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The Taste Test Thread

ski_gpsy May 9, 2011 06:29 PM

I love doing taste tests (science minor in college). Recently I mentioned that I had bought 5 different brands of salad dressing in order to perform a taste test. Another ChowHound suggested we create a new thread to post the results. So here we are....

I find the easiest taste tests happen whenever I'm getting ready to use up the last of one brand, and take a moment to open a box/bottle/package of the new brand and do a quick taste comparison. Unfortunately I never wrote anything down, just made a note to buy the preferred brand. From now on I will make quick notes for The Taste Test Thread!

If you have a brand of something that you've come to prefer above others, please share it here. Details like what you prefer it to, or descriptive flavor profiles would be a bonus, but basically if you have a brand of something you think is superior, please share.

Below are the results of the recent Sesame Ginger salad dressing taste test, followed by a comparison between Corned Beef and Cabbage cooked in a slow cooker vs. a pressure cooker.

Do you have any recommendations to share?

  1. Davwud Dec 2, 2012 09:25 AM

    Popeyes v KFC v Mary Browns (small chain in the GT. http://marybrowns.com/

    )

    Overall impressions. Popeyes was the most crispy and also most salty however salty in a good way seemed to be the consensus. As well, of 7, 2 thought MB's had the best overall taste. ALL thought the KFC was just about terrible. Under seasoned and doughy breading and very oily chicken.

    So, with that you can imagine that KFC was a distant third. Very disappointing distant third. Their pieces were also the smallest.

    In at a very resectable second was Mary Browns. People thought the breading had great taste and the chicken was tasty and the right amount of greasy.

    Popeyes was a unanimous first place winner here. People seemed to cite it as the best balance of greasy, herby, crispy and chicken flavour.

    So there you have it folks. Popeyes is the grand champion at my house.

    DT

    2 Replies
    1. re: Davwud
      LindaWhit Dec 2, 2012 09:39 AM

      I keep hearing about Popeyes, but there are none nearby. Oh well.

      1. re: Davwud
        buttertart Dec 4, 2012 07:30 PM

        I love Popeyes, especially the extra spicy.

      2. ski_gpsy Nov 29, 2012 12:08 AM

        TO BRINE OR NOT TO BRINE, THAT IS THE QUESTION...

        Toward the end of the Thanksgiving holiday I ran out of leftover turkey so I thought I'd try braising some turkey pieces using ATK's 'Braised Turkey With Gravy' recipe, rather than roasting a whole bird...again. As per instructions I brined breast, legs and thighs for 6 hours in 1c salt + 1c sugar + 1gal water. But just before cooking, last minute guests made me add another thigh (un-brined) to the recipe .

        The brined turkey meat was delicious and surprisingly full of flavor. In comparison, the un-brined meat was tender and moist, but flavorless as poultry can be.

        The result; I'm a believer. I'm a convert to brining.

        BTW, the ATK 'Braised Chicken With Gravy' does produce copious amounts of delicious wine enhanced broth/stock. However the skin on the turkey is grossly unappealing. Next time I will remove the skin before braising and add it to the mirepoix and herbs to flavor the resulting stock. And if I don't have to make a grand entrance wearing an apron and carrying a Norman Rockwell perfect golden bird, I'm going with the braising recipe. It's much easier, very flavorful, and you end up with a ton of delicious broth for stocks, soups and gravies.

        1. ski_gpsy Feb 29, 2012 02:31 AM

          My latest taste test is due to winter cold and flu season. My parents both have horrible colds and I knew I had to make 2 batches of my Killer (as in "kills all kinds of viruses") Chicken Soup. So I made one batch on the stovetop while making the other batch in a pressure cooker.

          Using the exact same ingredients in both soups, I was genuinely surprised when one soup clearly had more flavor than the other. It had a noticeably richer chicken flavor. It was the soup made in the pressure cooker.

          I guess its true that a pressure cooker really does infuse the flavor, and nutrients, into the food, as opposed to those same flavors and nutrients typically being cooked out of the food during conventional cooking.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ski_gpsy
            j
            joonjoon Feb 29, 2012 09:23 AM

            Well that depends...did you boil the non-pressure cooker stock longer? If not it's not a fair comparison.

