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Everything posted by mongo_jones

  1. day 4 of the blog comes to an end. one more weekday left. see you all tomorrow--when we'll actually go out for a meal for a change.
  2. pics of dinner edited-in upstream--kelly posted twice while i was fiddling with the edit!
  3. okay, dinner's almost ready--the dal is done, chicken 5 minutes away. man, we're eating late tonight even by our standards. maybe just a brunch and early dinner tomorrow. pics of chicken and dal in a little bit. edit to add pics: marinated chicken goes into pot with heated oil, gets turned with tongs till browned on all sides. (am i the only one who hadn't figured out till tonight that the creature effects for "the alien" were based on skinned whole chickens?) some time later. (after browning the chicken, you pour a cup and a quarter of hot water over it, cover, turn from time to time till done--at the end remove the chicken, thicken the sauce by evaporation, coat chicken with it and serve) and this is the cooked kali urad dal thoughts: the dal was amazing tonight. again i don't want to be inflationary about my own cooking but because i've been posting pictures for you guys i've been cooking exceedingly carefully; not wandering off to do a thousand other things between steps and burning or overdoing certain things as i am normally often wont to do--i am able to recover from minor missteps, of course, but this week i haven't ever needed to and everything that i've cooked for the blog has been in the top 3 renditions all time for its recipe. the irony, of course, is that you can only see the pictures and so it wouldn't have mattered if i had in fact fucked up the flavors. i only wish i could have fed some of you some of this stuff. now the chicken: as i said, usually not a good idea to cook something for the first time for other people (even if they're just watching). but this i think is a recipe built for those kinds of fears. as gingerly put it, simple and great. i also realize that i've eaten similar chicken dishes in homes of malayali friends for years without knowing its general name. now that i've made it the way the recipe called for it to be made i'll tweak it in future renditions: experiment with spice proportions in the paste, try it in a regular oven with a water-bath, try it with a cut-up chicken (for convenience) etc. etc. i'm thinking this might be also good with some honey or other sweetening agent added to the paste. thoughts gingerly? we ate all this with rice and the okra (which still survives) one dal (moog) left--probably saturday, but definitely sunday. maybe we'll coast on saturday with leftovers and scraps, and go out with a huge bang on sunday (talk the wife into an indo-korean feast). but let's not make promises we might later be too lazy to keep...
  4. what is this pm business? the rest of us want to know as well! and perhaps we should set up a pickle exchange network in the u.s.
  5. The history of curry in Japan: http://www.house-foods.com/imported_products.html interesting i have to say that i'm dubious about this first bit: but the stuff after seems fair enough. i'm only aware of what they call "curry roux" being sold in japan/korea in block form--is powder used significantly too? and i don't know that the "roux" is used anywhere in india. i bring all this up because it seems important to note, as we discuss japanese and indian as polarized/polarizing tastes, that there is also a major area of overlap in the general cuisines.
  6. somebody explain japanese curry to me. how did it happen? i like it though. korean too. sometimes i think that if i was forced to only eat one cuisine every day for the rest of my life it might be sushi (the whole range of it). usually comes down to choosing between sushi, bengali, and sichuan. why i spend so much mental energy worrying about such things i honestly don't know.
  7. not sure what most home kim-chi makers do but neither my mother-in-law nor my wife buries their kim-chi. she does look at me sometimes like she would like to bury me. (wife, not m-i-l, m-i-l loves me.)
  8. indians have known for a long time that beer goes better with a lot of food than wine. nice to see that other people are catching up...
  9. the wife made her fortnightly pilgrimage to komart--the large korean/japanese grocery in aurora, a suburb of denver--today. she went largely to replenish her stock of korean soap-opera videos (the woman scoffs at my love of crappy action movies but does not find this inconsistent with her support of this stuff), but also brought home some stuff to eat with tea. now, i don't want to give the impression that high-tea is a regular meal at the jones ranch. we only ate the samosas on tuesday because they arrrived fresh at the store while i was there and i have a feeling that mrs. jones (as bemused by and uninterested in the blog, and egullet in general, as she claims to be) is feeling a little competitive. how else to explain the arrival of these pastries? or the fact that she says she's going to make kim-chi at home over the weekend (she says i can only post pictures of the process and results later IF the kim-chi turns out well--here i am flying without a net with tonight's roast chicken and she insists on a tape-delay; but as i've said our characters are quite different). as per my laconic informant these "pastries", available at every korean bakery, are korean versions of french pastries and one of them even has a name that sounds like croquette, even though neither looks like one. readers more familiar with korean food will have to confirm or deny. the one that looks like it is stuffed with butter is actually stuffed with a sweet custard; the other with a savory mix of sauteed onion, egg etc. etc. both very delish and great with a cup of green label tea.
