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Everything posted by Abra

  1. Abra


    Katie - the Joan Nathan recipe is upthread here. Beware, it makes an absolute ton. And since it's so delicious, it's hard not to eat a ton of it.
  2. Abra

    Fresh Pork jowl/cheek

    That sounds awesome. No pictures?
  3. I think you can just use Bitter Almond Essence or Oil. I can get it easily in stores here, since it's used a lot in Europe, but if you can't find it locally you can get it here from King Arthur.
  4. Abra


    I'll add my funny note, since I ended up making everything but hamantaschen. I made the Joan Nathan poppy seed filling, which is so good that it's hard not to eat it all up with a spoon. Fortunately, it makes an enormous amount - I halved the recipe and had at least a quart of filling. My carefully pinched hamantaschen flattened to disks in the oven, little poppy seed flying saucers. Next I tried pinwheels using the rest of the dough and some of the filling, which when sliced were ok, but nothing special. But the real hit was a kind of bread pudding I made with the poppy seed filling. We had some leftover panettone that needed using up, so I slathered the slices with the poppy seed goo than poured an egg and milk mixture over it all, addning no sugar since the filling is already quite sweet. Baked, cooled, and sliced, I served this to a group of French people who all went nuts over it. Really, you should make the filling even if you're not making hamantaschen, it's wonderful.
  5. Not being a pastry chef myself, I'd say that the answer to the different brownings of your apple tarts might be in the slicing. Your tart has some apple edges that look in danger of burning, while the rest looks reasonably well done. Your chef's tart looks more done overall, but with no burned spots, so I'd say that his apple slices were more even than yours, allowing him to get the tart browner without burning any bits. But for a person who never does pastry, I'd say your tarts look pretty darn good. How did they taste?
  6. We're going to be spending the summer back home in the US, and I have to admit that one of the big draws was the promise of getting reacquainted with my smoker. There's nothing like tending a smoker on a warm summer morning to make one glad to be a carnivore.
  7. Abra

    Fresh Pork jowl/cheek

    It's funny - I braise beef cheeks pretty often, but never pork cheeks. But when I do beef cheeks it's more like 8 hours in a slow oven than the two hours suggested above. But then, cows chew their cud, whereas pigs just...pig out...so maybe their cheeks have a much different level of tenderness. Buy that ticket!
  8. When I lived in California one time I was shopping in a Pan-Asian market, and had Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese groceries in my cart. The checkout guy looked at it and said "So, are you from Hawaii or what?"
  9. Abra

    Truffle storage

    Since you know there are mold spores in there already, and possibly bacteria as well, I absolutely wouldn't put them in an anaerobic environment by submerging them in oil. I'd freeze them for safety, if I didn't just toss them first.
  10. Abra

    Fresh Pork jowl/cheek

    I'd make guanciale with it, personally.
  11. Abra


    I've never made hamantaschen and haven't eaten them since I was a kid. But I have a potluck to go to tomorrow, a bag of really good poppy seeds in the freezer (why are French poppy seeds so much better than those I've had in the US?) and would like to use the Joan Nathan filling recipe posted above. I just don't know what dough to use, and want one that's foolproof, especially in light of the fact that French flour is somewhat different from American flour. Suggestions?
  12. Abra

    The Terrine Topic

    Oh dear, Nibor, I really don't know. The throat is just that, not the inside where you swallow, but the outer portion that hangs under the jaw of the pig. It's very fat, maybe as much as 85% fat, supposedly very flavorful, and from what I've read it's a principal ingredient in most French patés and sausages. It adds fat to the mixture that doesn't melt out in the cooking, thereby producing a creamy texture. Now that I have access to it I realize why terrines and patés I made in the US never had the "right" texture or mouthfeel. That said, American pigs all have throats, and that meat must be available somewhere. I'd start by asking a good butcher, and if you have no luck there, maybe make the rounds of some ethnic markets.
  13. Abra

    The Terrine Topic

    This past week I've been making a "the devil made me do it" terrine full of wild ingredients. Guinea fowl, pork throat, chestnuts, and a secret chocolate ingredient which I am loathe to disclose lest you all kick me out of eG. The recipe is long but not complicated, and you can find it here.
  14. Abra

