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Comfort Me

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  1. We could use a good Japanese cookbook written for the American market. I'll buy one! Please include okanomiyaki -- my favorite food. And I'd like a good recipe for sukiyaki.
  2. I am going to be preparing my first dried sausage tomorrow -- I chose the peperrone for my first try. I solved the drying box problem with the purchase of a 4.0 cubic foot refrigerator with a temp control. On its warmest setting it stays at 57 degrees. I removed the shelves and cut dowels to slide into the grooves the shelves used to occupy. I'll then hang the sausage from the dowels. The vegetable crisper sans cover is the perfect container for salt water. The beef is in the fridge, the ingredients are all pre-weighed and ready. I remembered to buy distilled water. You'd think I've thought of everything. But I haven't. It struck me that there is nowhere in my house that is even near 85 degrees -- the temperature for incubating the lactobacillus. Andv we don't own a space heater! What am I going to do?
  3. I know that there have been previous inquiries regarding non-pork alternatives, but I'd like to ask a more specific question: I want to cure a batch of beef bacon. I've had what is commercially available, and I like it fine, but I think it can be done better. What cut would you suggest? My butcher says my best bet would be to buy a blade and to bone it out -- he says I need the fat. I've also seen beef bacon made with brisket -- though I think that wouldn't be fatty enough. I imagine curing time will really be a bit of guesswork determined by thickness. Has anyone done this? Michael? Any guidance? Aidan
  4. I love making my own sausage, and particularly like chicken sausage. I generally make it in a way I learned from an old videotape from a California culinary school -- instead of adding fat, I add crushed ice when making the forcemeat in the food processor. Do you think I could freeze broth -- chicken, turkey, or a combo of both -- in ice cube trays, then crush them and incorporate them into the sausage? I don't know if poultry stock freezes or thaws at a different temperature or if that would be relevant anyway. (I'm thinking of whipping up a batch of chicken sausage with cilantro, red onion, and chipoltle peppers in adobo. Yum.) Aidan
  5. That can hardly be a problem in this country. There are few vegetarians here. If there were vegetarian children, they would be treated the same way as those who are allergic to certain foods such as eggs and buckwheat, I think. A thread on being a vegetarian in Japan in the Japan Forum: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=36292&hl= Most Japanese are quite indifferent to vegetarianism. ← I'm sorry. I don't believe you understood my question. I know that it is easy to eat vegetarian in Japan. But the context was school lunches. If everyone eats the same thing and the menu for the day is pork, what does the vegetarian child do? Does he or she bring their lunch, or is something special prepared for them.
  6. I've only read 1/3rd of the posts, but I couldn't get this nagging question out of my head. What happens to the vegetarian child?
  7. I make a babka and instead of a chocolate filling I spread the dough with a little merengue and the peach preserves or persimmon preserves. Then roll it up like usual and bake it off. It is delicious! I make broiled apricot marmalade every year -- it started as a plain apricot that I let scorch once, and we all loved it. So much I now toss the cut apricots with a little of the sugar and broil them until slightly charred. I'm going to try this with peaches this year. (I'm picking up a couple of bushels on the way home from vacation!) Another thing I like is breakfast or dessert "onigiri". Since, living with me, people have a tendency to gain weight, I try to find ways to be good when I'm not being bad. So if I have rice left over, I will take a handful, fashion a well in the center, place a teaspoon or so of preserves int he center (this only works with thick preserves) and close of the well. I've rolled them in toasted sesame seads before and also chopped almonds. Delicious. (On a tangent -- I want to make onigiri filled with a chocolate/ginger/coconut ganauch...I think they'd be great!)
  8. We are all still waiting to hear more! Have you recovered fully?
  9. Now, I normally don't comment on women's clevage, but you did raise the subject. I hadn't really noticed her newly exposed decoletage -- but that might be because I have seen pullets with larger breasts. (Or maybe they just look small in proximity to her unnaturally large head.)
  10. Y'all are so kind. I was at Trader Joes tonight and picked up some good cheddar cheese and a big jar of pimento. This weekend I'm going to sit myself down with a big bowl of pimento cheese and a box of Ritz crackers, and when I come out of that carbohydrate coma it'll be a brand new week. G-d bless you all.
  11. My mother passed away on July 5th after a long, long illness. I had been returning to Springfield from Chicago to visit her, and while there I was able to see some of my very, very large family. (My wife jokes that when she is introduced to someone in Springfield, she doesn't ask herself if they are related to me, rather how they are related.) But I had not seen everyone, and certainly not all at once. So returning for her funeral was overwhelming. While Springfield remains below the Mason-Dixon Line geographically and, in many ways, philosophically, they no longer, alas, subscribe to the Southern Funeral. No pimento spread. None. Before I left for Springfield, I made a double batch (4 loaves) of chocolate-walnut babka. I baked-off two to take with me and froze two unbaked to have when we got back. I took the babka to my brother's home, and it was greatly appreciated. Several people did bring food by their hose, but it was nothing akin to the stuff of childhood memories. When we returned to Chicago to finish sitting shiva in our own