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Posts posted by ghostrider

  1. No! No! A thousand times No!

    Missouri native. Parents loved the stuff, tried for years to get me to eat it. I learned to like broccoli, even asparagus, but never never could stomach the okra.

    OTOH I loved Brussels sprouts from the get-go. Go figger.

  2. Katherine, this is probably just pre-packaged meats, though, like whole turkeys and individually packed tenderloins, isn't it?

    Most of the meat I buy at the supermarket are just slabs of whatever. I don't even think the individually frozen pieces of chicken breast I buy are brined.

    I'd be really surprised if most of the meat at the supermarket is pre-brined. But maybe we're just shopping at different supermarkets.

    First, there's a simple answer to the original question: practice. After a while it becomes second nature.

    I would be very surprised if steaks & chicken pieces sold at your average supermarket have been brined. I would expect that I'd be able to taste it.

    After a heart attack last year, I drastically cut the salt in my diet. I'm allowed 2000 grams a day (approx 1 teaspoon). I keep strict track of what I eat & generally clock in at less than half that.

    Once you've gotten used to this low level of salt in your diet, any excess salt becomes almost painful to eat, it tastes quite vile. It's also very obvious, to say the least.

  3. T-Salon on 20th street between Fifth and Broadway

    I will second that recommendation, particularly if you're searching for Assam.

    McNulty, on Christopher St. west of Bleecker, is an institution, but with loose teas of varying quality.

    Ten Ran has some wondrous teas but I don't believe you'll find any Assams there.

    I personally am addicted to the Assam selection at Upton Tea. Since I don't drink coffee at all, I wake up with an Assam almost daily and go through a lot of it!

    Ordering teas over the Net can be dicey but Upton takes the guesswork out of it as well as anyone can, I think. Both the range of teas they offer & the overall quality are superior to anything I've been able to find in over 30 years in the NYC area.

    Simpson & Vail were my favorite city tea merchant in the 1970s, but they've been moving progressively further from NYC since then. Their Assam selection has improved in recent years tho!

  4. For leafy things and herbs, I've had some success with this method.

    Using a [dinner] fork, poke a lot of holes in both sides of a ziploc or other sealable bag. I use a gallon or quart size bag that will allow plenty of space for the greens.

    hey stayed fresher longer than usual.


    A few years ago, Ziploc was actually selling a product called "vegetable bags," their regular bags nicely perforated with regularly spaced little holes. They worked wonderfully.

    I started to run low last year & went out to buy a replacement box. Couldn't find them anywhere (north Jersey + a few NYC stores). I wonder if they were a flop. Shame because they really did the job.

    Has anyone seen these bags anywhere?

    BTW I found that they were also excellent for storing crusty French or Italian bread & maintaining the texture of both crust & interior. In the fridge. All you had to do was remember to pull the bread out an hour or so before eating & let it return to room temp.

  5. While changing trains in Boston after Xmas, noticed a Serenade Chocolate shop in South Station.

    I am a sucker for (a) dark chocolate and (b) hazelnuts combined with chocolate in almost any fashion. Serenade had some lovely looking dark hazelnut clusters. So I bought all that they had that afternoon(about 1/2 lb). Good move. Absolute heaven - deep chocolate flavor, &, thank goodness, not overly sweet, great touch of that bitterness which I personally enjoy.

    Can't compare with any of those NYC chocolatiers cuz I've never had 'em. But I would go for anything dark from Serenade again in a nanosecond. And have no doubt that I will at some point.


  6. Unfortunately. olive oils that are not extra virgin are also not cold pressed and therefore have been exposed to either heat or chemicals or both. I'd rather not eat those, so I use EV all the time. If I don't want the olive flavor, I go with something else. I'd love to see a cold pressed grapeseed oil  but haven't come across one so far.

    Color isn't an indication of an oil's quality. The bottlers can mess with the color easily. If they want the oil greener, they can press it with the leaves.

    True enough. I don't think Colavita does that, tho, since the color of their EV oils varies considerably. I'm assuming it's crop-dependent.

