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Bruce Cole

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Everything posted by Bruce Cole

  1. I've just purchased Edible San Francisco, which means I'm now the publisher, editor, ad sales rep, design and layout specialist, distributor, photographer, etc. It also means I'm currently buried, drowning, slammed (pick one) under a deadline. The best explanation in regards to how the Edible Publications work can be found at the EC website. Here's a link to the FAQ: Edible Communities FAQ
  2. Here's a few: Edible San Francisco Edible Ojai Edible East Bay Edible Cape Cod Edible Chesapeake Edible Sacramento Edible Twin Cities Edible East End
  3. Hello Paula, I have a more personal question, if you will. I'm guessing some of the readers of your books get the impression that you cook and eat the recipes you write about for your everyday meals (although I've seen the inside of your fridge...). So - I'm wondering, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, what your menu might be? Will there be couscous at the end? Will it be a table full of slow-cooked claypot dishes? Or do you do the traditional green beans, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie? If Food & Wine Magazine showed up to do a "Paula Wolfert's Thanksgiving" (or better yet, if you showed up at my door to cook me Thanksgiving dinner), what would the menu be? Curiously hungry, Bruce
  4. Hi Monica, Just to chime in on the school lunch thing, peeled citrus fruits are ideal because they come in convenient bite-sized segments. Grapes too. Once every couple weeks my kids get those red hot cheese puff things as a special treat, but most of the time it's farmers market produce and yogurt. I'm wondering what other projects you might be working on. Since you took over the New York Times Food Section last week, you seem to be conquering the food world! :)
  5. For anyone interested in reading the nominated newspaper and internet articles, the links are on my site. Saute Wednesday.
  6. Hi Faith I've read numerous discussions on how risotto is made in Italy (avoiding the term "authentic" on purpose), and I'm wondering if you could comment on a couple "myths" that I've often heard bandied about. Most Italians use a pressure cooker to make risotto. Here in America, we've reduced risotto making to a fine art with absolute steps to be followed in acheiving perfection. I've often heard that the vision of the Italian housewife laboriously stirring her risotto minute by minute is just a myth, and that most Italians use a pressure cooker because it's quick and convenient. Any truth to that? Italians use boullion cubes for making the stock for their risotto. Same thing. In this country, you could be publicly pilloried for having bouillion cubes in your cupboard. Is it standard practice in Italy to use them for the stock for risotto? Thanks! Bruce
  7. "With a feature story killed by an Alabama newspaper and a Minneapolis gourmet shop reneging on its invitation to hold his cooking demo, Anthony Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook" (Bloomsbury, 2004; $34.95) stands to be the first cookbook to be banned in public libraries."
  8. I just received an email from Viva Usa celebrating the fact that Arnold Schwarzengger has signed the foie gras bill. "Sacramento, CA - Demonstrating he truly cares about the welfare of animals, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed SB 1520 into law, a bill that bans the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. The bill also bans the sale of the product when made from force fed birds, both provisions taking effect in California in the year 2012..The bill was supported by more than a dozen top celebrities including Martin Sheen, Sir Paul McCartney, Kim Bassinger, Alicia Silverstone and Mary Tyler Moore. It also was supported by a broad coalition of animal protection groups, including the sponsors: the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, Farm Sanctuary, Los Angeles Lawyers for Animals and Viva!USA." At least we have 8 more years to eat the stuff - legally that is.
  9. Just to note, this article is dated 12/17/00... (Artichoke, you're welcome , by the way...)
  10. Here's a link to Arthur Lubow's NY Times article from August 10, 2003, with the description of how the raviolis are made...
  11. CBS is also producing a show called "Whats hot, whats cool" (or something to that effect) for the Food Network. Hopefully my interview with them this last week makes the cut, and actually gets on the air - which I guess will count for my 15 seconds of fame...
  12. From the Amanda Hesser archives, per A. Bourdain's request... A Modern Absinthe Experiment Amanda Hesser - NY Times - May 31, 2000 "It shimmered in a soft eddy. I had intended to taste it like wine, breathing it in and letting it sit and roll around my mouth. But somehow, it shot down my throat like a bullet. I recall it went something like this: first, there was a scream of anise and herbs, then what felt like a steaming hot cotton swab spread over my tongue, and a flash of heat raced to my stomach..."
  13. From what I understand, the already minimal budget at Food & Wine has been slashed, again, which puts a serious crimp on the features, writers, etc. that can be used to put together each issue.
