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Everything posted by spqr

  1. In addition to swimmiing the breadth of t he Niagara River, the other primary right of passage for teens in my home town (Grand Island, NY) was guzzling a bottle of Boone's Farm wine. I chose the Apple version, and nearly died I was so sick. The only other drink that qualifies is the tecquila and champaign shooter: fill shot glass 3/4 full of good tecquila, add 1/4 splash of champaign. Cover with cloth and bang the shot glass down on the bar to create heavy fizz and then shoot it all down in one gulp. These things are pure evil.
  2. I wish I could be more articulate regarding this topic. I read "food writing" voraciously, and I am more often unsatisfied than otherwise with it. However, there are exceptions. I read Calvon Trillin, and, once I stop laughing and dry my eyes, I come away thinking this man knows and loves food more than anyone, and some of that enthusiasm has rubbed off on me. I read Thorne and come away breathless at the erudition, historical depth and philosophical perspective he brings to the table. Ed Behr, on the other hand, leaves me cold. His knowledge about and commitment to food is unquestioned, but his essays are deadly dull. Laurie Colwin's short gems are well worth a second or third read. Cook's Illustrated reads like so many lab experiment worksheets. MFK Fisher's writing is just plain awesome, even if it is in large part "reporting". But it is also so much more. I don't look for mere reporting. Any hack can competently tell me what a visit to this or that restaurant is like, or what Spring in Les Marches has to offer. If I trust the hack's taste, his reports can be useful, but I wouldn't otherwise value the writing per se. This is why food mags in general are impossible to read and enjoy. There is way too much reportage being written and far too few stories or reflections based on personal experiences and struggles.
  3. Need more info please: what channel is it on? Who hosts? What problem do you have with the show? And, etc.
  4. I don't eat ramen now and have no desire to begin, but thanks for the tip on Tampopo. I'll check it out.
  5. The point has been made before that these kids are not professional chefs, and the hardworking pros in the Babbo kitchen should not be evaluating them as if they were. This is what made that show a blatant setup. That there are many others who would kill for a chance to cook at Babbo is very irrelevant to the point that this show set up these unwitting kids for failure for the TV audience's entertainment. I wonder what the kids took away with them from this experience. It surely couldn't have encouraged them in their pursuit of culinary education.
  6. I'm with you. This was clearly a setup, and I couldn't help feeling that Batali and co were just toying with these two kids like a cat toys with its mouse before it kills it. What's the point of that? I'd have liked to see Mario take these kids under his wing and teach them something and help them along, rather than using them to get a couple of cheap laughs. This is probably the lowest point the Food Network has sunk in its long decline.
  7. I just watched Dinner Rush last night. I'm with those who thought it was a pretty good movie. It was one part conventional mob storyline and 2 parts of Bourdain's vision of what happens behind the scenes in a restaurant. What startled me most was the characterization of the people who flock to star chefs and trendy eateries as being snobs, assholes and otherwise venal to the nth degree. Nice touch. And let me add that the movie scores very big on the eye candy scale.
  8. spqr

    lobster advice

    Hopleaf: Thank you, you too.
  9. spqr

    lobster advice

    Hopleaf..note that I did mention that I was humorless today, and so I answered the question straight rather than with humor. Okay? Get it? Jeez! (no emoticon necessary)
  10. spqr

    lobster advice

    this is all so bizarre because everyone claims that there way is the least painless. who the fuck knows? people get behind this crap without one ounce of thought, and then try to pass it off as science. baffling i tell ya. Someone please let me know when Tommy exhibits at least one ounce of thought (and I don't mean 10 years ago either) on any subject.
  11. spqr

    lobster advice

    yes. it is important to treat them with the consideration and respect that their natural enemies extend when devouring them on the ocean floor. we don't need any more negative karma in the world, what with you barbarians killing these creatures without wearing kid gloves. Tommy: we are not their "natural enemies" in the sense you meant. Even so, I doubt that lobster predators, at the bottom of the ocean, intentionally devise complicated, and possibly tortuous, ways of killing the things. They just kill and eat. That is what we should do also. Sticking a skewer into their spine, or whatever the procedure Kpurvis describes, for a newby, would probably involve unnecessary "agony" (whatever that is) for the lobster. If you simply cut it in half you instantly kill the thing. If you drop it into boiling water you almost instantaneously kill the thing. I'm no lobster hugger, that's for sure. But the proper way to dispatch a lobster is quickly, technically and morally.
  12. spqr

    lobster advice

    Is this done out of respect for the recently departed? (humorless today) No...to make it easier to complete the cutting action.
  13. spqr

