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Everything posted by Aquitaine

  1. Hey, y'all (as they don't say in New York City).....Thanks for the great stuff. I shoulda opened this topic a while ago.... Key topic (provincial as it may sound) is weather: For one not blanketed in fog or mist, would you please explain this comment that Jim Dixon made: Does that mean that anything between the coast and the mountain range is trapped in gloom? Or are there pockets without it? (Would my eyeglasses always be fogged up/misted over if I move to Seattle or Portland?) Just what are we talking about in terms of housing costs for a one-bedroom in either city? (Sine qua non: decent part of town, near public transportation, not a dump.... Just so you know, things are nuts in NYC: Studios can rent for $1600 per month....but then, some people rent 6-room apartments for $1000 -- it's just a crazy situation in terms of real estate....) But we DO have a GREAT farmers market...at Union Square, if anyone's visiting...we even get fresh cherries and apricots in the middle of the summer.... [Portland vs. Seattle farmers market comparison: or is that not fair? And does Pikes Peak count?] How's bicycling in Seattle? I gather it's pretty cool-- accesible, safe-- in Portland (is that what you mean by "riding all winter," Jim?) And which is a better walking city...you can walk almost everywhere here in NYC, another great thing.... Oh, and I won't spread the good news about Portland, Jim. As you note, I was hesitant to open this topic in the first place for fear of enraging those who already have the good fortune to live in your neck of the woods and dread an influx....
  2. thanks, inventolux. I did have the impression that Oregon is extraordinary for the lushness of its climate, enabling so many producers to grow/create what typically is dispersed over the globe. I really like the idea of being that close to my food source... for both aesthetic and ecological reasons.... BTW, I've been wanting to try the fresh wasabi from Pacific Farms but can't justify ordering their minimum...Have you tried it? And good luck with your new restaurant.... (I take it you moved to Chicago...or else have a heckuva commute!)
  3. Despite what I've read in the What's with this heat?!?!, Crap it's hot out there! thread, I remain firm in my determination to explore the Pacific Northwest as a viable residential choice. (Um, I'm thinking of moving out there from NYC, after way too many years of crush and noise; and a few too many weeks of slosh and gloom, weatherwise.... But it's truly sentimental; I'm following on the heels of my sister, who's moving to the Bellingham, WA area. And no, she doesn't know that much about it either: she's following her husband...) SO.... Any idea where I start to compare Oregon/Washington? Looking for a manageable city with (needless to say) good access to food, including ethnic diversity, good access to outdoors (gardening, biking and hiking), good public transportation, liberal politics, reasonable cost of living. And while I can purchase a light box, I am subject to Seasonal Affective Disorder, so the more clear skies the better (although the weather certainly is a crap shoot these days, it seems). No kids. No limo or limelight... Not so much concerned about good restaurants as good farmers markets and local purveyors.... 1) If you had to, how would you describe the difference between Seattle and Portland? 2) Anyone know anything about Bellingham, Washington? Eugene or Salem, Oregon? Other decent-sized cities/towns that an ignorant East Coaster hasn't heard of? 3) Good resources always welcome.... 4) Private Messages/e-mails also welcome.... ...is this just the wrong forum for this topic????? Any suggestions where to turn, instead.... Take off in any direction you want....I've got a lot to learn! So if you just want to boast about your town, that's cool, too...
  4. OK, first let me say that I have NEVER bought anything on the street which I then put into my mouth. Call me fussy or germophobe, whatever. (Or talk to my mama...) I am, however, a fool for doughnuts. And a churros virgin. Or I was, until the other day when waiting for the downtown R train at Lexington and 59th Street. As I came down the stairs, I saw a middle-aged Latino woman with a wire laundry cart stacked with horizontal, pale-golden ridged rod-shaped somethings in a large clear plastic bag. On top of her cart was a display of assorted things to eat, which (note churros status above; ditto for many Latino foods) I did not recognize. I guessed correctly at the churros, discovered that cuchifritos are not pork-laden somethings but rather a dessert, and didn't understand the names of the other things I pointed to. Everything looked fresh, the woman clearly was hard-working (imagine how long it took her to make all these, or whoever it was; and imagine what an incredible job it was to sell --all day -- within 3 feet of oncoming subways), and I was curious. So I gulped, bought my 3-for-a-dollar churros and plunged my greedy little hands into the (slightly grease-stained) brown-paper bag. Nice. Really nice. Crisp, just the right amount of sugar. Beautiful ridges. By the third subway stop away, I wish I'd bought more. OK, as I said at the beginning, I'm a fool for doughnuts. But keep your eyes open. And report back if you, too, succumb. It would be nice to hear a second opinion.... [And a report on the other treats....whatever they're called....] Coordinates: The 60th Street /Lexington entrance. Downstairs on the R platform. Roughly 2:30pm. Sorry not to be more specific, but it didn't occur to me to alert eGullet until today...maybe just feeling a bit uncertain about my taste in churros??? But...support your local purveyors!
