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Pitter

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Everything posted by Pitter

  1. Pitter

    Mitsuwa in Edgewater

    I think that someone probably already wrote about this, but today I went there for the first time -- accidentally, as I had some time to kill before a meeting at Whole Foods a mile up the way. Phew. Wow. An amazing store. They have sushi fish and great looking beef, sliced paper thin and stacked just right, ready to go. I couldn't buy these because I would not get them refrigeratored for 6 hours, and in this heat, imagine. They also have maybe 3,000 other things that I did not recognize. Even so, bought $40 worth of green tea, what I am told is the BEST sushi rice in the world ($7 for 10#), and had to leave the rest behind because I was in a hurry. I will be returning any time I am in the nabe, to buy some octopus and tuna. Prices, by the way, were fairly steep. I was the only person in the whole store who was not Japanese. All of the labels on products were in Japanese, and only a few of those had English translations. Gotta say, this place is a trip -- that means great! for anyone younger than 40.
  2. Pitter

    Hog Hollow Barbecue

    I HAD to look this up, because I must go there ASAP. If you are going via Rte. 78, get off at exit 3 (Phillipsburg, aka Last Exit In NJ) and take 22 North past the Shop Rite on your right, through 3 or 4 stop lights. The road suddenly bifucates, with 22 bearing left and 57 to the right. Go right onto 57 East and it should be 1/4 mile down the road. 400 Rte. 57, Phillipsburg
  3. I've been hired to give an afternoon-long baking class for six teenage girls for one's sixteenth birthday party (a two-day sleepover.) Any ideas? It's been a long time since I was sixteen, so I have no memory of what my skills and interests were. Should I show them how to make a chocolate torte (melt chocolate, whip eggwhites, fold) or is that too sophisticated and technical? Or keep it simple and do a carrot cake? Roll out and decorate cookies? I know we'll make ice cream. I guess I need three or four items for a well rounded presentation and lesson. Any ideas would be hugely appreciated. I'm kinda stuck. Thanks!
  4. Pitter

    Baking Party for Teenagers

    Ah, yes, those chocolate cups formed with balloons! I had forgotten about those, and that is something that is foolproof and so easy, and an idea that they can take home to impress their family and friends effortlessly. I spoke with the girl, and face-to-face she had the "deer in headlights" look. She simply has no idea, nor does her mother. (That's why they hired me. Oh.) It turns out that there is sort of a theme, being Hawaii. And she has never had sorbet but was very interested in that. But what kind of tropical fruit goes with chocolate? Does anyone have a recipe for coconut? Beyond that, I'm thinking a carrot cake with pineapple in it, and having them all make flower decorations with royal icing. Problem is, I don't eat royal icing type of stuff and I'm not sure they should, either. Any ideas for mangoes other than sorbet? And that doesn't really go with chocolate. This thing is on Wednesday, and I'm getting a tad panicky. I think it all needs to be pretty simple. Please keep your ideas coming. You are helping me a lot. Thanks!
  5. After trying all of the usual suspects, a bought a pair of MBTs. They are very expensive, and worth every penny. Because of the design of the sole (by some European engineer) you are forced to stand with perfect posture. I have never felt so much strength, and at the end of 14 hours on my feet, I have absolutely no ankle pain.
  6. I bought a box of Apriums last week, and they were terrible -- mealy, cottony, dry, with very little flavor. I guess I should know better -- fruit that is picked green and shipped 3,000 miles is just that. I am fortunate to have a neighbor with an apricot tree, and let me tell you, there is nothing better. Those orange pucks in the grocery store are not even a faint resemblence to a real, tree ripened apricot. He also has a dozen different varieties of peaches. I am soooo lucky.
  7. Pitter

    Simmering In Plastic Wrap

    I poach whole sides of salmon wrapped in plastic, which I serve at large parties that I am catering. The reason? It traps moisture, thus the salmon does not dry out. After about 10 minutes of poaching on a medium simmer, I add ice cubes to the court bouillon, then let the fish cool while immersed in the liquid. Even avid salmon fishermen have asked me my trick -- and that is it.
  8. Pitter

    Heirloom tomatoes

    This place is in Rosemont, which is not Northern NJ but worth the trip. Locktown is about 10 minutes from Flemington and 10 minutes from Frenchtown. They are the largest growers of chili plants in the country, and have over 130 different types of heirloom tomatoes! They also have many types of asian eggplants. Cross Country Nurseries 199 Kingwood-Locktown Road Rosemont, NJ 908-996-4646 www.chileplants.com
  9. Pitter