            1. re: joonjoon
              ski_gpsy Feb 29, 2012 03:19 PM

              Yes. I cooked both soups just until the chicken was done. It was 45 minutes for the pressure cooker and 1 hour 45 minutes for the stovetop. My stove is a Blue Star which is a professional restaurant stove and has a designated simmer burner. I made the soup in a 7.5qt LeCreuset french oven pot, covered.

              The stovetop soup was delicious as always, but the pressure cooker soup definitely had a noticeably stronger chicken flavor. Another significant difference was the chicken itself. In the stovetop soup the chicken was in chunks and pieces, whatever size pieces I had shredded it into. In the PC soup the chicken totally fell apart and was almost completely shredded into a homogenous whole, as in there were no "chunks" of chicken, mostly just thin shreds causing the PC soup to be thicker and more stew like while the stovetop was more of a traditional thin broth with chunks and pieces of chicken. I remember thinking that my dad has always liked the big chunks of chicken in my soup and that the next time I make it I will use the pressure cooker but add some pieces of cooked chicken just before serving. However Dad said he liked the thicker texture and richer chicken flavor of the PC soup and didn't think it needed anything else.

              Another difference was that while the carrots and celery were thoroughly cooked in the PC version, they were firmer and retained more of their natural color than the stovetop soup's softer, paler veggies which was most likely a result of the longer cooking time. Looking at bowls of both soups side by side its easy to tell by the thickness of the soup and the brighter color of the veggies which is the pressure cooker and which is the stovetop.

              In the interest of being thorough, as a side note, after 24 hours in the fridge, the stovetop soup had a layer of congealed fat on the surface that was easy to skim off, but the PC soup did not. No fat rose to the surface of the PC soup. I don't know what that means. And when reheating, the stovetop soup ladles out like a slightly gelatinous cold broth and the PC soup ladles out like a thick stew. As it heats the PC soup "melts" and becomes more liquid. Like I said, I don't know why or what it means.

              Both soups were delicious and effective (my parents sped thru their flu recovery). From now on for the taste, time, and effort I will be making my Auntie's Killer Chicken Soup in the pressure cooker.

          2. alkapal Sep 18, 2011 06:22 AM

            walden farms sesame ginger dressing (all natural) is good.

            panera "asian sesame" dressing has freakin' SUCRALOSE! and you can taste it right off the bat. i don't know why they added it, because they also have HFCS in there -- in other words it is not a diet dressing. i emailed them about five days ago, and still haven't heard back from them. in short: panera's version is not good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: alkapal
              s
              sandylc Nov 29, 2012 03:29 PM

              I"ve been looking recently at the ingredients in some of Panera's foods. They seem to imply that they are fresher/better/healthier than others, but they have some questionable ingredients.

              1. re: sandylc
                jw615 Nov 29, 2012 05:57 PM

                Yeah - I've read through their allergen binder - it's not all freshness there.

            2. ski_gpsy Sep 17, 2011 11:51 PM

              Here's my latest personal taste test - store bought beef stock. I was contemplating making my favorite/addictive ATK pot roast with it's resulting KILLER yummy sauce (really, I could DRINK this sauce) and I was wishing that there was a beef stock or flavor inhancer that was rich and tasty like a slow cooked jus, only without all the work and ingredients. So I purchased 5 packaged beef or "beef flavored" stocks/ inhancers. The results;

              In last place, surprisingly, Better Than Bullion. It had an odd taste. I've been using it for years but I always just added a teaspoon along with the required cup of water to whatever I was making, so I never really tasted it on it's own. This time I followed the directions and put a tsp. in a cup of boiling water and found that it had a weird, odd taste. In the interest of fairness I tried it again, with bottled water, and yep, same funky taste. Last place.

              Second to last; Swanson Beef Broth. Tasted like beef flavored water.

              Wolfgang's Organic Beef Flavored Broth tastes like beef stock. Nothing outstanding but definitely acceptable. (ATK rated Rachael Ray's Beef Stock as their #1, but I haven't been able to find it yet.)

              The Pacific Natural French Onion Soup I threw in the test just because I wanted to taste it. It is surprising good, very beefy, very oniony. It tastes like French Onion Soup, not a 5star F.O.S. but I would stick it under the broiler with a Gruyere covered crouton and serve it, no problem. I have also been using it in EVERYTHING! I pressure cook my red potatoes in it with some garlic cloves and a sprig of rosemary...divine. Anything I want to add richness and onion to, in it goes!

