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Everything posted by alamut

  1. As a new(ish) parent I think that this thread is very interesting. But I have to say that the children of EG forum members is probably a statistically skewed sample of what American children will eat. My kids also chow down on (raw) veggies and (cooked) fish. Although my 2 year old calls any kind of meat (including fish) a cheeseburgersandwich. I'm pretty sure he's never actually had a real cheese burger. I'm considering getting him some natto, Japanese kids like that, right?
  2. So... the day before yesterday I whipped up a pretty pleasant beurre blanc sauce. (It's amazing how much time you have on your hands when you ought to be studying for the bar exam ). There still more than 1/2 of it left over and I'm soliciting seafood suggestions to match it with. A couple of caveats: (1) I live in the Pacific NW, and while I often buy my shrimp from Florida, I prefer to get most of my fish/shellfish from closer to home. (2) My wife and I are trying to have a baby so all of the mercury-laden fish (tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, etc..) are off the menu. (3) I made the sauce with a Vino Verde (about the opposite of California Chard), so it's a bit more piquant than your average beurre blanc. With that said, please send us any of your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks for your time everybody. Alamut
  3. alamut

    Hot weather cooking

    There's a lot of great ideas on this thread that I want to second. Ceviche, sushi, cold soups, salads, fruits (watermelon, feta, & mint!), just think of all the stuff you won't get a chance to eat in January. One thing that I wanted to weigh in was a great grilled pizza I got stole from a bobby flay cookbook that is a popular back yard treat. (1) sautee a big bunch of sliced onions with a sh*tload of butter until they are all nicely carmerlaized. (2) repeat the sautee with mushrooms -- this stovetop can be done in the early AM, and kept in the fridge for several days. (3) take store-bought flatbread, glaze it with evoo, top it with the sauteed mushrooms & onions and a generous crumble of blue cheese, grill it on a sheet of tin foil. Always fun.
  4. alamut

