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wattacetti

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Posts posted by wattacetti

  1. Another favourite recipe of mine is to bone the rabbit keeping the flesh in one piece (quite tricky).

    I've done this, and would concur that it's a major PITA; if you want to do this, either have a lot of time on your hands or have a second rabbit and some Activa handy to patch the holes.

    I've turned the rabbit stock into "fresh-squeezed bunny juice" (gelatin-clarified consommé), which gets a lot of weird looks.

    My favorite braised dish was a rabbit which had been braised with pears and white wine.

    You can also:

    - stuff the saddle

    - debone and stuff the legs

    - confit the legs

    - make rabbit sausages

    - make meatballs

    - make hasenpfeffer

  2. But this was a "latin" episode, not a Mexican episode, right?

    It was indeed a "Latin" episode, not a Mexican one. I haven't had a Mexican arroz con pollo either (the last one was a pretty rough dish in Costa Rica - can still remember the crunchy bits).

  3. The gelatin method (syneresis) works really well and takes less care than the raft method. I've found that you'll have a faster time of things if you freeze/thaw the gelatin/consommé in smaller blocks rather than one big one.

  4. I've been having a lot of fun with this down-time from chain restaurant wasteland and have used the time to read Fat Guy's adventures with sushi and zip through the Dinner! posts. GordonCook's "make a meal out of what's already here" is amazing.

    I am feeling better about creativity. My best pal sent me photos of two things I had made and served (and forgotten about) earlier this year so I now have this:

    gallery_10423_4854_60105.jpg

    and this to remind me of things I can come up with:

    gallery_10423_4854_114900.jpg

    In addition to this find, I have another friend who's feeling a bit off at the moment, so I made them dinner over the week-end. Ingredients were primarily dictated by having been outvoted on the cut of beef (filet mignon is not my favorite) and from it being too hot/humid here in the Big Croissant to want to do anything overly complicated (that and my working in an unfamiliar kitchen):

    Wild salmon ceviche

    Okay, a less than imaginative start but you try and sell the merits of squid yaki.

    gallery_10423_4854_46911.jpg

    Red cabbage slaw

    Self-explanatory, though the corn was originally intended for the ceviche.

    gallery_10423_4854_52570.jpg

    Creativity? Realizing that I only brought one set of plates to shoot with and coming to terms with having to plate everything else on fluo-lime green plates. :unsure:

    The slaw looked okay on them though.

    gallery_10423_4854_26911.jpg

    Grilled filet and tartar duo

    With girolles and pied bleu mushrooms and grilled zucchini.

    Hot and cold texture, spicy and meaty… Looked great, executed well, tasted good. Unfortunately my friend had never eaten tartar prior to this and had difficulty with it (oops).

    gallery_10423_4854_52778.jpg

  5. This is very very helpful, thank you a lot! I hate being a tourist and potentially not getting to see what a great food city (such as Montreal) has to offer. Your suggestions are much appreciated!

    We do have a car so I cant wait to check out the markets!

    Sounds like you're set for a nice time in our lovely city (and stay away from Mr. Steer).

    Are you going to be like Daniel last November, who decided to surprise the local merchants during his last visit when he shopped for a friend living in Canada?

  6. I went from Western styles to essentially a fully complement of Japanese blades: I'm very adept with my deba and yanagi, and I really like whaling away at vegetables with my nakiri. However, I'm not very good with a santoku; there's just something about the overall balance and the length of the blade that I just don't "get".

    This particular style is seriously pushed though: when window shopping at a local kitchen supply store today, I was told by the store manager that I must have one because all the chefs on the Food Network use one.

    :huh:

  7. The only thing Mr. Morentzos did was call it as he sees it, and make it known.

    Well, no - that's not what he did. Per your own post,

    In the summer edition of the Queue de Cheval’s High Steaks news letter, Mr. Morentzos reiterates his offer of a bounty for the photo of the ‘Anglophone press restaurant critic’, citing his disdain for her poor journalism, and limited experience as food critic.

    There have been a few of Lesley's reviews where my reactions have been "what were you thinking?" and I have no problem with Mr. Morentzos using his newsletter as his soapbox to express his own opinions (you know, that free speech thing).

    I do however take issue with "offering a bounty" as there is an implied threat associated with this action. And from re-reading your post, my impression is that you tacitly approve (you're welcome to correct me on that too).

    I think that as a restauranteur, Mr. Morentzos can go ahead an rail away at having received a poor review, but he may want to also look at some of the points brought up to see for himself if there is any justification to the criticism.

  8. This is strangely reminiscent of the kickoff episode of Top Chef Season 3.

    I'm reaching here but I've been grating manchego for risotto. The fig can be used to glaze meats (quail, pork, duck) etc or as a base of a sauce or savory dessert or paired as a base for tapas with the manchego. Personally, I really like Anna's pissaladière.

