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Catherine Iino

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Everything posted by Catherine Iino

  1. Interestly, McGee recommends chilling the yogurt before draining it, "to firm its structure and slow the continuing acid production."
  2. I live in Connecticut, but by a freak chance I was in Findlay this weekend (to watch my daughter compete in the dressage nationals). Once again, I experienced better living through egullet. My husband and I brought my daughter and two of her friends, and Michael and his entire staff could not have been more accommodating--fitting in an extra person at the last minute, moving our reservation earlier. The food was wonderful, playing up excellent ingredients with expert seasoning. The pork belly with chili, fennel, and orange, for example, was remarkably low in fat, and you could taste each of the flavors separately but they danced together. Tempura Lake Erie smelt with pickled red onions and smoked paprika aioli reminded my Chicago-born husband of the ones he caught in his youth, "only better." The Lake Erie yellow perch also tasted fresh as could be; it came lightly floured and fried, on a bed of rich potato gratin and earthy mushrooms, for which slightly bitter pea shoots were a perfect grace note. The terrific local skirt steak was accompanied by a bowl of polenta that was gobbled up by the young riders. They went on to gobble down the Valrhona chocolate (what? no Ohio chocolate? ) creme brulee, with more help from me than I should have given. My one suggestion to Chef Bulkowski would be a somewhat lighter hand with the salt. I am by no means a saltophobe, but my husband and I found several of the dishes a bit oversalted. What serendipity to have the opportunity to try Revolver! Surprising to anyone from a bigger city, or the East Coast, the prices are as friendly as the service. Michael and Debi have really succeeded in this project--bravo! And thank you. (Also, I'll credit the Aretha Franklin playing on Saturday evening with my daughter's fourth place finish on Sunday. Thanks again!)
  3. I would recommend McCrady's. I had a brief visit to Charleston and can't compare it to the others, but McCrady's is worth a visit, and their prix fixe menu makes it very affordable.
  4. http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/04/1...taurants_2.html How did they shape it, how did they smooth it, and how did they get those perfect paprika-lined depressions?
  5. Thanks for the information. I figured the French had a rule.
  6. Not the weight--that's 340 grams of dough. But I think there's an official length, at least for competitions. Does anyone know what it is?
  7. Thanks for that quick response!
  8. Bumping this to ask, can I drain yogurt that's just finished culturing, or do I need to chill first and then drain? I've drained only cold yogurt in the past.
  9. I had a real problem making the chocolate oatmeal drops. They taste great, but the dough was very oily, and I just couldn't get the butter to emulsify into the dough. It might be because I replaced a tablespoon or so of the cocoa with King Arthur Flour's black cocoa. I melted the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Next time, maybe I'll melt and then cool the chocolate and then beat in softened butter. I'm still hoping Dorie will chime in on this, because her instructions are so lucid that I suspect I just have a blind spot.
  10. In Baking with Julia there's a terrific recipe for a dense almond cake--made as a wedding cake--that uses almond paste in the batter. I think you could use marzipan instead, perhaps with a slight adjustment in the sugar. Even though marzipan is supposed to be sweeter than almond paste, I don't find a huge difference.
  11. I love the pain d'epices in the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It uses a pound of honey (and no eggs!), but the best thing is, it is supposed to age, so you could make a bunch and keep it around. The texture is completely addictive.
  12. Dorie, I have a question. In some recipes--for instance, the Bittersweet Brownies and the Chocolate Oatmeal Drops--you call for melting chocolate and butter but not "so hot that the butter separates." I'm not sure what that means. I've had great success with the brownies, using a Pyrex double boiler, but the butter certainly melted all the way each time. I'm about to make the drops, and I realize they have the same instruction, so I thought I'd ask. I add my thanks to those of everyone else for your fantastic work.
  13. A wood-fired saj--of course! Makes me realize how easy it would be to rig up an upside-down wok in my fireplace, or on the Weber kettle. Bob, the bread on the saj in your photo is folded in half. Is it filled? If so, is the filling put on after the bread is put on the saj? Actually, I've been thinking about you, because I've been wondering whether saj and saz have the same root--possibly something to do with the dome shape? Do you know?
  14. I cooked up the wheat berries I mentioned earlier last night (after soaking them for two days). They were just fine--delicious, in fact. I made what could be the best pantry dish around, megadarra. So simple: wheat berries, lentils, onions. Most of the recipes I have seen use rice for the grain, but a local Middle Eastern dive makes it with wheat, and I love the way the wheat berries pop in your mouth. I could eat this every day for a long time. Hey, here's a suggestion for future rounds: sprouts. A sack of mung beans in the pantry will help with the fresh produce issue. I just soak a quarter cup or so overnight, then drain them and put them in a jar and cover it with a mesh top. A few times a day you run water into the jar and drain it out again. Mung bean sprouts seem to grow best in the dark. Come to think of it, you can sprout all kinds of things--lentils, alfalfa, and so on. Why didn't I think of this earlier?