    Hanger Steak

    I've been talking with an organic beef man at our local farmers market in upstate NY about hanger steak. It's my all-time favorite cut of cow (I hear it's less en vogue than in the past few years, but food isn't fashion), but difficult to find. After a emailing back and forth, the farmer has told me his butcher has agreed to cut me one if I was willing to but a whole hanger (twist my arm). Here's the sticky wicket, although I love the hanger, I've only actually prepared it once before (and I felt it could have treated it better); I've mostly only had it in restaurants. So if anyone out there has any suggestions on preparation notions for a hanger I would be grateful for them. Also, I would love to get some wine accompanying suggestions (<$20/750ml) for the dinner. I had been thinking of Guigal’s Cotes du Rhone, but that’s more of default wine choice than one really thought through.
  5. Yes: Fiddleheads, ramps, and morels for that matter should be available in your New England. Fiddleheads can be found into Maine, and Canada. However, this wild vegetable trifecta of eastern North America are most common farther south in the Applacatian hills of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, & West Virgina. I'm pretty sure that fiddleheads are a pretty different creature than Korean fernbracken. I say this cautiously, because of my lack of familiarity with Seoul food. (who could get tired of that pun?). I think that fernbracken refers to the roots & stems of a very different plant generally purchased dried. Fiddleheads are the Baby shoots of the ostrich fern, and they look like a fern.
  6. Now is that rarest of seasons for those of us in the eastern united states when Fiddlehead, Ramps, and Morels are all in season. This evening I was shocked... schocked... to find that my humble supermarket had beautiful fresh fiddleheads in the produce section. I love these little wild baby ferns, but I have had only limmited success in preparing them. As that they are only around for 3 weeks of the year (at most) I'd like to get it right the one or two opportunites I will have to cook them before next year. So... is there anybody out there with suggestions on their preperation? Any fiddlehead (or ramps for that matter) related suggestions you can through my way would be most appreciated.
  7. It's tough to remember where in philly the bar was, we hit 3 that night and I was having club soda or rootbeer. Gawd am I ready foe lent to be done. My best geuss is that it was in "old city" someplace between sugarmom's & eulogy. I know that leaves a lot of ground to cover.
  8. Well, the seasons are (at freaking last) changing here in upstate NY, add to this that I chose (just like the past six years) to give up booze for lent, and I am certainly feeling the need for a good springtime drink (or two) coming up on Easter. Bar I stopped off in Philly (don't remember the name) was mixing drinks with cucumber infused water. This seemed like a great idea for the warmer months. I haven't yet tried to do this, but I did notice that it plays heavily into F&W's 2006 cocktail guide (FYI apparently Sujo is also "out" of fashion now, although probably not in Andong). Have any of you tried using cucumber water? Here's what I want to know: (1) Is it tasty? (2) After making the cuke water, how long can a jar/bottle of it sit in the fridge? (3) Can anybody recommend any published cocktails with it? (4) Anybody have any good cuke water drinks of their own genesis? (5) Any other good springtime cocktails that somebody who has gone 40 days without a drink would enjoy?
  9. About a month ago npr had this great report on a new study (can't remember who published it, sorry) on the distinctions between men's and women's food cravings. Much of it sounds like stuff we already knew, but what interested me so much was how we all use food to alter our moods. Women are much more likely to use food to comfort them why they feel badly. "Comfort foods," is by far a feminine idea, and for women these foods tend to be high sugar, high fat, low fiber, low protein: chocolates. Us boys, on the other hand, crave certain food not to rehabilitate our mood, but to celebrate when we are already feeling on top of the world. Guy's king of the mountain foods are not surprisingly, high protein, high fat, high carbohydrate, low sugar, low fiber: Steaks & pasta. Although apparently neither of us are getting enough fiber (shocker), the way we eat is very telling. It's not that men don't have "comfort foods" or women don’t celebrate using food, these are of course just average trends. Anyway I tend to celebrate with grilled hanger steak, pasta with bits of home cured bacon, the occasional White Castle, and bourbon.
  10. I actually just came home with a bottle of Dr. Frank's dry Riesling this afternoon. We live just a bit south of the finger lakes and have enjoyed a number of their wines. The finger lakes does a number of cool weather grapes quite well, but also produces loads of lower quality, super sweet schlock. I am also a big fan of the Hermann J. Wiemer that rlibkind mentioned as well as the Standing Stone, Ravines and McGregor labels. A note of caution for anybody thinking to try a Finger Lakes wine for the 1st time: The last couple winters have been very very cold, and have really pummeled the vines with several consecutive weeks of sub zero temperatures. Consequently wines from last couple vintages tend to be of both lesser quality and quality. This past winter has been unseasonably warm (New York warm) so the vines should recover, and this coming 2006 harvest should be much better than the 2004 or 2005. As to how they compare to European wines, most of them don’t stack up well, but a handful of them do. A couple of wines from Long Island and the Hudson river valley (Wolffer Rose & Millbrook Tocai Friulano to name a couple). My personal favorite NY wine is the McGregor "Black Russian Red" a blend of 2 totally unpronounceable grapes from the Black Sea area. They are they only vineyard in the country that grows these grapes (or so they claim). It’s a big powerful, kick in the teeth, Nebbiolo meets Malbec kind of dark inky wine. About $30.00 a bottle.