  10. well the chicken is marinating. i hope you can tell by looking at it just how much of an expert i am in skinning chickens... i cannot tell you how good this already smells--i was ready to eat it raw. and by the time i was done rubbing the spice-paste on my hands looked like i'd just got done with a day of holi festivities (the hindu festival of color--perhaps the most joyous of all indian festivals, strange given the gory mythological story behind it). by the way, some of you may remember that when i described my roast croaker last night i said that while i had "improvized" the dish myself it doubtless resembled already extant malayali and goan dishes. as it turns out this chicken pot-roast preparation is very similar--almost exactly the same paste: mine also has amchur and black-pepper, and i used garam masala powder instead of ground cloves and cinnamon; i rubbed my spice-paste onto fish and put it in an oven; this one goes on a chicken that cooks in a pot. other than that they're identical. well, maybe first cousins. goes to show that you can reinvent the wheel, and that sometimes there can be more satisfaction in "inventing" something that you later discover is a classic, than in really inventing something new.
  11. nullomodo, for $10,000 in india we could both eat like royalty. of course, if you wouldn't want me as a travel companion (even in fantasy land where $10,000 is being distributed) i can hook you up with many people who will happily guide you should you ever actually go to india. in fact, episure will be highly offended if you go to bangalore and don't let him create an itinerary and even cook for you (and after that meal a lot of others might not seem as good).
  12. the votes are in and here's what they say: 3 clear votes each for options 2 and 3. 1 vote for option 1 (thank you ludja). the tie-breaker for 2 and 3 will be gingerly's post, which is either merely an endorsement or a vote in itself. i'll go with the latter--so the easter chicken roast it is! must go clean, skin and marinate bird now.
  13. i like your analogies. i don't by any means mean to slight the "opera"--i love that food too when i can afford it or when someone else pays. and a good part of my dream food-fund would be spent at some of the top restaurants in delhi and bombay. i wish i could have actually been in delhi for half of this blog--could have shown people not just the fancy and non-fancy restaurants but also my mother and aunts' cooking. wait, i already did that with the trip photos from january--linked to here and related discussion of some of the home food here . and forgive me if i don't get around to answering your very good question from yesterday: the answer is probably already distributed somewhere in all the longer, more boring posts i've already made on the blog, and i don't know that anyone, including me, wants to read any more of that.
  14. dammit! you're in boulder, right? any of these places in the 80304 or 80305?
  15. what, no pictures today? breakfast was not unlike breakfasts past, but being a blogger of integrity i took a fresh picture:
  16. adoxograph--asking me questions that need thoughtful response rather than my usual off-hand speculation. who does she think she is? actually i'm not sure where the "here" and "there" you refer to are. i'm not comparing ethnic food (hate that word in this context, by the way: it isn't like "anglo-americans" aren't ethnic as well) in america as a whole with street food somewhere else. my current frame of reference is actually denver vs. los angeles. as i've said before, no matter what deluded new yorkers think, los angeles is the place to go in the u.s to eat the largest, deepest, most diverse array of cuisines. i didn't expect denver to have that but i've just been so spoilt by the chinese food in the san gabriel valley that dim sum here makes me want to cry. indian food in l.a sucks but there's divine stuff in artesia (20 minute drive from downtown). denver/boulder have decent indian food at best--but that's not a big deal, i cook enough at home and prefer home food to restaurant food anyway (in case someone has read the blog so far and has not figured that out). there's some okay korean restaurants in aurora but after l.a koreatown... but anyway, my point was not that cities should be able to somehow have a range of cuisines that don't have the demographics to sustain them and maintain quality control. actually, i suppose my point wasn't very clear. i'm saying two things: 1) there does seem to be enough of a hispanic population in colorado/denver to support good hispanic cuisine (i'll hunt for the numbers if none of the coloradans here can provide them); 2) while gourmets and european food enthusiasts in small cities like denver know enough to recognize good european style restaurants (and thus when they say adega in denver is excellent i believe them), they don't seem to be as knowledgeable/interested in other cuisines to be able to support/enforce quality. (this is, by and large, the problem with indian restaurants even in the major metros: people know so little about indian food they are often satisfied with mediocrity, and get overly-excited about anything that's a little different. now, i'm not saying that non-indians have to somehow develop "indian" tastes or like the same things for their preferences to be valid. chicken-tikka masala may have developed outside india, and a pork vindaloo in goa may be not so much hot as tangy, but chicken-tikka masala and spicy lamb-vindaloo are dishes in their own right now. and while i can sneer at them i'm not going to sneer at people who like them--though i reserve the right to sneer at these people if they make larger pronouncements about vindaloos as a whole, or on cream in all indian cooking based on these experiences. what does it mean, by the way, when the parenthetical asides are larger than the main paragraphs?) but to get back to your other great point: no, i wasn't, and totally should be, talking about american food as well. when you mention this do you mean classic american food, diner food, or what in california has come to be seen as "new american"? one of my favorite fun restaurants in boulder is a place called zolo--i can't describe their food in terms of ethnicity; it seems to me to be good american food (here's a link) -- they call it "traditional southwestern cuisine with a contemporary twist". a good example of contemporary takes on american regional? or am i now an indian who doesn't know enough about american regional food getting overly-excited about something that looks a little different? cuts both ways, unfortunately for me!
