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What Food Do You Leave to the Experts?

g
gothamette Jan 28, 2014 09:27 AM

I'm going on a cannoli hunt later in February, and the thought just occurred to me that I've tried to cook or bake many things but never cannoli. Nor would I.

In my case, elaborate or fried things like cannoli, doughnuts, croissants would top the list. Sure, I can make them, but I don't think that my efforts are worth the trouble. Not to mention, these are things best eaten fresh, and unless I have a party, they'll go stale.

Do you have a food that you think is just best left to the experts?

Update: English muffins as well. I tried making them and they simply sucked. Burned on the outside, raw on the inside. Leave to Thomas's!

  1. f
    fourunder Jan 28, 2014 09:45 AM

    If the necessary ingredients cost more....or if I cannot make it any better than prepared and purchased....I leave it to others. Your examples are the same as mine...especially the fried aspect....For me it's Fried Chicken.

    17 Replies
    1. re: fourunder
      g
      gothamette Jan 28, 2014 09:52 AM

      Yeah, I love fried chicken but in my little kitchen it's just a horrible mess. I do a mock fried chicken in my convection oven, but a deep fryer - nope. I'm not sure I'd fry even if I had a back yard! I just can't stand the thought of wasting all that oil.

      1. re: gothamette
        m
        medrite Jan 28, 2014 10:22 AM

        +1 for fried chicken or anything deep fried, for that matter. Also sweetbreads, of all things. I happen to love them but they're a little too labor-intensive for me to attempt on my own. But I do order them whenever I see them on a menu.

        1. re: medrite
          MandalayVA Jan 28, 2014 11:12 AM

          +2. I can't make fried anything worth a damn.

          1. re: medrite
            g
            gothamette Jan 28, 2014 12:29 PM

            Are sweetbreads anything like chicken livers? Because if they are, I have a nice easy way of making them. Which is, line my little countertop convection oven with foil, put the kidneys on, either coated in flour or not, salt, pepper, maybe paprika, drizzle with a little oil, then bake until done. Turn once. What's done? Keep checking.

            1. re: gothamette
              m
              medrite Jan 28, 2014 12:44 PM

              Sweetbreads are a gland, I think the thymus gland, from a calf or a lamb. They have to be soaked for several hours or overnight first, then blanched, then you have to remove the extraneous veins & tissue -- and that's before you actually get around to cooking them. Not impossible for a home cook, I guess, but I'm just too lazy to do it.

              Your kidney recipe sounds good though, I might be tempted to try it if I could find a butcher in my neighborhood that sells them.

              1. re: medrite
                linguafood Jan 28, 2014 02:11 PM

                Huh. I've made sweetbreads a few times at home. Never soaked, never blanched, didn't have veins or tissue to remove. I do try to remove some of the membrane, but generally give up at some point because they just become too disconnected.

                I then dust them lightly in seasoned flour and pan-fry in loads of butter. Serve with several lemon wedges.

                Easy-peasy.

                1. re: medrite
                  g
                  gothamette Jan 28, 2014 04:29 PM

                  Ugh, senioritis intrudes. I said liver first, then kidneys. I meant livers. Chicken livers, the type that comes in the tub. Cheap even here in Manhattan. Sorry.

              2. re: medrite
                c oliver Jan 28, 2014 02:56 PM

                If you want to try sweetbreads again, here's a recipe I made. VERY straightforward and wonderful.

                http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                1. re: c oliver
                  m
                  medrite Jan 28, 2014 03:41 PM

                  well, you've certainly gotten me hungry...

                  1. re: medrite
                    c oliver Jan 28, 2014 03:52 PM

                    Ooh, I forgot to include the picture of our dinner :)

                     
                  2. re: c oliver
                    linguafood Jan 28, 2014 04:21 PM

                    Could someone explain to me why all this prep work is needed? I've never done it and had great results.

                    1. re: linguafood
                      c oliver Jan 28, 2014 04:24 PM

                      *I* don't know :) At least the recipe I used didn't have you weigh it down with bricks! And the meat I used really didn't have much membrane at all on it. I wish I had regular access to them. Maybe when we're in NYC starting next week!

                      1. re: linguafood
                        c oliver Jan 28, 2014 04:29 PM

                        Here's an eGullet diiscussion. Doesn't seem to really say why.

                        http://forums.egullet.org/topic/61995...

                        1. re: linguafood
                          JungMann Jan 30, 2014 09:25 AM

                          Soaking in salt water will remove any trace of blood whereas the blanching will firm up the tissue making it easier to work with when removing any membrane or gristle. IIRC the gland itself is lobed and held together by the membrane. So if you were to remove all of the membrane without blanching, the gland would just come apart.

                          1. re: JungMann
                            c oliver Jan 30, 2014 09:30 AM

                            Makes sense. The ones I got were 'stain-free' and barely any discernible membrane so I'd have probably been fine eliminating those steps. ?

                            1. re: JungMann
                              linguafood Jan 30, 2014 09:57 AM

                              A-HA!! Thanks for the explanation, JM. That was indeed what was happening to me. The gland just separating more and more while removing the membrane.

                              JM to the rescue!

                      2. re: gothamette
                        mtlcowgirl Jan 30, 2014 08:05 AM

                        I like to make Maryland chicken with cream gravy. Shallow fried, so doesn't make as much of a mess.

                    2. g
                      GH1618 Jan 28, 2014 09:46 AM

                      Sushi and sashimi.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: GH1618
                        hotoynoodle Jan 28, 2014 09:51 AM

                        this. ^^^^

                        i don't care for cannoli or donuts, so have zero desire to make stuff like that.

                        btw, what's a cannoli hunt? do you need a license for that? ;)

                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                          monavano Jan 28, 2014 09:59 AM

                          Only during official cannoli season ;-)

                        2. re: GH1618
                          j
                          jammy Jan 28, 2014 09:54 AM

                          Same. Home versions are all right, but good sushi (esp. rice) is something the pros do much better.

