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Everything posted by loiosh

  1. I personally find that it's not so much the organic-ness as the other values that tend to be found with it which sometimes make these better products. One is that organic producers often choose less-common, possibly 'heirloom' varieties of the crops they grow. The second is that organic stuff is often sold closer to the source, so among other things, it can actually get ripe before it goes on the shelf. What's really funny or depressing, depending on my outlook that day, is going to the 'natural foods' store (in Australia) and seeing all the same products on the shelves which you might see at a Whole Foods. How much better is it for the environment if we buy organic cereal that's been shipped by an enormous diesel-belching container ship from Canada or the US? (And just to make things *extra* ironic, they put a dang koala on the box.)
  2. Bordelaise says in her profile that she's from Bordeaux. I assume she means the one in France. (PS - Not everyone on the board is from the US...I wish more posters (not specifically picking on you) would remember that....)
  3. In Brazil, people seem to use both limes and lemons and refer to both as lemons. (FWIW, this is secondhand information, so take with a grain of salt...if you add lime, you're 2/3 of the way to enjoying a tequila shot.)
  4. Flake. It's the fishmonger's euphemism for shark. Meaty, firm white fish. (Be careful to trim off rough bits of sharkskin.) Good in a loosely-Mediterranean tomato/orange/garlic fish soup garnished with croutes and red pepper rouille. We also had it in a dish similar to a Thai curry on Christmas, but that's another story.
  5. Just for the information of anyone else who wants to make blini, I ended up futzing with the ingredient amounts in the FL yukon gold potato blini to get the consistency specified.
  6. This is very, very funny, mostly because it's true. These cookbooks like to hang out in the big pile on the floor near the checkout at Borders, and they're almost always about Tuscany or Provence. (Tangentially, ever notice that "Tuscan" is frequently deployed on American menus to mean "sloppily-cooked and -presented Italian food"?) Me too. I have a big collection of 60s picture cookbooks which are heaps of fun to look through. Some are surprising in their quality (killer corn pudding in the BH&G 'Vegetable Book'), or the diversity of the recipes (wow! white people made naan at home in America in 1962!). Others are astonishingly, hilariously bad, or call for ingredients I can't really get even if I wanted them (instant pudding mix, Baker's coconut in the can). Bizarrely, very few of my other cookbooks have any pictures at all.
  7. Kind of like son-of-polenta-meets-mashed-potatoes, IIRC. Refrying slices in schmaltz strikes me as an excellent idea, come to think of it.
  8. I had this dish in Nova Scotia, and it was pretty good, actually. If you've ever grated potatoes for latkes, you'll know that they put off a ton of water and starch. With rappie pie, ideally you are going to squeeze this water out of the grated potato (by putting it in a clean tea towel or something). You then rehydrate it with a flavourful liquid like chicken stock and optionally add meat or whatever (the one I had was just chicken). While you can eat the resulting dish out of the oven, it's good cut into pieces and refried. It's hearty and filling, good for cold weather. As for why this was invented, why not? It uses techniques found in many cuisines: a starchy, bland product is cooked in stock to improve its flavour. Meat is used as a flavouring rather than the substance of the dish, to make it go further. Nothing strange about either of those things. There are heaps of potatoes grown on PEI, so it would make sense that local cooks would try to utilize the products readily available to them in different ways.
  9. I like Nong Shim ramen from Korea. The noodles have a different texture from the leading brands which I like. For maximum convenience I add frozen 'stir fry mix' vegetables, frozen pre-cooked prawns, and maybe an egg. And, of course, sriracha.
  10. Try "natural foods" stores which sell bread flour and organic stuff in bulk. You will want to freeze anything you buy there for three days or you'll have pantry moths from hell.
  11. I think another reason people don't like fruitcake is that it's often made with too many preservative-y, red and green glace cherries and citron bits and stuff. My partner made two generous loaves of Christmas cake yesterday. The recipe, from Cuisine magazine (New Zealand), includes dried figs, currants, sultanas, pawpaw (we substituted some dried mango), and a tin of pineapple. It's dense but moist, and has a clean, fruity taste. Much less stodgy than the usual. (Also try Alton Brown's recipe on the Food Network site.) We sometimes cover these cakes with marzipan, like the fruitcakes traditionally served at weddings here in Australia. Does anyone else remember Truman Capote's story about making fruitcake?
  12. My friend has the same thing and she loves it. It's cool that you can get Fisher & Paykel stuff in California...just goes to show you seppos New Zealand makes something besides Lord of the Rings movies.
  13. I used to get takeaways from Fiesta del Mar and eat them on the Caltrain. Pretty good stuff, though I'm most fond of taquerias in MV like Burrito Real or La Costena. Amber is quite good, though I remember it being kind of expensive. Naan 'n Curry in SF was nice the last time I was there for Indian, though I don't consider myself an expert. If you're coming from Santa Clara, I'd just park your car at the Caltrain station and ride the train up to the city, then use Muni to get around. You can buy a discounted day pass at lots of different places, you don't have to worry about where to park, and you won't be trapped in Pier 39. There are all the obligatory SF things (shockingly, it took me ages to actually do them) like cable cars, the bridge, Alcatraz, but really, one of the best things to do is just walk around and check out cool stuff. (Please avoid 6th St. South of Market, particularly at night.) SFMoMA has a great cafe and a gift shop with some interesting designer kitchen gadgets, and the Asian Art Museum downtown is awesome. You'll definitely want to take in the Ferry Plaza markets.
  14. The Australian magazines Austin mentions cost 7 or 8 bucks a piece at the newsstand....not really pocket change for most folks. And they're *heavy*, printed on super-thick glossy stock....popping one in your carry-on will give you a backache. I always viewed these magazines as being aimed towards wealthier folks and/or as an 'aspirational brand'. (Didn't I read somewhere that most magazines tend to have advertisers one economic 'notch' above what the subscribers could actually afford?) The Australian food magazine scene runs the gamut from the food section in the Women's Weekly to Super Food Ideas ($2.50 I think? Tends to run cover blurbs like "100 New Ways with Mince") to the Jamie-and-Nigella-fest that is Delicious. While it doesn't make for exciting magazine travelogues (though there was an awesome one on Aussie bakeries in Saveur last year), people in Australia eat well at all socioeconomic strata, if they choose to do so. Real bakeries and fresh bread can be found at pretty much every shopping complex, and you'll also find greengrocers, fishmongers, delis and butchers. This is *in the mall*, in fact, in *all the malls in my city*, not at some kind of gourmet Disneyland. Sure, the breads may not be artisanal, the produce might not always be organic, but it's still a heck of a lot of variety of fresh ingredients and products, and usually pretty affordable. You can't really encapsulate this kind of phenomenon in a flashy magazine layout, and if you wrote a story about it for one of the local glossies, the response would be 'Duh'. Furthermore, while you can go to Tetsuya's, it's a lot harder for foreigners to snag an invitation to someone's house for lamb roast with pumpkin.
  15. It's called "On the Bridge" at least the last time I was there. Good cod roe spaghetti.
  16. Roasted cauliflower. The thread was so long, I figured it had to be good. Also, it's an unusual (to me) preparation of the ingredient. If I had made a photo, the Spanish sweet paprika I added would have made for a colourful image. (Oh, and it's very good with Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt as well.)
  17. We had a memorable meal once on a similar trip at Vladimir's Czech Restaurant in Inverness. It was a very cold night. The hearth was warm, and the food quite hearty. There's a really good bakery in Point Reyes, which I can't remember the name of. There are some big radio (?) antennas near Point Reyes for ship-to-shore phone calls and stuff that are neat to pull over and have a look at. We also had fun at Old Faithful in Calistoga. It's kind of a tourist trap, but cool. I didn't get the fainting goats there to faint. My favourite things to do in the Napa area are checking out Copia, the gift shop at the CIA (and the corkscrew collection), shopping at Dean and Deluca after drinking wine at Sattui (I know, I know, it's a favorite stop of a friend's so we end up there a bit), and burgers and malts at Taylor's Refresher. I'm not really one of the cognoscenti though.
  18. loiosh

