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Everything posted by hathor

  1. L'Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi I know. I'm a geek. But it's really great history.
  2. You've hit the nail on the head. The evidence is murky and conflicting. Monterey will say AVOID, Blue Ocean will say OK and if you are standing in front of the fishmonger, he's probably going to tell you what you want to hear. It's virtually impossible to get this sort of info in Italy. When I went to Salone del Gusto in Torino this fall, I asked some of the tuna guys what the story was, and they basically told me not to worry my pretty little head. This is why this dinner bothered me. There is already so little transparency and so much confusion and this dinner just adds to it
  3. But here's the rub: Legal may or may not be responsible in their sourcing (dig around..it's not all hunky dory), but aside from that, it very difficult to ascertain what fish is safe from where. Hake, in general, is a no-no. Maybe Legal's hake is ok, but is he then sending a message that all hake is ok? What does he base his claim on that Monterey & Blue Ocean are using outdated info? How so?
  4. Legal Seafood and the Culinary Guild of New England have teamed up to host an educational dinner to teach diners about sustainable food. "From the Press Release: Legal Sea Foods’ Roger Berkowitz Speaks on Sustainable Seafood President/CEO Hosts Dinner of Supposed “Blacklisted” Fish To Educate the Public on the Truth about Sustainable Fishing Practices WHAT: The Culinary Guild of New England and Legal Seafoods co-sponsor an educational dining event to shed light on sustainable seafood. Legal Sea Foods’ President and CEO Roger Berkowitz presents a four-course dinner, followed by a discussion on the most current information concerning sustainable seafood fishing practices." They're serving blacktail shrimp, cod cheeks, and hake. These are all fish that the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide has marked as avoid. Berkowitz says organizations like Monterey are wrong. Maybe the fish that are being sourced for this particular dinner are 'green' and sustainable, but what sort of message is he sending? Science be damned? Figuring out what fish are ok is hard enough, does a dinner like this help or hurt?
  5. Bravo e auguri! congrats! Sounds like an interesting cocktail indeed. Just because I was gifted with some precious limes, we made daiquiri's the other night. As I've never tasted a real daiquiri (that frozen nightmare stuff they sell in New Orleans in plastic gallon containers...I don't think that counts), I went to Dale DeGroff's "Essential Cocktail" book and melded a few recipes together. 1.5 rum 1.0 simple syrup .75 lime juice .375 maraschino (as in not very much at all) No wonder this was a classic cocktail. I think the trinity of rum, lime and sugar is a rock solid base to riff from. J.
  6. Look at this post from the Old Foodie: Whistlebelly "sour beer simmered in a kettle, mixed with molasses, filled with bread crumbs, and drunk hot" Just the thing on a cold winter night, eh? Not sure it qualifies as a cocktail however. Is a hot toddy a cocktail??
  7. hathor

    Most Underrated Food

    Celery. Totally undervalued. Marjoram.
  8. If you change that window to a door, then that's going to dictate the flow of the area, HungryC might be on the right path, although not sure how all the pieces fit. I'd also want to work the design so that the counter top isn't broken up into small chunks.
  9. Ciao. Kitchen planning is so exciting and you've gotten good advice already. Couple of things: what's the scale? could you find space elsewhere for your papers/books? Possibly a more vertical arrangement rather horizontal stuff on a table. My dear husband has flat-space-itis. If there is an open flat space (like the kitchen table) he feels compelled to clutter it up. Looking at the plans, it might be possible to move the sink over to the wall that is shared with the bathroom, you should be able to run water and waste lines pretty easy. That would free you up to put the stove on the external wall and make venting easier. what does the blue represent on your imagination drawing? where does that staircase go that's in the kitchen? visualize your work flow..from walking in the door with the groceries, the prep area, cooking, plating and serving. Make it an easy flow, think about sight lines... do you want to have guests see your sink full of dirty dishes? Is there a way around that..stuff like that. Have fun!!
