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Posts posted by SusanGiff

  1. Every year I swear that I will NOT make my mother's orange jello mold, and yet not five minutes ago, there I was arranging canned mandarin orange slices in a pretty circle at the bottom of the ring. Next up: making three boxes of orange Jello and to THAT adding a pint and half of orange sherbet. This is a SIDE dish, and a darned good one; weirdly enough, it's kind of tasty even when it melts into the gravy or falls on top of the slices of turkey.

    And to think my husband grew up without so much as a sweet potato at his Thanksgiving table. What can I say? Unlike my family (New York Jews who raised us in Tennessee), they're savory people.


  2. I've been making tiny changes with each loaf (I've probably made 6 or 7 by now). Yesterday, I dialed the oven up to 500 instead of my usual 450; the loaf went into a Lodge cast iron dutch oven. The top was gorgeous--brown and crackly--but the bottom burned so badly I had to cut it off before eating. Anyone else have this problem? Any way to avoid it? Might it be prevented by using enameled cast iron instead? I might have left the loaf in too long, but I got the sense the burning happened pretty early on, since the top didn't get black.

    FWIW, I've topped a couple of these loaves with a scattering of sesame seeds--as Borat would say, "Very nice."


  3. I'm jealous of your itinerary, and I live 10 miles from NYC! I really must vacation there someday...


    PS: Your snack choices are inspired. If you're anywhere near Madison Square Garden (and I don't know why you would be), you might pop into Pizza Suprema on 8th Ave. at 31st St. A very nice slice indeed.

  4. Re: storing the bread: I put half a loaf in a ziploc bag for a day or two. It didn't stale, but the crust softened considerably and was difficult to chew. The good news: For dinner, I put the loaf in the oven for maybe 10 minutes and my husband actually said, "Why did you buy this bread? Don't you still have the bread that you made?" Yes, friends, it was that good. I'm loving this recipe. IN fact, I'm obsessed with it.


  5. May I ask a total amateur question that possibly belongs in another thread?

    Is there a connection between this super-long rise and the method of baking the bread? In other words, could you use a different bread recipe and also bake that in a hot pot for a crunchy crust? Or is the high water content here necessary to get the amount of steam you need for the crunch?



  6. If you think your LC pot is clean, just wait until it sits in a 450 oven for 45 minutes -- empty.  The boy earned $2.00 by taking bar keepers friend to it.  I'm embarrassed to show the photo of the pot.

    No kidding! I made a loaf yesterday and for a while I was afraid I'd completely destroyed the color of my lovely yellow pot. Then I had to go to the Le Creuset website for care instructions, fill both the pot and the sink--because the outside was messier than the interior--with a bleach/water solution and go to a movie while it all soaked. Now it's clean, in time for me to start my second loaf. If I stick with this recipe, I may have to buy a cast-iron dutch oven just for this bread.

    Which was, as others have said, delicious, with a terrific crunchy crust, but a little too wet inside. I'm not a good bread baker, and this is so easy that I'll probably keep making it anyway. For the batch I'm making now, I upped the flour by half a cup (haven't gotten into weighing yet). I let it rise longer than the first batch, but it actually seems even soupier than the first loaf I made. There was just no way to place it seam-side down for the second rising, because there was no way to make a fold or a seam. So we'll see in a couple of hours.


  7. I'd definitely put lunch or dinner at Le Bernardin on the list. And Kee's Chocolates if you're in the neighborhood. (Also, as I recall, you like Pierre Marcolini chocolates--they have a retail outlet on either Park or Madison.)


  8. If you have a smaller group of 8 or 10, you actually could hit the downtown John's, which is a much more "New York" experience (although if last weekend was any indication, you'll have to wait in line longer than you would uptown). FYI, my family and I went to the uptown John's pre-theater a few weeks ago, and while the pizza wasn't CLOSE to as good as downtown, the service was very quick and friendly. So a good place if you need to eat before a show.

