Jump to content


legacy participant
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Toby

  1. Yuh, but it's arguable that Peking is just a transliteration of a different spoken Chinese, unlike Florence, which is clearly an English bastardisation that has become its own.

    I think "Peking" happened because of a misunderstanding of the very cumbersome transliteration systems devised by the European missionaries to China in the 18th and 19th centuries (as an example, voiced consonations were written as the consonant letter followed by an apostrophe, unvoiced without, so to really pronounce "p" it would be written p', whereas a "b" sound would be written p, and somewhat similar transliteration rules applied to "k" and "j".

  2. Watercress, red onion and blood orange salad.

    Chicken cut up into pieces with hominy, crimini mushrooms, sliced carrots, onions, white wine, parsley and a little cream slowly baked in the oven.

    Pear gratin with heavy cream and parmigiano cheese (thanks again to Margaret Pilgrim).

  3. Off Tommy's topic -- we made quesadillas once with shredded grilled quail meat and a fresh, very soft goat cheese. The cheese didn't really melt, but it was very not-fat tasting and complemented the darkness of the quail meat. What if you used both duck confit and pan seared duck breast? Are you using flour tortillas?

  4. I had a fresh salsa business for a couple of years; the farmer I worked with wanted to make a canned sauce, and I just wouldn't do it; it seemed the antithesis of what table salsas were about. While I roasted (on a comal) the vegetables I used -- tomatoes, garlic, chiles, tomatillos -- I didn't cook them together as a sauce. Once you can them, they're subjected to a lot of heat and the taste is going to change.

  5. The recipes for fresh salsas in Bayless' books, made with good ingredients, produce wonderful salsas, close in taste to those found on the tables in taquerias. While his jarred salsas lack that freshness and immediacy, I think they're pretty good approximations. I've heard people don't like them because they want those thick, chunky salsas -- I think Bayless' are more authentic.

  6. Kim, have you tried golden beets? They're easier to deal with on a visual level -- they don't bleed. I like to peel them, grate them raw and mix them with creme fraiche, lemon juice and diced dried apricots.

    There's a largish-sized cherry tomato called "Isis Candy" that has a sweet but very complex flavor; the first time I ate one I realized completely that tomatoes are a fruit (botanically speaking, of course).

  7. I used to eat at two Hakka restaurants in San Francisco -- Ton Kiang (out on Geary) and Mon Kiang in Chinatown. Mon Kiang went through several name changes, ownership, but they had a wonderful stuffed bean curd with lots of other ingredients cooked in a clay pot.

    I think the Hakka were historically regarded as outsiders because they migrated down from the north into already settled lands and were stuck having to farm the poorest land; somewhat of an analogy might be made between the Creoles and Acadians in Louisiana.

  8. Tomatoes are a fruit. (Sorry, I couldn't help it.)

    edit: In the U.S., tomatoes are botanically classified as a fruit, but legally they're a vegetable. This is ridiculous, but stems from a U.S. Supreme Court decision sometime in the 1890s (exact date), where the tomato was classified as a vegetable in order to levy the 10% tariff for vegetables that was exacted to protect U.S. growers.

  9. There's a whole thread on Indian-Chinese food on the India forum, with this description of the Hakka:

    The Hakka (meaning "guest people") were people who were driven from northern China by the Mongols (about 13th century), eventually settling in Guangdong province in southern China. They adopted elements from the cuisines of the regions they settled in; eventually their cooking most resembled Cantonese food, but they do have some distinctive dishes, such as stuffed bean curd, salt-baked chicken, 8 jewel stuffed duck, preserved vegetables with fresh bacon. Many of the Chinese who settled in Hawaii were Hakka, as were those who went to India, probably to work on tea plantations and gradually migrating to Calcutta.

    There's also some discussion of Hakka noodles in India on that thread.

    If you read James Michener's Hawaii, the woman married to the guy who got leprosy was Hakka Chinese, and there's some sense in the novel about why the Hakka were considered "low" and "rough" by the Cantonese.

  10. This is how I make Louisiana-style dirty rice. First I make a roux and let it get a nice reddish-brown color. (There's information of making a roux in the Gumbo thread.) Then add chopped up onion, green pepper, garlic (and celery, if you like celery) to the roux, stir for a minute, turn off heat, cover and let stand 10-15 minutes. Mix in 2 cups of very rich chicken stock, and under medium heat, cook, stirring for a few minutes, until the stock thickens. Then add 4 more cups of stock, turn heat to low and simmer uncovered, for about 3 or 4 hours, until the mixture is thick and brown and gravy-consistency. You don't need to do much during this time -- stir it every once in a while. You want it to cook down so there's about 1-1/2 cups of roux mixture left.

    While the roux mixture is cooking down, cook 1/2 lb. of ground pork and several chicken livers, chopped fine (mixed with salt, white pepper and hot cayenne powder) in a little oil or lard until the pork and the chicken liver are browned. Set aside. When the roux mixture is done, stir the meat mixture into the roux along with some chopped pimiento-stuffed olives.

    To make the rice, cook long-grained rice (about 2-1/2 cups) in 5 cups stock, seasoned with salt, cayenne, black and white pepper -- bring stock and water to a boil, let boil uncovered for a few minutes, stir, turn heat down, cover and cook for 15 or 20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Add some butter and minced parsley to the rice. When the butter melts, combine the rice and roux mixture and let sit over low heat for a few minutes before serving.

