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Posts posted by hazardnc

  1. I make a roasted tomato spread that you can use simply as a dip for toasted bread. I also use it instead of pizza sauce to make pita pizzas that I can throw into my toaster oven. Yummy snack!  :biggrin:

    It's quite simply really, once you have the oven roasted tomatoes. In a food processor, put the tomatoes, a clove or two of raw garlic, fresh basil, grated Parmesan cheese, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. Whiz until it is broken down but still has a little texture. It's AMAZING how oven roasting tomatoes really brings out their tomato-ey goodness!!

    That sounds yummy! I think I will give that a try.

  2. I have a counter covered in my local harvest of tomatoes. Thank God I only planted three tomato plants versus my usual six this year!

    We have made tomato pie, panzanella, loads of tomato sandwiches and canned our own salsa. Now I have two sheet pans, with slices of the ugliest tomatoes, in the oven for a long slow roast.

    There will be more tomatoes than we can eat tonight and I really want to save some for the dreary winter ahead. I think adding these to homemade veggie soup sounds good. I can use them to top pizzas.

    I need suggestions for saving them and more ideas for using them.

  3. My family did a two week tour of southern France and Catalonia in the summer of 2004. Here is a link to my trip report. Southern France and Spain

    We rented a house near St. Cirq La Popie, which is about 45 minutes east of Cahors. We loved that area and would very much like to reutrn some day. We also spent two nights in Collioure, which we found truly charming.

    I am not a wine expert, so my report is not very useful on that front, though you should know if you go to Cahors, there is a huge wine shop called L'Atrium that offers tastings.

    I enjoyed the Cahors wine quite a bit and always buy some when I find it at local wine shops here. It is a sturdy wine that is good with my favorite duck dishes. We also sampled Vin Noix, Banyuls and Corbier.

    Collioure is gorgeous. We had a really great and affordable meal at Le Zouave. I also recommend breakfast at Les Templiers if for no other reason than to check out the art work.

    The markets in Cahors, Figeac and Collioure are all a true delight.

    Enjoy! Of course, for me, planning is about 50% of the fun of any trip.

  4. I guess I am a food snob. I discriminate against chains. Mostly, I want to do what I can to give the local guys a chance. However, I do not extend the same courtesy to local book stores, hardware stores, etc. I now feel guilty.

    Part of my problem with chains is their inability to maintain consistent quality. I grew up in Texas, and back in the day (a very long time ago), I loved going to the Blackeyed Pea and Chili's. This was before they expanded nationwide and then were picked up by Brinker (Chilis). God they were good back then. Our Blackeyed Pea here in Charlotte was so bad it went under. I wouldn't step foot in a Chili's today. It got to the point that every time I went I was disappointed.

    Now, I remember a place in Dallas many moons ago - a Mexican joint that was a dive and that did not have a liquor license. People used to wait up to two hours to eat at the few tables they had. Part of the appeal was standing outside with a cooler full of beer. Of course, the food was pretty good, too, as I recall.

  5. Yesterday, I made my version of southern tomato pie using the quiche pastry recipe from Bouchon. I have made Keller's quiche once before and had surprising success, given that pie crust is far from my strong suit. The pastry this time gave way to the best tomato pie I have made yet, and I have been making this recipe since I first saw in in Gourmet years ago. The recipe uses sliced fresh tomatoes, chopped green onions and basil layered in a pie crust and topped with a layer of mayo mixed with grated cheddar. It is rich and delicious.

    Here's a photo (I must work on improving my digital photos skills)


  6. Here's my version. The photo is terrible as I have yet to figure out all of the functions on my new camera.


    The texture, etc was all very good and I was pleased with my first attempt at stabilized yogurt, but the stuffing needed something. My recipe called for nothing more than salt and pepper. I did add garlic to the water when I simmered the squash as well as to the yogurt when I finished it up. I am thinking next time of adding seven spice mix or something.

    As for the blossoms - a few weeks ago we made some fried blossoms following the recipe in Keller's Bouchon cookbook. They were fabulous. I have loads of blooms again and I am ready to give those another shot.

    Sadly, I better hurry because some sort of insect is getting to the plants.