                        3. rmarisco Jan 28, 2014 10:00 AM

                          puff pastry

                          1. SaraAshley Jan 28, 2014 10:05 AM

                            Yeah to most fried foods and everything you mentioned, although I will make chicken tenders and fry them up every now and again. And basically what fourunder said. Sorry, I'm not very original today.

                            1. dave_c Jan 28, 2014 10:09 AM

                              Cakes, especially if there needs to be nice piping done.

                              When the children were young, we made our fair share of cakes. Now that they've moved out of the house we found it easier to just to buy a small one to suit our cravings or for parties.

                              A local French bakery makes beautiful cakes and tortes that would take me all day to poorly replicate. I'll spend the money to save ourselves from the aggravation.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: dave_c
                                g
                                gothamette Jan 28, 2014 12:30 PM

                                How brave of you to admit this on Chowhound.

                                :)

                                1. re: gothamette
                                  PotatoHouse Jan 28, 2014 04:11 PM

                                  Ain't no shame in Dave's game. If he can't make a fine pastry himself at least he buys from an artisan.

                                  1. re: gothamette
                                    Jacquilynne Jan 29, 2014 08:45 AM

                                    I once read a thing that suggested that the difference between French home cooking and American home cooking can be readily summed up in the fact that French cooks buy pastries and make croutons while Americans make pastries and buy croutons. So perhaps Dave is simply emulating the French.

                                2. juliejulez Jan 28, 2014 10:18 AM

                                  Pretty much fried anything. Some baked goods like you mentioned...croissants, or if I need a nice looking cake or cupcakes. My cakes/cupcakes taste great but they usually look not so great.

                                  And fish. I'm not very experienced cooking it, and since it's expensive for good quality, I'm always worried I'll mess it up. So, I'd rather just pay a bit more and let a good seafood place do it for me.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: juliejulez
                                    monavano Jan 28, 2014 10:32 AM

                                    Interestingly, I started to fry a bit more when I stopped using my electric deep fryer (Costco). That SOB was such a PITA to clean, that I liked the idea of it more than I liked it.
                                    For the occasion that I really want to fry, I use my cast iron enamel and a thermometer.
                                    Dang, now I want Bang Bang Shrimp!

                                    1. re: monavano
                                      juliejulez Jan 28, 2014 10:34 AM

                                      I think part of my frying fear is that I have an electric stove, so regulating temperature to do things like frying or candy making (I guess that's another one I can add to the list of stuff I leave to the experts) is difficult, unless I use multiple burners (not what you want to do with a big pan of hot oil).

                                      And yes, some Bang Bang Shrimp sounds delightful right now.

                                      1. re: juliejulez
                                        monavano Jan 28, 2014 10:38 AM

                                        Oh, yes, I don't think I'd be frying without gas. Speaking of that shrimp, the reason why it's such an appealing thing to fry is that it's so quick.
                                        I have much more trepidation about cooking say, a chicken thigh, for much longer.
                                        With seafood, you're in and done quickly, and there's nothing like a light, crisp coating.

                                  2. m
                                    mwhitmore Jan 28, 2014 10:48 AM

                                    Bread. In fact, all baked goods. I don't eat much since I went low-carb. But even before, I never baked. PS I love to fry.

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: mwhitmore
                                      k
                                      Kontxesi Jan 28, 2014 10:59 AM

                                      Definitely baking, bread especially. Every once in a while I try, inevitably fail, then sulk for several months before repeating.

                                      1. re: Kontxesi
                                        monavano Jan 28, 2014 11:06 AM

                                        I don't want to sound like a broken record, because it's been discussed so much here, but if you have not yet, try the CI almost no knead bread.
                                        I just about cried when I pulled out my first loaf!
                                        (in a good way)

                                        1. re: monavano
                                          k
                                          Kontxesi Jan 28, 2014 05:40 PM

                                          Hmmm.... What kind of beer do you use? I don't drink, so I don't know one from another.

                                          1. re: Kontxesi
                                            monavano Jan 28, 2014 06:09 PM

                                            I use a light lager and have even used non alcoholic beer. I've frozen what I don't need in ice cube trays, then plastic bags.

                                        2. re: Kontxesi
                                          MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 02:55 PM

                                          Kontxezi..........When the weather warms up just bite the bullet and do a *no knead *loaf. It will boost your confidence and you can *riff* off of that base recipe and make baguettes, pizza dough, separate your dough and make smaller loaves etc. Come on you can do it!

                                        3. re: mwhitmore
                                          j
                                          Jerseygirl111 Jan 28, 2014 02:22 PM

                                          Bagels.

                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                            m
                                            mwhitmore Jan 28, 2014 08:31 PM

                                            Soitenly! But I have never understood the cult of the bagel. Of course, they 'ain't what they used to be', so maybe back in the day....

                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                              w
                                              williej Jan 29, 2014 01:10 PM

                                              I have a great recipe for bagels from the old Harrowsmith magazine. Really easy to make and very good. (course if you are referring to those horrible hockey puck, sit in the bottom of your stomach New York style bagels, I concur that I wouldn't want to make them!)

                                              1. re: williej
                                                r
                                                rjbh20 Jan 29, 2014 01:17 PM

                                                And what "non-New York" style of bagels would yours be?

                                                1. re: rjbh20
                                                  s
                                                  sandylc Jan 29, 2014 07:52 PM

                                                  I am curious about this as well...

                                                2. re: williej
                                                  Shrinkrap Jan 29, 2014 07:34 PM

                                                  Oy vey iz mir!

                                                  1. re: williej
                                                    s
                                                    sandylc Jan 29, 2014 07:53 PM

                                                    What bagel style do you like?

                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                      r
                                                      rjbh20 Jan 29, 2014 07:59 PM

                                                      I'm hoping for the famous St, Louis style. Or maybe Salt Lake City.

