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Everything posted by Abra

  1. Thanks for all that, I'd somehow missed the original thread. When you say you found it on the Gambero Rosso website, do you mean gamberorosso.it? I see a wine-based site there...
  2. Bingo on the recognition value thing. In fact, I recently read in the paper a call for a similar tax here on Coke, for the same reason.
  3. Thanks, Tupac - I was starting to think that no one here knows Genova!
  4. The precautionary principle exists in the US too, but it's generally applied to the benefit of the producer. The idea of the WTO as a scientific arbiter is laughable, or would be if it weren't so tragic. If you look here, on the WTO's own website, nowhere in their Trading Principles is concern for the environment or public health to be found. In fact, according to the same website here, there is no specific agreement on environment. As to health, look here to see that they state flat out that they do not make official pronouncements to protect public health. In fact, they state that governments are free to set their own standards.
  5. We're thinking of taking the train from Nice to Genova next month for a little Valentine's Day celebration. We've never been to Genova, and in fact have spent very little time in Italy. We're much more for beautiful traditional food than starred extravaganza stuff, and I'd love to get some recommendations.
  6. The problem with Fat Guy's argument is that he apparently assumes, as we'd all like to, that "science" is some kind of neutral reality. In fact "scientific" pronouncements are often profoundly influenced by politics and policy. The WTO is using some sort of "scientific" claim to pursue its goals, which do not include environmental and health protection. Witness their stand on GMO. The French vehemently and sometimes violently oppose GMO products, and I'm sure they're not the WTO's favorite country when it comes to these matters. I've never seen anywhere such an obsession with the cleanliness and purity of food products as I have since I've been living in France. People here really do not want any mystery components in what they eat. And I don't think they give a flying flip for the WTO's "science."
  7. Tonight we went to a super nice place in Villeneuve les Avignon, La Guinguette du Vieux Moulin. It's a charming place, right on the Rhône waterfront, with music and dancing some evenings, traditional fare, and really friendly and efficient service. The dinner 3 course menu is at 27 Euros, or if two people order it it's 29 per person which includes a half bottle of a quite decent wine. The andouillette is the best I've ever had, a tarte of tuna, lemon and tomato was really startlingly good, as was a beet carpaccio with a hint of cinnamon and pineapple. It's very close to the Avignon TGV station, a place we visit often, and we never know where to eat when we're around Avignon. Now we do, and we'll certainly be going back, especially to sit on their pretty terrace over the water.
  8. Abra

    Truffle myths

    It's truffle time in the south of France, and so just today I had black truffles grated onto pizza, and atop a pasta. They were warmed by the food, but clearly hadn't been cooked in any way, and they were absolutely delicious. Pictures are here, and you can see clearly that they're just grated on after cooking. I brought a few truffles home with me, so I'm in search of the best recipes to take full advantage of them. Any suggestions?
  9. It's so tempting to "cook along" as that menu looks really French. Is anyone planning to make it all?
  10. No, poach whole, let cool until you can handle it, then peel off the skin and trim. I think it would be imposible to do that before cooking. Then I let it sit in the fridge overnight, to get nice clean slices. In that sense it's a perfect restaurant dish, since it can just be finished in sauce à la minute. edit to say: sorry, brain fart alert! I meant sauce gribiche, just slipped a cog, although ravigote would be good too.
  11. Abra

    Fig Vinegar

    If it's fig balsamic, it's a real delicacy on mâche or arugula, and also as part of a glaze for roasted pork.
  12. Perfect timing, as I'm poaching a veal tongue at this moment, to be served with an orange gastrique. Have you considered sauce ravigote? I think the capers and cornichons wuold be a nice compliment to the rest of your menu. The recipe I'm using calls for 1 hour 15 minutes for a veal tongue, although I'm letting it go longer, and suggests adding 45 minutes to that for a beef tongue. That's the poach, in a court bouillon, then you slice and give it a little time in the oven with the sauce.
  13. Am I the only person who worries about plastics leaching into my food? That clingfilm idea gives me the willies.
  14. Thanks so much, it's been a pleasure following along!
  15. Abra

