Jump to content

Lapin d'Argent

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Lapin d'Argent

  1. Thanks for the review, Chris. I think we'll stick with the Original Recipe, both times a year we indulge. In fact, I was feeling quite poorly the other week, and DH made the only possible dinner for an invalid -- the plain old original blue box, prepared with the regulation amounts of butter and milk (we don't use margarine). Fortunately, he bought a couple extra boxes, because he came home early from work yesterday with a nasty cold, and I made a batch for him. The one he made for me tasted much better -- somehow, it always does.
  2. I've tried lots of different domestic (USA) and Italian Arborio and Carnaroli brands of rice over the years, in many different styles of risotto. And here is my advice: Try the various brands and types that are available to you, in one or two favorite recipes, and then decide which ones you like best. And then adopt a very decided opinion about it, and move on. (This is easiest to pull off when you reach A Certain Age.) Myself, I much prefer imported Arborio to any of the Carnaroli I've tried -- I love that full, rich sauce that you get with Arborio, and I now have enough experience to adjust the cooking time and liquid quantities to avoid any mushiness in the finished rice. But of course, as Julia Child used to say, YOU might like something completely different.
  3. Thank you so much for the reminder! A souffle is on my list of things to finally make this year, so that's what will be on this year's menu. Not sure which recipe yet...research still to be done. But it will be something savory, accompanied by a simple salad of garden-fresh vegetables, and a special wine worthy of toasting Julia, who taught us how to cook and how to live...and how they are really the same thing.
  4. Steve, now you are just tormenting us. That is Evil. Talk about food porn... Don't worry about what they cost. Charge anything you want. Just start shipping them soon!
  5. Another Lifetime Member here. I'm looking forward to being able to enter my "antique" cookbooks, even if they aren't indexed.
  6. It was a very interesting review -- I love reading just about anything Sam Sifton writes -- and sounds like a book worth reading. It's hard not to study this issue in detail without coming to the conclusion that there is very little we can eat besides plants that are grown on a small scale, in a sustainable way, that isn't going to contribute to the depletion of other species. And the impact of what you grow also depends on other factors, like where your water comes from, whether the land benefits wildlife by being cropland, what the surrounding landscape is like -- all kinds of issues. The bottom line is that there are too many of us, no matter where in the world we are talking about. And our ability to cause devastation has increased to a point where it would be laughable if it weren't tragic. As a species, we take over new territory and exploit it. That's what we've always done, that's why we've been so successful. At least until now. So it's true that trying to choose fish that is somewhat sustainable according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is, in the end, perhaps a wasted and futile endeavor. I'm certainly aware of that every day that I purchase food; I know that time is running out, and it's just going to be a question of how bad things will get in my lifetime. But that doesn't stop me from trying to make the most thoughtful decisions I can. These days the history of my food probably matters more to me than how it is prepared. These things are so basic, so essential, so primal: the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe. And yet our culture now takes those things for granted, turns them into commodities, convenience items, things to rush past on the way to something more entertaining. There aren't any easy answers; but I think it's worth thinking about the question, one meal at a time.
  7. OK, so I register for my free Trial Membership, start searching by author for some of the cookbooks I own, and immediately discover a huge, FATAL flaw with this website. It shows you a lovely list, with tempting photos, of all these other cook books, by the same author, that you don't already own. And they're just sitting there, begging you to buy them! What the hell is up with that? Like we're just supposed to look the other way and keep moving? This is very, very bad. It'll all end in tears, mark my words.