    Fish and Chips

    aka 'potato scallops'. Done well, they're so good. Also if you don't eat fish they make a fair substitute for the genuine article. Fish shops here seem to use a variety of different white-fleshed fishes for making battered fish fillets -- presumably whatever's biting (and cheap). Tied House in Mountain View, California do a smoked salmon fish and chips with hot-smoked salmon. It's oily but really good. You could try making it if you wanted to get experimental.
  19. You should have no trouble purchasing wine in general, but you may have to look a little harder to seek out some interesting bottles. I'll put in a plug for two of the wines from our region: Clonakilla Shiraz/Viogner, and the harder-to-find Lark Hill Chardonnay.
  20. Yum, honeycomb. It's frequently made at home in Australia, though we usually use golden syrup instead (hard to find, but you can get it at Cost Plus, I think). You shouldn't really need vinegar to make the syrup froth up -- at least, I don't remember seeing it in common Australian recipes. I like honeycomb with dark chocolate on it. If you have extra it's fabulous crumbled up on ice cream.
  21. Is that the one in the old IHOP? I'm glad to see so many of the same places are still around. I'll add an extremely dated recommendation for Zio's Pizza (various locations). And you *have to* go to Mister C's, not so much for the food (which is Omaha-style Italian steakhouse...prime rib with a side of spaghetti) but for the whole experience.
  22. Does anyone else snack on Abuelita straight from the box? I love how gritty, sweet, and spicy it is.
  23. I think there's also a bit of a catch-22 here in that since the existing supply is crap, there's not a lot of demand because it conditions people to think that Mexican food is crap. So there's not sufficient additional demand for new places to open up which are any good. I'd be happy with having at least decent renditions of heavily Americanized Mexican, or some California Mexican with the big burritos and so on. I'm still sad about the time I ordered nachos and they came out with sweet chili sauce and kidney beans. Also, it would be really, really nice if restaurant owners were less cheap about making margaritas with lime -- I just don't think they're very good when made with lemons.
  24. The cheese room at Silo, a bakery in Canberra, is small, but well-stocked. A couple of different cheese plates are usually available on the menu for breakfast and lunch as well.
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