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Everything posted by Septemberdog61

  1. Hi all. I need some help for Super Bowl. I would like to make pitchers of bourbon sours, but I'm not sure how to go about this. Do I make individual drinks and pour them into a large pitcher? Ice? No ice? Any ideas would be helpful. Thank you.
  2. I think you've covered pretty much everyone on the Food Network. Bling and cooking just do not go together. It's gross and the metal gets so hot especially if you're on a grill or flat top. I get grossed out when I see long painted fingernails on cooks or dirty, bitten and un-manicured nails (ala Iron Chef Bobby Flay). Seriously, his fingernails skeeve me out.
  3. Oh my! I thought I was the only person who enjoyed this dish. It is my number 1 go to comfort food. The purist in me wouldn't change a thing, with the exception of using margarine. I use salted butter. When I was little my mom added to her plate of cottage cheese and noodles a dollop or 2 of sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika. I never liked that addition, but my grandma, mom and brother all enjoyed the additional ingredients.
  4. Kefalograveria is similar to pecorino romano or parmesan. I think it complements the feta because it's a salty sheep's milk cheese and it's truly an assertive flavor. I love it grated over orzo with butter or over lamb youvetsi. It's almost an aquired taste. Maybe a little gamey in flavor. But that flavor won't be imparted in the spana mixture. There's already too much going on. Trust me on the phyllo sheets. Some people get very nervous working with it. When you double the sheets it goes so fast and phyllo is really forgiving. Just keep a damp towel over it if you are worried.
  5. Bummer. Thank you. I will catch a re-run.
  6. My mom makes the best spanakopita. She learned from my yia yia. Ricotta, cream cheese and cottage cheese have no place in spanakopita. The mixture is spinach, eggs, fresh dill, onion, green onion, feta and kefalograveria. The sheets are brushed with melted butter. Most important, it is not neccessary to place a single sheet of phyllo and butter it. It is so much easier, quicker and just as crispy and brown if you double up the sheets and then butter.NO FUSS. NO MUSS.
  7. Was there a new episode last night? My dvr did not record Top Chef last night.
  8. Very small world Scott. I live in Whippany and would rather drive to SR in Parsippany and Wharton than shop at Pathmark or the Morris Plains SR. Anyway back to the San Marzano tomatoes. The Cento bottles I bought are great for a quick tomato sauce, but I'd be broke if I used them for my big batch of Sunday sauce. I just picked up to cans of the San Marzanos in Costco for sauce this Sunday's football. I'm going to try the blender method again and then the seive and metal spoon. I will only pulse the tomatoes quickly. Hopefully my sauce will not have the pink froth again.
  9. Scott, I found these at Shoprite today in Parsippany and they were on sale. 2.99 for a 24 oz. bottle. I bought 4 bottles of the crushed which looks like puree. The petite diced cut looks to be about the size of a pea (maybe a little larger) in puree. I never thought of a potato masher, but somehow I envsion my backsplash being covered in tomatoes. I think I'll stick to my hands. To quote Lidia: "they are the best tools in the kitchen." Let me know how the potato masher works.
  10. I haven't been able to find San Marzano puree anywhere. I buy the large can at Costco (6lbs) for I think 4.79. I don't like a chunky sauce so I have no choice but to puree them myself. I haven't had much success using the food mill ala Anne Burrell. I found there was too much waste and even the finest screen let some seeds through. So I resorted back to my original method. Hand crushing and then pressing them through a metal sieve with the back of a metal spoon. Took a little longer, but very little waste. I also tried pureeing them in the blender and passing them as mentioned above. Worked well but I noticed too much frothiness in the sauce as it cooked. Perhaps I pureed them on high for too long. Next time I will only pulse puree. I will keep looking for the puree.