    The best oils I've ever had have been green (served in restaurants in Spoleto), so I keep hoping. That's why Coricelli is on my list (hop back to previous page for comment I added after your post above).

    P.S. If you check the igourmet link on the previous page, you'll find that cold pressed grapeseed oil. It ain't cheap tho!

  7. Interesting responses. I too am using Colavita right now for my EV (mostly for salads, dipping, occasional finishing), largely because I am partial to green oils & stumbled onto a nice batch of green Colavita last year & stocked up.

    Colavita seems one of the few producers to use clear bottles so that you can see the color of the oil you're getting. Probably not the best thing for the oil's shelf life but I like it.

    I'm also very fond of Monini's Fruttato EV. Nice & earthy. Been through several excellent bottles of that Goccia Umbra in the past few years also, it's another good one.

    Interesting you should mention Coricelli, foodie52, since they're next on my list to try when the Colavita runs low. Link here to several of their offerings - igourmet - which one do you have?

    For cooking, I usually use Carapelli - light for sauteeing, mild for my olio e aglio sauce - mainly because my supermarket always seems to run a great sale on the stuff every couple of months & I stock up. I don't often cook with EV because I don't want to overwhelm what I'm cooking. There's also the cost factor.

    I also keep peanut oil around for the more delicate types of fish.

  8. I can only conclude that there are way too many cookbooks on this planet.

    Seriously, folks who advocated using your library & just browsing bookstores are on the right track, I think. Look for cookbooks that make sense to you, explain things in intelligble terms, contain recipes & ideas that point towards the kind of food you want to see on your table.

    Don't assume that because a book is "hard" therefore it must be "good" & demands weeks of your time attempting to penetrate it.

    Similarly, don't assume that a book that might seem dense at first is not worth your time. Sometimes the effort is worthwhile.

    In the end it's all about feel & taste. And perhaps a bit of aroma.

  9. I use mine regularly for broiling fish. Thin filets - sole, flounder, what have you. No more than 10 minutes. Thicker cuts get baked at 350-400.

    I use a heavy nostick pan that has now seen better days & is on the verge of replacement, but that's another story. I got a good 3-4 years out of it.

  10. But if the whole center of the clove is green, whatever remains is too dried up from having served as a reservoir for the shoot that it's not worth using.

    I don't find that that's always true. Now, if the garlic is truly dessicated, I won't use it. But in my experience, having a green shoot doesn't necessarily mean that the rest of the clove is dehydrated.

    Sometimes? Yes. Always? No.

    As someone who makes pasta a olio e oglio at least twice a week, I must agree!

  11. Thanks for the writeup here! Sounds like the place would be worth an excursion.

    You may not have been paying close attention to this, but what was your take on the saltiness of the food?

    I'm on a strict low-salt diet, which makes going out BBQ a problem since that's hard to control in the kitchen. But I keep hoping.

  12. have you tried other online tea vendor's?






    Thanks for those recommendations! Special Teas & Kyela look particularly interesting to me. I've bookmariked their sites for future use.

    Here's a link to Upton just for the heck of it -

    Upton Tea Imports

    The challenge of buying tea on line is always that you can't see/feel/smell what you're getting until it arrives. Between the descriptions & photos & reviews at Upton, I can usually get a pretty good sense of whether I'm going to like a parrticular variety.

    I've also gotten some good teas from this merchant -


  13. The visions always begin in the same way, as I pull you from that cool, dark place where you rest. You are clothed in a raiment of ecru, perfectly molded to your smooth flowing curves. Carefully, gently, I remove your covering. Sometimes my desires increase my haste and your garment may tear. In the end, your glistening white flesh stands, completely revealed, in the soft evening light.

    And now: shall we dance a mincing adagio? Shall I then cast you onto the flames and swirl you into an ecstasy of oblivion?

    Shall I smack you smartly, perhaps bruising you, then use you as I must and cast aside your limp, spent body?

    Or shall I press you hard, again and again, and squeeze every last drop of sweetness into a bed of gold? Shall I then shower you with wondrous remnants of scent from field and forest, and warm you ever so slowly, until you give up your magical elixir, as precious as life itself?

