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AskTP – Nine Months of Avoiding Labor

September 3, 2018

Hey, it’s Labor Day. Guess what it has taken me nine months to do?

If you guessed, “Answer each and every reader question which has fallen through the cracks” you are totally right. When I first started this blog, I committed myself to answering every question that was asked in the comments section.

There was one rule. The question had to use proper punctuation. Thankfully, there was never a stipulation that the question would be answered in any kind of timely way. Or that the reader would receive a satisfactory answer.

No. Merely the commitment was that the question would be answered. Still, as modest of a commitment that may have been, once again I have been derelict of my duties. What better day than Labor Day to catch up on the work I’ve been letting slide.

We’ve got to go back a long long way. And as always, the introductions to each and every question link to the mystery link of the of day. Now, without any further ado, onto the questions.

As if on cue, Burnt My Fingers tossed out this most appropriate question:
Why do all the mystery links go to the same place? Wouldn’t it be better to answer the questions directly? Also, if I ask a question in 2017 are you still going to answer it in 2017?

Better is a relative term. Once upon a time, I linked back all the questions to the original post, and it was an incredible pain in the neck. Directing the links to the same place is much much better. As far as the timeliness of my answers, questions asked in 2017 might have to wait until 2018 to receive an answer. But no promises.

Burnt My Fingers is all over this post today, but I swear I haven’t been ignoring him:
So when are we going to Muddy’s?

Whenever somebody schedules an Unofficial Yelp Event there. I’ve never been to Muddy’s, but I’m always up for an adventure.

I know it looks like I’m ignoring Burnt My Fingers, but it’s just not true:
Why a small Instant Pot? Is that even a thing? Terrible idea. Go big or go home!

It’s a supplemental tool for small quick dinners. I already have a large pressure cooker for stocks and potentially canning. But the small Instant Pot is perfect for a side of rice, or cooking a pound of dried beans.

Addiesdad was concerned over nothing:
A Tour de Pizza on St. Patrick’s Day? In Schenectady? Are you prepared to meet the potentially inebriated competitors for those lovely slices? Union College students will be out in force…

You bet. And with hindsight being 20/20 the only thing I might have changed would be a later start time. But as it was, we didn’t encounter a single intoxicated soul until the afterparty at the very end. I guess the Union College students have either gone soft, or decided to get a later start before heading off campus.

KingOfBeacon was less than convinced we could have a Tour de Pizza in Schenectady:
Tour de NY Style Pizza Slice? What are the locations? Because in over 3 years in the area I’ve yet to find anything even close to comparable to what I’m used to.

In the end, it was very close between Pizza King and I Love on upper Union. I think they are both great, but on the day of our outing, Pizza King took it by a hair.

I promised Kerosena an answer in AskTP about her Instant Pot question back in January:
You would be able to use a 6 qt. for a wider variety of projects. You’d probably only be able to use the 3 qt. for beans. Don’t you want to make yogurt, Daniel?

No. I want to leave the yogurt making up to the professionals. I really really do not want to get involved in fermenting dairy. At all.

S apparently goes out to eat with someone who is known for sending back bottles of wine:
Are you only supposed to send it back when there is something wrong with it?

Yes. But lots of people will send back wine for a variety of reasons. Smart restaurants can turn this into an opportunity to sell a special wine by the glass, or use it for a little staff education.

Matt looked over the #518 Recos tab at the top of the blog and came back with the following:
Have you tried the cocktails at Hamlet and Ghost?

Only just recently. That “gin gin fizz” is amazing. The place is a gem and an asset to the entire Capital Region. I’m so glad to see it thriving and continuing to grow the cocktail culture in the area.

Jen wanted to know how deep my experience in the yogurt aisle goes:
Have you tried Siggi’s? I’m not a huge fan of unflavored yogurt and the fruited Siggi’s Skyr have a lot less sugar than your typical Greek yogurt sugar bomb.

Yes! It’s pretty good. It’s also super expensive, and I’m just not convinced the value proposition is there for me. However, I don’t begrudge those who love it. I’m happier with other options.

enough already! enjoyed my pictures from Le Bistro but requested a point of clarification:
The food looks delicious, but was the salad overdressed?

Amazingly, it wasn’t. It may have been heavily dressed for some, but totally sodden salads seem to be the norm, and this wasn’t that.

Burnt My Fingers had an excellent suggestion for a chicharron throw down:
Maybe run this as a side event as one of your Fussy tours this summer?

All I know is that the summer tour has come and gone, and nobody brought any chicharron.

TheCoveCook wanted some practical advice on dealing with the avalanche of CSA produce:
I receive a weekly CSA box, but live alone and it can be hard not to waste food. Have you found any solutions you like? Do you freeze or can things?

Canning isn’t something I’ve taken up yet. Freezing is more my speed. I do love those FoodSaver vacuum bags. But before freezing something, I try to make it as small as possible. Sometimes that means cooking it for a long time. Other times it means giving it a spin in the food processor. Reducing the volume of veggies is always step number one.

Dave went with the political intro and not the cooking content, but a question is a question:
So the shooter isn’t old enough to buy a beer but can buy an AR-15 assault rifle? Things like this don’t happen in Japan and several other countries. Why?

My guess is stronger gun laws, driven by legislators who aren’t bound by the amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Our current predicament is more challenging than that of other nations, and not just because of the NRA. Although that organization seems to be a rather sizable impediment to common sense gun reforms desired by the majority of Americans.

chrisck wanted a fact check, and I didn’t provide one back in February:
“Plot prices are set on a sliding scale, from $35 to $500.” Is that a typo? Because you can get a season CSA share for $500.

