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Everything posted by constanela

  1. If you liked Carl but need two syllables, why not Carlos?
  2. constanela

    5.5 Pound Pork Loin With Skin

    I'm serving Christmas dinner for 6 this year. In the past, I've done very small pork loins (enough for 1-2 only) that took 20 minutes or so to cook and didn't have skin. This pork loin is an entirely different beast - 5 1/2 pounds, beautiful half inch layer of fat and skin on. My butcher recommended 15-20 minutes of "searing" in a 450 oven, followed by roasting at 350 until the internal temperature is 140. After a quick search on the internet, I've found loads of conflicting advice. I'm wondering if those with more experience with this kind of meat can chime in with their recommendations. Score or no score? Fast or slow oven? Salt or a rub 24 hours before hand or not? Stab with a knife and insert shards of garlic? Help! For the record, this is a certified humane meat vendor and the other pork cuts from this place (aforementioned small loins, pork chops) have been truly juicy and tasty with very little intervention by me - just a little salt & a hot pan. I'd love to hear some advice.
  3. constanela

    eG Foodbog: Caroline

    I am glad to hear another perspective on Sanborns. We went to the one near the Zocolo in D.F. our first night there based on a rave review in our guidebook and found it to be horrible to the point it was inedible. Our second try in another restaurant on the way back to the hotel was the same. This, along with the fact that our planned 2 weeks was cut to only 3 days by an untimely bout with appendicitis, left me somewhat biased against the food in D.F. I know that I had a uniquely bad experience, and enough time has elapsed that I am happy to give the food in that city another chance! Besides, I love the Mexican food I find here in my own country (although I now refer to it as "Californian" food). Can't wait to see the city through somebody else's eyes (and stomach).
  4. My 66 cents on 8 dollar eggs. Before discovering the Ferry Building and the aforementioned very expensive eggs, I never understood why people actually ate eggs. I found the yolks repulsive and the whites very blah. When I purchased eggs, usually from my local Safeway, I would use 2 for a batch of cookies and the rest would languish in my refrigerator until I threw them out months later during regular cleanouts. After finally tasting a delcious egg, I understand what the fuss is about. Now days, I buy my $8 eggs and eat ever single one of them. By my math, that's .66 each. Safeway lists eggs today on their online grocery service at $2.79 dozen. Using my older egg-eating method, that's $1.40 each. In a similar vein, most people (myself included) regularly pay $7-10 egg dishes when eating breakfast or brunch out in a restaurant. In my household, breakfast for 2 at a restaurant sets us back in the realm of $20. Figure 3 eggs per person and we're now talking $3.30 per egg. Wtth that math, we'd rather spend $8 for a dozen eggs and get multiple meals. That's how I justify my egg expenditures. And my weekly trips to the SF Ferry Plaza market.
  5. constanela