              My winner turned out to be Savory Choice Liquid Broth Concentrated packets. It is what I was looking for; instant, rich flavor. It does contain more sodium than the others, but only slightly, and I account for that elsewhere in my recipe. Whatever I add it to suddenly tastes like I slow braised some savory beef and veggies with wonderful herbs and spices. I'm happy.

              These are just a few of the beef stock/flavor inhancers on the market. If you have others that you like, please let us know.

              8 Replies
              1. re: ski_gpsy
                ski_gpsy Sep 18, 2011 12:01 AM

                Here's my second attempt at attaching the photo......

                 
                1. re: ski_gpsy
                  j
                  joonjoon Sep 18, 2011 06:03 AM

                  Thanks ski, just to confirm...was this test done blind?

                  1. re: joonjoon
                    ski_gpsy Sep 18, 2011 06:11 AM

                    Yes, blind.

                  2. re: ski_gpsy
                    scubadoo97 Sep 18, 2011 04:14 PM

                    Appreciate the effort. I use BTB in a pinch and Swansons in the carton on occasion but usually make my own beef and chicken stock. Still very good to know your impressions. Especially as a blind taste test.

                  3. re: ski_gpsy
                    alkapal Sep 18, 2011 04:04 AM

                    thanks for the good report

                    1. re: alkapal
                      v
                      Val Sep 18, 2011 10:00 AM

                      yes, ski_gpsy, very good report! On the rare occasion that I need beef broth, I never know what to buy...this is good information! QUESTION: is the yellow and red container the Savory Choice?

                      1. re: Val
                        ski_gpsy Sep 18, 2011 10:32 AM

                        Hi Val, yes the yellow and red container is the Savory Choice. I purchased it at my local Henry's (now Sprouts) health food market.

                        On the box it has Savory Choice's web address as;

                        http://www.savorychoice.com/
                        And the phone number is; (866) 4-SAVORY

                        Googling it I found that you can also get it on Amazon.com.

                        http://www.amazon.com/Savory-Choice-C...

                        There are 12 packets per box and it says that you mix each packet with 1 cup hot water, or mix 1 packet directly into 2 pounds ground beef to add flavor to your burgers. Yum, gotta try that!

                        Next time I rotisserie a Prime Rib I'll do another taste test to compare this Savory Choice to Johnny's French Dip and Lawry's packaged dry mix, to possibly use it as au jus.

                        1. re: ski_gpsy
                          v
                          Val Sep 18, 2011 01:21 PM

                          okee dokee...sheesh! I see that Fresh Market carries it (we have one here in Naples) though don't remember seeing it...though I usually am looking for chicken broth to be honest...thank you for the link! Need to go to FM again since they were out of the Kitchen Basics *small* chicken broth last time I went, very handy for smaller recipes.

                  4. monavano Jun 24, 2011 08:34 AM

                    OP, you are so method! Thank you for taking the time and effort to do those comparisons and reporting here.
                    I especially thought that the corned beef and potato observations were very helpful. I have both the slow cooker and a Fagor pressure cooker. I am just starting to get comfortable using the latter, so this insight is great.
                    I have not done a side by side comparison of tomato sauces, but if I do buy jarred sauce, I go for the brands with the least sugar, as I can really taste the sweetness and don't prefer it. Specifically, I enjoy Victoria's, which I buy at Costco.
                    Conversely, I adore Ken's Lite Sesame Ginger, which is rather high in sugar. Go figure, however, I'm intrigued to try one of your test dressings and see what I'm missing.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: monavano
                      ski_gpsy Jun 25, 2011 11:07 PM

                      Hi monavano, Thanks for the tip on Victoria's tomato sauce. Is this a "spaghetti/pasta sauce" or plain tomato sauce? I would love to find a new tasty jarred pasta sauce because I KNOW it would be less expensive than the Raos sauces that my family loves. I realize it is ridiculous to pay 3 times as much for Raos, and in that frugal spirit I attempted to copy their Marinara sauce using Raos own recipe from Good Morning America and even went so far as to hunt down the required San Maranzano canned tomatoes at a local Italian market, but the result was... not as good as store bought in the jar, and a whole lotta work = so much easier to stock up when it's on sale and be grateful!

                      BTW there are several threads with ChowHounds debating the wonderfulness of Raos vs. the exorbitant price, if anyone is interested further.

