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Posts posted by zora

  1. I _still_ haven't had time to read the food issue, but I'm really looking forward to the Futurist story. Many years ago, I was browsing the cookbook section in the IU Bloomington library (a sure sign that I shouldn't have been bothering with grad school anyway), and stumbled across the Futurist Cookbook. I thought it was hilarious that it was filed under cooking, rather than art, and I've kept my own copy filed that way ever since...should I be wanting a recipe for "The Excited Pig" or what have you.

    (I did read "Killing Dinner," though. GH's writing is what made me love her food in the first place. She's so sharp.)

  2. Getting back to the original topic of the thread... I was in Oslo several years ago and cooked up some whale meat myself. Friends advised we cook the hell out of it--it's no good medium-rare. We did a braise with onions and wine--we did taste the meat after a bit, while it was still rare-ish, and it was nastily fishy and strong tasting. We let it simmer a while longer--maybe 45 mins total? In the end, it had mellowed out substantially and was quite good: rich and only faintly fishy. The oddest bit for me was the texture--a lot more like liver (with a little liver flavor, too) than any grained piece of flesh.

    Probably wouldn't go out of my for it again, but I'm glad I ate it, and I don't begrudge other people eating it. I think the number of people left in the world who have a strong taste for whale meat is now so relatively small that they alone won't be putting a big dent in the whale population. But of course I could be grossly misinformed...

  3. Just got back from the Yucatan, and it's high chiles en nogada season, leading up to the patriotic frenzy of Independence Day on Sept. 15-16. I had delicious, non-battered chiles en nogada at a new restaurant in Tulum called Cetli, in L'Hotelito on the main highway in town. The woman who cooks, waits tables, buses, etc.--the only woman who works there--is doing refined traditional stuff, and it's generally pretty good...or my chiles en nogada were: fairly light, thin sauce with a strong walnut flavor, and a really tasty filling with distinct chunks of fruit in the pepper, which had been nicely charred.

    My boyfriend had some peanut mole that was not so great--the sauce was more of a barely peanutty broth, and all just a bit too delicate to be satisfying. Also, they don't have a liquor license. And the cream-cheese-and-chile-jam on crackers snack was undeniably good, but just reminded me of my parents' cocktail parties in the early 80s in New Mexico--way too dated.

    Otherwise, though, this woman seems like a smart cook, and the place is insanely cute. Also very cheap considering the level of preparation that goes into things--and no more expensive than any of the non-Mexican sit-down options in Tulum. Worth a stop even if you don't get there before chiles en nogada disappear after September 15...

  4. The best falafel I've had was from street carts in Aleppo: the huge, pretty thin Syrian-style pita isn't opened up, just used as a base. The best guys mash the falafel a tiny bit as they're laying it in the pita, breaking it open a little, then they put on tons of fresh herbs: mint, scallions... It's topped with garlicky yogurt, not tahini, and all wrapped up tidily. Washed down with a hand-pumped espresso from the adjacent street cart, it was the perfect breakfast.

    Once again, one of those things I wish I'd eaten more of, even though I was stuffed at the time.... I won't even say how much (little) these things cost, because it just makes me want to cry.

  5. The 1,000 Mexican Recipes one sounds exactly like what you'd get served in the Yucatan. I always thought it was kind of gross, but....it's "authentic" (I think some restaurant in Mérida claims to have invented it--the chef was from Motul or something).

    Edited to add: And those are fried _sweet_ plantains, just to make the whole dish extra weird.

    Edited to add: The resto in Mérida is Siqueff (scroll down), and this page (scroll down) for a description and picture of the dish.

  6. I was reading the glossary thread, and was reminded of a little terminology issue I had last summer in Rome. I went to the corner coffee place and ordered a cappuccino for breakfast. The woman was looking out for me, and asked if I wanted it 'con crema'--or at least that's what I thought she said, but I don't really speak Italian. In addition to a little foamed milk, she got out a big lexan full of brown fluff, and ladled on a gooey spoonful. She explained it was crema beaten up with sugar. It had the consistency of a not-yet-baked meringue, all glossy, and tasted like a coffee macaroon.

    So what's this stuff really called, I wonder? Is crema used to refer to both straight-up espresso crema, and the sugarized fluff? I did go in every day after that and order 'cappuccino con crema' and got the same thing--but maybe they just knew a sugar junkie when they saw one.