  17. just so there is no confusion #1 is the comfort-food (suited to the weather) option. but don't let that sway you.
  18. forgot to add: polls close at 4.30 mountain time since option 2 will require 3 hours of marination (in case, anyone's wondering we eat dinner around 9 pm).
  19. haven't eaten lunch yet (stomach rumbling). but before i go off to the feed-trough another poll for tonight: kali urad dal enthusiasts will be glad to know that i am making it tonight (being the nice guy that i am, i only made enough channa dal for two meals worth last night). however, there is the question of chicken. i was originally planning to make a comfort-food style chicken curry/stew. given the weather this is an attractive option. but my aunt and uncle brought me a couple of recipe books when they visited last week and in one of them (the aforementioned "flavours of the spice coast") there are a couple of very sexy looking chicken recipes: easter chicken roast and chicken piralen. the former a whole marinated, pot-roasted chicken, the other closer to a "curry". all three recipes are simple enough (and involve no exotic ingredients). i usually follow a rule which says "never cook something for the first time for public consumption (or in this case, display)"--but i will leave the choice to you people. so what should i do with the chicken tonight: 1. make my usual bengali'ish chicken curry/stew 2. make a kerala christian pot-roasted chicken 3. make a kerala style curried chicken vote soon and often
  20. mongo_jones

    Yellow Croaker

    see page 12 of my blog here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=45071&st=330
  21. i guess the question is of the size of audience. denver is not a small town by any means. i don't mean to imply that there are no fine restaurants in denver (or even boulder)--there are, even if, by virtue of my relatively recent arrival in the region, i'm not the best person to talk about them. there are restaurants and chefs here (at adega and luca d'italia in denver, for example) who seem to get rave reviews on a regular basis from both local gourmets and visiting ones (even if they aren't quite places you'd fly to denver just to eat at). the aspect of this that i guess i am more interested in is whether the only model of fine dining available in the smaller metros is a version of what's been "approved" in the bigger places--i.e. has to be frenchified in a certain way, serve certain kinds of dishes, have a certain kind of decor and so on. here in boulder we have chef bradford heap, at both the excellent full moon grill and overseeing the chautauqua dining hall who tries to do something different--using local ingredients and addressing local traditions etc. (not to mention the local scenery in chautauqua). sometimes i wonder if there is a greater anxiety among foodies in smaller cities: "we aren't a real town unless we have a fancy french restaurant" and that kind of thing. yes, clearly there's business plan issues involved. (as an aside: did keller become keller in yountville or did he make a name somewhere else first?) the question of ingredient availability and cost is an interesting one: is this really an issue these days? we have a sushi restaurant in denver (sushi den) whose owner/chef has fish flown in from japan (where his brother oversees packing). pretty much everything is available here. but maybe the economies of scale (given smaller audiences) don't add up. i don't know--again i'm the least equipped of all the colorado egulleters to talk about this; afoodnut, rlm etc. know far more about this scene. there is one big culinary divide that i have found between los angeles and denver (and this is a function of my own propensities: if i was given $10,000 and airfare to spend only on food, i wouldn't be flying off to yountville or to wherever el bulli is or to new york or paris; instead, i would fly to india and china and eat my way through small restaurants and street-stalls-- and go to south east asia with what was left). the ethnic food scene here is not very good. smaller cities in more diverse states may not have this problem but chinese food and indian food here suck (for the most part). and i don't think there's a big sushi tradition here either: there's a couple of good sushi places but i've also been to places in boulder where fish gets hacked up nastily. the biggest disappointment here for me has been mexican and other hispanic foods. hispanics constitute the largest minority in colorado but, as far as i can tell, this has not yet registered in the restaurant world. (again all the caveats about my recent arrival and lack of local experience apply.) i'm still searching for an excellent mexican restaurant. doesn't have to be fancy, just has to have more than 2 or 3 things on the menu that you can be excited about ordering. on the other hand vietnamese food in denver is supposed to be very good, and i'm looking forward to the second egullet dinner at dalat on july 24. look forward to hearing from non-coloradans about the general small-city stuff, and from coloradans on the denver/boulder stuff.
