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Sara Moulton

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  1. Chowdah/Chowder--Cook-Off 20

    I am a new englander to the core. Even though I grew up in new york, my folks and their families going way back were from new england/rhode island. So I ate lots of chowder growing up. My grandmother, ruth, made it with haddock on the bone so that the water in the recipe would become a fish stock while the fish was poaching. Anyway, 2 thoughts here: 1. I love Jasper Whites little book which is called (I think) quite simply "Chowder" and 2. I have a recipe in my first book for smoky salmon chowder with lemon pepper crackers. It has both fresh and smoked salmon in it and is very tasty in my opinion. You soften some chopped onion in butter, add a little bit of flour and cook it a bit. Then whisk in some milk, peeled and cubed boiling potatoes, and finally, when the potatoes are almost tender, a pound of salmon fillet in one piece. After about 5 minutes poaching it is done. You remove and flake it and then return it to the pan with some chopped smoked salmon, dill and lemon juice. The soup might look a little curdled. If you substitute cream for milk, it won't but I think the cream is too heavy.
  2. I want to thank you all for a great week. I thought this was going to be interesting but I had no idea just how interesting. You are a very passionate, well educated group. As I mentioned in one of my posts I am not used to discussion boards being this nice. I know that Chris, Fifi and Snowangel worked very hard to make it nice for me but somehow I think you all are very respectful to begin with. I want to especially thank Richard Kilgore who I believe got me into this mess to begin with and Chris Amirault as well as Fifi and Snowangel who spent so much time on making this a quality week. I will have to visit often now that I see how interesting your threads are. I could learn alot. Thank you!
  3. That time was a blur. I managed because I had a supportive husband and so much help - a good sous chef, great babysitter, and wonderful housekeeper. Also knowing that I was only going to do 2 shows for 8 to 10 months made it easier. What was a little disappointing though was that I sort of fell out of love with chefs as a genre. (I used to love all chefs and all firemen, now that statement is limited to firemen). Many people were "discovered" on my shows and unfortunately that's the only value they saw about being on. When I was media trained it was drummed into me that if you were the guest on someone's show, "Be nice to the host!!!" People are watching the show because they like the host so you are not going to win if you are rude to him/her. Many guest chefs came on my show and treated me like a cross between a happy little housewife and Vanna White. My friend Rick Moonen once asked me how come we gave him my bio every time he came on (which was probably more than anyone else) and I explained it was because I wanted to make sure my guests knew that I was a serious professional with a track record in the industry. Sadly it didn't help. Don't get me wrong I met some wonderful people on both shows. And disasters like burning or dropping a dish were pretty regular occurrences. It was the original reality tv.
  4. It is hard to break in but what you should remember is the most important thing is attitude. At the end of the day nobody cares how much you know, they care that you are passionate about food, want to learn, will do any job, don't care what hours you work. Every time I have hired someone new that is why I hired them.
  5. Jason, It is more authors I love than cookbooks. Here are some of my favorites: Madhur Jaffrey Julie Sahni Jeanne Lemlin Jean Anderson Deborah Madison Jacques Pepin Marcella Hazan Eileen Yin Fei Lo Nina Simonds Rick Bayless The Time Life Series - Foods of the World I also love the community and local cookbooks, they have so much flavor. The New York Times Cookbook and Mastering the Art of French Cooking were the ones I grew up with. Hmmm, I have so many cookbooks I look at just for fun (I am guessing 500) Even if I don't cook from them they make me happy
  6. Tammy, I don't have the answer to this one. When we were developing recipes for my cookbook I started by writing what I thought it would be in the computer. We would print it out, make the recipe, make all sorts of notes on the hard copy and then input the changes in the computer and start all over with the revised copy. We kept all hard copy incarnations stapled together in the order in which we made them. Although a very good system for keeping track of the evolution of a recipe, this system generated alot of paper. Not ideal. Maybe you could set up a file cabinet dedicated to just recipes or a drawer and then set up the system by categories - poultry, starches, etc. ?
  7. I think both things oddly enough are true (except for shiitakes which are the driest mushrooms I have cooked with) mushrooms are almost 100% water and yet they can absorb more and get sort of slimy. I haven't done a proper experiment but I have soaked them and noticed how much heavier they were afterwards as well as slimy. When I did my apprenticeship in France here is how they washed mushrooms: they filled up a bowl with cold water and then took maybe 10 mushrooms (we are talking plain old cultivated here), throw them in the bowl and swish them around vigorously for about 10 seconds. Then they transfered them to a towel and let them dry. That is my new preferred method of washing mushrooms. I can not be bothered with all that dainty wiping with a paper towel.