home, we were overwhelmed. Absolutely. We had more food than we had refrigerator space -- and I had had the cleaning lady tackle the fridge while we were away! We ended up icing down food in coolers! We had huge bowls of asian noodles, lox platters with cheeses and bagles, huge bowls and trays of fruit, 10 pounds of blueberries, cheeses and crackers, the best coffee cake I've ever tasted, homebaked mandlebrot warm from the oven, giant boxes of Fannie Mae Pixies, the best curried chicken salad I ever hope to eat (any better would have to be sinful), salads, tortes, potato salad, gazpacho, huge bowls of cherries -- more than I can list. I tear up when I think of the generosity of our community. Who would have expected a Southern Funeral to be so briliantly executed by a bunch of Yankee Jews? We are so blessed to have such a wonderful community and humbled by their generosity. I still, however, have a craving for pimento spread.
  12. OK -- I'm actually quoting myself. But for a reason. This thread has been around for so long, I wanted to see if my preferences have changed in the last 18 months. My likes are the same, only probably stronger. I love and miss Julia Child, z"l, more than is probably appropriate for someone not related to her by blood or long relationship. She was a swell dame, G-d bless her. She taught me to make a chicken boulliabaise (sp) that changed my life. And I never cook an egg that I don't think about her. (Now I'm all verklempt.) I like Ina Garten more every time I see her. She cooks, she eats, she enjoys doing both. And I like that she cooks FOOD. It isn't a frilly, frou-frou-y, hodge-podge of stacked food topped with foam. It's brisket, it's roast chicken, it's pissaladierre. I have three of her cookbooks, and have never made a recipe that didn't come out exactly as she said. And my wife wants to know where to buy some of those blouses. Anyone know? I still love Joan Nathan, and I should probably add Paula Wolfert to the like list. Both have had a significant impact on how my family eats. My hates. Hmm. Again, I feel more strongly about some of them. Although I have to place Sandra Lee at the very top of the hate list. Imagine a recipe for a wedding cake that includes opening something like 25 cans of frosting. For the love of dog! Oh -- we can't forget her TABLESCAPES! They often look like Liberace threw up on her table. She is living proof that money can't buy taste. I also dislike Michael Chiarello more intensely. Some of his food is good, but it is hard for me to get past the personality. Has anoyone noticed that Jack isn't as funny without Karen? Paula Dean -- well, what can I say. She's the Sandra Lee of the South. Having been born and raised below the Mason-Dixon, I am living proof that one may be a child of the South and still form grammatically correct sentences from time to time. And Rachael Ray. Others on this post have pointed out most of her irritating habits, but I have one to add. I get so sick of her asking questions like "Does that look delicious, or what?" I often want to buy the girl a declarative sentence. And I should also add George Stella (Lo-Carb and Loving It) to the hate list. This man can suck the joy out of anything. And for what? A fad. But the people with the effective weight loss plans (i.e. eat less and excersize more) can't bring in sponsors. Plus, this guy has an unnatural look about him that is disconcerting. There is something Herman Munster-ish about him. Oh well. Enough from me. For those of you who posted in the past -- have your opinions changed, stayed the same, or become more resolute?
  13. Michelle: I am glad to know you are all safe, Baruch HaShem. As many of you already know, my mom passed away a week ago after a very long illness. And while we still mourn for her, there was considerable relief that her suffering was over and a firm belief she had moved on to a better place. We got to spend some really meaningful time with my brothers and their families and then returned home to finish sitting shiva at home, where we were cared for spectacularly by our friends and family. That said, I can't wait to cook for myself again. I find the cooking to be very therapeutic. This Friday our synagogue is having a community dinner -- a "Slow Food" Shabbat potluck. I went back and forth about going, but finally decided that spending time with our community is immensely comforting and a Shabbat dinner isn't a party, so it is ok to go. I am going to make Paula Wolfert's 7 hour green beans, as I love spicy foods and I've always wanted to try the recipe and see if the beans really do keep their shape. (And I am probably one of Ms. Wolfert's biggest fans!) My son has an 8-year-old friend staying with us for Shabbat, so for lunch we are going stay home and have cold poached salmon with a spicy roasted tomato viniagrette, cold boiled potatoes, deviled eggs, blueberry buckle, and homemade blueberry ice cream. I am so looking forward to Shabbat and the change of pace, the peace, and the renewal it brings. Shabbat is really a miracle, isn't it?
  14. Chicken Marbella with Buttered Noodles -- everyone loves this. And it is too easy to make. Swedish Meatballs -- again with the noodles. Spanikopita - though this isn't a budget item. Spinach (even frozen) is wickedly expensive. Huge trays of baked macaroni and cheese (this is probably as expensive as serving meat.) My favorite is moroccan meatballs (half beef and half lamb) in a spicy tomato sauce with olives, raisins, and chickpeas, served with couscous. Moroccan chicken with olives and preserved lemons served with couscous.
  15. Today I experimented with the batch of Glezer's chocolate babka that I froze. I took the loaves out of the freezer at 8:30 this morning. It took 7 1/2 hours to defrost and proof, but proof they did -- beautifully. Once glazed and sprinkled with sanding sugar, they baked as beautifully as those not frozen. I'm definitely going to keep a couple of these in the freezer at all times. They'll certainly come in handy for shiva calls, etc.
  16. Comfort Me

