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Everything posted by scovilleFiend

  1. The first time I made paneer I tried using yogurt and it failed quite miserably, I'm sure due to my own fault. From there I went to vinegar which curdled easily, and lemon juice which worked quite well again. This time I went back to the gentler method and tried buttermilk. 1/2 gallon of whole milk 1/2 quart of fat-free buttermilk (Store only had fat-free. I like fat dammit.) Brought milk to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, in a 3.5 quart saucepan. After a few minutes to get the fridge temperature off I began whisking gently. When the milk starts to foam and tries to get out of the pan, I began whisking in the buttermilk. I poured it pretty slowly, a little more quickly than I would pour oil into an emulsification. After about 1.5-1.75 cups the milk split quite readily, and I stopped pouring in the buttermilk and turned off the heat. Previously I had set up cheesecloth (just plain cheesecloth, previously I have been using clean dishtowels) into a colander. I poured the contents of the pan into this cloth over a sink, and rinsed with cold water for about 10 seconds. I then tied this up and hung it to the sink faucet for about two hours. Next it was pressed gently by a few plates for about 3-4 hours. The results are definitely my best yet. With the vinegar/lemon I could taste a slight tangyness when it was raw. Not unpleasant, just a little weird. This round lacked that. I'm very happy with the results, though making it this way is more expensive. It's still cheaper than store-bought paneer, at least at the indian grocer around here.
  2. Hmmm, well my final result was definitely cohesive, but I will try to the cold water next time instead and see if I can tell the difference. Glad to know that more yogurt might have done the works, I can then safely assume that normal whole yogurt will do the trick if used in enough quantity? I agree that fried paneer is better. I figure I can taste the nuances better eating it in a raw state though, and can then decide if I like the results, which should improve the fried version as well.
  3. I had some time this weekend, so I decided to make paneer because I had little else better to do and had a hankering for it. I should note that I have never curdled milk before, so I had no idea what to expect. Generally I am overly cautious regarding curdling of creamy substances. Based on this thread and some other sources, I purchased half a gallon of whole milk, and a bunch of fat-laden whole yogurt (why is it so hard to find something that is not "lite" "low-fat" or "fat-free"!?). I heated about 2/3 a half gallon (I estimate) of the milk to a boil on medium to high heat. Once it foamed up I slowly began adding the yogurt. I wasn't getting any change though, just a few small curds here and there, but really very little. It still looked exactly like milk did, and I alternated between adding more yogurt, and letting it boil, hoping that one or the other would cause full-curdlage. Alas, it was not to be, and after at least a cup of yogurt and 20 minutes of boiling, I was getting nowhere. I knew something had gone wrong, but I decided to throw it in cheesecloth anyhow and let it hang, rinsing it with cold water. After about an hour I was left with about a marble's full of solids, complete failure. One message here says to use "sour yogurt", would this just be slightly old yogurt, or would it be manufactured in a different way? I assume it is not the same as sour cream, or is it? On saturday when I was sitting around I decided to give it another try, and I had a lemon lying around. I expected to get better results this time, because I would guess that the lemon would cause a more violent reaction. I heated the remaining part of the half gallon to a boil, as before. I then slowly poured in some lemon juice, not much at all, maybe a teaspoon, stirring all the while. In about 10 seconds or so I understood what everyone meant by the milk "splitting". In the pan I was left with lots and lots of curds, resembling silky tofu lets say, and murky white water that was _very_ obviously water like. After another 10 seconds or so I dumped it into a dishtowel, clean of course, threw in a bunch of ice cubes, and tied it to my sink faucet to let it hang. After about an hour I removed it, and I had a good chunk of solid in the dishtowel. I was feeling pretty confident at this point. I put in on a cutting board and weighted it down with a heavy copper-bottomed pan. In my estimation it was just about the right weight, heavy, but not too heavy. In an hour I lifted it up and cleaned off the liquid on the cutting board, then weighed it again for another hour. In the end I was left with a nice chunk of cheesy goodness, maybe about a 5 inch diameter and 1 inch thick. It was pretty tasty, but though it was subtle, the lemon juice was definitely part of the flavor. I think if I were to fry it up or actually cook it with something it wouldn't be as distinguishable, but just eating (devouring, actually) plain it was noticeable. As others have stated, in a dessert it probably would not be exceptionally palatable. Anyhow, just thought I'd post my experiences and ask a few questions.
