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Jennifer Iannolo

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Posts posted by Jennifer Iannolo

  1. Oh. My.

    That is the most extraordinary jellied concoction I have ever seen -- I was mesmerized for at least a full minute by the stripes of color, marveling at how much time it must have taken to create them.

    It's the potential texture that freaks me out, however. I'm all about texture.

    And thank you for the seafood mold pictures! :smile:

  2. Yes!!!

    I can always count on a disgusting food thread no matter what the holiday. Gawd I love this place. :wub:

    I'm wondering if it's because my mother is from Europe (not to say that Scotland has a terribly fine bill of fare), but we never had those gack-awful Jell-O creations in our house. I think my father (off the Italian boat) would have thrown her out of the house. :biggrin:

    I'm fascinated with that shrimp mold. Does anyone have a photo??? I envision it to be somewhat salmon-colored...

  3. Jennifer - get them to allow you to serve one plated course, preferably the first course.  Then they can see how nice it is and next year you can expand it.

    I like your strategy. :) However, I think I might save it for the dessert course, as the first is somewhat humdrum (stuffed shells -- which I forgot to list). If we didn't have pasta they would revolt. :biggrin:

    ETA: Of course, the fact that I am able to voice such scenarios publicly makes the grief easier to bear: Forging a Feast

    A copy of this will be on the table along with the menu. Muahahahaha.

  4. Abra, that French Twist looks exquisite!

    This Christmas dinner was an exercise in frustration for me. Unlike most years, this year there are NO KIDS (!!!) attending, and only ten adults. We normally have about twenty people, so it's a...challenge...to do anything but a buffet. Naturally, I wanted to take supreme advantage of this low head-count to do a plated six-course menu to celebrate, with paired wines and all.

    Sigh. Alas, I was met with "What's that?...I don't know if I'm going to like that...Will there be mashed potatoes?" :wacko:

    I've had to back off a bit, which in the end will save me some time in the kitchen, but I'm still going to grumble all the way through. :wink: My first menu was FABULOUS -- I even did plating diagrams for each course.

    In any case, this is the (yawn) menu we're having:


    Stuffed mushrooms

    Shrimp with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

    (EDIT: Forgot the first course!!!)

    First Course: Stuffed Shells (Large pasta shells stuffed with ricotta/mozzarella/pecorino romano/egg/parsley mixture, drizzled with Mom's sauce)

    Main Course:

    Chateaubriand with Madeira Butter

    Sauteed baby spinach with caramelized onions

    Spiced Carrots

    Roasted purple, red, and gold potatoes (NO MASHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    Dinner rolls

    Cheese board with honeyed pears, date and nut bread


    Pineapple Timbales with Lemongrass Creme and Mint Syrup (I *insisted* on keeping this)

    Dessert Part II:

    Chocolate-Drizzled Macaroons


    Chocolate Cheesecake Drops

    All followed by very strong drinks to toast the meal that almost was. :biggrin:

  5. Bless you once again, eGulleteers, for pointing me toward a magnificent discovery. My favorite so far:

    When your chicken is noblesse oblige, embarrass a leg and some decolletage and twirl some flaked flesh in the pan-sweat.

    I'm in love. :wub:

  6. [...]Regulation, more often than not, breeds corruption, not solutions.[...]

    I live in New York, and I've seen how regulation has cleaned up the Hudson River so that it is now supposedly safe to fish in (though I still would not like to eat fish from the river). Even the Gowanus Canal, previously the paradigm of a toxic body of water (or rather, extremely stinky toxic chemicals in solution), is now fished. I don't think that's due to consumer buying habits. And I don't think that the Clean Water Act which helped clean up those bodies of water bred corruption rather than a solution (or, rather, fewer toxic chemicals in solution in our waterways). I'll take a blue, fishable Hudson River over the brown stench of my childhood any day.

    As you see, blanket condemnations of regulation take us way beyond the question of marketing to children...

    Pan, please carefully note that I said "more often than not." I did not say "always."

  7. Wow...I missed a lot. :)

    One thing I would like to point out to those calling for regulation: There is a consumer-driven kind of regulation, and it is called "don't buy the product."

    When I disagree with a company's business practices, I stop buying their goods and services. If there are so many angry parents, then such an action would most certainly make a company stand up and take notice. But if there are not vast numbers of these parents taking direct action, why is it the government's business to intervene? Regulation, more often than not, breeds corruption, not solutions.

