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Everything posted by Magictofu

  1. I love to cook but contrary to what many people said here, I would certainly hire a private chef if I had the means, particularly for those occasions when I would rather do something else than cooking. I have to admit that in order to work properly, he/she would have to kick my ass out of the kitchen.
  2. I own this one as well... I find it a bit hardcore I use this as a last resource when my other more user friendly books fail to identify a rare mushroom or when they do not provide enough details.
  3. You need very little flour... too much and nothing will stick. If you don't put anything, the eggs won't stick either. You might want to add a little bit of water to your eggs to thin them out... it also helps.
  4. Magictofu

    Easter Ham

    Being French-Canadian, my typical answer would be split pea soup. Traditionally this is done with a ham bone and leftover bits of ham. I am sure you will find a few recipes using google... recipes varies from familly to familly. Otherwise, I would suggest quiche or a ham pot pie. Or simply ham steaks to go with eggs for a sunday brunch (you can add a little maple sirup to the ham... its so good!). You could also make a risotto or even add them to tamales or ravioli. A tiny bit cooked with fresh peas and onions can also make a great accompaniement... Cantonese fried rice is another good option.
  5. I do not know much about this area but I would really encourage you to try your luck with the simpler guide books first. For mushroom hunting try to focus on a few easy to identify species: morels, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, shaggy manes and giant puffballs. Some guidebooks are better suited for beginners, as said in a previous post Fisher and Bessette's "Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America" is a great start. You might be able to find a local mushroom hunting club in your area... this is a great way to learn. As for other wild edibles, I own "Edible wild plants: a North American Guide" which is alright but I find that the focus is way too large (the whole continent! ). You might find something more appropriate at a local bookstore or outdoor sports store. Good luck.
  6. Not a pan sauce but as easy: chive oil... especially good with scallops wrapped in prociutto... This dish has that slight kitch side that insures against too much of a chichi look.
  7. Question: Can you make a butter sauce (e.g. beurre blanc) with clarified butter? I made a large batch of crab butter and would love to transform it into sauces. Because the butter has to be melted and the impurities removed in the making of any crustacean butter, the resulting butter becomes automatically some kind of variation of clarified butter. Last week, I tried to make the equivalent of a beurre blanc with my crab butter but the sauce split... So far, I still can't explain what happened exactly... I am quite sure I did not make any mistake (such as using too much heat) ... Is it possible that since clarified butter is no longer an emulsion of fat, buttermilk and milk solids it becomes almost impossible to emulsify a sauce with such a butter? If this is the case, I guess my last hope would be to make some kind of hollandaise sauce...
  8. I have to agree... even when you don't find anything, mushroom hunting is great... and with a bit of experience and some knowledge of the forest you are visitng, you are almost sure to find something. My three favourite books are: 1) Roger Phillips' "Mushrooms and other Fungi of North America" for the very detailed pictures. 2) Fisher and Bessette's "Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America" is great for beginners and very helpful for the major edible species... I don't recommend it for its recipes though 3) George Barron's "Mushrooms of Northeast North America" is a great pocket book which I tend to carry with me when mushroom hunting. I have a few other books but these are really those I use the most. I also have a few other field guides for edible wild plants too... but I generally tend to favor mushrooms over berries and wild vegetables.
  9. In my area (Ottawa, Canada) we generally do not get anything before the very end of April (mostly black morels). Mid May is the time for yellow morels... we even get a few late ones in early June. Both types grow in different habitat so one has to adapt his strategy depending on the season. Around here, I mostly find black morels under fir and spruce trees and particularly in disturbed areas (along trails for instances). Yellow morels tend to grow around poplars and a few other trees (people talk a lot about helms but never had luck with these). In all cases, I never find morels in densely forested areas. And I love the yellow foot chanterelles you mentioned! Their taste is not necessarily the best but their look is stunning... they are great as garnishes in consommés. The great thing with these is that once you know where and when they grow, you have a very reliable harvest every year.
  10. Smoked boletes... this sounds very interesting. How did you used them? I guess we are lucky not to have limits around here... mushroom picking is not a very popular activity in this part of Canada so I guess there is no need for such limits. Right now we still have a few flurries so my guess is that the morel season will start a bit late.
  11. I guess you are right on this... but it does not take months not even years to learn to make moderately thin noodles. I don't think I'll ever be able to make the ultra-thin version but I would be very satisfied to be able to reliably make some kind of noodles this way. I am also aware that there are a great variety of stretched noodles out there but I believe the technique is still essentially the same. Whether one is talking about the those made by the Uigurs or the Lanzhou lamian the technique looks very similar... oil is replaced by flour here, some alkaline is used there, etc.... at the end the noodles are still hand stretched in a similar fashion... unless I am missing something (which may well be the case). If I can't learn by myself, here in Canada, I will probably try to find someone to teach me in China when I get back there to see the family... This is by far the most difficult cooking I have ever tried... I don't know what's the fuss about souffles... this is way harder! My girlfriend is encouraging me but I know she secretly laugh at me for trying this.
