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M. Lucia

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Everything posted by M. Lucia

  1. Cook 456: It is the 2nd year for the cranberries with port and orange and it came out even better this year. I just like a subtle flavoring. My friend makes the onion tart and it is more like a pie with shallots, leeks, and vidalias with gruyere and another cheese and barely any crust. The menu had some last minute alterations, including real country ham with Marshall's biscuits and a chess pie (hooray for the south).
  2. Thanks for all the explanations Elie (and others)! I, too, sometimes confuse the names of the pastries and just point as my mouth waters. There are so many different types, and the names vary from region to region. Let me just add a few things from my limited experience. First, baklava is a generic term, and can take many forms. This includes the diamond, rose, and finger (my favorite) shapes, and the birds nest (with little filo edges) and crown (taj al malik- circular and filled with whole nuts). You can often choose pistachio, pinenut, walnut, or cashew varieties of baklava. Borma is often displayed in long spiralled cylinders said to resemble a lady's arm. As pictured below when sliced, the outside is shredded phyllo and the inside are nuts. The white squares in the middle are ballourie, shredded phyllo dough and pistachio filling. Namoura, the semolina sweet, is also called basbousa and harisa (another favorite). Bassma has a knafee dough top mixed with butter and pistachios to make a chewy square somewhat like a nutty namoura. You often see little golden pound cake squares called sfouf. The round little cakes filled with date pasta are mamoul. Mamoul can also come filled with pistachios and it can come in a flat shape, called mamoul madd. The confectioners sugar and butter cookies are called ghourabiya. The can come in crescent or ring shapes and can be filled with pistachios. I love the way the plain ones melt in your mouth. In the above picture the middle spiral sweets are called mushabak, or jellabi and they are fried dough soaked in sugar syrup. They are popular in Iran and India and can also come in a round form (looks like a canelle) that I have heard refered to as awameh or marakoun. Ashta is indeed clotted cream. Ashta is often used to top halawet wa jibna (the white wrapped cheese thing) also. There is another topping sometimes put on top of bassma that is dead ringer for marshmallow fluff. Kataif make the best breakfast, it was what I would get in Lebanon when I missed American pancakes. They now make diet baklava and chocolate mamoul! Hope this helps, and keep sharing the photos!
  3. PECAN PIE Texas pecans, homemade cane syrup, I make extra just for the leftovers Tarte Tatin this year we're having Chess Pie (hey, it's not traditional but we've got 10 southerners in New York)
  4. Not only are you preparing a fabulous Thanksgiving meal , but you are whipping up some homemade pasta only 2 days before. I am inspired. Excellent wine choices, too.
  5. Snack'ums: NY Bar Nuts, cheeses (borenkaas, a blue, real port salut, cotswold), homemade anise-seed flatbreads, dried figs, etc. Oysters and champagne. Tomato aspic with homemade mayonnaise. Cauliflower soup with curry oil. Roasted Garlicky Asparagus. Puree of sweet potatoes with cumin and maple syrup. Pan roasted baby brussel sprouts and shallots. 3 Onion tart. Cornbread Dressing. Brined Roasted Turkey. Cranberry sauce with orange and port. Cloverleaf dinner rolls. Pecan pie (from Texas) Tarte Tatin Chocolate petit fours. wines as yet undetermined, though a gewurztraminer, riesling, and pinot noir are sitting idly by...
  6. Could you elaborate on the quince beaumes de venise cake? I make a beaumes de venise cake from Gourmet that I really enjoy, perhaps it is similar. I've been following your thread and I have to say you are doing an amazing job, and you have certainly changed my perspective on how hard my local bakery and coffe shop owners work. I am even more committed to patronizing independant retailers. Doing unusual ingredients like quince allows you to introduce people to new things and proves you are a unique business, which should keep the customers coming. Keep at it!
  7. Thanks! I think I will try cooking the cauliflower in milk and then adding part milk and part vegetable stock (I want to keep some of the light delicacy of it). For an everyday dinner I might garnish with some roasted cauliflower florets and drizzle with oil. I'm getting out the chinois.
  8. I was wondering if you could share a more detailed version of your cauliflower soup recipe. I love doing roasted cauliflower with curry powder, so this sounds like something up my alley. That is one amazing meal that is shaping up here.
  9. Ooo, ooo! I love onions. For cippoline agrodolce I peel the onions by blanching, then I boil them in some stock with a few tablespoons of vinegar and a pinch of sugar and salt for about 15 minutes. Then I add a few more tablespoons balsamic and a pat of butter. Let simmer until syruppy, about 20 more mins. My friend adds a bunch of stuff to this (fruits, nuts, herbs) and currants make a great addition. I also like to saute some whole shallots in some olive oil, then pop them into a hot oven to roast. While they are pan roasting get some baby spinach or arugula ready. Take out the onions and put them over the greens, use the remaining oil in the pan as a dressing (add some herbs or vinegar if desired). Then shave some parmesan or aged gruyere or boerenkass over. (the hot shallots wilt the greens and kinda melt the cheese, yum) Also, thickly slice a bunch of vidalias, saute in olive oil until browned, deglaze with some white wine, add a bit of stock, and simmer until soft and syrupy. And you can slice them in half and roast them, and I haven't even gotten into stuffing.
  10. yummm.... I generally prefer soft and chewy cookies, my favorites being: *oatmeal raisin (my recipe similar to the Quaker Oats box; I like to sub chopped dates for the raisins) *ginger/molasses cookies I don't make choc. chip often, but when I do I use an old recipe that calls for grinding oats in a blender and includes grated chocolate and chocolate chunks. Sometimes I'll make peanut butter cookies also. For Christmas decorating I use the Joy's rich roll sugar cookies. Other cookies I love are Lebkuchen (soft, spicy, good) and ghoraiybeh (melting arab cookies).
  11. beet and apple turnip and chestnut The Silver Palate Cookbook has lots of good ideas: sweet pea and mint, carrot, etc.
  12. M. Lucia