  8. Darienne....I lover your spin-o-rama utensil storage. And the story that goes with it. Maggie - I have 4, count 'em - FOUR - Oxo peelers. I have a random assortment of crocks and pitchers next to the stove that hold all my multiples. One is for wooden spoons and tongs (somehow the tongs don't get as tangled with the wooden spoons as they do with other stuff). Another is just for wire wisks. One for metal utensils (lots of spatulas, and big spoons, and potato mashers, and I forget what all). Another completely dedicated to my large assortment of silicone and rubber spatulas. In the drawer where my right hand naturally drops when I'm doing prep work, there are 4, count 'em - FOUR - dough/food scrapers. Plus the Oxo peelers. And two sets each of measuring cups and measuring spoons. In short, I don't have nearly enough of anything, and constantly find myself rummaging around in the dishwasher for something I need.
  9. Ditto. Monterey Bay is *the* place to go if you want to try to eat seafood that are somewhat sustainably harvested. They I believe they have a handy little pocket folding card your can print to take with you to the fish store, about what's a good choice, what's a reasonable substitute, and what's really endangered. The card doesn't cover everything, though, so if you have an iphone or a blackberry or whatever with web access, bookmark the site for a quick search right there at the fish counter. I particularly like that they give you all the different names for various fish, so you can figure out what it is that you're looking at there in the case.
  10. Well what do you know, the theme-a-day system really does work! Dan, I like how your themes are linked to specific resources, both for food shopping and for recipe ideas. Very clever -- thanks for sharing your plan with us.
  11. What you described is the same way I operate also. Despite my suggestion, I am incapable of planning more than one day ahead. I may have a general concept in mind when I go to the store, but it really comes down to what looks good when I'm there. Chris, I don't think you should change anything. Your kids will grow up remembering what an amazing, creative cook you are, and with any luck, will learn the same skills. Maybe you just need to cut yourself some slack, stretch the boundaries a little bit about what a "meal" consists of, and take a night off every week. After all, isn't that part of the joy of knowing how to cook -- I think it must be like improvisation for jazz musicians. The creative process we apply to finding the best the market has to offer, and transforming it into a meal for the people we love: there's such a rush in that. - Laura
  12. This time of year at our house, it's All Tomatoes, All the Freakin' Time. Tonight's dinner is Gazpacho. Tomatoes + More Vegetables + Blender = Dinner in 10 minutes. With no heat. And leftovers. What's not to love? Last night we had Chile-Coated Grilled Zucchini & Eggplant with Cilantro Lime Dressing from Chris Schlensinger's Thrill of the Grill. If you don't have that book, and you like to grill, I can't recommend it highly enough. And that particular recipe we live off of all summer long. Served over sushi rice, it's dinner for two. Or leave out the rice, and serve it as a side. I have lots more ideas involving fresh tomatoes, along the lines of SobaAddict's gorgeous contribution, but I'm afraid they would all be disqualified because they involve pasta or bread. I still consider them light meals, but one gal's snack is another gal's heartburn...
  13. Mind you, I haven't actually tried this, so YMMV, but we thought of this idea to solve the dinner problem when my husband and I were both working ridiculous schedules and neither of us could really devote much time to meal planning or shopping or cooking. Basically, you assign each night of the week to one category of food, so for example: Monday: Pasta Tuesday: Rice Wednesday: Chicken Thursday: Pizza Friday: Takeout! Or whatever. The idea is, within whatever categories you choose, there are lots of variations you can apply. Build up a repertoire and let the kids advocate for one or two options within the category, depending on what's available and in season. We're not big meat eaters, so we would probably have fish instead of chicken, but it just depends on what you and your family like to eat. Friday could be a wild card, so it could be breakfast for dinner, or takeout, or anything else that seems special. When I was growing up, every Friday we ordered in pizza for most of us, and my mother made hamburg-and-macaroni for my father, which involved a can of Campbell's tomato soup and Prince spaghetti. It was based on a recipe *his* mother used to make for him, and was probably clipped out of a newspaper sometime in the 1930s. Anyway, Friday's were very special, because of this tradition. It doesn't take much to get a kid excited, you just have to be consistent.
  14. Lapin d'Argent