  4. That is depressing. Is it still the same owners/chefs? I'll make sure to stop in in the next couple of weeks and post an update.
  5. I pretty much have always overexposed myself to things that I think I potentially (or am) allergic to, and I don't have any allergies that I know of right now. I have also been told that this is extremely dumb to do, and could potentially cause serious health problems. Is life really worth living if I can't eat peanut sauces? Maybe we need more doctor's on egullet. The concept of immunotherapy in allergies is regarded with great skepticism I believe, but it has been in use for quite awhile. A lot of allergies are genetic though, and I imagine this could explain why there are more allergies in certain countries/races. Therefore, if there is any disposition to things like peanuts in a family line, it would probably be a very bad idea to feed your kids such things. In regards to fish, I think a large part of the reccomendation against it is the mercury content. I assume that the fish quality outside of north america is better. I certainly wouldn't be feeding my kid farmed salmon anytime soon.
  6. scovilleFiend


    As promised, I went to Bolo and now have some comments. I arrived with a party of 6 (with a reservation of course), and was seated promptly. Bolo is relatively small and does not have a whole lot of tables. Anyhow, most of the dishes I only had a couple of bites of, so I won't have any thoughts on them bestowed after munching slowly through a meal, only first impressions. We had two bottles of wine. I wasn't paying attention too much but they were both good reds. The best appetizer by far was the baked manchego with yellow romesco sauce. The cheese had a wonderful crust, great flavor and perfectly cooked. The accompanying sauce was deliciously sweet, and went perfectly with the baked cheese. I wish there was more of it. The oven baked flatbread was quite tasty, but the flavors didn't really come out very well. Despite what should have been the pronounced manchego and wild mushroom flavor, the dish mainly tasted of the truffle oil. While I thought this truffle oil was fine enough and not "chemically tasting", I also didn't want a dish solely comprised of it. Maybe there will be a special version soon without the oil and with the real deal, but I doubt it. I also tried some of the charcoal grilled octopus, extremely dissapointing. The octopus was too chewy, and the charcoal flavor was practically non existent. The whole of the octopus was completely overpowered by too strong a lemon flavor from the sauce. Maybe it was just because the octopus was poorly done that this was the case, but in any event, not a winner. For _my_ entree I had the smoked eggplant risotto. The rice in this was perfectly cooked. The smoked eggplant was in small cubes and was sort of lost in the dish. Manchego was used generously within the risotto and gave it a great creamy cheesed flavor. The balsamic and the piquillo blended well with it to give it a nice sweet hint, but I do wish there were more piquillo's. I sampled the roasted rabbit, which came in two varieties. There was a leg that was very moist and tasty, and then there was the rabbit wrapped in serrano ham, which was overly dry and approaching cardboard. The risotto that accompanied it was slightly sweet and cooked well, but I preferred mine more. I also snagged some paella. The rice was very peppery, but lacked any other complex flavors. Maybe I just couldn't taste it because it was drowned out by the pepper. The seafood looked good but I didn't dare suggest that I should be allowed to have some. For dessert I had a selection of four cheeses. Two of them were very good, the other two mediocre. The rest of the table experimented with the dessert tapas. They all seemed to appreciate them, but I did not see anyone stare into oblivion in bliss. The bites I had were tasty, but I would not say remarkable. That's it.
  7. scovilleFiend

    Kronenbourg 1664

    I would say that it compares very poorly to those. A lot of the good beer that is brewed in France is from Alsace, I'm not sure if you had the opportunity to try them. They are much in the style of belgian and/or german beers, and quite good.
  8. scovilleFiend

    Kronenbourg 1664

    It is definitely better than fosters, which has as far as I can discern no flavor. I drank a few kron's over the summer in scalding heat, and I have to say even given its perfect condition to thrive I did not find them very favorable. Maybe slightly better than the bud/coors variety, but all in all not a very good representation for the french, much as we are represented by bud typically. Honestly, I don't think I could actually find you any tasting notes for kron, I was too busy trying to get it down. Perhaps I didn't drink enough in college. I do actually like stella artois though. The belgians get me every time.