    Arugula: apart from salad and sautéed, I've tried to make it into a sauce with varying results. You could transform it into a flavored oil for other plates.

    After a week, is the mayo still okay?

  9. Am a bit piqued at my timing for meals.

    I did get a chance to meet Neira, but it looks like I'll miss René Rodriguez too. Remember him from watching all those episodes of "Cook Like a Chef" while on the road and it would have been fun to meet him and try his food. At least The Black Cat is less of a trek that WichCraft/NY.

    Curious to see how this is all going to influence the development of the Madre menu: Navarette's Peruvian, Neira's Chilean and Rodriguez is a Canuck raised in Mexico.

  10. Madre

    2931 Masson

    514-315-7932

    http://www.restaurantmadre.com

    So, Raza's Mario Navarette Jr. has fired up a second restaurant in Rosemont(!) of all areas.

    Going to a place right at startup is just asking for a night of hiccups, but after yet another interminable session in southern NJ, I figured it would at least be a different way to help forget my time in that chain restaurant wasteland. I was curious to see how Navarette would differentiate this establishment from Raza, and (bonus!) I also got to meet Chef Roberto Neira. Anyway…

    Raza: long and narrow space on Laurier offering Nuevo Latino cuisine, seats about 24

    Madre: long and narrow space on Masson offering Nuevo Latino cuisine, seats about 24 :huh:

    That seemed familiar.

    Madre however is not a "Raza lite". The room actually has a color in the form of a chocolate accent wall, there's real wall art, and a variety of architectural elements make the room considerably warmer than Raza's expanse of white. THE important item Madre has that Raza doesn't: available parking. I think it's no secret that parking on Laurier can be a real b*tch on some nights but it was really easy to find open spots on Masson and the surrounding streets.

    Madre's inaugural menu consists of four starters, four mains and three desserts, and a daily three-course prix-fixe option for those who don't want to choose. Couple of familiar elements, couple of new ones; I expect that this menu is going to get tweaked over the coming weeks and months, but this is part of what I picked for the evening:

    Plaintain buns.

    I really liked these.

    gallery_10423_4876_8189.jpg

    Avocado soup.

    I made the mistake of starting to taste the components of this cold soup individually, as it's really better as a whole.

    After watching that unfortunate episode of Top Chef where cheftestant Micah made one later described in judging as a "pudding", I was a bit hesitant to try this one. However, the Madre version turned out to be a very supple-textured liquid with a mild avocado taste that I thought needed some acidity. The tomato confit and cucumber salsa on the other hand was all soft and crisp texture and very acid.

    Live and learn: guess all that time in New Jersey is making me slow. The soup was much better when the two components were mixed together. I also liked the slight bitterness from the sprouts, but for my personal taste the crême fraiche didn't add a whole lot outside of the visual.

    gallery_10423_4876_353.jpg

    Ceviche.

    On paper, this looked like one of those familiar elements. Raza's tiradito is a very delicate presentation served with a shot glass of leche de tigre for a bit of zip.

    Madre's ceviche is a muscular plate of lime-marinated striped bass with rocoto chile, onions and cancha. No little cubes like my Peruvian cookbook shows; the slices of fish are more "cooked through" than the tiradito variant and have a very vibrant taste. Good dish.

    gallery_10423_4876_42758.jpg

    Duck leg confit with coriander and beer risotto.

    (sorry, no photo)

    When I saw duck confit on the menu, the first thing that came to mind was "bistro staple", but this one wasn't served with a mâche salad and gizzards. I received a duck leg (Pékin?) atop a verdant risotto. Yep. Deep green. The risotto had noticeable coriander, Parmesan and pea flavors but I didn't pick up any of the slight bitterness I would have expected from using beer. One interesting addition was the presence of a pickled baby carrot, which helped cut a bit of the richness of this dish.

    I'm happy that Montreal cooled down today because this dish would have been too heavy if the temperature was as high as it was earlier this week.

    Pineapple "surprise".

    I've had this one before at Raza, but I was informed that its new (and only) home will be Madre. Tonight's version was less sweet than the previous iteration.

    gallery_10423_4876_24097.jpg

    Wines: the list is still being developed. I had a very serviceable 2003 Ravenswood Icon Syrah with dinner but until the list is established, probably best to have sommelier Mathieu Guillemette run through his available bottles.

    Service: very good for a place that's just opened. Some of the team is transplanted from Raza so it wasn't a green team working FOH.

    So would I go again? Yes. It's going to be a nice addition to my list of eateries, and I'm curious to see how this new venture fleshes itself out.

    edited for typos; one should not write at 2:00a in the morning

  11. Wattacetti, I would be happy to be "bored" by dishes like these everyday ;-)

    It's not a question of being bored, but rather the sense that I've lost creativity.