    Lechona Tolimense

    Wow, as always, I'm just waiting for an invitation to your house! That's really beautiful, and it looks unlike anything I've ever cooked or eaten. What's pennyroyal taste like?
  16. Well, since France is on neither coast, let me tell you, just for fun, some of the combinations on the menu of our local Rapido Pizz, which delivers on a scooter within 15 minutes of your order: There are Halal pizzas, which include combinations like kebab, Emmenthal, tomato, onions and olive, or one with merguez, tomato, onions, olives, and crème fraîche. There are the Northern pizzas, like the Alsacienne with bacon, onions, emmenthal, olives, and crème fraîche, or the Savoyarde, which is the same but with the addition of potatoes. And then, in the "traditional" category, there's chorizo with tomato, Emmenthal, crème fraîche and olives, or brandade (a salt cod purée) with the same other stuff, or the Nîmoise with chorizo and brandade and the same other stuff. And then, look out Sam, there's a pizza called the Ecstasy with tomato, Emmenthal, chorizo, ham, and pineapple, and the Tropical with tomato, Emmenthal, mushrooms, bacon, and pineapple. Weirdly, there's also a "Texas pizza" with tomato, Emmenthal, merguez, chorizo, and crème fraîche. But of course, my beloved Roquefort with figatelli, which is usually pork liver sausage from Corsica (as opposed to pork blood) doesn't come on a scooter. We have to drive to get it, and it's worth evey litre of diesel to do so.
  17. I wish she'd posted her recipe, but since she didn't mention it, I have to assume that she used the regular amount of sugar. I've had quite a few savory macaroons here in France, where they're very trendy as mise en bouche in restaurants. Without exception I found them much too sweet to qualify as a savory, even though I like sucré/salé a lot. The weirdest one was black olive, which was really sweet and briny at the same time. I've been assuming that it's a structural issue, that you need the sugar to get the cookie part right, but I think it's pretty peculiar.
  18. Are you sure that's a mushroom???
  19. The best pizza in my current life in France, and I love it with a passion, consists of a thin crust with crème fraîche, roquefort, coppa slices, and figatelli slices, cooked in a wood fire oven. It's so good that I never even try any other kind, although many others look excellent too. It's a transcendant combination.
  20. Just to add that everyone can order piment d'Espelette from Biperduna via their website. Tell Maialen I sent you. And no kidding, it's really nice on cassoulet.
  21. Ok, I'll start the eye-pulling! I love all sorts of chiles, from the hottest to the mildest, and I use them a lot in cooking. I think piment d'Espelette is particularly wonderful, with a special flavor profile that's similar to Aleppo pepper, warm and fruity. As I learned when I wrote an article about it for the July 2008 issue of Chile Pepper magazine, and for which I travelled to the Pays Basque and observed/interviewed a grower/producer extensively, if you cook with the piment d'Espelette, you're wasting it. You need to sprinkle it into the dish at the very last moment of cooking, or even after cooking, to retain its special flavor and warmth. And you're right that the quality is uneven. Those who want the good stuff would be wise to get it from Biperduna, where a couple of extra steps in the processing make for a really delicious product. And I love all sorts of beans, and cook with them extensively too. Rancho Gordo's are the best beans I've ever found in the US, and I can't say that I've ever found anything better here in France. That said, I'm with you 100%, P'ti, when you say that Tarbais beans aren't the best for cassoulet. I'd rather use soissons or gigantes here, or RG cannellini in the US. I like the firmer, larger beans, since after all, it's really a bean dish, although it has a tendency to be touted as a meat dish. And a dash of piment d'Espelette sprinkled on a plate of cassoulet is a very good thing too!
  22. Buy your beans from Rancho Gordo and you'll always have fresh beans, not to mention the most delicious beans ever.
  23. Yum, my kind of food! Is it at all scary to be in Mumbai right now?
  24. Abra

    Eggs in stuffing?

    I've never made stuffing without eggs, and frankly I don't see what holds it together if you don't use eggs. That said, I make a dressing that's part cornbread, part wheat bread, and unless you use a fluffy Wonder bread type of bread, it shouldn't be gummy. I think of sogginess as a function of how much broth is added, as opposed to being the result of the addition of eggs.
  25. Cassoulet can be, and often is, heavy and stodgy and bland. I have to say that the two best cassoulets I've had have been the two I've made here in France, and neither used the iconic Tarbais beans. Neither one had confit, either, as outrageous as that sounds. One was a product of the butcher selecting for me everything pork that he thought should go into a cassoulet and then my using what seemed like an unreasonable amount of garlic, and the other is my current favorite, the Catalan version from Cooking of Southwest France. But no matter what recipe you use, you really do have to like beans.
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