  11. Anyone else watching the new season? The braised spare ribs had my mouth watering. I have a mad crush on this woman.
  12. We watched this last night. I laughed and cried. Very entertaining and poignant.
  13. Back in my early 20's when I was seriously dating some guy and he invited me over his family's home for Thanksgiving dinner. I truly struggled with saying yes, because I had never been away from my house and my mom's delicious Thanksgiving meal. You know the meal: all the traditional recipes like grandma's sausage stuffing and a moist, juicy turkey that's been cooking for hours making the house smell sooooo good. I eventually and reluctantly gave in. He picks me up and we drive for 45 minutes all the while I'm thinking, this will be OK, I know it will be OK, not as good as mom's but OK. We walk in the door and my nose is met with a wall of subway urine stench. I try to remain polite and quickly start drinking. Hoping things will improve with copious amounts of 7 & 7's I sit down at the dinner table adorned with paper plates, a tub of margarine and a loaf of wonder bread. I spy a box of stove top stuffing on the counter and a can of turkey gravy. Knowing I'm royally screwed, I play the dutiful gf and graciously smile. Out of the oven and onto the table comes the turkey as the bf's dad sharpens the knives. It was a Jennie-O turkey loaf. I'm not sure they even make this product any longer, but it was a perfectly round loaf of 1/2 dark meat and 1/2 white meat turkey chopped pressed and formed. It was inedible. And yes it was served with Stove top stuffing, Wonder bread, canned gravy and a can of string beans. I was raised to know my place, be polite and respectful so I ate what I could and said thank you. I couldn't wait to get home for leftovers. As for the bf, we broke up a month later. He didn't like dogs, dancing and trying new foods. All 3 are deal breakers.
  14. I had another amazing dinner last night. I had called Monday and left a message to see if I needed to make a reservation. They called me back Tuesday morning and I made a reservation. I'm glad I did because the restaurant was crowded when we arrived at 6:45. We were a party of four, so we decided to start with several appetizers and work from there by reading our menus as we devoured all of the mezze. We had for appetizers: Assorted cold dips (Skordalia, Tzatziki, Taramosalata & Melitzanosalata) served with an unending supply of warm pita bread. Ktapodi-grilled octopus Karpathaian Makarounes Gigantes Grilled Halloumi Cheese As usual everything was delicious. The skordalia was my favorite and had just the right balance of garlic and potatoes. The makarounes was outstanding. The dense pasta held itself up to the sweet and salty balance of caramelized onions and salty mizithra. The octopus was tender and perfectly grilled. The gigantes are still the best I've ever had. So meaty and soft in an excellent tomato sauce with, I think, just a hint of dill. And the halloumi cheese was not overly salty and it was perfectly grilled and served with the freshest tomatoes. I don't no where Angela gets her tomatoes from, but the freshness of them continued with the large Greek salad one of our dining companions had for main course. The rest of us had: Paidakia- 5 beautifully grilled marinated lamb chops with lemon potatoes Half marinated chicken Greek style with lemon potatoes. The chicken was wonderfully seasoned and moist. I had the Lavraki (Imported Greek Brussino) filleted tabled side and served with a wonderful lemon olive oil sauce. I would have asked for the fish whole and filleted it myself, however one of our dining companions was squeamish. I made up for it by keeping the head and sucking on it every once in a while. We sat and lingered over our meals never feeling rushed. Our gorgeous waiter was always available without being intrusive. Angela came over and asked us if everything was OK. She is a wonderful hostess. I wanted to ask if the Loukoumades were available, but after my last conversation I did not want to make Angela feel bad if they were unavailable. I also failed to read the menu and see that the loukoumades are not available Friday and Saturday. The waiter suggested the just made Galaktoboureko. So we had a piece of that and how could we leave without a piece of Angela's Baklava? We also had nescafe frappe hot and cold and a regular coffee. The coffees were fresh and delicious. And the desserts as usual were amazing. So fresh and homemade. The baklava and galaktoboureko are the best I've ever had. Once you have eaten Angela's homemade desserts you will not be able to eat commercial baklava and galaktoboureko again. Just when we thought we were finished, a complimentary order of loukoumades arrived. Once again, they tasted like nothing I have ever had. They were light and airy without any hint of greasiness which I find to be the main problem with most loukoumades and diples. The loukoumades were so, so, so good with the right amount of sweetness, nuts and spice. Angela and I spoke for a little while and I was happy to see the restaurant still busy at 9:30PM when we were leaving. She gave us free Greek calendars and showed us a picture of the village in Karpathos. She thanked us for our business and we left. Once again I encourage you to get to Stamna. It is worth the trip. My birthday is coming up. I think I want my family to experience Stamna and meet Angela. Being half Greek, my dad was born on Andros Island, I want him to experience the food and atmosphere. As I wrote last time, too many Greek restaurants in Astoria and NYC have moved away from homemade traditional culturally rich food. I think my dad will be thrilled to see arni kokkinisto and makarounes on the menu.
  15. I am going tonight. I can't wait. It's been too long. I think I might just have apps, but that may change as soon as I walk through the door.
  16. Loved the first episode. Nice to see my neighborhood representing Greek Cuisine.
  17. My mom made this for me all the time when I was younger. Lots of cottage cheese mixed with buttered noodles and salt. Sometimes sour cream and poppy seeds are added. I thought it was a Hungarian thing. It is my go to comfort food when I am sick or hungover. My partner can't stand the sight of it. She thinks it's gross. Thanks for sharing. Nice to know I'm not alone.