  14. I'm kinda late to the party, but I wanted to get my two cents in on such a fun subject (near and dear to my heart...) I have to completely disagree with this: (not the part about you Marlena).If anything, the SF Chronicle food section is definitely provincial, and written expressively for the average Joe. Not that that's a bad thing. They don't cover the international food and dining trends like the NY Times, but of course, who has the Times big pocket book to dip into? And besides, since the Times already covers the international and dining trend scene with such aplomb, why not do something different and distinctive? No sense in copying them... Take a look at Tara Duggan's "Working Cook" column. Pretty straight forward stuff for the average joe just trying to get a nutritious meal on the table after a long day of work. Then there is the weekly "Tasters Choice" column, which has local chefs and writers blind-tasting brand name food stuffs. That has average Joe written all over it. In defense of the SF Food section, I think in the last 4-5 months, they've really been cranking out an incredible body of work. For instance, Olivia Wu's articles on Microwaving Lobsters and Dungeness Crabs. Pretty good stuff about a unconventional technique. I just nuked 2 lobsters and steamed 2 lobsters this Saturday night. The difference between the two is remarkable. What about Carol Ness's lovely colum on "Bergamots"? In a year or so, you'll see bergamots showing up on winter menus across the country, once the pipeline for the regional growers spotlighted in the article is set up. Janet Fletcher has written an article a week for a year on over 52 different cheeses. Try and find any other food section with that resource on-line. And how about the ongoing coverage of trans fats by writer Kim Severson, which resulted in a book on the subject? Well today, Campbells/Pepperidge farms announced that they are eliminating the use of trans fats in their uber-popular snack Goldfish, by September of this year. Ka-ching. Personally, I think if the SF Chronicle combined their Wednesday Food Section with their Thursday Wine Section, and published both on the same day, they would have the best "Food Section" of any newspaper in the country. Besides, we all know that the epicenter (pun intended) of the food world is in San Francisco anyways...(heh heh). Just to note, I think the gripe that most chefs have with the SF Food section, has to do with their dislike of the restaurant reviews, and not with the general food coverage.
  15. My question for Robb and the panel has to do with forbidden foods. For no particular reason, I’ve been kind of obsessed with Ortolans lately, namely, the act of eating one. It seems to me, that as a menu item, Ortolans would be quite a best seller. "A hush comes over the dining room as the waiters dash out the kitchen with a sizzling ramekin and place it before a wide-eyed diner. They ceremoniously drape his head with a white kerchief, and the whole room stares as the diner gingerly picks up the little roasted bird and under the cover, plops it in his mouth…the room erupts in applause 15 minutes later when the diner removes his mask...” My obsession has even carried me to the point where I’ve considered trying to catch a few finches in the back yard, fattening them up in my garage, and then serving them to a few foodie friends, a la roasted Ortolans. Imagine my chagrin when I figured out that it’s illegal. Killing songbirds that is. Go figure. Kind ruins my idea for an award winning article on roasted songbirds right there. So, since the chances of me ever actually plopping one of those crunchy little tidbits in my mouth is pretty remote, I'm wondering if any of you ever had Ortolans? Are they all they are cracked (pun intended) up to be? Even though eating them is illegal (in France and the U.S.), would you consider trying one, just for the experience? Are there other foods that you would consider forbidden, or that are actually illegal to eat - but you’d still be willing to eat them? Shark fin soup comes to my mind. Completely appalling how the fins are obtained, since they just chop them off, and toss the bleeding body of the shark back overboard. It should be illegal. I certainly consider it a forbidden food. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to eat them, and I would eat just about anything in the name of food...I think.
  16. On the other hand, you don't (theoretically) lose a lot of the flavors, since there is no evaporation. This same theory applies to sous vide cooking, where you cook ingredients sealed in an airtight bag, and in the process, retain all the vital juices and aromas. Sounds good in theory anyways... Besides, if you need stock in 30 minutes, for a risotto, lets say, the pressure cooker is the way to go, especially for a simple vegetable based stock.
  17. The first time I stepped in the French Laundry was back when I was peddling All-Clad pans, about 6-7 years ago. Thomas Keller was in the kitchen, hunched over a pile of shallots, peeling and slicing them. He was using a thin slicing knife, about 6 inches long, not a big chef’s knife. This is what I learned watching him do it. Drop your heavy clunky German chef knife and pick up a thin bladed slicing or paring knife. Thick bladed knives, besides being a bit unwieldy, will tend to wedge the shallot apart when you are trying to slice/dice it. If you are after a very fine dice or thin slices, a thin bladed knife (I use a Global) works best. Cut the very tip of the shallot, the pointed end opposite the root, off. Keeping the root end attached helps hold the shallot together when you are slicing it. Make a thin slice the length of the shallot, running perpendicular to the root end. Holding the shallot in your left hand, use your knife (in your right hand) to scrape the peel a bit, and then using your thumb, grip the peel between the blade of your knife, and slowly pull it off, bit by bit. Depending on the size of your now peeled shallot, you can slice or dice using the same technique you would use for onions. If I have a big shallot, I’ll slice it half, making sure to cut through half of the root end, which helps hold it together, and then proceed to slice or dice it, with the flat end laying on the cutting board, this keeps it from rolling around. I try to hold the shallot together on the sides too, while slicing through it, to also keep it from falling apart. I still remember Thomas Keller perfectly peeling and slicing each shallot, taking his time and handling them as though they were something precious, like black truffles. To this day, even though I may hack through a couple onions or carrots, I always stop and take my time with shallots and try to slice/dice them perfectly, my small homage to the French Laundry perfectionist…
  18. Jeffrey, Since you seem to make somewhat frequent trips to the west coast, do you see any cooking/dining trends from the west that are migrating to New York, or vice-a-versa, NY trends showing up out west? And, any particular style of cooking that you seek out when visiting the west coast? thanks! Bruce
  19. Here is a link to the ad that appeared in the NY Times, it is a pdf.file Farmed Salmon ad in NY Times and some links to more articles on the issue Farmed Salmon articles
  20. David - thanks for the tremendous essay on how to break into food writing (and for the kind words about my site), now I'm inspired to quit procrastinating...I think your advice in regards to grammar and turning in a perfectly done and edited piece is right on. My grammar is terrible (as anyone who may visit my site has probably noticed), but I have never really considered doing anything about it. Thanks for the enlightenment. Another way to get your work on the web is to go to Blogger.com and start your own "blog". You instantly have your own website, and can publish your writings on the web in minutes. I use Moveable Type, which is also a "blog" type publishing software, but it requires a bit of html saavy. Although I haven't used it, the folks at Moveable Type have recently launched Typepad, which seems to be a very user-friendly version of MT (Arianna Huffington is using it to chronicle her campaign journal in the California recall election). Websites really do work, I got a freelance gig when an editor read my site, and I get lots of emails from big-time writers, like that David Leite guy...which turn into valuable contacts.