                                                      1. re: rjbh20
                                                        Shrinkrap Jan 29, 2014 08:18 PM

                                                        There is a "Salt Lake City" bagel style? Are you joshing me? I will be there next week!

                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                          r
                                                          rjbh20 Jan 29, 2014 08:19 PM

                                                          Sure -- it's big favorite of the massive Jewish community in that town....

                                                          1. re: rjbh20
                                                            Shrinkrap Jan 29, 2014 08:20 PM

                                                            Grrrr......I am grabbing at straws here....

                                                        2. re: rjbh20
                                                          s
                                                          sandylc Jan 29, 2014 08:34 PM

                                                          I was being serious....

                                                      2. re: williej
                                                        j
                                                        Jerseygirl111 Feb 3, 2014 01:05 PM

                                                        Horrible? Pardon me but there is no other bagel besides a New York bagel!

                                                  2. k
                                                    Kelli2006 Jan 28, 2014 11:30 AM

                                                    @Gothamette. I have baked professionally so your list is something that I can and actually have done in my sleep.

                                                    I don't often make donuts or cannoli at home because I hate the mess that deep fat frying creates, especially when you are only making a dozen or so.

                                                    I leave ethnic (Indian and Asian) food to the experts because I don't have the experience or the ingredients for those dishes.

                                                    I don't fry at home because I refuse to clean splattered grease from every surface in my kitchen.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Kelli2006
                                                      g
                                                      gothamette Jan 28, 2014 12:33 PM

                                                      "I don't fry at home because I refuse to clean splattered grease from every surface in my kitchen."

                                                      Bless your soul for saying that.

                                                      I read the foodie sites and they always wax so lyrical about just perfect fried foods. I end up with a grease laden kitchenette and I'm exhausted after the cleanup. And then there's all that once-used oil to throw out.

                                                      1. re: gothamette
                                                        Ruthie789 Jan 28, 2014 04:48 PM

                                                        I so agree with you, Frying is messy and it smells the house up.

                                                      2. re: Kelli2006
                                                        h
                                                        hyde Jan 28, 2014 12:57 PM

                                                        I will do the obligatory stir fry but anything more complex?.....get your coat. hon. We're going to Mulan!

                                                        BTU's in the tens of thousands, 30 inch woks with thousands of miles on them, dishes that hit your table and you can feel the heat from them two feet away, wok hei one only dreams about at home.

                                                        1. re: hyde
                                                          k
                                                          Kelli2006 Jan 28, 2014 02:39 PM

                                                          @Gothamette. I can make very good fried chicken and fish if I have a double basket fryolator in a commercial kitchen, but I'm not going to make that level of mess at home for 2-3 people. I'm happy to pay Popeyes for the occasional fried chicken dinner. I already have a family history of high cholesterol, so that is not something that I do very often.

                                                          @Hyde,
                                                          I have the 16" wok, but I don't have the necessary BTUs to generate wok hei. A 20K BTU former NASA rocket engine is part of my dream kitchen.

                                                          I can do a decent stirfry, but its just not as good as what I can buy for $6.00 at the local Chinese place that is 6 blocks away.

                                                          1. re: Kelli2006
                                                            linguafood Jan 28, 2014 02:44 PM

                                                            OT, but fried things won't raise your cholesterol :-)

                                                            Enjoy your Popeye's!

                                                          2. re: hyde
                                                            c oliver Jan 28, 2014 03:00 PM

                                                            I rarely make Chinese food, except for dumplings, cause I can get really, really good in about a ten minute drive.

                                                            Generally speaking, if I don't make it it's because I'm not that interested in it. If it's something I really love, I'll give it a shot.

                                                        2. Veggo Jan 28, 2014 11:38 AM

                                                          Oaxacan mole, chiles en nogada

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Veggo
                                                            c
                                                            calumin Jan 28, 2014 07:53 PM

                                                            I made mole once and ruined my Le Creuset. Not doing that again when I can buy it premade for a few dollars per tub.

                                                            1. re: Veggo
                                                              t
                                                              tardigrade Jan 29, 2014 02:25 PM

                                                              My sure-fire recipe for Oaxacan mole negro:
                                                              1. go to farmers' market
                                                              2. find the stand with the Oaxacan food
                                                              3. offer to exchange money for a container of mole

                                                              Perfect every time!

                                                              I've done simpler moles from scratch, and they are a lot of work! Chiles rellenos in general I leave up to the experts.

                                                              1. re: tardigrade
                                                                Veggo Jan 29, 2014 02:36 PM

                                                                Smart!

                                                            2. pinehurst Jan 28, 2014 11:48 AM

                                                              Tamales. Hands down.

                                                              11 Replies
                                                              1. re: pinehurst
                                                                Veggo Jan 28, 2014 11:55 AM

                                                                Agreed! Unless you are a plump Mexican woman, about 5" tall, with a gold rimmed tooth and a wide smile, your tamales will probably suck!

                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                  rabaja Jan 28, 2014 12:34 PM

                                                                  So, your saying I should be able to make them in thirty years or so? Sweet.

                                                                  1. re: rabaja
                                                                    Veggo Jan 28, 2014 12:37 PM

                                                                    With 30 years of practice! Tamales are like getting to Carnegie Hall...

                                                                  2. re: Veggo
                                                                    pinehurst Jan 28, 2014 12:49 PM

                                                                    I got the plump down....

                                                                    1. re: pinehurst
                                                                      Veggo Jan 28, 2014 12:53 PM

                                                                      One step toward being a hot tamale!

                                                                      1. re: pinehurst
                                                                        SaraAshley Jan 28, 2014 01:22 PM

                                                                        I have the 5 feet down!