    I've realized that being on the road is a significant detriment:

    - crappy Internet connections means no lurking in the dinner forum or on Tastespotting,

    - a limited per diem and travel cycle makes interesting eating a challenge, and

    - being away means not having the opportunity to play around with food

  12. Ever get the impression that you're repeating yourself for all the wrong reasons, and that your food's getting boring or (worse still) cliché? I did.

    After spending just a few too many days in the chain restaurant wasteland that is the strip of New Jersey right across from Philadelphia, I finally had some time to myself and decided to see if I remembered how to cook. Hit La Mer, Gidney's, Atwater Market: couldn't find some things that I wanted (e.g. big quail, short ribs), found some other ingredients that looked okay, cracked out the knives and got to work.

    Cumulatively 11 plates with no significant disasters. I was generally happy with the taste of everything I made and the plating of all but one item but when I started reviewing the photos, I was immediately struck with a sense of "been there, done that".

    :sad:

    So, my question is: what are you doing to break out of a rut?

    "Green Stuff"

    Fresh peas, fresh fava and snow peas with marinated ikura. I think that this was one of only two things that I had not made in any previous incarnation, but I think that I've seen something similar at Guy Savoy.

    gallery_10423_4854_498.jpg

    Tuna spoon

    What to do with tuna trim and leftover peas? Also included onion, radish, mirin, piment d'espelette.

    gallery_10423_4854_19500.jpg

    Clam salad

    Littleneck clam on a salad of savoy cabbage slaw, radish and red beet, with a mirin and pineault de charentes dressing. The other thing I had not made previously. Tasted pretty good, though I think I would use cherrystones (perhaps low-temp poaching in sake/dashi as I saw on feature on Nishiki).

    gallery_10423_4854_6587.jpg

    Tuna two ways

    One piece of tuna painted with mirin before sticking on the black sesame, then hit with the blowtorch. The other marinated straight in shoyu, sake and mirin. I liked my plating, but I've had this before at a lot of places.

    gallery_10423_4854_16845.jpg

    Seared scallop with citrus gelée

    Sitting on braised spring onions with an orange/fond blanc sauce. Tasted good, but I think this was probably the most uninspired thing I cooked (I believe I insulted the scallop).

    gallery_10423_4854_73854.jpg

    Vanilla butter-poached prawns

    Served alongside more savoy cabbage slaw to cut away some of the effects of the butter. Had not made this before (so that makes three), but then I realized I saw this already on Top Chef (ah - the subliminal effects of television).

    gallery_10423_4854_71138.jpg

    Scallop tiradito

    I've done how many of these? In hindsight the only difference here was using meyer lemon and orange juice as the acids.

    gallery_10423_4854_4247.jpg

    Littleneck clam and quinoa risotto

    First time I've used this grain, but ran it with a standard application. Has an interesting texture and a nutty aftertaste that didn't quite mesh with the clam. I'd use quinoa again, but the risotto is… beige.

    gallery_10423_4854_126263.jpg

    Pan-seared halibut with pea and potato mash

    Not shown, as this was one ugly plating. Elements were individually okay, but collectively ho-hum.

    Fig-glazed pork tenderloin with potato and rapini

    Cooked the tenderloin very well, and everything else was okay, but it's like a photocopy of a lot of tenderloins I've cooked in the past. There wasn't enough "fig" in the sauce.

    gallery_10423_4854_68729.jpg

    Angus bavette with mashed potato

    At this point, I couldn't think of what else I could do with this, so it went to the meat and potato format that I've met with at the chain restaurants.

    gallery_10423_4854_78819.jpg

  13. Norten's is about the only place that I've been told to go for knife sharpening. However, depending on what you have for knives, I think you're still better off learning how to sharpen them yourself.

    Chad Ward has an eCGI course on knive sharpening (click here), and cricklewood's already mentioned some of the other resources available.

    If you don't want to do it with stones, you can get one of the EdgePro Apex systems. And if you're worried about ruining your knives while you're learning, go buy a cheapie stamped blade and practice on that.

  14. In these scenarios I pass on (even on the hard alcohol options) and stick with mineral water since it's pretty hard for someone to screw up opening a twist cap.

    The alcoholics that I've had meals with however, live a bit more on the wild side and generally regret doing so afterwards. Unfortunately, they also have no short-term memory and a whole lot of perseverative behaviour. :rolleyes:

  15. By the way, the owners are the same ones from 40 Westt.

    This one statement makes me not want to go.

    Actually the overall description of the Towne Hall experience makes me think of the "higher-end" chain restaurants that I'm subjected to when I'm stuck in southern New Jersey. If my $156 only gets something that's just okay, I'd much rather spend it somewhere where the cooking isn't pedestrian.

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