  10. You can certainly learn more by listening to the don't likes... Living in Umbria, we've had to scale back our expectations quite a bit, no rye, no limes, usually no bourbon...just generic 'whiskey'. But, what's the deal with no nibbles in the States? You needto nibble something when you sip a cocktail, alcohol without food isn't a good thing. We've had this discussion on and off around the apperitivo table, but, is it a legal thing not to offer something to go along with the drink? Photo is from Syrah Bar in Citta di Castello.
  11. Ciao. I just dug through some of my historical Italian reference books, and couldn't find any recipe that approximated the honey cake recipe above. Albeit none of my books are Lazio or Roman specific. I did find numerous references to torta di farro though, and farro could be translated as spelt, but.... it's for the whole grain and not flour. Blether, I'd love to see that book, it sounds fascinating. And don't feel bad that you haven't made any of the recipes, times and tastes have changed, some of the sugar content in those recipes is enough to kill you and wipe our your teeth in one go! Cteavin, I'm curious, why did you assume a duck egg instead of a chicken egg? -Judith
  12. Oops, sorry Katie, I haven't checked back here in a few days. I have an amazing Italian cocktail book by Luigi Veronilli, "i cocktails", published by Rizzoli in Milano in 1963. Amazing because it's incredibly well organized, thorough, an alphabetized index (!!) AND has the original spirit labels pasted into the book. (Oh, yeah! Total score....found it in a flea market in Udine). He starts his history of the cocktail with fermentaion, aqua vitae etc and then writes: "All that is certain about cocktails, in the modern sense, was beginning to be spoken about in the 1800's. "On July 18, 1806, in the periodical "The Balance" it was written, "The cocktail is a stimulant drink composed of alcoholic liquor of diverse quality, sometimes mixed with sugar, water, bitter; popularly called a 'bittered sling' and is considered vigorous and exciting." S. Veronilli then denounces this definition by declaring the bittered sling a long drink, as he considers the original cocktails to be short drinks. He goes on to give credit to America for developing the art, or the science of mixing alcohol which developed without rules, but in time it became necessary to establish categories. He defines a cocktail as "un acqua vitae modified and iced. And If I'm following his logic, anything alcoholic or fermented is an aqua vitae. In regards directly to bitters (he sites angostura as a bitter and 'bitter Compari as being a modified bitter) he advocates parsimony. Paraphrasing: "It's possible to use too much, of bitters, or pure amari, usually a spray per drink is normal, or nothing, or 1-2 drops. They have the function of giving a drink the hint, or idea of a culinary recipe." Now, what exactly that means is open to interpretation. He lists only one "Campari Cocktail": 1 1/3 glass of dry gin 1/3 glass of bitter campari 1 spoonful of dry vermouth 2 pieces of lemon peel with nothing of the white ice cubes The Negroni recipe is a standard equal parts dry gin, vermouth classico, bitter campari recipe, garnished with a slice of orange. So, what do you think? I'm hypothesizing that he didn't really think too much about amari v. bitter campari. It's interesting to note that its always referred to as bitter campari, not capitalized and it didn't warrant getting a label in the book, although Angostura bitters did. Digging around on Wiki and blogs, Campari is credited with being one of the premier bar beverage marketers. If you stocked Campari, you were required to post a "Campari Bitter" sign at the bar. "Cocktail Times" has a well written article, which also features the whole marketing aspect. So perhaps, its all a matter of finding a niche and exploiting it. Fascinating, non? Edited because I'm challenged by reading in Italian and writing in English.
