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Everything posted by Toby

  1. There are recipes for Venetian pasta e fasioi (venetian dialect) in Venetian Taste, and in La Tavola Italiana. The bean that would be used in Venice is called Lamon, a kind of cranberry bean. I think I've seen these, sold dried, at the Italian store in the Chelsea Market in NY. There is also a good description of Venetian pasta e fasioi in Waverly Root's The Food of Italy. He writes that this widely known Venetian bean soup is actually more complicated than it sounds, made with fresh or dried white beans, but preferably the dried beans of Lamon, in the Veneto province of Belluno, which is famous for them. The beans are soaked overnight, and then added to the pot with sauteed chopped onions, and cooked in beef consomme, and slowly cooked for about 4 hours. Some of the beans are forced through a sieve toward the end; the pasta is added for the last few minutes. A marrow bone, rosemary, parlsey or garlic might also be added to enhance flavor.
  2. Fish Dumplings in Turmeric Sauce 2 lbs. cod or tilefish fillets (ask for heads and bones to make the 4 cups stock) 1 small onion, quartered 3 cloves garlic, sliced 2 tsp ground cumin 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1 egg salt and pepper 1 c matzoh meal oil for deep frying 4 c fish stock 2 T lemon juice 1/2 tsp turmeric 3 T tomato paste Italian parsley for garnish Cut fish into 1" cubes. Process until smooth in food processor along with onion, garlic, cumin, cayenne, egg, salt and pepper. Add matzoh meal and process until incorporated. Shape fish mixture into plump ovals about 3" long. Heat oil for deep frying to 375 degrees in deep fryer, saucepan or wok. Fry fish rolls until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Bring stock to boil in 1 or 2 large saucepans, add lemon juice, turmeric and tomato paste. Bring to slow simmer. Drop drained fish rolls into simmering broth and cook slowly, uncovered. Rolls should be single layer. Simmer until broth has reduced and thickened, about 40 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with parsley Keywords: Main Dish, Fish, Passover ( RG344 )
  3. There's a recipe for Pasta e fagioli soup in Venetian Taste -- the recipe is attributed to Venetian-born Francesco Antonucci. It sounds very similar to what is served at Le Zie.
  4. In this week's New Yorker food column, Tables for Two, a little review of Nanni, an Italian restaurant that was "widely regarded as the best Italian restaurant in town" in the seventies. The chef, Luigi Nanni, died 5 years ago, but the place still exists. The reviewer asked his waiter, "Has anything on the menu changed since Nanni died?" The waiter thought for a moment and then said, "No. Why should anything change? It's Italian, isn't it?"
  5. Steve, but isn't the tomato's presentation of itself indicative of its qualities?
  6. Thank you, Adam -- great link. I recently read about pre-soaking cotechino (in one of Marcella Hazen's cookbooks), and it did seem to make the meat softer and creamier. I also cook it very gently for a long time. It's great with a little salsa verde.
  7. Lynne Rossetto Kasper in The Splendid Table says that both cotechino and zampone are lightly cured. On cotechino, she says, "Even though cotechnio cures for several days, it is still a fresh sausage and is always cooked before serving." Faicco's cotechino has always tasted less cured to me than cotechinos made by other butchers.
  8. I had a truly terrible, appallingly disgusting meal at East Post, including fish that was so off we had to send it back.
  9. If you transfer this argument to Japanese food, it seems to me that presentation is built into the food, at most levels. Food, beyond basic sustenance, is almost made to charm, to delight, to seduce. (I've been reading Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire and he talks about how plants lure and seduce bees, people into propagating them.)
  10. Toby


    I've always been told that restaurant critics are usually recognized in restaurants in the cities in which they work and get extra-special VIP treatment.
  11. Edna Lewis, Bill Neal, Damon Lee Fowler. Edna Lewis' last book, In Pursuit of Flavor, is also great. Damon Lee Fowler has done a rather historical book on Southern Cooking, a more modern one and also one focusing on fruits and vegetables -- Beans, Greens, and Sweet Georgia Peaches. Also focusing on produce is Ronni Lundy's Butter Beans to Blackberries, Recipes from the Southern Garden, which has some great ideas. Louis Osteen's Charleston Cuisine is very good. I don't love Hoppin' John's Low Country Cooking, by John Martin Taylor -- the recipes need to be fiddled with quite a bit.
