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Catherine Iino

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Everything posted by Catherine Iino

  1. Impressive writing as well as impressive story. Thank you, Chef Jeff.
  2. I'm in, too! My variation will be to compare and contrast extracts from Tahitian and Madagascar beans. I ordered some early this morning--at those prices, who can resist? They are almost unbelievable. I think I'll use vodka, for the clearest comparison, but I would like to ask you all about what quality of vodka to go with. I assume there's no reason to go with superpremium, but how low can you go? I'm a real ignoramus about liquors, so I can't go by the "don't cook with it if you don't like to drink it" rule for wines. Does it matter at all here? Especially since the extract will finally be used in very small proportions.
  3. I'm now only a part-time Rhode Islander, but I second the personal note at the end of Jen's message. I have mixed feelings about RI Monthly and ProJo food section--I'll try to write more about that later--but if you want a good laugh, take a look at the restaurant reviews in the Narragansett Times sometime. Where else can you read a review of a fish joint by someone (unnamed) who doesn't like seafood? a review of a pub by someone who doesn't drink any alcohol? a review of a Penthouse club by a gay guy (oh, wait . . . but that wasn't really a review of the, er, amenities). Come to think of it, the Narragansett Times folks seem to have about the same attitude toward food that Bruni has toward naked girls. I swear, one of the reviews last summer began with something like, I wasn't really hungry when I went to this restaurant, but . . .
  4. Wow, I didn't know about that article. Thanks for posting the link. It pretty well sums up the whole supertaster matter. Really interesting about the mind not processing odor information that it doesn't think is relevant. The only thing I'd add is that, as I understand it, people often lose taste buds as they get older, so some of the learning to like stuff you previously disliked may have to do with that.
  5. Lorna--maybe that's why you are so partial to dessert! (But you are very fond of chocolate, I recall . . . )
  6. According to the test, I am one the supertasters whose favorite foods are the ones I should dislike. The test IS broken. I know I am really not a supertaster. My older daughter is, in fact: when she was very young, she could distinguish different colors of m&ms without looking. She hated chocolate. Some young children who are really picky eaters are supertasters. I actually have a long connection to Linda Bartoshuk, a Yale researcher who's been a leader in physiological taste research. She is a tremendously cool person. My husband was a research subject of hers and my younger daughter did a science project on supertasters under her tutelage. What the BBC test seems to confuse is supertasting and having a sophisticated palate. The fact is, chefs tend not to be supertasters, and supertasters tend not to like complex tastes that include bitter, which is just overwhelming for them. Being a supertaster is no virtue. Here's a short summary article from the Yale Medical School's alumni magazine a while back: To taste or not to taste How individuals experience taste varies greatly, which explains why some people like broccoli and others flee at its very mention. An industrial chemist named Arthur Fox documented one basis for taste preference in 1931 while working with a compound called phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) for the DuPont Co. After the chemical was released accidentally into the air one day, a colleague remarked how bitter it tasted. Fox had noticed nothing. Investigating further, the two scientists concluded that people fell into one of two groups: tasters and nontasters of PTC. Fox reported the findings later the same year in Science News. “The geneticists jumped right in,” says Linda Bartoshuk, Ph.D., “and by the next year, two family studies had been done dividing the world between tasters and nontasters. The research showed that the nontasters had two recessive genes.” Bartoshuk began exploring the subtleties of taste in the 1970s as a Yale faculty member and investigator at the John B. Pierce Laboratory. She took Fox’s notion one step further, coining the term “supertaster” after identifying a third group of subjects whose taste buds were so numerous and so densely packed that foods such as grapefruit, coffee and dark green vegetables were overwhelmingly bitter. According to Bartoshuk, who uses a compound known as PROP (a thyroid medication) in her studies, the world falls into three groups: 25 percent nontasters, 50 percent medium tasters and 25 percent supertasters. What’s the significance of her results? “The taste world you live in affects your food preferences,” she says. “The foods you choose to eat are associated with risk factors, and there are consequences to eating a high-sweet, high-salt, low-fiber diet. Being a supertaster also predisposes you to oral pain, another area we’re investigating.” Bartoshuk and her colleagues developed a taffy containing capsaicin, the substance that gives jalapeño peppers their fire, and proved it effective in relieving oral pain in cancer patients. Long-standing research by taste scientists has established links between taste and sexual maturation (girls who are tasters mature six months earlier, on average, while boys are delayed six months), depression (tasters are more prone) and alcoholism (nontasters are more at risk). But those studies predate the discovery of the supertaster. “There’s work to be redone,” says Bartoshuk, “and there are many other avenues still not explored.” A colleague is working out the molecular biology of PROP sensitivity, a step forward that may lead to new pain therapies and a better understanding of taste disorders, diet and nutrition. And here's a link (I hope) to a really great article that was published in the same issue, a conversation between Linda Bartoshuk and Jacques Pepin: http://www.yalemedicine.yale.edu/ym_sp99/cover/taste1.html
  7. That's what I suspected about the newspaper grills, but the enthusiastic write-ups made me wonder. I do find, though, that even shutting off the Weber vents after grilling, I go through charcoal (not briquettes) quite fast.