    Garbanzo Beans

    When I actually think about it, for the millions of times I have watched people make hummus and foul, I have never seen anyone peel the chickpeas. Thanks for the clarification. another yummy dish with chickpeas that I am eating as I type: moughrabbia
  13. M. Lucia

    Turkey Brining

    ditto Brining is absolutely worth it for moist turkey, but I prefer to have someone else do it for me. For those who have expressed scepticism about brining in previous posts, it is a great way to try the taste without doing the whole process yourself. The first year we ordered a kosher turkey I have memories of getting out the pliers to pull out those quills.
  14. M. Lucia

    Garbanzo Beans

    When I lived in Lebanon, where the chickpea is omnipresent, it was customary to peel the little buggers. I was told that this was key to their texture and to creaminess in dishes like hummus. I love chickpeas and I agree that cooking them from dried is much better than canned. If I have to use canned I will cook them a bit, as they are often undercooked when canned to withstand their long sit in liquid. I peel them when I have time for better mouth feel, and if you buy dried split chickpeas the skins actually do come off when you rub them (unfortunately, these aren't readily available in the U.S. so I put on some music and pinch each chickpea one by one if I'm feeling really dedicated). As for the dishes I love: hummus, chana masala, Lebanese mousaka (no meat, just eggplant, onion, tomatoes, chickpeas and spices), and salads with chickpeas like spinach/mushroom/chickpea/parm.
  15. I always keep unsalted butter in the fridge because I can add salt if I want to but if something calls for unsalted I have it on hand. I am a big fan of unsalted because I think it tastes sweeter and fresher. Here is the test that convinved me: Have on hand salted and unsalted butter. Take 2 slices of bread and butter each slice with one type of butter. Sprinkle the tiniest bit of salt on the unsalted piece. Do a taste test. It's even better if you have high quality unsalted and a bit of fleur de sel.
  16. My family has so many traditions there are always some that get forgotten each year until someone protests: "where's the -insert favorite dish here-?!" Christmas is at the family compound/farm in Tennessee where my aunt now lives in a great log house with a huge fireplace built by a relative a hundred years ago. The Christmas tree is a cedar tree cut from the property that perfumes the whole house. My uncle, mom, and I arrive at the last minute to minimize family tensions exaggerated by long stays. There are tons of open houses to go to and family and friends to visit (even these have a traditional sequence). Christmas eve dinner is a tradition borrowed from Texas years ago: tamales! They are homemade by a Mexican friend of my uncle's and are usually pork, beef, and vegetarian spinach/cheese. Christmas morning brings real southern biscuits and country ham (so lacking in the rest of the country). The thing I look forward to every year is a breakfast casserole done in the Le Creuset of cranberries, oats, brown sugar, maple syrup, and pecans - I am always starving waiting for the last person to get up and it is so good! After presents are opened my aunt, uncle mom, and I go for a long walk around the property, and feed the horses and donkeys and dogs. That is followed by a nap and reading and looking at our gifts. Hors d'ouevres include cheese and olive balls, some kind of cheese and dips, homemade spicy crackers, cheese straws, mulled cider and hot toddies. Dinner always includes tomato aspic and homemade mayo and cornbread dressing, some kind of roast, braised brussel sprouts and homemade rolls. Dessert is pecan pie from a friend in Texas who has his own pecan trees- beyond compare. If this isn't available we order pecan pie from Goode Co. in Houston (and yes, it makes great breakfast the next day). Things always in the kitchen are: Tenn. bbq and accoutrements for sandwiches, some sort of casserole, grits, cucumber/watercress tea sandwiches, bacon, smoked salmon, coleslaw, pomegranates, ordered petit fours, my Bourbon balls, Bettie's fudge, dates filled with marzipan... As much as I enjoy mache salads and dim sum steamed pork buns and crudo the rest of the year, I look forward to this food and all of our holiday traditions and the comfort and warmth they bring.
  17. Here's an article about Total's problems in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/artic...-2004Oct26.html
