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Everything posted by MissAmy

  1. I always assume that the chef WON'T be in the kitchen, or if s/he is, won't be cooking. If they are a decent chef and have hired good people, they don't need to be.
  2. Great article. Brought back lots of memories. My mother used to do Sunday lunch. The whole entire family would come over to our house, we'd have pot roast with potatos and carrots or fried chicken. Sometimes, we'd have ham and corn casserole. Always some sort of pie or pound cake for dessert. Those dinner rolls that you buy in the package and bake off. A pitcher of sweet tea was onmipresent. Back then, you couldn't buy alcohol on Sundays in our town, so the night before my uncle would stock up on cheap wine in the box that no one would even dream of drinking now, and after lunch was cleared, t
  3. Back when I still used jarred sauce (ah, college!) I really like the brand Mom's. I'm not sure if it's avaliable in all areas, though. It's pretty natural, no chemical additives, and some of the flavors are sugar-free as well. You can see nice chunks of tomato and garlic through the jar, and I always liked the fact that it had a more homemade look. I haven't used it in about four years though, so if it's somehow become terrible, don't blame me!
  4. My mother is the queen of all Grits. She went to finishing school for Lord's sake. I certainly have Grits-like aspects to my character. However, I would never, ever be a true Grits girl, as I am way to loud and opinionated and politically minded for such. On the other hand: I have always secretly harbored a desire to be a cheerleader, can not leave the house without putting on makeup or being reasonably put-together, still have all prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses from years past, actually possess a 'hope chest', can not even begin to think of eating any sort of green without some sort of
  5. Honestly, if I were paying for a meal for someone, whether it were business related or not, I'd rather them send it back if something were wrong with it than suffer in silence. I want my guests to have a good time, and if they don't like what is served to them, I want them to find something that is suitable.
  6. YOU'RE the one with those chocolates?!?! Oh don't EVEN get me started on those chocolates! They're like crack. They are the most wonderful things in the freaking UNIVERSE. Seriously, ya'll. Go get some of those chocolates. The first time I tried them, I bought one. Then I went around the farmers market, came back to the booth, and bought another. And another. I left with a small bag of them, and they were gone within the day. Heavenly. I haven't had any in a while, but every now and then - like now - I get a huge craving for them. ETA: If any of you going to Austin do go down to the Farmer's
  7. So, I just had lunch at Mandola's. It was excellent, and the prices and portion sizes are very reasonable. I had the Linguini Putanesca. For $8, it's a value that can't be beat. I am always worried about pasta being over-cooked in restaurants, but it was a really nice and tender al dente. The sauce had a great flavor, you could taste every component, but it wasn't over powering. It could have used maybe a touch more anchovy (but I REALLY like anchovy) and a little more salt. It had a nice, underlying heat to it that really brought out all the other flavors in the dish. The portion size was mo
  8. How do you plan to orchestrate an eight course dinner with no counter space? Are you going to serve all dishes at once, Chinese style, or are you going to try to plate things? I'm really looking forward to hearing about how this goes. Please keep us posted!
  9. MissAmy

    Au Gratin Challenged

    Try cooking covered for most of the cooking time, then taking the cover off and sticking it under the broiler to brown it up. And, are you sure you're using enough liquid? Basically, I learned the hard way that unless it seems like there's too much liquid, there probably isn't enough.
  10. I caught the tail end of this after "24" was over... no way I'd betray Jack Bauer for this dreck! What I don't understand is how/why cooking and food have become pop entertainment. And America votes? Based on what? The taste of the food coming through the TV screen?
  11. That's even more awesome! Thanks for the correction, NewYorkTexan.
  12. MissAmy

    Per Se

    Exactly. For example, I wonder when the last time was that Tony Bourdain was behind the stove at Les Halles? One guy I worked for hadn't actually cooked in his kitchen once in FIVE YEARS. Yet, there is a cookbook, there are reviews in travel and leisure magazines and they all say, "This Guy heads up the kitchen at XXX. This Guy's dishes are exceptional and the execution of This Guy's cuisine is blah blah blah." He created the recipes, we worked out the kinks in them and made them. It like, when you reach the pinacle of your career, you no longer do what it was you set out doing. It is one of t
  13. MissAmy