  22. the days (blog-related) plans: food-wise: leftovers for lunch--polish off the liver curry, the nadan meen kari and last night's channa dal and okra; cook dinner: do something with chicken and make either kali urad or moog dal, maybe also a veg (potatoes? cauliflower?). food for thought-wise: pick up on adoxograph's small/midtown chef/restaurant thoughts--hopefully others will engage with this as well; finally answer moby's question from yesterday about my incredible snobbery and indian restaurants in los angeles/california.
  23. start with the fish-dishes--they're the easiest and perhaps the most familiar (in case there's other family members who need to be eased in). the good news won't be so exciting for you people: i'm pregnant! well, no. it is just that the doctor has given me the go ahead to burst the boils on my ass! well, not that either. the truth is housing related. we rent a house here in boulder. our landlords went psycho on us without warning. long story. we were looking for another place--found a great townhome (bigger, nicer, more beautiful neighbourhood) for much less than what our current landlords are raising rent to for next year. we'd put in our application and were waiting to hear if we'd got it. we probably have--need to leave in an hour to sign the lease. we really should buy a house of our own, i suppose. but for complicated reasons we won't have a good idea of whether we'll be in boulder long term or not for another year or two. people tell us we should buy now and just sell in a couple of years if we end up leaving but i find that idea wearying. in india people buy a house/flat and live in it till they die and will it to their children--the home as temporary investment is a relatively new idea. also we can't afford boulder--we'd probably have to move to broomfield to get a place bigger/better than we rent here. and currently we have a 5 minute bus ride to work--even though commutes in los angeles were at least 30 minutes for everything, the thought of replacing the 5 minute bus ride with a 15 minute car drive and the parking hassles is also not attractive.
  24. wot's all this then? yes, i like both japanese and indian food. actually i like sushi and the noodle soups--most of the rest of japanese cuisine leaves me cold. but i'd rather eat sushi and good udon than some indian cuisines. why am i doing this? now i'll have to pay attention to yet another thread.
  25. foodie52, you would dare explain EVIL? do we really need to know anything other than what is obvious: earl grey is what the demon mahishasura dribbled out of his anus while the goddess durga was sticking it to him. all this history schmistory is clearly revisionist. but let no one say i am not open to other ways of knowing the world: Earl Grey of Howick Hall, near Craster, was one of Britain’s most popular Prime Ministers. His 1832 Reform Act completely changed the democratic system in Britain to the system we have today of parliamentary constituencies of (roughly) equal size and a one man, one vote electoral system. notice how all this preamble is needed to set the guy up before the demon-juice can be mentioned As Prime Minister, he also once sent a diplomatic mission to China and by chance the envoy saved the life of a Chinese Madarin. In gratitude, the Mandarin sent the Earl a delightfully scented tea, with its recipe. The special ingredient with which it was flavoured was oil of Bergamot. and notice how quickly the chinese are blamed. clearly this was an assasination plot that went awry because the earl was a mechanical ninja and needed daily infusions of oil of bergamot to keep his privates moving. Earl Grey was delighted and in future always asked his tea merchant – the Tyneside company, Twinings, for that blend. His drawing room soon became famous for its tea and in due course the family gave permission for the blend to be sold to the public. might this have been when the family fortunes began to sag? in any event it becomes clear who is really to blame for it coming near my nose. not the chinese, the english Today, Earl Grey is the world’s most popular blend and is sold in more than 90 countries. i believe st. john points to this as the ultimate sign of the closeness of the apocalypse.
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