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Everything posted by Dianabanana

  1. Yes, I made a potato dish with this, cumin, coriander, garlic, etc. It's fruitier and sweeter than either Spanish or Hungarian paprika, very full flavored and also fairly hot. It's not smoked. It's very good, I would definitely buy it again (although with 8 ounces, I won't have to for a loooong time ...) Edited to add: I just went and tasted it side-by-side with Hungarian paprika and pimenton. The poivron rouge had a very pure, sweet and spicy flavor; by comparison, the Hungarian paprika tasted more bitter, and the pimenton had kind of a plasticky taste. Bear in mind, though, that paprika is pretty perishable and the poivron rouge is presumably a lot fresher than the other two.
  2. So I did a little taste test of the La Cuisine pistachio "essence" and thought it might be of interest to some here, as there has recently been discussion in a couple of different threads about how to get a stronger pistachio flavor in various dishes. The La Cuisine essences are supposedly steam distillations of the ingredient. How that works for a nut, as opposed to a fruit, I have no idea. Rose Levy Beranbaum is a big proponent of these essences, though, including the pistachio. It smells somewhat like almond extract, but unlike almond extract, this is very thick and dark. I just happen to also have a jar of Stramondo Pistachio Cream, which is nothing more than Sicilian pistachios and cane sugar--the ideal thing against which to test the pistachio essence. To make it as close a comparison as possible (without exerting myself, and because I had no better ideas) I just rubbed a drop of the essence into some cane sugar. Also, to confirm or dispel my almond extract suspicions, I rubbed a drop of Penzey's almond extract into some cane sugar. Conclusion: It's definitely not just almond extract, but, as you'd expect, it's a lot less complex than real pistachios. The almond extract is totally one-dimensional. The pistachio cream is a symphony of flavors. The pistachio essence falls somewhere in between, and has a strong almond component. I haven't used it anything yet, but I'm planning to use it in the Sicilian Pistachio Cake from RLB's Heavenly Cakes. Also, the pistachio cream is freaking delicious. So far I've made about 36 trips to the fridge to sneak a spoonful straight from the jar.
  3. In a delirium of impulse shopping, I bought an 8-oz pouch of Mustapha's brand Poivron Rouge. Is this just basically Moroccan paprika? Does it go by other names? Are there any notable Moroccan or other North African dishes that use it? Google doesn't have much to say on the subject other than that it's a "sweet red pepper."
  4. I wonder if you could blanch and then freeze them, maybe packed in a little grapeseed oil. I recently made the Lime Noodles from Asian Flavors of Jean Georges. One component of it is an herb paste made with mint and basil, where you first blanch the herbs. They stay bright green, as you'd expect, but also stay very flavorful. I was surprised--I would have thought a lot of the flavor would wash out. Some did, but I think you lose a lot less than you would by drying. (The recipe is fantastic, too, if anyone is interested.) The lime leaves you can definitely just freeze.
  5. Have you tried the Muir Glen soups? I think I've probably tried all the organic soups out there at this point and these are my favorite.
  6. This is almost a little *too* close to the truth about my Italian grandmother! What a battle axe. You trespassed in her kitchen at your peril. Not much sympathy for the suffering, either--when any of the grandchildren would cry, she'd say, brusquely, "Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone." I always thought Tony Soprano's mother Livia was a dead ringer for my grandmother. But boy did she put out the food. The big dining table with all of the extension leaves in, full of ravioli, or the backs of the kitchen chairs festooned with drying pasta . . . quart Mason jars of tuna caught by her neighbor and then packed in olive oil . . . a big bouquet of fresh basil from my grandfather's garden always in the middle of the table . . . the counters spread with fried eggplant on paper towels . . . .
  7. My bottle of Nielsen-Massey paste says 1T = 1 bean.
  8. Yes, and in particular I'd like to understand the seemingly universal dim sum custom of serving gai lan cut merely in half crossways, so that the pieces are at least 6" long. Is this just laziness on the part of the dim sum ladies? Would it be served this way at home?
  9. I don't know what pistachio compound is, but La Cuisine carries an all-natural French pistachio essence that would be very well suited to flavor ice cream. I actually just bought some.
  10. Thank you! Mr. Dianabanana has unilaterally decreed February to be Bento Month, with the goal of not eating one single lunch out. Very easy for him, all he has to do is eat them! I needed a shove, though, so I'm glad he's being such a lunch bully.