  5. Chef/Writer Spencer -- Your wine dinner dessert sounds mouthwatering.... 1) "dueling melon soup" -- does that mean two types of melon? What did you use? 2) Is this a recipe manageable by a rank amateur? If so, could you please steer me to it? Thanks! (I guess it's time to clear out the freezer to make room for the ice cream maker can...)
  6. Aquitaine


    I haven't tried this, but Anne Bianchi has a recipe for "a rich, thick stew topped with spicy broccoli rabe" -- Ragu of Cardoons with Bitter Green Soffritto. It starts with sauteed wild mushrooms deglazed with vermouth. Bianchi also includes a recipe for "Cardoon Wedges with Crushed Olive and Hazelnut Sauce." [bianchi, Anne. Solo Verdura: The complete guide to cooking Tuscan vegetables. Hopewell, NJ: The Ecco Press, 1997.]
  7. Hey, do you all know about Randy Garbin's "Roadside" -- magazine and website? It was a terrific resource for all things diner, from the construction of the diner itself to the forks, to the food, to the folklore... John Thorne wrote about it on his own website: John Thorne writes about Roadside Unfortunately, I think that Roadside, the magazine, has gone by the road. Garbin apparently has written about it here in Roadcide. I haven't checked, but maybe it's possible to purchase hardcopy or read online back issues (perhaps Google cached them?).... And Food History News notes in its Calendar of Events the following: June 7, 2003, 11 a.m.-3:00 p.m. "Diners: Still Cookin' in the 21st Century." Culinary Archives & Museum at Johnson & Wales Univ., Providence, RI. Lecture and book signing with Ricahrd Gutman, guest curator of diner exhibit. Gutman, the leading authority on diner history, author of American Diner and American Diner Then and Now will be on-hand from 11 a.m., with a scheduled talk at 1:30 p.m., followed by questions and answers. Museum is located at 315 Harborside Blvd., in Providence, RI; for more information call 401-598-2805. Registration; fee $5.00, checks made payable to Culinary Archives and Museum, send to 315 Harborside Blvd., Providence, RI, 02905.
  8. Madeira Cake.....as in "Have some Madeira, my dear?" (Flanders and Swann; only song I know of that has the word "enveigled" in it) -- what's a good recipe source, Jackal10? And what makes a good Madeira cake -- presuming that you have tasted many and could give pointers? Is this Edwardian or Victorian era, so cookbooks from those times would be good places to start? Upstairs or downstairs, or both?
  9. Aquitaine


    1) We occasionally had rhubarb fool in my childhood; today, the thought of that much cream is a bit much (odd, isn't it, how some things beloved in childhood you would never dream of eating now). (Although I guess some British fools are made with custard, which might dilute the fat a bit...) 2) When I was about 10 years old, a friend and I scrunched down in her folks' rhubarb patch and munched on the raw stalks -- whoever grimaced first lost the contest. I have no recollection of the outcome, only that the experience itself was, let us say, more so! 3) Fabulous recipe for a combination of goat cheese, oyster mushrooms, asparagus and rhubarb in a book that I apparently gave away recently without copying down the recipe. Drat! I think it was in Margaret Leibenstein's "The edible mushroom: a gourmet cook's guide." Can be served on pasta or on bruschetta/crostini.... Very rich, unusual... 4) Has anyone actually tried salmon with rhubarb sauce? I keep seeing recipes for it.... 5) Hedgehog, have you actually tried the salt route? Very interesting idea....
  10. Homemade creme fraiche: OK, so what's with the huge variation in the ratio of buttermilk to heavy cream? Do both proportions (2 T, vs. 1 cup, buttermilk to 1 cup cream) "work" -- and then you simply get a version that is more or less tangy? How long is OK to let the work-in-progress sit outside the refrigerator before it gathers bad bacteria or otherwise turns into something you don't want to eat? (as in "longer it sits, tangier it gets) ??
