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Everything posted by johnnyd

  1. IN CURRENT ROTATION: Smirnoff Bacardi Gold Barbancourt Herradura Anejo Sauza Hornitos Tyrconnell Irish Single Malt (this is a bargain) John Powers Tanqueray Lillet Blond Martini&Rossi Cachaca (3 kinds!) Medronhos (Portuguese brandy) Poire William Pernod Hartley's Amontillado/Fino Courvoisier Various Sakes (I'm sorry: Saketinis rock!) Florio Marsala Bitters, yup, yup... LOVE the Scrabble and Crown Royal gift idea! Get the little felt bag embroidered for a few bucks more.
  2. History of Food is an excellent book, a must-have for our crowd. Picked it up for $15 at borders in April. In the same vein, I wonder why some things are missing the mark: I worked on an island in the Gulf of Maine for a time and I expected a rich selection of fish at the one market there. There was only frozen Halibut from Alaska! I'm smack in the middle of the seafood breadbasket of New England!!! Turns out there is no demand. Most of the islanders don't like fish! I figure the taste for it is a victim of dwindling stocks or maybe too young a gastronomic tradition, say, 3 or 4 generations. Too many potatos? Makes you wish the Indians won...
  3. Hey there K, Where is this place??? Did the trout man define which days he comes down? Sounds like a great idea. People are catching stripers like crazy at the mouth of the Saco river and Higgins Beach I hear. Could be a good year! Johnnyd S. Portland add: The local pea harvest is underway. They are incredibly delicious. Don't miss out, it's fleeting.
  4. I ran an oyster bar from a restored wooden lobsterboat for three years. Every spring I'd paint the hull and cabin, oil the brightwork, scrub the stainless steel barsink and worktable, then make sure the bilge was spotless. Before opening a bit after Memorial Day, I'd invite the State health inspector down to the dock for my annual inspection. She was very nice, and incredulous that anyone would invite her over for an inspection. I would always fail one point: no screens. I had a mobile food service license, designed for outdoor fairs and such, and when they're all lined up at a carny, the flies get pretty bad. I always passed the inspection in spite of that one demerit, but she and I agreed screens would take away from the aesthetic. I solved any interest insects would have in my seafood and work area by taking a lemon wedge and, pressing firmly, running it around the perimeter of the insulated sink and table. It seemed to create an invisible wall. While flies and some bees bothered sloppy boaters I was insect-free, thank god! Oysters, clams and shrimp served outside can be dicey. My workspace, not only really cool looking in that rustic, Mainey way, was kept absolutely clean, inspiring confidence in my customers. Those lemons saved the day. The health inspector happened to love oysters, especially the local Damiriscottas, and brought her whole family down to the marina on Fourth of July. What a testimonial!
  5. I used to live in the Algarve in the 70s and 80s but I hear it's been way over-developed. One place that is truly magical is the mountains north of Lisbon where the royalty whiled away hot summers: SINTRA. I'm sure those who live there now will weigh in with more current recomendations for food but Seteais in Sintra is really something to see. It's about 45mins from Lisbon and quite a car-ride if I recall. October is beautiful there. I'm jealous...
  6. johnnyd

    Guava Paste

    The round goiabada is definitely better - more guava and less sugar. It also seems to keep in the fridge forever. I've half a round tin that I will attempt... ...because I think it sounds sensational.
  7. MB, I find it very cool that I can hear your voice when reading your posts, I have no idea what anyone else on our board sounds like! 1) Do you throw a couple corks into your water for squid and where/when did this technique come about? 2) Saw your show on tripe and you added a bit of vanilla (and something else) in your broth for simmer. Whassup with that?! How/when/where did you figure that out? Thanks for joining us this week. Take a break when your fingers get tired typing. JohnnyD South Portland, ME
  8. No fair. You have to give us something. Sorry about that! It's in Japanese but my favourite scene is when a gangster lay dying and his last words were about hunting boar that fed only on yams so when you pulled out their intestines... "they were like yam sausages!" He then laughs himself to death. Another good quote from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" where her family stares at a bunt cake the new in-laws brought for the reception and says... "...they...they brought us a cake with a hole in it!"
  9. johnnyd