    Per Se

    Of course they have typically signed off on the dishes, and of course tasted them, but the hourly-paid cooks cook them. And sometimes cooks have off days. Not that that is an excuse, particularlly at an establishment like Per Se, but it does happen. It could have been that they were trying out a new casing, or the other casings didn't come in from the supplier, or the supplier got the casing order wrong. Whatever the reason for the tough casings, I'm willing to bet it was an anomaly, and not what Keller himself would have used. Of course, I could be wrong. I think there are very few EC's who
  14. MissAmy

    Per Se

    Now, I am coming into this WAY late. However, I'm a little suprised there are people who assume the executive chef is cooking all the food all the time, and take issue with the EC's name being used in reviews whether or not he cooked the food. I don't know a single exec. chef who actually spends the majority of their time at work cooking. I'm sure there are some, of course, I've just never met one. It's not that they don't want to, it's that they have no TIME to. They are always in the office, doing office-y things, making the operation run smoothly. I even met one chef recently who said to me
  15. I was going to say you have to go to El Chile and Casino el Camino as well, but Kent totally beat me to it! Those two are FAR superior to the hyped-up places. The mojitos at El Chile are superb. Vivo's (right across the street from Hoover's) is some of the best Tex-Mex in town. Fresh ingredients, homemade sauces, and a really nice atmosphere. I love it, and most people I've taken there do as well. Others here might disagree with me, but I actually like Trudy's for Tex-Mex as well. It's one of the popular Austin spots, but their chile rellenos somothered in green chile sauce are devine. They al
  16. I just read that Capitol Brasserie (in the old Mezzaluna location) is open until 1am on Friday and Saturday nights. So, I guess if you're toasted and feeling the need for a $50 dinner, you can get it. Sounds like something I might do when my tax refund check gets in.
  17. Guess what? When a pan comes out of a 400 degree oven, that handle is HOT! And I now have the scar across my palm to prove it. ETA: That melted Gourmet mag is the coolest thing I have ever seen.
  18. Ok, that Orc Killer is one hell of a knife. I wonder what a chef would say if you brought that into the kitchen?? Myself, I use an eight and a half inch Shun chef's knife for most of my work, a Henkel paring knife, and the boning knives I got in my knife kit at culinary school. I don't have a lot of really expensive and cool stuff, but what I do have I take good care of and they all serve me well.
  19. These are the sorts of things that make me truly admire pastry chefs. WOW. Can I quote your counter teen and say it again? WOW. Those are some mighty impressive cakes.
  20. I attended my very first Passover last night. I was instructed to bring dessert, so I brought these Lemon Cakes with Lemon Basil Syrup and a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis. It was a hit! I was so happy that everyone liked them! I have a question for everyone. I'm invited to another Passover tonight (when it rains it pours!) and am bringing another flourless chocolate cake for the much smaller group. I'm thinking that a lime sorbet would go really nicely, but I don't know if sorbets are Kosher. Would it be ok?
  21. I really have a problem with this kind of behavior, which is probably one of the reasons I don't live in a place like Las Vegas or New York. I'm all about egalitarianism, and it just sort of blows that theory out of the water, so I don't do it and don't really think it's cool when people I am with do. Once, when I was working as a hostess (worst job EVAH!) a guy tried to bribe me. We were in a huge, massive, wait, around the two hour mark, and he wanted a table right then. He tried to slip me a $20, and while I was sorely tempted to take it and seat him in the next avaliable table, I didn't.
  22. The other day, I found this recipe for Asian eggplant caviar in some vegan cookbook. I should have known when it came out of a vegan cookbook, right? But anyway, it sounded good, so I made it to take to a party. Oh god I wish I had a picture. The only descriptive I, or anyone else for that matter could come up with was, "Baby poo." It looked JUST LIKE BABY POO. It tasted ok, but.. ugh.. the look of it. I finally had to cover the damn thing in brunoised carrots and red peppers just to make it remotely presentable.
  23. MissAmy

    Apple Cake

    I have to add my grandmother's apple cake recipe. It's been in our family for years and I've honestly never had a better one. It is a very simple recipe, and produces a VERY moist and dense cake. 1 1/2 C. Canola Oil 2 C. Sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 3 C. sifted flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp cinamon 1 tsp baking soda 1 C. chopped pecans 3 C. finely chopped apples Cream oil, sugar, eggs, and vanila. Add flour, salt, cinamon and soda. Fold in apples and pecans. Bake in greased and floured bundt pan for 1.5 hours at 350.
  24. Ha! So true! This is the same reason I often beg off lunches with coworkers. As soon as I hear the dreaded, "oooh! What about The Olive Garden!" I'm out.
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