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Everything posted by Shaya

  1. Shaya

    Crepes--Cook-Off 23

    I wondered the same thing when I first read the directions, but once I got on with it, I said to myself DUH. They were done on both sides, and to served them I roll them or fold them so the "uncooked side" is on the inside anyway..... Why flip them and risk what I was likely to do to them? ← It seems to be the same theory as cooking omelets French style - only on one side, and serving the cooked side on the outside. By the way, Susan, dark chocolate for breakfast? That crepe is too decadent for words!
  2. I always knew instinctively that freezing meats changes their textures, but it wasn't until I read McGee that I understood why. When the water (liquid) in the meat freezes, it forms an ice crystal, which, if you recall high-school chemistry, has a jagged form. This creates spaces in the meat which alter the texture. Flavor is also altered in the freezing process. McGee describes this all very clearly. The best way to freeze meat, he says, is to do it very quickly, at very cold temperatures and uncovered (then wrap it once it is frozen). I assume that meats that are sold as frozen are done so under these conditions, but it is more difficult to achieve this at home.
  3. Ughh, Ling, just got the kids to bed and I'm craving something chocolate and there are your incredible cookies, just to taunt me!
  4. Er, I'm a total ignoramus. What is the whacking of the avocado seed technique? What's it for? ← ummm...getting the seed out of the fruit without damaging the fruit. How do you get the seed out?
  5. Tupac, I look with mouth agape at that amazing garden your family has. What a treat for you to have access to it every day. Also, that chocolate pasta is outrageous! I take a similar approach to cooking. I cook almost exclusively based what looks good and what is fresh (although unlike you it's not coming from outside my back door ). I think it can be very limiting for people to rely on recipes, as they normally call for a lot of ingredients, some of them obscure, and this can turn one off from cooking completely. But in order to cook from what's fresh at the market, one needs to have an understanding of what goes well with what, and much of that, for me, comes from reading, as I live in an area with a limited number of restaurants. When you say you mostly use your cookbooks for the illustrations, would you say that a lot of your inspiration comes from all your experiences eating out, particularly at those 270(!) places in NYC?
  6. Thanks, Pontormo. The book is actually full of great food and lots of great photos. I bought it years ago before I really had any books on Italian cooking. The meatballs have in them ground lamb, milk-soaked bread, onion (which I sauteed first to soften), chopped mint, egg, salt and pepper. The ceci are placed into a pot with softened onion and tomatoes, simmered about 30 minutes and then a bit of water with saffron dissolved is added near the end. Very nice, simple food. But so far, for me, Lazio has the dishes you want to repeat over and over.
  7. I had a Sardinian meal planned for tonight. After looking through the limited information I have about cooking in the region, I decided on lamb with mint. My contorni (finocchio) could have gone in several directions, but after reading Kevin and Pontormo's latest experiences, I knew I was not going to add anchovies to them! The first two dishes are from Lorenza De'Medici's Italy The Beautiful Cookbook. The third is Marcella's. Polpette d'Agnello alla Menta Ceci allo Zafferano Racicchio e Finocchio Saltati All'Olio - these got really nice and caramelized.
  8. Shaya

