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Everything posted by stuart_s

  1. Thank you. Neither batch used corn syrup. If I had used it then maybe the botched batch would have come out well. In fact, maybe I was lucky that even one batch turned out well with so little effort on my part. On the other hand, maybe with a little experience under my belt I'll do even better in the future. In either case, I'm happy with my decision. The best anybody can say about corn syrup is that it's a good substitute or that it's cheaper or easier. I've never read or heard that it tastes better. There's a restaurant nearby that currently has a brittle component in two dishes - a peanut brittle in a beet salad and a pumpkin seed brittle in an untraditional presentation of pumpkin pie. I had the pumpkin seed brittle and it was amazing. Four tiny shards of this brittle without the pumpkin pie would have been better than any dessert I've had at almost any other restaurant. I thought I chose super high quality ingredients and brittle seems like a recipe that needs careful measurement more than individual artistry so I'm very curious how there's such a big difference. My pecan brittle was good but this pumpkin seed brittle was incredible. I'm sure the chef will be happy to explain his recipe but I'm not sure the difference is something he'll be able to articulate. pumpkin pie at Moxie (Cleveland, Oh) -Stuart
  2. Success! And failure. But, success. I made two batches. The first was with pecans. It looked perfect and it tasted quite good. The second was with peanuts and it had several problems. It certainly looked much less pretty and it didn't really taste great either. I didn't get any decent pictures of the failed batch. I can speculate about several potential problems. First of all, the peanuts didn't cook sufficiently. Alton Brown's recipe calls for lightly roasted peanuts. But on his show he says that raw peanuts are traditional and that they cook in the caramel. These peanuts still tasted raw. Also, there was a lot of confusion about the target temperature. I saw 290, 293... I think my thermometer says "hard crack" is 300. The Chanterelle cookbook say 325 and I decided to follow their advice. For the first batch I panicked and took it off early. About 310? The second batch I took off even a few degrees earlier. I think I read in several recipes that you shouldn't handle the syrup. Either when it's boiling or when you're spreading it out to cool. I think I may have handled the second batch too much as I was spreading it. It looked and felt like there was a lot of crystalization. Unfortunately, I didn't get any decent pictures of the peanut batch. The first batch came out glassy smooth. Honestly, I thought I was pretty careful with both batches but I guess not. I enjoyed making mine and I'm glad someone else tried it. It seems like the stars were aligned in favor of bacon this last week. All these links are just things that I came across in my regular web surfing. I wasn't specifically looking for bacon information. Bacon toffee bacon caramel bacon baklava bacon ice cream
  3. Progress is slow but steady. Well, mostly slow. I think I'll leave the Chanterelle recipe for another adventure. I'm going to use the original recipe from Everything Tastes Better With Bacon with several modifications. First, I'll use real vanilla. I'll also swap out the corn syrup and use sugar. According to The Cook's Thesaurus, 1.5 cups of corn syrup = 1 cup sugar + .25 cups liquid. The Everything Tastes Better With Bacon recipe also calls for pecans. Alton Brown says that raw peanuts are traditional. So I'm torn between the various combinations: raw peanuts, lightly roasted peanuts, raw pecans, lightly roasted pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds... Currently, I'm leaning towards raw peanuts. Now I just have to figure out where to buy them. Here's another question. Alton says that peanut brittle is simple enough that you don't need a candy thermometer but that if you have one you're looking for 350F. Everything Tastes Better With Bacon says 290F. That seems like a pretty big discrepancy. Also, if I keep worrying about every little detail, my bacon brittle will be trite and overdone before I even make it. Apparently, bacon desserts are going to be big in 2007: bacon baklava.
  4. I think that I'll just cook all of it in little batches until I get sick of it. Thanks for pointing that out though. I can't get corn syrup out of my head so I did some googling. Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller each have published recipes (not peanut brittle recipes, though) which call for corn syrup. But there are still some people who don't seem to accept it. I also found a recipe for peanut brittle from Chanterelle and I read that their peanut brittle is amazing. This recipe is one of the very few that does not involve corn syrup. So I'm convinced that I'll try at least one batch without. I may do other with.
  5. Thanks for the assurance. I think I'm ready to accept corn syrup. Unfortunately, the people that I might ordinarily go to for advice on this matter will be getting some of the end result and I'd like it to be a surprise. Anyway, James Beard's American Cookery, The Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker all use corn syrup in their brittle recipes. I guess the question now becomes, "Why doesn't Alton Brown use corn syrup in his peanut brittle?" I'd still be happy to hear any other advice. I'm now fully committed to this project. I've got 5 1lb+ packages of bacon.
