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Everything posted by fredbram

  1. Another approach to "cheating" is to follow your original technique, but just make sure you don't overdue the stovetop cooking at the beginning. Then, after the tart is out of the oven, finish cooking on the stovetop. If you are unsure if it is done, invert onto a plate in your usual way, look at it, and invert it right back into the pan for more caramelizing if need be.
  2. Thanks for the recent responses from Portugal, Miguel and Chloe. Miguel, making Pasteis de Nata would probably be a onetime event just to challenge myself--I understand that it wouldn't be practical to whip them up every Sunday. But it would be fun to see how close I can get to the wonderful ones that we ate in Belem last month, just once. Chloe, I am actually more interested in the sort of very coarse crumb, rustic cakes that we saw in Lisboa. Often ground almond based, usually uniced, one was pumpkin based. I really enjoy these types of moist cakes, seems like probably lots of egg yolks in some of them because they had that orange color that I will never get in the US because our eggs are so inferior. I had some of the pastéis de feijão also when we were there and they are delightful. The ones I bought were actually packaged, from the town a bit north of Lisboa whose name I can't remember at the moment. What is Malabar gourd jam?
  3. The correct pastry is absolutely definitely a puff pastry. The method that Leite's recipe uses is used for some other tartlets in Portugal, but not correct for typical pasteis de nata (note that his recipe is from a book about food of the Azores).
  4. There is a pasteis de nata recipe on Dave Leite's website. I can't vouch for it yet.
  5. You are right, he does have some tidbits. I didn't know of him, thanks. I also, from links on his website, located 3 or 4 Portuguese cookbooks. None of them are pastry books per se, but they each have some dessert recipes.
  6. I just returned from a trip to Lisbon and would like to play around baking some Portuguese pastries. Does anyone know of an english language book of portuguese pastry recipes, or an online source for same?
  7. Bacalhau is one of those foods that I keep thinking I must not have had a great preparation of it because I listen to so many people rave about how wonderful it is, but whenever I decide to try it again because I've decided that I must be nuts, it turns out to be, well....OK. So, I'm fully prepared to admit that it's my problem , so many people can't be wrong, but it doesn't do much for me. We did have a marinated Bacalhau and garbanzo app that wasn't bad, and there was a dish of Bacalhau gratin or some such that went to the table next to us at Tasquina that looked really good.
  8. I may be completely misinterpeting Popcorns "crumble" comment, and I think crumble is the wrong word, but do you think that a legitimate truffle can be made from whipped ganache? And if so, help me describe that texture better. Whipped ganache, when chilled, has a texture which is less dense and, well, it's kind of like it would break apart into pieces in a somewhat crumbly way.
  9. We just came back from a 2 week stay in Lisbon, armed with various dining recommendations, many form this website (thanks Eric!). Highlights were Fidalgo (and the pastries at Matilde next door), Stop do Bairro and Tasquina D’Adelaide. We seemed to be in Lisbon at a time when several places were closed for vacation. Bota Alta was closed, A Cabrita was closed and O Pereira de Alfama didn’t have a sign about a vacation, but we never found the door unlocked the whole time we were there. Fidalgo we ate at 3 times and it was consistently delicious each time. The owner is also a very gracious host with pretty good English, which was a bonus for us. Had a good aged cheese and really good quality ham that he sliced for each table. Also good bread, which we found was true almost everywhere in Lisbon—great slow ferment rolls were the norm in even the simplest of restaurants. Favas Guisadas com Enchidos e Entrecosto were fava beans, shelled but unpeeled, stewed with pork ribs, 3 kinds of sausages (chourica, blood sausage and what I think must be the Farinheira—starchy, garlicky, salty, pork fatty?) and salt pork (or the unsalted version of salt pork?). Well prepared, great salty, meaty, starchy dish that was very typical of many of the best dishes that we had in Lisbon. We also had Secretos de Porco Grilhados, which were thin slices of a cut that had a kind of flank type texture to it—great flavor, grilled perfectly with fried potatoes, really yellow flavorful potatoes like all over Lisbon. Stop do Bairro was a great scene—unpretentious neighborhood place, full of multi-generational families eating and drinking with exuberance. We ordered the same way there each time we were in—looking around at the other tables and pointing to what looked best. Feijoada Transmontana one time, the standard combination of sausages with pork loin and big chunks of fatty pork cooked with beans, another time Cozinha Portuguesa which had all of the above meats plus beef, chicken, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and sweet potatoes cooked with broth—outstanding. Actually this time I noticed that there are 2 sausages that seem like blood sausage to me—one that is firmer and meatier and another that is much more crumbly texture. They serve rice on the side that looks like dirty rice, seems like it has been cooked with some