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Rachel Perlow

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Posts posted by Rachel Perlow

  1. Jason had some tacos for lunch at El Paso II yesterday and when I got home from work he mentioned that they have paletas (Mexican fruit popsicles). I've loved paletas since becoming obsessed with them as made at Loco Pops in Durham NC. The ones at El Paso are made by El Paleton and come in many flavors. They charge $1.25 for the juice based ones and $1.50 for the milky ones. So refreshing on a hot summer day.

  2. Our big tomatoes are finally starting to ripen. I noticed one just starting to get attacked last week. Even though it was only starting to get a first blush of red, I picked it and let it ripen on the kitchen table. It fully ripened and we ate it last night, the taste was very good, about 90% of fully vine ripened. So, I picked a few more that were about half-ripe. I figure 90% as good is better than nothing, because if they're left on the vine too long they get eaten by birds, rabbits, or squirrels.

  3. All this talk about Lotus Cafe propelled us to return the other night. We had the three cup chicken again, of course, but tried a few new to us items as well. So, for your future ordering pleasure:

    • Beef and Tofu Chowder - excellent. Slightly egg thickened broth with little pieces of braised beef (not ground/chopped), carrots, peas, diced tofu, there is a strong cilantro and sesame oil flavor
      Dumplings - we got boiled seafood and pan-fried pork. Their dumpling skin is kind of medium thick. I prefer thin skinned dumplings, and these were thicker than I like, but not as thick as horribly thick skinned dumplings you get at a lot of take out places. The boiled ones were poorly executed. The skins were torn on a few of them and overcooked, the seafood filling bland. The pork on the other hand were nicely cooked and the filling was excellent. So get the pan-fried over the boiled. Next time we'll see if the seafood is better in the pan-fried version. (See we don't necessarily love everything we order here either!)
      Vegetables wrapped in tofu skin appetizer - This is similar to a dim sum item we've had at Silver Pond. The tofu skin is crispy fried. It's good, but not a must order, a nice alternative to an egg roll for a vegetarian.
      Happy Monks Feast - We usually order a vegetarian dish. This one was very good, it seems a different variation on the ubiquitous "Budda's Delight," with an ordinary brown sauce. But the vegetables were nicely cooked, and a good combination. It also included strips of tofu skin, so it might be a good option for someone looking for a noodle dish but doesn't want actual noodles (Atkins, wheat intolerance). We find that Lotus Cafe has a lot of nice vegetable dishes, one of our favorites is the sauteed mushroom combination.
      Lotus Delight - I'm not 100% sure about the name here, it's about halfway down the Chef's specialties page of the menu. It is similar to mu shu in concept, you eat it wrapped in thin pancakes with hoisin. But the dish has cellophane noodles, strips of firm tofu in addition to pork and vegetables and is topped with an egg omelet. It makes for an impressive presentation, and is delicious to boot.

    Well, I hope that gives you all some more ordering options. :cool: We took at least half of everything home, btw, what we do for you people. :laugh: One final note, the place was packed on a Tuesday night, we had to wait a couple of minutes for a table. Oh, and Alan is an excellent waiter, ask for him by name. :smile:

  4. There's actually very little filling in the roll itself, just a quick line from the piping baggie. But then I had some leftover, so I added a dollop on top of each one, the better to brown under the broiler.

    Ahh, I see. Good idea - makes for a nice presentation, that's for sure!

    Just to be clear, you add the line of filling then roll up the zucchini. In rereading, it sounded like I piped the filling in a spiral after rolling the zucchini, which would be a PITA.

  5. Grilled Zucchini Roulade Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

    Cut zucchini into thin slices with a mandoline if you've got one, by hand if you don't.  Toss with olive oil and kosher salt.  Grill until charred and limp, lay out on a wire rack over a sheet pan to cool without getting soggy.

    For enough filling for about 50 small rollups, I used an 11 oz log of goat cheese, 1/4 cup diced sundried tomatoes (oil packed), 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, and 6 tbsp of olive oil.  Just mix together with a fork until nicely blended.

