Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Burning Questions: January 2009

In reviewing the monthly statistics for my web site, I am always amazed at the search strings that have people ending up on my site. Here then are some of the burning questions that people are asking and hoping that the restaurant site might answer:

Andouille Sausage Substitute. Andouille as we think of it here in the US is a firm sausage stuffed with chunks of pork shoulder and seasoned with a good helping of cayenne pepper. You could substitute tasso or a firm city ham such as Hormel Cure 81 and some cayenne. Tasso or ham would have the closest texture to andouille. Or you could substitute another smoked pork sausage such as kielbasa and some cayenne. Kielbasa's texture will be wrong because it is made from a ground forcemeat. Me, I'd just go to Comeaux's web site and order the real andouille. I've been buying from Ray Comeaux since the early 1990's.

How to Make Balsamic Reduction. Put balsamic vinegar in a pan and reduce it until it is syrupy. Done.

Asparation/Broccolini Seeds. Some of you might recognize the name Asparation from the produce aisle at the grocery. It's also known as Broccolini. Unless you're a big grower willing to pay royalties to the patent holder, you should grow something else at home. Asparation/Broccolini seeds are not available to mere mortals. Can I recommend gai lan, Chinese broccoli? It's an excellent and easy-to-grow green.

Can You Substitute Clam Juice for Oyster Sauce? Not exactly. Oyster sauce is a thick soy-based sauce. Clam juice is a thin stock akin to fish fumet or fish stock. I'm not sure why you would need to substitute for oyster sauce because it seems to be stocked in most groceries. You could thicken soy sauce with a little corn starch or substitute some other kind of soy product such as bean paste.

Fish Stock Substitute. Easy. Bottled clam juice or steam some mussels and save the liquid.

Vegetable Lasagna with Poblano Chili. Now doesn't that sound good! I often do a flan of layered yellow potatoes and roasted and peeled poblanos, set in an herb-infused custard. I can see substituting layers of poblanos for noodles in a vegetarian lasagna and I'm sure that the result would be outstanding. I may just steal this for a vegetarian special.

No comments:

Post a Comment