of the crumbly blood sausage. Good desserts there too, a good version of almond tart, and this thing that seemed like 7 or 8 thin layers of a cross between a graham cracker and a molasses cookie, which had been soaked down with syrup and had a coupla layers of whipped cream interspersed. I thought it was great, the SO hated it. The hands down best dish we had was at A Tasquina D’Adelaide. The most expensive restaurant that we went to (the entrée we had, served for 2, was 37 euros), it is a very small dining room. It’s the only place that we ever made, or needed, a reservation, and the first impression was a little weird because, at least the night that we were there, they kept the door locked so you have to knock and get approved for entry, or at least it felt that way. After that they were very gracious though, and we ordered the specialty, Perelinha de Borregos. This was a whole lamb shoulder, slow braised to absolute perfection, then browned in a hot oven with potatoes that got all caramelized in the pan juices and accompanied with what seemed like steamed broccoli-rabe. I am on a quest to reproduce it at home, I hope I’m able to because I find myself daydreaming about it at inopportune moments. Oh well, where was I? We didn’t eat exclusively pork the whole time, although we got plenty. Had grilled sardines across the river in Cacilhas, fried Joaquinadhos (sp?) which seemed like maybe smelts and were delicious, rice and octopus stewed together with a lot of mint, and this seems like a good time to mention that we had about 3 different dishes that had a big handful of mint in them, unexpected to me, I just don’t think of mint as being prominent in a european cusine. We also ate Indian food a couple of times because it was close to the apartment that we stayed in in Alfama, so we ended up there when we were lazy or when it rained, and because it was really good Indian food. I’m sure I’ve forgotton something but this is my first attempt at a trip report, so I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.
  10. If you are looking for a slight "crumbly" texture, to me that is the texture that you acheive when the ganache is whipped some when cooling. The air that is incorporated creates what I would call crumbly.
  11. Although it is the right size, Villa Molinazzo is a bit more money than we are hoping to spend. Too bad, because it looks perfect, but we are footing the bill for this one on our own rather than sharing with the other folks involved. I think I had already read your review of it on Slow Travel, small world eh.
  12. R.G.--Thanks, I am really leaning to the Orvieto/Todi area. It just sounds like a nice region with a lot of options for day trips. There is a villa that we're looking at just outside of San Casciano Dei Bagni, although that's a little farther removed from Todi/Orvieto.
  13. Just an update on the 1989 vintage 9" pan that I sent back a couple of weeks ago. Just got home and a brand new one was waiting on my doorstep. No comments or questions from scanpan, they simply gave me a new pan to replace the one I've used to death over the years. They don't seem reluctant to honor their lifetime guarantee.
  14. It is actually called Tlamanali. We were there last April, and went out to the village, but they were closed all week for Semana Santa (holy week). We bought a nice rug in town, but I missed the restaurant.
  15. I talked to Michelle at Scanpan today about the pan that I mentioned above which, from looking on the date on the bottom of the pan, I must have bought in 1990 or so. I told her that I felt that it had gradually lost some of its nonstick properties over time. She, without a whole lot of discussion, suggested that I send it back to them and they will look it over. I will keep you posted. Thanks for the suggestion....
  16. Popcorn, just a quick note to make sure you realize that if you are using 1# of chocolate and 1 cup of cream then you are already using 2:1 proportions.
  17. The proportions in your recipe seem like they should yield a pretty firm ganache. What is the technique you are using? Could the problem be somehow in the way you are combining the 3 ingredients?
  18. We have done a lot of Tuscany, but we are going with some people who have never been so it will all be new to them. And we like Tuscany/Umbria so I am looking for a place to stay where we can explore some other parts of the area that we haven't been to. As I mentioned above the 2 options that are most appealing right now are southern Umbria (Todi, Orvieto region) or north west Tuscany (around Lucca). Where is San Giovanni? I couldn't locate it on the map, although I don't have my good map with me right now. The whole tourist thing is a bit of a conundrum. Of course we will be tourists--we are whenever we travel and are very aware of that. My goal when traveling is to try to balance doing the typical tourist things (museums, castles, ruins, etc.) with getting a feel for the way the residents of the area live their lives. We do this by wandering lesser known towns and neighborhoods, trying to stay in one place for more than a couple of days so that we can become temporary "regulars" at the local coffee bar, trattoria, butcher etc. Sometimes we do this by renting a place with a kitchen so that we can take advantage of the markets in the area. San Gimignano, although it looked like a beautiful town, had too many tourist busses and I couldn't avoid the feeling of being herded long enough to relax and enjoy the town.
