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Posts posted by Toby

  1. There's a whole chapter in Copeland Marks' Indian & Chinese Cooking from the Himalayan Rim on Hakka Chinese cooking in Calcutta. Unfortunately, he prefers recipes that don't incorporate Indian seasoning, and so are much more straightforward Chinese.

    He does mention that the Hakka enclave in Calcutta was called Tangra, and I'm wondering if this is why the Indian-Chinese restaurant in Queens that Nina went to is called Tangra Masala? (I think that's what it's called??)

  2. Yes, regular long-grain rice (I used Canilla, which may have been the wrong rice, because it doesn't need as much liquid; Carolina might have been better). I've also made it with popcorn rice (from Louisiana, comes in a cloth bag) and that was great. And with a salad, it's really enough for dinner.

  3. Helena, "red rice" as a dish is a South Carolina low country preparation -- it's more like a rice pilaf -- I fried some diced bacon until crisp, removed bacon, then sauteed some sliced smoked pheasant sausage (or could use andouille, or tasso) in the fat, poured off most of fat and reserved sausage, then stirred rice around in the fat left in pan, added some tomato puree and let it cook down, then added chicken broth, salt and sausages, brought to boil, turned heat low, covered and cooked for 30 minutes. Served garnished with scallions (and also parsley, but forgot to add that) and reserved bacon pieces. (As a critique of the rice, I put double the amount of broth to rice, and it was a little too much liquid -- rice was a little sticky; also, it needed better seasoning -- it was a little bland, I put a lot of Tabasco on it when I ate it.)

    I've never tasted camargue rice, but am curious about it. I've seen it at Kalustyans.

  4. I taught myself to cook, starting at the age of 16, using cookbooks. I just cooked what sounded good; when I didn't understand a term, technique, or know where to find a particular ingredient, I looked it up and continued cooking. I think reference-type books are secondary to finding ones with really great recipes that are clearly written and don't leave out steps. Julia Childs is great for French food and Marcella Hazen for Italian. For Mexican food, Rick Bayless' books, especially Authentic Mexican and Mexican Kitchen, are excellent and give very detailed instructions with lots of sidebars about ingredients and techniques. Cooking something that tastes wonderful and that you really want to eat will teach you so much and please you as well.

  5. Yes, thank you Cathy, and you too, Stefany, for the cheesecake recipe. This was, beside being delicious, the most beautiful cheesecake I've ever seen. It was golden brown all over and perfectly smooth. And thank you Nina, for vinaigrette recipe. The salad was great, especially the grapes in it.

  6. The recipe I suggested to Wilfrid came from Bill Neal's Southern Cooking. His recipe included pork sidemeat cooked down into cracklings, the fat and cracklings added to the bread. I omitted the pork and substituted butter for the pork fat. The bread doesn't taste eggy, but it is nice and moist.

    The other recipe I posted, that Suvir cut and pasted in, is a combination of a recipe from Bill Neal's Good Old Grits Cookbook, combined with the method for cooking the grits from Bradley Ogden's grits and garlic custards in Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. I think the one egg works there because the grits are very rich (1 cup half and half) and there's 4 tablespoons of butter and 1-2/3 cups of buttermilk, so there's plenty of both liquid and fat.

  7. John Thorne has a lovely piece about eating oatmeal for breakfast in the winter (in Simple Cooking, his first collection). I was able to conquer a lifelong hatred of oatmeal by roughly following his directions, cooking McCann's Irish Oatmeal in milk with a pinch of salt and a small banana sliced into it, for about 25 minutes, and then eating it with butter, heavy cream and brown sugar sprinkled on the top.

  8. The Bandol was delicious, as were the two white wines (names??).

    The rice, actually, was red rice with smoked pheasant sausage, not dirty rice. (I'd originally thought of cooking dirty rice, but changed my mind.)

    Just had leftovers for dinner myself.

  9. We decided to forget about Mario and do it ourselves.

    Dinner was wonderful. In all the talk about chef's cookbooks, I sometimes forget how wonderful Paul Prudhomme's first two cookbooks are. I've never cooked anything in either of them that didn't come out perfectly. Huge quantities of butter do help. The barbecued shrimp were so good and had a lovely amount of perfectly seasoned sauce. Prudhomme always wrote about balancing spices and herbs so that the flavors "dance" on your palate, each spice hitting a different part of your mouth, and yet the seasoning wasn't excessively spicy at all.

    The cornbread recipe is two different recipes cobbled together. First you have to cook some grits. I get yellow grits in bulk at Commodities Natural Store (I actually think what they sell there is closer to polenta). I used to buy fancy stone ground grits at Dean&Deluca, but they went rancid very fast. Either is preferable to instant grits or the white supermarket stuff.

    I cook the 1/4 cup of grits in 1 cup half&half, a teaspoon of garlic, and a small amount of salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down very low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once in a while. Let grits cool. (They can be made ahead and refrigerated).

    For the cornbread: sift together 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 cup white flour, 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt. In another bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the cooled cooked grits and 1 large egg. Mix well, breaking up the grits. Add 1-2/3 cups buttermilk and mix again until smooth.