  18. I had the exact same thought as elfin! The rest of the year I barely eat candy, but Halloween rolls around and I just have to have some. I love the candy pumpkins (candy corn shaped as pumpkins) which can be harder to find these days (I've already stashed some away). I also like caramels, mint patties, and jelly beans. I bought those gummies shaped as hamburgers and hotdogs for kids this year. Interestingly, a friend of mine had bought some "indian corn" the other day and the second ingredient (between sugar and corn syrup) was edible shellac! What is this?!
  19. Pan, I have been to Chickpea and enjoy their puffy pitas. I was speaking specifically to hummus in mentioning Damask, and perhaps I favor them because they are always so friendly to me. To get back to the topic at hand, I am glad aunteejoy was able to find some of what she is looking for. I know how the smallest thing, like a familiar food, can make a difference when living in a new place. As for labneh, I don't know of anywhere that has it homemade, though I am sure there must be one, perhaps in the Atlantic Ave area of Brooklyn. As a substitute, I buy something like Total Greek yogurt and strain it over a cheesecloth in the fridge until it reaches the desired consistancy. Now, if only we could get them to import saj (sage) to New York, I could have za'atar or labneh sandwiches...
  20. As Wendy has said, I think each of our tastes is shaped by our personal histories and experiences. The year I was born, Gourmet published a children's birthday party menu, including a carrot cake recipe. I have had that cake for my birthday almost every year since then (apparently in a pre-teen year I was swayed by the popularity of ice-cream cakes). Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe to my liking, but I always make the marzipan shaped bunnies and carrots to decorate the cake. For me, the ultimate carrot cake is dark, dense, moist, but does not have any pineapple or coconut. Here is the original 1983 recipe (if you can dig up an old copy it has precious pictures): Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Marzipan Rabbits and Carrots For the layers: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbl cinnamon, a pinch of ground allspice 4 large eggs 1 cup vegetable oil 4 cups finely grated carrots (about 1 pound- carrots with green tops) Make the layers: line the bottoms of 3 8-inch round pans with wax paper, butter the paper, and dust the pans with flour. Into a bowl, sift together the flour, the sugar, the baking soda, the salt, the cinnamom, and the allspice. In a large bowl, beat the eggs for 1 minute, or until they are frothy, and add the oil in a stream, beating. Beat in gradually the flour mixture and beat the batter just until it is smooth. Stir in the carrots and divide the batter among the cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. When done, let cool for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack, let cool completely, and peel off paper. For the frosting: 1 pound cream cheese, softened, 1 stick ( 1/2 cup)unsalted butter, softened, 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted, 2 teaspoons vanilla. 1/2 cup apricot jam, sieved, marzipan, food coloring, parsley Arrange 1 layer on a serving plate, spread it with half the jam, and top it with a second layer. Spread the second layer with the remaining jam and top it with the remaining layer. Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Make bunnies and carrots out of marzipan, painting with food coloring. Place the carrots around the sides of the cake and place the bunnies in a circle around the top, using sprigs of parsley as grass. Over the years I have made the following alterations: 2 cups flour 2 tsp baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 3 eggs plus 1 white 3/4 cup oil 4 cups carrots This will always be my standard carrot cake, from which I may vary. In the interest of this thread, perhaps someone would like to bake several of the most popular versions (Commisary, etc.) discussed here and do a side by side taste test. I'd love to know the results.
  21. The Holyland Market, on St Mark's between 1st and A, is an Israeli grocery. I know they have Bamba, and I think they might have kibukim. For all sorts of Middle Eastern and foreign foodstuffs, particularly spices, I go to Kalustyan's on Lexington Ave near 28th St. www.kalustyans.com For really good hummus, I agree you must make it yourself. However, many Arab take out places have passable versions. I like Damascus Felafel on Ave A near 4th St, they make good hummus and I can practice my Arabic. My Israeli friend goes to Village Schwarma on 6th Ave or Hadom, on 7th Ave south, both in the village. I know there are many more places in the city, but I hope this helps.
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