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Posts posted by ghostrider

  1. The ones I bought today, however, had an incredibly delicate flavor profile. The taste really surprised me as I had remembered them being blandly sweet without any of the winey complexity of a really great apple (imo).

    The texture, however, reminded me of why I never cared much for them to begin with.

    Personally I prefer an apple with crunch and heft (Braeburn, Pink Lady, Winesap, Macoun) to one that is lighter-bodied and crisper and wet in the mouth with lots of watery juice (Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp), if you know what I mean.

    It's just a personal thing. As of today I understand what so many people love about them, though I'll still take a Mutsu or even a Macintosh over one any day.

    I hope this makes sense.

    This is interesting - just tried my first Honeycrisps this week, since they were on sale at Whole Foods & I thought I'd see what they were about. Flavor: I couldn't have said it better - I got the blandly sweet version, not tthe delicate-flavor-profile edition. I suppose muich depends on where they're grown & when they're picked.

    Texture: biting into certain apples produces in me a sensation similar to scrapiing my fingernails on a blackboard. These Honeycrisps are that sort. Yikes. I won't be too eager to try them from other sources.

    I'm interested to see Macouns grouped with "crunch & heft" varieties and Fujis with "lighter bodied." From the ones I get around these parts I would characterize these two as the opposite, particularly Macouns, which I still love for their flavor.

  2. Coincidentally I got some pumpkin tortellini from Whole Foods salad bar last night. Sweet red peppers & some kind of light honey/orange sauce. I was concerned it would be too sweet & cloying but it wasn't, everything was nicely balanced.

  3. Late to the party here, but I will add that Belgiovine's in Montclair has fresh store-made pasta Thurs-Sun - fettucine / spaghetti / cavatelli, though not always all at the same time, but always the killer ravioli.

    I get 99% of my seafood from the Montclair Whole Foods & I've never gotten a bad item from them. But then I seem to have a good eye for the stuff.

  4. Many of us are less inclined to set aside a block of time to do shopping in bulk.  And for people who prefer to use the freshest possible ingredients, it is probably preferable to do shopping in smaller batches, perhaps stopping by a greengrocer or butcher on the way home, as French urbanites have long done.

    Probably true, but many in this region still do shopping in bulk. The shopping carts I see at our local supermarkets, & the lines of cars backed up right onto the highway waiting to get into the local Costco, testify to that.

    My own shopping habits were kind of ill-formed when I got out of college & wound up in NYC, but quickly gravitated to a Euro style centered around the greenmarkets. Since we moved to Jersey the greenmarket has dwindled to once a week. In the off season I supplant that with produce from a large produce market that's not far away, with guerilla runs to various supermarkets for poultry/seafood/meat & other items. I do bulk shopping only when dictated by need to replenish the cat food larder.

  5. There is a new coffee joint in Rutherford too, west side of Park Ave. midway up the strip between the station & the library.

    Sorry, I'm not a coffee person so the name hasn't stuck in my brain yet.

    Looks like a grassroots anti-Starbucks backlash. I noticed similar doings last time I was in St. Louis.

  6. One of the peculiarities of NYC economics is that while real estate prices are, well, through the roof, much food seems to be less expensive there than in other markets. Not bushels of potatoes, maybe, but certainly imported olive oil.

    Living just 8 miles west of the Hudson as I do, & still visiting NYC frequently after 20 years of living there, I have to say that that statement is almost categorically untrue when you're comparing NYC-NJ. With the NYC-Akron dichotomy, it probably is true.

    That Frantoia Barbera is one of my faves too. My current "standard" oil is Salvati, similarly flavored, also a fruttato, $13 / liter out here. (Now someone's gonna find it for cheaper in NYC & make me eat my words.) A caveat, though: Salvati recently switched from a dark green bottle to a clear one, an odd move. I don't know if that means a switch in the contents, I haven't yet tried one of the new bottles.

  7. At the Italian deli where I work, the owners (born in Bari, for whatever that's worth) make & sell fresh pasta 4 days a week. They routinely advise their customers that it will keep refrigerated for 2 days; if it needs to be kept any longer than that, it should be frozen after purchase.

    They've been in business for 25 years & have never had a complaint about this advice as far as I know.

    Storage: they sell the ravioli in covered cardboard boxes, cornmeal sprinkled on the bottom; other pastas are sold in plastic bags sealed with a twist-tie.

    In my experience the pasta is at its best the day of purchase; it's still good the next day but it seems to lose a bit of flavor & texture.

    So in your situation, I'd go with the "freeze it" bandwagon.

  8. A recent study at Rutgers has found that adding HFCS to carbonated drinks "makes them up to 10 times richer in harmful carbonyl compounds - elevated in people with diabetes and blamed for causing diabetic complications such as foot ulcers and eye and nerve damage" than similar drinks made with cane sugar.


    The article stresses that carbonyls have not been shown to cause diabetes itself. I also don't see an analysis of what consumption of this elevated level of carbonyls in a typical soft drink does to human physiology; perhaps that was in the full presentation.

    Still, this research seems worth considering.