    Guava Paste

    "Goiaba" = Guava "Goiabada" = Guava paste It is normally paired with a slice of cream cheese and is one of the national deserts in Brazil. My sister in law, of Irish descent, scoffed at this idea when I served it after a Brazilian meal, then found the combo a year later at a cuban place in NYC tucked into pastry triangles. Sounds like a great idea!
  10. A regular at my favourite bar orders a Henessey and PBR (side). We all call it a "high 'n low". He's in the liquor biz too!
  11. Tampopo. The entire movie.
  12. Dude! I throw on some good cheddar every now and then, but when forming burgers, I include minced red onion, dash or two of Worceshire, couple good grinds of each of my pepper mills, chopped fresh thyme and oregano and Janes Krazy Mixed up salt to the ground beef and mix well. They come out grand.
  13. My sushi rice is room temperature when I spread it on nori, no ditch. Doesn't have to be thicker than a half inch. Leave an inch and a half at the top for "gluing". My Seasoning is a small heap of superfine sugar in Rice Vinegar and mirin. Sprinkle it around the rice when it's just off the stove in a wide bowl. slash the rice with a small wooden paddle so it mixes in well, let cool to room temp. Have a bowl of water or leftover seasoned vinegar nearby to dip your fingers in, it keeps 'em from getting too sticky. When you roll, pull the side closest to you over your filling with authority. Think of the page of nori as quarters. Aim for the middle with your closest edge, grasp the bamboo and squeeze. Hold while you sight-up your next "quarter" roll. The last quarter (far edge) is wetted so you have a glue (allow for nori to absorb but don't over wet)(also, leftover seasoned vinegar is really good for this step). Squeeze and hold before unfurling bamboo mat. You end up with a squarish cylinder but trust me it's easier! Next time you go to a sushi place, sit at the bar and watch those guys churn out rolls, you'll see what I mean. You might also want to cut the nori in half, spread rice on one side, add filling, then roll into a cone (this is a "hand roll"). These are much easier and look great AND fun to serve/eat. Edit to add: Gee Whiz! I should type faster! Nice pics above! You'll get more personal methods than you can shake a stick at so pick the most comfortable, but practice makes perfect.
  14. putrid shellfish. If you're going to make dishes with clams and mussels, store them properly in the walk-in and check them before you add. I don't care how busy you are - this can cost the restaurant a fortune on many levels if not addressed.
  15. Okay, my name is johnnyd and I am hopelessly consumed with good food... I have noticed a real problem concentrating at work and fret about my ability to hold a job. I find I make excuses to go to fresh markets the day of delivery instead of seeing a client, same with fish markets. I lie awake imagining new ways to combine ingredients, getting up exhausted that morning. My wife is threatening to start an "eGullet Widows" thread just to get me to pay more attention to her. Sometimes I start a PM to jlhurie asking him to limit my log-in to specific hours so I can get some work done, then in a fit, back off and chicken out. There. I feel better. Now let's see who's posted in the last minute and a half...
  16. Hmmm... I thought that lots of foods are kept in oil as a preservative, a trick used before refrigeration, but when I put my roasted red pepper in olive oil it gets all funky after a few days. Are we talking the same deal here? Am I missing a step or getting it all wrong entirely?
  17. Ask him/her about dairy digestion. I've read and am in agreement that Western European type people are the only ones who drink milk after the age of seven. Cheese too, I think. People of Asian descent don't do dairy very well, I hear.
  18. Hey, your english not too bad.... Something up-thread began to make sense of this threads original question but takes it further: What food from our upbringing continues to haunt us as we get older??? Rice is a winner, clearly. The blackbean maelstrom that is "Feijoada" from Brazil is served with med grain white rice. I make a mess of Feijoada one day a month (it takes two days) and freeze several pints to use at will. I don't think I could function without it every so often. Sushi is another for me. I could eat it every day if, A) I could afford it; B) I could make it faster, but I'll die if I don't get it once a month at least. What else, Folks?
  19. Sadly, I don't think such a thing exists anymore! When I was a kid, we used to get littlenecks with our toes out of Katama Bay off Edgartown and Chappy. There was a clam bar right next to the yacht club where I'd eat my weight of 'em but last I was there, it had morphed into a cheap burger joint. Find the clams. You might hit bluefish season at that time which, when fresh as possible, could be made into a masterpiece by some of those island chefs.
  20. Hoo boy. We had papayas everywhere when we lived in Brasil, I was 12yrs old and I hated 'em. These days, I buy a big maridol papaya and have a little for breakfast everyday. I also broke out in hives when I had lobster at 13yrs old, now I live in Maine and... well, um... do the math! Go figure. I'd say I had to be in College before I started opening my palate to new horizons, but that's me.
  21. Wow. I spent my upbringing on three continents, USA, S.America and Europe, but I was born as WASP as they come in Connecticut. Because I traveled so much, I feel much distance from most Americans, and their palate. I could wax prodigiously about how each country influenced my culinary tableau, picking out my favourites, but the real reason my cooking is the way it is is because of my Mom. Regardless of where we were, my Mom went to great lengths to find the freshest ingredients. I was dragged to the market every morning when I was home from school. Someone had to carry the bundles of fish and fruit and vegetables. When she or my Dad found something new and interesting at a restaurant, they chatted their way into the kitchen, poured some wine for the cook, and by week's end that dish was on the table at home, it's secret devined. I grew up in a family that lived for food. I didn't realize how useful those trips to the market would be until I started cooking for myself. Shit out of a can? A box? Hey, my college roomates can knock themselves out. I'm going to the market to find the good stuff, then I'm going to find an interesting recipe... Couple that with a growing realization that processed foods give people a host of mysterious conditions, reactions and gawd knows what else, so I am a strictly-fresh product evangelist. This can be a pain when dating... What I guess I'm trying to illustrate is it really an issue of international exposure to food, or exposure to international food, or just a little pluck and imagination that influences one's style of cooking? My Mom taught me to accept nothing less than the freshest product available and to treat it with respect and reverence. Did she learn that in Brazil where she was born? But her parents were English/Australian/Bostonian! Those who grow up in traditional cultures of one kind or another grow attached to the local customary cuisine. Some will tire early of it and seek out new tastes from other countries thanks to modern trade distribution of foreign food, others won't and be just as happy, thank you. IOW, maybe you don't have to travel, but just have a sense of adventure?
  22. Whenever this happened I started going back to the gym: you feel better, more oxygen gets to the brain to allow clearer thinking, you sleep at night, appetite comes back... you generally get rid of the mopes. Up until I finally got off my ass to do it though, I went on a hardcore sushi binge... right up until I went practically broke!
  23. Rosti, bitte! I went to school in the '70s just over the ridge from Col des Mosses in Chesieres/Villars. I never knew that about the cheese of L'Etivaz... probably too busy being an adolescent. It sounds like it would make a great expedition for the students so I will email them about it. Thanks Boris!
  24. FYI: The Canadian link was last modified over two years ago. I respect the Canadian findings but since I just bought a bag of it I guess I'll limit consumption but not elliminate it altogether, it's too delicious. Looking forward to those recipes. I usually add red pepper, sliced in my mandoline, sesame oil w/mirin and rice vinegar, but I'm eager for variations.
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