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Everything posted by marvelous_marvin

  1. Hello all, I recently went on a road trip through the DelMarVa area and to prepare, restaurant-wise, for the trip, I consulted eGullet pretty heavily. So, to give back, I'm going to post some photos from the two places I went to that I learned about from eGullet. First stop was Waterman's Crab House in Rock Hall MD. From reading the forums on here prior to the trip, I can tell that there are a few big names in Maryland crab houses and they all have a faction of supporters. We chose to hit up Waterman's over others like Mike's or Cantler's since it made for a more off-the-beaten-path drive. The scenery was pleasant but our stomachs were growling after the drive down from New York. We ordered: Cream of Crab soup for my lady friend. I am not a big soup guy generally, but this was exceptional, and I highly recommend it to anyone going out there. I had the Maryland Crab Soup. Flavorful with fresh crab meat. Very good, but I liked the other one more. Then, appetizer: Oysters on the half shell. Not much to say about them other than that they were fresh and delicious. (I was a little disappointed a Maryland crab powerhouse like Waterman's would bring us our sauces in those little plastic disposable cups.) We split a Rock Hall Platter, broiled instead of fried. I was so enchanted by that wonderful crab cake lump that I didn't think to take a picture until after we had torn into it. It was everything a crab cake should be: cooked perfectly, no filler, and absolutely not the faintest trace of funky crabbiness. I could have had another one. It was the standout; the scallops were overdone (although I'm not much of a scallop fan to begin with) and the cod was good-not-great. We forgot to order the one thing you go to a crab house for: crabs. Although it's my understanding that this time of year the crabs aren't local. On the drive back, we stopped at another place I learned about from eGullet, Johnny Boy's Ribs in La Plata MD. Someone in the forums mentioned that Charles County MD is one of the few places on the east coast that allows open-pit BBQs, so I thought it would be worth a stop. The only specific place in the county that got mentioned was Johnny Boy, so we punched it into our navigation system and headed north. We arrived on a Sunday so what I guess is the main restaurant was closed. We ordered from their adjacent shack. I hope it's all the same stuff. I ordered a sliced beef sandwich with baked beans. The beef was ordinary in every way and didn't even appear to have been BBQd; the baked beans were great. The real action though was on this plate: a pork rib sandwich with slaw. That is, literally a pile of pork bone-in ribs between two slices of bread. In my experience, worthwhile BBQ places do either pork or beef very well, but rarely both. I think this is one of those places that you go to for pork, like these meaty, juicy ribs. The "BBQ flavor" here is a bit understated, but with meat this good it just works. That's all of the eGullet-worthy food from this trip.
  2. Hi all, I have one of these 12 x 18 nonstick cooking racks, similar to the one seen here on Amazon.. Does anyone have any tricks on how best to clean this thing? I do a lot of broiling on mine, and there are always bits of burned cheese at the corners of each square in the rack that are difficult to clean and do not rinse away. I have been wiping it down with a sponge, but this is kind of time-intensive. Is there a better way to do it, or is this just how it goes?
  3. Can anyone suggest some recipes using quince paste aka membrillo, besides serving it as a condiment for Manchego cheese? What else can I do with it? I love Manchego but I'd like to use this stuff for something else.
  4. First attempt was trying to make a basic marinara sauce. I must have been 10 or 11, and no one else in my family cooked, so I kind of had to figure it out as I went along. Try as I might, I couldn't keep the sauce from coming out totally repugnant and inferior to the canned stuff. I abandoned that recipe until I realized I wasn't letting the onions cook before adding the tomato paste. Yuck. On the other hand, sauteeing chicken tenders in butter...how can that go wrong?
  5. I've been to Lunetta once. I liked the food a great deal, simple yet original. They use lots of rosemary though, which one of my dining companions is allergic to. The Lunetta patio out back might be good for a group.
  6. I don't keep a journal, but I almost always ask for a card. If I had something particularly memorable, I'll write it on the card somewhere. I have a drawer almost full of these things, and I'm really not sure what to do with them. But, if I'm ever in Cordoba, Spain, I know exactly where to go for pollo a la miel con tomate.
  7. I went to college in Po-town, and basically second all of APPS411's recommendations. Poughkeepsie has a significant population of Italians for a town of its size, so there is definitely some great food to be had. I totally second Rossi's deli--definitely worth going out of your way for. One of the best Italian delis I've ever had the pleasure of eating at, and I live in NYC now. Also see if Jelly Belly Deli still exists. Great sandwich shop. MUST check out Mole Mole, just a couple blocks from Vassar. Surprisingly authentic Mexican food, redone with slightly lighter ingredients. The CIA restaurants are good, but on short notice you can always stop by the Apple Pie Bakery for coffee & pie. Milanese restaurant on Main Street--good for dinner. Hyde Park Brewery in Hyde Park--good for dinner as well, plus some microbrews.