                                                                        1. re: SaraAshley
                                                                          pinehurst Jan 28, 2014 05:23 PM

                                                                          <whispers>let's meet here---Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel in 30 years....we'll go get rabaja and take over the world

                                                                    2. re: pinehurst
                                                                      c oliver Jan 28, 2014 03:01 PM

                                                                      I had a friend, non-Mexican, who made them at Christmas time some years ago. They were great but she said never again. Too much work.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                        s
                                                                        sandylc Jan 28, 2014 03:23 PM

                                                                        I make tamales sometimes. Once you get it down, they're not that hard. I have most recently learned to only make about a dozen, then you're not standing there making them forever and using huge pots, etc.

                                                                        I can knock out a dozen cheese and roasted poblano tamales pretty fast.

                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                          c oliver Jan 28, 2014 03:26 PM

                                                                          Good point regarding 'scale.'

                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                            BananaBirkLarsen Jan 30, 2014 07:59 PM

                                                                            This, pretty much exactly. The first time I made them they were a messy, time-consuming disaster. Last year for Christmas, I was given the gift of a tamale-making class, and even just a little bit of guidance made all the difference in the world. I've made them a few times since, always just enough for a meal plus leftovers, and they've turned out great every time.

                                                                            You have to know what consistency you're aiming for with the masa. After that, it's no harder than stuffing folding any other type of dumpling/stuffed pasta etc.

                                                                      2. z
                                                                        zackly Jan 28, 2014 12:51 PM

                                                                        Chinese food
                                                                        Pizza
                                                                        Pastries
                                                                        Whole belly clams, fried

                                                                        1. h
                                                                          HillJ Jan 28, 2014 12:56 PM

                                                                          With the exception of mozzarella and small batches of goat cheese when the curd and milk are avail for each, CHEESE. I leave cheese making to the experts...with my thanks and respect :)

                                                                          1. s
                                                                            seamunky Jan 28, 2014 01:13 PM

                                                                            Pho

                                                                            Until I have a family of six or more to feed, I'll just go out for a bowl. Even then, I would probably still go out for pho.

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: seamunky
                                                                              c oliver Jan 28, 2014 03:02 PM

                                                                              I make Andrea Nguyen's pho bo recipe and I make a HUGE batch of the broth. Freeze in meal-size portions. THEN it's super easy.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                k
                                                                                Kelli2006 Jan 28, 2014 03:10 PM

                                                                                I learned that the secret to great Pho is the broth. I make the broth in 2 gallon batches and freeze it in ice cube trays. I can now make a very respectful bowl of pho in about 20 minutes.

                                                                                My next Vietnamese mountain to climb is Bun bo Hue.

                                                                                1. re: Kelli2006
                                                                                  w
                                                                                  wewwew Jan 29, 2014 01:19 PM

                                                                                  And fantastic cubes for a BullShot

                                                                              2. re: seamunky
                                                                                Shrinkrap Jan 29, 2014 07:46 PM

                                                                                Has anybody ever tried to just buy the broth to use or freeze? That would be just my speed. I could then just work on "the fixins", as needed.

                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                  c oliver Jan 29, 2014 07:50 PM

                                                                                  The broth is pretty/quite specific so unless you could buy it from a restaurant, I doubt it. But, as I and others have posted, make a huge batch and then use it for months.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                                    Shrinkrap Jan 29, 2014 07:52 PM

                                                                                    Yeah, I meant from a restaurant. During cool months I buy pho at least once a week, and when I get it to go, it comes as a tub of broth with 4 meatballs, a tub of noodles and cold sliced meats, and a baggie of greens like cilantro, Thai basil, jalepeno, and bean sprouts. I can never finish it, and save the broth, but the rest doesn't keep as well.

                                                                                  2. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                                    rabaja Jan 30, 2014 05:32 AM

                                                                                    I've done this. In SF my fave pho place (Turtle Tower) will sell you an extra quart of broth for something like $5.
                                                                                    Great during the cold season.

                                                                                2. jadec Jan 28, 2014 01:51 PM

                                                                                  Dim sum, vienoisserie, bread, cakes

                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jadec
                                                                                    c oliver Jan 28, 2014 03:03 PM

                                                                                    I took an Asian dumpling class last year and learned a bunch of dumpling doughs. Next on my list is chicken feet. I have some in the freezer :)

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                      g
                                                                                      gothamette Jan 28, 2014 04:26 PM

                                                                                      I use chicken feet in soup. But I don't know how to cook them as feet. I didn't know anyone did.

                                                                                      1. re: gothamette
                                                                                        c oliver Jan 28, 2014 04:45 PM

                                                                                        As a dim sum dish, they're one of our faves. I've saved this Serious Eats recipe:

                                                                                        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                        1. re: gothamette
                                                                                          hotoynoodle Jan 28, 2014 07:50 PM

                                                                                          just used 3 packs of feet in broth that i cooked for 36 hours. omg, delish and so gelatinous.

                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                            weezieduzzit Jan 28, 2014 07:52 PM

                                                                                            I bet! Are you making something special out of it?

                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                              hotoynoodle Jan 29, 2014 05:24 AM

                                                                                              i have broth with seaweed and eggs for breakfast most days.

                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                c oliver Jan 29, 2014 08:06 AM

                                                                                                Do you cook the eggs in advance of assembling?

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                  hotoynoodle Jan 29, 2014 08:31 AM

                                                                                                  nope. i put them raw in a bowl and pour the heated broth over, while swirling -- like egg drop soup.

                                                                                                  this batch of broth also was cooked with lemongrass, ginger, couple scotch bonnets and some garlic. very tasty.

                                                                                                  i do use it if i'm making rice or some such for the b/f, but mostly just eat it for health. :)

                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                    c oliver Jan 29, 2014 08:38 AM

                                                                                                    I love a raw egg over hot rice so what you do is quite appealing. Thanks.

                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                      weezieduzzit Jan 29, 2014 08:41 AM

                                                                                                      That sounds great. I'll try it with the last couple of farm fresh eggs I have. I don't have any scotch bonnets but I still have serranos in my garden I can use, I have everything else in the fridge.