  6. I did search but I hadn't realized that you could search this specific forum. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find anything. I did find one eGulleter who actually made the stuff but there wasn't any advice. Using the search feature on eGullet is actually rather cumbersome. The "peanut brittle" query turned up 14 pages of results but scanning the titles of the threads suggests that the threads are almost all irrelevant. Those that actually mention peanut brittle seem to do only that and nothing more. There's just to much too filter out before you can find anything useful.
  7. I found this recipe for bacon peanut brittle: Everyone claims that it produces great results but I'd like some trustworthy advice. Did they just take a mediocre brittle recipe and add bacon? My main issue is the corn syrup. I'm embarrassed to even ask but is corn syrup a legitimate ingredient? I don't cook much and I don't ever cook sweets. The only time that I ever hear the words corn syrup they're invariably prefaced by the words "high fructose" and generally located near words like "decline of civilization as we know it." Imagine a restaurant whose recipe for steak calls for jus de bœuf which in turn calls for fond blanc de veau and bouillon de pot-au-feu (read this but please come back). Do they have corn syrup in their pantry and do they put it in their peanut brittle? I've searched for peanut brittle recipes but I can't seem to find an authoritative one. Almost all the recipes I've read have corn syrup. This include Jacques Torres but not Alton Brown. I've seen cane syrup, light corn syrup, brown sugar, dark corn syrup. I've seen butter and no butter. So, aside from my corn syrup question, I'd be interested in hearing all about your time-tested recipes for the world's best peanut brittle. Does anyone have any experience with bacon brittle? Does it present any particular concerns? Here's a recipe from the Timeline of Food dated to 1847. And here's Martha Stewart's recipe. She also uses corn syrup which for whatever reasons I find very comforting. Thank you.
  8. Here are a couple lists that I've bookmarked. I've also bookmarked several individual festivals. Goetta (?), pierogi, ramps, mushrooms, Cleveland, Taste of Chinatown. I'm also boomarking websites for various "restaurant weeks." Vancouver seems like one to be really excited about. New York, of course. Also Atlanta, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, Toronto... Some of these aren't linked. My linking finger got tired. If you find more websites for festivals and restaurant weeks, I think it would be very helpful if you bookmarked them in del.icio.us (it seems named for just this) in addition, of course, to adding them here.
  9. Christine007 (*waves*) described it better than I did. It is like a rich biscuit or cookie. It's different from the cream cheese pastry of a rugelach which these very same bakeries also sell. Generally I would have to go to a different bakery for strudel which is also a different thing. Swisskaese's photo seems to match. I'll ask about them the next time that I'm at the right bakery although that probably won't be tomorrow. I'd love to hear about it if your baker knows anything. Thanks everyone.
  10. I posted a picture of a Russian tea Biscuit from a Cleveland bakery on flickr and someone asked me what it was. I decided to google up a little background information and was sorely disappointed. Now, I'm determined to root out their history. Er... well, I'm determined to ask you fine folks about it, anyway. First, to avoid confusion, a Russian tea biscuit looks like this: In Cleveland, they're a common item at Jewish bakeries and delis. An eGullet search turned up only information about Russian tea cakes. The excellent foodsubs.com says that Rusian tea cakes are identical to Russian tea biscuit but that contradicts my experience. Foodsubs' idea of a Russian tea biscuit/cake is what we might call a Mexican wedding cookie. Google turned up several recipes but absolutely no information about the context or the history. At least it confirmed my impression that a Russian tea cake is a Mexican wedding cookie and that neither is a Russian tea biscuit. The other interesting result from my googling was that Cleveland was mentioned in seven pages on the first page of Google results. I'd never really given any thought to whether RTB's were authentically Russian, but I think that I always assumed that they were common in American Jewish delis from New York to Miami Beach. So, do you have these where you're from? What's their history? Thanks for your help
  11. That looks very interesting. I'm curious. How does it compare to the xialongbao? Also, where in San Francisco and would you recommend it? Thanks
  12. Emerging market? That's very interesting. My crystal ball is on the fritz. What are the possibilities for Cleveland's future development? I assume you're making your analysis based on the histories of other cities with similar characters? What are some of their success stories. Cleveland does have a restaurant organization. There are no bad hotel chefs because membership is limited to local businesses. Cleveland Originals is a local chapter of the Council of Independent Restaurants of America. Moxie, Flying Fig, Battuto, fire and Sage are all members. In 2004 they had a "Dine Originals" week which, personally, I felt was very successful. I was so excited that I added my own unofficial preview week and I managed to get seven local meals. Unfortunately for some reason they didn't manage to hold the promotion in 2005. I asked and was told that they're planning to revive it for 2006. *crosses fingers* Sage really is wonderful. Go for the charcuterie plate. I'm looking forward to a meal at Flying Fig this weekend. I remember a salad I had there in 2004. That's got to say something about their commitment to quality. Parker's is fantastic. Look into their monthly vegetarian dinners. The next one is March 8th and they're at least as good as any omnivore's menu in the city. Battuto is on my list but this new recommendation is jumping it right to the top. Thanks Michael. How about Siam Cafe (Chinese food but also Vietnamese and, obviously, Thai)? Cleveland's Slow Food convivium had their 3rd annual Chinese New Year celebration last night. Ten courses each more wonderful than the last. I've had a (very) little taste of some well regarded West coast Chinese food and Siam Cafe is at least on par. Yesterday's meal was fabulous.