  11. Aquitaine

    Cauliflower soup

    SobaAddict -- love your suggestion about the scallops. Will have to try. And AdamLawrence, have you seen a recipe for the stilton and cauliflower soup that you could refer me to? Check out these cauliflower soup -- and one lovely cauliflower non-soup -- recipes. (Anne Bianchi's introduction is not to be missed?) Cauliflower Soup with Cremini Mushrooms and Walnut Oil [Amanda Hesser, The New York Times, January 17, 2001] Curried Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Soup from Eric and Bruce Bromberg, Blue Ribbon Restaurant, NYC [from Food & Wine, November, 2000]. Creamy Cauliflower Soup Schneider, Elizabeth. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference. New York: William Morrow & Company, 2001. (a streamlined version of the classic) Pan-Fried Romanesco Cauliflower with Wild Herbs and Anchovies Bianchi, Anne. Solo Verdura: The complete guide to cooking Tuscan vegetables. Hopewell, NJ: The Ecco Press, 1997.
  12. 1) The British writer John Evelyn included the following recipe in his Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets (1699): But spinach has never been a particularly popular vegetable in America, relative to other vegetables (and that's not saying much; even in 1977, only artichokes, asparagus and eggplant ranked lower in per capita vegetable consumption). One explanation rests in the relative availability/lack thereof of fresh spinach in different regions and in different eras (think about canned spinach and you can see what I mean). There are other explanations, as well. For example, heartier greens that could be cooked for a long time with bits of pork have long been a favorite in the south; growing and cooking spinach is a relatively labor-intensive proposition, and you don't get much bang for your buck, i.e., poor source of calories for the manual laborer; often spinach is overcooked; many other greens, including wild ones that we don't generally eat today, were more popular; and the list goes on...A few final notes: -- A small-leaved spinach was cultivated in the American colonies; however, it was not until the late 1800s that a more appealing variety was developed -- Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1861, includes recipe for "Spinach Dressed with Cream" (not quite what we mean by creamed spinach, however...) -- Boston's famous LockeOber restaurant has had creamed spinach on the menu since 1875....
  13. Warning: Ancillary to topic..... 1) As for spinach and butter: 2) And here's one for the recipe box...(anyone else think that the pernod/anisette doesn't seem quite American? maybe New Orleans??? Sorry to say that I didn't copy down the regional information about this recipe....) (Note: the original text includes additional information about storage....)
  14. In 1977, just before I moved to New York, I visited a college friend who lived on the Upper West Side in the days when Louis Lichtman's at 86th and Amsterdam was only one of several thriving old-style European bakeries (great hamantaschen) in the city (anyone remember Mrs. Herbst's apricot-filled doughnuts?). Betsy introduced me to cheap Bulgarian red wine (bull's blood??), tarrator, the Polish butchers on the Lower East Side, and Di Palo's. For 25 years, now, I have looked forward to my visits to the Di Palo family store and to the dinner I'd have following them. It was at Di Palo's that the veil was raised from my eyes about Parmigiano-Reggiano: 1) It is a fantastic eating cheese (with pears, or walnuts, or drizzled with balsamic vinegar) and 2) You really *can* taste the difference between the cheeses made at different times of the year. At this point, if I can't get to Di Palo's, I go without....something my New England-based parents and siblings will never understand. (As I will never understand their willingness to eat "shakey-cheese" from Kraft!) I've been at Di Palo's when the lengthy customer queue included people who drove hours to get there, well-known food writers, a newscaster who was about to make, literally, vats of pesto, personal chefs, and visitors from San Francisco (who claimed they couldn't get great mozzarella in SF). One pointer about storage: Di Palo's suggests that after about a month, Parmigiano will dry out. Seems to be my experience, too... Be sure to save your Parmigiano rinds for minestrone or the White Beans recipe from Read Hearon and Peggy Knickerbocker's “The Rose Pistola Cookbook” (1999).
  15. I vote for both recipes, please! (Lemon and blood oranges....bay sounds brilliant!)
  16. Aquitaine


    Thanks, Trillium. At the Union Square greenmarket in NYC, we DO get a wonderful variety of produce, including a nice variety of plums. That said, we are NOT exactly in the cherry- or plum-growing region of the world. Redjacket Orchards brings terrific apricots for a few weeks in the summer and someone from upstate (name I've forgotten) brings both "sweet" and "sour" cherries. But I have never seen a plum that I thought of as a damson. Not sure whether they're grown commercially in the tri-state area; one of the things I want to check out in terms of horticultural history.... (BTW, are you in Portland? I am beginning to turn envious about the wealth of local fruits available to you....) So I guess the first step in the recipe sort of infuses the neutral vodka with the flavor of the plums and then you get the richness of the brandy later?
