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Everything posted by Pitter

  1. After finding some affordable fresh porcini at a farmer's market, I sauteed these with shallots, fresh thyme, peeled chestnuts and creme fraiche. Served over lobster raviolli. The best thing I ever ate.
  2. I would also include a jar of tamarind concentrate, a few jars of relish and chutney such as lime pickle and mango chutney, and if your budget allows, a coffee grinder for grinding the spices, some packages papadum, and maybe a good cookbook.
  3. Pitter


    My understanding is that it is derived from the must from decanted wine barrels, not directly from grapes, then cooked down and aged. I am probably wrong. I stir vincotto into carmelized onions, and drizzle onto grilled lamb chops and sauteed chicken livers. Good stuff!
  4. My grandmother put mayonnaise on her cottage cheese. Not as offensive to look at as ketchup, but yucksters anyway.
  5. Siam in Lambertville used to be my favorite, but I recently discovered an astonishingly good Thai restaurant: Thai Kitchen, 1351 Prince Rodgers Ave., Bridgewater 908-231-8822. This is far, far better than the two in nearby Somerville. They have many dishes that you will not find at the vast majority of places in NJ, and everything I have tried there was outstanding. They are located in a secluded, small strip mall behind the Bridgewater Commons -- I never would have known about it had I not been clued in by a friend -- and to find it, I suggest you call them or look up the address on mapsonline. Also, the people working there were some of the nicest I have come across.
  6. This is antedotal -- don't know first hand if it works. I was working for a distributor, and the executive dining room at a major bank always ordered huge quantities of Yahoo. I mentioned out loud one day that this cracked me up -- banker bigwigs drinking Yahoo, and my co-workers all seemed to know that it is a cure for hangovers.
  7. Pitter

    Fantasy sandwich

    Very thickly sliced brandywine tomato on sourdough bread with mayo and arugala, and often some best-quality, very crisp bacon, also thickly sliced from a slab. Rare roasted lamb with carmelized onions and mayo, also on sourdough.
  8. Harry Wils in Secaucus has probably everything you will need that is perishable -- cream, milk, butter, eggs, several chocolate lines, nuts, flour and sugar, fruit purees, nut pastes. 201-770-1180. Check their pricing, however. You may find Costco to be less expensive, but I've always favored the convenience of deliveries during the busy season. What part of the state will you be working in?
  9. Pitter

    Salt (merged topics)

    Halen Mon also has a newly available smoked sea salt, which is unbelievably heavenly and interesting. So far, I think this is only available at Whole Foods. They say that it is smoked over hardwood that is 800 years old. Don't know about all of that hype, but a little bit goes a long way.
  10. 750, but I have only a few that make it onto my bookshelf. Please know that I weed these out litterally every 6 months. I don't know how this happens.
  11. I followed MB's basic outline for cooking/searing duck legs, then added my own "Thai inspired" twist, rather than cooking them with the standard mire poix and tomatoes. It was one of the best things to ever come from my kitchen. I seared the legs, poured off the fat, then braised them in a mixture of green curry paste, shallots, coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, tamarind concentrate, lemongrass and galanga, and for veggies/fruit I used tiny Thai eggplants and fresh pineapple. Absolutely divine.
  12. Pitter