  9. What kind of food do you normally make? I usually make them with some sort of tortillas substance, or make a sauce out of them. However, that generally requires other western ingredients, like tortillas, or other smoked peppers, or tomatillos, the list goes on. If we could tailor suggestions to other ingredients you typically cook with that may work best?
  10. Went to Pegu around 10:30 friday night, and it was still fairly empty which meant there were a few spots left at the bar. The only spots for two were at the end against the wall. Near here behind the "wall" is where they seem to mix the table drinks. Originally I was thinking being in the center would be best, because that way I could listen to more of what the bartender was saying when he was helping others. Though that certainly would have been nice, I got to see an awful lot of drinks being made from my vantage point for tables. I started off with a pegu club cocktail, lets just say I felt obligated to try it. The blend of fruitiness, bitterness, and strength was a very good mix, and went down smooth. Really too smooth, pegu's drinks are far too easy to consume, and I had to make a concerted effort to drink slowly. The glasses of water were a good way to do this, and were attentively refilled. I did enjoy the pegu club cocktail, but I was not wooed by it, I wouldn't say. My companion got a gin-gin mule, which was not to my tastes. It was very good, but I like the bite of alcohol in my drinks, and in the gin-gin mule the ginger cut the bite far too perfectly. I saw a lot of drinks being made with egg whites, and asked our bartender about it. I got a good explanation, and he probably could have steered me towards trying one if he chose to. We were dallying about a second drink, and he dropped off another menu so we could have a gander. The chartreuse caught our collective eye, and we asked about it. We got a mini-history rundown on it, and a good description of the liquor. Being pegu club, he poured us a small amount to try. Actually, he poured it, and then lit it on fire to cut some of the bite so we could taste more of the flavor. I can't believe I have never had this stuff before, and was swooned by the chartreuse. My wife next wanted to follow hers up with a tantric sidecar, due to her need for fruitiness and the drops of chartreuse in it. Our bartender (toby) thought she should stick to gin, and made something in the fruity-gin vein. The kicker to that drink was the blackberry syrup he had made that morning from blackberries bought at a farmstand. The drink was topped with one of these berries, which was probably the largest one I've ever seen. The syrup was a fantastic addition, though apparently the berry itself was rather bitter. Knowing that I had an extremely knowledgeable bartender on my side, I felt it would be a waste to order off the menu again. I would urge others if they are sitting at the bar to try and learn something, and branch out a bit. Not that I have to mention that here...I mentioned that I'd like to have something with a little more bite to it, and that I really liked the chartreuse. He asked if I preferred bitter or sweet, and asked my opinion on campari. With the knowledge that I thought campari's primary flavor was disagreeable, but not because of its bitterness, he knew what he was going to make for me. In the end, I got what he called a "Daisy May". I think that was the name at least. The drink was, if I remember correctly, comprised of overstock organic gin, junipero, and chartreuse. A generous bush of mint was nestled on the top of it. This was the most perfect, most amazing, most sublime cocktail I have ever had. The mint made it so that I could get the drink to my mouth without too much alcohol in the nose, and the flavor was just...incredible. This was the drink I wanted, absolutely perfect. For me it was the cocktail equivalent of a finely seared foie gras with cracked pepper and fleur de sel. Everyone: Place yourself in the hands of the Pegu bartenders. I cannot imagine them steering you wrong.
  11. scovilleFiend


    So usually before I go out to a restaurant I like to read the thoughts of egulleters on the dishes at the restaurant, and the restaurant itself. I'll be going to Bolo next week, and I am sort of being dragged along and being paid for, so I have no say in the restaurant, and am most certainly not going to complain. I must say I am extremely dissapointed in this thread. I would put forward that if you have nothing to say about Bolo, then please do not say it on the BOLO thread. I just wasted 10 minutes reading through this thread, and thankfully fatguy saved me with the only actual comments on the restaurant. Of course, you can take my post to this thread as being in the same vein as not being about Bolo. I will make sure to actually post ABOUT the restaurant after I go. I think there are lots of i hate bobby flay threads on here, so couldn't most of this thread be kept to there? I also find it hard to believe that no one has been there since 2003, maybe I'm missing another thread but I don't think so
  12. You aren't the only one to ask this question. Here's one link that should at least give you some ideas. You can also search under most of the restaurants there for a further breakdown of each restaurant, such as searching on "meurice" or "l'ambroisie". That being said though, I think everyone likes a chance to rant about their favorite fancy restaurant in paris, because the food really can be that amazing. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=11139&hl=
  13. I realized that it was not going to be the best of times to go, but was hoping for a miracle I suppose. The "line" was fairly minimal outside actually, but I suspected that there would be overcrowding. I am not a fan of crowded bars, and at least on saturday night the other people waiting did not look like the sort of people I cared to be drinking around. Popped collars scare me. Had I known it would still be comfy inside, I might have stuck around, but instead opted for other watering holes in the village that had seats. It is nice to know that the atmosphere is pleasant even at "max" capacity, and I commend the club for sticking to this.
