as to what kinds of bones are used for making beef and veal stocks, and where you go to buy them. I’ve seen recommendations for knuckle bones, for example, but I’ve never seen them for sale. Is this something that butchers give away for free? Click for the answer. . . .43182″> Read More. . .

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Chopped Garlic In A Jar
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Chopped Garlic In A Jar

I often hear you deride callers to your radio show because they use chopped garlic from a jar. What’s wrong with it? I like not having to chop up garlic every time I want to use it. It saves a great deal of time and effort. The problem with most chopped garlic in jars is the garlic. While it may look like fresh chopped garlic (a suggestion furthered by the fact that the stuff is usually in the produce department of the store, sometimes even refrigerated), in fact it is…

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FAQ: Deconstruction
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FAQ: Deconstruction

Q. What does it mean when a dish is “deconstructed”? I saw a dish recently served with a deconstructed hollandaise sauce. Does that mean I will be served egg yolks and butter? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Splitting And Sharing Restaurant Checks
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Splitting And Sharing Restaurant Checks

My wife and frequently dine with two couples. In each one of them is a person who insists that the checks must be completely separate, so at the end of the meal we know exactly how much each couple or (in one case) person spent. “I want to keep our friendship,” says one of them, as if being forced to spend a few dollars more than the price of our meal will in any way diminish our camaraderie.

I’m not asking whether separate checks are proper or good. I know they are, and I know they’re not. I’m just wondering if you have a way to talk these skinflints out of their ungenerous ways without offending them. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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FAQ: Bird’s-Eye Peppers
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FAQ: Bird’s-Eye Peppers

I’ve seen “bird-eye peppers” mentioned in some local recipes. Most that call for the peppers are from old cookbooks. I remember my old aunt talking about them and I think she even grew them in her front yard. But nobody I know seems to know what they are or what they’re used for. What say you? Bird’s-eye peppers–also known simply as bird peppers, for reasons I know not–are stubby peppers that get bright red when ripe. They grow with their points up, like Tabasco peppers (to which they are related)….

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How And Why Not To Cook Condensed Milk In The Can
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How And Why Not To Cook Condensed Milk In The Can

What is the recipe where one takes a can of sweetened condensed milk and boils in in water a long while? I have long heard about it, but never understood what it produces, how long to simmer the can, or then what to do with it. It does state on the can,”never heat unopened can.” Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Dry-Aged Beef. . .  And Not.
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Dry-Aged Beef. . . And Not.

What exactly is the difference between dry-aged beef and whatever is the opposite of dry-aged beef? keep reading. . . .

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Bacon Fat: How To Save It, With Interest
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Bacon Fat: How To Save It, With Interest

My mother used to keep a special container for storing bacon drippings on the stove when I was a kid. It was always hanging around the kitchen. I know she used it, but I never was sure for what. I’d like to know how long bacon drippings can be stored before it goes bad. I rarely cook bacon, but hate to throw away the rendered fat. I also don’t see the containers at any of the kitchen gadget stores. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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F.A.Q: Hard Butter
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F.A.Q: Hard Butter

One of my pet peeves in restaurants is that many of them serve butter that’s stiff, hard, cold, and impossible to spread on the bread without squashing it. What do you think about this? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Day Two Deliciousness
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Day Two Deliciousness

Q. Why do some foods tend to become more flavorful a day after they’re made? I just made some ratatouille out of Emeril’s second cookbook. He says that it picks up more flavor after it’s been reheated. I’ve also noticed this to be true with gumbo, chicken soup and other things. Why? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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F.A.Q: Fish Marinade
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F.A.Q: Fish Marinade

Can you post the fish marinade you often mention on the radio–the one you credit to Chef Andrea, but with your version of it? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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F.A.Q.: How To Season Cast-Iron Cookware
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F.A.Q.: How To Season Cast-Iron Cookware

I’ve heard you explain many times how to clean an old casti-iron skillet. But all those times I didn’t pay attention, because I didn’t have any cast-iron pans. Now I find myself with my mother’s old, rusty cast iron, and I ask please if you would run through the steps again. You are not the only one. My pleasure. Cast-iron cookware, the oldest kind of modern cookware in wide use. It does certain things extremely well, and other things very badly. Its non-stick surface–which is also what makes it black–makes…

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Crawfish Season Is Over
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Crawfish Season Is Over

I went to the seafood joint where I usually buy boiled crawfish, and I was shocked when he told me there were no more crawfish for this year. Is there a crawfish shortage? Was it because of the oil spill? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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FAQ: LeRuth’s Pecan Pie
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FAQ: LeRuth’s Pecan Pie

My wife used to have Warren Leruth’s recipe for pecan pie. She says I lost it. I don’t bake, so I know I didn’t. But because I am on the sofa until the recipe is found, I’m putting the monkey on your back. Mine is killing me! I get a lot of requests for recipes from restaurants that closed long ago. For some reason, they’re the same ones: Jim’s fried chicken, Wise Cafeteria’s eggplant casserole, the almond torte at Masson’s, and about a dozen more. Most of these are in…

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FAQ: Stock, Broth, Soup.
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FAQ: Stock, Broth, Soup.

Q. What’s the difference between a stock and a broth? Seems to me that they’re the same. Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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Eating Sushi: Fingers Or Chopsticks?
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Eating Sushi: Fingers Or Chopsticks?

Q. In sushi bars, there are always some people who try to tell everybody else the “right” way to eat sushi and sashimi. But they seem to disagree with one another as to whether you should eat with your fingers or with chopsticks. Some of these guys also say you should always eat a piece of sushi in one bite, which seems absurd to me. What say you, O Master? Click for the answer. . . .“> Read More. . .

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How To Preserve Crispy Coatings
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How To Preserve Crispy Coatings

[dropcap1]Q. [/dropcap1] How do I keep my fried foods crisp? I made some crab-stuffed shrimp, rolled them in egg wash and seasoned flour, then deep-fried them. They were perfect when they came out. But to keep them warm until they were all cooked I put them on a rack over a cookie sheet in a 350 oven. They lost the crisp. What should I have done? Click for the answer. . . .“>

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Closed Restaurant, NSF Gift Card
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Closed Restaurant, NSF Gift Card

I heard you mention on your Food Show that a restaurant had closed. I thought, that can’t be right, because a friend of mine gave me a $125 gift certificate to dine there just two weeks ago. I called the restaurant, but there was no answer. But I remember that the people who owned the closed place have another restaurant. They told me that they would not honor the gift certificate, because it was a different partnership. What can I do? Am I just plain out of luck? Click for the answer. . . .“> Click for answer. . .

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Shrimp Boil How-To
* Red Bean Edition

Shrimp Boil How-To

I can’t seem to settle on one method of boiling shrimp. I always heard that you bring the water to a boil, add the shrimp, let the water come back to a boil and then cook for three minutes. My shrimp always seem to stick to the shell using this method because it can take a long time for the water to come back to a boil. How do you boil shrimp where they don’t stick to the shell? When shrimp are hard to peel, it’s because they’ve been overcooked….

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