                    2. meatnveg Jun 18, 2011 08:14 AM

                      The last one I did was on Chocolate. Specifically, dark choc with nuts.

                      I tried:
                      - Ritter Sport Dark with Hazelnuts
                      - Lindt Dark with Almonds
                      - Lindt Dark with Hazelnuts
                      - Valor Dark with Almonds
                      - President's Choice Dark with Almonds (pvt label)

                      The winner by far was Ritter Sport. I would guesstimate it to be a 60% dark. I love that the hazelnuts were whole and not crushed.
                      The rest fell as follows:
                      - President's Choice Dark
                      - Valor Dark with Almonds
                      - Lindt Almond
                      - Lindt hazelnut

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: meatnveg
                        buttertart Jun 24, 2011 08:17 AM

                        Those Ritter Sport bars are a lesser-sung treasure. I've never had one that I didn't love.

                      2. d
                        daydream May 15, 2011 07:54 PM

                        We did this with vanilla ice cream once, after a HUGELY heated debate in my family about whether or not Haagen-Daaz is overrated.

                        We did Haagen-Daaz with Breyers and Blue Bunny. Blue Bunny tied with Breyers and NOBODY, out of eight of us, picked H-D as their favorite! I myself liked Blue Bunny, then H-D, and Breyers came in last. The only person who advocated for H-D was crushed. We consoled her with some Blue Bunny and homemade brownies.

                        We may have to do another ice cream challenge this summer, with different flavors and brands.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: daydream
                          l
                          lilmomma Jun 9, 2011 03:34 PM

                          Wow. That is interesting. I love Breyers vanilla. I wonder if I would pick that over Blunny. I have to go find some.

                          A awhile back I did a taste test with frozen pizzas. I did Tombstone, Jack's, Riggios and Digiornos. Plain cheese. I liked the Riggio's the best.

                          1. re: daydream
                            ski_gpsy Jun 25, 2011 10:43 PM

                            Going thru a backlog of ATKs I'd recorded I came across the one with the Store Bought Vanilla Ice Cream taste test. How appropriate for The Taste Test Thread!

                            #1- Ben & Jerry's Vanilla
                            #2- Haagen Dazs Vanilla
                            #3- Wells Blue Bunny All Natural Vanilla (least expensive)
                            #4- Breyers Natural Vanilla

                            Friendly's, Blue Bell, Turkey Hill, and Edy's Grand did not make the Highly Recommended list.

                            1. re: daydream
                              woodleyparkhound Jun 26, 2011 06:33 AM

                              I just read a couple of articles about taste-testing the best chocolate and vanilla ice creams.

                              http://www.slashfood.com/2010/08/13/best-vanilla-ice-cream/

                              http://www.kitchendaily.com/2011/06/0...

                              YMMV

                            2. ski_gpsy May 15, 2011 01:32 PM

                              Here's a quandary of mine. BBQ sauce, store bought. For years I had been happily using the ATK recommended Bullseye, very good. Then I had a BBQ Chicken Pizza at NYPD Pizza (yummy) and the BBQ sauce was so outstanding that I tracked down the manufacturer, Ken's Steak House. Turns out they don't retail their restaurant Hickory BBQ Sauce, but suggested I try their Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce. I now prefer the Sweet Baby Ray's to the Bullseye, but it's still not the same as Ken's restaurant Hickory sauce which IMHO is worth going to the restaurant for (I always have everyone ask for extra on the side so I can take it home!)

                              The problem is that there are way too many choices of bottled BBQ sauce to try them all. Help! What's your fave?

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: ski_gpsy
                                junescook May 15, 2011 01:56 PM

                                I take bullseye hickory (or original) and dilute it with cider vinegar and a bit of water. I like to cut the sweetness and thin it to be more of a glaze.

                                1. re: junescook
                                  EWSflash Sep 18, 2011 07:08 PM

                                  I do the same only with lemon juice and no water.. Any of the bullseye varieties that i've had.

                                2. re: ski_gpsy
                                  alkapal May 15, 2011 08:06 PM

                                  there is a huge thread on bottled bbq sauces. i recall sweet baby ray's being the general favorite of many hounds...... check out that thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619663

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    ski_gpsy May 15, 2011 09:39 PM

                                    Great informative thread alkapal, but what was the ultimate result of the taste test? Did I miss it? I read every post, and am definitely ordering some Brooks, Blues Hog, Smoke Daddy (could not find a retail or online for Blue Front). But I never read which was the OP's ultimate favorite.