    Whichever road we take this night, I know that, in the end, there will be no you, and no me, only us, as our essences mingle and join, and we again become one

    My sweet clove

    My garlic.

  14. A merchant from whom I used to buy Fortnum & Mason teas told me last month that F&M are no longer distributing their wares through other vendors, & will be selling them directly in the US henceforth.

    The implication was that, sooner or later, there'd be a US website.

    Now, teas, one of my favorite subjects........

    I gave up coffee about 25 years ago but have remained a diehard black tea drinker. Rarely go for flavored/spiced/herbal teas.

    These days, most of my teas come from Upton. Someone mentioned them above. They have a great website and a consistently superb quality. I generally have 5 or 6 of their Assams around for my morning tea, & a selection of Ceylons & Darjeelings & other teas from that general area for the afternoon.

    I drank a lot of Chinese teas for nigh on 20 years but then for some reason lost my taste for them. Have yet to figure out why. Maybe my tastes have simply become less subtle with age, I don't know.

    Now, we could have a lengthy discussion of which Assam gardens are the best, & whether a Ceylon Uva is superior to a Kandy, & so on. But I fear this would bore most folks to tears, so I'll stop. For now.

  15. The decor in Chatham is better? I thought that they'd done a pretty nifty job with the Montclair place. And there was something about the location near the top of that hill, just below the Art Museum..... I don't want to get all feng shuey & new agey, but that was a nice spot.

    Anyway you're making a good case for driving the extra miles to Chatham!

  16. Reading that web site is making me hungry. heheh.

    Ok, well I've had wiener schnitzel. That, I get. If y'all can recommend a good place in NYC that serves a passable version of CFS, I'm definitely in.


    When I lived in the West Village (going back about 15 years), there was a branch of the above-mentioned Cowgirl Hall of Fame (are they a franchise?) on Hudson St. that also did a very good version of CFS, complete with cream gravy & whopping mound of mashed potatos.

    Last time I was down that way (few years ago) they were still there. Maybe they're still there now.

    I can't claim to be at all passionate about the stuff - much too rich & heavy for my current tastes - but it was fun to try.

  17. As for eating the stuff: it most definitely works, perhaps a little too well. When you smoke it, the effects are immediate and you know when to stop (it doesn't mean you will stop, but you know you should). But when you eat it, it takes quite a while. Have a brownie. Man, these things aren't working. Have another brownie. And another. Uh-oh.

    So true.

    I made brownies to consume before David Bowie's Glass Spider Tour, being in a rather paranoid state of mind that year. Sauteed the stuff in butter before adding to the batter & baking. You could taste the stuff & the chocolate at roughly equal intensities.

    Had that fatal second brownie. By the time we got to the arena it felt like I was hooked up to electrodes from head to toe. When the Glass Spider appeared, I ran screaming from the arena & could not return. Listened to the entire show from the hallway, that was as much intensity as I could handle.

  18. Thanks for the updates on Corrados. Doesn't sound like they're worth a special trip, but if I'm in the area I should still stop in & poke around.

    Richfield Farms, another garden center in Clifton (!), has a small, seasonal produce section. It's clearly a sideline for them, but in the summer I've gotten some spectacular tomatos, peaches, beans, corn & berries there. 1138 Van Houten Ave.

    Last summer I discovered that our state has a whole network of little greenmarkets. Unfortunately it was too late in the season for me to be able sample any of them beyond the one in my town (Rutherford). We had only two farmers, but the quality was pretty high; they had the best lettuce & carrots, among other things, that I found anywhere all year.

    Below are links to two websites that I found useful in tracking down all the greenmarkets I never got to last year:

    Chef2Chef listing

    NJ Council of Farmers & Communities

    As you can gather, I'm definitely a greenmarket person. This time of year my produce comes from Stop&Shop in Lyndhurst and Whole Foods in Montclair. Whole Foods can be pricey, as I'm sure you all know, but on the other hand they sell my favorite mineral water (Gerolsteiner) for about half the price of any other store in the region, so things even out to some degree.

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