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Posts posted by Batard

  1. that's why you have to know your producer...sad but true...in most cases we just think because we can buy it that it's safe...remember the China fiasco...so again know what you eat and drink the best you can...Cheers !!!

    All of that is true as far as I know. But the question still stands. Why aren't US wines tested and held to the same standards that we apply to imports? My gut tells me that we use different standards of evaluation for imported and domestic wines.

  2. That's Rachel Maddow, MSNBC talking head and left-leaning pundit. She is a political reporter, and was probably doing this because Obama recently had a cocktail party at the White House. I wouldn't make much out of this, she took over for Keith Olbermann.

  3. I watched Gordon Ramsey slicing into a very crusty bread in this

    . He is crushing the bread (with his right hand), sawing away at it with a serrated bread knife, and getting crumbs everywhere. You get a sense of a chef's human fallibility in the video, because he burned the first piece of toast and had to do it again. Sometimes it is as important for an aspiring cook to see and understand a mistake than to see something done with perfect technique.

    But what I'd like to know is, what knife is using to cut the bread? I know that the knife obsessed can see just the point of a knife and tell you who made it and how it was made. A challenge to those knife savants: what knife Ramsey was using?

  4. I find it interesting that US wines were not tested ... they say there is there's no source for data on heavy metals in U.S. wines. I wonder how true that is, and if it is true, why such data is gathered. Do wine companies lobby against it?

  5. Can you use pigs feet in a stock or something along that nature? I'm getting 20 of them tomorrow and while I think I can turn a couple into something for me to eat, I doubt my wife is going to be so game! So I'm looking for ways to use them that do not involve serving the trotters directly: suggestions?

    Hi Chris, better late than never ...

    How about a pork aspic? Cook the trotters as for soup, but use just enough water to cover the trotters and whatever mild seasoning you decide to add. Skim like crazy because you want it clear. When all that nice cartilage and fat are rendered out of the trotters, chill it overnight until it sets and then remove the fat from the top. The broth should be hard like jello, in a good way. Fill up a loaf pan a little less than halfway to the top, allow to set a bit, and then add some filling (it could be fresh peas and carrots, anything you think would look nice floating in the aspic). Then top off the loaf pan with the rest of the broth and chill until set. A nice addition to a summer lunch.

    My wife calls this "pig jelly". :raz:

  6. I was making Pepin's version of veal brown stock, and the recipe called for roasting fresh tomatoes OR substituting a certain amount of tomato paste. The first time I made it I just threw the paste from the can. What a mess that turned out to be, too sweet and overpowering with tomato. Next time I browned the paste. Even though the recipe didn't mention doing that, I knew the trick from making sauces. That made all the difference. Where I just had an unpleasant tomatoey tang before, now I had deep, complex, vaguely nutty flavors that harmonized with he stock.

    Like the Maillard reaction, caramelization is a type of non-enzymatic browning. However, unlike the Maillard reaction, caramelization is pyrolysis, as opposed to reaction with amino acids.

    I always thought that I was caramelizing the sugars in the tomatoes. My question is, why do the tomatoes get less sweet when "browning" them? If I'm NOT "caramelizing" the tomatoes, what exactly am I doing? I'm confused, because I know caramelizing sugar takes a bit of time, but tomato paste cooks out rather quickly. Some clear definitions would be helpful.

  7. I'm not an expert, but I have traveled quite a bit in China. My relatives were happy to teach me the "correct" way to eat noodles. Biting is not the preferred way, but if the noodles are super long it's acceptable. Pick up some noodles with the chopsticks and put the noodles in your mouth. Hold the noodles in your mouth and slurp them in, but not like a little kid eating spaghetti. Use the chopsticks to grab the bottom of the noodles and continue feeding the noodles into your mouth. If the noodles are long, sometimes you will have to grab them two or three times to get it all in. If you don't slurp people will think you are odd. Eating noodles in a room full of people is a very loud, slurpy, social event.

    If you are taking noodles from a family style dish, make sure you grab the noodles and lift them very high, so that nothing that you touched with your chopsticks falls back into the community bowl. I've seen people stand up at the table to raise their noodles high enough. It's considered uncouth to touch something with your chopsticks and not remove it from the plate. Always take food from the side of the dish closest to you, and don't dig around for special morsels; just take what you touch. Then drop the noodles in your own dish and slurp away as described above. Never lick your chopsticks or anything like that, they are just for bringing food up to your mouth. It's polite to take a choice morsel from the main dish and give it to your significant other, but don't do that unless it is someone you are intimate with.

    Pouring and drinking tea is even more ritualized.

  8. I like to roll a block of tuna in sesame seeds and carefully sear it off. More traditionally, you would use bonito, which holds up to this treatment well and stays moister than ahi when cooking. After searing the fish, let it cool a bit and then wrap in plastic wrap before slicing (if you don't wrap it, it's difficult to slice cleanly even with a sharp knife: the sesame seeds will form a crust). Serve with ponzu sauce.

    Ponzu Sauce

    - 3 tbsp fresh Lime juice

    - 3 tbsp Soy Sauce

    - 100g Daikon Radish (3 1/2 oz) grated

    - 2 Long Green Onions chopped

    Grate the daikon (it should look like applesauce). Add daikon directly to lime juice.

    Add the soy and thinly chopped scallion.

    Yummy. :wub:

  9. I've compared a Global GS-3 (chef's) and a Global GS-5 (bread) side by side. For me it depends on the crust. Once I'm past the crust, the chef's knife is better, it makes cleaner slices. But the chef's knife is not so good at getting through a crust, so I can end up pushing down too hard trying to get the knife to bite and crush the bread. My goto knife for bread these days turns out to Togiharu santoku, it can punch through the crust and slice the bread cleanly with no crumbs or tearing.