    And more important, did millions of cups of espresso really have to die to make it? It just seems ridiculously impractical to make the way I'm imagining (make espresso, scrape off crema, drink crappy leftover espresso, repeat), so there must be a shortcut?

  7. I can't tell from your description: Was it a casserole-type dish, or were all the ingredients separate? I've had two Middle Eastern eggplant/pom combos:

    1) In a recent issue of Food & Wine (July? Check the digests...), Paula Wolfert did a story on a chef in Istanbul, and the recipe for eggplant and lentils baked with pomegranate syrup is incredibly delicious. (Follow her advice on letting it sit for a few hours or overnight--much better.) It's basically peppers, onions, eggplant, tomato paste, lentils, Turkish red pepper, mint, and pomegranate syrup.

    2) In Syria, I had grilled slices of eggplant topped with chopped raw garlic, shredded basil and a big drizzle of pomegranate syrup. Since then, I've also mixed up this flavor combo as a cold salad, roasting the whole eggplant and mashing it a little, a la baba ghanouj. That you can just do to taste...

  8. Cook's Illustrated without a doubt. Christopher Kimball deserves to be smacked upside the head occasionally (never, ever read the editor's letter if you don't want to lose your lunch over the smarminess), but I have learned more from that magazine than from anything else. Great explanations of food science, and total obsession with technique.

    Fine Cooking has a lot of the same features, with a glossier presentation--and iguana's right, they're not so pedantic in their tastes. It might be great, but I got hooked on CI too early. The two seem to overlap so much in the how-to department that it doesn't seem worth getting both.

    But you'll probably want to flesh out the rigid New England B&W austerity of CI with something more colorful and relaxed. Of all the glossy mags, I prefer Food & Wine because they incorporate more adventurous ingredients, and their 'quick' section is usually pretty good.

    Saveur is great, though I've cooked recipes out of it, like, twice. Definitely worth subscribing just to help keep the enterprise afloat and encourage their excellent work.

  9. Cooking bacon at the age of 3, standing on a stool and dealing with a very wobbly griddle--the whole thing tipped and landed a big blob of hot bacon fat on the top of my left thigh. Fortunately for my mother's creeping sense of guilt ("What was I thinking? Why did I even let you in the kitchen?!"), the scar finally faded away a few years ago. But i don't hold a grudge--I'm glad my mom let me cook! (Where I then proceeded to sear my arm on the waffle iron a few years later...no lasting scar, though.)

    I worked with a chef in college who claimed you were either a burner or a cutter--you'd have predominant way of maiming yourself in the kitchen. I'm definitely a burner. I have about four burns healing right now. (Geez, wait--isn't that something that happens to lepers a lot? Maybe I should have this checked out...)

  10. Ooh, and the NY Times food section this week mentions a yummy-sounding purslane salad with an anchovy dressing.

    [Edited to add I just reread your post and realized you were aking specifically about Mexican uses. Sorry--I just see the word purslane and go all crazy. Anyway, the Mexican guys I get it from say they just saute it with a little onion and tomato. Funny--that's exactly what the Greeks say too.]

  11. I have no idea what you ate, Maggie, but if it's any comfort (and I hope your tongue has recovered), "Wildman" Steve Brill does praise purslane as a very safe thing to forage because nothing poisonous resembles it. (But do let me know if you had any, ah, visions!)

    As for the whole pigweed red herring, I was just reading a book on Aboriginal food, and that referred to purslane (clearly--there were pics) as pigweed. So there might be the added problem of different names in different countries.

    I haven't seen lamb's quarters/pigweed/quelites growing wild, but maybe I just haven't been looking the same way as I have for purslane!

  12. "It would've been better with dessert"--seems like kind of a global criticism, huh?

    Thanks for breaking down the food groups--sounds sensible to me! (And comforting to know they're not being changed all the time...I totally missed that whole shift from "The Four Food Groups" I learned in school to this weird food pyramid.)

  13. A few years ago, Carolyn Carreño wrote a nice piece about fish tacos for Saveur, but I don't see it in the database on their website. If I think of it when I get home, I'll dig through my old issues and see if I can what she had to say. Or else I'll discover I imagined the whole thing.

    Is there a crema/mayo divide in Mexico? I go to the Yucatan a lot, and all the fish tacos (or better, shrimp) there are served with gobs and gobs of mayo. Delish, with lime and pico de gallo. In fact, in the grocery stores, mayonnaise takes up easily half an aisle. Ironic, considering Americans' love of salsa...

