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Posts posted by Toby

  1. I work at a farmers' market stand.  We do a large part of our business with restaurants, but we sell the same quality of our main crops to individuals as we do to the restaurants and stores.  But for specialty produce, restaurants tend to buy in quantity and also get to the market early.  An example was some wonderful organically grown heirloom beets we had at the end of last summer, beautiful greens attached.  I put an armful out in a basket and tried to keep it in the shade, but the greens started wilting pretty fast.  (Since greens aren't our main crop, we just don't have coolers and ice for display purposes.)  Even though the beets were very reasonably priced, no one was buying them.  I finally mentioned them to a chef/restaurant owner and she grabbed them all up and came back the next week for more.  Another example was chestnuts -- we have a few trees and a small crop each fall.  An individual might buy a pound; a restaurant would buy all ten pounds at once.  We will hold things aside for customers who make requests in advance and we'll bring, if requested, produce we grow but don't display on the stand.  Some farmers will grow specialty crops upon request.  Also, get to the market in your area as early as you can.  Some farmers take orders or have e-mail sites where you can make ahead-of-time orders.  I shop at my market year round and it's frustrating to see large quantities of produce being trundled off to the restaurants and none for me.

  2. John, Yes, I have Cuisine du Terroir right here and it is impossible to find which chef contributed what recipe.  I've never cooked out of it -- I use it as a reference book in combination with other books and then sort of figure out what I'll do.  It has recipes for miques so I'd keep it just for that and also for pounti (which I think is also found in Kamman's When French Women Cook).  Anne Willan's French Regional Cooking (now, I think, out of print and mentioned elsewhere in this thread) is wonderful also for many regional recipes not usually included in English-language cookbooks.

    I've cooked a lot of food from Paula Wolfert and with the exception of her original Mediterranean Cooking, everything, in due time, comes out wonderfully.  (Unfair, some of her recipes are totally simple, like the shrimp, squid la planxa (spelling?)and the apple pie with cabbage leaf crust [hilarious to make].)  I also understand the satisfaction of a successful forager, but does she understand the frustration of a cook who can't obtain the ingredient that the entire recipe is based on?  And since the whole point seems to be that substitutes are unacceptable, there's something a little mean about it all.

  3. What about Edna Lewis (The Taste of Country Cooking; In Pursuit of Flavor) and Bill Neal (Southern Cooking; Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie; Good Old Grits Cookbook) for Southern Cooking?

    Cracking the Coconut by Su-Mei Yu -- Thai food.

    Authentic Vietnamese Cooking by Corinne Trang

    From Tapas to Mezes by Joanne Weir -- the working person's Paula Wolfert (I love Paula Wolfert, but has anyone read John Thorne's piece about her, which is epitomized in the Grains Cookbook, totally frustrating).

    Edna Lewis is a treasure and a classic in her own right.  The Taste of Country Cooking has been in print since it was published in the 70s.  Bill Neal died some years ago but he did very pure Southern food, not Californeeized in any way.  The Thai book is Julia Child-like in its detailing of the various sauces, dips and pastes that are the basis of Thai cooking and the Vietnamese one has recipes that really work.

    Anyone have any thoughts on Viana La Place?  Unplugged; La Bella Cucina; Verdura -- very poetic and simple style food.

  4. Very thin slices of pancetta wrapped around little balls of fresh mozzarella broiled until the pancetta gets crisp and the cheese starts to melt (this can happen fast).

    Figs, sliced in half, marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and then (optional) wrapped up in a thin piece of pancetta and grilled (if indoors, I use a black cast iron ridged pan, guess you could use the broiler).

    Figs, sliced in half and topped with some soft goat cheese, salted and peppered.

  5. Wilfred, New York Chinatown.  Most of the meat stores carry it -- there's a nice one on Bayard between Mott and Elizabeth, another on Mulberry -- 89 Mulberry I think it is.  They might not be marked in English as such, but they're sort  of white and tan and football shaped and should be under $1/pound.  What I do is soak them in white vinegar for a while (they have a slightly strong smell) and try to pick off the bits of fat sticking to the inside.  If you like, I can give you the recipe I make -- I've been evolving it for years, and have actually made several good friends through it.  Also, if anyone's interested in how to make khao poon (you can also make it with chicken) or chicken feet gumbo (see chicken feet thread -- I don't know how to link it), I'll post them.  If anyone knows about Laotian food, please tell me.  It's the weirdest food, some wonderful and some really terrible.

    Does anyone have any good recipes for Puerto Rican cuchifrito, which is made with all things strange.  There are two methods of doing it -- one is deep fried, but the other is sort of stewed in a thin red (very hot pepper) sauce and served with boiled green bananas.  There's a place on 116th St. (NY) between 3rd and Lexington that's open very late at night that has it for take out and it's so delicious.  If anyone knows how to make the stewed version, please tell me -- I used to know and I've forgotten.