    French Onion Soup

    I developed my recipe after reading a recipe for brie with carmelized onions baked in brioche. The whole onions were cooked in the crock pot until mahogany colored, then cooled and set atop a wheel of brie, then wrapped in brioche dough. The crockpot was an epiphany for me, since I always seemed to scorch my onions before. Now the onions have this really robust, deep flavor. Most yummy.
  17. We aren't going to see my mom this weekend, so it will be nice to spend a Shabbat at home. (It will also be nice to avoid the 4 hour drives and Shabbat dinners out of a cooler in a hotel room!) Too bad Chicago is in the middle of a heat wave -- and a drought, as well. We've been in the 90's for a couple of weeks already. We have A/C, of course, but we also have new furniture for dining al fresco, which has become my son's absolute favorite thing. (This couldn't have happened LAST year, when everyone was complaining about how cool it was!) Since we've been going to see my mom in the hospice on weekends, we haven't tried Shabbat outdoors, but the request has been made, and if it makes him excited about Shabbat, then I'm all in. So I'm doing a lot of my cooking Thursday night and Friday morning and keeping the house cool for Shabbat. Shabbas Dinner: Gazpacho Gefelte fish w/horseradish whipped cream Mixed Everything Salad Leak/Artichoke/Feta Pie (w/homemade phyllo -- my newest variation on spanikopita) Gigantes Pita (baked on the stovetop) Iced Coffee (decaf) Rubarb Pie Shabbas Lunch: Challah Cannellini bean salad Chicken Marbella (room temp) Roasted beats, room temp Pink Grapefruit sorbet Iced Coffee (with caf!) 3rd Meal: With Shabbat lasting so late, this really has to be more substantial -- and we have friends with children coming over. Leftover Gazpacho Buttermilk Kugel Goat Cheese & Wild rice salad with lots of red peppers Mixed Spicy Olives After thinking about the menu some more, I think I'll put up the base for sangria, then just add the hootch on Saturday evening. I don't drink, but the others do, and it will be nice and cold and fruity. Shabbat Shalom, y'all!
  18. Comfort Me

    French Onion Soup

    Thanks for the affirmatation. I just had an idea. Tater tots in onion soup. Why didn't I think of it earlier? They are crispy, crunchy, potatoe-y... I think I've stumbles onto something!
  19. Comfort Me

