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David Ross

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Everything posted by David Ross

  1. In January of 2016, I "retired" after 28 years of service for Horizon Air, a regional airline based in Seattle and the Sister carrier of Alaska Airlines. I put retired in quotes as it was actually the result of a corporate restructure. In any case, throughout my career I was on the inflight services department management team and for many years involved in the onboard catering. Now mind you, we were and the company is today, a regional carrier that flew primarily turbo-prop airplanes and just a few jets during my time. We didn't serve traditional hot meals in those days as our galleys weren't equipped with ovens, however, we did serve cold breakfasts, lunches and snacks and at times our food was actually better than what you'd find on other major carriers. Back when I started as a Flight Attendant in 1988, we served cold snack baskets and often ran promotions. I remember one summer when we offered a picnic basket of cold fried chicken, chips, an apple, a slice of apple pie from a bakery in Spokane and a small wide-mouth "Mickey's" beer. Well, as we know things have changed. In the time since I left, Horizon is starting to introduce a small regional jet with first class and hot meal service. The meals up front are basically the same meals one would find on Alaska Airlines first class. And while the menus read creative, like Southwestern scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa and corn tortillas, we all know what reads delicious on an airline print menu isn't always what ends up on your tray table. So let's have some fun here at eGullet and start a discussion of airline meals. Share your stories of grand meals from back in the decades when you looked forward to airline travel, especially the meal. (And I remember many a fine steak dinner served in coach on both Delta and United back in the 70's into the 80's). And are you dining on fine food these days when you fly? I regularly scan through sites dedicated to frequent flyers and I'm often impressed by the photos of first class meals on international long-haul routes served by Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, ANA, JAL and Swiss Airlines to name a few. (And while Delta is improving on that front in their business class cabin internationally, United is trying with their new Polaris business product, American seems to lag behind). Coach class throughout the world is of course a different story. So I'll be working in the coming months on going through some of my archives to show you some of the things we served on the little regional carrier up in the Pacific Northwest.
  2. Horizon Air was also the first airline to serve Starbucks. Way back in the late 1980's, this fellow named Howard Schultz was starting a coffee company in Seattle and since we were a Seattle based company we linked up with Howard to serve his coffee onboard. And we also served it free in the boarding areas. I remember they had strict brewing standards for the coffee. Passengers loved it from the start, especially since it was a Seattle company. At the time every corner of your town wasn't bordered with drive in coffee stands. Well we all know how the story of Starbucks has unfolded. I love that piece of history. But I don't love working in that stressful business!
  3. I've mentioned before that I worked in management for 28 years at Horizon Air which is the regional sister carrier of Alaska Airlines. One thing we always prided our service on was that we served complimentary micro-brews with a focus on Pacific Northwest breweries. Well I've been gone for three years now and I no longer fly but I saw on their website that they are serving the Ninkasi Ale right now on Horizon. I'd say that's a pretty decent service for a regional flight along with the requisite bag of snack mix.
  4. David Ross

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Beautiful and delicious. What type of camera and lens do you use for your food photography?
  5. David Ross

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    I'm getting an early start on planning my Holiday cooking and baking. (I know, I'm already getting some comments from family and friends that it's only late October and it's too early to talk about such things). I thought I'd start by showing my collection of November past issues of Bon Appetit that my parents collected over the years. I bring them out every season to go through the recipes that I've tagged with bits of paper and stickers. Some of the covers are tattered and torn, taped back on, and over the years I've cut out some of the recipes. While I've read these every year, some dating back to the 1970's, I always seem to find a new recipe to find. What are you planning to make for the Holidays this year? Are you introducing some new dishes, staying with the classics or updating them with some new tastes and textures?
  6. David Ross

    The Bread Topic (2016-)

    Thanks to all of you for teaching me about the intricacies of bread baking. I used these rolls as the base for sandwiches with a slow-roasted beef roast I did last weekend. I still have some work to do as the interior was a little soft for me and the next day the rolls pretty much crumbled when I cut into them but overall a good start for me.
  7. David Ross

    The Bread Topic (2016-)

    I've been testing a new, (at least for me), method of slow roasting beef. As in 200-225 degrees for hours. As part of my experimenting I made some soft pretzels rolls which turned out incredibly good for a novice bread baker.
  8. David Ross

