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Everything posted by tamiam

  1. It just so happens that I am eating a Scallion and Sichuan Peppercorn Flatbread from their other book right this very minute! It was simple to put together and very tasty, though I might add a bit of salt next time around. I have not cooked from Great Wall yet, but I am totally enjoying reading my way thru and marking the intriguing recipes.
  2. I wish it would warm up and stay warm already. My basil is just sitting there, not looking happy at all. There are two different types of eggplant, one of which attracts bugs like crazy and one that doesnt get touched. The scientist in me finds that interesting. The beginning gardener finds it annoying. On the bright side, the tomato plants have grown a lot over the past couple of weeks and I have lots of flowers and baby tomatos all over the plants. I was lucky to find starts in such great shape.
  3. Two nights in row with no creepy eggplant demolishing worms/larvae. Am I out of the woods? I used multiple methods so I dont know if their absence is due to one or more of those, pure luck, or maybe the larvae have grown into their next stage and later on I will have problems with the next stage critter or its young. I read that they live in the top few inches of soil, so I "cultivated" it with my trowel. Didnt see any, but hopefully it disturbed them. Also read that a type of miniature wasp is attracted to parsley, and lays eggs on worm larvae and feeds on them (that's karma!!), so I planted an old parsley from last year in the bed. Finally, I applied BT, a quasi-organic pest control based on a bacteria that kills the critters off and is safe for me and my kitty. Supposed to be good for tent caterpillars too, so I will have it for the next huge grossout creepy infestation.
  4. My cilantro always bolts before I can get any, but I read an idea where you plant two bowls of cilantro, then you trim one one week, and the other the other week, and that way you have a ready supply. I think they used 10-12" bowls in their example. Dont know if it works, but it sounded nice. For lettuce, I've grown 3-4 kinds in a 12-14" pot, and like Hummingbird, I just harvest the outer leaves. It keeps coming back till late summer when it finally bolts. A lot of times you can find lettuce bowls already planted at the Farmer's Market.
  5. After that, I did a bit more research on range and life cycles. Even though the larval stages look similar, it doesn't seem to be cutworms. Thank goodness b/c those bastards cut the plant right down at the base! My guys just eat most of a huge 4-5" leaf in one night, but they dont totally kill the plant dead (Whoo-hoo). Based on advice from some organic farmer friends I bought some BT today and will give it a try. It would likely work on cutworms and slugs too. It looks like green goo and cost $15 for a quart of concentrate that is probably more than I will ever want or need. And Hummingbird, I would have thought eggplants needed to be in Italy or something, but my friends who farm here in town tell me they should do great. I already have about 7-9 fruits on each plant, so they are off to a good start. Plus their new home gets sun most of the day, though it can be a little wind exposed when it gets rough outside. So if we survive the evil bugs, then we should be grilling some serious eggplant in a month or so.
  6. Our friends were selling the healthiest happiest most interesting kinds of starts at the local plant sale last weekend, and even though we were not going to, we couldn't help ourselves. The plants were started with love back in January so they are in very good shape. So now we have our first baby veg garden. We built a raised bed on top of an existing south facing terrace. Filled with a mix of soil, worm compost from our bin, and leaf compost. We have a black plum tomato, a cherry tomato, a Japanese eggplant and another eggplant that I already forgot the details of, three kinds of basil, and some winter savory that we hope to save b/c it was unhappy in a pot. The tomatoes have baby fruit and lots of flowers and the eggplants have some baby fruits with more showing up even though they've only been here a week. It isn't as ambitious as some other posters, but we love our little mini-farm. We also have our first problem. Something is eating one of the eggplants. After some investigation, I learned that it is a hornworm larva (looks like a gray-green caterpillar, comes out at night, and eats an alarming amount of leaf).
  7. I've made artisan style loaves from Lahey, CI, and the published 5 Minutes book, but now that I actually have the book itself in my hot little hands, the first thing I made is the Oatmeal Bread. The truth is that I altered the recipe to match what I had in my pantry, but in any case, it is delish. Zoe, if you are out there, thank you for giving us all these wonderful no-knead alternatives. Everyone else, dont miss the oatmeal bread!
  8. What really put me over the let my subscription lapse edge was the "mexican" pulled pork recipe last month. The recipe was good (not my best ever, but very tasty), but it is called Carnitas. It isn't barbeque. It isn't saucy. It isn't pulled. It's Carnitas.
  9. Unfortunately Juneau is an unremarkable food town. The Baranof is the nicest table in town, esp since the steakhouse way up on the hill closed. You'd think there would be great halibut and salmon all over town, but, in my experience anyhow, the local restaurants, like many the world over tend to overcook the fish and wreck it. The Mexican rest across the street from Baranof brings in morita peppers from back home for their hot sauce. There is a cafe across the bridge where the legislators hang out. Food is unexceptional diner, but it can be fun to watch the politicos doing deals. Cant remember the name, but with Juneau at your back it is on left from the bridge and you can see it right down near the water.