  8. Tonight is date night, we are going out for dinner Last night we had rotisserie chicken (!!!) and orzo cooked with chicken stock and finished with butter and parmesan as well as haricots verts, boiled for 3 minutes and tossed with olive oil and salt Monday I brought home scallops and shrimp from work and made scallops provencal for the husband and shrimp scampi for the son. Tuesday we tried to finish off some of this huge asian slow cooked pork shoulder roast I had made last week. The recipe came from, "In Mother's Kitchen," a cookbook which I contributed to. It was supposed to be 4 pounds but they sent me an 8 pounder instead so I marinated it overnight and through the next day and then threw half of it into the slow cooker and half of it into the slow oven at 6pm It was supposed to cook for 6 to 8 hours. Since I go to bed at 10, it got a little complicated. I had to set the alarm to turn it off, and then set the alarm to let it cool for an hour before I put it away. It was pretty good, although the husband said it was a tad sweet. I have been cooking alot from Daisy Martinez's book. You have to stock pile all these ingredients and preparations (like sofrito and annato oil and olive caper mix) but the recipes are so full of flavor.
  9. Sandy, I think you have nailed it. The most important thing to do with produce, especially greens is to keep them very dry. A salad spinner is the most effective tool for doing that as long as you use it properly. My husband has a tendency to jam it full with wet greens and then the water doesn't get thrown off effectively. And he doesn't dump out the water between rounds and so it gets on the greens at the bottom. A salad spinner is sort of like one of those centrifugal force rides at the amusement park, it is the best tool for the job. But any food lasts longer if you eliminate most of the moisture - think of dried mushrooms or glace de viande.
  10. I worked in kitchens with all men, all women and a mix. All men is difficult because they torture you all the time and act surperior. All women is a disaster because they get on the same cycle and have a collective melt down once a month. The mix is the best. As for how they perform in the kitchen (and now I am going to get myself in deep doo doo) I find that women are much better at multi tasking and much more even keel. The guys in cooking school always told me women weren't suited for work in restaurant kitchens because they couldn't stand the pressure or the heat, and couldn't lift the pots. I ask you, can you imagine a man going through labor? Or taking care of the kids, ordering the groceries, cleaning the house, managing the household affairs and holding down a full time job at the same time? Don't get me wrong, there are many men out there who do all of the above but they are the exception not the rule. Women are genetically wired for staying calm under pressure. And who needs braun to strain a heavy pot full of stock when you have a brain to set up a pivot with a partner. I experienced this clearly at restaurant Cybele's in Boston where I was the chef in the late 70's early 80's. On a busy night a waiter might come back with a rack of lamb that a customer wanted cooked just a little more. The male line cook would scream at the waiter and call him all sorts of names, throw the rack of lamb back on the broiler it, incinerate it, let is sit for awhile to get cold and then return it to the waiter with more expletives. The female line cook would simply take the lamb, cook it a little more and return it to the waiter calmly without missing a beat.
  11. I have never worked for either of them but I have had both of them on my show and I am a huge fan. Neither one has gotten a swelled head and decided that they are a terribly important celebrity chef. Dan is too much of a hippy for that and Alfred is just, well, too principled.
  12. Steven, It is funny you should use that word, "addiction," because when I emailed Chris Amirault this morning to figure out when I will stop, I used that word about egullet too. I have really enjoyed this experience because you all are so passionate, so knowledgeable and so nice (not true of other discussion boards I have seen). The only trouble is that it takes time to participate. As I told Chris this morning, my house is in shambles and my desk is piled high with letters and bills and all sorts of things I am supposed to be taking care of. Of course it doesn't help that I have had one of the busiest weeks at Gourmet ever. Anyway, I think egullet a great way to communicate and learn. It reminds me of my live show, which someone once described as a town meeting. Every night we would have a topic and people called in with their thoughts. I learned a ton from the viewers.
  13. Do any of you New Yorkers remember "the Underground Goumet," by Milton Glazer? It was my dining out bible when I was in high school. All the restaurants listed were cheap - I forget how much you were supposed to spend, maybe $10 for a whole meal or something like that. It was a great book. I wish someone would come out with an updated version. I have suggested it to Ed Levine but he already has too many projects.
  14. Well, for excellent Korean, you don't actually have to leave Manhattan, though there's great stuff in Flushing, and Northern New Jersey folks like Jason will tell you that restaurants across the Hudson blow away anything on these offshore islands. But you can start here: THE BEST: Manhattan Korean If you want to go to Little Korea right away, Han Bat may be a good place for you to start. As I wrote in the first post of the Han Bat thread: They have really good bibimbap, and your waiter/waitress will probably show you how to mix it if you've never had it before. I'll also mention that I had an excellent meal at Seoul Garden less than two months ago and look forward to exploring more of their extensive menu in repeated return visits. Some of the other cuisines you're looking for are harder to find in New York, though we do have a "THE BEST: Vietnamese" thread (and also, by way of contrast, an "Is New York Vietnamese any good?" thread), but one of the best cheap meals I've ever had in New York was a banh mi from Banh Mi Saigon Bakery on Mott St. between Grand and Hester. ← Thanks, That is really helpful. I am going to check those out and get back to you. If anyone else has suggestions please let me know.
  15. So, do you really measure all the spices and seasonings in a recipe--even the first time? I'm a complete novice/home cook who has never had a lesson in her life, but I never measure unless I'm baking. I usually eye-ball it. Does that make me a bad person? And thanks for being here--this is just a wonderful learning experience. ← eyeballing spices is just fine, doubling the cream or stock in a recipe is not (= one of the ways I messed up Marcella's recipes) Any cooking makes you a good person.
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