  11. Nuts of all kinds, esp pine nuts which go rancid so quickly in the fridge Cranberries (buy enough at Thanksgiving to last all year, then sort, wash, and freeze) Salt cod Shrimp Homemade pesto Dog stuff--homemade dog food, chicken necks, and diced hot dogs for training treats Huckleberries Homemade gravlax Most of any baked goods I make, as there are only two of us and my capacity for baking far exceeds our capacity for eating Peas Corn Epazote Curry leaves Kaffir lime leaves Lemongrass
  12. Whenever making ghee, the cook is entitled to a little dividend at the end: Add some jaggery or light brown sugar to the milk solid sediments left in the pan and stir over low heat. Eat with a spoon and swoon.
  13. Well if they are trying to attract customers from among the non-soda-drinking-ranks, it's a good move. The only mainstream soda I'll drink is Mexican Coke, so I'll be happy to give the Pepsi a try. Compared to regular Coke, I always think that the Coke made with sugar tastes brighter, almost like it has a bit of lime flavor. And compared to regular Coke, I always think regular Pepsi tastes more lemony. So I would expect sugar Pepsi to taste brightest of all. It will be interesting to see.
  14. Thank you, Kerry! How ironic to search gourmet stores across the land and then have it turn up at Costco.
  15. Some people may wish to note that the tannins in tea interfere with the absorption of non-heme iron, so that those suffering from iron deficiency are advised to wait an hour after meals before drinking tea. However, there is some evidence that regular tea drinkers adapt by secreting high levels of proteins in the saliva which bind with tannins so that they no longer interfere with iron absorption. As an iron-deficient lover of tea with meals, I was very happy to learn that the answer may be to DRINK MORE TEA.
  16. Aha! Only a vowel away! Thank you. I looked it up and it sounds like it should taste like caramel syrup, but this tasted more like if you took the syrup from jarred sour cherries and reduced it until slightly caramelized. Which, now that I've said it, sounds like it would be pretty good with green tea ice cream. Does black sugar taste distinctly different from brown sugar?
  17. A few years ago I had a couple of different green tea ice cream products bought at Tokyo convenience stores. They both had a cherry-like syrup that I thought was called something like "kuromatsu," although Google is telling me I'm wrong. Does anybody know what this syrup is properly called, and what it is?
  18. Interestingly, I have read that the French Maille is made with Canadian mustard seeds, so the difference must lie in the formula or the other ingredients. Thanks for all the suggestions!
  19. I've Googled extensively and Kalustyan's was the only place that even claimed to have the French product. I was hoping somebody here might know of a place that carries it.
  20. The Maille produced in France is reportedly a far superior product to the one produced in Canada, and I'm having a hard time finding it. Kalustyan's lists Maille Dijon Originale "product of France," but upon arrival it turned out to be the same Canadian product that I can buy in my grocery.
  21. All my life I have been an avid lover of smoked fish of all kinds, but especially smoked salmon, which was just about my favorite thing in the world. In the last couple of years, though, I have found that I can no longer tolerate the smoke flavor. It now seems so heavy and oily and overbearing, and the smoke taste lingers on my palate for such a long time afterward. Thanks to you guys, all is well, though--I've got a batch of gravlax curing in the fridge right now.
  22. Well, it didn't used to seem expensive, until I decided that I no longer care to use any but Organic Valley Cultured Butter, which runs about $5.65.
  23. I'm surprised there's not a dedicated topic to this, too! I cook from this book quite a bit. I think it is very typically RLB, in that it walks the line between scrupulous attention to detail and compulsive over-analysis, and requires a maddening amount of flipping back and forth between sub-recipes; however, I have learned so much from it that I'm able to apply to all of my other baking--for instance, the benefits of freezing a fruit pie before baking it, or the idea of macerating fruit then draining and reducing the juices and adding them back in. I made the most astounding cherry pie I've ever tasted the other day using the latter technique on a jar of Bulgarian sour cherries. The Maple Walnut Tart has completely usurped the pecan pie in my kitchen, and that's saying a lot. I made the Plum Flame Tart but with Johnnybird's Toast Dope instead of the cinnamon sugar in the recipe and holy cow was that good--and pretty. I made the Christmas Cranberry Galette over (surprise) Christmas and it was just okay. I'm out of town so don't have the book with me to check, but I know I've made an awful lot out of the fruit pie chapter. Note that you'll want to check her website for errata, especially if you've got an older edition of the book.
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