                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                                        hotoynoodle Jan 30, 2014 07:26 AM

                                                                                                        after finishing, i strain out all the stuff and reduce it way down so it stores more compactly. it's jello at this point.

                                                                                                        i lop off a chunk, add it to a pan with water and some dried seaweed and simmer. then add salt. in winter it is my favorite breakfast.

                                                                                              2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                c oliver Jan 28, 2014 09:58 PM

                                                                                                When I make stock it's usually feet, necks and backs.

                                                                                        2. Ttrockwood Jan 28, 2014 02:15 PM

                                                                                          Baguettes- two blocks away i can get a great one for $2

                                                                                          Bagels- since i'm in nyc i'm never far from a good one

                                                                                          Ice creams/gelatos- because if i made these at home i would need bigger pants

                                                                                          French fries- a rare craving for me, but i'm just not going deal with the mess

                                                                                          Sushi rolls (i make miso soup and sashimi at home)

                                                                                          1. Paprikaboy Jan 28, 2014 02:19 PM

                                                                                            Burgers, tonkotsu ramen, empanadas , eccles cakes. Also nasi lemak, though this is gonna change when I get my coconut grater and make my own coconut milk.

                                                                                            1. linguafood Jan 28, 2014 02:21 PM

                                                                                              Sichuan food. We have a pretty good number of *very good* Sichuan restaurants in town, so despite having a Sichuan cookbook, I simply cannot be bothered to try and recreate any of the dishes I eat on a weekly basis.

                                                                                              Baked goods. I don't bake.

                                                                                              1. weezieduzzit Jan 28, 2014 02:25 PM

                                                                                                Anything fried, including chicken. I'm not set up to do it right and I don't want to clean up after it.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                  rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 03:47 PM

                                                                                                  Oh come on -- all it takes is a pan and a stove. And the cleanup is the same as frying bacon. Go for it.

                                                                                                  1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                    weezieduzzit Jan 28, 2014 07:37 PM

                                                                                                    I don't like fried food enough to make the effort. The place down the street makes killer fried chicken and it's rare I even want any. On the very rare occasion I make bacon I do it in the oven, bacon is usually diced and used as an ingredient here- or just the fat is used.

                                                                                                2. t
                                                                                                  Tara57 Jan 28, 2014 02:59 PM

                                                                                                  Restaurants make better seafood than do I. I'm sure they buy better seafood, which is half the battle.

                                                                                                  Add me to the no-deep-frying-at-home club. Even if I wasn't afraid of burning the house down, I don't want to deal with the mess or odor.

                                                                                                  1. s
                                                                                                    sweetpotater Jan 28, 2014 03:33 PM

                                                                                                    Anything I can buy better within 4 blocks of my house:
                                                                                                    pizza
                                                                                                    bread
                                                                                                    sushi

                                                                                                    There is better pie within 1 mile but I still try that.

                                                                                                    1. k
                                                                                                      kitchengardengal Jan 28, 2014 03:50 PM

                                                                                                      Biscuits. I live in the deep South, and I leave that art up to the cooks who have been making biscuits the way that MeeMaw made biscuits.

                                                                                                      Pintos. See above.

                                                                                                      Agree with OP on the English muffins. Mine sucked, too. Thomas's or Bays are just fine with me.

                                                                                                      1. r
                                                                                                        rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 03:51 PM

                                                                                                        English muffins & bagels. Not worth the effort.

                                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                                          Jeanne Jan 28, 2014 04:06 PM

                                                                                                          Fried calamari. I love it cooked well - I've tried to cook it once. I rarely fry (soft shell crabs only) - my calamari cooked too fast, was hard and created such a stench in the kitchen I was totally surprised. Never again.

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Jeanne
                                                                                                            linguafood Jan 28, 2014 04:17 PM

                                                                                                            They take about 30 seconds tops. I toss them in cornstarch seasoned with salt & pepper. Easy and delicious.

                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                              Jeanne Jan 28, 2014 08:36 PM

                                                                                                              linguafood what about the odor? I'm talking about an odor that was very offensive - definitely not an average fried odor. Is that just because it's calamari? It definitely cooked too fast and was overdone but it was not burned and the oil wasn't scorched.

                                                                                                              1. re: Jeanne
                                                                                                                linguafood Jan 28, 2014 08:45 PM

                                                                                                                Hmm. Well, you'll have to deal with a bit of that hot oil smell you get from....frying in oil :-D

                                                                                                                But otherwise, it shouldn't be smellier than, say, frying eggplant.

                                                                                                                One of the reasons I'm on the same page as most people here is that our ventilation system sucks (no outside vent and a cheap-ass hood at that), and while I can deal with many food smells (even cabbage or eggs... bacon's almost considered a perfume around these parts), that lingering fry smell is not my favorite.

                                                                                                                I've gotten that from fondue, too, and I just don't like it. It lingers more than bacon or cabbage or eggs, and it's unpleasant.

                                                                                                                We do own a deep-fryer but prefer to use it out on the patio. Which means we don't use it regularly.

                                                                                                            2. re: Jeanne
                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                              don515 Jan 28, 2014 05:08 PM

                                                                                                              totally agree!! Honey we have a box of squid (whole!) how does fried calamari sound for lunch-sounds great! 3 hours later lunch....

                                                                                                              Will never brew my own beer or make my own wine leave that to the experts...

                                                                                                              DC

                                                                                                            3. r
                                                                                                              rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 04:38 PM

                                                                                                              Somewhat astonished at the prevalence of frying phobia, especially fried chicken. Admittedly, if you have a closed apartment with no ventilation it's a little aromatic, but no more so than cooking burgers in a skillet. It's really not hard or particularly messy if you pay attention to some basic principles.

                                                                                                              I'm doing 40 lbs of chicken wings this Sunday. Admittedly I have a great hood, but otherwise no special equipment other than a few pots and a few cold PBRs.