  8. It's not the cost of the grill that's the most attractive thing about it; I love the idea of being able to just use newspaper for fuel. But does that really work? I normally use a chimney starter with charcoal in a big Weber kettle, and that's quick, but it does feel a little wasteful for a small amount of food, and I'm not always organized enough to have eggplants, peppers, etc. ready to go on when I'm done with the burgers.
  9. In hzrt8w's current foodblog, Rebecca263 posted a description of a newspaper grill. I can't believe I've never even heard of one. Has anyone else--in addition to Rebecca--had experience with these? Can they really maintain heat for longer than a few seconds? Does it get dangerously hot on the outside? Can something so cheap really work? Rebecca--I'm not doubting your word. I'd like to hear more from you and others, and this seems like the right forum.
  10. Oops; sorry, Steve, I meant to correct the price. Sadly, I live on the other coast, so not so easy to meet you, but someday I will. As for ordering a thousand pounds of beans, well, they might lose something of their freshness . . .
  11. It is hard to buy beans for $6/lb (plus shipping, for many of us) when you can get them for 69 cents a pound, BUT Rancho Gordo's are truly different. Some of them are so beautiful that you can think of them as cheap jewels instead of expensive legumes. I've given them as wedding presents (no kidding). No, I've never even met Steve Sando.
  12. I've used the SAVU brand smoker bags--they are from Finland--to cook salmon. The results were quite good. Remember, you are hot smoking, not cold smoking, so you don't get that deli smoked salmon texture. I once had a delicious "Saumon fume a la minute" in Belgium, and the result with the bag is more like that. I think Trader Joe's used to carry these bags, but I haven't been to one for a number of years. I've seen other brands occasionally in the supermarket and don't know how they are.
  13. Two questions and a commiseration: Anyone have an opinion on which variety of squash blossoms taste best? Anyone have an opinion on which variety of pea shoots taste best? Shiso sympathy: I have tried for years to grow green shiso, and have had virtually no success. I have red shiso self-seeding and coming out of my ears, but the green just seems to fail. The first year I tried growing it, I didn't realize that it needs light to germinate, so I dutifully covered it. But now that I know it does, I'm still not getting it, either direct seeding or starting it indoors? Why, oh why?
  14. The binding should not fall apart after a month or two. This is particularly outrageous with books like the Joy of Cooking or the Cake Bible or Bittman's How to Cook Everything, which are reference books, in a way. I'm tempted to return them to the publisher as defective. Grrrrr.
  15. I'm told my first ambition in life, at around the age of 3, was to be a Chock full o'nuts waitress. What I miss is their whole wheat donuts. Anyway, I just returned from a road trip from Connecticut to Florida, straight down I-95. Every d*** intersection had the same complement of plastic chain restaurants. Very disheartening. The only Road Food place along the way was a barbecue at, I think, Exit 29 in Georgia, but we went by there at 9:30 in the morning. The most exciting find was a very small Florida chain called La Ranja, which serves Peruvian food. At least it isn't Applebees! I do have a question, though. We saw "Texas toast" on the menu at a couple of places. Someone mentioned it above. What is it?
  16. Mark-- I'm so glad you posted this thread; I have exactly the same problem (although I'm not in culinary school and can use the food processor or whatever), and it's been driving me crazy. I've tried Rose Levy Beranbaum's anal compulsive method and every other one I could find. I can get the crusts to come out looking gorgeous and tasting okay, but they're too often tough. Lately, I've decided it might be my rolling technique. I've always rolled between sheets of waxed paper, out of fear of adding to much flour in the rolling, but I started wondering if that was actually leading to the dough being compressed rather than sliding outward (does that make any sense?) That said, I did make an all lard crust recently (used it for tourtiere) and it was the cat's pajamas. I used a pastry cutter and rolled on a floured board. But I've experienced all-butter crusts made by other people that were wonderfully flaky, light, and delicious. So I'm still working on it.
