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Ellen Shapiro

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ellen Shapiro

  1. Ah Munchos. I really do have to chime in here because Munchos have been a part of my lives for as long as I've known Fat Guy. While I am not a potato chip person (you'll find me at the candy counter), the occasional Muncho is a pleasant treat. I think I like them for the exact reason that some of you don't--they're not the same as potato chips--and yet they are potato-y and salty and light and fluffy while still providing that satisfying crunch with every bite.
  2. I'm far from expert in Thai cuisine, however I did live for a summer with a family in Chiang Mai and have been to Thailand many times. The menu at Sri looks to me like a mix of Bangkok and Northern dishes. The sticky rice and large number of noodle dishes points North. There is more of the food I saw in Chiang Mai (which is North) at Sri than at the other Thai restaurants I've been to in NYC.
  3. I have never made the kugel from EBE cookbook but I've been on a bit of a kugel kick lately because my son really likes it and I've decided that for a child, it's the perfect food. It's very nutritious and filling, it's totally portable and it tastes good at any temperature. The recipe I have, I got from my mother-in-law who got it from a friend. I'm guessing it's a spin-off from the EBE cookbook because it's almost exactly the same (this recipe calls for apricot jam as a topping rather than Corn Flakes). As a variant, I add raisins but don't do the jam. He gets the recipe as is--all whole mi
  4. Many of the photos of plated dishes that you see in food magazines and newspapers are taken without flash, however the cameras those photographers are using have much greater light gathering capacity than your Olympus. They're also not shooting on the fly while eating. When using my digital SLR with a fast lens, I may skip flash or just fill with off-camera flash (you'd be surprised how many "natural light" photos do rely on some artificial light). But when I use our Canon A620 to take snapshots for online, informational use I always use flash unless it's an extraordinarily well lit dining roo
  5. I must admit, I relate to the "snob factor." After all, these are hot dogs we're talking about. To me, this dish goes hand in hand with the Campbell's mushroom soup casseroles (don't forget the Durkee fried onions on top), hot spinach artichoke dip and all of those other 1970s favorites. But boy, are these hot dogs good—and I don’t even like hot dogs!
  6. The Elegant but Easy cookbook, by Marian Burros (who has been a special guest here) and Lois Levine, was arguably one of the most impactful cookbooks for the baby boom generation. Orignally published as Elegant but Easy in 1960 and Second Helpings in 1963, the two were I think consolidated into the Elegant but Easy Cookbook in 1967. The revised edition I have comes from Macmillan and bears a 1984 copyright. It says on the cover 365,000 sold. Later editions also happened, including the New Elegant but Easy Cookbook in 1998. I thought I could start a tribute to Elegant but Easy here by pointing
  7. Wouldn't it be easier to have magic powers? Like I said we have three white noise sources in the room: a Homedics "Acoustic Relaxation Sound Machine," a HEPA air filter, and a humidifier. We also often play Mozart all night at a low volume. His baby brain is easily able to select gastronomic noises over all that anyways.
  8. Breakfast cereal, 24/7/365 and counting, is another thing that has saved my life. I have to take the cereal box into my bedroom, pour the cereal in there, then re-stow it in the kitchen! On a good day maybe a banana can be sliced in, but there's big-time risk in taking a knife out of the drawer I tell you: one false move and a few other utensils shift and you're doomed. A small amount of noise in our bedroom won't wake anyone, well it won't wake the baby at least, but almost anything that happens in the kitchen beyond gently opening or closing a cabinet, fuggedaboudit. Try opening a can of so
  9. Please, please, please don't worry about me! This is about commiserating, not solving anything. I'm posting, so I do have some time now although cooking is not a priority during that time because things like bathing take priority. I'm mostly giving a retrospective of the last year and a half and hoping some of you will have similarly hellish experiences to share. Please do!
  10. Oh, yes, this is all very good advice. I was more imagining a sharing of war stories, though. If you've survived this scenario, what were your strategies, what did you do? Like what Marlene said, although I think the crock pot is a higher level of organization than a lot of beaten-down-by-stress-and-sleep-deprivation new mothers want to handle. Even the rice cooker, with its lag time, is a tough sell when you're malnourished and on the brink of madness, tears and hypoglycemia.
  11. Those of you with palatial homes needn't read on. But the many residents of the world who live in apartments, small attached condos, trailers and other tight quarters will know what this is about. You do your thing all day, you feed the baby, you bathe the baby, you play the exhausting game of convince the baby to go to sleep. It's 8pm. You're hungry. There's only one problem: You can't make any noise. Maybe the baby's room is adjacent to the kitchen. Maybe you've got a noise-sensitive baby. Maybe there's a pipe that carries sound from the kitchen directly to the baby's ear like how old resta
  12. I don't necessarily buy the tripod-and-natural-light advice for customers shooting plates of food in restaurants. Setting up even a tabletop tripod is not practical in most dining situations, and without either a tripod or a far superior camera and lens to what most consumers possess, you're not going to get good natural light shots in the darker restaurants. I also don't buy in to the "flash is evil" school of thought. It depends on the purpose of the photography. Most eGullet Society members are shooting for "informational" purposes, not with the intention of publishing in Art Culinaire. In
  13. You can't break a single piece in half, is the point. Not unless you're nakji, that is. Again, you have to try to break it by bending the two ends. Of course you can break it in half if you put your hands next to each other in the middle.
