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Everything posted by Stevarino

  1. I need some technical help with making "Fonduta." Fontina Val d'Aosta, milk, butter, egg yolks, white truffle love... Sometimes the cheese behaves badly. It gets tight, it gets grainy, its too thin... And then... how do you eat the Fonduta? Sorry if the topic has already been covered
  2. Chufi, I was enjoying your pictorial, and then.. "HEY! Look at that!" I met Silvio Meletti, here in the states, about 4 years ago! I loved the art work so much that he gave me a couple posters, and signed one, under his Grandfather's (Silvio too) name. I framed them and they hang on my wall. Great stuff! Love the Amaro as well! The "Pink Meletti" looks very refreshing, and that Piazza is stunning! Thanks for sharing.
  3. Tomatoes freeze fine; it's what happens to them when they thaw out! Have you ever made oven dried tomatoes? Absolutely delicious. Blanch em in boiling water for a few seconds, and shock in ice water. Peel the skin away, cut in half horizontally, and squeeze out the seeds. Lay em on a pan & drizzle generously with olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Put them in a 200 degree oven over night. The flavor intensifies by reducing the water content, and increases also increases the shelf life. If you handle them properly, you can pack them oil, for even longer storage in the refrigerator. Dice these up & and em to your pistou. The results will be worth your while.
  4. What about the wine? To me, what can make a dish a "Contemporary Masterpiece" is to have it perfectlycomplement the wine in the glass by its side. Italy is a gold mine for such a concept. Instead of trying to "impress" by making ice cream out of Parmigiano Reggiano, I would focus my efforts on taking a wine from a region; a Verdicchio from Le Marche, a Legrein from Alto Adige, an Aglianico from Campagna, (the list goes on for awhile) and CREATE a new dish that is original, and at the same time, CONTEMPORARY, but still "TRUE TO ITS REGION," using ingredients, and historical influences, as is appropriate. In a restaurant setting, I guess the challenge would be to sell it to Mr & Mrs. Chianti. I have yet to find any authoratative writing on this subject, but I have heard it said, "if it grows together, it goes together," and I believe that classics exist regionally, not just because, but because it goes well with the wine from the village of origin. Why else would it exist?
  5. Ellie, The chicken shawarma looks really tasty! I have never had the opportunity to have the real thing. Most of what I have seen/witnessed, is the ground meat looking thing, that I've never found to be very appetizing. And that place looks very tight, organized, focused, and clean, unlike the places with the ground meat stick. I wanted to ask about the garlic sauce. Is it like a alioli/ olive oil emulsion? Would you say that Turkish/Ottoman style of cooking is the major influence in Lebanese cuisine? and what would be some things that make the two different? Thanks
  6. Back in 1985 at CIA, Rocco was fresh out of High school, and he was very popular with the ladies. My buddy, classmate, was his roommate, and he filled me in on Rocco's score card. He kept in touch with him for awhile after school, and he was in Boston, working at the Four Seasons Hotel, working on a degree from BU. We went to New York for a Hotel/Restaurant show @ Javits , and we got the VIP treatment at his new restaurant, Union Pacific. It was incredible what that kid had done with his career. He worked his ass off to get to that point! He told us he got a visit at UP from Ferdinand Metz & Tim Ryan, President & Vice President respectively at CIA, where they came to congratulate him on his success, and to have dinner, of course. That doesn't happen to every kid that goes to CIA. Rocco was doing that cooking show on the food network too, which I can't remember the name of. He was on Oprah, on the cover of Food & Wine... he was a "Celebrety Chef"! Celebrety Chefs get TV spots, product endorsements, and I would assume, money! I have no idea how much he got paid for doing "The Restaurant", but I'm sure it was more than Italian restaurant Chefs that serve spaghetti & meatballs get paid. Yeah, the show sucked right out of the gate. I was really expecting to see him in the kitchen, not spending all his time taking photo ops. I think this is why we are all so disappointed with Rocco. We were counting on him to show some real-life kitchen drama, and all we got was BS. Rocco's a good guy. He made a mistake doing that show, and I'm sure he regrets it. Its not easy being a Chef, by any stretch, but he should've made a better meatball. I say we should give him a second chance.
  7. I recommend that you check out a book titled "Becoming a Chef" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Hayes. Its very interesting to know what made these Chefs stand above the rest. There are just some things that you can't learn in Culinary school. However, education is always important, and there is a chapter in there on that subject as well. It is also important to plant yourself in a city where people appreciate good food, and are willing to pay for it. NYC comes to mind. If you are young, its a great place to cut your teeth in the culinary world. Traveling to Europe will also help you to understand food, if you can financially swing that. It will make a big impact in the way you approach food. Good Luck in your endeavors, Stevarino
  8. What Darden does so well, as most others do, is "Market" the concept, invest in the "perception", and load up on the "Top End Puppet Masters". The individual outlets are no more than glorified McDonalds, based on economic formulas, contracted pricing, and low paying, low skill kitchen jobs. It is what it is, and if people buy in to it, and choose to support this kind of insult to our cultural base and pride in craftmanship, then, have at it. The choice is yours to make.
  9. Stevarino