                                    So now I'm off to do my own BBQ sauce taste test! Will report back.

                                    1. re: ski_gpsy
                                      alkapal May 16, 2011 02:26 AM

                                      frankly, i am way too cheap to pay for ordering bottled bbq sauces. i'll just make my own or doctor some sweet baby ray's (original, i believe) or use my regional (s.w. florida) favorite: "pat's ho-made," which you in florida can get at publix. it is a good all-round sauce, in the style i grew up with on pork ribs, chicken.... more tart than sweet, not too thick.

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        mcel215 Feb 29, 2012 03:46 AM

                                        Care to share the recipe alkapal? I have all the ingredients to make bbq sauce, just not an outstand recipe. Thanks. :)

                                        www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                      2. re: ski_gpsy
                                        Jen76 Sep 18, 2011 11:13 AM

                                        My new favorite bottled BBQ sauce, available at all the major grocery stores here, is Stubbs. We've tried the original and smokey mesquite and both were really tasty. A little spicier and not as sweet as what we had been using. I'm not a fan of Sweet Baby Ray's. My mom uses that all the time so I've probably tried most of the variations by now. It's just too sweet for me.

                                    2. re: ski_gpsy
                                      s
                                      sisterfunkhaus Dec 2, 2012 08:21 AM

                                      Stubb's Honey Pecan is divine. It's got simple ingredients and costs more, but it the best I have ever had.

                                    3. j
                                      joonjoon May 12, 2011 11:42 AM

                                      This isn't food, but I did a blind vodka taste test with some friends. Grey Goose vs. Ketel One vs. Stoli.

                                      All tasters unanimously voted for either KO or Stoli. No one liked Grey Goose. One tester was able to discern a clear difference between KO and Stoli, almost everyone else had a hard time telling the difference.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: joonjoon
                                        alkapal May 12, 2011 12:22 PM

                                        straight up or in mixed drinks?

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          j
                                          joonjoon May 12, 2011 01:25 PM

                                          Straight up!

                                          1. re: joonjoon
                                            EWSflash Sep 18, 2011 07:06 PM

                                            I haven't dome a taste test proper, but I don't think much of Stoli, too harsh. Lighter-fluidish. Not real familiar with Ketel One, but as much as I love the smooth, wonderful taste of Kirkland vodka (okay, so sue me), I find it gives me a headache in absurdly small quantities. I can't figure out why, either- it's so tasty, with no lighter fluid or off-flavors.

                                            1. re: EWSflash
                                              LindaWhit Sep 19, 2011 10:53 AM

                                              And my 82yo mother suggested Three Olives vodka after having it rec'd to her by her local liquor store guy. I got a bottle and like it a lot.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                s
                                                suzigirl Dec 2, 2012 09:10 AM

                                                Try Three Olives Grape mixed with club soda. Its an adult kool aid. It is great and light.

                                                1. re: suzigirl
                                                  LindaWhit Dec 2, 2012 09:35 AM

                                                  Sorry, but I dislike Kool-Aid. Especially grape. I don't like anything grape-flavored except real green or red grapes.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                    s
                                                    sandylc Dec 2, 2012 09:42 AM

                                                    We really need to lobby for ingredients listings for liquors.

                                        2. re: joonjoon
                                          Davwud May 12, 2011 12:58 PM

                                          Try Iceberg.

                                          DT

                                          1. re: joonjoon
                                            ski_gpsy May 14, 2011 10:18 AM

                                            Thanks for the vodka tips! I have been buying Grey Goose for years, out of habit and because I wasn't familiar with any other brands. I will try these recommendations, straight up!

                                            1. re: ski_gpsy
                                              j
                                              joonjoon May 14, 2011 02:21 PM

                                              Whatever brand you get, just remember to do a taste test and pick the one *you* like the best! :)

                                          2. scubadoo97 May 11, 2011 06:43 AM

                                            I would just like to suggest that taste test be done blind so appearance even if you don't know which brand is which will not influence your taste test.

                                            1. bayoucook May 11, 2011 06:20 AM

                                              This is going to be a fun and informative thread! Will get back with you.

                                              1. Davwud May 11, 2011 05:22 AM

                                                Okay, here goes. In a blind test 3 out of 3 of us preferred Nathan's hotdogs over Hebrew National. Both were skinless types.

