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pam claughton

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  1. pam claughton

    Cooking with "Stir" by Barbara Lynch

    My sister surprised me yesterday with a new cookbook, STIR, by Barbara Lynch. It was a surprise because I didn't know she had a cookbook coming out. I've already read the book completely and can't wait to dive in and try some of these recipes. If you don't know who Barbara Lynch is, she's a well known Boston chef, who worked under Todd English at Olives (and maybe Figs too), then Galleria Italiano, before opening No. 9 Park. She has several other restaurants now too, but No. 9 is the one people rave about. It's famous for delicate, homemade pastas. I've only tried one recipe in the book, when it was printed a few years back in Food and Wine magazine, the Veal Ragu over Pappardelle, and it was delicious. I've had several of the other dishes though, the tomato tart and one of her signature dishes, the prune stuffed gnocchi with foie gras sauce. That is amazing. I think the first dish I may try is a soup, leek and potato with scallops and olive potato chip garnish. She recommends using the local Cape scallops, which are in season now for a few more weeks. Any other suggestions if anyone is familiar with the book?
  2. pam claughton

    Single Shrimp Amuse Bouche

    I like the bisque idea, maybe instead of a big cup of bisque, have a shot of creamy bisque and a giant shrimp, so the bisque is almost like a dipping sauce for the shrimp? That way you get all the creamy flavor and richness without filling people up too much. And it should go nicely with the champagne. Pam
  3. pam claughton

    best toasted/grilled sandwiches

    My mini George Foreman grill makes the best panini sandwiches, every bit as good if not better than more expensive panini presses. Think I got mine on sale for around $20 years ago. Two favorites both involved turkey on good country white bread (like Panera's), butter the outsides and fill with turkey, carmelized onion and cheddar Or, my absolute favorite is either turkey or roasted chicken, a bit of honey mustard and roasted red pepper hummus. Pam
  4. pam claughton

    Plastic Food Film plus oven = danger?

    I was wondering the same thing just yesterday as I read a recipe in the Julia and Jacques cookbook for homemade sausage that instructs you to roll the sausage mix in plastic wrap instead of casing, create a tight cylinder, then wrap again in aluminum foil. Then when you bake you submerge in a water bath at around 250 or so. So, I worried about cooking with the plastic wrap, but also if this will be waterproof enough?
  5. pam claughton

    Butter Poached Lobster Tails

    Peter, Have you had Ritz cracker seafood stuffing? It's how most seafood restaurants on the Cape stuff their lobsters and shrimp, sole, etc. Your way sounds fabulous too though, though my preference would be too leave the garlic out, as much as I love garlic, I think it tends to overpower the sweetness of lobster. Pam
  6. pam claughton

    Butter Poached Lobster Tails

    Kim, Here's a similar recipe that we make all the time, it's great for parties, and super simple, basically just fresh lobster meat, lots of butter and crushed Ritz cracker crumbs, which makes an elegant lazy lobster casserole. The crumbs add great texture and richness and buttery flavor. This is a classic Cape Cod (where I grew up working in seafood restaurants) recipe. We make this every Christmas Eve and often during the Summer as well, and especially now as lobster prices are way down. http://efoodie.typepad.com/efoodie/2005/01...llure_of_l.html
  7. pam claughton

    Tipping the Kitchen

    What is it about liking your work that means you don't deserve decent compensation? I know that isn't what you believe but it's effectively what people think about a lot of jobs - school teachers, scientists, ministers, etc. ← As I've said earlier, I do believe the current way is definitely flawed. I think though that part of the reason it is this way is simply because of supply and demand. If you paid the servers the same as the cooks, you'd likely have an abundance of cooks and no servers. Whereas the cooks will accept their pay because it's a stepping stone to a career, almost like an internship in a sense, where they are learning and being paid. Servers, not so much. Most servers are just doing the job on way to a different career. Very few servers stay as professional staff their entire careers. Most are just in it for the money. If you take the money away by redistributing to the kitchen in any kind of significan way, they will either seek out other server jobs that don't....or do something else. Which is why I think nothing changes...supply and demand sets the prices ultimately.
  8. pam claughton

    Deviled Ham

    Okay, now I really want to try this Underwood Deviled Ham. It's funny, I was just visiting with my 92 year old grandfather yesterday and he was talking about this stuff and how much he loves it and plans to serve it as part of an appetizer for his annual Christmas party. He showed me the can, small and wrapped in paper, and I believe it's sold at all major supermarkets. I may have to try it with scrambled eggs, that sounds like a combo I'd love. ~Pam
  9. The following book has always been a standout for me. If you haven't already read it, do so! The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine by Rudolph Chelminski ← Peter, Thank you! I will definitely look for it. Much appreciated. ~Pam
  10. pam claughton