Nope. I have no idea what the normative scale of community garden plots might be in and around Saratoga Springs. If these are expensive, perhaps the farm is using them to generate income for other programs at Pitney Meadows. Whatever the case, the operation is doing good things, and I’m happy to help promote their programs.

BurntMyFingers was stuck on pizza slices vs. pies:
Ok, you and Steve have convinced me to at least reserve judgment on the slice issue. Would it be possible to slip into Marino’s during the tour, and get a fresh pizza for comparison? Also, I will point out that many slice shops serve a “Sicilian” or “Grandma-Style” slice which is a square of more substantial material, unlikely to fall apart as you are strolling through NYC. Where does that fit in your slice universe?

Anyone who goes on one of the Fussy Little Tours is always welcome to stick around later and eat more. I love the Marino’s whole pie. I love slices from Pizza King. There is room enough in my heart to love them both. One doesn’t have to be called superior to the other. As far as grandma-style slices go, those are another thing entirely. Perhaps one day we’ll have a separate tour of those.

-R had a specific question about pizza by the slice:
I’m curious if you or anyone else has any topping combos that don’t make the slice cut?

White broccoli. There’s nothing sadder than getting a slice where the broccoli isn’t hot all the way through. But that doesn’t stop me from ordering them. I’m a prisoner of hope. A good slice shop, will cut the veg small, and will make sure to put the slice in the oven for an adequate period of time.

Benjamin Maggi wanted to confirm the raison d’etre for the Tour de Slice:
I think you/we should only rate places that sell by the slice. Honestly, most of us probably want to know where to go for a quick slice (not a whole pizza) when we have some time free for lunch in Schenectady. Isn’t that what this tour is about?

Yes, indeed.

Perhaps albanylandlord was asking more of a rhetorical question, but we’ll go with it:
You are my hero. And Raf for his recipe. And his Abuela. That lechon and those amazing black beans? With Berkshire pork? My eyes are rolling back in my head.

Thank you. And thanks again to Raf for being so generous with his recipes. This remains one of my family’s favorite meals.

-R had a fantastic question on pizza places and the condiments they provide:
Do you believe there is a corollary between the presence of shakers at a slice counter and the overall quality of their pizza? I do. There isn’t a shaker in sight at DeFazio’s – you have to request crushed red pepper, which they’ll happily oblige.

No, but I get where you are coming from. My reaction stems largely from the knowledge of greasy divey pizza parlors where shakers are chained to counters, but where the ovens and cooks are incredibly well seasoned. They churn out pies that are far from gourmet, but are among some of my favorite.

I’m starting to wonder if Burnt My Fingers isn’t being paid by Instant Pot:
Did you know you can bake in the Instant Pot? Google Instant Pot Cheesecake #17.

I contend that pressure cooking is fundamentally different than baking. That said, I did hear good things about the Instant Pot cheesecake. However, I have no plans to make one.

I hate it when I’m wrong, but Michelle called me out for an unforced error:
Are you including open faced sandwiches? A bagel with lox is meant to be consumed open faced, so I am assuming OF is OK. If so, you have missed one of the best open faced sandwiches around-the pizza bagel.

Open faced sandwiches are not sandwiches. But Michelle is right, a bagel with lox is indeed meant to be consumed open faced. It should never have been on my list of great sandwiches. I apologize for the error.

Bob W. questioned my one pick for a mayonnaise based salad sandwich:
Egg salad stays but tuna salad goes?

You better believe it. This is more about the supremacy of egg salad than it is about any deficiencies of tuna salad. Egg salad is just marvelous. But you need to start with great eggs, cooked just right. Just the bright and sunny color alone is worth the price of admission. It’s impossible to eat a brilliant egg salad sandwich and not be happy. There’s a reason the happy face emoji is yellow.

BurntMyFingers commenting as omaxwell was pushing my buttons about HoneyBaked Ham:
Heat the ham just enough to crisp it, right?

Stop. No. HoneyBaked Ham should never be heated at all ever. Not a moment in the oven. Not a second in the microwave. Simply portion out what you want to eat, and leave it on the counter until the meat has lost its chill.

Ewan asked a question which shook me to the core:
What’s with the love for root beer floats?

My absolute favorite part is how the root beer freezes to the exterior of the ice cream. I love scraping off those sweet and icy bits with spoon, and sipping a little more soda to wash it down. But the melting ice cream also helps to take any of the rougher edges off the beverage too. It’s really a story of two very different ingredients working in harmony.

Burnt My Fingers was trying to make a point, but I got lost in his analogy:
And muffulettas and Italian Mixes are alike in the same way that lavash and matzo are alike. Both are flatbreads, right?

I don’t think so. But maybe they are alike in the fact that they are all so different? However, I don’t think that’s the lesson he was trying to get across.

-R picked up on another little side of Fussy that I let slip on a daily post:
What? You don’t like cats? That’s rather disappointing…

Cats are decidedly not my favorite. I won’t say cats are evil, but I certainly don’t trust them.

But wait. There’s more. However, there are only so many questions and answers even the most dedicated reader can process in one day. Stay tuned tomorrow for the stunning conclusion.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2018 12:52 pm

    I had no idea I once had so much time on my hands. It is really too bad you didn’t link to the original posts so we could know what food I had proposed chicharrones to accompany (it was probably soft serve) and the lechon recipe Albanylandlord raved about.

    And now I am going to go cook some kidney bean in my Instant Pot®.

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