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Everything posted by Batgrrrl

  1. Well, gosh, it's been a LONG time since I posted anything, but I have to jump in here--even though it sounds like now you're not going to be in Fargo after all! Fargo's been absolutely innundated with chain crap over the last decade, following the population boom. But I'll second (and third, and fourth) the recommendation of the Hotel Donaldson, or the HoDo, on Broadway in downtown Fargo. They have an innovative menu and good drinks/taps. Great decor, too. My Mom and I always go there for lunch when we visit--they live in Moorhead. Definitely check them out next year when you go through there. Avoid the Old Broadway in downtown Fargo--it's not a chain, and it used to ROCK when I was growing up there, but now it's lame, lame, lame. It's like they're trying to be TGIFriday's (shudder). Best, Batgrrrl
  2. My favorite hardwood, which goes quite well with prime rib, is maple. However, Texans prefer post oak. If you've had smoked prime rib in Central Texas, you wouldn't argue with them. Mesquite and Hickory are widely available but they're very strong and can leave almost a chemically like taste. I've been burning through some ash and although it's my favorite for its burn characteristics (long and smooth), it can leave some of the same flavors as the mesquite and hickory. Fruit woods (apple, cherry, etc.) and alderwood tend to be not not smokey enough for beef, but they are great for poultry and fish. They also tend to be too light for pork. Typically hardware stores only have mesquite or hickory but you can try calling fireplace/wood fired stove shops as they tend have more variety in wood chips. edit: this is actual col klink!
  3. I just have to say, those of you who live within easy reach of a Trader Joe's, be very, very grateful. I just had an absolutely dismal experience at a grocery store here in Duluth. All I was craving was some pasta with pesto and shrimp. No pesto whatsoever (accompanied by blank stares when I asked), and only pre-cooked frozen shrimp available. I ended up with a frozen pizza. I miss Trader Joe's. Sweet heavens above, I miss Trader Joe's. Batgrrrl
  4. Thanks, everybody, for the congrats and advice! And fifi, yes, the wait and see thing is important. By the time the colonel made all of the manwich stuff for me, I had developed an aversion to beef. Can't even think about the stuff right now. But it's in the freezer, waiting for the day my tastes suddenly shift, as I suspect they will. So far I've lost 7+ pounds do to just not being able to stand the thought of food. I'm really looking forward to getting out of this first trimester, which should be happening in the next few weeks. Batgrrrl
  5. “My Last Duchess’s Last Lunch” (with apologies to Robert Browning) That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall, Eating her last lunch. I call That piece a wonder, now: Keller’s hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will ‘t please you sit and look at her? I said “Keller” by design: for never saw Strangers like you that succulent foie gras, The rosy ripeness of the plump cherries, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seems as if they would ask me, if they durst, How such delicacies came there; so, not the first, Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ‘t was not Her husband’s presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps Emeril chanced to say “Her napkin laps Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or Bourdain, “Wine Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A stomach—how shall I say?—too soon made full, Too easily satiated; she tasted whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ‘t was all one! My favor at her plate, The streaming of the cabernet in her cup, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white goose She hand fed hour by hour—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good ! but thanked Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked My gift of a two-pound truffle With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In cooking—(which I have not)—to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her teeth at you, forsooth, and asked for toothpicks, —E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene’er I passed her a dish; but who passed her dishes Without much the same smile? This grew; I commanded the chefs; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will ‘t please you rise? We’ll meet The company below, then. I repeat, The Count your master’s known generosity Is ample warrant that no scruple of appetite will go unwhetted; Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go Together down, sir. Notice Julia, though, Basting a turkey, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! Batgrrrl link to the Browning poem I'm shamlessly borrowing from: http://stellar-one.com/poems/browning_robe...st_duchess.html
  6. St. Julia, because in a Thanksgiving show one year she actually dropped the turkey on the floor, picked it up, brushed it off and served it without batting an eye. Symbol: A floor you can eat off of. I also love her because I heard a radio interview with her (and I know I don't have this exactly, but it's the general gist of things) where the host got off on a tangent about trends in low-fat cooking, and when s/he asked St. Julia what she ate, she replied: "Gin and beef." End of conversation. Batgrrrl (who has never dropped a turkey on the floor, btw, and if I did I wouldn't serve it to company; my kitchen floor isn't quite that sanctified!)
  7. Nice article, Beans--thanks! I miss the Elysian brew pub, though when we left Seattle last summer I hadn't been there in quite a while. There IPA is indeed excellent--much more complex than many. It's the perfect companion to a good basket of fish and chips. Something about the way the hops and vinegar work together. Cheers, Batgrrrl
  8. And while you're making that chicken soup, stand near the stove and inhale as much steam as possible, if you've got the strength--it'll help knock loose the nasty gunk in your lungs. Milk I could never stomach when fighting a cold--it coats the throat too much like what's there already. But hot water or tea with lemon and/or whiskey is definitely a go. Good luck--above all else, sleep, sleep, sleep. Batgrrrl
  9. Welcome, Black Tie! This is an interesting thread, because last summer a friend threw a gin and British food potluck, where everybody brought something to eat and a different bottle of gin to do taste tests. The conclusion we came to was that different gins work better in different situations; I can't remember the specifics (if col klink sees this, maybe he can chime in--he was there too and has a better booze memory than I do--I tend to be under the table after a few tastings and am therefore not the best resource!), but I know that we decided Tanq 10 made excellent martinis, but tasted rather off in a gin and tonic; there was another very high level gin that was better with tonic, but less interesting in a martini. I was intrigued, because it's somthing I haven't noticed with other kinds of alcohols, though it does make sense I suppose. Man, I could use a gin and tonic.
  10. beans--LOVE your avatar! That's my kind of snowman! Batgrrrl
  11. We've discussed that possibility as well--ideally, I'd like to have a hand-crank ice crusher installed with the ice maker, so that at least the general feel of cranking something would be held over from the flour sifter. On another note, I knew a couple in Seattle who had a minibar that was shaped like the prow of a little ship, complete with ropes and little life-preservers, all out of beautiful painted/polished wood, including the "deck"--the bartender stood behind it, looking out over the "front" of the ship which faced the room, and there were of course shelves and doors and everything else built in. It was a long time ago, but I remember it being very cool. Batgrrrl
  12. Anything Hajime does with albacore, at Mashiko's. I'm a whore and a half for those! Damn...got myself jonesin' and I'm halfway across the country...
  13. Batgrrrl