  9. Owen (or anyone), any reason one might hit up Hot Truck instead of Louie's Lunch (Another truck mainstay on Cornell's campus)?

    More about the 2 trucks: http://cornellsun.com/node/23636

    Don't mean to break the flow here, but I can never let a reference to "The Truck" (as it was known back in the day when its formal title was Johnny's Pizza Truck) pass.

    I was there 1966-1970. Back then The Truck was more Italian oriented, while Louie's offered your basic burgers & dogs. The Truck was considered superior, though Louie's got a lot of our business as upperclassers a/c location. Louie's seems to have expanded its offerings considerably since I was there.

    The Sun is a bit misleading in these sentences: "The original menu was much more conventional than the one that graces the side of the truck today. Instead of “PMP,” the menu read “Hamburger” and “Hotdog.”" That may have been true of the actual original menu from 1960, but by 1966 PMPs, MBCs & Hohos were favorite featured items. (The WTF - term & sandwich - certainly hadn't been invented then.)

    Thanks to Owen for those photos. I'm wondering if the Fall Creek House, another favorite destination, is still around.

  10. . . .Producing a video that intentionally and unjustly depicts our company in a negative light, and utilizing company facilities without management knowledge of the specific content involved, is obviously a blatant violation of our policy. . . .

    So, they wouldn't have an issue with a video that justly depicts the company in a negative light?

    Food for thought.

  11. Two notes to add here -

    I've dscovered that Utz chips are a staple at the Dollar Tree chain, at least here in NNJ - i.e., you can get a big bag for cheaper & closer to expiration date than in your supermarket.

    While in Maine earlier this summer, I could not find my personal fave Humpty Dumpty chips in the stores. This was very distressing. A little Web research shows that this once outstanding Maine firm was bought by Canadians last year. Merde! Is nothing sacred?

  12. I was eating in a regular pizzaria tonight in Florence (regular meaning not fancy, 85% pizza, no Wolfgang Puck frou-frou stuff) and I was once again struck by the fact that there was/were no black pepper mill(s) but there was a rare item in my experience, a bowl of red pepper flakes....

    Second query, for years the primary delivery system for hotness (in my recollection) has been whole red peppers in bottles of olive oil, but tonight I got the real, un-oiled thing as flakes, just as one would, again, in the US, by those same Italian-Americam immigrants.

    Point of clarification - do you mean red pepper flakes literally - e.g., no seeds? Because in the US you always seem to get that flake-&-seed mixture, and I get tired of picking out those damn seeds all the time. :laugh:

  13. We never had bread with dinner. (Lunch/sandwiches, yes. Rye bread or pumpernickel.) Sometimes had biscuits & gravy or cornbread for the starch when appropriate. My father set the rules in our house. He was old enough to be my grandfather, so we are talkiing turn of the 19th->20th century Missouri Dutch/German/Scots sensibilities here.

    I was surprised, on meeting my wife's family, to find that they always served warm rolls as a part of every holiday meal; I'd never encountered that custom before. That somehow was part of an East Coast Irish Catholic tradition. Or perhaps it was simply part of 1950s-1960s American custom & the marketing genius of Pillsbury.

  14. Somewhere on TV in the last week, there was an NYC chef who did his veal by pressing each side of the bare cutlet into a bowl of crumbs, then dipping it in another bowl of beaten egg (I refuse to call it an "egg wash" because the idea is not to wash anything off) and tossing it immediately iinto a hot frying pan. The result certainly looked appetizing. Apparently there's more than one way to do it.

    Any hints for baking breaded fish or chicken rather than frying? 

    Theoretically this method can result in something tasty & crunchy, but regrettably, that has not been my experience.

    pat w.

    I've been cooking fish filets & steaks this way for years:

    Pre-heat your oven to 400.

    Lay the fish out flat - plate, wax paper on countertop, whatever works for you. Drizzle a litttle oil onto each piece; rub the oil around wth your fingers to make sure that the pieces are completely coated. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the fish (I use a tablespoon); again with your fingers, spread the crumbs out and pat them into the fish until you have a thin, even coating. Turn the pieces over and repeat the procedure.

    Lay the fish out in your baking pan (or on a rack inside the pan), then put the pan into the hot oven. Thin filets (sole, flounder, turbot) will take about 7-8 minutes. Thicker pieces (halibut, haddock) go about 10 minutes per inch. Your nose & the sounds emanating from the oven can be additional guides to when the fish is done.

    I like peanut oil for its neutral flavor. I'm sure that there are other oils which would work equally well. I've never been happy with the result when I've tried this approach with olive oil, though; perhaps it doesn't survive well at 400. Nor have I been able to get chicken or veal to turn out well.

    This method produces a truly lightly breaded fish. Of course, you can also sprinkle herbs over the fish with the bread crumbs when the mood strikes.

