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Posts posted by Toby

  1. Thank you for the links. The fleeing through the sand at the speed of light geoduck reminded me of the giant spice worms in Dune.

    I like the idea of dipping thinly sliced geoduck in geoduck broth.

  2. I've never had it, but if I could cook, I would prepare geoduck chowder.  :smile:

    Cabrales, what does geoduck taste like? I used to see it at all the fish stores in San Francisco Chinatown, but I never cooked any. It's really prehistoric looking.

  3. No, I pretty much followed Rick Bayless' recipe in his Mexican Kitchen. I cooked the beans along with cubes of salt pork (he uses pork shoulder) for a couple of hours. Then fried diced bacon until crisp, removed bacon, drained off all but a few spoonfuls of fat and sauteed diced white onion and a lot (more than he uses) of sliced serrano peppers (or jalapenos) in the remaining fat, adding some chopped up garlic at the end, until the bacon was nice and brown. When the beans were tender, I added the onion-pepper mix and cooked for another 20 minutes or so. Just before serving, added around 1/4 cup (for 1 lb. beans) tequila and a big handful of chopped cilantro, plus the reserved cooked bacon pieces.

  4. There's a very nice recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes in A Real American Breakfast, by Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison. It involves starting the batter the night before, making a batter of milk, yeast, buckwheat flour, unbleached white flour, a little cornmeal, sugar, and salt. The next morning, separate an egg and beat the white until soft peaks form. Beat the egg yolk, baking soda, and a little water into the batter, along with some melted butter, and then fold in the egg white. I like buckwheat pancakes with blueberries scattered over the tops as they cook, with maple syrup on top, and with bacon or ham served alongside (ham with a kind of red-eye gravy made with bourbon).

    I like to eat pancakes a lot in the wintertime. I try to save some of the batter in a plastic container in the refrigerator -- the next time I want pancakes, I just add some more of the flours and some milk, maybe another egg to the batter and don't have to go through the overnight fermentation.

  5. Getting good fresh ricotta cheese in New York isn't that hard -- Di Palo's has two types of fresh ricotta cheese -- one is a little firmer than the other. The Italian store in Chelsea Market sometimes has buffalo ricotta. Whole Foods has decent ricotta, as does Garden of Eden. Balducchi's used to have the most delicious ricotta cheese, but I haven't tried it since the store changed. Most recipes recommend letting excess liquid drain out through cheesecloth, particularly if you're baking it.

    A company in San Francisco used to make goat's milk ricotta that was so great -- I used to make a crustless cheesecake with it -- the ricotta, eggs, sugar and scraped vanilla bean -- that had the creaminess of ricotta and the slight funkiness of goat cheese. Has anyone ever seen goat's milk ricotta here in New York?

  6. Now that I think about it, it's possible that the ginger wasn't young ginger; stir-fried beef with young ginger is something I cook whenever I can find young ginger, so I think I just associated it in my mind. The menu probably only said "preserved" ginger. But I do think it was preserved young ginger; it tasted fairly tender and mild.

    I'd be interested in finding a source for fresh galangal in New York, if anyone has seen any around.

  7. I ate a delicious meal at Dim Sum GoGo in Chinatown last night. We started with a few dumplings -- steamed duck dumplings, steamed bean curd skin stuffed with pork and vegetables. and turnip cakes, plus a different preparation of fried bean curd skin stuffed with mushrooms, cabbage, and carrots (this last from the appetizer, rather than the dim sum, menu). I'd never ordered the turnip cakes there before; they were light and fluffy and not greasy.

    We ordered three main courses -- beef with preserved young ginger, rice noodles with conch and squid (I think it was squid??), snow peas and some mushrooms, and shrimp with fresh soy beans and Chinese bacon. The rice noodles came in a clay pot casserole dish, were served nice and hot; what was great about the dish was that the squid (?) was cut to the same dimensions as the rice noodles and was about the same color, so that each mouthful was a surprise. The shrimp was wonderful -- great contrasts in texture, flavor and color between the three main ingredients.

    The portions were huge; three people barely managed to finish all the food. We were served small portions of an egg custard dessert in tiny earthenware bowls and we polished those off as well.

    This was the most successful meal I've eaten at DSGG, possibly because everything we ordered had already been sampled on previous visits by one or the other of us.

  8. What kind of rum cake are you talking about? Other than baba au rhum, the only kind of rum cake I've tasted is at a Jamaican restaurant on 14th St. between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in NY called Daphne's. They have a great rum cake. It's sort of a sponge cake with raisins and nuts on the bottom and a dark sugar topping (may be the other way around). The whole thing is soaked in rum, yet the cake isn't at all soupy tasting. They always have a whole cake on the counter and you can buy individual slices for $2.50.

  9. I return to a restaurant because of the food. Sometimes the philosophy behind the food is so agreeable to me that I'll keep on returning to a place even if the food is sometimes uneven because when it's good, it's exactly what I want to eat (and probably it tastes good to me because of the philosophy behind the cooking); also, I'll go back to that place, even though sometimes uneven, because I want to support it.

  10. Actually, Simon, I think Calcutta is where it all started... am I right? It was a few hundred years ago the Hakka Chinese migrated from Canton Province, China to Calcutta, India. it is in India that the Hakka Chinese tasted and embraced traditional Indian cooking. I think this was the start of a wonderful new cuisine. … Some of the most popular dishes are : Fried prawns, chilli chicken or shrimp, hakka noodles, Manchurian veges, and American Chop Suey

    The Hakka (meaning "guest people") were people who were driven from northern China by the Mongols, 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. I was wondering if any of the Chinese-Indian restaurants in Calcutta still have dishes that in any way resemble these Hakka specialties?

    Cuisines of India, by Smita Chandra, has a chapter on European influences on Indian Cuisine from the 16th to the 19th centuries; recipes are also included for many Hakka recipes showing Indian influence (I guess included in this chapter on the theory that it was the British who set up the tea plantations). Some of the recipes are sweet corn soup with green chiles pickled in vinegar; mushroom spring rolls; sweet and sour chile potatoes (with tamarind, ketchup, soy sauce, chili sauce); chili chicken; chicken Manchurian; and hot garlic shrimp.

  11. Last evening prepared Simon Majumdar's Bengali Fish Soup....  Just an incredible incredible dish, one of the best ever.  Subtle seeming, but with ongoing, unfolding, neverending flavors.  Without making too many too facile connections, this also puts me in mind of the best Louisianan cookery...every bite tastes different, and better, making one want to go on and on.  Flavor layering, ingredients and seasonings added at different points along the way in the dish's preparation, is also a Paul Prudhommeism.

    Priscilla, that's so interesting. I'd never thought of how Indian and Louisiana seasonings work in similar ways, but it's true. When I tasted Suvir's tomato chutney, there was the same sense of the flavors "dancing" on my palate. We cooked Prudhomme's barbequed shrimp over the weekend; the flavors are so alive that you never get bored with the taste as you eat. Thanks for giving the links to Simon's recipe. The dungeness crab don't taste the same on the east coast though. I guess I could use blue crab.

  12. There's a write-up about tamales in the Delta by the Sterns in December's Gourmet ("They're Red Hot") and Doe's Eat Place is mentioned; aside from the coffee can-fulls to go, many of the tamales are "served as appetizers to precede heavy sirloins and porterhouses."

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