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Everything posted by maher

  1. zaatar is the arabic name for the herb Majorana syriaca, which is also sometimes referred to as wild marjoram. it was my understanding that this is also referred to as hyssop. after doing a little research, i see that this is not accurate. according to wikipedia, hyssop is one of the following herbs: Hyssopus ambiguus (Trautv.) Iljin Hyssopus cretaceus Dubjan. Hyssopus cuspidatus Boriss. Hyssopus ferganensis Boriss. Hyssopus latilabiatus C.Y.Wu & H.W.Li Hyssopus lophanthoides Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don Hyssopus macranthus Boriss. Hyssopus ocymifolius Lam. Hyssopus officinalis L. Hyssopus seravschanicus (Dub.) Pazij Hyssopus tianschanicus Boriss. this is commonly referred to in Jordan at least as zaatar Khlat, and is eaten only as a green herb, and as part of a salad (typically with onions, olive oil, and lemon juice). it is never part of the mixed herb mixture known as zaatar, and i have never seen it sold dried. sufficiently confusing?
  2. maher

    Fish Head

    the eyes are made of two parts, a hard cartilaginous (sp?) part that is colored, and a soft gelatinous part that is basically the whole rest of the eye. While all of it is edible, i would avoid the colored part as it doesnt taste particularly good.
  3. zaatar the mix which is used on pastries like mana'eesh, is quite distinct from the dried herb itself. the traditional way it is made is for the ground herb to be rubbed with olive oil between the hands until it is a soft texture and the sharpness of the herb has been dulled. then it is mixed with sumac and salt, the mixture is roughly 4/5ths zaatar, more or less to taste. finally, when the desired taste is achieved, toased sesame seeds are added to increase the crunch and add a bit of nutiness. since the zaatar (or hyssop) is quite expensive, lesser commercial varieties add bulking agents. it is quite common in the middle east to get some chick pea flour to be added to increase the bulk, but i have never seen parsley, which i would imagine would impact the flavor quite a bit. the best zaatar is made with the wild herb which can be bought from kids selling it by the roadside across the region in the springtime.
  4. how much detail do you want on kielbasa? one of the greatest eG threads ever was on kielbasa, and it actually got me on eGullet some years ago. it was by eGs master of all things smoked, Col. Klink, and it runs through a whole bunch of threads... the first one starts here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=12443&hl= and the wrapup is here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=16087&hl= happy reading!!
  5. you can always use leftover rice MelissaH, if you do, either moisten it with a little of the meat broth when you reheat it, or sprinkle a little cinnamon and allspice on it when you assemble the final dish and that will give you a hint of the spices and flavors.
  6. i have had great experience with VERY slow cooked rib/sirloin. i finish it whole on the grill, but there is no reason you cant finish it as steaks. if it is very slow cooked or done sous vide there shouldnt be a noticeable charred end cut. If you are concerned about how you advertise it, how about selling it for what it is? you can use the fact that you are using an innovative process as a marketing point, since the end result is an extremely moist and soft steak.