                                                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                g
                                                                                                                gothamette Jan 28, 2014 04:42 PM

                                                                                                                'Admittedly, if you have a closed apartment with no ventilation it's a little aromatic, but no more so than cooking burgers in a skillet. '

                                                                                                                No way. A burger you put on a lightly greased skillet, fried chicken you need to immerse in hot fat. The two aren't remotely comparable.

                                                                                                                1. re: gothamette
                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                  rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                  If you do chicken correctly, it's not immersed. And if you sear your burger, it produces smoke from the burning beef fat, unlike fried chicken, which mostly releases water vapor.

                                                                                                                  I made plenty of fried chicken when I lived in apartments with little/no ventilation and it wasn't a problem.

                                                                                                                  1. re: gothamette
                                                                                                                    MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                    The burger produces more fat sizzling and smoke than chicken being fried in a decent fat/oil source at the correct temperature with the proper ratio of chicken to oil in the pan.@ least for me it does.

                                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                      rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                      Spoken like a true chicken fryer. You're from the south, right?

                                                                                                                      1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                        MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                        Good Heavens no! I am from a little town 35 miles north of San Francisco (Petaluma) it is about 16 miles inland from Bodega Bay and maybe 9 miles west of Sonoma. My late mom was a superb scratch cook so I was *shown the ropes* by watching and helping her from age 4.

                                                                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                                          rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 06:35 PM

                                                                                                                          Know it well & been there many times. Never made it to the world wrist-wrestling championshps though.

                                                                                                                          1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                            MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                            It is a beautiful town. Just the west side of town though:) Small world!

                                                                                                                  2. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                    Ruthie789 Jan 28, 2014 04:52 PM

                                                                                                                    My fear of frying stems from the potential for kitchen fires, I get distracted too easily and so many kitchen fires start from oil frying. I also find it messy and do not like the smell either. I live in Montreal, a hot dog stand is always around a corner if I want fries, and the like.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789
                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                      rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 04:55 PM

                                                                                                                      Fair enough -- you do need to pay attention when you're frying. Exhibit A is the annual Thanksgiving YouTube montage of idiots burning down their houses frying turkeys.

                                                                                                                    2. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                      juliejulez Jan 28, 2014 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                      I don't have outside ventilation (just a re-circulating micro-hood), and I have an electric stove. And, my entire first floor is an "open plan" so anything I make that's "aromatic" will smell up the entire first floor (and sometimes makes it's way upstairs) for a couple days. I don't even like doing stuff like burgers on the stove for that reason.

                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                        rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                        Makes sense. It's not the frying, it's "aromatic" cooking in general. I totally agree and detest cooking odors in the house. Which is why I have a hood that will suck the dog off the floor when I crank it up.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                          c oliver Jan 28, 2014 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                          I don't particularly notice any smell other than the food. I suppose if the oil got too hot. And as for fire danger, well, yeah, you do have to pay attention. But I've been frying in a DO since a CH recommended it to me. There's a big space between the top of the oil and the top of the pot.

                                                                                                                          1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                            juliejulez Jan 28, 2014 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                            Trust me, if I had any say when this house was built, I'd have one too. Our micro-hood is even on an exterior wall, so no idea why the builder didn't do a vented hood, or why my SO didn't ask for one :-P

                                                                                                                        2. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                          q
                                                                                                                          Querencia Jan 28, 2014 05:09 PM

                                                                                                                          Why I don't fry: 1) It smells 2) I am left with a lot of expensive liquified fat that is awkward to store and may retain unwanted flavors 3) It makes a mess 4) I don't want that much fat in my diet. My great-grandma could fry potatoes like nobody else---she used more than an inch of bacon fat in the skillet. I just can't do it.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                                            c oliver Jan 28, 2014 05:12 PM

                                                                                                                            That's cool. But 4) applies whether you or someone else does the cooking :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                              rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                              1) see above -- it doesn't smell more than lots of other cooking and less than,say, frying burgers.

                                                                                                                              3) no more so than anything other than boiling. I find roasting fowl to be the consummate mess maker (and aroma generator)

                                                                                                                              4) already addressed by c Oliver

                                                                                                                              2) You can get a gallon of canola oil at for $7 or so an you only need a quart or less for most things. $1.75 is probably less than the coffee you had this morning. As to storage, just pour it into an empty plastic soda/water bottle and toss,

                                                                                                                              Go ahead -- you'll love the result

                                                                                                                              1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                                c oliver Jan 28, 2014 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                I'm REALLY lucky that I have an induction cooktop where, at the least, I just use a wet, soapy sponge and then glass cleaner. Or when I'm being really on top of it (literally!) I can put newspaper down between the cooktop and the pot!!!

                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                  rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 05:42 PM

                                                                                                                                  Cool. Never thought of that.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                                    c oliver Jan 28, 2014 05:44 PM

                                                                                                                                    VERY cool. I didn't buy it for the ease of cleaning but it's just great!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                    mwhitmore Jan 28, 2014 08:23 PM

                                                                                                                                    Also (I think/hope), no danger that a boil-over will catch and burn your house down. (Am I correct,? No induction experience.)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mwhitmore
                                                                                                                                      c oliver Jan 28, 2014 10:01 PM

                                                                                                                                      Right!. Cause there's no flame and also because beyond the 'ring' of the 'burner,' it's completely cool.

                                                                                                                          2. Ruthie789 Jan 28, 2014 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                            Oil fried foods. French fries, fish and chips, onion rings and the like. I will pan roast but no frying in my house.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruthie789
                                                                                                                              c oliver Jan 28, 2014 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                              Why?

                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                Ruthie789 Jan 29, 2014 12:09 AM

                                                                                                                                The mess, the food odors, the safety of it all.

                                                                                                                            2. q
                                                                                                                              Querencia Jan 28, 2014 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                              I wish I could bone a whole chicken.
                                                                                                                              I wish I could make rolled fondant.
                                                                                                                              I wish I could make spun sugar.