  17. Just got back from a couple of weeks in Europe and found this thread. I love pozole! And Rancho Gordo's is great. It's very strange that this is just about the only food I can think of that is almost impossible to come by in the eastern US. I do see the cracked dry stuff around, and I wonder whether the Mexican immigrants in the east tend to come from a particular part of Mexico where the cracked pozole is traditional. I usually use it to make a pork stew like the recipes given before, but here's a rich pozole side dish; I don't remember where I got the recipe. I'll post in on recipegullet, too. Squash, Pepper, and Pozole 1/2 lb. dry pozole 3/4 lb winter squash, cut in 1/2" dice 2-3 tbsp oil 1 medium onion, diced 1 tsp dried Greek oregano salt 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tbsp ground New Mexico chili 1 tbsp flour* 1 bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup sour cream chopped cilantro Rinse pozole and soak overnight. Simmer until tender but not mushy. In a large skillet, saute onion and squash. Add the oregano and salt and cook over medium flame for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add the ground chili and the flour; stir well. Add the cooked pozole and water to cover. Lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in sour cream just before serving, and garnish with cilantro. *I've left out the flour when preparing this for friends who can't eat wheat and it's fine without it.
  18. Squash, pepper, and Pozole This could be a main course--would work for a vegetarian-but it's pretty rich, so I've listed it as a side. Note that it can be gluten-free, if you leave out the flour, which is no problem. dry pozole winter squash, cut in 1/2" dice oil medium onion, diced dried Greek oregano salt large clove garlic, finely chopped ground New Mexico chili flour* bell pepper, diced sour cream chopped cilantro Rinse pozole and soak overnight. Simmer until tender but not mushy. In a large skillet, saute onion and squash. Add the oregano and salt and cook over medium flame for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add the ground chili and the flour; stir well. Add the cooked pozole and water to cover. Lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in sour cream just before serving, and garnish with cilantro. Keywords: Side, Vegetarian, Tex-Mex ( RG1929 )
  19. Behemoth-- I think the bread I bought at the market may actually have been from Hofpfisterei; I don't have the bag or the bread anymore. Very tasty.
  20. Hi, all. I'm back in the USA from Tubingen, having been there for the first snow of the season. That put a little crimp in my wanderings around town--the steep streets were incredibly slippery. I did try schnecken from Backerei Schmid and an interesting pastry I'd never seen before from, I believe, one of the Lieb bakeries (there seem to be at least four branches now). I think the pastry, as sort of roll, was called a Munchner. It had eight squarish rays and a cube in the middle, surrounded by a twisted double strand of dough. The dough was savory and had a bit of cheese in it. I'd love to know how those are formed. The best bread by far was a half a large bauernbrot I bought from one of the vendors in the market early Wednesday morning. Very nice flavor and crust. Thanks again for everyone's help.
  21. Thank you all for your replies (my "email notification" function doesn't always work, so I'm just getting them now. I will hunt down all these places right away and report back. I did go to Naturgabe today--they now have two places in town, by the way. They seem to be concentrating on spelt breads; what I sampled was okay but not earth-shattering. Beautiful town, Tubingen.
  22. I will be in Tubingen, Germany, for a couple of days. Does anyone know of a good traditional bread bakery there?
  23. That sounds right to me. I don't recall seeing Splendido in CT or RI, but I'll look for it. Thanks for the pointer. By the way, Steve, is your computer clock off? The time shown on your posts suggests that you are an ambassador from the future . . .
  24. A couple of points: I agree that grape tomatoes are on the short list of new things to be thankful for (such as polartec; I used to include farm-raised salmon, before the environmental reports and the PCBs). But it seems to me that they are not as good as they were when they first arrived in supermarkets. This often seems to be the pattern with new varieties of produce, and I wonder why. (Russ?) I remember being bowled over by red flame grapes, for example, and clementines, and even granny smith apples when they appeared, but now they are often very disappointing. Is this because less care is taken with the cultivation as the market widens, or something changes about the breeding stock, or is it related to a second point: Storage and handling makes a huge difference. I have had grape tomatoes recently that managed to be lousy, and I think it might be because they were refrigerated in shipping or in the store--or maybe they just got chilled by ambient temperatures. In any case, they managed to be as flavorless as those old-fashioned cardboard supermarket tomatoes (the ones that came in a single row of three or four in a long green plastic basket). Still, grape tomatoes are the only fresh tomatoes I'll buy in the supermarket. (And congratulations, Steve, on the new organization of egullet: I wouldn't have noticed this thread in the old one.)
  25. Thank you, Maggie. When I was about twelve years old (a long time ago), my family visited Quebec (we lived in the NYC suburbs). The tourtiere I ate there, at a restaurant on the Ile d'Orleans, belongs in the "You first knew you were a foodie when . . . " column; it was such a revelation. I recall it being served with a homemade ketchup, which was chunky--maybe with green tomatoes? I've tried a few times to recreate it, but it has never lived up to the memory. Probably nothing could, but I'll try your recipe. Merry Christmas!
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