Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by lunatuna

  1. Marcella Hazan has a lovely recipe for pear cake that calls for bread crumbs...it's very easy and very good (although completely out of season); I believe you can find the recipe online quite easily.
  2. You've probably already found a destination, but just thought I'd say that I had a meal recently at Rialto and very much enjoyed it. Most of my party chose the tasting menu, which was delicious, and some of us were pleased that they're willing to make the tasting menu vegetarian. The service was very gracious. The space, I'll admit, is not stunningly gorgeous, but neither is it ugly, and it's spacious and airy enough to be pleasant. If you're looking in the Harvard Square area, I'd also suggest Harvest. Really fresh, seasonal food, and again, great service. (They're also willing to do vegetarian dishes, although those aren't on the menu. I asked for a veg dinner once and received any number of amazing items, including morels and truffles, for far less than I would have paid for a plate of salmon.) And Upstairs on the Square ain't bad. If you're open to something more casual and up towards Porter Square, West Side Lounge is a nice pick (great cocktails, good food).
  3. Bean stews can be made very quickly. Lentils, for example, cook very quickly. You can easily make stand-out dishes by mixing in unexpected ingredients: apples in a lentil stew, bananas in a spicy Brazilian black bean stew. What I really recommend is a chickpea stew made with, um, chickpeas, vegetable broth, onions, garlic, mushrooms, smoked paprika, and whatever else you feel like. The smoked paprika makes it feel a little meaty so the non-vegetarians won't be dismayed. Either keep it thick enough to serve over couscous or accompany it with a nice crusty bread.
  4. I wasn't _joking_ about the to-go cup scenario: it was a hypothetical. It's not something I personally would ever do. I have seen people do exactly what I described, and was curious about what the consensus would be; I don't have a history of carrying in coffee myself. The seasoning issue was mentioned in earnest. I hope and assume that _you're_ joking about cleaver-wielding chefs! And no, I don't ask for ketchup with my well-done steak, because I don't eat steak. Being a vegetarian seems to make a person an eGullet pariah, which is another conundrum entirely. But I'd guess I'm not the only one in the room who thinks that overcooked linguine with unseasoned tomato sauce can be made semi-edible with a generous dose of spice. This is not just a symptom of vegetarianism, though: I happen to find food unpalatable if it is utterly unspiced. That is not necessarily the fault of the restaurant, just a matter of my personal tastes. And I know certain people would say, "well, go to a restaurant you do enjoy"--but I hope those people could also understand my not wanting to alienate friends and family by refusing to break bread with them. This often means that I wind up at restaurants I don't love. If there's one item on the menu that I can eat, sure, I will order it and happily pay for it. But if I find it totally disgusting, I see nothing wrong with "correcting" its flavor. Anyway, sorry about the tangent! I would maintain that in certain respects this is a murky issue; if it weren't, why would we be having this discussion?
  5. On a related note, what do people think about bringing one's own seasonings into dining establishments? I typically carry a small container of crushed red pepper in my purse, because I enjoy certain (okay, lots of) dishes with it, and have often not been able to get any from the waitstaff. (Plus, given that the black pepper available on the table tends to be no more than charcoal-colored sawdust, I often find food impossibly bland.) Since I'm not asking for any extra service, and am not bringing in, say, McDonald's fries, am I still being rude? Sure, certain chefs might be offended that I find their food bland--but is that the only etiquette problem involved? Another scenario: what if I order a cup of coffee from one place, don't have time to drink it all, carry the to-go cup into a restaurant, continue to drink it, and thus do not order the restaurant's coffee? Either I am very uncouth indeed or else the question of what's acceptable in this area is really quite murky. (Maybe both!) I say, if you are brought hot water for free to go with your own tea bag, just tip a little more.
  6. I've done this--twice. Clearly, my brain is defective. There is something really hilariously ironic about cleaning up soap, though. If I were a 20-year-old frat boy, I'd just call it a foam party and go with it.
  7. You are to be commended on your dedication to your passion. I wish you all the best of luck as you get back up to speed. You sound like someone who can win the battle over illness. However, I do have to agree that being HIV positive and having less-than-perfect knife skills (at the moment) is somewhat worrisome. I have a relative who's a surgeon, who is completely healthy, and even though he is at the top of his profession he admits that about once a year he accidentally punctures a finger with a needle while performing surgery. If he had a disease that could be transmitted by blood, he could easily be sued for malpractice. I'm not a scientific expert, so I'm not sure whether your condition could potentially pose any threat to anyone else at your restaurant. Just be careful. I really don't want to be a naysayer here--your words really inspired and moved me. But do be sure there's no possibility you could be putting others at any sort of risk.