  13. Fair enough, but now that we're talking amari, why should we stop?!? Anyone have favorites? I love Amaro Nonino, I think it's very versatile and not too bitter or sweet. That being said I love Averna for its Coca-Cola sweetness and its place in a cocktail. Recently I used Meletti Amaro in a Tequila cocktail with great success. Amaro Montenegro is interesting for its funky, spicy qualities, as is Ciocaro. Amaro Segesta has smooth minty notes, but the eucalyptus factor is subdued, which I like. That being said I do love a shot of Fernet, generally Fernet Branca. I've used Ramazzotti in cocktails as well. You are welcome to come and visit and have a tasting with us! I've got most of these sitting in the kitchen right now. I'll take the hair splitting a step further: ice or no ice?? For my husband and our dear friend Pizza Guru, they have a very defined time period when ice is acceptable and when it's not, and they'll debate for hours on the subject. Maybe you can join them? I'm Grappa Girl so I generally stay out of the debate. Curious what people are going to come back with on Katie's question about cocktails in Italy. I'm in back water Umbria, and there is a very small, but growing number of places where you can get a decent cocktail. Most local bars can barely make a decent negroni.
  14. So far, Katie's explanation makes the most sense. Of all the other amari, it's the only that is commonly mixed. I just went to Compari's seriously annoying website (compari.com, it's all in flash)and as much as I can tell from the website, they only think of themselves in the aperitivo category. They off you the opportunity to watch certain cocktails, but all come in under apperitivo. Maybe it's all just a marketing ploy to distinguish themselves from other amari..or... chalk it up to Italian style logic and tradition. It's always been an apperitivo, so it shall remain. No other logic applied.
  15. Putting knives in the dishwasher will land you in the 1st ring of hell where you will be blown about in an enternal wind, knocked about by dis-colored and cracked bits of food processor bowls and ill-fated lovers. (Ill fated lovers being the traditional inhabitants of the 1st ring, they are not very happy to be sharing space with Dishwasher Offenders.) Yes, the danger is to the handle, and to those who stack & empty. But... if you pay more money, you get harder ceramic, it resists chipping and can stand up to being dropped. It's one of those things were paying more actually gets you a better product.
  16. hathor


    Ciao. Tuning in a bit late, but that is oh, so Italian. Nice sagra website Sugar Apple, but its not complete. It's missing THE sagra of the season: Festa del Bosco in Montone! Oct 30-Nov. 1 all products of the woods, including truffles. It's crazy good. Also missing the sagra list is the Trevi black celery festival which was last weekend and the Citta di Castello festa which should be the first weekend in Nov. That sagra/festa has really developed and aside from lots and lots of truffles, there is a very good sampling of the new olive oil.
  17. SuY: How did you make out with the oil? Sorry I didn't see this thread sooner. Yesterday in Trevi I saw some of the first "new oil", meaning this season's first pressing. It's been COLD so I have a feeling the full olive harvest is going to be later in November.
  18. hathor

    The Fresh Pasta Topic

    Ciao Ragazzi! I make a lot of fresh pasta and I almost never use my pasta machine/cutter. I find I can process more dough with a large rolling pin rather than feeding through lots of strips. Although I love the loop idea. It's just quicker to roll out a big sheet and hand cut it. The type of flour that you use will determine if you can get away with not using eggs. If you don't want to use eggs, then you need a hard wheat flour, like durum wheat. It makes a gorgeous, soft, supple dough and it dries beautifully. I also hand knead, much quicker to clean up than cleaning up a machine. I've also found that after you finish kneading, roll the dough into a ball and then wrap it very tightly with saran wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. It seems the pressure helps the hydration process and its much easier to extend the pasta. I know it sounds very retro to do it all by hand, but I've found it just works out quicker in the long run. Fresh pasta also freezes very well, get into the freezer asap, in a plastic bag or container and you have fresh pasta at a moment's notice. I'll usually make up a kilo or so and pack it into 200 or 300g packages. If I was a really good Girl Scout, I'd also label the bags, but hey, no one is perfect.
