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Everything posted by djyee100

  1. 2011 Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux 'Les Terrasses.' A red Rhone wine, 70% grenache and 30% syrah. Not your typical fruity Rhone wine. I had to sit with this one for a while before I decided I liked it. Lots of pepper and garrigue (think Herbes de Provence), menthol, a bit of meatiness, a whiff of roses. Rich fruit, but the pepper and herbs take over. Good balance, smooth tannins. The aroma was so funky when I opened it, I thought it was spoiled. Give this wine plenty of time to breathe before service. Eventually the aroma becomes sweet, fruity and herb-y. This wine would match well with Mediterranean-style food off the grill, especially lamb. Or bring it to a group tasting and let people talk about it.
  2. They're super-rich pastries, deep-fried croissant dough with pastry cream filling and flavored glazes. Very trendy, very hyped (overhyped?). I haven't tried the authentic cronut in NYC, only one of the good knockoffs in the Bay Area. (List of knockoff bakeries: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/san-francisco/your-ultimate-cronut-knockoff-rundown ) I tried the one at Beth's in Mill Valley, and I wasn't even looking for cronuts at the time. I was in Mill Valley for an event, and decided to kill time by checking out the bakery. When I saw croissant doughnuts filled with pastry cream in the bakery case, I realized what I was looking at. The pastries are outrageously decadent, and worth trying once. Myself, I can think of other pastries I'd rather spend the calories on.
  3. Your post reminded me of an excellent issue of Saveur mag, all about LA (#127). It came out 4 years ago, a lifetime in the food world, but I think the issue is still worth checking out for ideas. The featured articles are available online. Here: http://www.saveur.com/issues/issue-127?sort=features
  4. This is a blog about NJ food events and restaurant reviews. It can get you started. Jersey Bites: http://www.jerseybites.com/ About the writers and review policy, here: http://www.jerseybites.com/welcome/ Their Facebook page has more info about shops, restaurants, and events: https://www.facebook.com/JerseyBites
  5. I suggest cherry wine, or vin de cerise, which is a French country wine served as an aperitif. The summer-y fruitiness of this wine is much appreciated as a prelude to fall or winter dinners. I make Georgeanne Brennan's recipe. Here: http://www.epicureaders.com/recipe_0105_cherrywine.html A fifth of wine is basically a standard 750ml bottle. The wine doesn't have to be great, but do avoid a wine that is too tannic or otherwise very flawed. It should be drinkable as is. Now that you've reminded me, I should put up some of this wine myself while cherries are in season.
  6. Much good advice here. I can only say, find what you like to eat and appreciate it fully. I feel that's what gourmet means. It's true that traditionally a gourmet is supposed to be interested in exotic foods like foie gras or caviar or expensive wines, but that doesn't have to be so. In my neck of the woods, Alice Waters has made "fresh, local, seasonal"--and simple--as the epitome of good food with a gourmet cachet. My other advice is, find other people who are interested in good food and learn from them. Go out to dinner together and talk about food. Cook a meal together. Years ago, when I had a hobby job assisting cooking classes, I met a couple people who are still my friends today. One is a long-time professional cook, the other is one of the best home cooks I've ever met. We meet regularly for dinner, usually at a restaurant we want to check out, and we happily talk about food, and only food, for hours. We joke that we have to stick together for these dinners because nobody else we know will tolerate a dinner conversation entirely about food. So don't try to do this alone. You haven't mentioned where you're from, except the Northeastern U.S. If you can be more specific about your location, other EGulleters may be able to suggest people or places for your foodie explorations. Have you checked out your local Slow Food group? People there are interested in food in general, and artisanal foods and foraging in particular.
  7. Books Inc. doesn't have used books like Green Apple Books, but its new cookbook section (at least in the Laurel Village store) is substantial. I've found some good discounted cookbooks in its publishers' overstock section as well. If people are passing by one of these stores, it's worth wandering in and taking a look. The Fort Mason used bookstore is a delightful bookstore, and proceeds benefit the SF public library. http://www.friendssfpl.org/?Readers_FM
  8. A try-out bottle of 2011 Ghost Block Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Ghost Block is a Napa cab with a following, and now I know why. Sweet plummy aroma, abundant fruit with spice, an exotic fruit note in there, a bitter note too, even a hint of floral. Smooth tannins provide plenty of backbone. A well-balanced wine, with a long finish. My wine vendor says this is a "good" year for Ghost Block, as opposed to a great year, although this wine is on a par with other vintages. That does make me wonder what "great" means, because this wine is superb. Not a vintage I would cellar, though, very drinkable and delicious now. The winery takes its name from its flagship vineyard, located near an old graveyard of Napa Vly pioneers.
  9. Great blog, SobaAddict, thanks so much. I also recommend Books Inc, an independent bookstore chain in the Bay Area. I usually stop off at the store in Laurel Village, though I would expect the other stores in the Bay Area to be comparable. An extensive collection of new release cookbooks, and --best of all-- a nice selection of discounted cookbooks from publisher's overstock. http://www.booksinc.net/
  10. FYI, "Little Saigon" is the neighborhood that comprises Larkin St bordered by Eddy and O'Farrell Sts. The neighborhood has a rough edge to it. I feel fine walking around there during the day. At night, stay aware of your surroundings. Some Thai restaurants are settling in this neighborhood ("Little Bangkok"?), especially on the O'Farrell St. side. If you go to Dandelion Chocolate on Valencia St in the MIssion, the single source chocolate bars are something special to try. Also, there's an Arizmendi Bakery further down on Valencia St X 24th St, near BART 24th St Station. You've gotten a lot of recs here, SobaAddict. How long did you say you were going to stay? Three months?
  11. Did you mention anything to the waiter? In my experience, this kitchen is receptive to feedback. Buddha's hand citron is almost all peel. Handy for candied citron. I've candied it myself, the end result is delicious, but prepping those fingers into even pieces was...interesting. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/02/candied-citron-recipe/ Besides the Mission, especially Valencia St, there's the Hayes Valley neighborhood--20th Century Cafe (the Russian honey cake is a must), Rich Table, Smitten Ice Cream, Gourmet & More (for the cheese room). Zuni Cafe is in the same area, on Market St. I'm flying in the opposite direction in a few days. A family visit to the Boston area and Cape Cod. Hope you enjoy your trip to SF!
  12. djyee100