  13. Well, I ran off to get information about Cleveland's restaurant week. Imagine my surprise when I couldn't turn anything up. I had a great time with Cleveland's "Dine Originals" week in 2004. I went to 4 restaurants that week. In fact, I was so excited about the event that I went to several OTHER restaurants before the event even started. That was November of 2004. I didn't even notice that nothing happened in 2005. What happened?
  14. Ideas in FoodIdeas in Food SlashfoodSlashfood I was surprised that Ideas in Food at least wasn't already mentioned in this thread. The photos are great and the food is very sophisticated. Slashfood has a nice volume. It's not overwhelming but I can always count on something good when I need to kill a minute.
  15. Master Cook is probably what you're looking for. I prefer NutritionData because I only have an occasional need for it and I'm a cheapskate. MC costs $20 and ND is free. Nutrition data had the added benefit of being web based and hence accessible from anywhere. I had about a half dozen ingredients and two or three recipes and my pantry was 3-4% full so it's obviously very limited on space. But you can export ingredients and recipes. It has very complete nutritional information. And you can output a high res graphic summary of the nutritional information in exactly the style that the put on commercially produced packages. I always get a chuckle looking at the nutritional summary that I did for poutine. Also you can't really store recipes - only ingredients. If you only want a nutrional analysis every once in a while and don't need to rely on keeping the results and don't need to store large numbers of recipes and don't need to filter or otherwise organize the recipes then nutriondata.com should be perfect. Otherwise, you may need to pony up the dough for MC.
  16. Anna: Try pork butt steaks if you like pork with some fat. These stay moist and tender...or you can coat the meat with bread crumbs before frying. This process helps to keep the moisture in the meat. The bones would be my favourite part. ← At one of my local farmers market there's a vendor with heritage breeds of pork. Specifically, I think it's Berkshire. This pork is certainly not lean or at risk of being tough and dry. There's likely to be something similar available near you. Local Harvest sells heritage pork online if you're willing to pay a lot for shipping and buy in quantity. Heritage Foods USA seems a little more flexible and seems to have a wider selection. It's possible to make a tasty chop with modern pork, too. I just had a delicious Vietnames pork chop at a local restaurant and it was moist and tasty. But I made some of the Berkshire chops a while ago and they were bursting with juice.
  17. You have to respect her chutzpa. A similar thing happened to me several weeks ago. Unfortunately, we had just been served the appetizers and I hadn't even had the chance to try them. The owner came over and was immediately insulting. When he asked me to either stop taking pictures or leave I assume he imagined that I would stop taking pictures. I decided to leave but he wasn't satisfied. When I wouldn't erase the pictures that I'd already taken he snatched my camera. I think we both threatened to call the police and I think we both did. The police officer told them to get my camera and then had to tell them a second time more assertively. He asked me to erase them as a personal favor. The pictures are on flickr. I also wrote a lengthy blog post. Realistically a couple dozen people may have seen the pictures on flickr but I didn't post it along with the story. The blog post had an even smaller audience. Not very satisfying retribution. The proprietors' reasoning in the DC case and in my case is just baffling. There's absolutely no upside to their policy and so many downs that I stutter when I try to articulate them. Anyway, the legal issues seem to be fairly well covered by other posters. It was perfectly natural to assume that I could take pictures as I'd done it a hundred times before. They had the right to ask us to leave but the pictures are ours. So, if you're ever in Cleveland don't go to Taza. The labneh is pretty good but the staff isn't particularly hospitable. But mostly, I'm jealous. I want a cease and desist letter.
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