                                                Here in Canada we did another hotdog test of brands that could be found in the grocery store with a couple ringers. We found Juicy Jumbos All Beef were the winners. Others included Franks, Chicago 58 and Baldwin's.
                                                Later that same summer a group of us hounds got together and sampled a bunch of different types with those same Nathan's coming up the winner with the JJ's the best of what's available in Canada in a regular store.

                                                DT

                                                DT

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Davwud
                                                  h
                                                  hotdoglover May 15, 2011 03:16 AM

                                                  I also love doing taste tests. I started off years ago comparing beers, but now I do hot dogs often making my wife and son (my daughter doesn't eat red meat) participate. I've done these so many times that I can guess the brand blindfolded. The funny thing is that sometimes I pick one brand over another even though I picked the other one the last time. And I knew the identities of each both times. The reason I guess is that sometimes you are in the mood for something different. I like to say that there are different flavors and different dogs for every mood. If that makes sense.

                                                  1. re: hotdoglover
                                                    Davwud May 15, 2011 07:19 AM

                                                    You're probably right. There are a few "Buffalo Wild Wing" type places up here and if I go to one, I'll often order something different. Still a wing but I'm up for something different.

                                                    DT

                                                2. alkapal May 11, 2011 04:09 AM

                                                  "FRESH" salsa in the refrigerated produce case.

                                                  taste test between those with and without *agave nectar*: NO to agave nectar. why do they mess up an otherwise decent dipping salsa with that sweetener?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                    EWSflash Sep 18, 2011 07:02 PM

                                                    Honestly? They sweeten up the "fresh" salsa? For shame- even if it IS totally organic blue agave syrup.

                                                  2. ski_gpsy May 10, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                    Hey! I thought of another one. I love PBS's America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country cooking shows, especially when they have a taste test segment. Recently I was finishing a bottle of Heinz ketchup and opened a new bottle of the ATK recommended Hunts ketchup for a quick taste test and sure 'nuff, I liked it better than the Heinz, which I have used for decades. I found the Hunts to be smoother, with better balance between the sweet and the vinegary, slightly less sweet, with a nice hit of discernible spices. So Hunts ketchup = my new fave!

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: ski_gpsy
                                                      alkapal May 11, 2011 04:07 AM

                                                      you and some others find hunt's to be less sweet, but the last time i tasted both around the same time, i thought hunt's was sweeter.

                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                        j
                                                        jeanmarieok May 11, 2011 05:11 AM

                                                        I also think that Hunt's tastes sweeter than Heinz!

                                                      2. re: ski_gpsy
                                                        Uncle Bob May 11, 2011 06:35 AM

                                                        But have you tried Del Monte ??

                                                        1. re: ski_gpsy
                                                          Moedelestrie May 12, 2011 01:30 PM

                                                          Try Heinz Ketchup made in Canada if you are like me glucose fructose or high fructose corn syrup is very different from sugar and people taste senses are all different.

                                                          1. re: ski_gpsy
                                                            LindaWhit May 15, 2011 10:38 AM

                                                            Heinz now makes an organic ketchup that has no HFCS and it tastes like what I remember it tasting like growing up. I only buy that now (have always been a Heinz ketchup gal, myself).

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                              monavano Jun 24, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                              I believe both Heinz and Hunts make a no hfcs ketchup. I know I've tried Hunts and it was quite good.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                mcel215 Feb 29, 2012 03:41 AM

                                                                Thanks Linda, I did not know this. :)

                                                                www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                              2. re: ski_gpsy
                                                                h
                                                                hamboney May 15, 2011 07:34 PM

                                                                Simply Heinz is much like the origional, too.

                                                                1. re: ski_gpsy
                                                                  DonShirer Jun 17, 2011 03:57 PM

                                                                  You may be interested in this taste test which involved both Heinz and Hunt's brands:

                                                                  http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/t...

                                                                2. ski_gpsy May 9, 2011 06:44 PM

                                                                  After a marathon weekend of home shopping with Wolfgang Puck, I decided to divide the corned beef dinner I was making and cook half of it in a pressure cooker, and the other half in my new VersaCooker (aka roaster/slow cooker).

