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Everything posted by MsMelkor

  1. When Melkor made the shawarma, I made baba ghanoush, hummus, and tahini sauce (thinned tahini with garlic, lemon juice, and salt). I thought the tahini sauce was the best accompaniment for the shawarma, while the other two were more like sides.
  2. MsMelkor

    Cocoa Nibs

    In California, they are relatively easy to find - lots of markets carry them. You can use Scharffen Berger's store locator to find out which stores carry their products, but many markets carry only their bars and not their cocoa nibs. You can also order online from them. You might also find them at a natural foods store.
  3. MsMelkor

    Cocoa Nibs

    I add them to my almond biscotti.
  4. I've been reheating it for lunch the past few days, adding a few drops of red wine vinegar. It keeps it from drying out, and I like the acidity of the vinegar.
  5. I use the filling from Thomas Keller's lemon tart recipe. It appears in both the French Laundry and Bouchon cookbooks, and in various places online.
  6. A friend tried to give us directions to what turned out to be Colucci (but she didn't know the name) and we ended up at Addis. It would be interesting to see what the differences are among the Ethiopian restaurants in this area.
  7. Melkor and I had to run an errand in Oakland this afternoon, so we figured we'd stay in the area for an early dinner at Addis, an Ethiopian restaurant on Telegraph (just south of Alcatraz). We'd never been to this place before, but it looked suitably down-to-earth and fairly busy. As neither of us are experts in Ethiopian cuisine, we ordered the Addis combination, an enormous platter of three meat and four vegetarian dishes, served with a stack of injera (flat bread made from teff). On the left side are the vegetarian dishes: alicha denich (carrots and potatoes in a mild garlic-butter sauce), yemeser wot (lentils in a berbere sauce), ater kik (yellow split peas with onions and garlic), gomen (collard greens), and lab (white cured cheese). On the right are: yesega wot (beef cubes in berbere sauce), yesega alicha (beef cubes in a mild garlic-butter sauce), and yedoro wot (chicken drumstick and hard-boiled egg in berbere sauce). In the middle is a salad with tomatoes (seemed a bit random - perhaps it's there to help diners eat the USDA-recommended 9 servings/day of fruit and veggies?). The heat in the berbere sauce never overpowered the flavors of the other ingredients, but it did intensify at the end of each bite, making the slightly sour and starchy injera a necessary counterbalance. The alicha dishes were much lighter in flavor - this seemed to work much better with the beef than the carrots and potatoes, which were a bit on the bland side. This combination platter, $18.99, is supposed to serve two, but could have easily fed three. As you may know, there are a bunch of other Ethiopian restaurants on Telegraph and around Berkeley/Oakland. Has anyone else eaten here, or at another Ethiopian place in the area?
  8. Keller and Cerciello recommend using a cake ring, 9"x2". Since I don't have one of these yet, I haven't gotten around to making the quiche.
  9. I have yet to try any of the famous "banana pancakes". Do you have a favorite? ← Plain - just sweetened condensed milk on top. The best ones are made with two balls of dough smushed together before flung into a paper-thin pancake.
  10. Yep - dan dan noodles and bean curd family style. The dan dan noodles had a bit of a metallic taste, and seemed to be missing the depth of flavor I enjoyed so much at Yellow Door in Hong Kong. The bean curd was good, but not remarkable.
  11. I was in NYC for the blizzard a couple of weeks ago and stayed in the same area where you will be. I really enjoyed Ariana Afghan Kebab House (9th between 52nd and 53rd), but was not impressed by Grand Sichuan (50th/9th) - maybe because I was just in Hong Kong and had fabulous Sichuan there. I had an enjoyable lunch at Cafe Gray in the Time Warner Center (home also to Per Se, Masa, V Steakhouse, Stone Rose, and others), but that might be further than you want to venture.
  12. Has anyone been to David Berkley? It's a wine and specialty food grocery. I keep meaning to check it out, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
  13. So far we've made the potato leek soup (simple but satisfying, although not very different from other recipes), cauliflower gratin (I think I could eat this every day...), the stuffing from the quail (used a variation of this for Thanksgiving - was a big success), duck confit (adapted for turkey confit - Melkor wrote this up on one of the confit threads), gnocchi (light and airy), chicken in a pot (a nice change of pace from my usual roast chicken), lamb stew (hearty, delicious). I really want to make the quiche next, since they go into so much detail in the book. And looking at those macaron pictures makes me think that should be high on the list too!
  14. When I was in grad school in Madison, WI, I used to go to the farmer's market and buy most of my veggies from this one farmer who would sell whatever was left at the end of the market for $3/bag. I'd carefully pack my bag to maximize the amount of produce that would fit, and then live on that for the week. In terms of organic produce, if you can't afford to buy everything organic, you may want to consider prioritizing your organic purchases to avoid as many pesticides as possible. From what I've read, it's most important to avoid conventionally raised produce that has the highest levels of pesticide residue: apples/pears, celery, grapes, green beans, lettuce, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes. As you might imagine, items that are peeled contain less pesticide residue than items that aren't.
  15. I had lunch at the bar there on Friday. I had grilled striped bass with olive oil mashed potatoes, artichokes, and a bell pepper/saffron emulsion. The fish was great - medium-rare and moist. Minced black olives on top, when used judiciously, added a great salty flavor.
  16. I got an e-mail about it today from COPIA (wine/food museum in Napa).
  17. We generally use vialone nano. It's not as easy to find as arborio, but I think it results in a creamier final product. Someone (sadistick...?) should do a side-by-side to see if there is a noticeable difference. You could include carnaroli too.
  18. MsMelkor


    I've used it with potatoes in a gratin. I find celery root to be a bit strong on its own.
  19. You might want to see if there are any personal chefs in the area - we once got a week's worth of dinners for my soon-to-be mother-in-law and her husband. The chef called them, reviewed their dietary restrictions and preferences, prepared 5 meals for two, and dropped them off. They loved it.
  20. MsMelkor


    I love Thomas Keller's cauliflower gratin recipe from the Bouchon cookbook - it uses the pureed stems (trimmed, of course) as the base for the sauce. But tonight I just made a light cauliflower gratin (thanks, ReallyNice, for the definitions!) with butter, panko, and cheese - no gruyere, comte, or emmentaler on hand, so I used dry jack, which was not bad.
  21. I'd recommend Gordon's in Yountville. They're open every day for breakfast and lunch (they serve dinner only on Friday nights - a prix fixe). It's a pretty casual place, and the food is excellent: lots of organic ingredients, freshly baked pastries. In the summer, I biked up there for breakfast - a very satisfying refueling stop.
  22. When we lived in the area, we used to eat at Cafe Capriccio several times a month. Great atmosphere, simple and delicious food. But I heard that Ross (the chef) left, and that the food went downhill. Did they just get someone new in the kitchen? Do Julia and her dad still play jazz on Friday nights?
  23. I didn't see any peanut butter cookie sandwiches in the box you brought home.... Fortunately the stuff that did make it home was delicious.
  24. Melkor and I bought a 1/4 cow (kind of an odd concept when it's put that way) from a local rancher last year. At that ranch, as well as most others we looked at, cows are slaughtered only during the summer and fall. We ate some of the meat fresh, and froze the rest. So this meat was local, sustainable, not organic, cheaper than meat from a grocery store, and since we ate it from the freezer, not really seasonal. Does it disrupt the natural rhythms of the season to eat frozen meat during the winter? Beef stew sure feels seasonal in January....
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