  11. I can't claim to have any higher education degrees in medicine/biochemistry, so I will of course defer to your accredited background Patrick. Most of the "reports" that I'm familiar with, are to be found in the popular media. University Of Kentucky Drs. have found a link between what a type of CJD and the some consumption of squirrel brains. Weisman, a behavioral neurologist who practices in rural western Kentucky, reported in the Lancet that he suspected that eating the brains of wild pigs/feral hogs might possibly lead to the same outcome. Again, not being a physician myself, I couldn't speak to any similarity or difference on squirrel/hog neurology that support or discredit his supposition. On Feb 17, 2004 the NY times reported that a new prion strain closely related to a strain of scrapie (a sheep disease?) was found in a French cow. I believe that prior to the discovery there had been a handful of cases (again based on the NY times reporting here) of persons with CJD type symptoms who had eaten rodent or pig brains, or simply raw meat, but not beef. Finally, I am aware that a 2001 report by the CDC concluded that scrapie had re-crossed the species barrier (transmissions from sheep, to cow, back to sheep), which had granted these strains the ability to infect humans. This is thought to lead as well to strains of BSE (mad cow) in sheep. I believe that the report urged (been quite a while) for the elimination of all forms of Spongiform Encephalitis and not simply BSE. As I stated, I do not pretend to have a medical degree or speak with any sort of accredited authority. My information comes simply from trying to stay abreast of the news. Neurologists, tenured professors of bio-chemistry, or researchers at the CDC should be encouraged to share their opinions here to correct any misrepresentations in the popular media.
  12. That's interesting. Could you point me to more information on the neurological diseases aquired by eating pork and sheep brains? ←
  13. Great food vacations, how can you even compare to a cruise ship or a crowded gringo beach? These are my 4 favorite places on the planet to eat. Grant it, I've never been to India, China, Japan, or South America. And I've excluded Western Europe (Italy, France, & Spain) from the list because, while I loved all of the eating I did there, I pretty much found what I though I had expected to find. The same can be said of Mexico (a cuisine every bit as wonderful as Italy). Just the notion of eating at any of these places awakens nostalgic hunger in me. Morocco: What is Moroccan food? It's not French, not Spanish, not Arabian; its; a little bit of all three. If there's an upside of colonialism it’s the amazing historical fusion of cuisine. Royal cities of Marrakech and Fez provide a perfect counterpoint to the coastal seafood based cuisines of Essouria and Tangier. Go, and get yourself invited to have dinner at somebody's house and have the time of your life. Thailand: It's way beyond pad thai my friends, way beyond. The formality of traditional mild royal cooking runs headlong into the oh so spicy popular foods. I was only there 6 days several years ago, so my knowledge is limited, but God help me, I want to go back. South Carolina: Really, I'm serious. The costal region (low country) running from Savanna GA, north to Charleston SC, and encompassing the area of Beaufort and St. Helena's Island is home to some of the finest food on the planet. Of course you got the fresh Atlantic seafood, but the quality of local produce and then renaissance that has taken place in the restaurant scene is simply amazing. Alaska: Alaskans are all (bless their hearts) more than a little crazy, but they do maintain a crazy passion for their foods. Forget the cruise ship and you'll discover that Alaska has the best uncultivated food on the planet. If you are looking to pick, gather, fish, or hunt your own dinner you'll never be happier. If your not so adventurous, you can simply order off the menu what others have caught.
  14. I would love to conduct an informal survey about foods we feel the need to avoid (perhaps sadly) for health reasons. Growing up in the South, scrambled brains & eggs was not an uncommon breakfast treat (best with Tabasco), and I have more recently come to enjoy Moroccan style lamb brains, today I steer clear of all brain material. There are a host of nasty degenerative neurological conditions that one might acquire from eating pork, veal, beef, lamb, or sheep brains (mad cow is just the tip of the iceberg). In reality I do a fairly good job of eating only livestock & poultry on a 100% vegetarian feed. Cows that eat ground up cow/chicken/pig/fish bits not only creep me out, but are great way to keep reinserting disease, parasites, & toxins back into a food chain with me at the top. I Chinese (Cantonese) friend of mine told me a few years back that his parents were forced to give up cooking duck fetuses (is there anything that the Chinese won't eat? And where do you even buy them?!) because of health concerns. So now I'm asking you what foods have you had to steer away from due to health concerns? Mercury rich Mahi Mahi? Biohazard British Beef? Kontaminated Kentucky Khicken?
  15. Sexy meals have 3 components that will sustain your and him for "round 2" in the sack and/or what ever else you have planned for the rest of the day. (1) Smallish manageable portions. Even men are susceptible to "cute food." They may generally be more effort to prepare, but they're just god-awful adorable. (2) High Protein & low sugar. Especially after a long trip and an energetic roll in the hay, a meal composed primarily of chocolates can lead to a blood sugar crash, and a more protracted nap then anyone planned on. (3) Just a bit of the booze. Even if you are both big fans of bourbon on the rocks go with something that is both more fun and more subtle. The Mimosa is pleasant, but if he is a manly man consider mixing up a morning cocktail more suitable to your own taste. Some suggestions: (1) Do a soup served in plus sized coffee mugs. Opulent comfort food here. Roasted english tomato soup with bacon & blue cheese, or a South Carolina she-crab soup would be what I might go for. (2) Go for little meaty/cheesy finger food. The simplest option could be a high quality duck confit on triscuts, but I would take a hanger steak, sear it in a CI skillet, slice it super thin on little toasts, and spoon on a bit of some sauce that was particularly appealing to you both. (3) Mimosa and Bloody Mary are the 2 traditional early breakfast drinks, but sometimes the champagne works ok on its own. It its a chilly rainy day some mulled wine or cider might do the trick. You're not going be be drinking very much of it so make it something fun.
  16. My restaurant used to send me to the occasional wine tasting. The bartender had quit drinking (go figure) and the manager only drank rum, so I wound up at more than a dozen of these things in the course of a year. Generally there were not open to the public, but local restaurants and wine retailers, but they had all the trappings of public tasting: people came to get hammered, the reps/pourers were easily distracted, and the crowds were killer. I figured out that if we got there at the opening, generally around 4 in the afternoon, it was an entirely enjoyable situation. There’s no one to jockey around at the tables and the pourers haven’t gotten worn out yet. The only remaining problem is finding my way through the Chardonnay forest to find something I’m actually looking for. (has any body in upstate NY even heard of Rias Baixas?)
  17. alamut