    What is Booty Food?

    So, wait... You're both blindfolded, and cramming food toward each other? That's not erotic, that's a food fight! Not to mention chilly! Good point, JennyUptown-- Naked and in front of the fridge? "Bing Cherries" come to mind as a booty food! Batgrrrl
  14. corn-on-the-cob (can I use dashes?)
  15. In A.S.Byatt's Possession the male poet writes a letter to the female poet in which he uses the "cool green circles" of the cucumber sandwiches served at the tea where they met as a metaphor for her subdued demeanor. Ever since then, I have found cucumber sandwiches incredibly sexy. And speaking of children's books, anybody else know "The Quangle Wangle's Hat"? In it, a whole bunch of funny creatures march off to live in said hat, and have tea. Again with the tea. I just love tea--the ritual even more than the beverage.
  16. Best. Musical. Ever: I agree. Sometime before I retire from singing, I want, really badly, to do the role of Mrs. Lovett. ("Shepherd's pie, peppered/With actual shepherd...") Or, at least, to rent the score and learn it. Damn, girl, you'd make a kick-ass Mrs. Lovett! I had the privilege of playing in the pit orchestra for a summer stock production of it. Highlights: running out to peek at the exit at intermission, to see how many people left half-way through; watching the people in the front row jump and scream when the factory whistle blows for the first time; and, my favorite, the night Sweeney got a little too "energetic" during one of his kills, and a big glob of shaving cream and stage blood went thwaap across my music, while I was playing. I didn't miss a beat. Other musicals that would make for great dinner parties--how about watching Sunday in the Park with George, and having a picnic on the floor, complete with blankets and baskets? Guys and Dolls with a speakeasy theme? More booze than food, but it'd be fun!
  17. It might be, Brilliant! Check out the old Time-Life "Cooking of Vienna's Empire" for amazing desserts. The Emperor's Pancakes. Rigo Janczi. (sp?) And of course, a sea of schlag. I'd climb every mountain for that. Hmmm. A "King and I" Thai feast? I confess to having thrown a "Sweeney Todd" party, and yes, served up meat pies. For anyone who doesn't know the musical, it's about a vengeful barber who teams up with his landlady, who runs a restaurant; he kills his customers, sends them down a chute to the basement, where she grinds them up and serves them in pies to the unsuspecting London public of the 18th century. Best. Musical. Ever. Batgrrrl Edited to say crap, I bet I don't get anymore invites to eGullet events!
  18. Absolutely--this always got me too. And isn't there somewhere a wonderful description of making cornbread in one of the "Little House" books? Alcott's Little Women is full of food, too--I remember thinking how sophisticated all the picnic foods sounded. Dickens is full of descriptions of food--often wonderful, poignant and funny scenes of people with meager livings making wonderful feasts out of very little. The Cratchits are the classic example of this, of course, but there's also young David Copperfield and the Micawbers with their punch. But my favorite "meal" in Dickens is Miss Havisham's mouldering wedding feast, still laid out from decades ago when she was abandoned on the morning of her wedding! Batgrrrl
  19. Somewhere I have a quiche recipe that calls for cream cheese, diced and put in the bottom of the crust. It basically melts and disperses, and makes for an amazingly rich quich. Made that in a couple of variations for a brunch, and it was a huge hit.
  20. (Hi Judy! We miss you!) On the storage time--this is a problem indeed. Klink refers above to some that we bought from a store that doesn't have great produce generally, and I'm pretty sure they were last year's crop, held over in cold storage. They were mealy indeed. The last batch Klink picked up from Cub foods (which seems to have the corner on them here in MN, at least--that's where my dad started getting them, and he's the one who told us about them) are huge, like you say--we split one last night and it was more than enough. Has anybody tried them in baking? I'm curious to see what they'd be like in a pie. On a related note, one of the best cherry pies I ever made was using Ranier cherries, those lovely red/blush/yellow ones--it was also gorgeous! Batgrrrl
  21. Thanks, Comfort Me, you made my day. That's mackeriffic! Pee-your-pants funny. Batgrrrl Edited for incorrected derivation of mackerel root.
  22. Batgrrrl

