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eG Foodblog: Franci (2012) - From heirloom tomatoes to zucchini blosso

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#61 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:15 AM

We left for my appointment and since Prasantrin wished for some pastries, on the way back home, we stopped in two places.

Prince's Tea first stop

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An employee was suspiciously looking at me...


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We got in to bring something home

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Then we stopped at Riviera Patisserie in Boulevard des Moulins

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I went inside but they didn't let me take pictures, only this.

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Edited by Franci, 09 May 2012 - 02:29 AM.


#62 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:24 AM

Although in Prince's Tea shop everything looks so beautiful, so far I've alway been disappointed with their pastries. Also today.

We got this cookie. I just wanted to try a little piece and while cutting it, the jam was oozing everywhere and the shortbread was not memorable at all.

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At Riviera Patisserie I've only bought brioches or croissants, always very nice and light with a good butter taste, although their display looks less impressive

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Edited by Franci, 09 May 2012 - 02:26 AM.


#63 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:31 AM

Lunch was fairly simple as usual.
I made a risotto "giallo", yellow. That's how is called often in the North of Italy. Although many Italians really horrify at the idea, I use a pressure cooker, which gives me a more consisten result and I use less precious stock. For this rice you really need a beef stock but for some reasons my son is so accustumed to chicken stock that I've been using that. To make it richer, at the end of cooking, with the "mantecatura" with butter, I also add a little bit of veal glaze I have in the freezer.

This is my dish. Maybe it is the Chinese genes but both the children don't like cheese.

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I also made a little beef fillet on the grill for the children and I had some zucchini and peas to cook from yesterday


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The boy can be really frustrating for me. Of course, my husdand and I, before having children didn't really think we were going to have picky eaters...The boy would have been happy just with the jam cookie and didn't eat any of the rice and only a couple bites of meat and zucchini. I hope that, like for Bourdain, he is going to have the revelation or I should move to China for a couple months to challenge him a bit...

#64 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:35 AM

I don't have any outing planned for the afternoon. I think I'll go to the Condamine tomorrow morning.

I've defrosted some filling for Chinese dumplings and thinking of making pot stickers. I also need to use the asparagus I bought yesterday. So, while my daughter is sleeping I'm going to take the opportunity to make the dough.

#65 Darienne

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:08 AM

Don't know if I missed it and can't find it...but did you make those muffins in silicone wrappers? I've seen them but not purchased them. If so, are they easy to clean? (Don't like cleaning silicone very much although I use silicone flat "silpat-type" things constantly.)

Thanks.
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#66 KennethT

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:16 AM

If it's of any consolation to you, I was maybe the pickiest child in the world. Somehow, in my late teens - early twenties things did a huge turnaround and now I am not picky at all (other than a stickler for quality) and in fact am very adventurous!

#67 Mjx

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 07:34 AM

. . . .
The boy can be really frustrating for me. Of course, my husdand and I, before having children didn't really think we were going to have picky eaters...The boy would have been happy just with the jam cookie and didn't eat any of the rice and only a couple bites of meat and zucchini. I hope that, like for Bourdain, he is going to have the revelation or I should move to China for a couple months to challenge him a bit...


For whatever it's worth, there have been quite a few studies suggesting that there may be very solid evolutionary reasons for pickiness (food neophobias) that often appear suddenly, even in children who once ate pretty much everything.

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#68 ambra

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 08:09 AM

Franci, I forgot to respond upthread, but we had made pasta al forno with little tiny meatballs.

My son is a hugely picky eater and he drives me crazy. He also thinks he only wants pasta with butter yet when it is put in front of him, he won't eat it. Obviously, because it's boring or he is sick of it. I do find that he eats better when in the company of others leaving me to believe his likes and dislikes are all "in his head." He even eats at school. And there they have a pasta course AND a meat course. He never eats meat at home.

You mentioned leaving, are you going to another part of Europe? (I hope I didn't miss where you already said this!)

I was also wondering are you going to be making anything with the zucchini flowers? I have some to use up and wanted to see if your idea was better than mine. ;) heehee

#69 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:21 AM

Don't know if I missed it and can't find it...but did you make those muffins in silicone wrappers? I've seen them but not purchased them. If so, are they easy to clean? (Don't like cleaning silicone very much although I use silicone flat "silpat-type" things constantly.)

Thanks.


