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Suzanne F

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Everything posted by Suzanne F

  1. But that's the beauty of using a slow cooker to make a confit: you don't have to tend it. The low, slow temperature is just what you want. Once you've done the cure (assuming meat/poultry/fish), just put the stuff in the pot with the fat, cover it, turn it on, and let 'er rip. Come back whenever you feel like checking. I may never do it any other way now.
  2. David: 400? COOL!!! Sorry, I'd have come but Bayard's was more in my price range. But I'll bet yours definitely was worth it! DanaT: Yeah, he was kind of cute, but HWOE (aka my husband ) was with me, so I couldn't really do anything. In any case, it was his rapier wit that attracted me. Besides, during the normal cocktail hour, the place is overrun with Wall Street types (can you say, SUPER control freak?)
  3. Not a steakhouse, but since the book discusses shawarma/souvlaki: Alfanoose, now at 8 Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan, skewers fresh meat -- not the "grayish-brown wad you've seen around town." I've not tasted the finished version, but if it's as good as his (shhh) vegetable dishes, it will be good indeed. Also, Kebab Kafe, on the Korner of Fulton and Gold Streets has pretty good grilled meats -- so good and copious they make up for the chaotic service. Well, almost.
  4. The places I worked at (always BOH) tended not to be open on T-Day, Xmas, or Sundays in general, and I mostly worked lunch anyway. So I missed having to deal with that craziness. I did have to hang around for dinner service one New Year's Eve, but since we were serving mostly the regular menu with only a couple of specials it was no hassle. And anyway, we were done with service before the customers had imbibed too much "holiday cheer" to start getting surly. As a customer, I have to say the worst experience I ever had at an otherwise-fine restaurant was one Mothers' Day. By the time we arrived for dinner at what was a normal time to me (around 8pm), the servers were totally frazzled and the kitchen had just about given up trying to put out a decent meal. And to bring it all back to my experience at Bayard's just now: the bartender on duty was definitely A-list.
  5. From post-holiday shopping: I will never again give in to the fabulous bargain of 40-ounce packages of pristine, large white mushrooms reduced from $7 to $4 -- and buy FOUR packages (that's 10 pounds, the equivalent of a full case); process them into duxelles, sauteed slices, large dice, small dice, and wedges; and then realize I have to make room for them in fridge and freezer. Anyone want to come over and have pot luck with stuff like kimchi topped with dulce de leche?
  6. If one didn't have a panini press, but DID have a waffle iron with reversible plates (one side flat to use as a griddle), maybe that would work? Although that is limiting in terms of the area available.
  7. :jealous: Just remind him how much it would have cost had you bought all the books they have taken recipes from.
  8. My mom and I went out to Cafe des Artistes for Thanksgiving a couple of years back. It was OK. I remember the soup was really good - a mushroom broth. I don't think the meal was CdA's normal fare. Everything was enjoyable but nothing really struck us saying WOW we have to come back. I'd love to go to Rolf's one day for the holidays. That's a restaurant that's made for dinners like this. ← Phatlouie07: Open Table always has a separate list of their member-restaurants which are open on specific holidays. While not 100% comprehensive -- not every resto in every city is a member -- it offers a very good number of choices. DanaT: Isn't Rolf's sort of like a holiday 365 days a year with the decorations and all? But then their food is better for winter holidays, I guess. Also, special holiday meals are never the best way to judge the overall merit of a restaurant, imnsho. The dishes on the "holiday menu" are often completely different from the normal fare; the staff may be the B-list (or the A-list wishing they didn't have to work); etc. And as has been discussed here already, some holidays (Valentine's in particular) bring out the WORST customers, who never otherwise dine out and have no idea how to behave.
  9. Suzanne F

