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Everything posted by RobInAustin

  1. Welcome to Austin! I have to concur that the Meat Shop is about the best butcher in town. Please tell me what moron butcher told you that about hanger steak, so I too can stay very far away. Central Market will do hangar steak, and it should not take a week, talk to the dept. manager. When I wanted it, they said three days tops and had it when I asked it to be ready. No one can beat Central Market for fish or produce, other than taking a chance at the Westlake Farmer's market.
  2. I love Tapenade on croutons. Take slices of french bread and toast in the oven, when golden, take them out and rub a fresh clove on garlic on top. Tapenade: 2 cups olives, pitted (small olives are preferable; oil-cured is fine) 1 clove garlic 1 fillet anchovy (if salt-packed, rinse well and dry; if oil-packed, pat dry) 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup capers, drained and rinsed 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Pepper to taste. Place olives into a food processor; process until roughly chopped. Add the garlic, capers, anchovy and lemon juice, and begin to process, slowly adding the olive oil until you have reached the desired consistency; season with pepper. serves 12 --- Another easy favorite: Belgian endive leaves, left whole, with a dab of the best Roquefort cheese smeared onto it. --- Mushroom caps, filled with bay shrimp or crab meat tossed in home made mayonaise and fresh dill --- Feeling adventurous? My very favorite is Brandade of Salt Cod, a favorite winter dish: 1.5 lbs boneless dried salt cod 1 lb potato 2cups milk 1 large bay leaf 1 small onion thinly sliced 2 cloves 1.5 Tbl minced garlic pinch fresh grated nutmeg pinch cayenne pepper 1 cup ex virign olive oil 1.5 cups cream soak the cod in cold water for 12 hours, changing the water every 3-4 hours. (do this a day or so in advance.) Bake the potato until tender. drain the cod and put the cod in a cassarole and put more water in to just barely cover the fish, add the milk, bay leaf, onion and cloves in, bring to a boil and simmmer 4-5 minutes. Drain the fish well, take the fish (when cool enough to handle) flake it with a fork and put in food processor along with the flesh of the baked potato, garlic, salt , pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. heat the oil and cream (separately) gently until hot but not boiling and start blending the fish while gradually adding each alternately. Serve as a dip/spread with toast points. YUMM. serves 12 --- Roast asparagus spears in the oven with a little olive oil until just cooked. When cool, wrap with a very thin slice of air dried ham/proscioutto. --- Tell me when to stop...could keep this up for a while.
  3. Sadly, I think there is no "simple" answer about cellaring champagne, past the original sound advice of "how to". The "which ones to cellar" part, if you must, is tricky. Late Disgorged need no cellaring at all and I'd advise against it. Prestige cuvees are hard, because some are truly small batch, artisinal wines that can be stored, but some are more market hype than reality. Don't bother storing Dom Perignon (mass market, over hyped and not worth half the price. Came in DEAD LAST in a blind tasting of ten prestige cuvees with fifteen trade people tasting). Cristal falls apart with age IMO. Krug (my personal favorite) can easily cellar up to ten years. I recommend not more than five usually tho. "Vintage" champagnes...well, again is "hit or miss" depending on the producer. NV's, will settle out after six months, but again, no point in long term. As for my ultimate response to the subject, well, read my signature line below. Cheers, Rob
  4. RobInAustin

    Leftcoast log

    Jim I already knew that without seeing you, just from reading your posts! As for the rest, believe me, Im more than happy to sell a customer anything they want to buy, and the Cal Cab and Merlot sections of the store made me more money than any other! I just sit back and laugh at the "more money and more pretention than taste" crowd...You know, the ones who order the very latest release of Opus One in a restaurant (at $350) with dinner and crow how "wonderful" it is with the meal!! PS, been working on the fish poached in oil recipe, and is working great. A chemist acquaintance assured me that the freezer to microwave or boil in plastic bags ARE safe to use, just don't use ordinary sandwich bags. The oil does make a GREAT base for a simple sauce, and I did tuna with asian herbs (garlic, fresh ginger, lemon grass) which was awesome when I took some oil and made a wasabi-soy sauce to go with it, paired with a Riesling Kabinett from Prum.
  5. RobInAustin