                                                                  All ingredients being equal, I followed the instructions for both appliances. In the end I had to add another 20 minutes to the pressure cooker corned beef and it never did achieve the fall-apart-with-a-fork tenderness that the slow cooker beef had, but it was tender and juicy in it's own right. The potatoes in the slow cooker showed the saturation of the juices throughout, while the pressure cooker potatoes were fork tender but not as flavorful. Otherwise, both methods produced juicy, tender flavorful beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage.

                                                                  Given the time, I would choose to do the corned beef in a slow cooker. But with only a couple hours to make a yummy meat and potatoes dinner I would definitely do the pressure cooker again.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ski_gpsy
                                                                    alkapal May 11, 2011 04:06 AM

                                                                    i saw that versacooker, but it seemed a little expensive at @ $145 ++, right?

                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                      ski_gpsy May 11, 2011 12:41 PM

                                                                      Wolfgang's VersaCooker is regularly $149.90 plus $13 shipping = $163 plus tax. It's on sale right now for $119 plus $13s/h. On that particular HSN Wolfgang weekend the shipping was free - so only $119 plus tax.

                                                                      I went ahead and bought the VersaCooker, even tho I LOVE my Hamilton Beach Stay Or Go slow cooker with the latching lid for "spill-resistant travel" (I use it for transporting stuff I didn't even cook in it, like soups, chilis, Coq Au Vin, everything!). Whether it's in the car or motorhome, going to a potluck or family get together, I think that the latching lid is one of the greatest cooking innovations since the CrockPot). And I LOVE slow cooker cooking. In fact when I'm trying to find something to make for dinner my first choice is always a one pot meal. What I don't like are those slow cooker recipes where you have to sear or brown the meat in a skillet and/or saute vegetables before putting everything in the slow cooker, therefore making it a multi-pot cleanup. With the VersaCooker's metal insert and cooking temps ranging up to 400degrees, you can sear the meat, saute the veggies and then simply reduce the heat and slow cook for hours, all in one pot. Now if Wolf would just add travel latches to the VersaCooker it would be the perfect all-in-one-pot cooker in my opinion!

                                                                      1. re: ski_gpsy
                                                                        alkapal May 12, 2011 03:37 AM

                                                                        you might want to put that in your rating comment on hsn.

                                                                  2. ski_gpsy May 9, 2011 06:31 PM

                                                                    Hi alkapal, great question! I happened to share the taste test, including photos, with my ginger-loving niece so I'm including visual aids in my "report" for you ;)

                                                                    I chose Sun Harvest Sesame Ginger as my fave because I love ginger and this dressing is alive with ginger. Also, I like to add shredded carrots and a pinch of garlic to it and recreate our favorite Sushi bar's house dressing. The bold flavors of the Sun Harvest don't get overwhelmed by my fine-tuning.

                                                                    Second choice was Annie's Naturals, a well rounded blend of savory soy, nutty sesame, ginger and a sweet hint of honey. Almost identical to the Sun Harvest but not quite as gingery. Strong and very well balanced.

                                                                    The San-J Tamari Ginger was safe, very neutral, with all the right flavors melding nicely but nothing too bright or exciting. (Good for a "Beginning Intro to Asian Dressings and Marinades".)

                                                                    The Bragg's Organic Ginger and Sesame dressing was way too vinegary. And the Ken's Steak House Asian Sesame was very sweet and gloppy.

                                                                    The winner, the Sun Harvest Sesame Ginger, is unfortunately a house brand for Henry's Farmer's Market health food chain in Texas and throughout Southern California. But the runner up Annie's Naturals, with the addition of a pinch of pureed or finely grated ginger is a fine stand in. Either choice, when dressing a salad of fresh greens, diced leftover chicken, slivered almonds, mandarin orange slices and some finely chopped scallions or chives = That Great Asian Chicken Salad we pay $12 for in the restaurants. Stir a smidge of peanut butter into the dressing or sprinkle some chopped peanuts onto the mix and you'll start looking for the fortune cookies that came with your salad!

                                                                    These are just the Sesame Ginger dressings I found available where I live. If anyone has other recommendations or suggestions please share because I'm always looking to find the best, the easiest, and the tastiest when it comes to cooking. Which is why...I'm a ChowHound!

                                                                     
                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: ski_gpsy
                                                                      p
                                                                      piccola Jun 26, 2011 07:02 PM

                                                                      Have you tried the Newman's Own? It's really good.

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