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the oven in either a 9" round cake pan or a 9" cast-iron skillet. Let the pan get very hot and the butter really start to bubble and even get a little brown. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the butter into the buttermilk-egg-grits mixtures and stir well. Sprinkle a spoonful of flour over the bottom of the baking pan and pour the batter into the pan, working quickly, as the mixture immediately stirs to rise. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and/or freshly crushed red pepper flakes over the top of the bread and bake at 450 for 35 minutes. Let rest for a minute or two and then turn out of the pan.

    (I actually made two breads, one in a cake pan and one in a cast-iron skillet. The cake pan one always rises a little more and seems slightly lighter in texture; the one made in the cast-iron pan is crustier.)

    I'd never eaten real pulled pork before, done in a smoker. It was amazingly good, as was the sauce served on the side.

    I would love to have recipes for the sauce and for the beautiful cheese cake.

  10. Just came across this in Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer: "What is 'Artisan Bread'? When I tell people that I have written a book about artisan bread baking, I always get a quizzical look -- what is artisan bread (as it has come to be called, no one being able to pronounce artisanal)? .... I decided to conduct a poll among some well-respected bakers to see what their definitions might offer. ...They all agreed on one thing: For bread to be considered 'artisan,' at least one part of its production must be performed by hand.... More difficult to define is the level of quality implied by the term, the concern for the color and flavor of the bread's flour, and for the naturally arising flavors conjured by careful craftsmanship."

  11. The way I noticed people eat family style is that everyone has a bowl of rice and picks food out of of several or more dishes in the center of the table, sort of moistens the rice with the food and then eats the bite on their chopsticks as well as the bite of rice that now has some sauce on it. They then could take a chopstickful of another dish and repeat the process. I realize that food all gets mixed together in your stomach anyway, but putting portions of several dishes on one plate always makes me nervous -- I don't like to get the flavors mixed up that way.

  12. On a cold morning I cannot imagine anything better than the hot bowl of tripe, pig skin and daikon I had at a Chinese restaurant today. To me "trippa a la Fiorentina" is one of the glories of Italian cuisiine (when they don't cook it to a mush). I bought a baby goat on Arthur Avenue a couple of days ago. The kidneys were delicious and the head will go into a soup. In the Balkans they chop the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs of a young lamb, season and sauté with onions, wrap in caul fat and roast. It is then served with sour cream. I would classify all  these dishes at the higher end of gastronomic achievements .  :raz:

    What Chinese restaurant was that?

  13. This probably belongs over on the Babbo thread, but as I complained over there about the whole point of the 2-minute calamari being lost by coming to the table lukewarm (reheating would have changed the texture), the same could be said about the lamb chops scottadito -- to scorch the fingers. It left me feeling that the restaurant staff didn't care enough to get the point of its own food.

  14. It was suggested that I send my not-hot calamari back to be reheated. The whole point of the dish, as I remembered from reading the recipe in the cookbook, was that this was a very impromptu treatment in which the squid would be just cooked enough (about 2 to 3 minutes) so that they would be opaque and tender. Once squid get past that point they toughen up and have to be cooked much longer to get tender again. The lukewarm squid were tender but tasteless; the whole dish seemed beyond help.

  15. My mother cooked tongue, not very well, but it was cheap. I learned to cook all kinds of innards while I was in college and was very poor, but wanted to cook and eat delicious food anyway. It offers such a wide range of tastes, textures. Now that it's cold, I'm planning on one of my favorite winter dishes -- oxtail stew with sliced pig ears.

  16. I was pretty disappointed in the meal. Nothing was good enough. I ordered the Two-Minute Calamari Sicilian Lifeguard Style -- the recipe is in the Babbo Cookbook, and I'd looked at it this summer when I was cooking a lot of calamari soup/stews. What I was served was way inferior to the way the recipe would taste if cooked properly; it was totally boring and also served not very hot. The tomato sauce they were cooked in tasted like it came out of a jar. The best thing about the dish was some wonderful green olives, stems still attached, that were sort of floating around in the yucky tomato sauce. The beef cheeks ravioli were good. The Adriatic shrimp has some nice flavor but were mostly shell and very difficult to eat, although the chicory that accompanied them was delicious.

    I love Lupa; the food there shows some care and creativity, and the meats are wonderful. I'd always wanted to eat at Babbo, but I think I'll just keep going to Lupa instead.

  17. My mother still uses one of those. I just saw one in the Bridge kitchen supply store a few weeks ago (I think it was there, or else it was in Broadway Panhandler -- it was on a high shelf in a corner, and looked very sturdy).

  18. Cabrales, I posted on this topic on the stock thread (started by Suvir) in this q&a; aside from Grace Young's book, I mentioned a book called Secrets of Nutritional Chinese Cookery by Ng Siong Mui (Landmark Books, 1988), which has chapters on simmering and double boiling, that include many medicinal soup recipes with herbs and such great ingredients as sea moss (fat choy), as well as bird's nest, snow frog's glands, pigeon and fish maw soup.

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