  12. 50 pounds of kings in a single day! I am jealous! The problem here is that most of the land around here is private which is a pitty because the forest is quite productive and no-one but the deers benefit from the bounty. This greatly limit the amount of mushroom you can get in single day... and since kings tend to be infested with magots, I rarely come back home with more than 10 good ones (which is good considering the size of these mushrooms). I have seen a nice recipe in one of the El-Bulli books where kings were confited in olive oil and then sliced thinly into some sort of carpaccio... I will definitly try this recipe in the fall.
  13. Most mushroom hunters tend to be quite secretive about their favorite spots but love sharing their passion with others... The best way to convince someone to join you is to propose to go in a specific forest. In late summer and early fall, you can find mushrooms almost everywhere in the North East but mixed forests with both Oak and Pine trees often have the most mushrooms. You might find mushroom hunting clubs in your area too. It is a great way to learn.
  14. Actually... it tells me that my dough is probably not wet enough...
  15. I recently opened my jar and the smell did improve a lot. I was affraid that I would not like my grade B tahitian beans but things are getting much better now... maybe I am simply in a better mood too! I also started to use my beans in other applications with good success. I took a few pictures for those of you who are interested. Nothing really fancy yet but I am working on it. One of the first thing I have done with my extra beans was a series of fresh fruit custard pies (no pictures taken) which were quite good but not the greatest I have eaten. Then I decided to cook something that would let me appreciate the flavour of my beans more directly: A rice pudding: And some vanilla and parmesan pasta following an idea from Ferran Adria: Both quite good but I think I would prefer the bourbon beans to the tahitian ones with the pasta. Where my tahitian beans were at their best however was in my poached pear recipe (no pictures). For some reason, these were the best poached pears I have ever done... and were extremely simple (a small amount of brandy + simple sirup + a tiny piece of lemon zest + a few drops of lemon juice + two tahitian beans). I used the remaining poaching syrup to flavour a cold green tea and the result was, again, spectacular. I can't wait to try my extract!
  16. Failure again last weekend... the problem is that my dough strech ok for the first two stretch but then it reaches a point where it becomes very stiff. I wonder if its about tehcnique or recipe/dough. So far, I achieved my best results with italian 00 flour but I still can't explain why. I'll try again soon...
  17. I finally found a picture of morels in my collection. These dried morels were added in our Valentine's day diner along with a brocolli and pea flan, lobster and a morel beurre blanc. We still have some morels to finish before the beginning of the new season... any ideas? We mostly eat them in cream sauces but I would really like to see what other people are doing with morels.
  18. We don't have the prince around here but we do have other nice mushrooms... here's a few pictures in anticipation of the next season (sorry no morels)... Mostly Yellow Chanterelles and Black Trumpets Lobster mushrooms Hedgehogs King boletes And a mix of sauteed mushrooms, including hedgehogs, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms and lobster mushrooms. (edited to fix the pictures)
  19. I understand and share your passion. I consider myself quite lucky because I have been able to find reliable patches for almost all kinds of mushrooms... with the exception of matsutake (pine mushroom). I know they grow around here but had no luck... this is for a different season though. And by the way, I'd love to see what's in your baskets!
  20. I have a different experience, especially with morels... when they grow in one spot one year, they will be there the next... which is good because I know a few spots offering over 100 morels per year.
  21. Magictofu


    I changed my mind... there is no way the first batch will improve... it is definitely going to waste. My guess is that yeast got in before anything could happen and wasted the whole bucket. My second batch smells much better than the first one. The reason?... I have no clue... less contact with the air maybe. Or maybe the cabbage are just less reliable at this time of the year. And my plastic bags did not seem to leak.
  22. I don't even give a first rise to my dough before puting it in the fridge. If you leave your dough in the fridge for over 24h, it should slightly rise, even if cold. Then, when you take it out of the fridge (say 2-3 hours before using it) it will rise again. When yusing a dough that is wet enough (like pizaa dough) I don't find it necessary to punch it down.
  23. I always keep my dough in the fridge at least overnight before letting it proof. You get better flavour this way. I find it easier to divide my dough before placing it in the fridge. I use one plastic box for each ball of dough. Don't forget to take your dough out of the fridge well in advance as cold dough won't rise.
  24. Magictofu


    Because these seeds are very hard... you want them to puff a little bit like pop corn to have them as breakfast cereals.
  25. I have heard something similar before... I think salt simply stressed the plant hence slowing the development of the fruit which in turn is more concentrated. At least this is what I remember... it might be a different issue here.
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