    Crepes--Cook-Off 23

    Klary your spekpannenkoek look amazing. So simple yet so tasty. Abra, what a gorgeous picture of a beautiful lunch.
  9. Tim, your writing has been incredibly open and revealing. I read this thread yesterday, and then for the rest of the day I couldn't get the images you had conveyed out of my head. It felt as though I had just finished a really good book. If there is a book planned in your future, I am sure your emotions and writings would be up to the challenge. Best wishes to you.
  10. That looks great Tupac. My kind of dinner, indeed. (I too am convinced I was Italian in a former life. I love how you say "Sono italiano in fondo"- can I quote you?). Klary - I also blanch and then shock my basil when making pesto, and add a pinch of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in order to preserve the bright green color.
  11. Yay! I love fruit, too! Especially berries, grapes, watermelon and apples. But, wait! You don't like melon at all? Not canteloupe? Not honeydew? Not watermelon? Huh? ← Tupac, look forward to seeing your culinary life close up. By the way I think I've found my fruit soul-mate...love pretty much all of it except melon and cantaloupe. My Mom tells me I even rejected them as an infant.
  12. Oh, now that is a method that I read something about, somewhere -- sort of rings a bell, that... Thank you. I'll have a stab at it -- and if I still mess it up, I'll endeavor to keep a level head and at least take a picture of the mess Thanks. ← Grub, you can check out some of the renditions here on the Lazio thread: The Cooking and Cuisine of Lazio
  13. Grub, sorry to hear you feeling so defeated. When you make carbonara traditionally, you combine the eggs and parm and pepper in a bowl and once the pasta is cooked, you transfer the pasta to the bowl and toss in your bacon. Toss quickly so that the eggs don't curdle. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg ever so slightly to thicken it. Add a bit of pasta water if it seems too thick. That's it. Traditionally cream is not used, and the sauce is not heated on the stovetop. Hope this helps.
  14. One of my favorite Persian rice dishes: Albaloo Polow: Here and Here
  15. Meez I just looked at your blog, in particular the section on Thai cooking, and it is outstanding. Your photographs are stunning, but more importantly you get right to the heart of what I want to express to so many people I know who "don't cook". It really is about selecting a cuisine, reading as much as possible about it, stocking up a pantry, and becoming familiar with a nuimber of basic cooking techniques. It is so true when you say that so little of "cooking" actually involves standing over the hot stove; a great proportion of time is spent in preparation (ingredients, tools, produce) for those final moments of combining the ingredients over heat. Bravo, and thank you, you make me homesick for the time I spent in Thailand.
  16. I just found the book at my library, thanks! I guess I love artichokes so much because I've discovered how amazing they can be with a little work. Growing up, at my father's request, we had them on the table almost every night, simply boiled with lemony water. Nothing else. Now that I've been preparing them so many ways, my family has become even more excited. If only my father were still here to see how my preparation of his favorite vegetable has evolved...
  17. Pontormo, as you might have noticed I just love artichokes. I have been wanting to make them as ravioli for a long time but hadn't settled on how quite to do it. I was going to try Thomas Keller's FL version, which I had the pleasure of eating when I was in Yountville last Spring, but am curious to hear more about yours. What did you use for stewing liquid - stock, water, garlic, lemon? Did you find that the artichoke leaves broke down sufficiently in the food processor? I have visions of little stringy bits when I bite into one.
  18. Wow, Abra, what am amazing experience. It would be a dream to gather a crowd to share a day like the one you all had. Like Ronnie, I know a lot of kean eaters but that's where the interest ends. Bravo.
  19. Kevin, your dinner looks great. I have gnocchi envy - I would have settled for "toothsome"! The sauce for your meat sounds amazing. My little guy was pretend-cooking in bed this morning and he made a sauce with chocolate, cinnamon and vinegar - pretty funny.
  20. Wish I could see your lamb and ravioli dish, it sounds awesome. Ironically I used an even finer-grained flour than the other few times, it was very powdery. I know what you mean about pressing these guys really thin - I re-pressed many of them after the first go-round but I guess it wasn't enough. Only the outer layer cooked, the rest stayed dry and icky. Oh well, I will put it behind me and hopefully step into the kitchen again soon...
  21. Judith, thank you so much for the great summary. The formula I used is as follows: 3 cups (430g) durum semolina flour 1 cup water with saffron 2 tbsp olive oil It looks very similar to the proportions Nathan posted yesterday: I have done it in the past and it was great. I wonder if the flour could have been old? I got it bulk at our local organic store - maybe not much use for such flour here. Could old flour cause this to happen, I wonder?
  22. Ok, so I'm totally . Those gnocchis that I've been dreaming about eating for 24 hours, well, they just won't cook. I boiled and boiled them - only the outside cooked. Then I cut them in half. Same story. Then I sliced them further, and popped them into the meat sauce, thinking that would help. Still not cooking inside. I've made them a few times before and never had this problem. The stuff is like concrete, only the outside gets moist, the inside stays nice and dry. What could have gone wrong?
  23. Mike, those fritelle look really good. My grandmother makes something similar and she adds chicken to it. But I agree, once they turn cold eggs tend to lose their appeal.
  24. Thanks Mike. Here is the roller. It was made by an Italian guy in town, but they are very common in Italy. Makes the process very easy. I recommend these gnocchis - I find them much easier to work with than the potato ones - although you seem to have mastered those on your first try!
  25. Nathan, I know what you mean about Friday-night-after-work-cooking! They still look fabulous. Thanks for the recipe but I actually made some today with a recipe I've used in the past. It uses only semolina flour, and saffron, water and olive oil. I would think they might be a bit less dry if I were to sub in a bit of AP flour for some of the semolina. I rolled them on my wooden gnocchi roller. I also made a meat sauce today, we'll have it tomorrow for dinner. Here is a preview of the little guys:
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