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Everything posted by maher

  1. i think it might be more of a cultural thing than anything else. salt and pepper = savory cooking; sugar = deserts. i find that using sugar and honey as balancing agents is indespensible especially when i am trying to make lower fat/lower cal sauces and marinades (frequently called for on my ongoing series of diets). the most interesting part of the use of sugar and honey in savory cooking though is in my interest in historic cooking and old recipes. it is quite instructive to see how our ancestors were much more likely to mix savory and sweet. of course there are pockets of this left, mostly in the pacific rim and northern africa, but there is not much of it left in most of the cuisines most of us are familiar with and use as the basis for our cooking day to day. edited to replace northern europe with northern africa.... sometimes my brain and fingers are on different continents...
  2. if youre looking for Asian I would put in my vote for thai at Nahm, at the Halkin Hotel in Belgravia. it is well worth of the Michelin star it has, and while you can easily run overbudget, going for lunch or taking some care in ordering will keep you with the 75 pounds. it is certainly not a typical thai place, more designer than floating market, but the food is totally amazing. I'm pretty open...I'd love to try some offal and/or game, so St. John's definitely appeals...will it be hard to get in? I've also heard that Asian food in London is quite good...while I'd like to avoid Indian, I'd love to try pretty much anything else. I also like the idea of doing some London-y things, like a gastropub and, obviously, fish and chips...someone on FFB's topic mentioned a fish and chips spot on Russell Square, so I figured I'd check that out. Any other suggestions? I love the idea of exploring the markets, whether I eat from there or not. Besides Borough Market, any other recommendations? Market/food hall shopping is the only kind I plan to do - I'm not going to be hitting the department stores with my wimpy little dollar-based salary. ETA: I probably need a reservation for high tea, right? ←
  3. to get in within budget at the michelin starred places in London you are better off going for lunch than dinner. you can get set menu lunches that can keep you under 75 pounds if you are careful with the wine, but i find that dinner will invariably jump over budget and can get crazy. Having said that, there are some nice places where you can stay within budget if you are careful ordering. I would suggest J SHeekeys for very traditional British seafood, and I would strongly suggest a trip down to the borough market on saturday. you can always get something from the stalls there. they have everything from sovlaki to falafel and im sure you can find some interesting foodstuffs to take home. the new wine bar in the basement of fortnum and mason is worth a visit. they will open anything from their shop for a small corkage fee, and they have a nice nibbles menu as well. do you have any specific type of food you want to try?
  4. fresh grilled sardines are one of Gods home runs!! ill have the tinned variety and i like them fine, but they are to stiff-fresh mediterranean sardines, brushed with olive oil and quick grilled on red hot coals what canned tuna is to Toro Sashimi
  5. oven roasted melted brie (preferably in its wooden box)
  6. if you cant get enough pocky... http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/japan-w...trap-229765.php
  7. maher


    skin it and cut it into cubes (you can debone but i dont mind it on the bone), lightly saute it in a little olive oil with garlic and chili pepper, and add some crushed tomatos and white wine ... you can have it with crusty bread or on pasta and its amazing
  8. maher

    All About Marrow Bones

    scoop the marrow out, render it, saute some potatoes in it, sprinkle the parsley on top, thank me later.
  9. saute some onions and chilies, cut the tenderloin into strips toss it with them melt some provolone on the mix, and stuff into some soft rolls with a little hot sauce. if your crowd can resist cheesesteaks then you might as well give up.
  10. CHef Crash, your posts are becoming a great accompaniment to the coffee at the start of my day, thanks. Foodman, the word is certainly used outside Lebanon, at least in Jordan and Palestine. The inflection is a bit different (we call it Zanakha) but the meaning and lack of translatability into English is the same.
  11. thanks for gving me more laughs over my morning coffee than ive had in years.... some things in arabic just dont translate. ive tried that with jokes so many times and had blank stares as my reward.
  12. i toss a handful of pomegranate in almost any curry or stirfry when it is available fresh, it really perks up a lot of dishes and adds a unique flavor to them.
  13. maher

    King crab legs...