                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                                                MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 06:47 PM

                                                                                                                                I have always dreamed about accomplishing boning out a whole chicken filling it and roasting it. I also wish I had the guts to attempt procuring a goose and roasting it and also making all of the luscious fat laden luxurious chicken liver recipes I have been looking at.

                                                                                                                                1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                  rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                  De boning a bird (or bunny). actually isn't all that hard. Just takes the right knife and a little patience. Like most cooking things.

                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                  1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                                    MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 07:43 PM

                                                                                                                                    That first plate with the rolled stuffed meat is perfection. I was thinking a good sharp boning knife and a non slippery surface might make it doable. I will watch some YouTube videos and give it a go this spring. I agree about the patience and the proper kitchen tools. I grew up butchering whole chickens for Sunday dinners so what is removing a bone or two right?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                                      rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 07:51 PM

                                                                                                                                      The main thing is -- just do it! If you bugger it up the first time, make pot pie & try again.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                    miss_belle Jan 29, 2014 06:29 AM

                                                                                                                                    I still miss those whole boneless chickens Bo Pilgrim came out with about 30 years ago. But they didn't take off as expected. Soon it was 2 for $5.00 which was a great deal. Then they just disappeared.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: Querencia
                                                                                                                                    a
                                                                                                                                    andy43 Jan 28, 2014 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                    I learned to debone chicken from Pepin. When they went on sale I bought some to practice on. Even if you mess them up you can still bake or boil them.
                                                                                                                                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAekQ...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: andy43
                                                                                                                                      juliejulez Jan 28, 2014 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                      Wow that was a great video, he makes it look so easy. I think I'll try this out next time chickens go on sale.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: andy43
                                                                                                                                        MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 07:53 PM

                                                                                                                                        Loving the video and the gorgeous Jacques.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                                          pinehurst Jan 29, 2014 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                                          Ditto and ditto.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: pinehurst
                                                                                                                                            MamasCooking Jan 29, 2014 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                                            Who but Jacques could make brutalizing a whole chicken look appealing? What a fine looking elegant man he is:)

                                                                                                                                    2. Antilope Jan 28, 2014 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                                      Anything where I have to put in a lot of effort, but mine doesn't taste any better than what I can buy. Tamales, Bagels, Pretzels, Donuts, Fried Chicken, home made pasta.

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope
                                                                                                                                        c oliver Jan 28, 2014 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                                        I was pretty with you til the pasta. I don't make pasta often but it's about a million times better than any I can buy.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                          Antilope Jan 28, 2014 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                          A package of fresh pasta from the store, after you put sauce on it, is very close to my home made. Not worth the effort. I've used my manual Atlas pasta machine about 5 times in 20 years.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Antilope
                                                                                                                                            c oliver Jan 28, 2014 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                            Since for me the most important part is the pasta that is subsequently lightly 'dressed' with sauce, the pasta plays the major role.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope
                                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                                              rjbh20 Jan 28, 2014 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                                              I find commercial "fresh" pasta very boingy. And it takes me 5 minutes to make pasta and another 10 to sheet it (excluding the resting time when you're doing something else anyway) so I never think to buy commercial fresh pasta.

                                                                                                                                        2. MamasCooking Jan 28, 2014 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                          I will leave the *dispatching* then steaming of all fresh Dungeness crabs to the adept hands of the sweet little man @ the Asian Market. Thank you very much.

                                                                                                                                          1. s
                                                                                                                                            sandylc Jan 28, 2014 06:58 PM

                                                                                                                                            Assembling a turducken.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                              Ruthie789 Jan 29, 2014 12:10 AM

                                                                                                                                              Have you tried, kudos for just trying. I won't even buy one!

                                                                                                                                            2. m
                                                                                                                                              mwhitmore Jan 28, 2014 08:28 PM

                                                                                                                                              Pastrami. My Dad told me 'Don't even bother to try!', so I haven't. Could I be missing something?

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: mwhitmore
                                                                                                                                                a
                                                                                                                                                autumm Jan 28, 2014 08:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                I start with using one of the corned beef "things" for lack of a better word that show up in late February. Basically then just pepper/season it and smoke it. I wouldn't bother with the whole corning/brining process but it's a fun cheat.

                                                                                                                                                And there isn't much in the way of good pastrami around here so I play.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: autumm
                                                                                                                                                  Shrinkrap Jan 29, 2014 07:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I did try it starting with a whole brisket once, and I thought it was awesome. I will try the corned beef cheat if I find the "point", instead of the "flat".

                                                                                                                                              2. a
                                                                                                                                                autumm Jan 28, 2014 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                Most fried foods, although every october I do a schnitzel style pork chop to commemorate our Austrian vacation a couple years back. Which is just enough frying to convince me to hold off till next year.

                                                                                                                                                Otherwise most breads/bread type products. I don't have the counter space for proper kneading in this kitchen. Sushi/sashimi,

                                                                                                                                                1. Gastronomos Jan 29, 2014 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Those oily and greasey "cream" sauces served in chains. I couldn't even start to think of what kind of chemical shitbomb goes into making these horrible concoctions. Anything to avoid using real cream it seems.
                                                                                                                                                  Yeah. I'll leave those factory foods to the "experts".

                                                                                                                                                  1. f
                                                                                                                                                    foodslut Jan 29, 2014 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Sushi (not the California roll kind). Given that legit sushi chefs spend a year of their education perfecting the rice, then another year learning to cut the fish, I leave this work to them. Will make maki at home, though rarely (prefer onigiri) but the real stuff I leave to the experts.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodslut
                                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                                      mwhitmore Jan 30, 2014 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Also a couple more years learning which fish are safe to eat. Every case of getting sick from raw fish I've heard of has been from an amateur, not a qualified sushi chef.

                                                                                                                                                    2. d
                                                                                                                                                      Daisy.G Jan 29, 2014 02:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Deep frying. That's a job for the nice man at the chip shop. I eat from that category infrequently enough that oil I used to do deep fry at home would end up being single-use. A waste of time, food, and money for me.