  8. ...sriracha, cucumber, tomato, and lettuce on toasted whole-grain bread. ...thinly sliced apple and banana, also on toasted whole-grain. ...hard sourdough pretzels.
  9. I've never had a bottle of balsamic do this, or any vinegar do that come to think of it. So you know how it goes: when in doubt, throw it out. ← I looked through my collection of balsamic vinegars, some quite ancient, and found none with anything such as you describe. Many have sediment at the bottom, but no more than expected. It is unlikely it would be a vinegar "mother" because the producers in Modena are scrupulous about removing it before the vinegar is transferred to the aging barrels. In fact, they jealously guard this important factor in the production. If the product you have is one of the greater aged true balsamics that initially had a syrupy consistency, it has a very high sugar content and it is quite possible that some of the sugar has crystalized. If you can fish one of the "bubbles" out and it feels gritty or is solid and hard, you have sugar crystals. Crystals that form in the company of acids take a different shape from those of plain sugar water. I had something similar in an unopened jar of spinach salad dressing with bacon. Each bacon bit at the top of the jar was surrounded by a "pearl" of sugar. When heated the sugar dissolved back into the liquid and the dressing was fine. You might try placing the bottle (with the stopper removed) in warm water - not over direct heat - it is best to place the bottle in a container that won't allow it to tip over and add warm-to-hot water to about 2/3 up on the bottle. Periodically pour off some of the cooling water and add more hot water. If you have a small crock pot you can use that set on low - (this is what I use for jellies, jams, honey, which have developed crystals). If the lumps dissolve it is a pretty convincing tip-off that it is sugar. If unaffected by heat, toss it. ← Thanks for the advice! This balsamic was not a particularly aged one, so it seems unlikely that it was super-sugary. Also, I actually already tried putting the bottle in a bowl of hot water, and saw no results. I guess I'm tossing it. Perplexing, though.
  10. Speaking of condiments, and things that happen when one has too many of them, I have a question one of you might be able to answer. I have a bottle of balsamic vinegar that's been in my pantry for about 10 months. It's been fully sealed and kept in a cool dark place--yet the vinegar has almost completely solidified, and the now-solid mass has pinky fingernail-sized (now-solid) bubbles on the surface. What on earth? I could understand this if it had been partially open, but actually it's been closed so tightly that I have trouble opening it. Is there any way of reviving it, or should I throw it away?
  11. Re. silly spring-like whisks: utterly unnecessary for whisking, but excellent for the spontaneous fun of WhiskDrop Tournaments! A group of people gathers in a circle, one person drops the whisk onto the counter so that it bounces up, and the next person tries to catch it before it hits the counter a second time. And so on. First person to have allowed the whisk to hit the counter (beyond the one bounce necessary between persons) gets a letter, like in "horse"; first person to have enough letters to spell "whisk" is out. If you want to up the ante, you can play Non-Dominant Hand WhiskDrop. Perhaps other useless kitchen items could be similarly repurposed for frivolity.
  12. A few days ago, I found myself with some leftover rhubarb stalks and berries. Was in the mood for some kind of curd, and there were some decent-looking lemons in the fridge, so: I made the recipe for lemon curd in the newish Joy of Cooking, adding two (chopped) stalks of rhubarb along with scant handfuls of both raspberries and blackberries. (I added the extra fruit at the same time as the lemon juice.) Once it seemed to have curd-i-fied, I took it off the heat and whirred out the chunks with my immersion blender. Some tiny bits of fruit remained, but didn't bother me; if you're a nut for smooth consistency, you might want to push the curd through a strainer. Really delicious stuff--I've been eating it by the spoonful and on toast, but I could also see using it as a tart filling.
  13. Disturbingly, my capacity for logic was not that far gone: marmite + peanut butter is good, peanut butter + sriracha + tomato is good, tomato + pickled mango is good . . . however, all of these things together, well, not so good.
  14. Once I made the grave mistake of creating a marmite, peanut butter, tomato, sriracha, rocket, and amba (pickled mango) sandwich. Illness ensued.
  15. Just thought I'd note that it doesn't seem to be necessary to work with the dough even as much as Bittman suggests. I've been making this bread very successfully without really turning it or folding it or whatnot--I just mix it up, let it sit until the surface looks bubbly, twist it around in the same bowl with a wooden spoon, let it sit a few more hours, and then throw it into the heated dutch oven. Only one bowl from beginning to end, and no handling to speak of--no floured towels, no nothing.
  • Create New...