    you can get by with a pound per person or so for a moderate entree. the problem you will have is that some people will get the meaty portion of the leg (the lower segment) and some will get the smaller end portion. depending on how many you buy for, and your ability to choose individual legs versus full clusters, you will also have the claw portion which is not very heavy on the meat, and the part that is attached to the body which is harder to clean and has smaller clumps of meat. if you want to avoid these problems, figure on 1.5lb per person, serve up the prime segments to each of your guests, and keep the bonus bits for another lunch for you.
  14. my experience with grass fed beef has ranged pretty widely from some of the best steaks ive had to a quite tough and stringy texture. i suppose it shouldnt be a surprise that the 'factory' fed beef is more uniform in taste and texture. for my two cents, i think the key factors in the taste of steaks are, in order: Dry Aging, Feed, marbling, breed... in that order. you can get a tremendous steak most of the time from grass fed steers that have had the meat dry aged for 4-6 weeks, even when the marbling is not stellar. In order to get the perfect steak i really believe you need great marbling too. I felt the biggest problem with the Slate article is that it didnt account for the tremendous flavor differences from steer to steer in the free range/grass fed beef. you can have widely divergent experiences, but i really do think thats part of the fun.
  15. Warning, foodies targeted by Web Giants... first, news corp took over chowhound, now yahoo has launched its own site http://food.yahoo.com/ Whats Next... has anyone tried out the yahoo site?
  16. you need shredded filo, which is mixed with clarified butter to make it easier to form into the nests. typically this is deep dried, but you can also bake it. if you bake it you can take it out before its done to tidy up the nest shape before the pastry crisps up, you can also brush the parts that arent getting as much color with more clarified butter, or even a it of sugar glaze. this will give you the most uniform color possible. the pistachio filling can either be added a bit before they are done to give it some color or it can be added after the nests are cooled. its best to use a mixture of crushed and whole (my preference is for some whole pistachios) you need to add a very thick sugar syrup, and i find that mixing the pistachios in it first then filling the nests gives the best results. good luck
  17. Arancini...mmmmm i know they are not technically antipasti, but they can be made in a smaller size, and you can use practically all of the suggestions people made in this thread as fillers. i make them a little smaller than golf ball sized and they are truly an amazing treat
  18. this thread probably needs to be merged in one of the all time best egullet threads (in my book at least) link follows below, it is mainly devoted to smoked butt, but thats where you want to be. i have only smoked a few butts (npi) but they are far superior to the roasted kind. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=25900
  19. im wondering whether sows udders arent just another way (possibly a more accurate one actually) of saying pork belly? does anyone have any info on this? i will try to dig up some of my food history books and see if there is anything definitive on this. will report back if i find anything.
  20. maher

    When is uni in season?

    here is a source you might check with, as i understand it they are one of the biggest processors of uni off the coast of san diego. According to jeffrey Steingarten it is one of the major uni producing areas in the us http://www.catalinaop.com/
  21. well a week or two into this cookoff i promised to do a step by step guide to forming kebabs onto skewers. A mere two months later, i finally remembered to take pictures while making kebabs, so i figured better late than never so here it is. i had a friend of mine take the pictures, and he had to be bribed with quite a bit of Arak to agree, so bear that in mind with the photoraphy... First, the minced lamb, i had the butcher mince it fine, with a little added fat for binding. mixture is probably about 25%-30% fat. here is my mise en place, (sounds a bit silly to say that with kebabs, but there is a first time for everything) lamb, minced onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, allspice, olive oil and a bowl with ice water. first you get as fine a mince into the onion as you can a little olive oil helps then you add the onions and parsley to the meat you mix them, with salt, pepper, and allspice until you get them well bound. if you make any kind of sausage you need to just get to the binding stage here is where the ice water comes in... you have to keep everything as cold as possible, i put the meat and skewers in the freezer for 15 mins beforehand, but my hands need to cooperate too. once the meat is bound, you form it into a log and stick it in the freezer for a few more minutes, then you take a pinch and get it onto the skewer. i use heavy square skewers but if you cant find them, the flat metal ones work pretty well. you form the meat into the kebab shape, and pinch the ends so it doesnt fall off. sorry the impact of the Arak is beginning to show in the focus of the pictures, but you get the idea. you finish the skewer by genty rolling it in one hand while coaxing the meat into shape with your fingers. this is where the square skewer makes things a lot easier. then you stick the skewers in the freezer fo ten minutes which helps them hold their shape, and you partake in some well deserved Arak, to catch up with your totally drunk friends. With more Arak, and some mezze, you get the charcoal (lump of course) going and you have a fantastic time. of course with the amount of lubrication, you totally forget the photography you promised your egullet friends. here is where the real value of Kebabs come in. a couple of them will steady the best drunk, and remind you what you need to do. by this time, your prize perfectly formed kebabs are all eaten, and you have to show the grilling with the misshapen kebabs that you did not grill yet. Nonetheless, this is a project that is too far along to be abandoned, so here they are... the unloved, the rejected, the last kebabs, on the grill with some lamb chops. and a final out of focus shot of a finished kebab. i cant blame anyone for this other than myself and the Arak. ... thats right i can blame the Arak... so if this was at all useful, it is all my excellent work. if it is a crudely photographed mess, please direct your complaints to the Arak company. i dont make the stuff, i only drink it...
  22. maher

    Buying dead ripe fruit

    a lot of fruit is fantastic frozen. i especially like bananas, grapes, dates, and very sweet berries, but almost any fruit works. some fruits need to be cut up into bite sized cubes first. the best thing about it is it makes a small amount of fruit into a great snack.
  23. wow i think this is just the thing to finally get my homemade vinegar clear, where do i get my hands on this thing
  24. maher

    Pork Belly

    check out the charcuterie thread. basically you can hot smoke bacon but you have to cure it first. there is a ton of info in that thread
  25. maher

    Arugula based salads

    arugula, sliced red onions, sumac, lemon, evoo... the sumac gives it a nice zing. if you want to add a little sweetness, add a few small pieces of cooked and cooled beets.
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