    It's your money. You have the choice to spend it as you see fit. If a company is unscrupulous, take them to task for it, and hit them where it hurts: the bottom line. If enough people did so, they would then have the company's attention -- *and* the attention of their stockholders. What other parents do with their money, in the end, doesn't particularly concern you and your family, nor should it.

    (I really wish there was a smiley with a hammer so I could express my exasperation with this "nanny state" mindset.) :blink:

  8. But, perhaps because of my own poor parenting skills, I also don't believe that parents are able to embody the Platonic Form of the wise, sensible, judicious etc. mother or father for the 24/7/365/18 duration of parenthood.  I think that large corporate entities that consciously and effectively exploit my imperfections and my children's immaturity in order to sell things that are bad for them, are bad, and that -- along with parents -- they should be held accountable for their actions, as well. I have a significant philosophical problem with corporate amorality.  If it's wrong for a parent to allow something to happen, it is also wrong for a corporation, friend, relative, or whomever to encourage that behavior.

    Busboy, with all due respect, this post is as offensive to me as my original one on personal responsibility was to you.

    To be clear, I never said corporations should be absolved from all responsibility in marketing. My argument, however, is that it is not a corporation's responsibility to ensure people are good parents and feed their children properly. What a young child eats is fully in the control of the parent, at least until they are of school age; and if children are taught healthy eating habits -- by their parents -- from the beginning, they will know that the occasional treat is meant to be just that.

    If we are to be the "victim" of every marketing scheme in existence, we may as well call it a day and start eating Twinkies. The very labeling of marketing as "exploitative" implies that a human being -- in this case, the parent -- is unable to think, and then act in accordance with those thoughts. Philosophically speaking, that is called "passing the buck."

  9. Well said, FoodBabe.

    I did a brief stint with a major soft drink company (which I refer to as my years in purgatory), and initially felt horrendous that part of my job was to engage said children.

    My mind was forever changed, however, when much of the time the parents were the ones running up and asking for several cans for their kids.

    It starts at home.

  10. Our family has gotten so big that we now do a Secret Santa for all the adults. It's no fun not getting anything at all. :smile:

    This year, however, Christmas is going to be very strange...there will be no children present, as many individual families will be scattered about. I have simultaneous feelings of glee and bah-humbug about this.

    However, said dynamic does allow, for the first time ever, for me to do a proper six-course plated dinner for the fam, as the group will be of manageable size.

    So they might be bored to death, but *I'll* be excited. :biggrin:

  11. Ms. Reichl,

    Firstly, I'd like to thank you for introducing me to some new writers. Though I have spent many hours with MFK Fisher, I look forward to reading the others you've mentioned.

    I apologize if I've missed this elsewhere, but do you plan to write a fourth installment of your memoirs, perhaps post-Gourmet? I realize the process might have become tedious for you at this point, so I ask for purely selfish reasons. It is such a rare treat to enjoy colorful food writing that I tend to hoard it.


  12. I just posted this over at GM, but I simply had to come here and share, because it was such a fabulous experience, IMO:

    Well, I just sampled Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. My friend brought them over and we did a little degustation.

    I found the "Dirt" flavor to have the most profoundly accurate taste (aside from Pepper, but that's an easy one) -- it was like fresh potting soil. Bloody brilliant.

    Rotten egg was...rotten. I could only take a little nibble, and had to spit out the rest because my gag reflex kicked in. Ear wax and sardine were equally foul.

    Vomit was milder than I expected, but grass was right on target.

    All in all, I reveled in the delight of feeling ten years old again as we giggled at the genius of these disgusting little treats.

    Yes, I giggled. Somewhere, Satan is putting on a coat. Thank you, J.K. Rowling. :smile:

  13. I mentioned this on gwilson's magnum opus thread ( :biggrin: ), but I'll post it here as well.

    In the Hudson Valley (NY) we have an excellent publication, The Valley Table, which has done some wonderful, in-depth coverage of the artisanal producers and restaurants here. I believe they publish quarterly, and they've been around for about 7 years now.

  14. Don't you know that children belong at a card table in the kitchen?  And that particularly rowdy children may have to sit in the kitchen until they are 27? :hmmm:

    I HATED the kids' table. Thankfully my siblings are much older, so their children enabled me to jump the gap more quickly. :wink:

    See, the problem is that I can still SEE said table from my vantage point. Hence the wonderful cornucopia of delight. :smile:

  15. Oh my. Would you mind making an extra, and I'll send you the postage? Heh. :smile:

    It's giving me ideas, though...muahahahaha. If I build the centerpiece high enough I won't be able to see the rowdy children on the other side of the table. Earplugs, champagne and a little tryptophan will cure the rest.

