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Everything posted by Pontormo

  1. Just to add an international note: 1) The flagship restaurant of Jose Andres (cf. eG Spotlight Conversation), Jaleo, is holding a tomato festival from the 14th through the 28th of this month. Featured on the special menu are two dishes w green tomatoes: one fried w blue cheese; the other, a gazpacho. Here's the link, most likely accessible for a limited time: Jaleo. 2) Foodman just documented an Italian dish from Puglia: Post 153.
  2. Thanks for bringing this dish to our attention, Foodman! It sounds--and looks--great. Off-topic for Puglia, but relevant otherwise: Last week at our farmers market, cooks from Jose Andres' restaurant Jaleo* handed out recipes for 3 different kinds of gazpacho, including one that called for green tomatoes. *Link may work only for a limited time since it is a menu for a tomato festival held August 14-28, 2007.
  3. While I'm only guessing that your reference to fromage blanc is to a versatile fresh cheese that can be sweetened or drained and molded, there are many. The most obvious is ricotta, of course. Marscapone--though it's not drainable. (Ditto mozzarella or fior di latte.)There are other regional varieties that are extremely popular, some sold far from home, some under the brand names of major dairy companies. (Sort of like Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is also popular in Italy since it has a similar milky, clean taste.) E.g. Crescenza/Stracchino, which is sort of like marscapone, though with more body--the consistency of a very runny Brie while still chilled--and without a ripe cheese's smell. Some of the regional cooking threads contain references to local, fresh cheeses that are sold immediately after production. ETA: A couple links to get you going (just type in "formaggi freschi" and "italia" for more google searches): One. Two.
  4. Pontormo


    Conduct searches looking for posts by Hathor, especially in the Italian forum, but I think she's posted in the Dinner thread, too. (Andrew Fenton did a cute little wabbit hunt at one point, too, but I am not sure he was happy w its conclusion.) You do realize this is somewhat twisted. I am surprised no one has referred to your name or the fact that Beatrix Potter's Peter is an eater of lettuce.
  5. Ahem. Switching the topic from chauvanism, Kathleen I just wanted to ask if you ran directly from your concert solo in the church to a road performance of "Company". You do Little Black Dress very well, indeed! I honestly never thought of putting chocolate in banana bread before. Looks scrumptuous. Thanks for all the market shots with the obliging vendors . Should the cathedral in your destination factor into any of your adventures, I'd be happy to add something relevant. I am just interested in seeing more of a country I really want to visit!
  6. You start out running don't you?! What an ambitious dinner! I'm sure the hours you keep and normally eat factor into what transpired, though I am impressed you managed to summon up all that energy after such a trip. You even thought clearly enough to realize that Batali eats a whole lot more than the rest of us! Your friends missed out on the best part--or at least that fig dessert is what grabs my attention most. Stunning!!! As for the main course, It looks like something out of a feast from the past. Courtly excess! The decadence of the ruling class! Wow. As for the olive oils, I'd be interested in your opinions. Several of us were pleased. These are the types of imported oil I would be tempted to trust. (The Italian press and even regional web sites are starting to react to Tom Mueller's piece in The New Yorker.)
  7. Ah, she's back! Exactly the same sort of gnocchi dough you'd make for your perfect little curls, so w an egg, yes. The stint of drying the riced potato on a large baking sheet really helped in making the dough manageable, so it was the opposite of fragile. Some patching was involved to be sure, but little. I recently cooked some leftovers taken directly from the freezer and they were very good even if the fresh batch was superior.
  8. Just last week when the weather was brutally hot, I asked one of the local farmers if they were planning on selling any of the large cherry tomatoes (like those Franci photographed) they carried last year. I didn't remember we covered Puglia exactly a year ago, but that focaccia was on my mind, too.
  9. I'd recommend using a different recipe for now. I am a fan of the recipes by Judy Rodgers and Martha Stewart for all-butter pie doughs, ones I turned to after years of following James Beard and using a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. I'll let someone else fill in the blanks as to why there's a revival of interest in lard which if properly made has significantly less cholesterol and bad fats than butter. I just got an email from EcoFriendly Foods confirming that my order of coarsely ground pig fat will be brought to the farmer's market this weekend for me to transform into lard. It won't be the most highly prized leaf lard, but I trust this operation and someone who has been relying on them for years of rendering her own. This will be my first attempt, so I am starting modestly w five pounds to make a quart, using two different methods, one for making pastry. I'll let you know the results. From what I've been told, the lard sold in most supermarkets is an inferior product. In Seattle, you may be able to get your hands on something better, though Whole Foods does not seem to have reached enlightment yet. Speak to vendors at your own farmers market, or go down to your favorite butcher, or Salumi and find out what suppliers might be available to you. ETA: My cost: $5. The lowest price of butter in town (Whole Foods & Trader Joe's) is $2.69 a lb if considerably more at most supermarket chains or for those looking for pasture-fed animals. So once the crock of lard is made it will cost about 40 cents less for local food made from pasture-raised pigs.