    Leftcoast log

    Jim You have discovered what I did years ago, after visiting napa/sonoma at least once or twice a year. Calif. cab is just WAY over rated for the dollars you have to pay for it, and frankly so is Merlot. It goes with almost no food, and has such little complexity. My favorite Cal Cab story: Am in my shop last year, talking with a major customer/collector/friend about his cellar. He wants to make room. so I tell him to start getting rid of his 1994 Napa Cabs, since they weren't going to get any better. Another customer behind me says "No WAY! you're wrong...I have three cases left of my Caymus '94. Sure the fruit is gone, but whats LEFT!!!" I turned to my friend, and quietly said..."yeah, whats left??" The Emperor is butt naked...Cal cabs just aren't what they should be, more so for the price of admission IMHO> Cheers, Rob
  6. From what I understand the grass itself is not banned, just sale of vodka made with it. Im looking for the grass itself, dried, to make my own infusion.
  7. Hi, I love real zubrovka vodka, not the synthetic stuff on the shelf, but a real infusion. About six years ago, a dear friend, a 92 year old Russian princess (the real thing) gave me a packet of dried zubrovka grass stems to infuse vodka. I became hooked. Sadly, she passed away before I could ask her WHERE she got the zubrovka from. I've been searching desperately for it ever since. Does anyone have a source?? Let me know, Thanks and cheers, Rob
  8. Do I get proper cellar storage conditions, or is the island hot, so I have to worry bout heat damage? cheers, Rob
  9. I can vouch for Owen's Market as a very good butcher, quality wise. My parents have shopped there for over thirty five years consistently. Every trip home I cook for the familly and buy my meat at Owens. Quality of the meat is excellent. Its on Pico, just east of Century City.
  10. Rocks, Have to agree with you that it is way under-rated. I have touted the Berger GV in several threads as a great everyday value wine, at $10.99 for a full liter. The more "upscale" ones are more serious wines, which deserve more attention. but then Austria seems to be the poor relation living in the shadow of German Rieslings...which is unfair. Cheers, Rob
  11. Ok, here is one of those "insider" revelations. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is nothing more than, are you ready, Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio under their own label. A stealth label worthy of Gallo...but sadly true. Santa Margherita used to be a great 8 dollar bottle. Now, is plonk, marketed well at $20 plus to unwitting sheep. Buy Mezzacorona for $15 for a 1.5 liter if you like Santa marg. Back to great plonk buys. Cheers, Rob
  12. I don't mean to rain on any parades, as there have been some good wines, BUT, I thought the idea of the thread was "wines UNDER$10 US", so please, try to limit your suggestions to UNDER $10, you know, $9.99 or less? Looks like we're losing that focus here. cheers, Rob
  13. Yes, I think she means 'cat piss' as well, many NZ SBs tend to have a nose of cat piss/asparagus, which while it sounds awful, really isn't as bad as all that. I just can't come up with a better term to describe the smell myself either. I usually say, "Cat piss, but in a GOOD way..." Cheers, Rob
  14. Bonny Doon's "Vin de Glaciere" and Ceretto Moscato d'Asti, both under $20, should be easy to find, and great dessert wines for newbies. Also, if you can find the Robert Mondavi Moscato Bianco, another good one, but harder to track down. Cheers, Rob
  15. RobInAustin

    Wine for Beginners

    I think the best written and easiest for beginners is "Windows on the World" by Kevin Zraly Cheers, Rob
  16. Now, on the other hand, I can not tell you how many times customers "talk dry" but drink sweet. They all say, I want a good dry Chardonnay. I ask, name your favorite, and invariably, the answer is "you know, dry like Kendall Jackson"....KJ is the sweetest chard on the market. but you are also correct, in that I cannot for the life of me get customers to try a wonderful complex Riesling spatlese... cheers, Rob
  17. RobInAustin