    Cooking with Rabbit

    A roommate from long ago said she could not eat rabbit because it reminded her too much of a cat. I held onto those words, though I ate a rabbit dish at Gramercy Tavern in NYC that was absolutely wonderful. This could be the funniest thing I ever read, and it has to do with, what else? eatting rabbits. www.devilbunnies.org/text/bunny-burgers Sorry that I am a computer illiterate. I don't know how to create a link, but do check this out.
  10. Mr. Pollen also has a blog on the NY Times web page, up since Sunday, and already with quite a few replies. This will be interesting to follow.
  11. Pitter

    Eggplants and Aubergines

    Thanks MamaC for your recipe. I am making it today as part of a multi-course "eggplant party" for someone who just finished his Ph.D. in plant science, with his thesis on, what else (?) EGGPLANT!
  12. There are so many aspects to this quandary, that I hardly know where to start. I used to work for the largest distributor of foie gras in the country, and have dealt with my own hesitations and hard questions. Please know that I am politically neutral on this whole subject. One argument (highly abbreviated) goes: Ducks eat whole fish including the sharp fins because they have an esophagus that is accomodating -- therefore, we are anthropomorphizing by saying that this is cruel. Ducks flock to their feeders for their gavage, as written in the excellent chapter on foie gras in the History of Food by Toussaint-Samat. Birds, since the beginning of time, have naturally and instinctively eaten to the point of a grossly enlarged liver, in order to store up on fuel for long migrations. Some parts of the counter-argument: The birds suffer. Some have livers that explode. Some choke on their own vomit. Who needs to eat this anyway? Is our own human pleasure our only guiding principal here? And of course, this opens up all those messy conversations about factory farming, animal cruelty, conspicuous consumption, etc. My foremost dilemna here is not necessarily for the ducks, but for the farm workers. As reported a couple of years ago in the NY Times, the workers must go for thirty days working from early morning until late at night, without a day off, the reason being that each duck is assigned to a specific feeder, and comes to accept food only from that particular person. As they are fed three times per day at exact eight hour intervals, and for 30 days, the workers are stuck being there for each session. This also implies that ducks are fairly intelligent -- another can of worms. I visited a foie gras farm, and was truly disgusted by the smell, feces and overcrowding, but this was not different or worse than the chicken (layers and meat), pig, steer and dairy farms that I have visited, even those that proclaim "all natural" and "free range." I can go insane dwelling on what to eat, what not to eat. As for Whole Foods, well, that is another topic that has been discussed at length on the board here. All I have to say is that they are, of course, going to jump on any controversal wagon that is highly visible in the media. My feelings about them are also mixed: I find their mission is often hypocritical, but that they do many things very well.
  13. My big bugaboo is "wild mushrooms," which are inevitably portabellas or cremini mixed with button mushrooms.
  14. Pitter

    Food Firsts...

    Artichokes -- pre-natal -- My mother claimed this was all she ate when she was pregnant for me. Today, this is my favorite food. Roquefort -- age 2, I loved it! This is my first food memory Tongue -- 3, at home Bear -- 13, in Vienna Smoked Eel -- 13, Amsterdam street vendor Kirshwasser -- 13, Freiburg, Germany Pesto -- 14, Genoa, Italy Brains -- 14, on boat crossing Atlantic Squirrel -- 18, boyfriend's house Indian food -- 19, London Squab -- 19, Paris Chevre -- picnic in France Sweetbreads -- 22, NYC Foie Gras -- 35, at my employer, it was part of my job That's about all I can remember. I've eaten almost everything edible, at least once. I can count on one hand the foods I don't like.
  15. A couple of corrections, not that I'm any expert: Szechuan peppercorns were banned because of the canker virus, not some cancer virus. The canker virus can contaminate citrus trees, and the fear was that Florida and California trees could become infected like a plague. They ARE NOT carcinogenic! The reason the ban was lifted is because the exporters agreed to irradiate them before shipping, thus sterilizing them. Virtually all foie gras in this country and Canada comes from ducks, not geese. The main reason for this is that geese require much more time, hence are not at all cost effective for the farms. Occasionally, Hudson Valley raises a few geese, such as at Christmastime.
  16. I recently finished "Eating my Words" by Mimi Sheraton, and loved it. Highly recommended. Right now I am reading "The Language of Baklava" by Diana Abu-Jaber, and it is delightful. She is a very engaging writer who has some great stories to tell. I strongly recommend this as well. I also read "Insatiable" and hated it. Gael Greene is such a narcissist in dire need of a different editor. I don't know why I finished it -- I guess because I paid full freight for this hard-cover, but throughout I was asking myself, "who cares?"
  17. Pitter