    Savory Marshmallows

    Amidst all this technical discussion, am I the only one gagging over the idea of salmon with chocolate?
  15. Since it's poule au pot season, I made the CSWF recipe for the second time. I didn't have jambon de Bayonne this time, and used jambon cru instead, which wasn't quite as magical, but this year I made a great soup from the leftovers. Pictures and details are here. If you've never tried this recipe, and I see that I'm the only one that's posted here about it, you really should. It's absolutely wonderful.
  16. Abra

    Making Vinegar

    Oh no, not at all. You can be standing right next to a vinegar crock and have no idea it's even there. I've been sad all year because after I repatriated my mother to her original home, France, she croaked. After all those years in America, reportedly more than 40, a return to the old country proved too much for her. Or maybe it was the plane trip. In any case I'm starting over, although I haven't produced anything usable yet. The vinegar I started with I got from a nearby winery, and lo and behold, it has that acetone smell that I never encountered with my original mother. I'm just trying to wait it out, hoping for the best, but I'm still in mourning for my dear old mother.
  17. Thank you so much, that soup looks delicious.
  18. Abra

    Cocoa Powder

    I'm another Pernigotti person, or would be, if I could find it anywhere here in France. It's really weird that I could get it in Seattle and not here! I loved it a lot.
  19. You are supposed to cook it. Normally one simmers it for 30 minutes, whole. But I doubt that you'll die, in any case. Cook the rest before you eat it, that's my advice. Actually, now I remember that there's à cuire that needs to be cooked, which I think is the real thing, but I've also seen one that was supposed to be ready to eat. I didn't try that, but I'm guessing that if it seemed raw, it was the à cuire type.
  20. That soup really calls out to me, and the oven technique is one I don't know. Can you share the exact recipe? I'd love to make it while the weather is still cool. I live in the land of brandade de morue: it's somewhere on almost every restaurant menu, tons of jarred stuff (mostly yuck) in the supermarket, it's even available as a pizza topping, with or without chorizo, to which it's a natural partner (ask your chef). Yours looks very nice, especially with the croutons. I've never seen it served that way.
  21. Chevre frais is the by far lowest fat of any cheese in France. Get a copy of the current La Vie Pratique Gourmand at your supermarket, it has a calorie chart for many common French cheeses.
  22. Abra


    So if you really want to be lost in the deep countryside and happen upon a little gem, try La Bruyerette. That's the name of the hamlet, and the name of the restaurant, since it's the only business there. They raise all sorts of poultry and serve them at their charming small restaurant. The dinner menu is at 23 Euros and offers two or three choices per course, most poultry-based. The owners and servers are especialy warm and friendly, I can't imagine that tourists find them very often, and the food is deliciously rustic and homey. La Bruyerette is a bit northwest of Uzès, if you happen to be in that area. Pictures of the restaurant and our menu are here.
  23. I'm glued to your story too. As I'm currently living in France, it's interesting to me to note that these old French sauces really don't appear on the daily menus of small and simple places, even here. Probably they used to, but I haven't seen much real saucery here, outside of a few places.
  24. I don't know whether this will meet your criteria for out of the ordinaryness, but recently I made a truffle burger with a foie gras and truffle melt on top and served it with a truffle risotto. Pictures and more details are here. I also made some killer sandwiches of mi-cuit foie gras melted over truffle slices on lightly grilled toasts.
  25. MasterCook. I used it for that purpose when I was a personal chef, and also for a booklet I did of heart healthy recipes for a heart association. Their nutritionist checked it and praised my results. You do have to enter some things, but once they're in, you'll use them again when you change your menu. I still use MasterCook in my home life to store recipes, especially because it makes it very easy to search the recipes for a certain ingredient, whether I want to include or exclude it. Also, because it reliably scales recipes up or down. I just dumped all the recipes that come with it, because that's not the sort of cooking I do, and used the shell program to input all of the recipes I like. It's an easy copy and paste job.
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