    Dinner! 2004

    - All the greens and the tiniest of turnips from a bunch of Japanese turnips --plus the leaves from a bunch of carrots, braised in the cooking liquid from a piece of smoked pork butt (purchased I have no way to smoke ) (various vegetable waters from the freezer plus a jar of onion confit). - A can of black-eyed peas, doctored with some of the final cooking liquid and a large dollop of Chinese chili-garlic paste. - Leftover rice-orzo-celery pilaf. ----In other words, Greens, Beans & Butt The eternal HWOE salad with artichoke-shallot dressing Beer (Cornbread or biscuits would have been nice, but as it was, we were stuffed, with plenty of leftovers.)
  10. Oops. Kind of the reverse of what I posted on the "I Will Never Again. . ." thread, when HWOE mistook a carton of chicken broth for one of milk, and proceeded to turn his bowl of cereal fleischag. Yeah, well, it was early in the morning too.
  11. This may be too late for this year, but try it next year: canned coconut milk. It's just coconut and water. Use the regular kind (not the "lite"). Rich, and it will give an extra flavor people will love (unless they hate coconut ). I used coconut milk in my mashed sweet potatoes the year I had to make a kosher T-day dinner, and everyone loved them.
  12. An enduring reputation and large market share for any company depend on putting out a consistent product, among other factors (perceived value, availability, etc.). Any company that does not adhere to quality control procedures puts out an inconsistent product. Consumers expect consistency, even to some extent in artisanal products (there, variation is acceptable but only within a quite limited range). If the product is inconsistent, or if its variation exceeds the acceptable bounds, the consumer will be disappointed. If the consumer is disappointed too many times (how many is too many depends on the individual), the company loses that consumer as a customer. And it is harder to get a lost customer back than to get a new one who has no idea about the product. All of the above is general in business, not specific only to hot sauce. Success in hot sauce depends on the expected consistencies of degree of heat and flavor. Both are extremely difficult to maintain because of the natural variation in peppers. So yes, Pan: both Huy Fong and McIllhenny are correct, and ALL companies have to maintain QC. Don't you have to maintain a certain consistent level of quality in what YOU do??
  13. HWOE, Bond Girl, and I went to Bayard's. The meal was lovely, and the service, while having a few glitches, was pretty good, considering that we had a 6:30 reservation, spent a long time chatting before sitting down, and they were only serving until 7 or so . Let's get the glitches out of the way: 1) my place setting lacked a soup spoon, and HWOE's lacked a bread plate. 2) The butter for the (Northern style sweet) cornbread was ice cold and rock hard. 3) Because the kitchen was closing, they brought out the entrees before I had quite finished my app; but then I'm a slow eater, and I felt bad for them so it wasn't that terrible really. 4) If there had been any ice cream or sorbet at the dessert buffet, it was gone by the time we got there. Bond Girl of the super-sweet tooth was disappointed, but I didn't really miss it. 5) I ordered a double espresso, received a single; they fixed that without a word. In other words, nothing was a real service screwup. The food was mostly pretty simple, but excellent. Remember that the exec chef at Bayard's is Eberhard Mueller, who with his wife Paulette Satur owns Satur Farms. First course: Chestnut Soup, Black Truffle Creme Fraiche. Could have been hotter, but was very nice. Soup was velvety puree, tasting of chicken stock and celery along with the chestnuts; a chunk or two of chestnut meat; a swirl of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of black truffle and chives. Appetizers: One of each offering, since there were three possibilities and three of us: Frisee salad with apples and blue cheese, hazelnut vinaigrette. A real winner. The apples and BACON were in tiny, thin matchsticks; the cheese was finely crumbled, and nuts very finely chopped; vinaigrette nicely tangy; and the whole thing was topped with incredibly finely cut matchstick potatoes. Great contrasts in flavors and textures. Vegetable Terrine with Mesclun Greens -- Also delicious. Layers of eggplant, red peppers, and I'm not sure what else, with a surprise kick of anchovy, accompanied by basil pureed in oil, and a lightly dressed salad. A portent of things to come later. Warm mushroom salad, sherry vinaigrette. So much flavor that even only 1/3 of the portion was highly satisfying. I'm not sure which the mushrooms were, partly because they were diced fairly small. But they yelled MUSHROOM!!!!!! Entrees: I bent everyone to my will and made us order all three, again. Not a disappointment, but maybe HWOE was right and we could have skipped the turkey (but I like turkey.) Roasted Holiday Turkey with Sausage and Sage stuffing. This is where restaurants have it all over home cooks: they can cook the turkey IN PARTS so that both the dark AND light meats are perfect. This was. Simple and juicy, with a good plain gravy. And yeah, it really was dressing, not technically stuffing and it was delicious: very buttery, with pretty big chunks of fennel sausage. Sauteed Striped Bass. HWOE said we should order 2 of this, and maybe we should have. Excellent. Perfect crisp skin, succulent flesh. I didn't taste the sauce (looked like a red-wine sauce) but they both loved it. Roasted Filet of Beef. A surprising amount of beefy flavor for that cut. Actually, it was cooked as an individual steak, and exactly rare as requested. More of that "stuffing" and a bordelaise (?) sauce. Very satisfying. The real highlight of the meal, to me, was the vegetables, served family-style: velvety puree of sweet potato; creamed spinach that was really just spinach with a hint of cream; brussels sprouts and chestnuts, which even the brussels sprouts-hating HWOE enjoyed; boiled cippoline onions (touched with a bit of bacon fat, perhaps? ); and the most beautiful deep red and yellow carrots dripping with butter. The vegetables all came from Satur Farms, and the flavor was what vegetables should taste like. Yummmmmmmmm. As mentioned, dessert was a buffet. We finally chose carrot cake, pecan pie, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin mousse cake, pumpkin cheesecake, a cream puff coated with caramel, and bread pudding stuffed into a miniature pumpkin. We skipped the chocolate cakes (regular and mousse), apple crumb pie, miniature coffee eclairs and mince pies, and probably a couple of others I can't remember. The carrot cake was the best I've ever tasted, because instead of being heavy and oily it was light and well-flavored with orange. Pecan pie was a bit odd -- seemed to have a layer of very moist cake or something similar to a British-style boiled pudding between the crust and the pecans; not bad, just unexpected. The bread pudding was good, if unexciting (of course, that's always true of bread pudding, I think); the bourbon whipped cream with it helped a lot. My favorites were the p. mousse cake and p. cheesecake. Both were nicely spiced, and the cheesecake was etherally fluffy, so it didn't seem like too much after a big meal. The spice cake reminded me of my grandmother's honey cake (HWOE loved it). For the record, Eric Bedoucha is the pastry chef there. We also had a fairly young red Burgundy, something Germaine (? we forgot to write it down) -- nicely fruity, went well with everything. I definitely recommend it for T-Day, and for any other day, too. This meal was much simpler than our previous visit (too bad, no foie gras wrapped in kataifa ), but everything was delicious. And even though we were there at the tail end of service, and they had been quite busy all day, the staff was still in good humor and fairly efficient. Finally, at $68 a head (food only), it seemed like good value to me.
  14. Suzanne F