  14. There is a recipe, with a lot of detail on how to build the fire properly--and instructions that it takes almost an hour to cook! One tip: "the inside of the fish is to face the blowing wind."

    She doesn't recommend a particular spice rub--just salt and pepper--before cooking, but says it's served with a sauce of parsley, tomatoes, onion, garlic, with tamarind sauce and curry powder. Also served with pickled mango.

    (One small complaint with the book is that 'curry powder' is often called for--with no explanation I can find for what spices are typically predominant in this mix. Somehow I doubt Iraqis are using the supermarket McCormick blend...but as with a Jaffrey book, for instance, there are a lot of suggestions for how American cooks can adapt a dish--and how she has done so. It's just frustrating not to know what the original is sometimes.)

    Another grilled fish recipe calls for a marinade of grated onions, garlic, cumin, coriander and lemon juice.

  15. I second the Nasrallah Iraqi cookbook, available here. I only just got it, but it's fascinating and well researched, with lots of odd bits, like Akkadian etymology.

    Also, A Lebanese Harvest: Traditional Vegetarian Recipes had some good things in it, and it's the only book I've read so far that lays out the distinctive ways of dealing with garlic in Lebanese cooking--it really makes a difference. But there are weird typos galore, and peanut oil is referred to as "ground nut oil" which confused me for a little while... I thought, Nut oil...that's been ground up?

  16. Back to the fatteh for a moment: success! Thanks, Elie! I really was just overthinking the whole thing. The cold yogurt plus hot chickpeas is perfect--it means you _can_ eat it right away, before the pita chips start dissolving.

    And it always amazes me how something like adding the garlic to the yogurt rather than to the chickpeas makes a difference--it all gets mixed together anyway! But that's the magic of cooking, I s'pose.

  17. Saveur, June/July 2004

    First: Deputy ed. Margo True resorted to luck to track down the original Belgian waffle recipe from the 1964 World’s Fair.


    Neon Wieners: The distinctive architecture of Chicago hot dog shops. By Ed Finkel

    Canada Crocks: Medalta’s pottery pickling crocks are no longer—but the closed potteries in Medicine Hat are now a National Historic District, and visitors can buy smaller reproductions. By Leslie Javorski

    The New Yeast: New, nontraditional sakes are being developed to court young Japanese drinkers. One brewery is now run by a woman. By Stephen Beaumont

    Dessert Oasis: Kelly Alexander loves NYC’s cheerful Serendipity 3 café—now celebrating its 50th anniversary with a cookbook.

    Recipe: The Manor Born banana cake with coffee buttercream

    You Call That Haggis?: Potato chips flavored with the Scottish staple. By Bethan Kelly Patrick

    This Beverage Is Right on Par: Nonalcoholic mixed drink of iced tea and lemonade is named after golfer Arnold Palmer. By Ellen Ficklen

    On the Side: 100th anniversary of the Thermos, and a Smithsonian lunchbox exhibit; Mott’s applesauce now sold with Pop Rocks to mix in; Russian divers rescue ten tons of beer from the sea; giant plush microbe toys

    Agenda: Trident gum’s 40th anniversary; opening of herring season in Holland (Vlaggetjesdag); freshwater ayu fish celebrated in Hayato, Japan; pudding fest in Hawley, Mass.; Dave Thomas of Wendy’s born July 2, 1932; Irish coffee fest in Foynes, Ireland; gooseberry show in Knutsford, GB

    One Good Bottle: Gosset Celebris Rosé 1998 ($135): "elegant summer drinking"

    Book Review: Sugar-Plums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, by Laura Mason. Well researched and offbeat. Review by Fran Gage.

    Recipe: Rose-flavored acid drops

    Cellar: Pinot noirs of Sonoma County are developing nicely.

    Tasting notes: From delicate, pretty Hamel Wines Campbell Ranch Vineyard 2002 ($28) to Flowers Andreen-Gale Cuvée 2001 ($50; sweet and smoky palate, long finish)

    Essay: Stand by Your Pan

    Joe Gracey on the historical connection between country music and food advertising.