  7. the Jordanian version of Oozie or Ouzy is a slightly different one from the Lebanese version. it is actually a variation of the national dish of Jordan which is known as Mansaf, for people who are averse to Ewes milk, in which the meat is cooked for mansaf. The preparation starts with large pieces of lamb or mutton.(about fist sized pieces, cut on the bone) These are browned in oil or ghee with chopped onion and then covered in water and simmered until the meat is almost falling off the bone, approx 2-3 hours. Traditional seasonings include cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and allspice. the meat is taken out of the water just before it is completely done, and browned in a hot oven for 20-30 mins. this step is optional but gives the meat added texture and flavor. the rice is then cooked in the meat stock so it absorbs a lot of the flavor. Traditionally, the dish is presented with the rice in a substantial mound in a large dish, with the pieces of meat arrayed on top. the whole dish is then covered in a large piece of very thin flatbread known as shrak. shrak is made on a curved metal griddle, and is paper thin. the shrak is dipped in warm ghee which gives it a golden color. the whole thing is then browned under a hot broiler for a minute or two to allow the bread to brown and crisp a bit and toasted pine nuts are sprinkled on top. for home use, the recipe can be adapted with smaller pieces of lamb which would cook faster, shoulder is ideal, but leg pieces will also work well, and the shrak presentation can be skipped all together. i hope this is sufficiently descriptive, the seasoning is pretty much up tou your taste and preference, but some mixture of the four basics of Jordanian cuisine (cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and allspice) will give you good results (in addition to S&P of course)
  8. thanks Ladies for the inspiration you have given all of us, and for putting me in the Christmas cooking spirit... there will be much offal and cheese in the next week!!
  9. thanks FG, for both the review and the update... Congrats to eG on the recognition. the quality of the writing and contributions on eG are evident to all of us who have made it an integral part of our lives.
  10. ive bought pretty regularly from Lobels and i have to say ive never found cause to complain about the quality. If you want more or less fatcap, ive found them very willing to accomodate, just list that in your order. I would also be happier keeping the cryovac wrapped roast in the fridge for a few days rather than buying frozen. the other online source that i like is allen brothers. you might want to check them out as well.
  11. id say Chicago.. but maybe thats just because ive spent more time sampling there than elsewhere.
  12. It certainly helps to speak the language (Cantonese). But you can get by with speaking English too. Most Hong Kong locals are bilingual (or you can find someone who is to help). But one bad thing is most Hong Kongers... when they see you and if you look Chinese, they automatically assume you speak Cantonese! ← i never had a problem with using sign language at the street stalls when english failed. somehow, a large middle eastern person pointing frantically... i want that that that... got understood and served pretty promptly.. i cant imagine why. please make it to some of the night markets, that is some of my favorite street food in HKG, and have a great time, i know i gain about a pound a day when i am there.
  13. In fact, Jonah's were $7/lb over the weekend at Publix. The problem is usually only about half of them are any good. Still, if you get lucky and they were stored properly, that's not bad, considering. Nowhere near as good as Stone Crab Claws! ← Ive generally had pretty good luck with the catalina ones.... amazing for crab cakes too... Ill be keeping an eye out for any Jonah crabs in the local markets as well.
  14. Thanks for that informative post, Miami Danny. I'm assuming these prices are per pound? How many pounds of claws do you suppose comes on an average plate of "Selects" at a place like Joe's? That's seven claws, in case you don't know the average Joe's plating amount. ← heres a tip for you... i get my stone crab fix from a great place in california; Catalina Offshore. They sell Pacific Stone Crab. it is not 100% as sweet as the Florida stone crab, but it is still really good, and their prices are amazing. They have it frozen year round, and fresh in season, for an average $10 per pound. i highly recommend it. http://www.catalinaop.com/Frozen_Jumbo_Cra...hellfish_b2.htm
  15. maher