    The Fruitcake Topic

    I bought this dark fruitcake at Cost Plus World Market last week. Imported from the UK, it's just fair, nothing I would buy again. The icing is of course delicious, but the cake is dry and there is no hint of brandy which is listed as one of the ingredients. So I have it curing under a good dousing of Cointreau.
  9. David Ross

    The Fruitcake Topic

    I found three more light fruitcakes stored in the back shelf of the pantry. I've come to quite like them, but still favor a dark fruitcake.
  10. David Ross

    Christmas Cookies Redux

    Unfortunately this gingerbread house has fallen. I wasn't able to do anything for the holidays last year because I was recovering from breaking my upper right arm. So much to my horror, when I unpacked the Christmas boxes this year I found this wonderful creation had been damaged. I had put it on a cardboard base and stuffed it in a large hard plastic storage bin, but it wasn't really wide enough to fit the base so it sort of bent and that collapsed under the weight of the house. And somehow I hadn't properly sealed the bin as somehow moisture or humidity got in and softened all the candy, gingerbread and frosting. So it couldn't be repaired or saved. But I'm already working on building a replacement and a few more this year. I'll post photos when I have the first one done.
  11. David Ross

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    I found this little gem in my eGullet recipe archives. From December 2007, Dungeness Crab Bisque with fresh Crab on a Rye Crouton. The start of the crab fishery in the Pacific Northwest is a signal of our annual tradition of serving fresh crab throughout the holiday season.
  12. David Ross

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    Our discussion reminded me that our eG Cook-Off #59 has a lot of ideas and recipes for making some cured or smoked fish for the Holidays. I'm thinking of making a version of this Salmon Gravlax dish I did for that Cook-Off. In this case I served it with dark rye croutons and a vinaigrette as an appetizer/salad, but the salmon alone would be delicious.
  13. Curry. Throughout India, from Goa, to Kerala and Gujarat, into Burma, Thailand, Japan, Europe, North America and across the world, curry transcends boundaries and cultures, weaving a mosaic of flavors and textures along the way. And while the reach of curry spans the world, at its core it is a regional, personal dish that isn’t defined by one recipe or one ingredient. The genesis of curry points to archaeological evidence dating to 2600 BC, showing the use of a mortar and pestle to grind spices including mustard seed, fennel, cumin and tamarind to flavor foods. The earliest Roman cookbooks detail recipes of meats seasoned with black pepper, cumin, lovage, mint, marjoram, cloves and coriander. The Mughal Empire in the 15th century influenced curry in Northern India and it spread throughout the continent. The establishment and growth of the spice trade further spread the popularity of curry across the oceans. The British developed a taste for curry early on, highlighted by the Art of Cookery published in 1758 by Mrs. Hannah Glasse. “To make a Currey the Indian Way”-take two small chickens, skin them and cut them as for a fricafey…..take three large onions, chop them small and fry them in about two ounces of butter, then put in the chickens and fry them together until they are brown, take a quarter of an ounce of turmerick, a large spoonful of ginger and beaten pepper together and a little salt to your palate, put in a quarter pint of cream and the juice of two lemons and serve it up.” So what makes a curry a curry? Is it the seasoning? The spices? Do the spices have to be toasted and then pounded in a mortar and pestle? Does curry mean there is a sauce, or does meat rubbed with curry fit the bill? And is curry always made into a sauce, and is the sauce always red, green or yellow? Soup or stew? Served with rice or a certain type of bread? Of course the possibilities are endless and these are some of the questions we’ll be discussing. What about meat? Many curries follow strict religious practices and so meat isn’t used, but do any vegetables work in a curry? Do you serve your curry with rice, bread and other condiments? As food fads fade as fast as they appear on the scene, we turn to dishes like curry that have survived and thrived for millennia. Today we introduce the 80th entry into the eG Cook-Off Series, eG Cook-Off #80: The aromatic, exotic flavors of Curry. (see the complete eG Cook-Off Index here https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ )
  14. David Ross

