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Sara Moulton

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  1. 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.
  16. Luchows would be at the top of the list. We lived near by and used to go there every Christmas season with my grandparents. They had a huge tree in the middle of the restaurant and a huge toy train circling it and many of the tables as well. I have fond memories of wiener schnitzel and better yet, wiener schnitzel a la holstein. Then alas, the Russian Tea Room. Why did that have to go bye bye? Fonda del Sol (spelling?) Cheese of All Nations more recently Judson Grill (although we just ate at Bill Telepan's new restaurant, Telepan and it was excellent) the tea room at the Plaze Hotel. Which are the ones you miss?
  17. I have the same policy -- the first time I make a recipe I follow it exactly and after that I might change it, customize it. I think you owe it to the author to follow the recipe exactly the first time becauce they might know something you don't. For example, every time I see a Marcella Hazan recipe my instinct is to add more of everything and when I do that I mess it up. Her food is simple, absolutely delicious as is. Why mess with it? The reason I have suggested making typical stovetop recipes in the oven is because the oven has a more even temperature than a stove top. The heat surrounds the pan, it does not just come from the burner underneath. So it is a gentler more failsafe way of cooking.
  18. Well I have been saying for years that if you want to remove the salt from an over salty dish you need to add starch, potatoes, etc. In the book, "What Einstein Should Have Told His Chef," I read that I might be wrong. So I checked it out, did a huge experiment in my kitchen complete with controls and found out that indeed I was wrong. The only thing that will help a salty stew/sauce etc is to add water - water it down. Another myth that Russ Parons from the LA times debunked was the one about adding salt to dried beans. Everyone said if you add it at the beginning it will make the beans tough. Well there is nothing like a good old experiment and Russ checked that one out along with acid and beans and found out that a. salt is not a problem (and actually is an asset considering that beans are bland like rice or pasta) and b. yes acid IS a problem and must be added at the end. I am sure there are many others out there we could debunk if we just took the time and checked it out ourselves.
  19. I have some wooden spoons from my grandmother Ruth and a paper towel/ plastic wrap/aluminum foil wall hanging dispenser that I can't use because today's paper towels etc on steroids would not fit in there. I also inherited a flat (no sides) cast iron skillet that my grandmother used to make salt seared hamburgers and steaks in (no fat needed). Julia gave me some of the all clad pans we used on "Julia Child and More Company" when we were all taping. She also brought me back a tiny black steel pan when she returned from Europe one time. Meanwhile, I want to see your mushroom!! Sounds very useful and every year on GMA we cover new gadgets (actually I would love everyone's input on cool new cheap gadgets that don't take up too much real estate in the kitchen) Are you sure it has been discontinued?
  20. I have not tried or not tried enough of: Korean Cambodian Vietnamese regional African regional Indian regional Mexican regional Latin American and I am sure there are so many other cuisines out there that I have never tasted I know there are many of these ethnic restaurants in the 5 boroughs of Manhattan, I just have to find them. Us Manhattanites tend to think that going to another borough is like going to Anartica.
  21. Wow, that is a big question. I thought you were heading towards the Spanish foams, Ferran Adria, Grant Achatz etc. I am not a huge fan of all this techno stuff - food is food, no? But out of every new technology and trend some good new things have come. It shakes people up and makes them think. I will always be a proponent of good old fashioned cooking (I don't even own a microwave) but I am glad somebody is out there pushing the envelope.
  22. You know, 3 plus years after I stopped taping the live show I am still recovering from not being home enough (although even then we had family dinner together 5 nights a week but it didn't start until I got home at 8:15) so now I am focusing on just cooking dinner for the family and not entertaining much. When I did entertain and I still do for larger groups of family members my plan is to make something ahead, even weeks ahead, and freeze it. There are some things that are even better made ahead, their flavor improves, like most braised dishes. I also make lasagnes. Then I just round out the menu with a few extra dishes (always a salad, I am a saladaholic) and perhaps a make ahead home made dessert. When I have a large crowd, 8 or over, which is usually the case at our farmhouse or at Adler (the husband) family reunions I put it out buffet style so people can take exactly what they want. I always set the table with a tablecloth, cloth napkins, candles and flowers.
  23. oh boy, that is a hard one. If someone else is paying, I LOVE le Bernadin Beppe Rosa Mexicano I trulli Ouest all of Mario's restaurants Thalassa La Taza de Oro Nobu (again if someone else is paying) Tabla Gotham Bar and Grill Balthazar eleven madison park union square cafe I am sure I am forgetting so many. This city is such an exciting place to be in.
  24. You are right, that was another great cookbook. I refer to it all the time. Meanwhile, Jean could definitely weigh in on the gumbo question. Should I alert her to the question?
  25. Jean Anderson would be right up there. I met her in the late 70's when she moved into my parent's building. She and my mom struck up a friendship while running the elevator during an elevator strike! I liked her instantly too. She was so no nonsense and so knowledgable. She had graduated top of her class at Cornell with a food and nutrition major. For part of her final exam she had to go into a room with a whole bunch of meat cuts just sitting on a counter and not only identify all of them correctly but also explain how to cook them!!! I am not sure I could do that now. Anyway, we became friends and she started asking me to accompany her on trips as her photo and tasting assistant. Back in those days (early 80's, pre kids for me) Jean not only wrote the article and found and tested the recipes, she also did all the photography. So I got to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Holland and Portugal with Jean. Traveling with her was a total education. For example when we were driving by a herd of cows in Holland, Jean told me what kind of cows they were and what percentage of butterfat their milk had. When I had my live show on the food network, Jean was at the other end of the red phone - she knew all the answers. Actually I did not usually manage to talk to her while the show was happening but the next morning like clockwork she would give me a holler and tell me the right answer. I filled in the viewers that next night. Jean has taught me about cookbook writing and recipe testing, advised me about all my important career decisions and introduced me to many other wonderful food professionals. She has written over 20 books, 5 of which have won major awards. Her "Doubleday Cookbook" is the book I give to newlyweds and her "Food Of Portugal" is the book I give to foodies. She has recently put up a website, jeanandersoncooks and you can go there to ask her all those burning questions that I used to be faced with on my live show, "why is my pound cake sagging, why did my sauce split, etc" Believe me she will have a solution.
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