  14. scovilleFiend


    Went to Babbo on the night of the 24th. We had an early reservation, because that was the only option after an hour of busy signals. I am very glad we were there before most people though, because we were able to commandeer the waiter for at least 15 minutes. He was probably one of the better waiters I have ever had. Honestly, I did not expect too much from the service, and was damn impressed by all of the wait staff and an excellent sommelier. Anyhow, showing up early was very nice in that respect. Without his aid it would have been difficult to craft our own menu, which I will now jump into a bit. After getting a lengthy dissertation by the waiter on the courses in the pasta tasting menu, because my italian is nonexistent, I was dissapointed that the last three plates were dessert. Now, I love dessert, but every time I have a "menu" with multiple desserts I end up liking them, but always remember the food far more. So for me, that left four courses. Therefore, after a lot of thought (too much, really) we ended up going with one antipasti, split two primi's, and a secondi each. I think I enjoyed this much more than I would have the tasting menu. If I went back, I would probably skip the secondi, and instead do two antipasti, two primi, or maybe one antipasti three primi. The pastas listed on the primi menu all look to be incredible. Now that I have, contrary to popular suggestion, encouraged people to not go with the pasta tasting menu... My first course was the lamb's tongue vinaigrette. This was absolutely delicious, and everything on the plate blended well together. There is definitely a LOT of lamb's tongue, so this is not for the sheepish. My significant other had the grilled octopus, which was equally good. The smokiness was superb, and the lemon dressing was remarkable. For the first split primi, we decided to take the squid ink tagliatelle from the pasta tasting menu (yes they let you do this with any of the courses on the menus). I have often read here that the tagliatelle should be replaced by the beef cheek ravioli, for shame! The waiter actually reccomended this pasta above any of the others on the menu, and while I have not had the others, I will say it was very, very good. There certainly was quite a bit of it, but the blend of flavors between the greens, tagliatelle, and pancetta was superb. Do not pass this dish up people. For the second primi, we went with the beef cheek ravioli, as per just about everyone's suggestion. It was very good, though I wouldn't say it lived up to my expectation, which I freely admit was off the charts. It tasted a little "stroganoffy", and I didn't think the sauce was very strong, which is too bad given what it was. The liver part when tasted was great, but I probably could have went for more of it. Overall, a good course, but I wouldn't rate it as a must have. For the secondi I had the duck, which on this evening was accompanied by a nice sweet wine-like substance, caramalized onions, cranberries, and figs. It was a nice course, it was also a very huge course. As stated at the opener, I would probably skip this in lieu of more pasta. It was good and almost worth it just for the presentation, but the other items on the menu were just that much better. My SO had the guinea hen from tasting menu, and I would rate it not quite as good as mine. Again, good but not great. We finished off with some cheesecake. I'm sure the tasting menu desserts are good, but goddamn...this was tasty. I'll get off my horse now.
  15. Yeah, I stopped by on saturday night. Or rather, tried to but did not feel like waiting for a half an hour. Maybe it will settle down in a month or two, or maybe I should just quit my job and show up at 3pm, which is actually quite tempting
  16. The taco filling is definitely a great suggestion, and I often eat it that way. Usually I stir fry it first and then I'll add other stuff to the wok. A lot of the time I'll stir fry it with cumin, or whatever I am in the mood for. I also find that marinade can make it even tastier, though it is not nearly as greedy as tofu is. Didi Emmons has a wonderful recipe that pairs stir fried tempeh with pickled red onions in a taco format, it is extremely good and very quick.