  19. I have a Scanpan nonstick covered saute pan that I have had for 12 years at least and I like it a lot. I feel like the nonstick surface is wearing out now, but over the same 12 years I have replaced my Teflon (or Super Teflon or whatever they call it) lined saute pans several times. It's funny, because I have thought about replacing my scanpan off and on over the past year, and none of the retailers seem to carry it, or care for it, so I was having doubts about whether they were still available or whether I was nuts for thinking that it was good. I assume that the stainless line is entirely different and does not have nonstick properties. To me, their nonstick surface is their selling point, I don't think I would care about their stainless line.
  20. I am narrowing it down. I think that either a place in the Orvieto-Todi-Spoleto area is one option. Norcia sounds great, and I remember that story about all pork butchers being called Norcini now that you bring it up. I think we would be close enough to daytrip it from Todi area, and we would have a house and wouldn't have to haul our salame throughout Italy with us. The other choice would be in the Lucca area, and be close enough to Cinque Terre to go up there, but also be able to hit Firenze, Volterra etc. I would love to spend more time in Piemonte, but I think it isn't this trip. We actually went through there very briefly on our first trip to Europe in 1984. We stayed one night, I think in Alba, and had one of the most wonderful and memorable meals of my life at Da Guido. We were young with almost no Italian, and we had been in Italy long enough to know that we hadn't gotten to the Primi Piatti until we had had a pasta course. Course after course of incredible food kept coming out of the kitchen, but still no pasta yet. Finally, about the 8th course was a great ravioli dish, and we still had about 3 more courses after that! My other memory of that meal was a sorbet course with a flavor that both my wife and I recognized, but couldn't place. Papa was desperately trying to answer our question about the flavor, with little language overlap between us, until he finally came out of the kitchen with a huge handful of fresh sage. It was an experience I won't forget, I've been following the thread on the Alciati family with fond memories and anticipation of a new meal sometime in the future.
  21. Norcia is close to Spoleto, Todi, Orvieto correct? What are those towns like? Are they similar in size to Cortona or larger, more like Siena? That area sounds interesting to me and also puts us within a fairly short train trip of Roma which would be nice. Robert, what is Liguria like? I imagine less hilly, is it farmland, I'm guessing it isn't predominately olive trees and grape vines, or is it. We have been in Emilia Romagna which is much wider open farmland than further south as I recall. You're right, of course, Firenze being close would be something we would take advantage of if we were in the Lucca area. I am not familiar with any of the other towns that you mention except Genoa, I am going to check them out a little.
  22. We are in the process of planning a trip to Tuscany and Umbria for 2 weeks, the first half of June next year. I am trying to decide where to headquarter ouselves for the 2 weeks, as we plan to rent a villa/farmhouse for the entire time and do daytrips from there. The last time we were there we stayed east of Arezzo and visited Arezzo, Siena, San Gimignano, Gubbio, Cortona, Assisi, Firenze as well as many smaller lesser known towns near us or on the way to and from other destinations. I loved the smaller lesser known towns, I also really liked Siena, Cortona and Gubbio. San Gimignano and Assisi seemed too touristy (at least when we were there, July). Firenze is great, but I think that will wait for another trip. The question of where to stay, although food is always important to us, is not going to be driven by where the best restaurants are. We will seek out the best available lunch restaurants on our travels, but that is a separate question (which is probably researchable from previous posts). We will cook at our temporary home for dinner more often than not. What I am looking for is advice on what areas in Tuscany and Umbria are beautiful places to stay, and not too out of the way as far as access to lots of various daytrip options. The Niccone Valley, on either side of the Tuscan/Umbrian border is one option we are considering. But we have not visited anything west of Firenze at all. What are Lucca, Volterra and Pisa like? Are there other nice towns in that region? Is the countryside as beautiful as it is around Siena? What other suggestions do you have?
  23. Does 'git' = jerk? yeah - but more pathetic It's a Britishism, right? I had to look it up in the dictionary, they say foolish or worthless person. I kind of knew it from context, I believe from Nick Hornby books. It's always too bad to hear that about a chef that has risen to the top.
  24. fredbram

    Roasting a Chicken

    I use this method regularly, and it comes out great. The only other thing that I would add is make sure that you let the bird rest 10-15 minutes before cutting into it. IMHO, If you want roast chicken then I think you want to work with a whole bird, not with bone in breasts or legs.
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