Yes, Darienne, I used silicone cases, you can see them in the last picture of previous page. They are not difficult to clean, I just don't like to clean molds of small size...I just dump them in a bowl of soapy water, rinse and dry.


. . . .
The boy can be really frustrating for me. Of course, my husdand and I, before having children didn't really think we were going to have picky eaters...The boy would have been happy just with the jam cookie and didn't eat any of the rice and only a couple bites of meat and zucchini. I hope that, like for Bourdain, he is going to have the revelation or I should move to China for a couple months to challenge him a bit...


For whatever it's worth, there have been quite a few studies suggesting that there may be very solid evolutionary reasons for pickiness (food neophobias) that often appear suddenly, even in children who once ate pretty much everything.


Thanks Michaela. My husband is a very particular eater as well, he doesn't lilke his food to be mixed, in some ways, he is very simple in his taste. So he doesn't eat lasagne, or mapo doufu or even stir-fries, he is not particularly interested in Indian or Mexican food just because looks too messy for him, he prefers a piece of meat over a meatball and really doesn't understand the necessity of stuffing food. But he still grew up with respect for food, the effort to bring it to your table. And that is important to us. So I really try to be understanding but I want to instill some ethics, I'd like to cook one meal rather than multiples meals.


KennethT, thanks, so maybe he is still too young and he is going to be allright :wink:

I was also wondering are you going to be making anything with the zucchini flowers? I have some to use up and wanted to see if your idea was better than mine. ;) heehee


As I just mentioned my husband doesn't really like stuffed food but he loves zucchini flowers, so I usually fry them.

#70 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:50 AM

Ok, so tonight dinner is almost ready.

I made the pot stickers skins

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And closed the pot stickers or as the other members of the house call them: guo tie.

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I also quickly pickled some cucumbers and blanched the asparagus. I have left over risotto to make some rice cakes.

#71 kayswv

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:35 AM

Franci,
In your picture of Prince's Tea windows there is an abundance of lilies of the valley flowers. We just returned last week from a trip to France with a stay in Nice and know that it is tradition to give your mother/wife these flowers on May 1 but we never got an explanation of why that flower. We certainly saw them in all the stores. Do you know why?
Kay

#72 Kouign Aman

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:39 PM

So delightful, the chicks in eggs, and the ladybugs in the foreground of a photo in Prince's Tea. Are they marzipan?

I second not wanting to make multiple meals most of the time! Frustrating as it is, your picky eater eats more vegetables than many will.
I hear the same thing about grains - from both the offspring and the spouse.

Thanks for sharing a 'day to day life' foodblog. So nice to see your delicious looking food, especially as your repertoire (sp?) is so different than mine.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#73 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:29 PM

Franci,
In your picture of Prince's Tea windows there is an abundance of lilies of the valley flowers. We just returned last week from a trip to France with a stay in Nice and know that it is tradition to give your mother/wife these flowers on May 1 but we never got an explanation of why that flower. We certainly saw them in all the stores. Do you know why?
Kay


Hello Kay. I do not know much, just that besides being Labor Day it is "Muguet" Lily of the Valley Day, so the two are associated.


So delightful, the chicks in eggs, and the ladybugs in the foreground of a photo in Prince's Tea. Are they marzipan?


I thought they were more sugar work but maybe I didn't pay enough attention! I was concentrating trying to take a picture with my daughter in the carrier :biggrin:

Before I go to sleep, I'm coming back to post about dinner. Not bad. We barely tried the cucumber because my son ate the whole plate (he likes the rice vinegar plus sugar combination :hmmm: ). The guo tie were approved by the husband and the little girl was ok with almost everything.

Riso al salto, rice cakes. This is a staple I always make after risotto.




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The small pieces of rice that fall on the pan and get very crunchy are reward for the chef :biggrin:

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Pot stickers, served with chinese vinegar/soy sauce/spicy oil

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Quick pickle of cucumber

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Cold asparagus salad and Kimchi bought from the little Russian deli (not pictured)

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Time to sleep. Tomorrow mornig I'll go to the Condamine market by the port.

Edited by Franci, 09 May 2012 - 02:30 PM.


#74 Kim Shook

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:47 PM

Franci – I very much like your rice cakes! I’ll try that next time we have leftover rice. And your pot stickers are gorgeous – both the exquisite folding and the nice crisp bottoms! A question about the cucumbers – they seem to be ridged slightly where they are peeled. Is that your peeler? It looks attractive and I’d imagine helps to hold on to the marinade the same way pasta ridges help hold sauce.