    Yes. I shall build a GIGANTIC cornucopia, with papier mache instead of dough (oven's not big enough), and wipe them from my field of view. There is still time.

    Thank you, ladies. :cool:

  16. We make quite a bit of food, as there are 15+ in the immediate family, most of which are big...um...boys. :biggrin:

    Here's what's cookin':

    Hors d'Oeuvres:

    Clove Spiced Champagne

    Mini Popovers with Brie and Honeyed Pears


    Baked Clams

    Main Meal:

    2 Stuffed Turkeys with Harvest Spiced Butter

    Spice Glazed Carrots

    Sweet Potato and Gorgonzola Gratin

    Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

    Broccoli Casserole (the ultimate white-trash, fabulously tasty dish) :)

    Cranberry Sauce (trying desperately to convince them to let me MAKE it, but to no avail)

    Dinner Rolls (rye and white)


    Pumpkin Pie

    Apple Pie

    Ginger & Honey Creme Brulee

    Cardamom Rice Pudding

    Christmas Cookies (served with Christmas carols)

    Disclaimer: There are not that many sweet-toothed people, but I simply have to have a little variety. :smile:

  17. A woman after my own heart. :smile:

    I like to have fun with the table as well, since it is the first "Aha!" as everyone walks in to be seated. I typically carve out the tops of baby pumpkins or apples and put tea lights in them, and the table is generally bedecked with gourds, nuts, berries, etc.

    Sometimes I get a little...er...overzealous. One year we were unable to see each other due to the multi-tiered festival of haybales with delicately perched candles. I've learned to tone it down. :rolleyes:

    We move the food itself to a sideboard, so it doesn't conflict with the "turkey as focal point."

  18. When I read, “Celebrate the consumption of Foie Gras as much as humanly possible” I saw, “force feed as many birds as possible” and “kill as many birds as possible” for no other apparent reason really other than to “get at those who wish to have foie gras banned”.

    A stance I interpret as extreme and I simply offered an opposite extreme to demonstrate how those words may make someone feel who is against the production of foie gras and is overtly concerned with the welfare of the animals.

    Joke or not – your words were most likely as offensive to those on the opposite side of your opinion as my words may have been to you.

    Nathan, while I understand how you arrived at this interpretation of my words, and appreciate your taking the time to respond, what you saw and what I meant are two very different things, so I would like to offer a clarification.

    I did not talk about celebrating foie gras consumption to "get at" anyone, as such tactics are not my style. Rather, I am on this earth to celebrate the things I love, and I wear that on my sleeve as proudly as possible -- it is my only agenda. That is what I meant.

    Regarding the hunting story, yes, that was repulsive when I was 8; now I see it as a fact of life, and it is one I respect. When I speak of the food I eat, it is with reverence -- and I don't take it lightly.

    I also want to be clear that my words here are written with no anger -- I simply would have appreciated you asking for a clarification before assuming the "ridiculous." Thanks.

  19. That Asian pear butter sounds divine.

    I typically take a weekend and make hundreds of cookies, then put them into tins and deliver. The addition of a Kitchen Aid to the process has made a huge difference, as I typically end up with blisters. :smile:

    In the past, my repertoire has included Valrhona-drizzled macaroons, oatmeal raisin spice cookies, Valrhona chocolate-chunk, and old-fashioned peanut butter (is there anything more homey than those fork marks?).

    I might change it up this year, as I'm getting bored. Said departure is difficult, however, because I now get requests. Hmph. :smile:

    I'd like to experiment with dried cranberries and ginger. Does anyone have a recipe? I tried them in an oatmeal cookie, but the texture didn't excite me. (To be fair, here's the link to my oatmeal raisin spice cookie.) I'm still trying to figure out how to make them gooey-er. Input appreciated.

  20. Just a quick thought on popovers, which we discovered by accident when playing in the test kitchen. I've now used them countless times, and they are really easy to vary.

    In experimenting with popover dough, we tried used a mini muffin pan and creating little savory bites by putting cubes of cheese (small dice) and fresh herbs in the individual cups of batter just before they went into the oven. We literally found a slew of possibilities for these, from savory to sweet.

    I've used them as hors d'oeuvres, accompaniments to cheese courses, and, um, a couple of batches to do..."taste tests." :smile: My favorite combination is the Asiago and thyme pairing.

    If you want some ideas you can see them here (there is a link in the recipe to cheese/herb combinations).

    P.S. Jake, every woman should have a blow torch. :biggrin: I don't think I've ever set napkins on fire, but that image is hilarious!

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