    Using your fingers, spread a dollop of the cheese mixture along a piece of zucchini, then roll it up.  These can be made quite far in advance.  When ready to serve, simply pop them into the over or under the broiler to heat up. 

    Of the three, the roulades are my favorite because they are so simple to make and quite tasty.  And easy to do in bulk.  They'd be great for a summer cocktail party.  The filling for the squash blossoms also doubles as a nice dip or topping for crostinis.

    Tammy - I made your zucchini roulades the other day. I didn't have any sun dried tomatoes, so I added a dollop of jarred sofrito, and of course, I scaled it down for 10 roulades from 2 smallish zukes. Excellent easy recipe. I recommend using a baggie with a corner snipped to spread the filling, too messy to use your fingers. How thinly do you slice your zucchini? I used the 1/4 inch setting on my mandoline, but it seemed a little thick when rolling.

    Jason's post from the Sofrito thread, with pics:


    Rachel, inspired by the recent eGullet Society Heartland Gathering, made Zucchini Roulades, but instead of using Sundried Tomato in the goat cheese stuffing, she used sofrito, which immediately gave this side dish some serious Latino street creds. So I guess its actually Zucchini Relleno a la Raquel.


    The finished dish. “Bistec Boriqua” plated with grilled mushroom caps that I basted with the leftover steak marinade, tomato and onion salad, Zucchini Rellenos, and Daisy Martinez’s yellow rice.

  6. Ed, I'm humbled by your arguments.

    What about the excellent riff on chicken chow mein? Why hasn’t anyone noticed the crispy onion rings on top or the Vidalia onions that flavor the base and make it naturally and deliciously sweet, and the fun and cool looking presentation of a crispy free form egg roll skin basket that is broken open tableside? It is exactly the same sort of 'sensible' cooking that Mr. Bruni lauds Mitchell Davis for in his blog this week - yet he failed to either notice or appreciate it here.

    Although I did not mention many of these specifics with regard to the chicken chow mein, I did post that it was the best version I have ever had. It's haunted me since our first visit and I regret not ordering it when we returned for dim sum this past Sunday. It was not on the lunch menu, I should have asked for it anyway. And, next time, I'm definitely going to get one of those fish entrees, you make the branzano sound like a must try.

  7. It worked out to $45 per person, including tax & tip. I think one glass of wine was orderd, a beer, and a couple pots of tea ($6 for one of those cute squat tea pots, they will refill with more water). Count me among those that feel the food is excellent, but at these prices, I wouldn't go to it as my regular dim sum joint.

    Regarding the excellent food, I loved those shrimp & snow pea steamed dumplings, and the way they made them look like little froggies. :laugh: The shrimp stuffed eggplant was given a new spin with the Malaysian saucing. I even loved the turnip cake, and generally I don't like turnip cake. Excellent fried oysters. The egg roll shell seemed standard (in a good crispy but not greasy way), but the filling was just different enough to make it outstanding, with lots of mushrooms, mmm. You just have to decide if the superior quality of the offerings is worth at least 2x (nice places) or 3x (dives) what you'd pay elsewhere, and that's a personal decision between your palate and your pocketbook.

    BTW, we were a table of 6. As you can see from the pictures, items come 2, 3, 4, or 5 to a plate. But even the largest plates didn't come with 6 items. We wanted to sample a wide variety, so for the most part we didn't double up on items, instead we'd cut some dumplings in half and share. My point is, you might want to ask the server how many pieces of each thing you order come on the plate, so if you aren't into sharing bites of food, you might want to double some orders if you are at a large table.

  8. Oh, and not refrigerated during fermentation. You're supposed to keep it in a cool dark place, but I just put the crock in the cabinet over the fridge. When it's warmer, it just ferments faster, so you have to be careful not to let them over sour, when you want half-sours. When they are done (or nearly done, better to opt short on the sourness), I take out the cukes to clean containers then just pour in the strained brine. But I don't boil it or anything. We eat and give away a lot of them. They don't last forever like canned/jarred pickles, but they do last a few months. They just get softer and more sour the longer they sit.

  9. I posted this in a NJ gardening thread, but thought I might have a better chance of an answer in this one...
    I've got this mushroom/fungus growing on one of my Brussels Sprouts plants. Anyone know what it is? edible, poisonous?