Edited to add that I hope you are feeling better.

Edited by Kim Shook, 09 May 2012 - 02:47 PM.


#75 kayswv

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:08 PM

Hello Kay. I do not know much, just that besides being Labor Day it is "Muguet" Lily of the Valley Day, so the two are associated.


Franci,

Thank you for the extra piece of information. Using it and a little google work I found the following:
"As the story goes, on the first of May 1561, King Charles of France—who was ten at the time—was presented with a fragrant bunch of muguet: the delicate green sprigs capped with tiny white bells that we know as lily of the valley. It was a gesture signifying luck and prosperity, which so touched the king, he continued the tradition by giving the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of his court each year on the same day. La Fête du Muguet continues in France today, and though men, who wear a few stems in their lapel, still present women with fresh bouquets...'

It is always amazing what you can learn on egullet. Thanks for all your work blogging with two little ones.
Kay

#76 Franci

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:07 PM

Good Thursday, everybody. After two days of so and so weather it seems is going to be a sunny day. Good to take some pictures!
Just had my first coffee.


Franci – I very much like your rice cakes! I’ll try that next time we have leftover rice. And your pot stickers are gorgeous – both the exquisite folding and the nice crisp bottoms! A question about the cucumbers – they seem to be ridged slightly where they are peeled. Is that your peeler? It looks attractive and I’d imagine helps to hold on to the marinade the same way pasta ridges help hold sauce.

Edited to add that I hope you are feeling better.



Thanks for asking Kim. I'm feeling a little better, I didn't know I was suffering from seasonal allergies...

There rice cakes can be a little tricky. I can spare some of tricks learnt over time. The traditional ones are made with no eggs, the starch from risotto and cheese should be enough to bind the cake. Sometimes I add one egg per cup of uncooked rice, more or less. They tend to fall apart, so to prevent it, I help myself with a ring. I used the ring to form the cakes and immediatly shake it a little, the bottom gets loose straight away, remove the ring and use it again when flipping the cakes. Otherwise, wait untill it's nice and crispy and flip with a ring in place. I like also a bigger version where I use a 14 cm ring and my small lyonnese. they can also be stuffed, traditionally with mushrooms, frog legs or snails.

Good catch on the peeler. It is a tomato peeler. My son always loved raw peppers with no skin and I spent almost 3 years painfully peeling peppers with a regular peeler, wow, what a difference a good tomato peeler! It is great also for cucumbers or fruit because removes just the peel. I love it also for lemons, peels off just the right amount.




Hello Kay. I do not know much, just that besides being Labor Day it is "Muguet" Lily of the Valley Day, so the two are associated.


Franci,

Thank you for the extra piece of information. Using it and a little google work I found the following:
"As the story goes, on the first of May 1561, King Charles of France—who was ten at the time—was presented with a fragrant bunch of muguet: the delicate green sprigs capped with tiny white bells that we know as lily of the valley. It was a gesture signifying luck and prosperity, which so touched the king, he continued the tradition by giving the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of his court each year on the same day. La Fête du Muguet continues in France today, and though men, who wear a few stems in their lapel, still present women with fresh bouquets...'

It is always amazing what you can learn on egullet. Thanks for all your work blogging with two little ones.
Kay


Well, thank you Kay, I didn't know it :smile:

#77 dcarch

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:47 PM

OK, I can understand why you are such a good cook because you had training, but how did you also become such a great photographer?

dcarch :wub:

Edited by dcarch, 09 May 2012 - 10:48 PM.


#78 haresfur

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:34 AM

There rice cakes can be a little tricky. I can spare some of tricks learnt over time. The traditional ones are made with no eggs, the starch from risotto and cheese should be enough to bind the cake. Sometimes I add one egg per cup of uncooked rice, more or less. They tend to fall apart, so to prevent it, I help myself with a ring. I used the ring to form the cakes and immediatly shake it a little, the bottom gets loose straight away, remove the ring and use it again when flipping the cakes. Otherwise, wait untill it's nice and crispy and flip with a ring in place. I like also a bigger version where I use a 14 cm ring and my small lyonnese. they can also be stuffed, traditionally with mushrooms, frog legs or snails.