  7. Way it's looking now--there ain't gonna be a show.

    I was worried about that. I guess you and the crew would really just like to get the hell out of there right now. I read on Haaretz that many tourists (mostly Arab nationals) had fled to Syria. From the reports, it looks like Israel is planning on a major offensive in southern Beirut. Maybe you could go north? Of course, again, I am sure you would rather be anywhere but Beirut right now.

    My husband was a child in Beirut in '67 (his American parents taught at AUB) and he still gets emotional when he talks about how his family fled in the middle of the night with the harbor on fire. Up until then, he'd had a wonderful childhood in the Riviera of the Middle East. He has vivid memories of manaeesh for breakfast, eating green almonds, dates and wonderful yogurt.

  8. it would be great fun to get a bottle of cava and a bottle of prosecco and a range of small amounts of different types of cheeses--have some friends over and have fun finding what works and what doesn't.

    (and report back, of course)

    That was my intent exactly - though I cannot promise a great report back since I lack the skills for great writing. I have bottles of both cava and prosecco on hand, so I am off to the market for the cheeses.


  9. Phlawless, do you find the quality of products at the Raleigh FM the same all week? Here in Charlotte, most of the local purveyors only appear on Saturdays. During the rest of the week, the big sellers are produce distributors and many of the items (grapes? bananas?) are shipped from CA and other places.

    I just got a call that the 5 lbs of grass fed beef I ordered from a farm just north of Charlotte will be ready for pick up this weekend, so there's something local to look forward to!

  10. Food for thought: Doesn't that go some way toward defeating the purpose, since you have to subtract the environmental benefits of not purchasing food from far away with the environmental damages from all the exhaust you're expending to drive all over the place?

    My point exactly. I will not drive 100 miles to buy ingredients. I wish I had better options locally.

  11. Phlawless, I live in Charlotte and while I would love to go more local, I could never commit to being a locavore. Few markets in Charlotte carry local goods. In fact, there a few local products other than some produce unless we want to include Lance crackers! You are so lucky to be in the Triangle area with the vast array of farmer's markets and CSA's.

    If I were to exclude foods outside a 100 mile radius, I could certainly find plenty to eat, but I would be driving and driving in order to get those products. Even our Earth Fare in Charlotte does not carry much local stuff.

    What I would give for farm fresh, free range chicken eggs!

  12.   The article suggests this may have allowed the "supersizing" of everything, which must be a contributor to obesity.  The industry representatives dismissed those ideas, but I think this theory of our expanding wastelines is more than valid.

    A calorie is a calorie is a calorie when it comes to weight management. It matters not if your diet consists of only soft drinks or ding dongs or vodka, if you take in more calories than you expend you will gain weight. We are fat because we are more sedentary and high-calorie foods are cheaper than healthier ones, not to mention easier to prepare.

    I remember as a kid that getting to drink a Coke was a real treat. My parents never bought the stuff, but we would sometimes get a case of Coke as a reward for filling our car up with "Ethel." That is not to say I didn't drink my share of Kool-Aid in the summer.

    As for HFCS, I only wonder if the scientists will find that consumption contributes to heart problems in the same vein as trans-fats.

  13. My husband and I had a wonderful meal at Fig last Thursday night. I had a fabulous starter of seared pork belly over carrot puree which was wonderfully crunchy on the outside and buttery tender on the inside. We both loved our entrees: hanger steak and sweetbreads. My husband wants to know how the chef was able to make the pureed potatos so creamy and smooth. I was not fond of the rice pudding - a signature dish. I found the cherries added a bit of a "Dr Pepper" flavor to it.

    Only real complaint is that our waitress was less than helpful on wine suggestions. I am not wine proficient, and look to the restaurant to make helpful suggestions. She was obviously not much more knowledgeable than I.

    On a side note: we had a very good appetizer at Fleets Landing - fried green tomatoes stacked with crab salad. Excellent - loved the views there. We were not very hungry, so other than the above mentioned item, we only had cold steamed shrimp, so I cannot comment on the rest of the menu.