    I sent some pictures to a bunch of mycologists I found online, and the best guess of the two who've replied so far is that it is Meripilus giganteus – The Black-Staining Polypore. It's edible, but better when young.

  10. Geez, man- that looks really good. And right up my alley, too. I can see myself going there today, actually (my normal Friday routine is to skip lunch and make it back over the GWB by 3pm or so. Usually it's a quick stop for some tacos in Bergenfield or dogs at Jolly Nick's on the way home.) Something tells me that if I get that schwarma I won't be having dinner tonight...

    Anyway, thanks for the heads-up.

    Another heads up!

    We stopped by to have lunch and they were closed. Israel, the cook, was locking up told us that they are normally open on Friday for lunch, but they had to do something and had to close early. Details were vague as he doesn't speak English very well.

  11. In fact, I expected that with two big sheet pans of fish in the oven, it would take extra time, but in fact, it was all cooked in about 15 minutes!  So I actually rang the bell for dinner early, because when fish is done, it's done!

    I've been curious about dinner times. I assumed that there's a set dinner time and people just show up at that time. But, what happens when dinner is ready early or late? Are you just being metaphoric or is there actually a bell to ring to let people know when dinner is ready?

    Your co-housing community sounds like a great place to live.

  12. Not to mention that Keith's & Heather's tests were much more tricky and subtle and involved more than one sense and decision making. You had to taste the food and decide if it was up to snuff and whether to send it out or not. Virginia just had to realize that she didn't have a salmon for a table. Completely visual and had nothing to do with determining quality.

  13. Don't get there too late, I'm not sure when they close on Friday, but they are shomer shabbos, so they are not open for dinner on Fridays or open at all on Saturday.

    That Malawach with Egg & Tomato sandwich was really amazing. I only didn't order it when we went back a second time because Jason wanted pictures of other food. The bread is very flaky. It reminds me of a Chinese scallion pancake, only without the scallions and Chinese flavor. I've been feeling a little food jaded lately, like I haven't had anything "new" in ages. But this was a totally new food (to me), I guess that's why I'm still talking about it.

    The couscous was very simple, but delicious. The veg on top were boiled and a little bland, but somehow they "went" with it anyway. I think you can get any meat you want with the couscous, and I chose the baby chicken, which was perfectly cooked, flavorful and moist.

    The french fries were obviously hand cut, but I don't think they were twice fried. Regardless, they were very nice, especially dipped in the creamy babaganous (almost like Belgian frites with mayonaise).

    Being a glatt kosher meat restaurant, their prices are a little higher than you'd find at a non-kosher or kosher dairy restaurant, but I think it's worth it, and not just for the RCBC status. The respect for their food and customers are obvious. Right now it's a small place, but the storefront next door is currently vacant and they are trying to expand into it, I hope they get the support they need to do it and afford it.

  14. I posted this in a NJ gardening thread, but thought I might have a better chance of an answer in this one...

    I've got this mushroom/fungus growing on one of my Brussels Sprouts plants. Anyone know what it is? edible, poisonous?


  15. I cooked up some of the bacon for BLTs for lunch. I was going to suggest to Jason that next time he ask for it to be cut thicker, but I see from the fist picture, above, it is pre-sliced, pretty thinly. That's fine for pan frying, but whenever I try to cook trays of bacon in the oven, when it is cut very thin it sometimes burns and sticks. It was a nice bacon though, not too smoky or salty or sweet. Just right.

    We had a sampling of their sausage for dinner last night. I particularly liked to big white "roaster" bratwurst, shown in the center of this picture. Mmm.

  16. It wouldn't hurt to write a letter to the restaurant, would it? Since you don't live in town and aren't a (Thai) restaurateur, perhaps if you just explain that you loved the dish they made and would like to re-create it for yourself at home, they would give you the recipe. Then share it with us. :wink:

  17. I stopped by Cafe Angelique this morning to pick up something for breakfast before my office meeting. They seem to have addressed their air conditioning problems and have a new tables and chairs in the dining room. I'll have to give it another try for lunch sometime to see if the service has improved as well.

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