    Good chow

    Well, I was using the freezer bags designed to go from freezer to microwave. I assume that, given the slavering lawyers clamoring for some sort of class action lawsuit, the "baggie" company designed a plastic that won't out-gas toxins at cooking temps.... but then, the effects may linger, ojn2kc oig nzz/ep0 o0rfrww..e axdgo0e]] s neowen.sssssxzzzzzzzzzzzzz Just kidding. cheers, Rob
  18. RobInAustin

    Good chow

    Jim, I don't think that might work. Part of the key to this technique is that the bag has no air left in it, so the fish and flavors literally steep together. Not sure that you could make the foil pouch seal that tight. I was a little sceptical myself at first (which is why I tried it out on myself alone on a Friday night when I was just cooking for me) about the plastic. It imparted no flavor at all, if that is your concern. As for melting, that is the reason why the water is kept at a bare simmer.
  19. RobInAustin

    Good chow

    I have not done that yet, made a sauce from the oil. Im sure it would work great, and I will try that next time. For me the flavor of the fish was so exceptional, I did not want to "overkill" anything on my first try. The whole dish I was playing with was a modern riff on Salad Nicoise, as a low cholesterol (doc's orders) dinner entree. The rest of the plate was field greens and roasted cherry tomatos in simple vinaigrette, fingerling potatos tossed in olive oil and sea salt and roasted, fresh steamed asparagus with a squeeze of lemon. Oh, and the wine I paired it with was Berger Gruener-Weldtliner from Austria. worked very well.
  20. RobInAustin

    Good chow

    Damn nice dinner Jim. And every wine is a favorite of mine too. Thanks for the TNs. A small idea I just played with myself this weekend. Next time for the Yellowtail, try "oil poaching". I did it with Swordfish, but it will work really well with tuna and yellowtail too. Got the idea from New York times. Take a ziplock freezer bag or boil in bag (MUST be water tight seal) put in the fish. season with salt and pepper to taste. Now here you can get creative. I put in a small sprig rosemary, juice of half a lemon, and one thin sliced clove of garlic (but feel free to use whatever flavors you like) then, pour in about 1/4 cup of oil, just enough to pretty much cover the fish. I used olive oil, for a mediterranean flavor, but any oil will work. press out remaining air and seal bag tight. Place in barely simmering water, NOT a boil...leave there for about 20 minutes, take out of the water and leave the hot bag to sit and steep for another ten min or so... AMAZING flavor and perfectly cooked and moist.
  21. Another addition Glass in front of me as I type. From Eric Solomon, European Cellars Selection, importers: Palacio de Menade, Cuevas de Castilla, Cuvee RS, 2002 Rueda White Wine, Spain, $7.99 Pretty nose of fresh straw and sweet grapefruit, slight floral tones. On the palate, good light body, nice viscocity, and fresh apple and pear fruit flavors, along with green grape, thyme, white pepper, and parma violet (the sweet smelling kind). Lingering finish. A knockout for 8 bucks! Cheers, Rob
  22. IMHO, Bogle's wines are ok. They used to be better quality and a better value a few years back. There certainly is nothing wrong with them, but for me, they lack character. Cheers, Rob
  23. Ok, fair enough for me, I can accept ambiguous. Your next trip to Austin, the first bottle of wine is on me. I recant "hypocrisy". cheers, Rob
  24. Then check out that thread I started, with that title! Cheers, Rob
  25. These are your exact words. I thought about this, REALLY thought about this. I stand by my smelling hypocrisy (tho I do apologize for not noticing I misspelled "hypocrisy"). You bash "cheap wine" but not Coke? Where is the "hatred" for the Coke?? Nowhere... Now, if you had chosen "mineral water with lime" or fresh brewed Iced Tea instead of Coke, it might have been different.
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