  17. The restaurant on the top floor of the Pompidou center in Paris is very good, quite pricy though. I'm not sure if it really counts though, as it is sort of separate from the actual museum. I just had some nibbles there as it was in between lunch and dinner, so I do not recall exactly what I had. Still, a highly reccomended break from walking around the museum.
  18. Hmmmm, it doesn't look like it posted the whole URL in the forum. Does just clicking on it not work? In any event, like I said, you should try searching ebay's items for "organic vanilla". With my order I also got a list of "special" prices that I can use as a previous customer instead of ebay. The prices are quite reasonable. They of course have them by weight as well, but I am not very good with the metric system despite its superiority. 20 beans for 16.50 (tahitian) 20 beans for 18 (bourbon) Those are for 6-7, they have larger ones which are obviously more expensive. They have a website organic-vanilla.com, but apparently it is still "coming soon". It looks like they are trying to buy it or something, because right now the website is something else.
  19. I have been buying vanilla for awhile through places like penzey's and trader joe's and in general it is rather expensive. Ordering from some of the places listed on the forums definitely is cheaper, but I have recently found a very nice source. Strangely, there is a company selling on ebay for pretty stellar prices. I know I know, it's ebay, but still. The buy it now prices are reasonable, but recently I was able to get an auction price of $10 for 1/2 of vanilla, 6-7". $3 was tacked on for shipping. They are tahitian and supposedly organic. I can at the very least say that the ones I was delivered are quite good, and the price is absolutely phenomenal. Total shipping time was 1 day, and total price was $13, quite a steal for 1/2 lb. of what I would consider good quality vanilla beans. You can search ebay for "organic vanilla", and I dug up the "store" site here: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Organic-Vanilla...aderLinksQQtZkm?
  20. Two BYOB's in Norwalk: Shacojazz (very cheap corkage, couple of bucks) http://www.shacojazz.com/ 21 North Main Street South Norwalk, CT 203.853-6124 Pane e Panini (also cheap I believe) 79 Washington St South Norwalk, CT 203.831-0204 Of course, neither have their liquor license, but they're quite good. I agree with an above reader about pasta nostra, but I'm surprised Fat Cat Pie Company's wine list has not been mentioned. It's very good. I'd leave da pietro's information because they do have a great wine list, but at their prices they ought to. Fat Cat Pie Company 9-11 Wall St. Norwalk, CT (203) 523-0389
  21. I agree that the latter part of this post should probably be moved to a Mecca only post. I just recently, as in I can still taste the coffee in my mouth, dined at Mecca. I started the meal with the Roasted piquillo peppers. They came to the table beautifully presented with a small serving of lettuce with a fabulous dressing. The peppers had a nice roasting to them, and the filling was good, Very Good. Topped off with a sauce laced with saffron, I meandered through this dish slowly not wanting it to end. This entree forced me to expect great things from the main dish. I sampled my SO's codfish croquets, and was equally delighted. The outside was perfectly crisp and fried, and the inside literally melted into my mouth. The flavor was superb. The alioli that it rested on was good, but I didn't think that it added too much to the dish. That's neglecting the fact that I could probably eat the croquettes all day long. For my entree I ordered the Sweet breads with fig sauce. I was slightly dismayed when my plate showed up rather hot, and the sauce had developed a thin film. The sweetbreads were stacked on top of a layer of spinach, on top of a wonderfully soft rice cake. The sauce drizzled around the stack was a good level of sweetness, paired well with the sweetbreads. However, I wouldn't say the sauce was extra special, just a good fig sauce. My little Moo was breaded in nuts and was a good mix of crunchy and soft, if maybe sauteed a bit too long. A good main course with some flaws, but it was stacked up against the entree. I also sampled my SO's Suquet of fish and shellfish. My SO liked it very much, but it didn't seem extra special to me. It was definitely full of some nice fresh fish and shellfish, but to me it was just a yummy seafood stew. Granted, I think this is what it was supposed to be. C'est tout!
  22. It has been quite awhile since I was there (maybe a year and a half), but I remember it being pretty good. The desserts and appetizers were good, but it's sad to say that I don't remember them. What I do remember was the mushroom raviolis, pretty tasty I'd say. The decor is great. -moi
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