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s_sevilla

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  1. My first reaction is that many of the component recipes *look* ridiculously easy....which in my experience with the Chez Panisse books means that the recipes can be ridiculously hard to execute because ingredient quality, precision and execution become item No. 1. While ingredient availability isn't really a problem in Berkeley, I think it will make cooking any one dish a marathon. Not to mention to 10 or so components you have to make if you want to do one dish exactly as represented in the book. But, this isn't the way they want you to use the book, and it's not the way I intended when I bought it. For me, I will use it as a reference for new techniques, flavor combination, and presentation techniques to use, and since I already have most of the technology, or know of ways to mimic it on the budget, I'm reasonably sure I'll be able to accomplish most of what's in the book given proper sources, and ample time. For the starting point, I think I'll go with the hot-potato cold-potato. Simple, classic flavors, and rich (a why-didn't-I-Think-of-that dish), but I think I'll be making it with concentrated porcini juice since I still consider myself a student on a very tight budget. The deserts also look fantastic, especially the liquid chocolate square.
  2. If you go to In-n-Out again, order your fries "Well" or "Extra-Well". They taste an order of magnitude better than the normal, flaccid fries that I hated. (While you're at it, get them animal style if you're into getting a coronary at some point in your life)
  3. If used in very very small additions, Xanthan Gum is also a phenomenal thickener. Be wary, however, as if you want to thicken something a lot, the Xanthan will give you a slimy consistency, but in moderation it provides a clear, absolutely tasteless method of improving the body of a sauce. It's surprisingly easy to find in your local health-nut shop because it is extremely useful for vegan cookery and those with gluten sensitivity.
  4. another classic pairing is a beet puree. You might also consider a Sunchoke Puree, or a "cream of vegetables" with a Sunchoke or other vegetable puree as the binder. That way, you can have the fatty/rich fish with something that has the essence of richness, but doesn't fill you with a gut-bomb. If you do want a bit of color contrast, I recommend getting the best carrots possible (Nantes, perhaps), and leaving a bit of the green stem when you trim away the leaves. Steam them lightly, then immediately shock them in salted ice-water, or boil in heavily salted water, then shock in ice-water (although I've heard a soaking in vitamin C is an even better way of preserving color). Once serving time comes up, either warm in a skillet with a generous lump of butter, or warm again by steaming.
  5. For me it can only be true butter if it's the butter experience I crave, and to up the ante, I'm starting to keep containers of browned butter around to saute the veggies in. IMO, if you're going to eat something bad for you (and I think margarine and butter are on the same plane, despite any studies to the contrary), I might as well go for the good stuff, and for butter my personal favorite is the Kerrygold Irish style. If I want a substitute, I'll just dip (dunk) my bread in some of that new crop olive oil sitting in my cupboard and sprinkle with good salt, thank you very much, or I'll go for the duck fat to saute the vegetables.
  6. If you really want to know how striking a difference the source of a cocoa bean lends towards the taste of a bar, I highly recommend tasting the Guittard Chucuri and Ambanja bars side by side. Don't look at the tasting notes, just try. Since they come from the same company, the process is much the same for both bars, and the quality of the chocolate is top notch. What you taste in these is a huge dose of origin, and the mastery of their roasting process. I've also found that its much easier for newbies to start out with the slightly lower cocoa mass bars (60-65%) before heading over to the heavy hitting bars. I am personally not a huge fan of anything over 80% (although the theo 92% venezuela was pretty good) because I feel they tend to lack balance.
  7. I like roasting whole chickens on sundays, immediately eat a breast and the crunchy wing tips and save the rest for a variety of meals throughout the week: I keep a huge tub of mole (type varies depending on the season and my mood) and will reheat the thighs and legs in the sauce for dinners. Another option for the leg and thighs is to make a quick cacciatore with a box of pomi tomatoes and whatever else I have lying around For the remaining breast I either use it as lunch meat or I make an aioli or something, toss the breasts, and bake it in a casserole with some veggies or something. I also tend to roast a few heads of garlic along with the chicken, so I also make a paste out of the garlic, and make a quick sauce to coat the breast meat with. I'll use the carcass and neck to make chicken soup (the most economical, since you can get all the little pieces of meat) or to make a quick broth for a dose of Risotto. If you're looking to do the whole chicken at once I also recommend a version of Fatma Curry (based off a recipe in "The New Making of a Cook" by Madeleine Kammen: Cut the chicken into 10 pieces. Make a paste out of your preferred amount of garlic and cilantro, add a touch of cumin, and cayenne pepper. chop an onion and place in a pot with the prepared paste. place chicken in pot, just cover with cold water, and slowly bring to a simmer and leave it like that until things are tender and the liquid has taken the flavor of the chicken. Remove the chicken and strain the liquid, reserving it (Do not pour off the fat, otherwise the couscous will be dry and bland:. Measure out the amount of liquid needed for however much couscous you want. At this point you can add some other veggies (like sweet potatoe or turnips, etc) and cook them in the stock. Add some currents, then your couscous, then your chicken and let sit covered until the couscous is ready. Serve with some hot sauce and/or a raita.