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    I have to admit I get very pleased with myself when I make something that turns out to be very good. (Which isn't always the cast). One of my favorites sites/shows in recent years is "Dining with the Chef" from NHK in Japan. So their recipe for "Beef Stew" looked really intriguing to me, but I was a little cautious about using the Instant Pot. Well I didn't need to worry since it turned out wonderful--tender beef and of course, very quick compared to a traditional slow cook. The sauce is a combination of carrot, celery, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste then some miso, garlic and sake. They call for some olive oil but I added sesame oil and I added ginger which they don't include in the recipe. I cut the sake in half and added some soy sauce which they also omit and I boosted the miso paste. It was delicious with subtle Japanese flavors but next time I'd add a bit of dried red chile flakes for a little heat. On a whim I added the thinly sliced preserved ginger and served the stew with steamed rice and some Chinese pickled vegetables I had in the pantry.
  15. David Ross

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    I'm going to do that for Christmas dinner. I usually roast potatoes under the rib roast to soak up the meat fat but I've been thinking of something along these lines for this year. Thank you so much for the inspiration.
  16. David Ross

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    I updated the pumpkin tart that I posted in the opener. Really all I did was add some white sprinkles to make it look more festive. The folks at dinner had never tried a candied cranberry let alone paired with the richness and pudding-like texture of pumpkin pie so it was another big hit.
  17. David Ross

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    This year I made a Huckleberry-Cranberry sauce. I buy enough fresh, local huckleberries in season to have throughout the year. It's a simple recipe, just cranberries cooked down in sugar and a bit of water, then about a cup of huckleberries added, (to one bag fresh cranberries). Just a dash of nutmeg and that's it. There were 16 at Thanksgiving dinner and I took about 3 cups of the sauce and there wasn't a teaspoon left.
  18. I came across a recipe this morning for using leftover Thanksgiving turkey in a curry. Sounds delicious, but not sure how I would do it. I'm thinking just slices of turkey with a basic curry-cream sauce. Any ideas?
  19. David Ross

    2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

    I've told this story before, but I think it's appropriate to tell again since it relates to Holiday cooking. We were discussing hams and it reminded some of us of Kentucky Ham. Specifically country ham from Broadbent Hams. For many years our family took an annual trip to the Kentucky State Fair horse show. One of our required trips at the fair was to always go see the country ham competition display and the winners showcase. Huge country hams that are auctioned for charity each year with winning bids consistently going for 10's of thousands of dollars. Well we never went to the annual country ham auction breakfast, but it sparked Father to gain a huge interest in country ham. We could always go down the road to a Piggly Wiggly and but all sorts of country ham products, (which, sadly, we can't find here in the Pacific Northwest). Well one year, against my Mother's wishes, Father ordered a full size country ham delivered to our home in Salem, Oregon. Of course, a huge ham like that was far too much for four of us. We had no clue how to cook the thing, so we used the recommended soak and soak and bake in a brown grocery store shopping bag. Well it was either the ham, or us, or both but I still remember Mother's rants, the smell that lingered in the house and how Father, probably sheepishly being dishonest, proclaimed it as "the best ham I ever ate." So today I'd buy country ham for the holidays, but I think rather than a whole ham I'd stud it into the dressing, put it into some sort of hashbrown casserole or macaroni and cheese dish, or use kayb's suggestions below and make a ham spread to serve on crackers. Any ham cookery planned in your house this season?
  20. David Ross

    The world’s most expensive ham

    That's wonderful.
  21. David Ross

    The world’s most expensive ham

    For many years we went to the Kentucky State Fair to the horse show. Part of the trip was a must to go see the Grand Champion Hams in the winners display case. We never went to the auction breakfast, but watched it on TV in our hotel rooms. And the Broadbent is very good. You'd never see it here in the Northwest, but I loved going to the local grocery store in Louisville by the fair grounds where you could buy all sorts of country ham products, including Broadbents.
  22. David Ross

    The Fruitcake Topic

    Yes the frozen always seems to work ok for me. It doesn't have the flavor punch of fresh but works ok. They also sell small plastic cartons of frozen grated lemongrass which work well and take the job of cutting fresh lemongrass out. Those work well in Thai soups but you could also put some in a fruitcake.
  23. David Ross

    The Fruitcake Topic

    In Spokane I can get them at Bay Market and then at Asian World market. It's tricky at these places as sometimes they are fresh other times frozen. There is a Middle Eastern market that sometimes has them.
  24. David Ross

    The Fruitcake Topic

    I can get kaffir lime leaves and mandarin orange leaves at a local Asian market.
  25. David Ross

    The Fruitcake Topic

    I agree about citrus leaves for a flavor accent. And while I love dates in my sticky toffee pudding, not so much in my fruitcake!
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