    Nutmeg and mace

    Whole mace is not that available at local stores, and yours is (presumably) very fresh. I suggest advertising and some local cooks might be interested in buying some, especially Indian and Thai cooks. That supply will not keep "fresh" for more than a few years at most. BTW, I brought home some whole mace from my trip to Thailand, and it molded within a few months. It was stored airtight in a cool, dark place. Could have been a problem with the particular mace that I bought. I also wondered if mace has a fair amount of moisture left in it, even when dried.
  13. djyee100


    I found this blog about salsify by chef-cookbook author Deborah Madison when I was surfing her website for something else. http://deborahmadison.com/two-long-roots-salsify-and-scoroznera/
  14. Some of the best sandwich breads I've ever eaten were served at the old Tassajara Bakery in SF a very long time ago. The recipes were co-developed by Deborah Madison, former exec chef at the Greens restaurant in SF and now cookbook author. The recipes are in her original Greens cookbook. The recipes are also in the Tassajara Bread Book (by Edward Espe Brown), but I find Madison's recipes better written and more reliable. Madison's other cookbooks contain bread recipes that are worth checking out, especially in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. In particular, I suggest that you look at the recipes for the Potato Bread and Dill Cottage Cheese Bread, both loaf pan breads that were used for sandwiches at the Tassajara Bakery. IIRC, the Greens restaurant in SF is still using these breads for the sandwiches at their take-out counter. Another possibility is to experiment with a challah dough baked in a loaf pan, which could make a suitable (and delicious) sandwich bread. There's a recipe for a lean challah in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It's made with water and veg oil, no milk. While surfing I found this recipe for sandwich bread. See post #8. https://community.cookinglight.com/showthread.php?100349-ISO-T-amp-T-Sandwich-Bread
  15. djyee100