    Sysco Food

    Gfron: "It seems to me that these companies set atop a slippery slope for restaurant buyers. It is "easy" for a chef to use these distributors because of the convenience, and sometimes the price, but where do chefs draw their line. For example, a chef may start by buying frozen chicken breasts. Then the convenience of having them pre-cut in strips for the chicken salad creeps in. Then why not get the teriyaki merinated strips...saves another step doesn't it? And so the food is no longer the restaurant's, it seems to me, but the distributors - in essence private labelling." Not Sysco's fault. I'm not saying this to defend a Corporate giant, but its just plain economics. They do a pretty good job, as much as I hate to admit that. My salesman works very hard to service the account, and he is a former Chef, so therefore, he understands the business. They do have some higher end products available through partnerships, such as Honolulu Fish Co., and others, whereby, they simply handle the accounting of the order. Very convenient. An interesting point was raised about Canada VS US Sysco. I'd like to think that Canada is more like Europe than the US, in terms of food/restaurant culture. If anybody can add to that, I'd be interested to know if Canada's kitchens/restaurants operate as they do in the US. This is probably worth a thread on its own.
  10. Thank you all for your input There is obviously a difference between pomace oil and EVOO. I have a hard time accepting that people think that pomace oil has any distinguishable quality oil features. I guess that once one adds the "stuff", pomace oil is "good enough" but could be better. The remainder lies in the practicality of economics, and whether to dip, or not to dip. Many of us understand that EVOO on its own should not be adulterated, distracting our attention from its own unique subtleties. Quality olive oil drizzled over bread with a little sea salt is certainly sublime, but perhaps too simple in the eyes of most. (I have been over ruled for my lack of imagination.) My opinion remains whole heartedly with Maureen. The bread should be used as part of the meal, not as the first course. Putting all that "stuff" in some industrial grade chemically extracted oil, and having the American Society "thinking" its the cat's ass is a problem with me, as a food service professional. I am dead set against it, and the deciding force thinks its a step forward. So... I guess I will give them EVOO with all that stuff. I did learn about Dukka from this topic, and thank you Dockhl for bringing it forward. I will present it to them, along with the pizza blend. Unfortunately, I already know which one they wil prefer. Thanks again for the replies.
  11. Somewhere, Somehow... Somebody decided to mix some dried spices, herbs, and parmesan cheese with the lowest quality olive oil money can buy, and put it on the table to garnish "the bread course" at some of our finer dining establishments. I would like to hear the opinions of eGulleters on this practice, from both a diner's and operator's points of view. I have my own, but wanted to let everyone else have a crack at it first. Stevarino.
  12. Ellencho, I am intrigued by the idea of making a meringue with fruit. I think that too much water from the fruit might be problematic, so one would need to reduce the water content somehow, before attempting to whip the egg whites. A meringue would call for a ratio of 1 to 2 parts sugar, to 1 part egg white. So therefore, if I wanted to make "strawberry" meringues, I would weigh out my sugar and my egg whites first, then combine the strawberry puree with the sugar and make a syrup. I'd go for the higher sugar end of the ratio. I would cook the syrup to disolve the sugar, and reduce as much water from it as possible without discoloring the strawberries. Acid of some sort, perhaps lemon juice would be nice, will keep the sugar from granulating. I would strain the syrup, because the bits may cause weeping in the final product, whereby it melts the meringue. I think I'd go for the "Swiss" meringue method, whereby the whites & sugar are combined in a bowl with a little acid (cream of tartar) and placed in a bain marie (water bath) and whipped to a temperature of 175F, and whipping continues as it cools back down. (I'm assuming that you understand about using whites & utensils that are free of any fat. ) Then, I'd put the meringue in a piping bag with a star tip, and pipe out shapes on parchment paper and bake in a 200F oven to dry the meringues. If using an electric oven, the door needs to be left ajar to allow the moisture to escape. I don't know long this takes. I would try it myself, but I'm leaving on vacation today, but good luck, should you decide to go for it. Hopefully you will, and you can let us know what worked and what didn't.
  13. Its been many years now, but I recall putting myself in a similar situation, and found that chlorinated bleach did the trick. Obviously, the bleach will do more harm than the capsicum, but a quick rub of the hands (only), followed by plenty of water to follow, will strip all the oil out of the skin, then apply plenty of moisturizing cream.
  14. How about a fruit mostarda? I can't get it anymore, but I used to get this Mostarda di Cremona that had citrus in it that was very scrumptious with pork. I'm not sure what else was in there, but I know that the pear mostarda is also excellent! Maybe thow some pears in to stretch out your harvest! All you need is some sugar & mustard oil.
  15. Stevarino