                                                                                                                                                      Also, bread in the form of sandwich loaves and rolls. With two bakeries within 45 seconds walk of my house, that's another task I gladly outsource.

                                                                                                                                                      1. t
                                                                                                                                                        tastesgoodwhatisit Jan 30, 2014 12:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Hotpot and bibimbap are two that I rarely do at home. At a restaurant, they handle all the prep, and I get a wide range of ingredients to go in them. For example, at a hotpot restaurant I'll have a choice of a dozen different vegetables, five different leafy greens, four different mushrooms, dumplings, fish balls, dried noodles, mochi, with ice cream, beverages, and dipping sauces provided. For the bibimbap, doing the stone hotpot (my favourite version) at home is impractical.

                                                                                                                                                        For some reason I never cook burgers at home - that's always a going out dish.

                                                                                                                                                        1. t
                                                                                                                                                          tastesgoodwhatisit Jan 30, 2014 12:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                          For the frying thing - one reason for not frying at home (aside from the heat and the mess) is that deep fried foods are best right after they're cooked. If you're frying for a family, that means you stand over a hot stove while everyone else eats, and get to eat after everyone else. At a restaurant, you can all eat together.

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                                                                                            c oliver Jan 30, 2014 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Nah :) I have my oven on at about 250 with a baking sheet lined with a brown paper grocery bag. Keeps the food nicely hot and I can just add more layers of bags as I need.

                                                                                                                                                            @tastesgood..., since we started grinding our own meat, except for drive thru, fast food, we haven't had a burger out in several years that I can remember.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                                                                              rjbh20 Jan 30, 2014 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I find that it works better if you use a rack rather than paper -- keeps the bottom from getting soggy. Actually, I've found that fried chicken benefits from a brief stay in the oven -- makes the skin crispier.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rjbh20
                                                                                                                                                                c oliver Jan 30, 2014 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I've used a rack occasionally but the brown, paper grocery bags seems to be thick enough to not be a problem. But, ya know, it may just be that my mother did that so I do also :)

                                                                                                                                                          2. mtlcowgirl Jan 30, 2014 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Greek and Middle Eastern. There are so many good restaurants that offer it, often at reasonable prices, that it is not worth the trouble attempting same yourself. Unless you are Greek or Middle Eastern, of course.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Marusik Jan 30, 2014 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Anything deep-fried (fear of hot oil plus don't eat it too often).
                                                                                                                                                              Good yeast bread.
                                                                                                                                                              Pizza (don't have the right oven for it + yeast dough).
                                                                                                                                                              Ethnic cousines (due to many obscure ingredients that will go to waste since I don't get cravings very often).
                                                                                                                                                              Anything that should have a fresh ingredient of high quality that is unavailable at a store or would cost too much - I'd rather spend that money on prepared dish that is complete (sushi, expensive fishes, some seafood - lobster, scallops, oysters).

                                                                                                                                                              1. ChrisOfStumptown Jan 30, 2014 02:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Like many, I don't bake bread or god forbid puff pastry.

                                                                                                                                                                I'll make sushi even though the fish looks like it was hacked at with hedge trimmers. The rice though is another matter. Tsuji describes the technique, saying one doesn't compress the rice, and if done properly the individual grains should be oriented in the same direction. There are of course many techniques I have not mastered but I cannot even conceive how it would be possible to build such a block of rice. I'm still practicing wad and press.

                                                                                                                                                                On the other hand I deep fry when I want something deep fried, although it's been a while. And there's a local merchant who sells moist masa. It's pretty much a cinch to roll it into tamales inside parchment paper.

                                                                                                                                                                1. a
                                                                                                                                                                  AlexRast Jan 30, 2014 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I find it's not so much a matter of the effort not being worth the trouble from a standpoint of *result* (everything on the list below I've done at least as well and usually considerably better than what I can buy), but rather from a standpoint of *ancillary work or equipment needed*. Either the cleanup is endless, you need specialised and expensive machinery, or there are a lot of steps involving waiting and/or pre-preparation. Another reason can be that you can't make it well below a minimum quantity that simply isn't practical in a home context. So:

                                                                                                                                                                  Chocolate bars (you don't want to know the machinery and process required, and yes, I've done it)
                                                                                                                                                                  Ice Cream (if I could find a machine that could give me control over freezing temperature profile (not just temperature), dasher speeds, overrun percentages, and motor torques and cutoffs, I might do it. But such machines only exist AFAIK for professional applications)
                                                                                                                                                                  Espresso (the setup and cleanup is nightmarish)
                                                                                                                                                                  Croissants and their related raised-dough puff-pastry cousins (I'm fine with ordinary puff pastry and make it a fair amount. Likewise with ordinary bread. But combining both means long waits - and it turns out, essentially REQUIRES that you get up at the crack of dawn, far too early for me.)
                                                                                                                                                                  Chinese dim sum (Love it. But the problem here is half about quantity - it's hard to make a small amount, and half about number of separate things you have to make - just completely impractical from a home standpoint, except, perhaps, for a very festive occasion)

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AlexRast
                                                                                                                                                                    c oliver Jan 30, 2014 07:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Re dim sum, I took an Asian dumpling class last year and I can now knock out a couple of dumpling dishes and a non-dumpling dish or two pretty easily in a quantity that's right for just the two of us. But I do this because I have NO access to dim sum locally. When I did, I didn't :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AlexRast
                                                                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                                                                      rjbh20 Jan 30, 2014 08:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Have you ever made bubble gum?

                                                                                                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                                                                                                      Siegal Jan 30, 2014 08:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Definitely soft shell crab. I just can't snip their little faces off,

                                                                                                                                                                      1. steve h. Feb 1, 2014 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Fugu.
                                                                                                                                                                        Pressed duck.
                                                                                                                                                                        Guinness.

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