    Bagged Teas

    Get used to using loose-leaf, and you'll find it hard to go back to bags. I use bagged tea in some instances--Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime or Tension Tamer, for example, but for everything else it's got to be loose leaf. phaelon56 is right--there's an amazing difference! I converted over after getting a lecture from my Scottish uncle, for whom tea was not a beverage but a ritual--he always said bagged tea was basically the sweepings left in the bottom of the barrel after all the good stuff was sold as loose. And all you need is a good tea ball or spoon for a mug, or a good basket filter for your teapot. Or, you can do what I do and just throw the leaves in the pot and not care if you get a few in your cup! But tea purists will tell you emphatically that the leaves should not be left in the water, so the tea ball/spoon/basket is best. Murchie's is an excellent source for good tea: here's their website http://www.murchies.com/frhomeDec27.html They have many varieties of loose leaf tea, and also sell their tea in bags, which is far superior to the brands we're mostly familiar with, like Lipton's, Tetley, or Rose. Cheers, Batgrrrl
  23. Batgrrrl

    Goose Breasts

    We got some wild goose breasts from a friend, and Matt simply salted them and then seared them in a very hot cast iron pan, till rare as budrichard says, and with a nice crust formed by the salting. While they rested, Matt deglazed the pan with wine and then added butter, off heat. Sliced the breasts maybe 1/4 thick, arranged, and poured sauce over. They were beautiful! But yes, the crucial thing is they must be rare or slowcooked to oblivion. Batgrrrl
  24. I'm not in the restaurant biz, but I can see justification for this, if it truly is a special that changes nightly. For things that are regularly on the menu, the kitchen staff have a routine down that they are familiar with. A special that changes nightly requires a shifting of gears for everyone involved, from the chefs to the servers who need to learn those dishes, and that requires more time and labor. It would then make sense that, if a former special proves popular enough to become a regular menu item, the price would drop; it would have become routine itself. On the other hand, I would not be surprised to find that some restaurants do take unfair advantage of customer's lack of knowledge regarding how "special" a special really is. Your assumption that they'd be in the same general range is counter to my experience, in New York and elsewhere, which is that specials are almost always at least a bit more expensive. Or there will be one that is in the menu range, and a couple at varying degrees higher. Batgrrrl
  25. Oh yes indeedy-do, Megaira! These were the first "Christmas Cookies" I ever made, and I doubt that even half the recipe made it past my mouth and into the cookie tin. Baker's Coconut. Yum. I haven't eaten one in thirty years, but I just might have to whip up a batch --though it would be quicker, I suppose, to simply mainline the sugar. For the love of god, someone, please post a recipe for these! I must try these! Will also be trying the Nanaimo Bars--that recipe looks great! What are butter tarts? Batgrrrl
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