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Everything posted by Ktepi

  1. Does anyone have any experience with Nora Mill grits or cornmeal? Considerably cheaper than Anson Mills, which is tempting since my running out of grits this month -- just as I'm almost ready to cut into a home-cured country ham -- coincides with the Christmas and winter heating bills right around the corner.
  2. For my first serious attempt at bitters, I've ripped off Chris's burnt bread bitters, and though they're not done yet, what I have so far tastes a lot like French toast bitters. In a good way, if that needs to be pointed out. I used Anadama bread for the toast, along with allspice berries, cassia buds and cinnamon sticks, cardamom, a little licorice, a little anise and gentian. It's not done yet, so I'm not ready to try it in a drink -- I'm just sampling little bits as the spices and gentian infuse. But I like what I have so far, and boy, the bread really contributes something.
  3. Ktepi


    Funny, I had the idea of using them for bitters, too. I bought kola nuts from the same source I used for gentian -- Mountain Rose Herbs. I have some ground up kola (the chunks of nuts are hard -- this took a while in my Magic Bullet) sitting in vodka, to see what happens there. In the meantime, I simmered some for about an hour in a syrup I made with water, sugar, hickory syrup, lemon peel, cassia buds, allspice berries, kalamansi rind (it's like a kumquat), lavender buds, and citric acid -- which may sound like a weird assortment, but I was going for the basic components of the classic cola profile, and doing what I could with what I had in the house, since I'm just playing around right now to get used to this ingredient. Anyway, the result -- which has a slightly bitter/woodsy aftertaste thanks to the hickory syrup, though nothing like the gentian bitterness of Moxie -- is very recognizably cola. I am drinking homemade cola, made without storebought extracts or artificial flavorings. This is very cool. I need to chill down some more seltzer water to see how this homemade cola stands up to rum. I'm hoping to come up with a basic cola I'm happy with before bitter oranges come into season, so that I can do an orange cola then. Bitters-wise, I was thinking about taking that "classic cola profile" minus the sugar and citric acid, and adding gentian. bpeikes, if you're still out there, what did you end up doing?
  4. Recently-acquired ingredients converged shamefully -- the juice of a kalamansi, a chunk of fresh pineapple, a shot of Clement VSOP rum, a little hickory syrup. It's a hickory daiquiri, doc.
  5. Ktepi


