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Nyleve Baar

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    Millbrook, Ontario

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  1. Quite a few years ago we travelled in Kerala and spent a few days in Kochi. I was very interested to see the old synagogue there - in Jew Town - supposed to be something like 600 years old. We somehow ended up there on a Friday night and found ourselves at the sabbath services in the beautiful sanctuary, which was interesting enough. But then we were invited for dinner at the home of a woman who was at the centre of the Jewish community, just a short walk from the synagogue. We had already made dinner plans, having bought a fish that was going to be cooked by one of the vendors near the fishing docks. But we decided we couldn't pass up a chance to at least make a quick visit to her home. We stayed for a couple of glasses of wine and the blessing over the bread, and met some of the family and friends. And, a little reluctantly, we said thanks and left. Mistake on so many levels. The fish was terrible and I had my one and only stomach episode of a month of travel in India. We really should have stayed - it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in such a rare space, in such a fascinating Jewish home in a disappearing community. Only a few months later, Joan Nathan published an article in the New York Times about this very home, along with a recipe from Queenie Hallegua for Cumin Coriander Chicken. I now make that dish every year for Passover, kicking myself for not staying to really talk with her over dinner, but grateful that we ever met her at all. That article comes up if you google Cumin Coriander Chicken but I can't really link to it because I don't have access to NY Times cooking.
  2. The likelihood that you're going to find a recipe that is exactly what you have in mind - lemon sponge with vanilla whipped cream, vanilla pastry cream and fresh fruit - is pretty remote. Only you know how that cake was assembled, and unless it's some very specific "classic" cake which are sort of formulaic (like a sacher torte or an opera torte) you'll have to put it together yourself from different sources. A good lemon sponge from one book or website; a vanilla pastry cream from another; whatever fresh fruit you remember...
  3. I have the Epicurious iPhone/ipad app and it still seems to be working as usual. Should I expect this to be affected as well?
  4. First time I had a Magnolia cupcake was from their original store in NY, when people were still lining up outside to get one. It was...nothing special. At all. I'm not saying it wasn't a decent cupcake but it was typical of a homemade type of cupcake that just about anyone would have had at a kids birthday party in the 80's. I think the popularity - never mind hysteria - around these cupcakes were strictly a nostalgia thing amplified by the fact that few young New Yorkers could be bothered to make a cupcake from scratch in those days. The recipe would obviously be something that any halfway decent home cook would be familiar with. If you're looking for something revolutionary, this ain't it.
  5. I just saw one of these at a thrift store for $5! Had no idea what it was and didn't buy it. Might still not buy it but it's interesting to know what it is.
  6. I am not an expert and I have not tried this myself. But years ago I read an article somewhere that said you can turn the cheapest nastiest vodka into something as good as the good stuff by running it through a Brita filter several times. So go ahead someone. Let me know if it works.
  7. Yes! I think that's it! Very very NOT fancy.
  8. If you only have a short time, it might not be worth it to try to fit in Catania. As a city, Palermo has more to see and plenty of great food. Catania is smaller and rougher but the fish market is unbelievable.
  9. It's been a good long time since we were there but I remember a great seafood meal in a small restaurant beside the fish market in Catania. I wish I could give you the name - if it even exists anymore - but I'm sure there are many places in that area with excellent seafood. The one we went to was very rustic, run by a powerhouse Italian nonna who was probably there since the day it opened. Such a great town - weird and decrepit but great. The fish market is amazing.
  10. The soup kitchen where I volunteer was given a GIGANTIC bag of quick oats mixed half and half with sugar recently. This was handed to me to see what can be done with it. Turns out, it's perfect to make any sort of crumble dessert. Don't need to add sugar - mix in some butter/margarine, a little cinnamon...it's done. also used it to make some jam squares. This is a wonderful thing to donate if, as it sounds, you have more than you can grapple with.
  11. Nyleve Baar

    Ramps: The Topic

    The ramp salt I made is very much just a salty ramp powder. Intensely rampy but also salty.
  12. Nyleve Baar

    Ramps: The Topic

    I've tried it a little but I'm really mostly going to save it for winter when I'll need it. The salt I made is pretty strong but I can't say I would be able to tell it's ramps and not something else. I unintentionally grow a lot of garlic chives and it seems very similar. I can probably make a batch of salt with that and it would taste almost the same. Will be nice to have in January when I need to remember spring.
  13. Nyleve Baar

    Ramps: The Topic

    Oooo I just made something I think I'm going to really like. Ramp salt. Finely chopped 4 oz. leaves (in food processor), mixed with 1/2 cup coarse French sea salt and laid it out on a parchment covered baking sheet. Dried til crispy just on the side of wood cookstove (can just air dry or use dehydrator too). Then I ground it up a little finer in a coffee grinder. It looks wonderful and smells great. Can't wait to try it.
  14. Nyleve Baar

    Ramps: The Topic

    Yesterday! Delicious ramp and porcini gnocchi in a creamy Parmesan sauce. Porcini foraged last fall and frozen whole. Would have loved to make it with morels but they weren’t up yet. We checked. I’m planning to make some ramp salt and probably some ramp butter too.
  15. Scorpion mezcal in Oaxaca. I tried it and lived.
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