    Blue cheese

    Green mold is actually a very good thing when talking about "blue" cheese. It indicates that the cheese is fresh. Green turns to blue as it ages. I do not know of any cheese molds that will make you or your children sick, and I must add that that I appreciate the fact that your children are "blue" lovers. My first experience with blue cheese was with Roquefort, which my parents fed to me for fun while in my high-chair (it is my first memory) and I have been hooked ever since. I sell 700 cheeses for a living, and still find that Roquefort and other blues are my favorites.
  13. If you are near Chester, or even if you are not -- it is worth the drive to Artisan Bread, Wine and Cheese. I think they have the best bread in NJ. The baker worked at Balthazar, Sullivan St. and Amy's, and his bread combines the best of all three. Their bread is also available at Pluckemin Farms, if you are closer to Bedminster.
  14. One hour from Manhattan is Hunterdon County in NJ. You should drive to the westernmost side of the county, along the Delaware River, which was described by the NY Times as the most reminiscent part of France in the US. The Frenchtown Inn in Frenchtown, Meils in Stockton, Hamilton's Grill in Lambertville. On the return trip, cross the bridge in Lambertville or Stockton, and drive up Rt. 32 on the Pennsylvania side of the river. Glorious.
  15. Y'all actually drink it? I thought it was used mostly for dyeing wool, and I use it for that.
  16. In order of preference, or at least in order of how often I eat them, based on the season: Artichokes (must have had lots of pre-natal appreciation here, as I was born from an artichoke farmer's daughter) Brandywine tomatoes (home grown) Arugala Jerusalum Artichokes (a fairly recent discovery -- simply roasted with EVO, s&p, and whatever herb is available) Parsnips Kale and any other bitter greens like Mustard, Chard, etc. (I steam up a big pot of it, chill it, then dip the leaves in vinegar for a late night snack) (I love all cruciferous vegs including broccolli, cauliflower, cabbage) Corn (local farmer only, no grocery store) Bok Choy Butternut Squash and Cheese Pumpkin
  17. Hand knitted scarves and/or gloves for everyone. My favorite folks get these from personally dyed and handspun yarns. Jars of my ketchup rendered from my tomato patch this past summer go to all of my workmates. Cheeses, (many!) vinegars, oils, mustards, smoked fish and homemade crackers and breadsticks go to my neighbors. If I ever leave the food industry, they will move away.
  18. Pitter

    Truffle Oil

    Soft polenta made with fontina or dolce gorgonzola, drizzled with white truffle oil, is a mighty fine mid-week entree!
  19. Pitter

    Foie Gras: The Topic

    A generous portion of foie gras is two ounces. Remember that this is unbelievably rich, and serving much more than that will finish off the diner's appetite. It seems that chefs always complain that it is hard to make money with this ingredient. While it may exceed one's expected food costs, I think it is important to have on a menu because it brings people into the restaurant. Try to think of it this way: food costs may be 50%, but it is probably the most expensive appetizer on your menu. Dollar per dollar, you are still making a sizable dollar amount.
  20. I'm so sorry I won't be coming. I had a last hour reassignment of my workday. I wanted to meet you all. Again, so very sorry. Next time, I hope.
  21. No trip to Whitehouse should be made without considering one of the best restaurants in NJ, the Ryland Inn. The difference between Angelos and The Ryland Inn, among other more obvious things, is $20 vs $200 pp. At Angelos you can bring your own wine. The Ryland Inn is what it is -- a destination, big anniversary place. Angelos is for Thursday night with the kids, or couples on a budget for the weekend.
  22. For a surprisingly good, casual Italian, I recommend Angelo's on Rte 31, across from the Hunterdon Hospital. This is about a ten minute drive from Casa Bianca. This looks like a regular pizza/red sauce borderline dive, but the food is excellent and less than half the cost. Portions here are also huge. If they served regular portions, they would probably be charging $8 per entree.
  23. While not comprehensive, the first book I always grab is Anne Willan's "French Regional Cooking." It's probably long out of print (1981) and the recipes are grouped by region rather than category. Whatever, everything I've made from there, if I follow the recipe, is fabulous. The Soupe de Poissons Provencale is one of my favorites for parties. It's the real thing.
  24. Wusthof has a new knife that is shaped like a modified cleaver and has those oval indentations on the blade that are also used on long meat slicers. I asked about those indentations, and I don't understand a thing, except I was told that it helps the blade glide through dense objects. The gentleman at Broadway Panhandler insisted that this knife was so sharp that it scared him. I bought it. The previous weekend I was catering a party and slicing a four pound salami with my chef's knife. It was a lot of work, and I was cursing myself, and I stopped after about two pounds, with a sore arm and hand. When I got home with my new knife, I tried cutting a slice from the remaining salami end, and it FLOATED through. I would hate for you to run over there and buy an $80 knife on my suggestion, but I gotta tell you, this knife cuts paper thin slices of hard salami, and it does so effortlessly.
  25. Is your clientele children of rich folks moving to Morris County, or are they possibly children of parents from India? A large number of Indians are moving into the area, and they may be vegetarians with a highly developed palate. You should find out, because it could make a world of difference in your approach.
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