  8. Lately I've made a few recipes that require diced shallots. For the life of me, I cannot get an even dice. The shallots are just too small, and whats more, the middle part of them keeps slipping out, frustrating my efforts at even chopping. What's the trick to dicing a shallot? I have read that it's "just like dicing an onion" but my onion technique fails utterly when applied to shallots.
  9. Not me, but my brother...who dated a Hungarian girl, and went to visit her family in Budapest. My brother doesn't speak a word of Hungarian, and he was at the supermarket by himself. At a Budapest grocery store, he brought his items to the counter, and they got rang up. The counterperson blithely slid the items past to a bagging area, where they sat while my brother stood on, anticipating her to bag the items for him. After a long pause, my brother grabbed a shopping bag, and, with great exxageration, pantomimed how one bags groceries, for the benefit of the counterperson who dares to not bag groceries for this clueless American. He threw his stuff into two bags and stormed out of the store. He later learned that stores there don't bag groceries, and the bags cost extra.
  10. Hi, I represent a wine- and spirit-oriented club that is aiming to put on a scotch or whisky/whiskey tasting event for our members. What I'm trying to do now is find some qualified person with the knowledge and experience to guide the tasting. How would eGulleters approach this problem? How likely is it we could get a distillery or distributor to sponsor the event? Where does one look for these kinds of people? We are affiliated with an educational institution, so we have a finite budget. I have considered doing a "communal" tasting event, where everyone brings a bottle or something, but I think our group would really benefit from some guidance. This would be in Brooklyn, NYC, and our group is about 300 young professionals interested in wine & spirits. I expect we could easily get 50+ to attend the event if I got everything hashed out.
  11. We want to experience more of the "rustic / country" side of Italy as opposed to the big cities. I'd recommend checking out Piacenza, in addition to whatever else you do in the area. It is a smaller city that is not as heavily touristed, and when I was there last month I had some great meals there.
  12. Here's my contribution from the book: Nyonya chicken and potato stew. Make a paste from shallots & garlic, fry the paste, then add the soybean paste, dark soy sauce, cane juice, and palm sugar. Let simmer. In place of the smaller chicken pieces called for in the recipe I used some leftover frozen chicken wings. I liked this one a great deal and it is definitely one I would make again. It's great for people who are concerned that food from that part of the world will be too spicy for them. This doesn't have any heat or spice, but is still quite flavorful.
  13. I am sold on the simple utility of the Ove Glove. (sound)
  14. Coincidentally, one of my summer projects is to put my spices in order. I've accumulated a lot of random spices since I've tried my hand at Indian food, and from making a few dishes from "Cradle of Flavor." So I have things like whole nutmug, green cardamom pods, turmeric, and garamasala. The yellow labels are from Kalustyan's, a fantastic shop here in New York for hard-to-find spices and ingredients, including galangal and various leaves. I was just there the other day and picked up some grains of paradise because I saw it mentioned on Good Eats and wanted to try it out. (I'm also proud of the hooks I mounted on a vertical pipe using hose clamps from the hardware store)
  15. As Nathan noted, correlation is not causation. From the article you linked to (in case someone disbelieves the FDA, here's the European authorities speaking to the point): After thoroughly reviewing Ramazzini data from a previous study, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) stated in May, 2006, “In its opinion published today, the Panel concluded, on the basis of all the evidence currently available, that there is no need to further review the safety of aspartame nor to revise the previously established Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame (40 mg/kg body weight).” I think whatever risk there may be pales in comparison to the risks from smoking, alcohol, and red meat.
  16. I did notice that in his recipe he calls for 10 pounds of bones (veal, chicken, beef) cut into 2-inch pieces. My butcher winced when I asked for them cut that way, since that is a lot of cutting of big irregular bones into teeny pieces. I think they wound up about 4 inches on average. I mention it because I wonder if the difference in surface area would have made a significant difference. Maybe compensate with more bones? The stock definitely went down about 1/15 of its original volume
  17. Hi, I'm working through "Jacques Pepin's Techniques," and I've just made my second go at making demiglace from scratch. His recipe includes 10 pounds of bones simmered for 10 hours, and after the whole thing is reduced, it's supposed to result in this semisolid gelatinous mass that can be cut with a knife (as shown in a photo in the book). I can't get my demiglace to form up anything near that solid--the best I can do is a very thick liquid. What am I doing wrong? Is it customary to add arrowroot or cornstarch to make a demiglace of the right consistency?
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