  15. From Poland Spring alone I've recently seen four new packaging concepts. First, there's the stackable gallon. Well, it's actually three liters. But the shape is brilliant. It's a cylindrical bottle with an indentation in the bottom that corresponds exactly to the cap. There's also a handle-type grabbable area molded into the cylinder. Then there's the new 8-ounce bottle designed especially for children. The cap can't come off, and the water is fluoridated. Then you've got your "Grip 'n' Flip" 700ml "sport-top bottle." I don't even know what it does but it looks cool. And finally, who but the Grinch himself wouldn't love the new Aquapod? I have no idea what it's for, but it's awfully cute.

    The water people are so much more clever about packaging than the soda people, and I say that knowing full well that they're actually the same people.

    The Aquapod isn't exclusive to Poland Spring; we first saw it in May, out in St. Louis, containing some other brand. (It may have been another Nestle brand, I don't remember what it was.)

    We stuffed the empties into various corners of our suitcases for my wife to use as bud vases. Do we get any Green credits for that? :laugh:

    Here in Jersey the Poland Spring Aquapods go for $3.29 per 8-pack, while you can generally find 24-packs of the old-fashioned 1/2-liter oz bottles for $3.99. That's marketing genius indeed.

  16. gallery_50527_4885_64496.jpg

    Ar these the tongs to which you referred?  My wife has had these for many years and she insists that they simply predate the ubiquitous tongs found in every kitchen nowadays.

    My personal, ancedotal experience is that your wife is correct. In the 1950s those were the ubiquitous tongs, at least in my parents' house; there was no other kind.

  17. Mine has been unrefrigerated ever since I got it...just like my butter.

    Was that yesterday or 5 years ago?

    I too have had the flavor deteroriate after a year or so, even in the fridge. Never suffered ill effects but it certainly got to tasting vile.

  18. I always measure the spices for Indian dishes since I do those from recipes. I don't prepare them often enough for that kind of balancing act to have become instinctual. I may adjust the quantities based on experience but the process always begins with measurement.

    I also always measure the quantity of tea I throw into the pot, although I do that 2 or 3 times every day. Brewing good tea is more craft than art. Of course, I know from long experience whether a particular tea requires a heaping teaspoon, a level spoonful or less. I also time each pot, and again know which teas require 2 minutes of steeping vs. 5 or 6.

    Ratios of grains & water, always. I don't believe in "two fingers of water."

    Finally, I always measure the salt that goes into my morning oatmeal. Since I went on my low-salt diet, my sense of taste has become hypersentitized to salt, so I want to control the amount for reasons of flavor as well as health. I have one of those silly measuring spoon sets marked Dash, Pinch & Smidgen, which is actually quite practical in this context.. One pot of oatmeal gets one Smidgen of salt.

    I just determined that there are approximately 24 smidgens per teaspoon. It's difficult to be precise with water due to the surface tension and I don't have the patience to mess with salt right now.

  19. Miele's in Verona (across the street from Amazing Hot Dog). Small casual italian, family owned. Best chicken parm around. Head chef Stephen will take care of you. I've been eating there since 1990 and it's always been consistently good.

    Miele's buys their ravioli from Belgiovine's in Montclair, which is why that is consistetntly good.

  20. gallery_28660_4947_12644.jpg

    Your stove remiinds me that the only gas stoves I've encountered in Maine are in isolated camps where they use bottled propane for all forms of heat. Did they not run gas lines because the ground is frozen so much of the year? I know the seasonal drill with burials in Maine so that would make some sense.

    BTW your report from the lobstering trip was terrific. Coming on the heels of a visit with wife's cousin the lobsterman & much talk of traps & sink lines & the ongoing Monhegan vs. The Coast war - ah, it's like I can still feel the fog on my face.

  21. You know, when I think the words "Casco Bay" I think of wool, because of those beautiful eponymous woven capes.  Yet I don't recall seeing sheep in your last blog, and you don't seem to eat a lot of lamb.  So, what's up with tat?

    Those capes seem to be the result of a clever marketing scheme. I'm a fellow "from away" married to a Maine girl for 35 years & have spent a lot of time there & have never heard of those capes. So I googled. They seem to be made by http://www.cascobaywoolworks.com/history.php whose website says "Casco Bay Wool Works has a wonderful and charming history of producing its high quality, hand crafted capes and shawls on the magnificent rocky coast of Maine" but fails to say another word about that wonderful & charming history.

    Anyway we're getting away from food here. Maine is not without sheep but they aren't often found near the coast, is my impression. I'll leave it to johnnyd to recount what Mainers do with their sheep.

  22. Mmmmmmm, looking forward to another week of fine Maine seafood, at least virtually.

    I've been surprised that, as far as I've been able to determine, there's been no coverage on eG of the controversy over the proposed new lobster trap line regs that threaten to kill Maine's lobster industry, or at the very least make it much harder for lobstermen & lobsterwomen to earn a living. Maybe it's too political. Or maybe you can throw some light on the issues within the context of a foodblog.

  23. There are various enterprises such as the Rt. 17 Farmer's Market in East Rutherford , which do not feature individual vendors, rarely have locally grown stuff, but generally deliver good produce at great prices. They also have bakery goods, oils & vinegars & nuts, but no meats / seafood.

    I've been to the RTM in Philly a # of times, & the Rt. 17 FM isn't comparable, but it is indoors & in North Jersey.

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