  8. For some help with sourcing, which college are you at? If you're at UCB then I could give you a lot more help for the best cheaper sources of food around here. It really depends on your budget, though, what you'll be able to get. When I did the budget for the food at a house for 45 people our average cost of food/person/day was about 4.50-5.50, but when we switched to Niman Ranch meats that jumped to about 6.00-7.00. For an average of 50 eaters a night, we required about 1 milk delivery and one store run for fresh veggies every week, and a big delivery from a distributor about every three weeks, mostly dry goods and ice cream. If you have a normal sized car/station wagon, you'll probably have to make three runs a week, but if they have a van, that will make your life much easier. If you have the capacity one of the easiest ways to come in way way under budget and make people happy is a "make your own pizza" night on a biweekly basis (why not every week? Trust me, cleaning that up is no fun).
  9. I used an old KitchenAid Hobart for years at my folks place and loved it. I just bought a pro 5+, and while the soft-start feature is a life-saver, it definitely does not have the power of the old one, despite higher wattage ratings, but I haven't been able to not knead anything with the hook yet, it just slows a little when I first mix a dough with the paddle. One issue: For some reason the catch at the back of the bowl that fits into the metal clip won't stay put....anyone know if there is some KA part that I could replace it with that will hold the bowl better?
  10. I've been mulling some ideas for truffles and was wondering if anyone has tried infusing their ganache with various forms of Hops. If anyone has any insight, I'd love to hear how your ganache turned out. Right now the plan is to use the same hops I use to make a porter or a stout, and use milk chocolate due to the bittering agents from the hops.
  11. No offense, really (I definitely enjoy the Slow Churned from dreyers/edys as my "everyday" ice-cream, and yes, they are the same company, now owned by Nestle Nutritionals), but low-carb/no sugar is really, REALLY, pushing it. It's Ice-cream. It's supposed to be bad for you. If you want a "healthy" option, just buy an all fruit sorbet or a soy-cream. If you need the "diet" version, you probably shouldn't be eating it anyway, and I say just go out and buy a piece of fruit, it tastes better, there aren't any chemicals, and they have fiber to help fill you up. Trust me, after 3 or 4 peaches, you won't want to eat a tub of icecream. P.S. If you're diabetic, consider making you're own at home using Agave nectar, which has a lower glycemic index that sugar and especially corn syrup.
  12. bechamel, sweet corn, cheese of your choosing (Something sharp), and bacon or prosciutto wild nettles and gorgonzola onions, tomatoes, chevre, and sauteed beet greens I like topping mine with an egg halfway through the cooking process.
  13. Almost everything on College is "safe" but here goes: barney's for burgers, gordo's for burritos, Pizzaiolo (Telegraph in Oakland) for neopolitan pizza, Ici for dessert, Cesar's (shattuck or piedmont) for a quick bite or cocktail. For vegan go to Cha Ya on Shattuck in Berkeley. Also good pizza go to the Cheeseboard Pizza Collective, also on Shattuck. For the best dirt cheap eats, just hit the main drag (Telegraph) by the campus. Also good in Berkeley are Sea Salt and Lalime's. If you venture to Solano Ave. in Albany, there are some really good places that will cater to any price point; Rivoli comes highly recommended, and there are some decent Thai Places there as well. For Super Fancy Takeout, go to Gregorie's on Ceder and Shattuck. For the best bread go to La Farine on College, but Semifreddi's (next to star grocery on Claremont) has good stuff as well, as does Acme bakery on San Pablo, which is next to Cafe Fanny, which has good brunch, which also happens to be near oak barrel winecraft, where you can make some beer, which also happens to be next to K&L wine merchants, where you can buy unique wines. For a splurge go to Wood Tavern (college), Oliveto's (College) or Chez Panisse Cafe
  14. I've been looking at these for awhile (also looking for a suitable, cheaper copy from a laboratory supply), and for an inspired home cook, 45$ is a heck-of-a-lot to spend on a bag, no matter how useful. Can anyone shed any light on the durability?
  15. Chez Panisse Vegetables: I rarely use any recipes, and most of the good tips do not have scaled recipes, but it is a vital companion for selecting and cooking all things vegetable. Madeleine Kammen's "The Making of a Cook" A little of everything in one book, again I use it more for reference than recipes, but it gives great guidelines to many classical dishes. Besides thumbing through "On Food and Cooking", these are my only day in day out references. All my other books are pulled out for a brief inspiration when I want to make a new recipe or tweak an old one.
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