  10. Gariotin - you are right. Most of us couldn't have known about high quality cheese alternatives - they weren't around. I can easily remember when I first found out that parmesan wasn't meant to be a green can. Not terribly long ago. Even nowadays, the stores in my blue collar community only carry American pre-packed parmesan. I have to go into the City, even for such a simple item as an Italian Parmesan. Not too long after shredded parmesan, French Brie made it into our markets - was that the 1970's??? It was all the rage with a certain crowd. Not too long after that we started seeing commodity brie, but being unfamiliar with labelling, we didn't know why it wasn't as good as we remembered. The commodity cheese, like the stuff that comes from that factory is not going to blow anyone's mind with its complexity and finish, but it is relatively inexpensive, and it tastes pretty good. Definitely not awful. All most Americans have ever tasted.
  11. Gariotin - Thanks for the info on Roaring 40s. I had no idea and it makes me appreciate how lucky we are to get some, and in our own small way, hopefully help support the people there. I had an interesting cheese experience recently. About the ultimately opposite end of the spectrum from hand-crafted small batch cheese, which, being pretty new to cheese-loving, I have yet to experience in person. In my work as an environmental consultant I recently had the chance to call upon a place that takes in 4.5 million pounds of raw milk and turns it into 450,000 pounds of cheese and 300,000 pounds of whey every day, seven days per week. The products include cheese, whey powder, milk powder, condensed skim milk, sweet cream, milk protein concentrate, and whey cream. Amazingly enough, that huge amount of milk is all sourced locally, within a relatively small radius. I took pictures for you folks on the thread, but I am too inept to post them easily, so words will have to do. Here's the general process: The milk is tested for the level of antibiotics and, if acceptable, stored in large silos. Then it is pasteurized (180,000 lb/hr), inoculated with culture, and placed in smaller vats to form curds. Curds are drained (whey comes off) and salted. Cheese is vacuum pressed into 40 lb blocks for aging and shipment. The cheese from this plant which is located way over here in the northwest is shipped all over the U.S. At retail you will not find the well known label of the factory where it is produced. It all goes to secondary packers. You may have eaten some of this cheese, especially if you ever bought a grocery store brand Jack or Cheddar. I dont have a sense of their share of the commodity cheese market, but it must be significant. Amazing experience. While I have been in other types of factories, this was my first time in a huge food production plant. Putting that word "production" between "food" and "plant" is a bit foreign to me, but it was fascinating nonetheless. Spotless. Folks who knew what they were doing at a very high level. Creating some serious jobs in a place where they are scarce. Great logistics. Damn, I wish I liked their cheese.
  12. Swung by the cheese shop today on my mission to work my way through all the blues. There are two huge shelves worth, not counting the gorgonzolas, so I have my work cut out. Picked up a Roquefort called "Papillon". Sharp, tangy, mold spots evenly spaced throughout the white colored paste, a finish that lasts like two weeks. Then the cheeseguy turned us on to Montcabrer, an amazing Spanish goat cheese with a semi-firm consistency and a coating of black ash. I hear it comes from goats who lunch on lichens in the mountaintops of Catalunya. Those must be some very happy goats. We really like this cheese.
  13. Eden - I haven't seen such an item (yet) but I think you are totally on to something. If you don't find them, I propose that we go into business making some fun shapes. The space that gets left between circles is so frustrating (the properties in my neighborhood are circles, and space between is "common area". Mostly trees and shrubs. Nobody really knows where their property line is).
  14. Cook's Illustrated rates blue cheeses. Stella beats Bleadauverne, Roquefort, and Cabrales. To be fair, they were rating cheeses for how well they work in a blue cheese dressing recipe, so how good they are eaten out of hand mattered less. Nonetheless I find their rating system odd. Heck, I find putting items treasured for their distinct flavor profiles in a ratings contestas though they were jars of peanut butter or someting to be odd. What do you think?
  15. If you like the no fat, you gotta try the good stuff. Buy the big one - it costs less per unit, plus you get more. Happy Honeymoon! Not much cheese being made in Hawaii that I know of, so you will just have to find something else to occupy your time.
  16. Do you mean swirled ice cream soup is not normal? Wierd, because that's how I always do it. On another note, some of the folks who are very picky about eating equal numbers of peas or stew pieces or certain specific never to be varied orders strike me as hitting somewhere on the autistic spectrum. I dont intend that as an insult, rather I am observing that being overly focused on counting and on the order of operations are both characteristic of the condition.
  17. I am headed to a Spanish wine tasting tonight. For a small bite I am bringing prunes and pilquillo peppers stuffed with Valdeon, pine nuts, golden raisins, and flavored with a little bit of sherry. It is tough not to sample all the filling.