    Wake and wine

    I don't often have occasion to pop a morning cork, but when I do nothing livens up the senses like a very pale vin gris. Just a small glass, as that a little Tavel goes a long way at 7 a.m. In any event the wine must be enjoied with coffee and a proper breakfast.
  18. alamut


    Well I got the knife , I just wanted to thank everybody for their imput. I wound up with a lovely 7&1/2 inch Snatoku blade, japanese made, beautiful damascus steel, with small hallows on the blade. I will withhold the namebrand for now. I am (of course) going to retain my other german chef's knives for splitting squash and qautering chickens. The Bulk of my kitchen work involves vegatables and fish, so I am pretty confident that I will get many good years out of the knife without chipping its blade.
  19. In 2006, I will eat farmers market goods at least twice a month I will make my own guanciale. I will find a place to buy dragonfruit I will learn how to make my own stocks I will teach someone where on the cow the hanger steak comes from. I will read Stiengarten’s “it must have been something I ate.” This is the year I will try to be less preachy when dealing with picky eaters I will taste six different types of whiskey that I’ve never had before I will use a newly acquired Japanese chef’s knife. I will give a dinner party for friends as often as I can talk them into eating my cooking. I will not be embarrassed about eating pig’s jowls. We will invest in a few bottles of wine for special occasions.
  20. alamut

    Fake Meats

    I know that asking about fake meat is going to be a sensitive topic. Let me say, I love real meats in all their forms. I like hanger steak rare, home cured guanciale, braised lamb legs with rosemary, and sometimes I even like White Castle (Chateau Blanc among my friends). But I am in love with and reside with a very nice young lady who doesn’t eat anything with legs. Its not really her fault. She grew up in a vegetarian house and never (and I mean never) had any meat. At this point not only does she not find meat appealing, but if she tried it probably would not agree with her digestive system. In our household I do most (all) of the cooking because I enjoy it my schedule permits. I/we do eat lots of fresh produce and seafood and a very happy to prepare both. There are, as you might imagine, lots of things I do occasionally want to fix that I can’t. So knowing that there is no substitute for the real thing, I am soliciting your advice for faux meats and their uses. There are many products out there that taste good, but not meaty (and that’s OK), and there are some that are just plain crap. Has anyone else any positive experiences in cooking with the fake meat? (I managed an halfway decent Shepard’s pie once)
  21. I had the good luck to go to a ceviche restaurant in Kentucky (don't laugh) last month and had a very nice dinner with friends. I would up with a bit of a sampler platter style entree of 3 different ceviches. The 1st was tuna/avocado based, the 3rd was scallops, but the middle one was beef tenderloin ceviche. It was ever so quickly seared to give it a bit of a crust, then sliced and submerged in some sort of ceviche liquid. All 3 were great but the beef blew me away. My friends and I used to poke fun at people who would marinate a flank steak in a whole bottle of Italian salad dressing (why did we stop making fun of those people? ), claiming that the vinegar in the dressing was effectively making a "beef ceviche." The point here being that we couldn't see how acid and beef could marry into anything at all tasty. But apparently they do. How do you make meat (not necessarily cow) ceviche? Is the amount of time in the acid different than with fish/shellfish? What should I know before trying it myself?
  22. That is a BEAUTIFUL big red device. It makes me embarrassed when I think of my dinky little pasta machine ( which I do love). Anyhow, I just wanted to chime in and suggest that some pastas dry better than others. When we in the US of A make our pasta (or buy frozen fresh gourmet pasta) it is generally softer egg based pasta. Some recipes call for as many as 4 eggs in a one pound pasta recipe (way too many for my taste), but generally its less than half of that. Egg pasta represents the cooking of the more wealthy northern Italy. In the South pasta is generally made with flour and water (or a splash of white wine?) chefdg is right in saying that Semolina and water produces a harder, Sicilian style, more dryable noodle. Trying to dry egg based lasagne noodles might well result in them cracking up like ianeccleston reported. If your going to try and dry pasta using 2/3 Semolina 1/3 AP flour mix with just water added. Also I would suggest that you make the pasta in some sort of extruder as apposed to the roller/cutter approach. If you have a mixer, you should be able to by a meat grinder style pasta extruder attachment to mount on the front/top of it. Kitchen Aid has a few nice attachments for this purpose. One thing that you can do with dried pasta is get those wacky noodle shapes, so why miss out on the fun. But yes, when drying it, please keep it away from the dog.
  23. alamut