    Ollie's Noodles, a Chinese place, isn't too bad with a crowd of high school kids--the Times Square one is loud and fun and fast, although, again, hardly the best Chinese food in town.

    Do avoid Mars 2010, if anyone recommends it. It's really terrible. The Hard Rock Cafe, though, has surprisingly decent food, I've found. I haven't been the the TS one, though.

    And for a genuine New York pre-, post-theater experience with excellent, albeit expensive, Jewish deli/coffee shop food and classic surly New York service, definitely try the Cafe Edison, in the Edison Hotel on 47th between Bway and 8th. Just go into the hotel if you don't see the sign. You can get any number of sandwiches, burgers, etc. But do make them try the chopped liver and the matzo ball soup. So good.

    Have fun! They're lucky to have a chaperone who won't let them stick to the old familiars.


  9. I took my kids and a friend of theirs in the spring to try the brick oven pizza. It was good, but the service was odd, to say the least: There were five of us, and even though the restaurant was virtually empty (I think it was about 6 pm), the hostess tried to seat us at a four-top and seemed puzzled as to why I would ask for something bigger. Then the owner (I think) was snapping at one of the waitresses within our earshot. Kind of unpleasant. Probably won't go again.

  10. This sounds great. Can you tell us a little more about the auction grounds--eg, is it open every Saturday? Any admission fee for the grounds before you can get to the good eats?

    Thanks from a Southern-food fan.

  11. I personally think the Upper Montclair location would make an excellent Wawa market, and do a better job of serving the community's needs. Still overpriced and incomplete. I live five minutes away, so it's my destination for a carton of milk or a last-minute ingredient. But I try to avoid it otherwise.

    As for the Verona store, some improvements have been made, but other changes are just bizarre. Did they do even one focus group? I certainly would have volunteered, and told them that I doubt we're the only family that buys both Kashi and Froot Loops, and so would appreciate not having to stop in two different cereal aisles every time I go shopping. Ditto dairy (I buy organic eggs but not organic milk), frozen foods (Amy's and Bird's Eye), etc. What they've done, for those of you lucky enough not to have to shop there, is put ALL the natural/organic foods in one groovy, we're-so-aware section of the store. It's completely ridiculous. I doubt that anyone who buys only natural/organic foods is going to shop there, and it leaves the rest of us mixed shoppers spending far too much time searching for stuff.

    Also, they were giving out samples of cheese in their new "gourmet" cheese section, and when I asked the woman behind the counter what the cheese was (because it wasn't labeled), she said "goat." Look, I don't mind if a clerk in a store doesn't know one goat cheese from the next, but I do mind if that store is touting its gourmet chicness at gourmet prices.

    Sorry to sound so cranky, but my washing machine is broken. And I don't understand why this area can't support ONE GOOD GROCERY STORE!!!! I don't even live in NYC, and I still have to make three stops to get all the ingredients for one relatively simple dinner.


  12. Hi. I've been hitting the book off and on for the last week. I started with the World Peace cookies, which were pretty easy to make and came out nearly as described in the book. Warning: they are INTENSELY chocolatey, too much so for my family (although not for me), so I still have half a batch in the freezer. If you're baking for a crowd, be aware that most people will not want to eat more than one at one sitting. Seriously. They're that rich. On the other hand, if you're serving a group of die-hard chocoholics, this is the one.

    My second foray was the blueberry cake with cinnamon crumb topping--fantastic! I substituted pecans for the walnuts, in part because I was feeling too lazy to chop my walnut halves, in part because I really like the blueberry/pecan combo. I used frozen blueberries that we'd picked earlier in the summer, and they worked fine. Dorie writes that this cake is best on the day it's made, which is true, but that led me to believe that it'd be only so-so by day two. Wrong--it was still good, and still very moist, on day four! (The fact that it was still around on day four shouldn't be taken as a sign of resistibility--it's just that my husband and I are the only ones who were eating it, and much as I love to bake and LOVE to eat baked goods, I have to resist for the sake of my wardrobe, self-esteem, etc.)