  21. Wow Chad, that was amazing - you need your own knife sharpening show! Here's a link to a water stone sharpening video: Japanese-knife.dot com (make sure you stop to drool over the Masamotos) The easiest knives to sharpen on a water stone are the sushi style knives that are sharpened to a beveled edge. Lay the knife on the stone, press down to align the beveled edge to the stone, and voila, the angle is set for you. Piece of cake. One tip I learned from a master Japanese sharpener was to listen to the sound that the knife makes as it goes back and forth over the stone. It should be a swoosh swoosh swoosh swoosh sound, with each stroke as you go back and forth across the stone. If you hear a swoosh swash swoosh swash sound, that means you are changing the angle of the knife as you go across the stone. I store my water stones submerged in a tupperware full of water, that way they are always ready to go at a moments notice. I've had lots of experience with ceramic knives. Alot of people love them, I think mostly because they are instantly sharper than their other knives, and they hold an edge for a very long time. They are mostly for slicing though, no chopping recommended, definitely no bones. I hardly ever use them, except for testing. Plus, they obviously don't stick to my magnetic knife bar.
  22. This is also a common problem for those using serrated "tomato" knives. Serrated knives, including bread knives, are sharpened to one side of the blade, the right side, which means that your knife stroke will tend to veer to the right as you slice down. I've heard numerous complaints from left handers returning their bread knives because they can't cut straight slices of bread. Turns out, of course, that they are using the bread knife that came with their knife block set, which is a right handed bread knife...
  23. While knives that feature a full tang and bolster are excellent tools, I would tend disagree that these components make up "the very best" knives. I would even venture to say that the terms "full tang" and "bolster" are more part of the marketing lingo used in the U.S. to sell knives, than they are a hallmark of fine cutlery. German-style knives have thick blades due to the presence of the bolster. A thick blade is not only heavier (which may or may not be an advantage, depending on the task at hand), but will never be as sharp as, say a Japanese-style blade (one of Wusthof's best selling knives, is in fact, the "Rachel Ray" Japanese inspired Santoku knife). In addition, knives with bolsters are also harder to sharpen, the bolster getting in the way, so-to-speak, especially when using a whetstone. A Japanese style knife has no bolster. Without a bolster, the blades can be much thinner, and sharpened to a finer angle, versus the blunt beveled edge of German knives. A thinner blade cuts/slices through meat/vegetables with much less resistance, and a sharper edge obviously requires less effort. I would venture to say that the sharpest knife is probably the most popular knife in a kitchen, and that Japanese knives are generally sharper than their European counterparts. A full tang is also not necessarily a hallmark of a good knife. For example, Global knives do not a full tang, the blade is welded onto the the handle, and each handle is then filled and balanced. I should at this point, say that I work for Global knives in the U.S., but having been a cutlery buyer and knife afficionado for some years, I try to stay objective when it comes to knife choices. My own knife assortment features mostly Japanese style knives, but I do have a few favorite Wusthofs on my knife rack too...and I just wanted to add another perspective to the knife choice conversation, although this would probably be more appropriate in the later class on knife sharpening...
  24. O'mei Restaurant on Mission for outstanding Schezwan-style cuisine, and Oswald Bistro for regional food specialties, on the mall downtown. Gayles Bakery in Capitola for pastries, breads, cakes, sandwiches, and take-out dinner.
  25. In response to R. Buxbaums comments - I'm not sure the line in my review would cause a reader of the book/review to somehow think that Boulud's kitchen is an unpleasant place to work? At the risk of this degenerating into a tit-for-tat of "in the shit", let's leave it at that.Steve, no there is not an "about this site" or "author" button on my site, although it's apparent I should have one. I don't have any links in regards to my comment about waiters and cooks leaving for dot-coms. It was a comment that I read often in the local San Francisco press and the national media, both as restaurant employees were jumping ship to dot-coms, and as they subsequently returned to seek work again. Having just re-read my review for the umpteenth time, I still think it is more enthusiastic than sensationalist. Easy for me to say, since I've read the book...
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