    Memories: Devouring the Globe

    The 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York whetted America’s appetite—a first-hand recollection by David Sarasohn. Plus, hits from previous fairs: root beer (1876), cracker jack (1893), ice cream cones, French’s mustard and hamburgers (1904), Le Pavillon French resto (1939-40)

    Recipe: Belgian waffles

    Source: Choice cherries from Washington’s Batch Orchards. By Maggie Davis

    Classic: Ranch dressing, really developed at Hidden Valley Ranch. By Colman Andrews

    Recipe: Ranch dressing

    Meat and Beer: The people of Monterrey, in northeastern Mexico, are crazy for goat, pork, beef—and the local cerveza…even for breakfast. By Robb Walsh

    Recipes: Higado de Puerco (pork liver with lime and salt)

    Chiles Toreados (roasted Serrano chiles)

    Frijoles con Veneno (refried beans with “venom”)

    Asado de Puerco (pork braised with ancho chile)

    Machado con Huevo (shredded dried beef with scrambled eggs)

    Cabrito en Salsa (kid goat with potatoes and poblano-tomato sauce)

    Pencas de Nopales Crujientes Rellenas de Queso (crisp cactus paddles stuffed with goat cheese and Monterey jack)

    Sidebar: A Town Awash in Beer: Cerveceria Cuahtemoc is the local star (Bohemia, Carta Blanca); also, microbrewery Especialidades Cerveceras

    Guide: hotels, restaurants and shops in Monterrey

    The Triumph of Cherries: The orchards of Traverse City, Mich., (aka Sour Cherry Capital of the World) are thriving. By Kelly Alexander

    Recipes: Sour cherry pie

    Wild rice salad with dried sour cherries

    Brandied cherries

    Telyatina s Vishnyami (roast veal with sour cherries)

    Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (black forest cherry cake)

    Sidebar: Sweet and Sour: a guide to sweet and sour cherry types (with photos)

    Guide: hotels, restos, festivals in Traverse City

    Back to the Basics: Jean-Pierre and Isabelle Silva gave up a Michelin star in Burgundy to lead a simple life in the Côte d’Azur. The fallback Saveur story: isn’t rustic French life great? By Colman Andrews

    Recipes: Soupe de Tomate aux Herbes du Jardin, un Oeuf Poché, Cebette, et Tartine d’Olive (tomato soup with garden herbs, poached egg, scallion and olive-paste crouton)

    Dorade Coriphène sur une Aubergine Confite, Crème de Coco, et Truffes Blanches d’Eté (mahimahi on slow-cooked eggplant with white beach cream and white summer truffles)

    Mignon et Pérugine de Cochon, Pomme de Terre Nouvelle, Blette Sauvage, Jus au Vin Rouge (medallions of pork and Perugia sausage with new potatoes, wild chard and red wine sauce)

    Tarte aux Figues, Matignon d’Abricots à la Sauge Ananas, Sorbet d’Abricot (fig tart with apricots macerated with pineapple sage and apricot sorbet)

    Hickory House Memories: Rick Bayless has barbecue sauce in his veins, as he recounts in this story of his Oklahoma food heritage: his parents’ restaurant in OKC. Isn't rustic American life great?

    Recipes: Hickory House smoked beans

    Hickory House deviled eggs

    Hickory House sour slaw

    Hickory House sweet slaw

    Hickory House stuffed pickles

    Barbecue spice

    Hickory House mild barbecue sauce

    Barbecued ribs

    Grandma Potter’s peach cobbler

    Sidebar: Plates of My Heart: Bayless’s grandma’s Frankoma pottery is a vintage treasure.

    Sidebar: Where to Eat OKC Barbecue: Van’s Pig Stand, Steve’s Rib, Earl’s Rib Palace

    In the Saveur Kitchen: How to frost the Serendipity 3 banana cake (above) like a pro; chef Harlan Peterson of Tapawingo in Michigan makes great cherry granita; hot citrusy sangrita chases tequila; carne seca is Mexican beef jerky; a nifty rib rack holder for more efficient smoking; two heads—not two cloves—of garlic makes for an accidentally savory pasta

    Recipes: tart red cherry granita


    Kitchen: Jim Garramone of Evanston, Ill., put the fridge in an armoire outside the kitchen, and inscribed Fames Optimum Condimentum (hunger is the best seasoning) on the counter.

    In the Saveur Library: The Perfect Cake, by Susan Purdy (Broadway Books, 2002): good troubleshooting and tips

    Moment: A dog snacking at a beachtop table in Acapulco, 1973.

  18. I just got back from Mexico, and Sabritos has a line of "Mexican specialties" chips based on traditional Mex dishes--there's a lot of gushing prose on the back about how eating these reflects your pride in your Mexican heritage...

    But anyway, the rajas con crema were incredibly delicious--and somehow they tasted significantly different from the enchiladas verde (which weren't nearly as good). Flavor-crystal technology is really astounding.

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