    Interesting how SobaAddict and CatPoet have paired salsify with cream or other dairy. I once ate a memorably good risotto with salsify at a local restaurant, and that risotto had cheese in it, Bellwether Farms Crescenza cheese, which is buttery, creamy, and tart. The risotto had mushrooms, leeks, salsify, and red Belgian endive (radicchio) in it. If I were to cook this at home, I would start with a good recipe for the classic mushroom-leek risotto. I would cook the salsify per the simmer-saute method described by SobaAddict (post #2), then cut the salsify in bite-size pieces. The endive would be cut in bite-size strips and sauteed. Both the salsify and the endive would be added to the risotto at end of cooking time, along with the sauteed mushrooms. At the restaurant, the Crescenza cheese was dropped in a few dollops on the surface of the risotto. You could sub teleme cheese or sour cream/creme fraiche for this, or even mix in grated parmesan as in the classic mushroom-leek risotto. I think all of these cheeses would taste good.
  16. Well, be careful here. If you mix bright orange saffron with green pistachios, you might end up with a sauce that is murky brown. On top of beige pasta? Uh... Consider skipping the saffron altogether. It's expensive, and adding it to a pistachio pesto doesn't strike me as a good use for it. The pistachio pesto may overwhelm the saffron. As I see it, the dish is conceived that you taste the saffron in the pasta and the pistachio pesto side by side, not saffron and pistachio merged together in the sauce. If you want to perk up the pesto (and make the dish more attractive), you can sprinkle some lemon zest on top as a garnish. If you live in the Bay Area, you can find saffron pasta at the Pasta Shop (Rockridge, Oakland) and Phoenix Pasta (Berkeley).
  17. A class of hard cheeses from that part of the world are called "toma" (Italian Alps) or "tomme" (French Alps). Depending on the source of the milk, and who made the cheese, these cheeses have different flavor profiles. I assume your cheese is a cow's milk cheese. I suggest taking your cue from the Alpine origin of these cheeses, whether the Italian Piedmont region or the French Savoie, and check out some recipes from those areas. The Piedmont is famous for its truffles. Maybe bruschetta with sauteed mushrooms and cheese? This cheese might go with eggplant, though it sounds pretty different from mozzarella, which is the cheese commonly used with eggplant in Southern Italian cooking. The saltiness in your cheese might match up with grilled tomatoes and any kind of cooked beans, including green beans. The saltiness would also pair well with foods that are starchy, like baked potatoes stuffed with cheese, or grilled corn. I've made corn quesadillas from grilled corn cut off the cob, mild cheese, grilled/sauteed peppers, including chile peppers, and chopped cilantro. The mixture is stuffed into tortillas. Other kinds of flatbread would be good too. Other than that, Chinese foods are notoriously incompatible with cheese. I tried to remember what's available now in the Chinese markets. Sorry if you can't find any ingredients I mentioned. ETA: I bet Hazan's recipes from Aosta would work fine with this cheese, if the recipes call for a hard cheese.
  18. I do the same method, somewhat simplified. I was taught to cook the risotto up to the point that you're ready to add the last ladle of broth. Take the pan off the heat. To finish, reheat, add the last ladle of broth and any fillings. The couple times I tried this stop and hold method, it worked fine.
  19. Welcome to EGullet, Cacahuete. Are you asking about La Merced in Mexico City? Wikipedia describes the neighborhood as "marginalized and poor," and an unofficial red-light district where the authorities look the other way. A place to visit for the market, but not a place to stay as a tourist, IMO. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Merced_(neighborhood)#Socioeconomics As for culinary tours, I'm glad to recommend Nora at the Alma de mi Tierra Cooking School in Oaxaca, Mexico. I stayed there some years ago during the Day of the Dead festival, took cooking classes, visited various foodie places and artisans with Nora. She is very knowledgeable about the area. I would do her classes and tours again. Her website: http://almademitierra.net/ My Oaxaca trip on EGullet: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/109983-oaxaca-day-of-the-dead/ Years ago I heard about Nancy Zaslavsky from someone I was working with. She stayed with Nancy at San Miguel de Allende and praised the food and the setting. Other than that, I don't know anything about these tours--you'll have to check it out yourself. http://www.nancyzaslavsky.com/home.html
  20. I also suggest that you contact your county beekeepers' association.
  21. Spago in Beverly Hills makes a smoked salmon pizzetta that's one of its signature dishes. For all its reputation, it's simple to make. You bake the pizzetta crust with some sliced red onion, and when the pizza comes out of the oven, you garnish the bread with dill-flavored sour cream (I prefer creme fraiche), smoked salmon slices, chives and caviar. A little lemon zest on top tastes good too. I routinely sub salmon caviar for Spago's sevruga. The original recipe is here: http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/recipes/appetizers/Pizza-with-Smoked-Salmon-and-Caviar Dill Cream: http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/recipes/sauces-and-dressings/Dill-Cream ETA: I like this pizza with plain garlic oil. Years ago I attended a cooking demo by Jean-Pierre Moullé, then exec chef at Chez Panisse. He made an appetizer of salmon rillettes. Here's the recipe if you want to play with it. Salmon Rillettes, adapted recipe from Chef Jean-Pierre Moullé: Combine 1 lb King salmon, steamed and flaked; 1/4 lb smoked salmon, finely diced; 1 TB EACH finely chopped chervil, chives, parsley; 1 large shallot, diced fine; juice of 1/2 lemon; 2 TB softened butter; 2 TB olive oil; a little yogurt (optional); S & P (generous with the pepper). Mash and combine lightly. The texture should be very coarse like tunafish. Refrigerate for 1 hr. This recipe can be made one day ahead. Serve on toasts. Notes: Moullé wrapped the salmon in plastic wrap, steamed it until medium rare, let it cool, then flaked it. He said this inhibited the fishy smell. (I haven't made this recipe, so I dunno.) For something decadent, you can stuff the rillettes in pâte à choux, and serve with an aperitif of white wine or champagne.
  22. This company is on the Local Harvest website. Other than that, I don't know anything about them. http://www.localharvest.org/the-honey-and-hive-company-M34984 I was referred to the Local Harvest website (for something else) by my CSA. It's been a handy place to start looking for organic local producers. You can do a search for honey by zip code on the home page.
  23. Thanks for the travelogue. Loved the pix and your costumes!
  24. I'm not sure what claim Cliver was supposed to make. He began his experiments on one subject (disinfectants) only to discover something unexpected and new. Cliver found that wooden boards had anti-bacterial properties in the sense that they inhibited the growth of bacteria. Other researchers have replicated this phenomenon, but nobody knows why it happens.
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