    Phyllo dough

    I didn't use cornstarch in the dough itself, I only used it to dust the dough when I rolled it out, as called for in the book. Yesterday, I used rice flour for this step. The phyllo was flaky and tender; today, its like a cracker. (?)
  16. Stevarino

    Phyllo dough

    Thanks Greek Cook! I wouldn't say "never". It just may take that long to get it perfect! Today, I rolled out the rest of the dough that I made yesterday, and made a baklava! I guess it came out pretty good. Although, the pastry isnt as tender as I expected it to be. I really rolled it out super thin today. Yesterday, I didn't have any corn starch to dust the dough, and used rice flour instead. After the pie came out of the oven and sat for an hour, the pastry was as I know phyllo to be. Today, it is more like a cracker on top? Is this a result of residual corn starch on the pastry? Any ideas? Thanks
  17. Stevarino

    Phyllo dough

    Huh? If you give me till Chistmas, I can probably figure it out? I think the answer is 68.25 oz or 5Lbs of dough, allowing for trim?. Are you going for the Guinness book for the longest strudel, or what?
  18. Stevarino

    Phyllo dough

    I'll take that challenge!!! I've always worked with the frozen stuff that comes folded up, and tends to crack. Just recently, Athens has come out with a new packaging that is flat, and already buttered, and ready to go! I like it much better, but still, not all that easy to handle. Thanks for peaking my couriosity, and so I took the bait to see how difficult it is to make it from scratch... Well, not bad for an old Greek Grandmother, I guess? The phyllo couldv'e been a little thinner, and my filling was way too salty, from the feta. Arthur says to soak the feta in milk to rid the cheese of the salty brine, which I'll do next time. All in all, not bad for a first go around.
  19. I have a 25 Cubic Ft. side by side Fridge in my home, and I absolutely hate it!!! I can't believe they actually pay people that come up with such CRAP! It came with the house. One improvement that I wish they'd consider, is to make the shelving replacement kits, like a drawer, so you can get to stuff that's buried in the back without having to empty it! Of course, I'm not an engineer, so what do I know?
  20. Thought I'd share this with you... Here's an awesome way to use up an herb garden! I make this marinade that has Jamaican overtones that is fantastic on chicken & pork.It requires a large amount of herbs. Pictured here, I have a large amount of cilantro, sliced onions, thyme, and habanero peppers. The ingredients are pretty basic, which you can tweak to meet whatever cooking genre you wish to achieve! For this recipe, I use salt, brown sugar, ground allspice, Thai fish sauce... and lime juice. Amounts of each are subject to your own taste. I am really bad at measuring stuff. In this photo, I've added the salt & brown sugar, and the salt starts breaking down the herbs almost immediately... but within five minutes or so, a liquid will form in the bottom of the mixing bowl, to which I add the ground allspice, Thai fish sauce, and the lime juice. I put it in a food processor and puree it, which releases and homogenizes all the flavor. This stuff will stay good under refrigeration indefinitely, due to all the salt and sugar, acting as a preservative. I use this two ways; I lay cheesecloth over the meat I want to marinate, and pour it over the top, and I also sqeeze the juice out, and use it as a seasoning, like worcestershire. You could have a mojito party with all the mint, and Barbeque marinated chicken & pork. The mint, simply bruised, and added whole to diced watermelon is very refreshing as well. Hope some of these ideas are helpful!
