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Everything posted by gina

  1. Recently at an education/tasting event for chefs & cheese retailers, Someone passed around a clear plastic storage box for soft, round cheeses (camembert, brie, reblochon). It was round and flat and had a top and bottom half, just like a wooden cheese box. If you rotated the halves of the box, you could adjust it so that the little walls inside the box would make a "V" and fill in whatever sized wedge was missing from a cut wheel of cheese. The walls, by pressing against the cut surfaces, also keep a cut cheese from oozing out of its rind. Cheeseworks West says they get these boxes free from their cheese mfrs. in France, but our Cheeseworks here on the East Coast hasn't been able to track any down or get any more specifics. The label said it was made in France and was called a "Boite a Reblochon." Have you ever seen one of these? Know how to get them? Are they worthwhile?
  2. gina

    Superior Vinegars

    l'Estornel (a Spanish brand) makes an outstanding red wine vinegar -- it's a varietal made from 100% Garnacha (Grenache) wine from the Priorato region. All I have to do is wave an open bottle under my customers' noses and...sold! Just a few drops turns a plain vinaigrette into something aromatic and vibrant. Just to get an idea of price: A 375ml bottle retails for $8.99 in my store.
  3. gina

    The Terrine Topic

    A few things to toss into the discussion: Another terrific classic book on this subject is Jane Grigson's "Charcuterie & French Pork Cookery." In the restaurant where I learned to make a pork terrine, we actually kept all the metal parts of the meat grinder, the bowls, tools, etc., in the freezer overnight. That way, the mixed refrigerated terrine ingredients and everything touching it stayed ice-cold throughout the process. This keeps all the fat solidified, which is important to the final texture of the terrine. The other important trick was passing the ground forcemeat through a "tamis" (drum sieve). This removed all traces of fiber and gristle, and resulted in a fantastically smooth terrine. We'd set the tamis over a parchment-covered sheet pan, then use a plastic scraper blade to force the meat through the screen. This is VERY time-consuming and muscle-wearying work, but if you're dedicated (or you have your own personal brigade of kitchen flunkies to do it for you), the results are worth it.
  4. (First, a disclaimer: I externed in the kitchen of T.L.'s chef/owner, Maurizio Dumas, and he's been a close friend & mentor to me for years...) Actually, the main menu at Trattoria Liliana changes seasonally. And the specials change from day to day. They also have on ongoing series of special nights, each with a menu devoted to a single region of Italy. But on most nights, it's just a great place (and perhaps the only place now in DC) to experience the food of Liguria, a.k.a. the Italian Riviera. It's a gentle and comforting cuisine that makes lavish use of fresh herbs and great olive oil, not your typical tomato- and cheese-heavy Americanized Italian food. Appreciate the subtlety, the ingredients, the attention to detail and the service. But you'll be disappointed if you want a glitzy place where a hot young chef serves one-of-a-kind signature dishes on precious-looking plates. And don't forget to order dessert! Liliana makes them all in-house. My favorites are her moist cakes that use almond flour, with some type of hazelnut- or pistachio- or chocolate-flavored creamy stuff between the layers.
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