    edible fish guide

    Here's another resource, not for edible fish but for which fish are most edible when you factor in mercury content. http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/guide.asp
  6. Excellent blog, Jennifer! I have been enjoying your canneles for a few years now and am tickled to know a little bit more about who makes them. When you first showed us pictures of them, I had a feeling I knew which bakery you worked for and after showing us the photo of the front, I was right. I work just a few blocks away....here at work, we refer to it as the "Blue Bakery" (as opposed to the "Yellow Bakery" a block away) and frequently pick up tarts and such for staff birhtdays. Thank you for an enjoyable week.
  7. I'll try to help with some of the identifications. I think the shredded yellow root vegetable is olluco, one of the many varieties of tubers found only in Peru. It is traditional eaten with charqui (llama jerkey...did you happen to see that at the market too?). The olluco is delicious with salsa criolla, the fresh onion/lime/aji salsa (I think I saw a photo on your earlier post) that is served at practically every Peruvian meal. The fish roe is called hueveras (traditionally eaten at breakfast after the fisherman bring in their fresh catch). It's a generic term, just like "roe" and I'm afraid I can't identify the type of fish, though. I have no idea what the green alien vegetables are. I showed the photo to a Peruvian, and she didn't recognize them either. Did you have a chance to eat at Map Restaurant while in Cusco? That was my favorite restaurant there and I had some memorable strawberries in purple corn syrup. Thanks for the great picks! I particularly enjoyed your shot of a typical Cuzqueńa street with the colonial architecture atop the original Inca walls. Can't wait to see the offal!
  8. I have it on Peruvian authority that it is called dieta de pollo because not because it is good for diets, but because you can eat it when you are sick. Literal translation = diet made of out chicken. Hmmmmm...I think this is one of those cases where a literal translation doesn't really work. Can't wait to see what's next! This is making me very hungry for real Peruvian food and "homesick" for my own trip last December.
  9. I checked with my partner (who is Peruvian) and she came up with the following possibilities; dieta de pollo, caldo de pollo, or sopa la minuta (although that one is typically made with beef). I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip! Did you like the corn? When I first saw it, I thought it would be tough and starchy because it looks like what we called "cow corn" in my rural home town. The sweetness and texture surprised me. My Peruvian inlaws had similiar misgivings about our tiny little kernels when they visited here.
  10. Was it just me, or wasn't that Ling and hhlodesign at the Gypsy Dinner on the PNW show?
  11. In Cusco, I highly recommend Map restaurant. It's inside the PreColumbian art museum very close to the main sqaure at Plaza Nazarenas 231. I don't have the address, but would imagine anyone in a hotel could direct you to it. They have cuy on the menu as well as alapaca. The strawberries in purple corn syrup is a do not miss for dessert. Beautiful for the eyes and the palate.
  12. I just returned from 2 weeks in Peru over the holidays. In light of some of the questions posted here about recommendations, I thought I would post this thread with my experiences. My partner is from Peru and her family still lives there. This gave us an insider's view to the restaurant scene and the cuisine that we may have missed without their prescence. The world is beginning to catch on to the fact that Peru is one of gastronomical capitals. This trip really proved that point. We split our meals between home cooking and restaurant dinners and had not one single bad meal the entire time - with the exception of the two meals we had the misfortune to eat on the airplane coming on going. Our trip took us from Lima then north to the coastal cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo then back to Lima again.
  13. Dinner at Huaca Pucllana. Restaurante Huaca Pucllana in Lima probably has one of the most outstanding settings of any restaurant any where. It is directly across from Huaca Pucllana - a pre-Inca pyramid still standing in Miraflores. The huaca can be toured during the day, but the best time to eat and enjoy the view is at nighttime when the ruins are set aglow by a lighting system. The restaurant has a gigantic terrace facing the ruins which is the best place to eat. The food is neo-Peruvian. Here are a few highlights from dinner. Bistec a lo Pobre (Poor Man's Steak). This is a classic dish served everywhere. It consists of tacu tacu (a mound of beans or lentils with rice) with a thinly sliced steak, fried plantains and a fried egg over top. The tacu tacu isn't shown here (it's under the meat). Piqueo Criollo (Creole Nibbles) 12:00 Chicharrones de chancho (Fried pork) 3:00 Conchitas a la parmesana (Scallops with parmesan) 6:00 Anticuchos con choclo (Beef heart kabobs with Peruvian corn) 9:00 Causa con langostinos (Mashed potato topped with shrimp). Chupe de Camarones (Shrimp Stew) Hearty thick shrimp chowder topped with an over medium fried egg. My favorite dish of the night!
  14. You can't talk about Peruvian food without talking about cuy. Guinea pig is considered a delicacy in Peru and was a staple food for the Incas. The first time I went to Peru, I tried cuy in a high end restaurant in Cusco and was unimpressed. It had the texture of chicken, but the taste seemed somewhat amphibian and fishy. Since then, I have been told that the best cuy is to be had restaurants that cater more to locals and less to tourists. This cuy, also served in Trujillo, was much better, although I still can't say definitively that I like it. This presentation featured a very crispy crust and reminded me of fried chicken. Although the waiter promised this cuy came sin brazos (without arms) I still found the anatomic detail on the patas (legs) to be a tad disturbing. In fact, before I took a closer look, I thought this was a tooth jutting out of a face, but on closer look it turns out to be a claw. The side dishes here are rice and aji aco, potatoes stewed with the ubiqutitous Peruvian aji chile. Aji in it's raw state is orange and quite mild. Although it has a lot of flavor, it doesn't have much heat. It's used in just about everything.....ceviche, stews, soups and sauces.
  15. Trujillo was our first destination after spending Christmas Eve and Christmas in Lima. Trujillo is Peru's second largest city and has it's own food traditions. The ocean is a mere 15 minute drive away and the close proximity ensures that the seafood is incredibly fresh. Although larger commercial fleets exist, much of the fish is still caught by individual fisherman in small boats made of reeds called caballitos de totora (reed horses). Along the small coastal beach villages, you can see literally hundreds of caballitos both parked on the beach and out working. Here's one fisherman coming in from his most recent outing. The areas surrounding the northern cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo blends dishes found throughout the country along with distinct dishes found only in the north. Cabrito con frijoles (goat with beans) is one such dish. Here's an example from El Cantaro, a restaurant in Lambayeque featuring authentic local cuisine. This entree is so large, it requires 2 plates - on the left is local steamed rice with the beans and on the right, the braised goat with a piece of yucca. Another dish found only in the north is tortilla de raya (sting ray omelet). This is very similar to a spanish tortilla de papas only with sting ray meat in place of potatoes. I have to say that this is one of the best things I have ever eaten although thoughts of Steve Irwin did creep into my head as I enjoyed this appetizer.
  16. I'm excited to see a fellow San Franciscan blogging! Can't wait to see where you take us. Are you a fan of Liberty Cafe in Bernal Heights?
  17. constanela