    Caramelized oranges

    if you are trying to pour a caramel over the orange slices you are not allowing the sugar to caramelize properly. what you want is the sigar to turn from a colorless sugar syrup to a golden/brown caramel. Id suggest starting with less water which would make the process go faster, and waiting till the sugar is a lot darker in color. if you want it to be a pourable sauce, you might want to finish the caramel with a bit of double cream. onve you have the color you want, take the caramel off the heat and whisk in a bit of double cream, and you get a nice caramel sauce that does not harden on top of the orange slices.
  16. it depends on too many factors, not the least of which is your taste for smoky food... also the type of meat, type of wood, amount of patience... The greatest fun of that is the experimenting. I try to keep my rig around 65 degrees, but it took many beers before i decided that. Come to think of it, i might have to verify that this weekend.
  17. you have two main problems with smoking at temperatures that are too low. 1. at the extreme end, you will not get any smoke penetration in frozen meats. 2. assuming your concern is a little more reasonable (no reason to think many people are as crazy as i am in smoking no matter what the weather is) if your temp is much lower than 60 degrees you will have to smoke longer to get the texture you want (mainly as i understand it from moisture loss) that you end up taking a very long time, and getting possible a stronger smoky taste that you might want with more delicate meats and fish. all in all though, it is a much easier problem to deal with than too much heat. you can either add a few pieces of coal to your smoke box, cut the length of dryer hose, or even add a couple of coals or a small metal heating coil into the bullet smoker itself. this is the primary reason no one worries about keeping heat down.... making more heat is pretty easy.
  18. Giorgio Locatelli did a great Tongue salad with Salsa Verde on UKTV Food a couple of weeks ago. it is solidly on my 'to cook' list. the recipe is on their website: http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/593503 if you havent checked it out, btw, the UKTV food channel has one of the best websites for recipes and ideas i know of. www.uktvfood.co.uk
  19. Great ideas all, thanks. Doodad, I love the jerk seasoning idea, but im thinking there has to be some way i can roast with that, im thinking maybe a thinner jerk 'sauce' that is injectable? Busboy, thanks for the cider/calvados idea, i think thats gonna be on the weekend agenda. i will try to take pictures. all the other ideas will find their way into my kitchen... will report back...
  20. Im looking for recipes for a whole fresh leg of pork/ham. Ive roasted and smoked ham, and ive spit cooked as part of whole pigs. ive used the caja china, but i still want more!!!!! so do we braise, roast, slice and dice... all suggestions welcome..
  21. on a recent trip to Shanghai, i came across two different dishes of clay pot mushrooms. One, at a small traditional restaurant in the old part of the city, seemed to have quite a bit of rice wine in it. it was a bit tart and the wine really came through. the other was at the Shangri La hotel, and was practically a mushroom daube. it could easily have been made in Switzerland or France. What both had in common was that they were absolutely phenomenal. they are among the best dishes I had on my trip (and this from a committed carnivore). Im looking for suggestions/recipes/ingredients that people have for replicating these dishes or exploring more clay pot mushroom cookery... im totally hooked...
  22. Daniel is right. the bedouins of the Middle East have hunted hedgehogs in this region to extinction. Their meat is supposedly quite sweet tasting.
  23. maher


    if its a whole rabbit the toughest part is cutting it up... after that its easy. dredge the pieces (figure on 8 pieces or so from one whole rabbit, how you portion them isnt important so long as they are roughly similar size) in flour and saute briefly in olice oil to brown. take them out and saute a whole mess of onions and mushrooms (try for flavorful ones, like porcinis, dried if fresh arent available) put the rabbit pieces back in, cover with a bottle of red wine (you can add a glass of port or sherry for a stickier flavor, but you dont have to) add water to cover if the wine isnt enough, and add your choice of herbs (i use thyme, rosemary and marjoram, plus a couple of chili peppers for a little residual heat) simmer covered till the rabbit is tender (1 to 2 hours depending on size) toss in a little cream to thicken the sauce if you want, then serve with good crusty bread to sop up the gravy. damn, im gonna have to find some rabbit to cook now.... good luck!
  24. anyone looking for the Culinaria books should check out their local Borders. i found a couple of the books in the bargain rack at an LA Borders for $14!! Unfortunately they are too heavy for me to carry home, but if you are in SoCal, they are at the Borders on the 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica. If not, try your local Borders
  25. Since Judith has weighed in on Rias, I will put in my two cents for Passadis. Passadis has been one of my favorite seafood places for years, and they remain so. Their seafood is fairly simply presented so it isnt the place for someone who wants a very fancy michelin restaurant type of experience, but the experience is a very fun one. For an out of town visitor they are a fantastic way to experience the range of mediterranean seafood in one go. one word of warning though, have a light lunch or no lunch the day you go.
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