  14. A couple of weeks ago, on Numb3rs, Charlie Epps explained to Don that you can't break a piece of spaghetti in half. In other words if you hold the two ends of a piece of dry spaghetti and you bend the piece, it will always break in at least two places and will never break in half. I tried this with about ten pieces of spaghetti and it proved correct, and there are reports online of trying it with thousands of pieces. Here's an interesting article I found on this fascinating subject: http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20051112/bob10.asp Try it. I dare you.
  15. I'm obsessed with chocolate covered marshmallows too--but I'm more obsessed with the eating component of the project, rather than the making component. I would like to offer up my services as a taster in the test kitchen. The talent here astounds me and I'd like to pitch in and do my part.
  16. I just returned from my first PDR meal at the Modern and was impressed with what they were able to do for a 50-person lunch (this was a travel media lunch for Vail and Beaver Creek). The food was more straightforward than what you see in the dining room but it was good-restaurant-quality food that could easily have passed for something you'd order from a menu at a good restaurant. I had a lobster appetizer and tenderloin entree and tasted someone else's fish with some sort of crust. Dessert was a nice chocolate shell surrounding pudding-like interior. All in all a good place to do a private me
  17. I'm becoming very fond of my Silpats (I have Exopats, actually, but everybody calls them Silpats anyway), but have found that my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe (the Nestle Toll House recipe with double the vanilla and an upgrade to better chocolate) is too "spready" when baked on Silpats. In other words the cookies spread out very wide and thin, almost comically so, when baked. Does anybody have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that specifically works well on Silpat surfaces? I'd be especially interested in the theory of how to modify my current recipe or oven temperature (again I follow
  18. Stone, if I'm not mistaken, "dan dan mian" is Pinyin for Sichuan-style cold noodles.
  19. It is often said that goldfish, left to their own devices, will eat until they explode. Whether or not this is in fact the case, it is easy to see why Alain Ducasse at the Essex House chose to call its private dining room “the Aquarium.” Being in possession of a newborn, the Ducasse folks were kind enough to let us have the aquarium last night. This was our first experience of Tony Esnault’s cuisine, and apparently we were to eat everything. Fat Guy will come along later for fuller discussion of the cuisine, but I’m going to post some photographs. The aquarium provides a nice opportunity to ph
  20. Have retitled this topic to make it more general: anybody killed anything else lately, or ever? I don't mean slaughtering a chicken or a lobster. I'm talking about using kitchen utensils for domestic self-defense, such as against an invading rattlesnake or perhaps a burglar. Fat Guy tried to kill a mouse with a cast-iron skillet once but he (Fat Guy, that is) was too slow.
  21. The other night we were driving on the Lower East Side on our way to New Green Bo. Two signs of note: First, there is an "Epstein's Bar." Second, in the New Green Bo bathroom, there is a sign that says "Do not put anything in toilet."
  22. No I'm not talking about the names movie stars give their kids. I'm talking about names of foods. I understand that if a food has a historically derived name then we have to stick with it. But if you're sitting in the here and now and you have the opportunity to name a food then there is no excuse for giving it a name that sounds like, for example, a disease. The worst example I've seen lately is this new (three years old I am told) hybrid of a nectarine, apricot and plum. It is called the "Nectacotum," as in "Wow, this fungus on my nectacotum really itches," although I mean that in jest becau
  23. What canned (tinned for our English friends) foods do you eat? Admit it! Even though it's not cool for gourmets to eat canned stuff, you do it. Tell all. Sure, you'll admit to canned San Marzano tomatoes, fine Italian tuna and the like. Okay, we should hear about that. But what about canned . . . Campbell's soup! Beans! Fruit! It's time to confess, and then to justify. There's good stuff in cans. Cans need a voice. Let's hear it.
  24. When we were in Winnipeg, Fat Guy and I were literally buried in the stuff. I don't know where to get it, though. Sorry!
  25. I'm holding in my hands a recipe from the December Gourmet for a "chocolate hazelnut tart." I made it the other day. It involves baking a graham cracker crumb crust in the bottom of a springform pan (no sides -- just a bottom layer of crust) and then pouring in a large quantity of melted chocolate-cream-hazelnut mixture and then cooling it in the refrigerator. Simple and tasty. But is it a tart? I thought a tart had to have a pastry crust and sides, and you filled it with something. A torte, I thought, was where you make a flourless or very-little-flour cakelike thing. So wouldn't the above be
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