  10. Lately, I've been addicted to a salad Nigel Slater describes in Kitchen Diaries: stubby chunks of peeled, seeded cucumber & long thin quarters of spicy radishes bound by creamy feta. I like adding flecks of red onion and crumbled toasted walnuts. S & P. White wine vinegar. Olive oil. ETA: torn leaves of mint & parsley. There's also gazpacho with sherry vinegar. Tuscan version:panzanella, though as pretty as the photo is, I recommend peeling cucumbers and slicing juicy tomatoes and letting the stuff macerate for a while to soak the bread. Capers vs. olives. Tzatziki--along the raita and soup lines, but my favorite, especially with lamb or grilled foods and Paula Wolfert's noodle-rice pilaf. Yet another ETA: I prefer tzatziki w at least 1-3 T of peppery, strong olive oil beaten into the yogurt. No herbs. I won't go fishing for another recipe, but Asian cucumber salads are a favorite, too, in stifflingly humid weather, especially if you've got a Benriner or such to slice the things paper-thin. When you salt the slices and squeeze once they're drained, there's little left: an ideal situation if you have massive numbers of cucumbers. There's nothing as satisfying as the crunch of this type of salad, dressed so it's salty, sweet, hot and sour! Finally, keep in mind the relationship of cucumber to melons. Therefore, they're great in granitas and paired with cantaloupe or watermelon.
  11. Notice how we're all returning to southern regions now that tomato season is upon us. Just a report on what to do on those rare occasions when you make too much tomato salad. Have Eggs in Purgatory (Uovi 'Mpriatorio) for breakfast! This might have been the first time I was faced with that predicament, caused by the size of a Purple Cherokee that looked as if it was about to expire. While I typically dress these salads simply with olive oil after sprinkling on salt and then scattering basil over the top, this time around I threw in capers, slivers of green olives & shallots that had steeped in red wine vinegar. Before condemning leftovers to the refrigerator, I poured the juices into a separate bottle. I prepared the eggs without adding anything else other than a little butter (yes) to the pan to cook the tomato-shallot mixture first, then poured in the juices. No cheese. While the vinegar's flavor is muted by the time the egg poaches, I read that vinegar is added to this dish in Le Marches. As good as tomatoes and bread may be in Naples, a runny yolk makes excellent company.
  12. I was wondering when and how and where someone would bring up that article. Goes to show Mrs. B. is right to regret the draining of the French olive oil bottle.
  13. Pontormo


    There must be an earlier discussion somewhere since Marlena Spieler wrote an article in the NYT that inspired a number of shoppers at my local farmers market. If you have really good, freshly dug waxy potatoes, boil them. Cut into chunks when still hot. Peel, too if you want and then drown them in wine vinegar when they're still piping hot. S & P. Fry up some bacon (or pancetta, guanciale...) and drain it except for the little bit (t or T) you pour over potatoes. Toss w washed purslane, stems and all, though cut into bits. A little EVOO and a squirt of lemon juice.
  14. Cf. this post (#197). Just made this tonight and for the first time, I understood why so many culinary professionals declare a preference for this particular cut. ETA: Just read other posts. Yes, they're loved cooked quickly, too. Scottadito. Greek style. However, don't dismiss long cooking methods. I remember being skeptical about something prepared last winter. Shoulder, after all, is used for a number of Mediterranean stews.
  15. And thanks to the generosity that is the Busboys, I was handed a sizeable amount on a day I wisely brought a cooler to the farmer's market. Amount of the guanciale from the Bronx, that is. So, I got to try my first domestic carbonara w the guanciale instead of pancetta. I recognized why Kevin72 adds bay leaves, et al (right? ) to the dish when he makes it, given the coating on the meat that seems otherwise much, much more fatty (and fattening ). When fried up, the results are so much more like American bacon than US-produced pancetta. Not sure why. Delicious.