  15. Those would be artisan wheat thins after all! Crackers might be the only thing I haven't tried baking myself. I don't have any recipes to offer. I tend to serve cheese and "dips" with bread--often flatbread--rather than crackers these days. Wheat Thins are not the worst on the Pollan Count by any means, but there are those monoglycerides. How do you feel about Triscuits? I love 'em, and the only ingredients listed are wheat, oil, and salt. Yes, "soybean or palm oil," which I'm not crazy about. But whole wheat is good.
  16. While we are helping our own budgets, are we collectively prolonging the economic crisis by not buying stuff? By the time we're ready to restock, how many food markets will have gone out of business? I'm half kidding, and I'm no economist, but this does sort of encapsulate the dilemma of the current economic crisis, doesn't it? Then again, I suppose that food in the pantry and freezer is the least productive form of capital for the economy at large.
  17. Sarah-- Thank you so much for the lead on the Youtube video; I should have thought of that. I'd never heard of using a pillow in forming the dough--that's really interesting. Are you using your saj over a wood fire? That does sound challenging. I suspect, though, that it will take a lot of finagling to get it right even over a gas flame. Your website looks lovely, by the way (I wish I could read Hebrew). And the article on your blog about eating poison greens is fascinating.
  18. I like Nabisco Wheat Thins just fine. But now comes an ad flyer in my newspaper for "Wheat Thins Artisan Cheese Crackers." Bad enough that my local Stop and Shop sells its own bread as "Artisan Bread" just because it's boule-shaped. Nabisco as artisan? Poor John Thorne--I believe he set the word off on its current trajectory with his great essay on the "Artisanal Loaf" back in the late eighties. Well, the word started arcing downward about half a dozen years ago, and now it's crashed landed. RIP
  19. Big bump. A couple of days ago, a huge box arrived here in Connecticut from my wonderful Lebanese friends. When I opened it, I discovered a gas-fired sajj! (I had asked Nayla, "What's a sajj?" several years ago. My husband says that next time I should ask, What's a BMW?) I need to get the connector for the gas line modified, I think, and then figure out where to put the thing. I don't think I'll be using it indoors, whatever they do in Konya. But I am very excited. Anyone having adventures using one these days? I have the Alford & Daguid flatbread book, but any recipes would be great. I'm particularly interested in figuring out a semolina formula. Of course, Paula Wolfert's description of the "gossamer-thin" bread in Damascus sounds fantastic.
  20. My freezers and my pantry are freeing up, but the cabinet where I store empty plastic containers is overflowing. I have discovered that dry couscous does not last forever. A great thing about couscous--the stew--is that you can throw in one zucchini, one half a pepper, one carrot, and so on. Perfect for the bottom of the produce bin. The box of couscous--the pasta--that was sitting in my pantry for who-knows-how-long smelled fine in the box, but when I prepared it, it was rancid. Damn. Now I have a pound or so of wheat berries that have been in my refrigerator for a year and a half. They smell okay, but I need to test them before I cook them for hours. Any ideas? Also--how long do dried rice noodles and spring roll wrappers (banh trang) keep?
  21. In addition to working my way through my freezer and pantry, I am working my way through my stash of recipes that accumulates faster than I usually try things. I got back from out of town this afternoon and had a meeting this evening, so I made a quick lima bean chowder from a recipe I cut out last decade, I think. I had potatoes, leeks, milk, frozen lima beans (one of the good frozen vegetables, in my opinion), an ounce of bacon (with a little additional bacon fat from a jar in the fridge). I added the slightly forlorn-looking stalk of celery I found in the bottom of the vegetable drawer. Simple and tasty.
  22. Four of us--two locals, two northerners--had the $35 prix fixe meal at McCrady's last Sunday. It's a great deal. My dinner started with popcorn soup with shrimp--a nice variation on corn soup, very slightly marred for me by the reminiscence of microwave butter flavor popcorn, which I loathe the smell of. I'm not saying it tasted or even smelled like that; it's just the strong butter-and-popcorn combination that evokes it. Then I had the local mahi mahi served with braised greens, expertly cooked. For dessert I chose the chocolate tart with Pappy Van Winkle ice cream over the red velvet cake. I think dessert was the least successful course; the flavors just didn't come together for me--and the crust of the tart seemed a little off. Unfortunately, the table was large enough that I couldn't share tastes with my husband, as I usually do. The restaurant is very attractive and the service excellent--bread (pretty good, not world-class, sourdough and multigrain) constantly, but not obtrusively, offered. Definitely worth the money and the experience.
  23. Thanks for the lead--I guess I didn't look in the right place (like under my nose).
  24. I, too, love heatproof silicone spatulas for cooking. I have two sets, one for savory food, one for sweet, so my custards don't end up tasting like garlic. The best ones I have at the moment are Kitchenaid ones with wooden handles. I have several Le Creuset ones (there's a Le Creuset outlet store nearby), also with wooden handles, but the heads are a little softer than I like and they slip off the handles. Gfron, do the RSVP ones have that problem? I do miss the old Rubbermaid heatproof spatulas. They didn't last forever, but they had the perfect texture. I used to stock up when I found them, but I haven't seen them in years.
  25. Sorry to be late in thanking Dejah for posting the cigar recipe and in congratulating Chufi. Gorgeous.
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