  18. Yes Kam Man Foods in East Hanover on Route 10 West is an excellent Asian Market.
  19. We went to Stamna Greek Taverna last night. I have to preface this post by stating that I am half Greek and I lived in NY (Astoria) for 20+ years. My family is/was in the restaurant business, but I have no affiliation with Stamna. My parents still live in Astoria and I visit and dine there often. I am just a transplanted New Yorker in desperate need of finding great Greek Food this side of the Hudson. Well I must say I no longer need to go to Astoria for excellent Greek food. Although, I have noticed that most Greek restaurants have really strayed from traditional Greek homemade comfort food and have opted for grilled meats and whole fish. It's rare to find a place that serves Arni Kokkinisto (Lamb Youvetsi) just like Yia Yia made. But Stamna Greek Taverna has restored my faith in good old fashioned Greek cuisine. We arrived at 6:10 and the place was packed. The hostess offered us the only table in the place which was by the door. Our wine was opened promptly as we received menus and water. A small plate of herbed bread and olives arrived. As I discussed and explained the menu to one of my friends (we were a party of 3) the waiter poured our wine and offered help with the menu. We decided to try an assortment of appetizers (mezze) as Greeks typically eat. We had for appetizers: Tzatiki served with warm pita triangles Taramosalata served with warm pita triangles Gigantes Halloumi Assorted hot vegetable platter (grilled and fried zucchini and eggplant with skordalia) We sat and lingered over appetizers before the waiter asked if we wanted dessert. I guess he assumed we had enough! But we pressed on. By this time the line of customers was out the door waiting. Several people had reservations and were seated promptly. For main course we had: Moussaka with lemon potatoes Soutzoukakia Arni Kokkinisto with a side of Horta Even though I was pretty full from the appetizers I could not stop eating the Arni. It was so good that I had waves of nostalgia. All of the entrees were exceptional. As busy as they were, we never felt rushed. The only negative thing I can say is that since we were sitting at the table by the door we were subject to a lot of gawking, finger pointing (what's that) and loud conversation. But I could deal with it as long as people weren't blatantly rude. I was happy to see people interested in learning about Greek Food beyond souvlakia and gyro. We had our leftovers wrapped and proceeded to dessert. I had my heart set on the homemade Loukoumades, but they were not available (more about that later). All of the desserts are homemade by Angela the owner. By this time Angela had come over to talk with us and she was delighted to spend time with us. I think we must have talked for about 15 minutes. We talked about Astoria, evolving Greek cuisine and how proud she is of her desserts and her business. She excused herself for a moment and came back with a complimentary piece of Galaktoboureko just as we were ordering a piece of that, baklava and Nescafe Frappe. The desserts were amazing. You could SO tell they were homemade. All that overly sweet syrup was missing that often masks the flavor of the custard and nuts. Angela uses no fillers in her baklava (some people use Zweiback or bread crumbs). It was layers upon layers of walnuts, almonds, and phyllo. Angela had said that she has sometimes run out of dessert and tried to substitute with desserts from Titan Foods in Astoria (the cook comes from Astoria) with her own, but she just couldn't do it. Not that Titan sells an inferior product, it's just not in the same league as homemade. Angela apologized for not having the Loukoumades, but she said it's just not possible when the kitchen is so busy. As a matter of fact, she may take them off the menu when they reopen after vacation because so many customers ask for them and she has to say no. Angela is worried about closing for vacation but feels she needs to stick to her normal routine for her family's sake. Her concern is that will the customers come back? I assured her they will. No question. There is a sign on the door about being closed for vacation. I think it is August 6-28th. Angela asked about how I found out about Stamna and I said egullet! She was not aware of this website, but has heard of Baristanet. I wrote it down for her and told her I would post something. Angela if you are reading this and I don't see you before August 6th, I hope you have a great vacation. You and your family deserve it. And don't worry the hungry masses will be back. Your restaurant, food and hospitality are too good to miss. Kalo Taxidi! They do have a website: stamnataverna.com I could not get the menu to open by clicking on the pictures. The menu can be viewed by clicking on the left teaser menu. I can't wait to go back and try everything else.
  20. I had dinner there last night. The pastrami was the best I've had since I moved out of NYC. Mark was more than willing to share the improvements he's made since opening. He's a great guy with tremendous passion and I hope he has continued success. I'm going to try and get him a catering gig at Novartis, or as he called it his Holy Grail.
  21. Did you notice the glaring edit of the sea bass? Right before commercial she took the top pan off the filets and they were completely different looking (almost done) from when she came back from commercial (not done at all). I still like the show and her. It's nice to see someone handle food like they're not afraid of it.
  22. That's a horrible thing to say about Patti Smith.
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