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Everything posted by slbunge

  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.
  16. A few others that come to mind: ginger honey hickory nuts (and if you smoke them over hickory it could be interesting) plums
  17. I'm not a mandoline expert by any means but my mandoline technique improved dramatically when I bought a 'cut resistant' kevlar glove at a restaurant supply store and stopped using the feeder/guard contraption on mine (mine is not a Bron). I'm still careful about not hitting the blade but my confidence improved and you get far better control when you are actually holding what you are trying to slice.
  18. slbunge

    Smoked Paprika

    A very easy condiment for is to use it in a sort of onion pickle. Sweat an onion in olive oil until very soft and beginning to brown. Add smoked paprika to taste (start with 1 t for a medium onion) and a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar and cook for another minute. The original recipe (from Food and Wine, I think) used sweet paprika and was part of the condiments for fish tacos. Keep in mind that the flavor will overpower something delicate.
  19. By the way, PaellaPans.com is a great source for pans and for information. I bought my plain carbon steel pan from them three years ago and have had fantastic luck. Remember that much of the finesse of the soccarat is listenning for the crackle. You really want that state just before the burn. I've had varying luck but my best results always come when I really focus my attention on the rice at the end...hard to do when you have a bunch of hungry folks asking a boatload of questions.
  20. Stephanies is fairly pedestrian. And, really, I don't think there are that many great food options along Newbury. Radius is at the far end the Back Bay from where you are staying and is very good but is austere and quiet and may not be the best for the college students. No. 9 Park has their Cafe which is walk-in only. When I lived in Boston we went there several times and never had to wait all that long for a table...although with 5 it could be tough. I will say that, in my opinion, the Cafe is a better option than the restaurant anyway. Far less stodgy and much better price point. Plus the entirety of the wine cellar is available.
  21. Hot Doug's also popped into my head as worthy of attention if you haven't been there. It has been some time since I was there but it was spectacular. The fries fried in duck fat stole the show. Their original store was in Roscoe Village and I'm not sure how far away their new store is from you. Hot Doug's website.
  22. Great idea to have the masses help you explore your new city. One Chicago food-related activity that I recommend hightly but doesn't seem to get much play in eG is the Maxwell Street Market (actually it is now on Canal Street) on Sundays. Part swap meet, part farmers' market, and what's most interesting for food opporunitsts is the fantastic concentration of prepared Mexican foods. Restaurants are put together in the morning from carboard, blue tarps, cheap church-basement tables, and shrink wrap. Many have picnic tables under cover for sitting down and eating. Think tamales, tongue tacos, chicharrones, fresh tortilla pressed in front of your eyes and quick grilled into quesadilla, and more more more. All sorts of good stuff for everyone from adventurous to timid eaters. Especially worthwhile if you get a decent weather-day this coming Sunday. Oh, here's a little more information that is a bit dated: click.
  23. The Kitchen Scale Manifesto has some good information. At the end there is a link to the Q/A. I have the MyWeigh 6001 and it is a great little digital scale.
  24. I'm definitely not a fan of electric burners but for the past year or so I've had to cook on them. I think it is all about patience and being a bit proactive with heat control. You get far less immediate response so you are far better off managing gradual moves. The other really easy thing that it took me forever to become second nature, is taking the pan off of the burner either at the end of cooking or for a rapid temperature change. So be sure you have room to set your pan down somewhere other than a hot burner.
  25. I'm not a pastry professional, at all. I sift for this same reason. And because I think it is just easier to incorporate into batters post sift. I don't think it changes the taste of the final product. As for the weight/volume issue mentioned above...this is exactly why I wish recipes listed weights for measures. But I believe that is another topic that can be argued endlessly with no significant result.
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