    I also LOVED the farmer's market Saturday morning. We had a great ham and cheese croissant from Normandy Bakery and bought squash blossoms (I never see them here in Charlotte), tomatoes, some fabulous pickles, butter beans and peaches. The line for the crepe man was very long, so I guess they must be good.

  14. I have a question.  How do you stuff the blossom without ripping it to bits?  TIA

    Gently dear Angela. Gently. It is a delicate flower after all.

    My recipe is to whip up some goat cheese with mint, sometimes the addition of finely minced shallots. You can thin the goat cheese if needed with cream cheese or even a bit of whipping cream.

    dip stuffed flower into a tempura batter, fry in hot oil. Serve drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar and when in season plump and juicy pomegranite seeds.

    I alway remove the outer tendril thingie that surround the outside of the flower base. (Hope my description makes sense).

    My favourite squash blossom classic is the Oaxacan street food snack. A freshly made tortilla lies on a comal while the cook gently tears squash blossoms, epazote and quesillo over the top. The tortilla is folded over and cooked, steaming the ingredients inside.

    A bit of salt, a bit of salsa and heaven is achieved.

    I think I will have to try this method, since I was only able to harvet 5 blossoms - not worth the mess of battering and frying this amount. I only have 3 squash plants and I have let too many blossoms fall to the ground :angry:

    Is quesillo a cheese? Is it known by another name?

  15. I've eaten at FIG once and had his food at a chef event another time. I liked it very much, particularly a roast pork dish of bits of meat formed into a loaf, wrapped in caul fat and browned. I have had feedback from people who didn't like the service, but no one who hasn't liked the food.

    If you were looking for other possibilities, I'm always excited by the food at SNOB.

    Thanks for that info - in all the years I have been going to Charleston, I have never eaten at SNOB. Perhaps this year it will be only a beer on the deck at Bowens followed by dinner at SNOB.

    Charleston is tough on only two nights - and a couple of folks who can't eat more than one big meal a day

  16. I am growing Lebanese squash with the hopes of making kousa mashi when the squash ripens. In the meantime, I would love to try to harvest some of the squash blossoms for frying. I have never made fried squash blossoms - or even tasted them! My gardener mother-in-law says to harvest the male blossoms (they grow on long stems, right?) and to leave at least one male blossom in order to continue to produce squash.

    When is the optimum time to pluck a blossom? I have some that are wide open - is this too late?

    I will use Keller's recipe for frying - any other tips are appreciated.

  17. I will be in Charleston for a couple of nights next week and want one moderately upscale dinner out. We visited Rue de Jean last trip and were not that impressed - everything was too salty.

    The NY Times did an article in March, and the writer recommended Fig among others. How does this compare to Hominy Grill in quality?

  18. Thanks everyone for your suggestions.  I'm starting to prepare my folder of possibilities, and I will definitely report back.  Can anyone tell me what particular types of fish are native to the area?

    Yes, HazardNC, we were definitely hoping for some barbeque.  I went to Roadfood.com to see if they had suggestions.  The only one they listed that was not too far out of the way was Allen & Son in Chapel Hill.  The Sterns had been there is 2000, and someone else posted a review in 2003.  I welcome your suggestion of Wilbur's.  Where is it?


    Check out Holly Eats

    The trip will take about 1 1/2 hours from the RDU airport, and then you wil have another 1 1/2 hours to get to Wilmington - all in all adding about an hour to your travel time (not including eating time) But, if you want really good cue, this may be worth it to you. I do not know of any place in the Wilmington area that is as good.

    Allen & Sons is also very good. I think it would take you about 30 minutes to get to Chapel Hill - maybe I am wrong? That would certainly be a shorter detour for good cue, but IMHO, Wilbers beats Allen & Sons -- but perhaps not enough to warrant the extra travel time.

  19. My "half-and-half" is more than 50% fat content :shock:

    I like the mac-n-cheese idea since the kids love it. My husband wants corn chowder.

    I wonder how it would do in a creme brulee? Do you think there's enough fat in it for that?

    Last night's from the pantry meal was salade nicoise with a can of tuna in oik that I bought in Spain two summers ago, plus capers and cornichons, more of the beautiful CSA eggs hard boiled.

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