Thank you for the hints. I'm new to making risotto and was wondering what to do with leftovers. I experimented and made these for the first time using an egg but they still didn't stay together very well. I guessed that I probably wasn't the first one to fry up rice cakes and am glad to learn the name - Riso al salto. I'm really enjoying the blog.
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#79 Zeemanb

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:46 AM

OK, I can understand why you are such a good cook because you had training, but how did you also become such a great photographer?

dcarch :wub:


Ditto- I recently upgraded from my Android phone camera to a Nikon D5100 and have fallen into the abyss...would love any camera related info, you're doing an awesome job on taking photos while multitasking! Loving the blog!

#80 Franci

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 07:29 AM

OK, I can understand why you are such a good cook because you had training, but how did you also become such a great photographer?

dcarch :wub:


Coming from you dcarch, I take it as a huge compliment. Thanks also to Zeemanb.
This is funny, because, as Heidi knows, my new camera -received as gift- had an accident...luckily I also got a new Ipad. I'm a very mediocre photographer but the new Ipad rocks!

Thank you for the hints. I'm new to making risotto and was wondering what to do with leftovers. I experimented and made these for the first time using an egg but they still didn't stay together very well. I guessed that I probably wasn't the first one to fry up rice cakes and am glad to learn the name - Riso al salto. I'm really enjoying the blog.


Thanks Haresfur! I can also add that a good flexible spatula is of great help.

Edited by Franci, 10 May 2012 - 07:52 AM.


#81 MelissaH

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 07:37 AM

How much effort does it take for you to go to Nice? Is there reliable public transit, or do you drive yourself? Is it a "big deal" sort of trip for you? (I ask because I'm dissatisfied with the supermarket in my little town. There's a much nicer option about an hour's drive away. I'm in that neighborhood once or twice a week anyway, so I try to do my shopping on that trip, as well as other things I can't do closer to home. We don't have a good public transit option.)

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#82 nikkib

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:26 AM

Loving the blog Franci - everything looks great, its interesting to see a slice of Monaco too. Glad you are feeling better!
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#83 Franci

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:02 AM

This morning when I got up, I mixed a spaetzle batter, covered and left to rest in the fridge.
I had the usual breakfast and left for the Condamine market with the little one.


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There is a nice arcade with a butcher and cafes

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The open air market is not very big

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Finally I see the little tomberry tomatoes from Ottolenghi's book!

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I stop at this stall and get a basket of strawberries from Pigna (a little town on the italian side, not too far away), a bunch of white asparagus, a trombetta and cucumbers for my son.

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Saturday morning we are going to Ventimiglia's market. I need to make mental notice of prices to compare: 70 euros for porcini, 8 euros for the long trombetta
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Edited by Franci, 10 May 2012 - 09:04 AM.


#84 Franci

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:23 AM

Thanks, Nikkib!

How much effort does it take for you to go to Nice? Is there reliable public transit, or do you drive yourself? Is it a "big deal" sort of trip for you? (I ask because I'm dissatisfied with the supermarket in my little town. There's a much nicer option about an hour's drive away. I'm in that neighborhood once or twice a week anyway, so I try to do my shopping on that trip, as well as other things I can't do closer to home. We don't have a good public transit option.)

MelissaH


I'm exactly half way between Nice and Ventimiglia. Although it's only 16 miles, Monaco is nestled by the sea surrounded by rocky mountains and there are some curvy roads to go up to the highway, so it takes about 30 minutes to Nice, 30-40 minutes to Ventimiglia. Before my daughter was born I used to go to Ventimiglia shopping every Wednesday but now not anymore. She really doesn't like travelling by car, so I wait for my husband to be home and we do some shopping on Saturday and not always. Because otherwise the all day is dedicated to shopping and we get home exausted.
I do prefer to shop for food on Ventimiglia and, just like me, a lot of people from this side of the border. The all economy of the town is based on selling to French shoppers and commuting to work in Monaco . You'll see Saturday morning the difference in variety and prices at the Italian market.

I could use the train, 10 minutes to go to the station, 20 minutes ride plus waiting times, with two small children...Forget! For me it's a big trip.
So, although it is more expensive here and is more limited, I spare myself some pain.

Also buying food online in Monaco is not very easy. By most sellers it is very expensive to ship to Monaco because it's outside European Union and it is not considered "France Metropolitane". I used to shop in London at Natoora (it's a French/Italian business), I cannot do it anymore.