  21. Monkfish tails in leek broth, with potatoes & olives Chef Nicola gets his prep ready. The familiar pattern, he starts out with EVOO, and sautees the sliced leek. In goes the monk tails, which are seared... He adds water to the pan... and wedged potatoes. The pan gets covered, giving the potatoes & fish time to cook, then tomatoes are added... and some more water. The finished dish contains black olives, white wine, salt & pepper, chopped parsley, and more EVOO.
  22. Thank you Franci! I'm very excited to have your input.
  23. Chef Modugno's Octopus Tenacles with Potato wedges, olives & red onions First, the octopus is boiled in heavily salted water with cloves, then rinsed. How much salt? Like the sea. In the background are the other components to the dish; pre cooked (but still firm) potatoes, red onion, cherry tomatoes, "Pasole" olives, chopped parsley, EVOO, white wine, salt & pepper. Chef Modugno starts out with EVOO & sliced red onion. He cooks them on relatively high heat to lightly brown them. He adds the octopus & potatoes to the onion, and wets it with dry white wine, and seasoned with salt & pepper. The pan gets covered, and allowed to cook for a time, until the potatoes are cooked through. The starch from the potato will slightly thicken the sauce Next, he adds the cherry tomatoes, and cooks briefly... followed by chopped parsley, and the olives (which are not in this picture?) It's drizzled with EVOO and served with grilled bread.
  24. That isn't me in the background in the photos. One guy is from Brazil, and the Asian guys are from Taiwan. I will let you know when I pop up You know, I'd love to have a fave picking party some time. Maybe I could also get em to sign up for making orecchiettte!!!
  25. Questions regarding the Shrimp with orange & mushrooms. To answer Dockhl & Docsconz, Chef Nicola described this as like a sweet & sour dish, whereby combining the tomato product & the orange. Chef Nicola did break apart some segments, and also cut the orange in half accross the segments, and added that as well. I do have a much better still photo, but I cant seem to upload them for whatever reason. I have the instructions here in front me; chop garlic clove and brown it in EVOO. Add the cardoncelli together with the shrimp. Cook for a few minutes. Add pulped tomatoes and peeled tangerine wedges, season with salt & pepper, and cook until done. Dress with raw EVOO and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve grilled bread on the side. And for the other dish Docsconz, brown the mushrooms in EVOO, add the shrimp, season with salt & pepper, finish with chopped parsley. Chef Nicola mentioned that the mushrooms should be sorta al dente, so dont over cook them.
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