    Yesterday I made the double-apple bundt cake for a Rosh Hashona dinner tonight. I used pecans (recipe recommends pecans or walnuts), and toasted them for extra crunch. For some reason (maybe Dorie can explain here?), the recipe recommends removing it from the pan after five minutes. When I did that, half the darned thing stayed in the pan. Distinct silver lining here: I got to dig in, and it was very tasty. I made another one last night, this time buttering and flouring the pan (which was non-stick) and leaving the finished cake in for more like 10-15 minutes. It dropped out like a dream, and if it's as good as the first effort, should be a big hit.

    I'll try to post a picture after I've drizzled a bit of frosting on tonight.

    So far, I'm three for three with these recipes, with many, many more on my list to try. An excellent addition to the cookbook shelf.


  13. Is this going to work the way some other baking threads have (I'm thinking of "Baking with Julia," which I followed but didn't join) in which the group picks a recipe to try and reports on the results? Or you just going to have at it?

    I bought the book last week and am overwhelmed by choice, so I wouldn't mind if someone else decided for me! Many, many of the recipes look really tempting. I'd pretty much decided to start with the World Peace Cookies, but I could certainly be swayed by some other consensus of opinion.


  14. How did I miss this thread?

    I like to combine my two favorite international foods by spreading a decent layer of Nutella on top of a plain McVitie's Digestive. Works fine on graham crackers, too, but the dish loses some of its exotic appeal.

  15. Ditto. Holsten's ice cream is just miles better, and you can get a mean classic coffee shop sandwich there, too. I've found Applegate to be overpriced and cheap with its ingredients (from butterfat to chips). Never understand the crowds, except that it's fun to go to the little red barn.

  16. Oh, man, you're in for such a treat! Right in SW Harbor is Beal's Lobster Pound, which we actually enjoyed more than Thurston's when we went last year. It's just basically a dock on the water, but the lobster was really, really good. There was also a place right at the bridge from Ellsworth over to the island that supposedly has good lobster.

    We also went to Red Sky, a pretty upscale and quite excellent place on Clark Pt. Rd. in SW. You can't miss it--right off of Main St. However, my number one non-lobster recommendation has to be XYZ in Manset, about a 10 minutes drive away, which may be the best Mexican restaurant I've ever been to (bear in mind I don't live in LA and haven't traveled in Mexico, either, so my comparisons are other not-completely-authentic Mexican places). Very, very good, very pretty, and they're famous for their Margaritas.

    I found that with the exception of Bar Harbor, you couldn't go wrong around there food-wise. Almost every time we stopped in for any snack or meal, we were impressed.

    Have a great time. It's a beautiful place.


  17. We went a couple of nights ago. The service and pacing were terrific (I mention this because the Star-Ledger critic had a problem with both), but the food was uninspiring. A very heavy menu for summer, for starters--it was difficult to find anything that suited that hot evening. I had the white asparagus soup with morels and a special, diver scallops with a curry sauce and vegetable couscous. My husband had the duck entree (sorry, spotty memory on the preparation here). The soup was pleasant, but mostly an upscale cream of mushroom; no asparagus flavor in evidence to me. Ditto the scallops--they were exactly what you'd expect them to be, well prepared but fairly uninteresting. My husband's duck was terrific, though. We normally order at least one dessert, but we were quite full, and, like the rest of the menu, the desserts sounded just dull and almost retro-French: profiteroles, maybe creme brulee, a chocolate tart.

  18. I meant no harm! I absolutely love Blu and think that it's by far the best restaurant in Montclair, but as someone who goes there often (that was probably my 6th visit), I began to wish he'd at least shake up the menu. And I can only report what actually happened: In the past, first-timers I've taken agreed that the food was phenomenal. The last time my friends just shrugged. Maybe it was just an off night, but another pal who goes there as often as I do (which is as often as we can) had the same experience on a different night. I'm just going to give it a little rest and see what happens.

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