    Turkey Leftovers

    Rinse all that gunk off the beans and reheat them in butter or beurre monte.
  15. Suzanne F

    Dinner! 2004

    Tonight: fish soup, with almost all the components from the freezer: bits of cooked trout and black bass; the last of the salt cod cooked with peppers, tomatoes, chayote, and plantains; a cup of spaghetti sauce with fennel, and a pint of fish/fennel/celery stock from some earlier cooked fish meal. The only non-freezer parts were a can of chickpeas and some freshly crushed fennel seed. With this, croutons topped with a mixture of butter, roasted garlic puree (from a big batch made almost 2 months ago), and shredded parmesan and romano (a tiny bit left from pasta last week). The last of the Greenmarket lettuces plus radicchio, endive, and yellow pepper, with homemade thyme vinegar and olive oil. A bottle of Lamoureaux Landing (Finger Lakes, NY State) Cabernet Franc. Life is good. And for T-Day tomorrow, I've made . . . reservations! Happy Holiday!
  16. I don't know: to me a beer batter is just equal volumes of all-purpose (plain) flour and beer, mixed well and left to sit for about 3 hours. Temperature of the beer doesn't matter, nor whether it's fresh or flat; the batter can sit in the fridge or out on the counter. No matter what, it always works. I've been using this for onion rings for close to 30 years (don't worry, I make a fresh batch each time), and it makes for a light, crunchy, golden crust. I vaguely remember that we had a discussion of beer batter sometime in the past. Anyone care to look?
  17. Nigella does tea today. Only one sandwich -- salmon poached with star anise, then mixed with mayo, ground ginger, and lettuce. Plus two tea-cake recipes. I got to taste Benedictine (the spread, that is) last week at the preview of the "new" Museum of Modern Art. At least, now I know that's what it was. Other lovely little sandwiches included sliced cucumber, curried chicken salad, watercress, and turkey with the tiniest touch of cranberry sauce. And they all had the proper interior layer of butter, so there were no curling, dry edges. That is so important for tea sandwiches, I believe: that layer of butter before any other filling.
  18. Well, at least the GF also knew it was awful. Sounds like a good match for you.
  19. Oh, man, you make me nostalgic -- we used to have roast-chestnut carts here in NYC, but they seem to have disappeared. Even though the chestnuts weren't that great (at least 1/3 of them were moldy when you finally got them shelled ), the smell was fabulous, and you knew that winter was just around the corner. Now the charcoal brazier set-ups are just used for crappy frozen pretzels. As for the packaged chestnuts -- at Dufour, we made a chestnut strudel, sort of sweet/savory, with chopped celery and onions, and the (frozen peeled) chestnuts were softened by boiling in water with brown sugar. It was one of my favorite items. Another thing you can do with them (again, if they are not sweetened) is mash them and use them instead of potatoes for gnocchi. As a side with game, with a little brown butter, YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
  20. Suzanne F

    Double Soup

    Bruce, why don't you just use two equal but small size pitchers -- creamers or some such? Or if you don't have 2 matching creamers, just ladle the same amount into each, then pour. The only thing to worry about is keeping the soup hot. Soup has to be hot. Too much ladling, measuring, pouring will give it/them a chance to cool down. Feh. Don't we all have to burn our tongues on the soup first thing in the meal, and then spend the rest of it not tasting properly?
  21. Maybe the West African Grocery on Ninth Avenue in the 40s - 50s? They have stuff from all over Africa, not just the west. And it's a great place to poke around, anyway. And you could try the usual suspects -- Kalustyan in Manhattan, Sahadi in Brooklyn. (I had an Ethiopian cook working for me once, but she bought 50 or 100 pounds at a time, over the net.)
  22. JJ-- that's because you ARE the size of a skinny kid! flinflon-- nothing new to add on leB, since I haven't eaten there in a few years. But I did my externship there (1996). Besides being a fabulous place to learn, it has always seemed one of the most civilized places to eat. Meaning that they are gracious to all who are there to enjoy the experience.
  23. Depends a lot on the price point: if it's a place I can afford AND it doesn't totally suck AND it had some redeeming dishes, I will try again (as long as service was up to even mediocre standards). If it was a special meal for which I paid an outrageous amount and the experience was less than perfection in all ways, I will never consider going back. Granted, there's a lot of space in between those examples. But if I can figure out what might have gone wrong and figure that it won't feel like a complete rip-off to go back for another lesser experience, I'm willing to try. But two mediocre experiences, and that's it.
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