    "Garden State"

    Donna Marie, I grow pink brandywines, rainbow brandywines, sunglo, a type of currant tomato, and some romas. Usually I try one or two others that are different every year. A great source for seeds is TomatoFest.com. He has hundreds of varieties, and is located in Carmel, California. I plant mine the second weekend of May or so. Beware, that most heirlooms are late -- like 85-90 days, so it is important to get these out at the earliest possible date. Good luck! Have fun. And be the envy of all of your neighbors!
  18. Pitter

    Home Canning

    My main reason for canning is to be creative, then enjoy the results for the rest of the year. For example, I grow a large plot of heirloom tomatoes, and last year made a spicy ketchup, tomato chutney (very spicy and soooo delicious), tomato and horseradish salsa, and sundried tomato paste. I try to do different things each year, with ketchup always on the list, but this year I will definately be repeating the chutney. I also can hot peppers using a nage recipe that I got from a cook at Gramercy Tavern. I use these as a garnish in chili and soups, and they are so much better than anything I have ever bought. When I moved into my house, there was a huge raspberry patch, which became less productive over time and was eventually dug up. My first year here I put up 48 pints of raspberry jam, and ate who-knows how many pounds of raspberries. To buy this many raspberries would have cost major money. After that, I was hooked, and plant my garden with canning possibilities in mind. My friends think this is "quaint." I think it is a way of life.
  19. Pitter

    "Garden State"

    24 tomato plants, all various heirlooms that I start from scratch 8 eggplants, of 4 different varieties including little green Thai 3 different cukes for pickling (cornichons), eatting (kirbys) and experimenting (a Chinese variety) 4 different hot peppers, plus piquillo peppers that I started from seed Yardlong string beans Sweet potato vine Parsnips A carrot grab-bag mix Golden beets Rainbow chard Bok choy Okra Fennel I'm sure I'm forgetting something. NO: squash, melons, or anything else readily available from all of my neighborhood farmer's markets. And besides, these things take up too much room. In my lettuce bed: a whole row of arugula, then two rows with six different lettuces and raddichios from seeds that a former employer smuggled in from Italy. In my herb bed: tarragon, sage and two thymes come back every year. Then for annuals I'm doing 4 kinds of basil: genoa, purple, Thai and globe; a rosemary or two, lemongrass, a curry plant, and whatever else I can't resist from The Well Sweep Herb Farm and the Chinese nursery across the street from where I live. That should be enough for a family of two, aye? I am into canning condiments and other things in a major way. My garden faces south, so we get good sun, and despite the fact that my yard is tiny, I practice compact planting, meaning that I break every rule in the book, and always have an amazing bounty.
  20. Pitter

    Eggplants and Aubergines

    MamaC, please please please post your recipe for Zacusca!
  21. Pitter

    Argan Oil

    If you are making a stew or soup, especially one inspired by Morrocan spices (cumin, cinnamon, etc.) with preserved lemons and the like, drizzle it onto the finished product as a garnish. Avoid heating it too much.
  22. I guess I will splurge on some of those dried shrimp and make some mole sauce, to try to create that authentic lenten dish.
  23. I bought a pound of this, because I cannot pass on a vegetable or herb in this part of the country that I have never seen before. It looks like rosemary, but is soft. The leaves are smooth. It may be soft because it may be old, I don't know. The folks at this Mexican grocery store did not speak English, and my Spanish is poor, but I did interpret something about it being used in Mole sauces. Any clues? And if you know exactly what I am asking about, what do I do with it? I figured I'd steam it and douse it with some sort of sauce. None of my four Mexican cookbooks seem to describe this.
  24. Lucky me is right! We have lots of farms here, and when the Mexicans moved in, people were a bit miffed. I was thrilled! And now we have a grocery store entirely devoted to the Mexican clientele, and they make the very best sandwiches for $3. Now I can get real lard, real chorizo, and all of the chilis one could want. They think this Irish girl is nuts.
  25. That makes sense. It is Lent, and they had huge dried shrimp at $20 per pound, which I passed on, but I was wondering, Why? They had, like, 200 pounds of these things, and we live in the middle of nowhere. Thanks, Shelora.
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