    Discovering San Francisco

    Just discovering this forum after over a year of enjoying blogs and Dinner! Carolyn, have you been to Neecha Thai on the corner of Sutter and Steiner? It's in your neighborhood (mine too) and one of my favorite Thai places.
  18. constanela

    I think I was taken advantage of...

    Wow. I think you got ripped off. Just for comparison, when we had our commitment ceremony, we got a very well-known San Francisco restaurant for the entire night, had open bar, seven different passed appetizers, our wedding cake AND cookie favors for our guests for $50 a head. Good luck in trying to fix this.
  19. constanela

    Spring Ants

    If you can find out where they are coming in, you can plug the hole with a glop of Vaseline applied with a q-Tip. They'll find a new spot the next day, but you can systematically eliminate them this way.....worked in my bathroom this winter, again when they found the dog's dinner bowl and didn't have to use any pesticides or ant traps. I assume they went and found some easier pickings. You can also kill the ones who are already there with rubbing alcohol in a spritz bottle.
  20. constanela

    Peruvian-Chinese Cuisine

    Are you actually going to Peru for this restaurant or somewhere else. If you are going to Lima, I can recommend a great one.
  21. Hi Pam! I'm glad to see you are blogging again. It was your blog last year that got me hooked on egullet blogs and made me a daily visitor. Have a great and delicious week and I will look forward to following along!
  22. constanela

    Le Creuset Sizes

    Here it is the day after Thanksgiving, I'm close to the Gilroy outlets thanks to a weekend spent with family and I've decided today is the day to finally invest in a Le Creuset oven for brasing. I headed over to the Le Creuset outlet and quickly became confused over all the various sizes, shapes and styles. Things that sounded huge (like the 6 quart ovens) look tiny in the store, but the 9 quart ovens seem like they might be too big. What's the best size for a family of 2 adults that like to have leftovers for lunch? Anybody have some advice?
  23. constanela

    Is it my cocoa or my palate?

    I made a batch of flourless chocolate cookies for my sweetie today. Because I was working without flour, I splurged on the cocoa and bought Droste. After I mixed up the batter, I tasted it and frowned. It tasted charred or burned to me. A sniff of my box of cocoa confirmed that the it does smell charred....almost like charcoal. I gave her a taste and she said the batter was delicious and that it tasted like cocoa is supposed to taste. (She is not originally from the USA and is used to chocolate brands other than Hershey). I grew up on Hershey's and this is my first time using anything but. Does higher quality cocoa have a burned taste to anybody else or is it just me? By the way, the baked cookies taste good, but do have just a hint of that charred flavor. It is not nearly as intense as the raw batter.
  24. constanela

    Is it my cocoa or my palate?

    Thanks for the input everyone. The cookies ended up tasting great, so I'll chalk this up to a palate uninitiated to the finer nuances of better chocolate.
  25. constanela

    Is it my cocoa or my palate?

    The recipe was very simple. Just cocoa, powdered sugar, vanilla, egg whites, a pinch of salt and chopped walnuts. I can't identify anything else, plus the cocoa in the box smells like the batter tastes. My significant other thinks I'm just tasting the bitterness of a better quality of chocolate, so perhaps it is me after all!