  10. "Han Ah Reum, the Korean mega-market in Hackensack, New Jersey"

    Not to mess with your great story, but technically, it's in Little Ferry*, just north of the Route 46 circle, in case anyone wants to find it on the map. I shop there every Friday/Saturday. It is very crowded, but they only have those delicious freshly flown-in Korean oysters on weekends.

    And yes, you can draw a straight line from Steinbeck, to the dust bowl, to California, to César Chávez, to grapes. As an Steinbeck fan and former English major, it is always nice to see allusions to this Great American Novel.

    * Han Ah Reum

    260 Bergen Turnpike

    Little Ferry, NJ 07643

    PS: I've never seen a "Hello Kitty" display there, but it's a nice story detail. :)

  11. I found this line in online instructions for making confit:

    Let the fat render out on the stove for about 2-3 hours depending on how low you have your flame. Be sure to give the fat a good stir with some tongs about every 1/2 hour.
    I wonder what Chef Tom would think? :unsure:
  12. Manton, I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading your posts. Not only do I learn things and get a huge vicarious thrill from your experience, next time I go to L'Ecole I can say I know the chef! And there will be a day down the road when you will appreciate having kept such excellent notes. Best wishes!

  13. Tim, thanks for starting the topic. Great screen capture.

    What's a spider steak?

    I recently asked this question on another forum. Here's the answer I got.


    The French name for the cut is la fausse-araignée and there have been articles written in the NY Times by Tony Bourdain and Eric Asimov discussing this cut.

    The muscle which works the coccygeus or tail of the bovine.  I think this name is M. Soleus (not sure what M. means) and is clearly identified on the New Zealand Meat Specifications Guide as muscle 80 and on the hindquarter outside view #1300 as M. Soleus.

    There is also a United Nations glossary which identifies the muscle as the obturatorius externus.

    And finally, another site describes the Araignee Beef Cut as "A muscle in an ox that lines the socket of the hock bone. The membrane which covers it is streaked with veins reminiscent of a spider’s web. A highly prized delicacy which is rarely for sale. Best eaten grilled."

    This lovely single-portion cut usually ends up as hamburger in the USA. I am also looking for a NYC source for Araignee, as as well as la poire. The French Butcher or Les Halles Market might be good places to start.

  14. About 15 years ago I bought my first set of knives: a 6-piece block set of Henckels Twinstar plus Knives. What a disaster, they were very expensive and dull in two months. I learned my lesson. Ladies and gentlemen, there IS NO SUCH THING as a knife that NEVER needs to be sharpened. :angry:

  15. If it's gotten to the point where the most noteworthy moment of an episode is a puppy love interlude between two emotionally-needy cheftestants, Top Chef is really swirling the bowl this season. I think maybe I'll start switching over to "Flavor of Love".

    Being a New Yorker (sort of), I also find it a little embarrassing that the arguably worst season of Top Chef is taking place in a city with some of the best food in the world.

  16. Geez - given their dad's uber-healthy aproach to eating, I'm sure Sasha and Malia will be dining on steamed vegetables and fresh fruit soon enough.  Let them have a day just to eat for fun -- and a fine round-up of patriotic, non-elitist American foods it was. Nothing could be more appropriate than burgers and pizza on Inauguration Day!

    And, twenty years around kids leads me to suggest that it's a rare child indeed who will abandon pizza for a fruit plate.

    I agree totally. Healthy eating should be guided by common sense: there's nothing wrong with a hot dog or pizza or french fries once in a while, and even as an adult I would never want to eradicate these foods from my life. If I'm going to a big party, I don't expect to be served a fruit plate. A very smart dietitian once told me that its not the hot dog you eat once a week that's the problem, it's what you eat the other six days.

    And he drowns everything I make in ketchup.

    I did the same thing as a kid, not because I liked ketchup, but because I saw all the other kids doing it.

  17. I've never see a 9" Santoku before, and I'm wondering if that is an appropriate length for a Santoku? If you need a knife that long, why not just go with a chef's knife, where all that length wouldn't seem so awkward? I'd also be concerned because they describe the handle in detail, but don't really talk much about blade. The first thing I'd want to know is what sort of steel it is made of, not how great the handle is.

  18. I think foods down the food chain need consideration too. As far as produce goes, there are some fruits and vegetables that are much more likely to contain pesticides than others. The following list is compiled from results obtained by the USDA and the Environmental Working Group.

    1. Nectarines – 97.3% (97.3% of all nectarines tested contained measurable pesticides)

    2. Celery – 94.5%

    3. Pears – 94.4%

    4. Peaches – 93.7%

    5. Apples – 91%

    6. Cherries – 91%

    7. Strawberries – 90%

    8. Imported Grapes – 86%

    9. Spinach – 83.4%

    10. Potatoes – 79.3%

    11. Bell Peppers – 68%

    12. Red Raspberries – 59%

  19. From my reading, which is certainly not comprehensive, it seems that the key ingredient that makes vinegar healthy is a gelatinous bacteria called "mother of vinegar”. Apparently you get no health benefit from consuming vinegar that doesn’t contain this. Unfortunately, most commercial producers remove the “mother” before bottling because -- it’s not very pretty. From a marketing angle, clear vinegar sells better than cloudy vinegar. I don’t know how true all that health talk is or if there is any science to back it up, but I thought it was worth raising the issue.

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