    Coffee Recipes

    I still dream about the thick sirloin steak I had at the Capital Grille steak house in Boston, that was rubbed with ground coffee and other spices and served with a shallot butter sauce. There was no distinct coffee taste, but rather the overall texture enhanced the other spices and overall flavor of the meat. It was the best steak I've ever had. A few years ago, I recall watching with fascination as my friend's husband, Andrew, a Nantucket based chef, easily threw together a creme brulee and enhanced it with coffee flavor by simply swirling ground coffee into the cream mixture, letting it steep for a moment until he liked the color and then straining the grounds out. It was delicious and would be very easy to do. ~Pam
  11. Just finished Roasting in Hell's Kitchen, which is an interesting biography on Gordon Ramsay. Picked up three books last night and have already started in on two of them, one that was meant to be a gift that I'll now have to buy another copy of because I'm keeping this one. It's a memoir by Kathleen Flinn, The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry, about when she was laid off from a corporate job at age 36, and decided to follow her dream of attending The Cordon Bleu cooking school. Started reading the other last night, Letters to a Young Chef, by Daniel Boulard and am enjoying it immensely. The third book is The Soul of a Chef, by Michael Ruhlman. These books are research for a novel I'm planning, where a main character is world famous chef who owns a restaurant with three michelin stars. I'd love to learn more about the process for earning three stars, any suggestions for additional reading?
  12. pam claughton

    Foodborne illness, scallops

    If you can get your hands on some of the Nantucket scallops you're in for a treat. I just got some yesterday as they're local to Plymouth, and only in season for about a month. These are scallops like no others, the sweetest I've ever had. And crazy expensive at $28.99 a pound.
  13. pam claughton

    Salty, Crunchy, Home-made Snacks

    We often doctor up the Chex Mix by adding mixed nuts, and dried fruit and dark chocolate to it. Makes it downright addictive. We tried making the chex mix ourselves, but it wasn't a noticeable improvement over the pre-made mix, so we just buy that now and fix it the way we like it. Also, spiced pecans with brown sugar, butter, chinese five spice, and a hint of cayenne are delicious!
  14. pam claughton

    Tipping the Kitchen

    I waitressed for years, growing up on Cape Cod, and have worked in at least a dozen restaurants and none of them tipped out the kitchen staff. I think you probably only see that in the high end kitchens, like a per se, and I do think payment in general in restaurants is out of whack. One thing though that hasn't been mentioned here yet is that a key difference between most cooks and servers is that cooks love what they do and are working their way up towards a real career, whereas I've never yet met a server that loves waiting tables. They love the money at the end of the shift, but it's usually very much a love/hate relationship. If timing is off or there are kitchen errors, the server takes the hit in their tips in most cases. Most servers are transient, just doing the job until something better comes along, as it's high burnout. Being a cook in a fine restaurant is a learning experience and generally the hourly wage is way higher than a servers. That said, at the end of the night, it doesn't seem fair that a server walks with 3-4x what the cook makes. But, that is par for the course in a sales position, and being a server is sales. Ever notice that only a few of the servers make the big money? It's not usually all of them, only the really good ones. The ones who know how to sell. Translate that to business world, software sales for instance. The engineers and product managers average about 100k or so, they have a fixed salary and they are the ones building the products. The sales people, they make anywhere from 300-800k depending on how good they are. They are rewarded for production. Same with servers...the ones who make the biggest tips are also turning the most tables and having the biggest check averages, and sell the most wine and appetizers and desserts. But, if you were to pay front of the house and back of the house equally, you'd likely have no takers for the front of the house jobs....when you consider the work itself. Cooks like to cook...they get job satisfaction from what they do. Servers generally speaking, do not. It's mostly all about the money...and generating sales. And also, when you're not looking at high end restaurants, it's very very common for back of the house to make more on a given night than servers. When things are slow, they can go home with nothing or next to nothing after hours of work. If you work at a company that pays some towards insurance, you may get a paycheck that is 0.00 because the hourly pay is so low. My mother actually received negative checks, indicating a balance carried forward. Just food for thought. In general I think the whole system needs an overhaul.
  15. pam claughton

    The Best Way to Cook a Thick Steak

    I tried this method over the weekend on a gorgeous 1.5 inch thick boneless sirloin strip steak. Came out quite good, though I think I do prefer the flavor you get from a grill over the pan method. This is great for cold-weather, though it did make the house stink of beef fat a bit.
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