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    St Paul, MN

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  1. Go to Divina Cucina's guide to Florence for some excellent recommendations. Last summer, we had excellent meals at the following restaurants she suggests (I don't have my notes with me to call up meal specifics): Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori was fantastic. Rustic food served in a casual place that is decidedly non-touristy though it is in the heart of tourist country. Fresh white beans with sage and the pappa al pomodoro were both excellent. Al Tranvai was a great meal off the beaten path oltrarno. Warm service and great trattoria fare. Pepó had burrata on the menu the evening we dined there and it was lovely What was going to be a quick, light meal turned into a lazy meal with a bottle of wine. Good, solid food. And don't miss Zanobini near the market for a glass of wine.
  2. Did you go already? If not, consider going to Pizza Man on North Ave (corner of North and Oakland) in Milwaukee. I've mentioned it before on this board. Their wine service is spectacular. Far more knowledge on their small staff than there is in most of the fine dining establishments in the city. Typically they have very interesting stuff by the glass and served in Reidel stemware. Well worth the drive from Waukesha.
  3. slbunge

    Pomegranate Molasses

    For something dead simple, add a bit of pomegranate molasses to cooked spinach to transform it and deepen the flavor.
  4. Interesting. I get frustrated with the KA cutters as well because I find myself having to pull apart the strands of pasta after cutting. I've wondered if it was because of my dough. A bit relieved to find someone else with this problem because the way the sheets of dough feel before I feed them seem right. The dough roller, though, is spectacular. Very well built. And the ability to use a hand to feed (in addition to a hand to receive) produces a much more consistent outcome because the dough isn't stretched as it is being pulled into the rollers.
  5. Hrm... yogurt you say... Have you ever tried Geitost? It's a Norwegian goats milk cheese that's caramelized. ← When I was a teenager. I didnt like it. If I remember correctly, it had a chalky texture that was (forgive me) udderly unappealing. Its not high on my list of things to try again. What's your take on it? ← I know you didn't ask me, but gjetost shouldn't be chalky. Mostly I find it to be soft and a bit sticky. I've found that people tend to separate into only two factions with gjetost: lovers and haters. I've met very few people who think it is merely OK. I love the stuff, myself. A breakfast with strong black coffee, yeasty rolls, slices of gjetost, and some good berry jam is great on a cold winter morning.
  6. My brother and his wife owned a restaurant for a time. Actually it was a midwest-styled supper club that had a bit of a focus on comfort food. I was always surprised at how popular chicken and dumplings was for them. It would pack the restaurant on Tuesday nights, particularly in the cold winter. One of those dishes that really isn't hard to make but people many just don't. Folks in these parts probably identify it with family meals from their not-so-distant pasts.
  7. I'd think that any cupcake that edible would be soft enough and heavy enough that a fishing line knot would slip right through it as soon as it had to support its own weight. Fishing line would be strong enough, but I'd think you'd need something else in there to prevent the cupcake from sliding off. Something akin to a washer of some sort. ← If you cut short lengths of bamboo skewers and tie those into your fishing line knots they should provide of a break to keep the cupcakes from sliding. Then if you have enough room between cupcakes, you can slide the bottom one up far enough to make the skewer vertical and slide the cupcake down over it and off of the line. Best to make a mock-up and give it a shot.
  8. We served a fantastic chestnut soup last Thanksgiving. Or was it the Thanksgiving before? Right now I'm drawing a blank. I remember it was very creamy soup and topped with a little drizzle of finely chopped chestnuts crisped in brown butter. I'll see if I can unearth the recipe. Edited to add that those loaves look fantastic. I never really warmed to Tuscan bread. I understand the history and it always seems like it should be a good plan but in practice I'm always left feeling that it sucks the flavor out of the soup I'm sopping up with it.
  9. Maria's is better than Modern for cannoli. Also, Modern's line is usually long and filled with tourists who don't know what they want. I will say that Modern's torrone is better than Maria's. Whenever I'm back in Boston I typically stop at both.
  10. Here are some of the jars for finished product from canning this year. My Calabrian grandmother (rest in peace) would be so proud.
  11. slbunge

    Wine Tag: C

    From your cellar or available locally?
  12. I agree that the hot and muggy weather did cool the temptation a bit. And the panzanella was also quite good. But the soup seemed the perfect compliment for a plate of fresh white beans.
  13. When we were visiting Florence this summer we had several outstanding versions of pappa al pomodoro. In each case the soup was warm. I'm curious about this soup and haven't done much research...yet. Is it classically served only in the summer when the tomatoes are plentiful? I'm thinking that I have lots of jars of tomatoes that I put up this summer and nice thick bowl of this soup with that bite of garlic would warm me up when I come in from raking leaves.
  14. I get good sourness with a mostly room-temp (70ish) ferment followed by a retarding cold. In fact people I have given loaves to comment on my not being very timid with the sourness.
  15. I tend to be fairly slapdash with the whole thing and it works out. I do give myself plenty of time to reactivate when I'm going to do a loaf (in the winter I tend to bake only about every three weeks or so). Then I bring it back sort of easy at 70degF or so interior house temperature. When I toss activated yeast into storage, I don't even think about it. A clean jar with a lid and several spoonfuls of activated starter into the fridge for anywhere from a couple of weeks to many months. When I want a speedier refresh of the starter, by the way, I often put the proving bowl with the newly fed starter on the top of the water heater.
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