    Shrimp heads

    Thanks, Kent -- this is all very helpful. Now I just need to wait until the next batch of shrimp with heads on shows up in my market again. Could be a long wait...
  15. We're pretty much down to just Atlantic haddock, mackerel, wild Alaskan salmon, and the occasional blue marlin steak. I keep meaning to try butterfish -- thanks for the reminder about tacos. Lots of other fish is available at our local fishmonger, but most of it is not sustainable. I'm not a huge tilapia fan myself. However, we do quite well with shellfish: wild Maine and Gulf shrimp in season, the occasional fresh Maine crabmeat, oysters, mussels, and lots of lobster. We're hoping our friends in the Gulf will be back on their shrimp boats soon! BTW, I have discovered that blue marlin poaches beautifully -- an excellent substitute for tuna in a Salad Nicoise. Not quite as rich, but very tasty. I can never find Alaskan albacore tuna, and am tempted to order it online...
  16. Well, it's not vinegar, but there are lots of times a little lemon juice is the perfect acid. And occasionally, mustard (which has vinegar in it). And I think that's really the "secret" of Worcestershire sauce -- it behaves a bit like a vinegar. Vinegar is perfect for rounding off many rich braises, especially meats. With all acids, though, I find you have to add them towards the end of cooking, or they disappear -- more secrecy than I want from an ingredient.
  17. Grill figs split in half, coated with olive oil, salt and pepper, cut side up, until they "blossom," and the bottoms are nice and charred. Drizzle with really good balsamic vinegar, and top with chunks of Great Hill Blue cheese. Eat all of them by yourself. OK, you can share, but you'll wish you hadn't...
  18. Wow, I feel like such a Luddite. No fancy machines for me, nor any acetone in the kitchen. I use a good ol' China marker (aka grease pencil), which will write on glass, plastic, china, enamel, etc. It rubs off easily on most surfaces with a bit of friction (like using your thumb). Best of all, the pencil is paper-wrapped, so no plastic consumables to worry about or dispose of. RE: garden labelling, the grease pencil will write on index cards & not fade in the sun. Cardstock survives a few months outdoors in the rain (about as long as a growing season), and you can chuck it into the compost heap, along with the plants, when the season is finished. Well, sure -- if you can read your own handwriting. Truth be told, my label maker lives in my studio these days, and we use masking tape and a Sharpie on things in the kitchen. I've given up on the garden...
  19. Like Andie and Anna, I've been using one of the Brother P-Touch labelers for years. The TZ laminated tapes are quite durable. For surviving a whole season of sun rain in the garden, Brother also makes Extra Strength tape -- you won't be able to peel it off, but it shouldn't be affected by anything else, either. If I were in the market for a new labeler right now, I'd go out and get me this model. It's rechargeable, via a handy little dock that can sit on your bookcase, you can plug it into your laptop via a USB cable and conveniently type 40 bazillion labels all at once, or you can cart it around with you and just make your labels wherever you want. It's a bit pricier, but I think the convenience features are well worth it, because convenience is what these little guys are all about. Like I said, if I have an excuse...
  20. I use those white ink correction pens on darker bottles, or a pentel paint pen, purple at the moment. And I try and resist the temptation to add elaborate designs! Oh, come on...life is short! And there are always more jars somewhere... I think Sharpy ink can be removed with acetone; if you try it and it doesn't work, PM me and I'll check around at the studio. We use it a lot for metalworking. Also chopsticks. It's nice when addictions use overlapping tools.
  21. I second what JenC says about using barely enough water and simmering for a way long time. If you're using whole birds and want to use the meat, use Chris A's suggestion of removing the meat once it's cooked and returning the parts (preferably with yet more parts) and simmering more. Once it's done, strain, chill overnight, skim (and save!) the fat, then reduce by half, or until it's the richness you're looking for. Another option is to make a court buillon first, strain out the vegetables and seasonings, then use that as your poaching base. That way the flavorings are there, but the vegetables aren't getting all tired and bitter during the long poach. Are you making stock that you only use when it's in a staring role, like soups, or is this something you use as an ingredient whenever you cook something that needs a little broth?
  22. Lapin d'Argent

    Shrimp heads

    Kent -- how much water did you use for the stock, and how long did you simmer? And just to clarify: you made the stock just from the leftover shells, not from the whole shrimp, correct? This sounds wonderful: I never would have thought to try the chicken fat. Do you think duck or goose fat would work as well?
  23. Well this is all very interesting. When I read the article, I wasn't sure what to think. It almost sounded like a marketing scheme for California olive growers. We had been fairly happy, but not thrilled, with our current house EVOO, which was the 356 brand tested in the article. So I checked around online, and eventually ordered a couple bottles of Everyday California Fresh EVOO, from California Olive Ranch, one of the California brands tested. The oil was fairly reasonable - $16 for 750ml - and they were running a free shipping promotion, so I figured what the heck. I'll let you know once I have a chance to compare and contrast with the bottle of 365 on my counter, which we use for everything, every day. Actually, I'd be happy to find a source for US-grown olive oil that was tasty and affordable.
  24. Yep, that's another thing -- I actually rinse/wash mushrooms. Brushing them off never works, and I haven't got time anyway. (Wait, that totally contradicts what I said earlier. Never mind; I just turned 50 so now I have an official license to be inconsistent whenever I want to be.) However, I have never heard of peeling a mushroom, and I can't even imagine how you would do that.
  25. I agree with you Anna -- especially where you can just make the disasters disappear! I am very fortunate to have a wonderful Sous Chef...whenever there's an inconvenient pile in the sink, or I need my favorite knives or whatever cleaned for reuse, I just call out "Sous Chef!" and DH comes in and cleans up whatever has accumulated. And when dinner is done, he finishes the cleanup and puts the food away. That's the deal: I figure out what we're going to eat, and cook it, and he cleans up. Often, he shops as well, but I probably do about a third of the shopping, and almost 100% of the meal planning. The dishwasher usually gets run overnight, and since I work from home, I'll put all the dry pots and pans and clean dishes away at some point during the day, and we'll be ready to rock and roll. After 20 years, we've got this down pretty well. Now that I've introduced him to Bar Keeper's Friend, he actually cleans up much better than I would. Although sometimes I still do need to scrub down the stove top a little bit. But hey, I'm not complaining.
  • Create New...