    Cold starters

    One of my favorite starters that can be served warm or at room temp is a recipe to poach figs in Pernod and stuff with marscapone. Really, its one I stole/adapted from William-Sonoma, but it never fails to impress a crowd. Take a small saucepan and put in about two parts Pernod to one and one-half parts water, add maybe a half cup of sugar and warm until the sugar dissolves. Trim the stems off your dozen or so figs and toss them in. Poach for 10-30 min depending on the softness of the fruit and your own taste. Drain the figs in a colander and make a small incision2/3 of the way into each one, just don’t split them in ½. Mix healthy dollop of the marscapone, a teaspoon of confectioners sugar, a pinch shredded fresh basil, and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Then stuff each fig with a bit of the marscapone mixture. At this point the good people at WS would have you wrap each one in phyllo dough. I use store bought wanton wrappers. I put one wanton skin in the cup of a mini-muffin tray and then place a stuffed fig inside. They’re less crumbly and easier to eat. Go ahead and bake just long enough to lightly brown the wanton, and turn the fig/marscapone in to a gooey mass. They can be served warm cooling rack and covered overnight and then served at room temp (I would urge you not to refrigerate them, unless its very warm in your house) P.S. my father is fond of taking the left-over poaching liquid, adding another ½ cup sugar, reducing it down. And adding a table-spoon or two over crushed ice and a shot of white rum. Toss in a sprig of mint and your got your self some sort of tasty fig-Caribbean-julep bastard cocktail.
  24. Aside from issues dealing with what the bridesmaids will or won't eat (they are all nice people, and I may be able to twist an arm or 2) I was hoping for some cool suggestions on Kentucky/Alaskan fusion. We already shot down the grits/wild blueberry dish as both an appatizer and a dessert. but there have to be some egulletiers out there who can think of something that will join our respective homes on a plate.
  25. Sadly, I no longer live in a larger city where I might be privy to new boozy news breaking. In small town USA, however, the drinking future of 2006 looks bleak. Vodka mixed with sweet fruity or sweet chocolatly things seems to be the still driving force. What disturbs me more, is the way that with every bar/restaurant I know is gendering their drinks to appeal to sex sexes. This is not at all new. Even before the gals on “sex in the city” first picked up their cosmopolitans, ladies cocktails were pastel and sweet, and men were drinking their whiskey on the rocks. I have had a some limited degree of success in getting a couple of nicer bars to offer a French 75 (the kind made with cognac not gin), and related Champagne cocktails. The driving force behind new cocktails seems to be the promotions of the wine & liquor reps, hence the appearance of the “desperate housewives martini” (caramel flavored vodka mixed w/ godiva white choc liquor) YEACH. As long as liquor reps assume that all bar customers want to drink is either sweet lady drinks or strong man whiskey, that’s all bar’s in the heartland will offer, in places where people most need a good drink.
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