  18. Thanks for the tip, Gariotin. I will definitely try that one. On that day, I ended up choosing a goat cheese called Le Lingot du Quercy. It comes in a rectangular loaf, and has a rind that looks like Brie, with a light colored paste and a more aged outside layer. It is danged tasty and really goaty too. And, of all things, the labels says it has Omega-3's too, so it must be a health food I am realizing that I dont have an articulate way to talk about the way cheese tastes the way I can with wine. It has a long finish, it is creamy and tart, definitely goaty, and there is a slightly metallic taste at the back of my mouth on the finish.
  19. Help, I need cheese!! It is my b.f.'s birthday and I want ot run down to the awesome cheese store down the street and find some cheese, but I am drawing a blank. We are new enough to the world of cheese that many are still new to us. I am thinking something that comes as a baby wheel or crotin because it would look cool. Maybe at the beginner stinky level, but open to suggestions. Any thoughts???? Please......
  20. I think Gariotin meant NY = Neal's Yard. I also got to taste a really nice cheddar from Vermont at the store. Cannot remember the name, but it was yellow, really rich, and lovely. You could taste grass and flowers in it. I would have got some, but at the time I in the mood for something less dry and crumbly - it was kind of like Parmesan that way.
  21. Got some Neal's Yard Cheddar, and all I can say is why the heck did I wait so long? Eating it straight you get some lovely grassy, tangy notes and a super-duper long finish. Toasted on those skinny slices of Swedish rye it is even better. The finish is so good that it goes on for days. Had some grocery store cheddar from a Harry & David gift box, so naturally, I put some side-by-side. The Harry & David tastes like wax in comparison to the good stuff.
  22. The summer before last was my first effort at preserving. I am lucky to have some talented friends and teachers, and we made several jams and jellies and put up some spiced fruit. Fabulous, and so much better than store-bought, which I usually find to be way too sweet and not fruity enough. Then a friend with an orchard gave me a huge box of nectarines. Had to act on them really quickly as they wanted to ripen and turn to mush, so I peeled, sliced, and froze them. This was less successful, as even after using a product designed to keep them nice (Fruitfresh?? something like that), they were mushy. Having that much fruit was very stressful because it made me feel so responsible. Good luck with the winter gardening idea. I really enjoy hearty greens, although I admit to tiring of them when they constitute 90% of the CSA and farmer's market in May thru July around these parts. I am always surprised at the number of people who are unfamiliar with cooking greens, or who just dont like them. Oh, and I hope Oliver regains his taste for Indian food sometime soon. Given how much your household revolves around flavor and culture, he probably will.
  23. Another lurker coming out of the ether to let you know what a fabulous blog this is. It will be sad to see it come to an end. Your style of eating is much like mine, but more so. We love eating local meats, CSA, eggs, honey, and all during the growing season, but in the off-season, we are stuck with fruit and vegetables from the (kind of lousy) groceries in our community. Its gotten to the point where the food in our local chain supermarkets is a real turnoff. We share a taste for variety, a love of ethnic groceries and farmer's markets, dislike of packaged foodstuffs, many cookbooks, some pots, and that great little MyWeigh scale, though mine is a 700, which is, I think a newer model.
  24. This is a somewhat delayed blue cheese report. Based on discussion here, my desire to branch out more, and a general love of the blue, I picked up a Pt Reyes Blue and a Roaring 40s. I really enjpyed both, though they are quite different from each other. The Pt Reyes is white and very tangy in addition to having the blue flavor. It is so tangy that Laura Werlin suggests trying it with a slice of lemon so you can taste the similarity. Try it yourself, and be surprised I used some of it to toss into a salad of roasted beets, parsley, pumpkin seed oil, toasted walnuts and salt. Mmmmm. The Roaring 40s is a kind of a dirty yellow, and even though Ms. Werlin places both into the same "creamy-crumbly" style category, it is crumbly, where the Pt Reyes is creamy. It has a funkiness, that my b.f. described as coming from the wrong end of the cow. YAY- More for me. Perhaps my Roaring was a bit older which could account for its crumbliness. I dont have any basis of comparison, so I dont really know. Nonetheless, it was very tasty (and not for everyone).
  25. Not sure how the 365 product found its way to your store, but my friend, who runs a variety store that is similar to a dollar store, was getting 365 and the other Whole Foods store brand (can't remember the name) for about 8 months last year. We saw canned goods, juices, teas, pantry staples, cereal, etc. There are a number of distributors that specialize in close-code (nearly out-dated) and ding 'n dent, but this was all first quality stuff. I think there are shelf pulls and some shipping errors that end up in distributor warehouses so top quality goods still make it to the discounters. It was a shame when the vendor was no longer able to procure those goods as we enjoyed it very much. On another note, I've never heard of putting PB into oatmeal, and now I need to try it. I'm big on dried fruit and maybe some nuts, with a bit of brown sugar. Thanks to each of you for blogging and sharing so very much of yourselves. Its been a treat.
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