    French Onion Soup

    Warning: I am not Thomas Keller. (I almost hate to post this, as I've received e-mail in the past telling me my food was pedestrian and not up to the eG standard, but I figure they can just naff off if they don't like it.) I use the crock pot for onion soup all the time. My basic recipe -- change it as you see fit, use what stock or flavoring you like, I'm not territorial: Slice a LOT of onions -- enough to completely fill your crock pot, really packing them in. Add one stick of butter or parve margerine, a good amount of salt and pepper, two large whole cloves of garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Turn the crock pot on low and walk away for 18 hours. The onions will be mahogany colored and your house will smell divine. Add stock. Whatever you like. I have used chicken, beef, veal, a combination of the above, and good quality vegetable. All have their good points. When I can, I use half chicken and half beef. I like the lighter flavor. You'll know how much stock you'll need. I won't. Also add a few springs of thyme and 1/2 cup or so of a decent wine -- red or white, doesn't matter. I've used both and they both work. Just make sure it's drinkable. Leave it for another hour or two on low. Taste for seasoning. You may need to add a little water. Do whatever you have to do. Then proceed with the croute, etc.
  20. This is a great post which deserves resurrecting. Reading through the thread, so many of my favorites came up, it was like running into old friends. I have E. David, and have read her, but have never baked her. The book was educational, but the recipes did not inspire. I love Bernard Clayton's Breads of France, and have baked many of the breads. One I recall was a corronne made with pear and pepper, which was wonderful, and another -- was it Pain Brie? -- which needed to be beaten soundly with a club for something like 20 minutes. Heaven! I made the Pain Hawaiian, mentioned in Seth's original post, and it was the only disappointment of the lot. Baking With Julia has some wonderful recipes. Were it not for BWJ, I would never have attempted croissants or danish pastry -- both fun and delicious. The buttermilk loaves are my staple white bread recipe. I read and re-read The Village Baker so many times that I wore my paperback out. I purchased a hardback to read and, having saved all of the falling pages, bake with the paperback leaves! There is one started by fermenting an apple -- I never felt more accomplished in my life! I wasn't move by Maggie Glezer's first bread book enough to buy it, but I absolutely love her latest -- A Blessing of Challah. I've made several breads now, even though we are in the middle of a heat wave and we don't have central air -- and I have loved everything I've made. The sweet glazed challah from the South stands out in my mind, as does the babka, which was so beautiful I didn't want to cut it. When I did, it made my 8-year-old squeal with delight. Her basic recipes start mostly with slurries including the yeast, 1/4 or so of the flour and all of the water, set aside for 10 to 20 minutes. She does give directions where appropriate for using a sourdough. While I love Dugoud & Alford's breakthrough cookbook, Hot Sour Salty Sweet, I was not as thrilled with their baking book. I loved reading it, I loved looking at the pictures, but I didn't enjoy the recipes very much. (That said, there is a laminate cookie recipe that is really too good to be true!) I'm glad somebody mentioned Ramballi's Boulangerie. A charming read and, IMHO, a terrific brioche recipe. I haven't tried any other, I don't think, but that one was a keeper! Now I'm jonesin' to make bread -- gotta get my yeast fix!
  21. I am a huge fan of Maggie Glezer's babka recipe. The bread is superb and the filling sublime. I filled mine with the cocoa mixture and, as she suggested, all three of her optional fillings -- golden raisins, chocolate chips, and walnuts. I have made a lot of babka recipes, but this is by far the best. I made it because I wanted to try her unique shaping, which is much easier than it looks and really beautiful. I also liked that the loaf can be shaped on Thursday night, refrigerated, then proofed and baked off next day. Makes preparing for Shabbat so much easier. I made another batch, filled and shaped, then froze immediately as an experiment to see if they would defrost, proof, and bake off decently. I am thinking about making another batch and filling one with a little meringue and some of my broiled apricot preserves.
  22. We are taking dinner to friends, and I have been feeling lonely for the south, so I rubbed a nice brisket with a sweet and spicy rub and tomorrow I'll barbecue it slowly (9 hours), pull it, then toss it with homemade sauce. In addition to challah rolls, I'll serve cole slaw, wonderful spicy baked beens made with beef bacon, green beans, and cupcakes. I think it is obvious -- I'm ready for summer.
  23. I've ordered a copy of Being Dead is No Excuse from Amazon.com -- I mean, who can resist a book with five -- count 'em, FIVE -- recipes for pimento cheese. Having been raised in the South, I'm fond of pimento cheese -- my grandmother's had beer and chives in it. Yum. My mother is very ill and nearing the end of her journey. I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind that I wish I didn't have to go through the ordeal of the funeral. All those people -- many of whom I moved North to get away from -- all saying wholly hypocritical things which, out of propriety, I cannot call them on. (How I shall long to ask Uncle Jim "You haven't spoken to her in 35 years. What the hell are you doing here?") My only consolation is knowing that somewhere along the line I'll share some delicious food with some people who do mean a lot to me and we will all get to laugh at the audacity of Uncle Jim and comment on the youth and vigor of Cousin Floyd's new wife. I think, when the time comes, I shall make some pimento cheese myself. Just in case no one thinks of it. One wouldn't want to fine one's self in bereavement without benefit of pimento cheese. I will not, however, make all five recipes. Asking mourners to participate in a taste test is definitely out of the realm of propriety. It just occurred to me -- no one here has commented on the benefits to the berieved obtained through large doses of Ritz crackers!
  24. I'll say another prayer for a refuah schleymah. With you providing nutritional medicine, he's sure to feel better soon. Shabbat Shalom.
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