  12. And anyway, once you transpose a cuisine into another location, it just becomes different. In Nancy Harmon Jenkins' new book, The Essential Mediterranean, she writes about witnessing an encounter "between that great cooking teacher...Marcella Hazan and an Italian chef who was cooking in America for the first time. "Everything is different," mourned the chef, wringing his hands, "even the salt tastes different here." Given that, creative cooks adapt, reach out, change.
  13. Cornbread with Grits From the cornbread thread. This is a completely over-the-top cornbread with grits and black or red pepper. For the grits 1/4 c real (not instant) grits (either white or yellow) 1 c half and half a little minced garlic black pepper and salt For the cornbread batter 1 c cornmeal 1 c flour 1-1/2 T sugar 1 T baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp salt 3 T butter 1 egg 1-2/3 c mixture of buttermilk and creme fraiche black pepper, red pepper flakes, or a mixture of both peppers First, you slowly cook the grits in the half and half, with the minced garlic, black pepper and salt in a little covered pot for about 15 minutes, until they're done. Let cool. Then, make a cornbread batter, sifting together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Melt the butter in either a cake pan or a cast iron pan in the oven. Beat the grits, egg and a the mixture of buttermilk and creme fraiche, together until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to the grits and then mix quickly with the flour mixture. Pour into the cake or cast iron pan and sprinkle black pepper, red pepper flakes, or a mixture of both peppers over the top. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 35 minutes, until the top is set and the cornbread is coming away from the sides of the pan. The cake pan gives a softer, more cakelike bread; the cast iron pan makes a very crusty bread with a very moist interior that doesn't seem to rise as much. Keywords: Bread, American, Intermediate ( RG237 )
  14. fried frog legs at nathan's in coney island
  15. To get back to your original point, Steven, it depends on what kind of food writer you want to be and in which outlets. The Q&A with John Thorne was very instructive on this whole point.
  16. Here's an example -- Years ago I had just bought The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews by Edda Servi Machlin. I came home with the book and wanted to cook with it immediately. I had pork chops (purchased the day before) in the refrigerator, and I looked in the index of the book for pork chop recipes. And for a minute I was really pissed off and disappointed that there were none. Clearly a case of brain lock, but how many times do we make assumptions without adequate knowledge.
  17. I really just think it's a question of sensibility. Possibly even astrology.
  18. Steven, I've thought about your question; this is an example of what I meant. I was once a TA teaching a language course in which I was essentially one step ahead of my students. While the course went OK, I came out of the semester feeling I had short-changed my students, especially in comparison to my own teacher, who had been both teaching and continuing his own studies at the same time for 20 years, and whose breadth of knowledge was paired with a constant curiosity and desire to learn more. I suppose, like sensibility, it's a very individual take, in this instance on when each person feels they're prepared enough to teach and impart knowledge in a meaningful way. It's like there's the blurb and then there's the book, the cherry and the whole pie. As for the internal logic of a cuisine, it grows out of the lives of the people who cook and eat it. I tried once to write a cookbook with some Laotian people. Laotian food is very different, and it only made sense within the context of how the people who were teaching me to cook it lived.
  19. Most cuisines have an internal logic to them which correlates to the climate, ingredients, fuel available. Learning about that logic involves learning about the people. Also, some people just cook better than other people, so until you've tasted a range of food, how can you tell? All I'm saying is that a superficial knowledge of something is of little use in making judgments.
  20. Excellent point. That's part of what I meant when I was talking about learning about a cuisine in depth.
  21. Learning about any subject can be an in-depth, lifetime experience, so I think you have to just give yourself time, years of it. Crash courses are just that.
  22. A nice cookbook of Italian-American cooking is Nancy Verde Barr's We Called It Macaroni, An American Heritage of Southern Italian Cooking. (This book may be out of print, it was from a great series Knopf did, called Knopf Cooks American. Also in the series and on a related topic is Edward Giobbi's Pleasures of the Good Earth.)
  23. Suvir, it was you who whetted my interest in Indian cuisine. Regional Cooking scroll down to: Punjabi Cuisine, where you wrote: Punjab is in the north of India. The food of Punjab is rich in texture & taste. Indian cuisine owes the popularity of Tandoori foods to the people of Punjab.
  24. Actually, Martin, I like very spicy Asian foods. I just found the quality of cooking and ingredients to be tastier at Tabla Bread Bar (even though the food wasn't highly spiced).
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