  16. Agnello da latte arrosto Not exactly a seasonal dish, nor even spring lamb despite the name, but just wanted to add a quick report since this dish is something I'd definitely turn to again. Another good choice from Lidia's Italy. I happened to buy lamb shoulder blade chops, a cut we've discussed here before regarding Rome & nearby Umbria and scorched fingers. There was stock from a grilled lamb in the freezer, fresh sage, so... Chops marinate 24 hours (or 17) in dry white wine, red wine vinegar & EVOO with crushed garlic cloves, a squat piece of cinnamon stick, sage leaves and rosemary. S & P. All mixed w cut up onion, celery and peeled carrots. The whole kit and kaboodle gets thrown into roasting pan along with stock. 425 F. Tent w foil, tightly sealed, but a few air vents, for an hour. Then another hour sans foil, turning meat every 15 minutes or so, till liquid's reduced and tender lamb turns a beautiful crusted brown. (Additional stock was needed to prevent drying out & scorched vegetables. Chops to the side. Mash the veggies in the pan and with them still there, pour out liquid, do the scraping business w pan and more stock to get all the browned bits. Defat. Then this is the best part: mash the vegetables down through a sieve into the defatted juices, pressing down as hard as possible so some of the carrots, at least come through the mesh. Heat up if needed. Pour over your chops. Sweet, thick & rich! Didn't have turnips, but braised radishes w their tops as a contorno since it seemed a bit regional.
  17. Tupe: Your report on Parma made me smile since I had a somewhat similar if less charged experience, that is, regarding generosity, civic pride and warmth of the people--this was well over a decade ago when there were even fewer Americans in town, especially in the dead of winter. Similar feelings about Modena, though the cathedral's wonderful. As for Pisa, more on that later. First impression is bad thanks to the popularity of tourism and the campanile, but it can be a fabulous place--as it was long ago when powerful and Florence was not even a twinkle in the Arno's eye.
  18. Gosh. I wonder what you edited.Mark, can we be at Winding Down time already? You're a wonderful writer and this really is a great blog. I know you've promised to say more, so please don't consider this like the music they play during Oscar speeches. You've given me lots to think about and when not so thoroughly tired, I might pipe up about bara, American vegetarian burgers and the intercultural nexus of urad dahl and Beluga Lentils. But it's time to wash the last of the dishes and take out the garbage, so I'll just say thank you for now.
  19. Aprons need pockets when you have a bad cold and there are no other convenient places to put your Kleenex. However, a waistband will do. The most useful pocket I ever had was on an apron from Ulster Weavers, Suppliers of Kitchen Textiles By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen. Favorite for a while. Wore and washed the thing so much that the central seam required mending. Cut a patch from the fabric behind one of the pockets to make a patch. Can't say I ever used the pockets, but one conceals the frayed hole. Pockets add visual interest, I suppose, but unless you're doing the whole rickrack (talk about dredging up vocabulary!), ruffles and braid thing, why bother? There is something to be said for simple, clean lines.
  20. Mark, I am glad you got over your reservations about blogging. Might I ask about the relationship between the link to the Vegetarianduck blog on your signature line and the lovely glazed sausages you had for breakfast?
  21. Why, pray tell? I agree about the appeal of the photographs--and precisely for the reasons you specify. However, it sounds as if a thread in Food Lit is in order if one doesn't exist already.
  22. Here's more than you'd ever need to know about making yogurt without having to purchase special equipment: Making Yogurt at Home If you just wanted to buy something new for the kitchen, you might consider an ice cream maker instead.
  23. P.S. I am so glad you recovered and enjoyed another gorgeous meal. Fragole di bosco are one of life's great pleasures.
  24. This photograph inspired me, Nishla. The price on chanterelles was reduced at the farmer's market this weekend, so I tossed some zucchini blossoms in.Delicious and pretty. Would be perfect over ricotta gnocchi flecked w basil (vs. gnudi's spinach). I have to say, though, that the flowers served purely an aesthetic purpose as far as I'm concerned. Maybe textural contrast, too. I've just borrowed one of Rick Bayless's cookbooks from the library and will try to see if I can change my mind about integrating this summertime delicacy into recipes. Thus far, I have to say, the ones I've had here or in Italy never have had enough flavor for me to appreciate them when they're not coated in a light batter and fried, as is or stuffed. I felt the same way about their inclusion in a risotto in a favorite place in Piazza Santo Spirito even when the fresh, light taste of mozzarella was the only competing factor in the dish.
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