Edited by Franci, 10 May 2012 - 09:24 AM.


#85 heidih

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:26 AM

The open air market is not very big



Ha! Many would kill for that beautiful selection of produce!

Can you describe your potsticker filling? Also what makes the rice have that yellow color?

Enjoying this immensely.

#86 Franci

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:56 AM

Ok, let's get back to the market

The covered part of Condamine doesn't leave me with a good feeling, it's mostly empty.

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Pissaladiere

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Fresh pasta, gnocchi and sauces to dress (bolognese, pesto and tomato), plus panisse (the chickpea polenta)

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general food

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and this new place that look more like a bar to me...

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I counted three butchers inside

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Next stop is the little Bio market at the back. My son is going out for a field trip with school and I got some dry fruits and nuts

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Just in time to pick up my son from school

#87 Franci

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:40 AM

The open air market is not very big



Ha! Many would kill for that beautiful selection of produce!

Can you describe your potsticker filling? Also what makes the rice have that yellow color?

Enjoying this immensely.


Yes, I know Heidi. I should keep my mouth shut.

I followed Andrea Nguyen recipe of pork filling for the regular jaozi (so pork, napa cabbage, scallions, ginger, soy, salt and rice wine). I like her skins for potsticker but not for water dumplings. I made the filling in the past and froze, doesn't keep that well but it is so convinient to have it ready.

In the yellow risotto, or risotto alla milanese, the color is given by the saffron.

Edited by Franci, 10 May 2012 - 10:47 AM.


#88 Franci

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:46 AM

Lunch as usual takes me start to finish 20 minutes at most

The batter for the spaetzle was ready

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With the spaetzle tool I dropped the batter in boiling water, drain when the dumpling floated to the top and crisp them up with butter

In another pan I saute quickly some scalliions, carrot, trombetta, speck in cubes, chiffonade of the trombetta flower at the end.
A little basil and some grated comte for me

Voila'

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#89 rotuts

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:13 AM

that looks quite delicious!

Ive enjoyed seeing the tomatoes in the market: how 'vine-ripe' do you feel they are? Of course some might be more so than others. do the heirlooms 'burst with aroma' when you cut into them?

in the past ive grown a lot of my own tomatoes, and nothing compared to home-grown with regard to aroma as i was able to pick 'perfect ones' while in season and had no economic motive to pick a little early so that i might sell them. It seemed to me that true vine-ripe aroma came in the last week or so on the vine.

Still the tomatoes i see im sure are intensely better than anything i can get here now, and probably better than store-bought here for some time.

Enjoy!

#90 Franci

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:55 PM

Ive enjoyed seeing the tomatoes in the market: how 'vine-ripe' do you feel they are? Of course some might be more so than others. do the heirlooms 'burst with aroma' when you cut into them?


So far, I've bought heirloom tomatoes only two times. The black crimea you have seen in the teaser picture and a beef heart. The black tomato was disappointing, very mealy. The coeur de beouf was decent, with a good smell but still not that tasty. So far the only tomatoes I found good are the small "datterini", little dates (last picture from the open market, next to the trombetta zucchini.


Today was a rough day. The little one didn't sleep in the afternoon, so I didn't have time to make something I had in mind: rendering beef fat. In the fridge I keep many different fats, I was out of tallow, so the other day, from Formia, I got some fat to render (they forgot and didn't keep for me the best option but I guess it is still ok).
The girl was of course very irritable for the rest of the day. I decided for an earlier dinner for them . A soup, just like the one you have seen a couple days ago, some grilled meat and a cucumber salad.

I peeled the white asparagus and the girl wanted to help. They were huge! I was disappointed to find a hole so big in one of the asparagus

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I served in the most simple way. This season I've not had very, very good white asparagus...hopefully soon, because when they are good I find them truly good.

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Then we had some scallops (yes, defrosted!). I wanted to try a recipe on the side note of Flavor Bible. I don't like it, meaning that for me that is fine if a want to make a calamari sauce to dress pasta. Possible my mistake...to much brown bits in the pan...so a darker sauce. A larger, tomato concasse'. I'm not sure but I'm with my husband on this one, better plain simple scallops with plain salt.

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Edited by Franci, 10 May 2012 - 02:58 PM.






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