    I've also just used leftover gumbo with whatever meats were left in the gumbo shredded up and added that to the rice as above. I did this once with a smoked hot venison sausage and chicken foot and chicken wing gumbo, shredded the meats; it was great and made a change from when I'd gotten bored with eating the gumbo.

  11. Dinner at Ali's for a number of ladies, including Stellabella, tonight. I'd never eaten there before and was totally charmed. The place is magical and Ali is a brilliant cook.

    The menu included a cup of lemon-flavored tripe soup (maybe there were some chickpeas in it), with a crisp flat bread and a little plate of very hot green sauce, a large platter of sweetbreads and mushrooms, a plate of duck gizzards and a plate of chicken gizzards, a bowl of calf foot soup with rice into which we mixed some more of the hot green sauce, a platter of cold lamb heart, spleen and meat from somewhere near the shoulder, a plate of chicken hearts, a plate of chicken livers, and then a large platter of lovely white rice with sumac and a big platter of lamb cheeks, surrounded by lamb tongue and two lamb eyeballs (I didn't eat the eyeballs, being squeamish about viscous fluids, although the lambs' eyeballs' fluid had congealed upon cooking). For dessert we had something like baklava but in a cylindrical roll shape and very moist semolina coconut cake and hibiscus tea with sliced apples in it.

    The texture of the sweetbreads was perfect -- I'd never tasted them before; they were very sweet and went perfectly with the dark meaty mushrooms. Ali was very present, doing the cooking and serving, one dish at a time. He seemed to be one of those natural cooks who can make anything taste mouthwateringly delicious.

  12. Priscilla, I missed the post on the bread -- is it Kamman's bread of 2 doughs -- one white bread and one all different flours with walnuts mature separately for 3 days in refrigerator and then at the end are kneaded together to look like marble cake?  This was the first bread I ever baked -- it's miraculous.  Robert Reynolds, when he owned Le Trou in San Francisco, used to make a bread like it, with golden raisins instead of the walnuts.

    The recipe is in her When French Women Cook. It's called something like Two Dough Bread (in French, of course). She has a strange way of doing a starter -- making a little ball of dough and then floating it in water for a while. It made a lovely textured and flavored bread.

    edit: How self-referential; I quoted myself when I meant to quote Priscilla in answer to her question.

  13. The beef was very nice. It was flatiron steak, I think?? The parsnip puree with the mackerel was delicious, very sweet. I looked up that unpronounceable word -- escabeche. (I think there are other spellings with a "v"??) Hot vinegar and some sort of citrus juice was poured over the mackerel. I'm not sure what they did at Blue Hill, the recipe I'm looking at first sauteed the fish and then poured a vinegar mixture over the fish and let it steep in a terracotta dish. The mackerel didn't taste as if it had been sauteed. My favorite was the little cup of custard with an oyster and some raw soy beans, that reminded someone of wonton soup. There was a lot of very delicious wine so the meal is hazy.

    Stellabella is as nice in person as she is in her posts, and we hope she'll come to visit us often.

  14. I was in the bookstore tonight looking at the 40th anniversary issue of Mastering the Art of French Cooking -- volume 1 was originally published in 1961. I remember my sister, who was married in 1963, attempting recipes from it shortly after her marriage, and my sister has never been much of a cook. So I think that once it was published it did begin to encourage Americans to cook authentic French food.

    I was thinking of James Beard, whose house has been preserved. Beard was basically a generation ahead of Julia Child, and primarily presented American food, as authentically as possible, to an American audience.

  15. Priscilla, I missed the post on the bread -- is it Kamman's bread of 2 doughs -- one white bread and one all different flours with walnuts mature separately for 3 days in refrigerator and then at the end are kneaded together to look like marble cake? This was the first bread I ever baked -- it's miraculous. Robert Reynolds, when he owned Le Trou in San Francisco, used to make a bread like it, with golden raisins instead of the walnuts.

  16. As soon as you mentioned the exhibit, I thought of Elizabeth David. In a sense her earliest books were almost fantasies of longing, because of all the ingredients simply not available in England after the war. Can anyone say how influential she was in the UK, as compared to Julia Child in the US? For Julia Child, it must have been more of a spiritual deprivation -- so much nothing in the midst of so much plenty in the US in the 50s and 60s.

  17. I ate quite a lot of everything. The Lahksa is especially good; while it and the pupusas aren't all that authentic, they're very fresh and tasty. The doughnuts were great. Then I ate a lot of Jamaican food for dinner.

  18. In thinking more about the spread of Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries as compared to the spread of Christianity in the first 3 centuries after Jesus, while both were proseltyzing religions, Islam spread as part of a military/administrative conquest, into the Fertile Crescent area (Iraq, then controlled by the Iranian Sasanian dynasty) and then into Iran itself (non-Arab population). Islam, as the youngest of the three religions to arise in the Middle East, was in some ways the most modern, building and borrowing from both Judaism and Christianity and responding to conditions of a later date than the older religions. Christianity, at first, was an underground movement of people who were persecuted by the Roman Empire; it's less attractive to convert to a persecuted religion than to the conqueror's religion. (The whole rise and spread of Islam is very complicated and the above is only a rough guess.)

  • Create New...