  19. The Kitchen Aid gizmo looks pretty cool. David, are you saying screw, as in a corkscrew or worm? That would make sense from a wine/grape pressing perspective. Deensiebat: I have a feeling that you may be right about the heat. I just came across a recipe for concord grape ice cream that instructs you to roast the grapes for a few minutes. Kerry: I tried the water bath trick and it didn't work. I was able to strain and jar some of the unpressed juice, but that was about it.
  20. Pizza. A subject near and dear to my heart. I'm in Umbria, not exactly known for it's pizza, but this being Italy, there is still fine pizza to be had. It just takes some digging around and the encouragement of Pizza Guruto guide us on the path to goodness. Here are some observations: It takes a hot oven. We're talking industrial heat, pizza charred and bubbling in under 90 seconds. More like 60. That's the pizza oven at Nestor's at around midnight. The crust must be thin. Recently at our favorite place I could see the plate pattern right through the crust. Most pizza dough around here is either Tipo 0 or Manitoba (harder wheat). For me, the crust is the clincher, it needs to be crispy all the way, a little char but not too much and it should have a distinctive 'bready' flavor. I think our favorite place is either using a touch of whole wheat in their flour or possibly some sort of fat. Asking these sort of questions at a place where you are a regular is very touchy and I haven't worked up the courage yet. Adding rucola (arugala sp??) to the top of a pizza makes it healthy. Toppings come in every conceivable combination. Including french fries. Yes, french fries on top of pizza. Napoli classic rules insist on only tomato and buffala mozzarella, but we're not in Napoli. Poached eggs are big, so are hot dogs (wurstel). The menfolk all like to tell the waitress to hold the wurstel. Pepperoni = peppers, peperoncino = hot peppers, salame picante = what is called pepperoni in North America. Overall quality of the toppings matter. They matter a lot. Pizzarias are given additional points for decently cutlery, and drinkable house wine. Ambiance does not count. Serving pizza for lunch results in a mark down (pizza is a dinner only item, only places catering to tourists have it for lunch), slices are to be tolerated only in moments of extreme famine. It's never too early to become a pizza critic.
  21. I tried the ricer... and it also made slime. The body squishes but the juice stays within the fruit membrane wall. I seriously considered the bare feet method and may revisit that next year. Need to google up the fruit & vegetable strainer on the Kitchen Aid, that sounds interesting. Perhaps its the grape varietal, but all I really ever got was grapey green slime. All food for thought for next year. Grazie!
  22. It's too late for me for this year....but I want to be ready next year when my grapes need harvesting. We have what is called 'uva americana' or American grape, and it has to be a close relative of the Concord. I figured that after slipping the skins, I could just squeeze the little beggars, but they laughed and merrily rolled around the food mill and the food processor, and even after freezing, they still held their round roly poly shape, and juice. I'm sure the answer lies in a press of some sort, but what happens when you don't have enough grapes to warrant getting a press? Anyone have a good technique? Grazie mille!!
  23. I went to this thread as a voyeur. I wanted to see what people miss. So here is the rub, or the challenge. If you miss a butcher, find one, drive out of your way and become her best friend (our town butcher is a lady), if you want to eat meals with someone without the cell phone, then do it, look at this thread and make a decision to change what you don't like. I can't change the effect of a Butterscotch Krimpet on my waistline, but I can go out of my way to use a good butcher, to make soup stock, to spend less time on the computer and more in the kitchen or with my family. OK. I'm totally off the soap box now. Well one more p.s. I moved to Italy for a lot of the reasons that you are mentioning and that is a sacrifice on many other levels, so maybe I know a little about what I'm preaching. Maybe.... I could just be full of hot air.
  24. Butterscotch Krumpets. And the ability to eat them all I want and not have them show up anywhere on my body.
  25. I was curious what the eG response would be as I remembered the angst caused by Bruni. Personally I thought the review a little self conscious, as if he's finding his voice, which makes perfect sense. I'm too far away to have any opinion on the restaurant, but anyplace that specializes in one of my favorite food groups...works for me! Ciao.
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