    The Puerto Ricans and Dominicans also make a great stew called sancocho which uses salted pigs feet (which cook up really velvety) and pig's stomach and fresh bacon and different root vegetables (yautia, name) and green platanos and corn that is wonderful in winter.

    I was a very poor student for a long time so I ate well on innards.  I might be able to dredge up a few more.  Also, is there a sausage thread?

  6. More pork stomach -- a taqueria on Mission between 21st and 22nd streets in San Francisco did pork stomach (buche) burritos that were unbelievably good -- chopped pork stomach, yellow rice, black beans, avocado, melted jack cheese, onions, cilantro and tomatillo salsa.  There's a recipe for Mexican pork stomach in a book called Innards -- I think they basically confit it in deep pork fat.

    Are pig ears considered offal? Or is offal only inside stuff?  Great oxtail and pig ear stew in a Richard Olney book -- lovely sticky substances.  What about those outside stuff like ears and tails and jowls and feet and ...

  7. Adam, as a matter of fact, I've cooked (with Laotian friends) what I guess you'd call the Laotian national noodle dish, khao poon, which in its very authentic state is made with pork (or cow's) uterus served over skinny rice noodles with lots of garnishes.  Uterus gets cooked for some time with coconut milk, fish sauce, red pepper paste, lime leaf, but still, it was chewy.

  8. I make ponce -- pork stomach stuffed with fresh chaurice sausage and green peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, lots of cayenne and then browned and stewed for a long time -- it's like a spicy pate in a football, and you can get the pork stomachs really cheap in Chinatown.


  9. Eggplant recipe:  I adapted it from a nice book called Eating Fresh from the Organic Garden State (i.e., New Jersey), and the recipe is Sean Lippert's.  I used anchovies packed in oil in a jar; I think she uses the ones packed in salt, but she doesn't really say.  I changed her recipe in a number of ways, first by using small Italian eggplants rather than Japanese eggplants, and then by straining out the dressing before pouring it over the cooked eggplants. There were 5 of us, so I made 5 eggplants.

    Leaving the stems on, make 1/4"-thick cuts from the stem down to the bottom of the eggplant all the ways around and then fan each one out. Rub with salt and pepper and olive oil and roast in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the eggplants are very soft. (You can grill them instead.)

    For the dressing, stir together 2 peeled and minced shallots, the juice of 2 lemons, a little chopped lemon zest, some chopped anchovies (as many as you like the taste of anchovy), either packed in oil or, if salted, rinsed and filleted, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil; some mint leaves, minced (or basil), and salt and pepper. Let the dressing sit for a while and then strain out all the stuff, otherwise it will be very ugly and brown and full of little lumps.


    Place the grilled eggplant on a plate and spoon dressing over the top. If the eggplants sit for a few hours in the oil, they get very soft and flavorful.  Serve warm or at room temperature on a big plate all curled around each other like a flower with the dressing poured over and some extra mint leaves (or basil) chopped around it.  (You might not need all the dressing).

    I have another cookbook in this series that I love called Cooking Fresh from the Bay Area.   The books are published by Eating Fresh Publications in NJ.  Does anyone know of others in the series?  They focus on organic ingredients, farmers and sustainable agriculture and the restaurants in the area that cook with locally grown organic produce.  I work at the Union Sq. Greenmarket in the summer with my nephew who grows heirloom tomatoes and chile peppers so I'm really interested in local organic foods.


  10. Last night I had a dinner party for old friends from San Francisco visiting New York.  When I lived in San Francisco, we had a lot of great, endless, good wine dinners and I wanted to make one lot that, especially since we hadn't seen each other for a long time and this last year has been so hard for everyone.

    I started with chickpea flour flatbreads -- socca -- with fresh ricotta cheese, and roasted little Italian eggplants marinated in olive oil with anchovies and shallots and mint and lemon juice, and French lentils dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a salad with some kind of strange, very peppery cress that I got at the Union Sq. Farmers Mkt. from Paffenroth with soppresatta and chopped hard boiled egg.  Then for the main course we had slow roasted pork shoulder with sage and hot pepper flakes and spinach with lemon and oil.  For dessert I made strawberry shortcakes (with biscuits).  We started with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and then all the other wines were Austalian -- Mad Fish Shiraz, Charles Cimicky 1998 Reserve Shiraz (which was remarkable), and Yalumba Old Sweet White dessert wine.  It was great because I really wanted to make one more dinner where I could use the oven a lot before it gets too hot here (New York) and it was cool and rainy all day and the food was kind of dark without being too heavy.

    On the subject of Australian wines, does anyone know a wine store in NY with a good selection of Australian white rieslings and semillons?


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