    Fresh cider is great in place of water in hot buttered rum. At the moment I'm replenishing my supply of the spice liqueur I use -- half vodka, half whiskey, lots of spices, two weeks -- in the winter. Just a little bit in warm cider if you don't want a strong drink, or a little bit plus a shot of bourbon if you do. Wasmund's single-malt American whiskey is also very good in warm cider -- at least the last bottle I had was, I know that whiskey varies a bit from batch to batch.
  6. I don't have a photo, but breakfast was something maybe only eGullet can appreciate: one piece of bread after another, mopping up the fond from last night's goose confit.
  7. I'm cheating, this wasn't breakfast. But it's egg porn. And the leftovers will be breakfast in the morning. Cold eggs are placed in boiling water for 6-8 minutes, and then immediately placed in an ice bath for a few hours, after which they're peeled and marinated. The white is firm like a hard-boiled egg; the yolk is unctuous and custardy. The darker egg was marinated in diluted soy sauce with maple and ginger (too much ginger); the lighter one in diluted Louisiana hot sauce with maple and Marmite. I'm not a photographer, and even with the macro setting, getting the halved egg in focus at all was a chore, but I wanted you to be able to see this -- I haven't had a chicken egg anything like this before; poached duck eggs, I could get to come out similarly (though softer). I guess the yolk of slow poached eggs must be something like this.
  8. There hasn't been a whole lot of difference in my experience -- I haven't seen beef as often, so I've cooked buffalo and lamb more, but other than the size and the slight taste difference between the lamb and the beef or buffalo (which is even slighter after curing), it's all seemed about the same. If not for the size, I'd never be able to tell the difference between the beef and buffalo.
  9. I suppose I shouldn't call it confiting if I didn't store it in the fat, should I? I covered it (or them) in duck, goose, or mixed fat and cooked it in the oven on a low heat all afternoon, until fork-tender.
  10. I've always cured and confited tongue, peeling it after it's cooked in the fat. Lamb's tongues mostly, because I could get them from my butcher in Indiana, but I cooked buffalo tongue a few times when I was able to get it from the buffalo ranchers who came to the farmers' market. I think I remember seeing beef tongue in an Asian market last month, but I was more focused on other things. I liked the lambs' more, but I probably should have just cooked the buffalo's at a lower temperature longer. With either of them, it's a very good sandwich meat, especially with some good salami and assertive mustard.
  11. I really like everything I got at that wine place -- the cheese, and I've already forgotten what it was except I remember it was Spanish and raw-milk (Manchego?), was the best cheese I've had in a long time. I even used half of it in some macaroni and cheese. Where would I go around here to get truffle butter? It's a silly craving, but it's the kind of small splurge that appeals to me right now, while there's still corn on the cob and fresh radishes and other things butter is good on. D'artagnan makes both black and white truffle butter that's sometimes carried at upscale grocery stores, but I haven't seen it at Hannaford's. I'm going to Lull's sometime this week to get Concord grapes, but they're pretty steep -- $6 for a container that looks smaller than what the wild blueberries are in. I don't remember them being that much last year. This rain won't have helped, I'm sure.
  12. Okay, I told my mother I'll do it. This may actually take some convincing now, even though she made the offer, because she may think I'm going to just start doing it and then back out when it gets messy, or ... who knows. (I may be 32, but she's still my mother.) I imagine this won't be until later in the season -- right before the weather gets cold, maybe -- so I'll suggest fattening them up as much as we can. That gives me a few weeks to pick a method, too. Like I said, I work at home, so I do not mind at all having to braise meats for a long time -- I'm here anyway, and it's not like there's additional labor there, it's just time.
  13. If I do it on a Saturday and finish in time, I can take them to the dump if my mother will let me use her car (I live on the town line in the next town over, so don't have a license for her dump). My mother grows corn, so yeah, the raccoons are always near enough that I'm sure they'd notice the sudden arrival of bags of chicken remains. (Of course, a candidate did immediately jump to mind when you mentioned a worthy retail dumpster!) The jumpsuit sounds like a good idea, and much less creepy -- if less photo-worthy -- than a blood-splattered raincoat.
  14. These are (some of) the chickens a couple weeks ago, so potentially the "BEFORE" photo. I don't know what breed they are, and my mother tends to lose track of details like that. They don't look as plump as they could be, but I'm not a good judge.
  15. Oh yeah, there's no way I could do this in my yard. I've gotten some static just for growing peppers and tomatoes in the front instead of flowers. The most I'd be doing here, if anything, would be the indoor work -- after the plucking.
  16. Well, if I can find the ovaries and they're edible in a mature hen, I'll eat 'em. When else is that opportunity going to come up, after all? I'm a bit squeamish about it, and I don't want to kill a lobster again, but from what I understand (and please, anyone, correct me if I'm wrong), once the chicken stops its initial ... death throes ... it's just going to sit there being dead. What was so hard about the lobster was that even once it was in pieces, it kept moving and recoiling when I was cutting open the shell -- that was really nerve-wracking. I'm sure chefs who work with lobster all the time get blind to it, but I'm never going to be cooking lobster often enough to make it up that hill. So in that respect, the chicken seems easier. On the other hand, the chicken'll bleed a lot, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to hang it (or them) for a day before continuing on -- my mother may want this all taken care of on a Saturday afternoon. (Plus there's a dog, and a cat, and raccoons, and ...) I've never had to do anything culinary that required a change of clothes, unless barbecued ribs or roast beef poboys were involved.
  17. And I'll add that I have a lobster pot and two Dutch ovens, and I work at home, so I'll make stock all week if I do this. That's a lot of gumbo this winter. (Can you confit mature hen legs?)
  18. I thought about saying "if I do this, I'll probably document it," but then realized that would make everyone vote yes!
  19. Who else would I ask about this but eGullet? My mother raises hens for eggs. Last year, they were getting too old to lay consistently, but the guy she gets chicks from didn't have enough to sell her. This year he will, thankfully -- when I was there yesterday, there was only one egg, from two dozen hens. She told me that I can have any of the hens I want ... if I "take care" of them myself. I've seen chickens killed before -- we raised chickens when I was a kid, and a turkey once. But I've never seen them cleaned and am not sure, except by educated guess, what's involved -- or what kind of learning curve there is. I'm not positive she'd let me use her kitchen -- I might be doing this outside, or carting dead chickens across town to my condo to try it in my much smaller kitchen with much less counter space. I wouldn't have said I was squeamish, until I killed and chopped up a lobster this year, still twitching and wriggling around as I removed the shell. I'm good with a knife and all, but I don't have any formal experience, I'm just a good home cook who keeps his Wusthof sharp. I can get a whole duck down to constituent parts to make stock and confit in a few minutes, sure, but I'm not having to eviscerate anything. I know there's less you can do with mature hens than younger chickens -- I'd be looking at braising, right? I used to buy rooster regularly from an Asian market to make coq au vin, I assume hen would be a decent substitution. ... but should I do this? If I don't, someone else will. They'll be put to use one way or the other. If I pass on this, am I missing out?
  20. There's probably a thread on it, but the "peanut butter and..." question can get even weirder if you're using any of P.B. Loco's peanut butters -- curry, sundried tomato, etc. The cinnamon-raisin makes the best Fluffernutters ever.
  21. Duck confit and Tabasco pepper jelly. It started as a home version of a sandwich at Bayona, and kept changing according to what I had in the house, and became ... peanut butter, duck confit, and Tabasco pepper jelly.
  22. Dr Pepper uses artificial flavors -- so it's not made entirely of the finest artificial ingredients, but that's sufficient proof for me of the falsehood of "nothing artificial ever tastes delicious." All it takes is one white crow.
  23. I just had some at Parkers Maple Barn in Mason NH the other day -- you get a choice of kidney, pea, or a mix, and like most things on the menu that could be, they're sweetened with maple syrup (though I think there's also molasses in there -- either that or they use Grade B). A little soupy for my taste, and the place is fairly expensive for what you get -- my $4.50 maple frappe wasn't much bigger than a small soda at McDonald's -- but they're definitely not from a can. I go a couple times a year, when I'm picking up syrup. (They also have Indian pudding and grapenut pudding sometimes, other New England items I don't see much of.)
  24. I just made corn chowder the other day but had forgotten about this thread. Let's see if I can remember what all was in it: I simmered the corn cobs, a bay leaf, some of the corn kernels, and a little potato in water and a little milk until the potato was cooked; removed the cobs and bay leaf and pureed the rest; added more corn kernels and simmered just long enough to cook them through; and topped it with corncob-smoked bacon and a little Louisiana hot sauce.
  25. The heirlooms really are great -- I haven't found a favorite yet (the German greens are not as good as last year -- weather-dependent, I guess?), but all of the many cherry tomatoes are terrific. That wasn't an eGulleteer I ran into at the wine shop at Greystone Plaza, was it?
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