    lobster advice

    If your lobsters are very lively on friday night, they'll keep well in the fridge overnight sitting on seaweed and covered with damp towels. Please do not torture your lobsters as you try to kill them. A very quick way to dispatch them is as follows, using a sharp chef's knife: Place lobster down on counter, head toward you. Plunge tip of knife into the lobster just behind the head and quickly bring the knife down to bisect the head. The lobster is now dead. Turn lobster so head faces away from you and continue the cut through the lobster's body, bisecting it. I don't know if this is the proper prep for your Martin Yan recipe, but it's a quick and sure way to kill your lobster without having to mess around poking the poor thing with skewers.
  14. Amen, Brother Awbrig. (Although I would have said it's a despicable policy instead of merely a "poor decision".)
  15. These won't work for homemade egg pasta, but how about the olive oil based linguine (or spaghetti) with clams (clam sauce), or spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and hot pepper flakes? Olive oil, garlic and sauteed vegetables and/or with mushrooms?
  16. Food - 85% The rest - 15% At Sofia's, I'd be interested to know what else "improved" along with the prices. Was it the same food, prepared in the same way? By the same person? I'd be pretty pissed off that prices had increased so much for no apparent reason, and decide not to patronize the place for just that one reason irrespective of the quality of the food.
  17. I've read that there's a connection of some kind between salty condiments, like Worcestershire sauce, Thai fish sauce, and the like with the ancient Roman condiment made from fermented fish called garum. But what is the connection, really? Is there a direct historical connection between all these various condiments, or is this a case where many cultures independently developed sauces from fermented fish?
  18. Ron Popeil gets my vote, for his rotisserie grill infomercials. He's mastered the art of using food porn to sell an appliance. "Look at this Jill, my FAVorite: BAY-BEE BACK RIBS!" I've wondered about AirCore and a couple of similar productes I've seen. They appear to be nothing more than pressure cookers, but they leave me cold because casseroles are less sexy that roasted foods.
  19. spqr

    Grilled Turkey

    I remember seeing Bobby Flay grill a turkey somewhere, so I suppose it can be done. But I would suggest instead grill-roasting it. That is, light one side of your gas grill or make a fire and then rake the coals to one side of the grill and then place your trussed or spatchcocked bird on the opposite side of the grill so it cooks with indirect heat. Close the lid and bake until done. I've done this many times, and I can verify that the method is virtually foolproof and it produces great results.
  20. Heard from a Chicago informant yesterday that Charlie Trotter's marriage is on the rocks and that "she" is asking for the wine cellar as the settlement. Can anyone confirm or deny?
  21. Let's get back on topic, eh? It appears that Mario's new pizza joint isn't going after basic Neopolitan pizza. It's going after a Sardinian thing. Never having tried this kind of pizza, I'm intrigued. I'm looking forward to the first egulleteer's reviews.
  22. Mario rocks. One of these days I hope to taste his cooking.
  23. Ten bucks on the goose fat. Any takers?
  24. spqr

    Deboning chicken leg

    I think the keys to successfully bone out a chicken leg are: 1> a very sharp knife 2> start at the drumstick end and work your way north, carefully scraping against the bone 3> begin work on the tendons and any remaining bits of gristle after the main bone structure has been removed. I cut away all the bony tendons and as many of the others as is practical, focusing on the ends where they attach to the bone - these are the tough bits and the rest of the tendon kinda melts away when cooked. 4>for stuffing them, first pound out the boned leg between two sheets of plastic wrap. The pounding aids in breaking down the tendons a bit too. 5> in order to get some chicken meat for Chinese cooking, I would use the breast instead of the leg because it's one big muscle and not a number of smaller muscles. As you've discovered, it's hard to prep a leg for this kind of yield, but if I had to I'd stick with the thigh rather than the drum because it's easier to cut away the meat and there are no tendons to worry about in the thigh.
  25. spqr

    Some Lasagna Questions

    I grew up eating my mother's facsimile version of my Aunt Carmella's Italian American - style lasagne, even though her version didn't come close to my aunt's. This type of ricotta-based cheesey lasagne is wonderfully American in it's heavyness and excess. But as I wrote earlier, once I tried making a bechamel-based, Bolognese lasagne I switched for good. It's lighter, the flavor of the cheeses packs more of a wallop, it's far creamier than any ricotta-based lasagne could ever hope to be, and, umm, I like it better. I hope Tommy makes lasagne today, and I hope he reports back what he decided to make and how it turned out, and I hope he posts a picture.
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