  17. Trillium, are you game for passing along the recipe for damson plum liqueur? I shamefacedly confess that I am a fairly close recipe-follower (and collector).... not that I will be able to find damsons in NYC, but I am determined to taste them some day. Plus, it would be great to pass along to jackal10, who has a damson tree in his British backyard.... BTW, I vote that Halland be given the prize for mentioning the most unusual liqueur. Amazing what mankind will do to get a buzz... imagine making lichen-flavored spirits. Truly, necessity is the mother of invention!
  18. Thanks for the legwork, Bux. I hope that the "check out the fruit pastes" mission didn't cramp your traveling style. (BTW, I remember that article by Hesser; at the time, I thought it was a pretty funny concept. Now I find myself wondering about splurging for tuna-stuffed piquillo peppers at Dean & DeLuca.... Cheaper than a flight to Spain!) I appreciate your comment that: My fear is that those spots are becoming fewer and farther between....
  19. Trillium, How do you store your limoncello? More importantly, how do you seal it, or do you just store it in the refrigerator? I have a feeling that the making-it-safe-to-store-out-of-the-refrigerator process is not the same as for canning....
  20. Well, guys -- This is what comes of being longwinded and a perfectionist -- busy writing and editing while you two got your posts up! Thanks, Adam, for the elaboration. Looking forward to finding out the "limoncello" brand.... If you want any recipes, I have slews (but of course haven't made any....) Nightscotsman, I am jealous that you have the Bras book. I suppose I'd better go get it, partly because he has a pate de fruit recipe (tomato based) that I am fascinated by.... Have you tried any recipes from it? And may I PM or e-mail you regarding the pate de fruit recipe? (You may have come across my myriad egullet threads on quince paste / damson cheese; pates de fruit was actually my jumping-off-point....) BTW, I have written an entry on ratafia --and another on the related drink called "cherry bounce"-- for the forthcoming (2004, target date) Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink (well, that's the title I know it by; its orientation is historical, so that word may be thrown into the title; FYI, editor in chief is Andrew Smith).... Hence the following observation . Nightscotsman wrote: There is some controversy regarding the etymology of ratafia. In the main, Bras is correct. In the Oxford encyclopedia entry (who knows how it will come out after copyediting, etc....) I write: Now, jackal10: Does this require fresh walnuts? Walnut leaves? (anyone in NYC know where to obtain peach leaves or blackcurrant leaves?) jackal10: You probably just go into your backyard for them, right? Are you familiar with the following, very nice book -- which has several recipes for walnut liqueurs and walnut wine? It has a lovely introduction about the walnut industry in Perigord. Preface to the English edition begins:
  21. Many people still make their own liqueurs. In the mid-1970s, homemade kahlua was all the rage (although nothing to write home about; this was the rather hippie-ish, nuts-and-berries days. My sister still has a couple of bottles we made, but they are going down the drain as soon as I can get ahold of them!).... My current favorite is a raspberry cordial (not too sweet) that is perked up by a few peppercorns...icy cold...a burst of summer. Also hoping to locate blackcurrants this summer (with luck; they're undergoing a revival in New York, thanks to the efforts of Steven McKay, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia County and a member of the Hudson Valley Fruit Program, who has been promoting blackcurrants among New York growers) so I can try to make my own cassis... One website with a slew of links to liqueur recipe sites is Liqueur Web: http://www.liqueurweb.com/links.htm ...I agree with guajolote that "Gunther Anderson's: liqueur making, principles and techniques" website: http://www.guntheranderson.com/liqueurs.htm , which is linked to Liqueur Web, is particularly good.... An interesting class of liqueurs is ratafia.... Alice B. Toklas wrote about them (but don't rely on her for the *true* or complete story). These liqueurs have a long history, primarily as homemade, although there is a contemporary, sophisticated French aperitif variant (think Pineau des Charentes; Ratafia de Bourgogne and Ratafia de Champagne are famous). The homemade variety evolved over the last 2 or 3 centuries from sweetened spirits flavored with almost any imaginable fruit, spice and/or flower, to being primarily cherry-flavored today. One of the more interesting recipes Toklas includes is: Jane Grigson also writes about ratafias and points out (in Good Things) that the decline of homemade liqueur making in France -- due in part to increased regulation of eau-de-vie licensing -- "will mean an impoverishment of the hospitality which has always been so marked in poor households in the wine districts of France." (Grigson, Jane. Good Things. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1971.) Finally, if anyone really wants a great source of recipes for American homemade liqueurs (as well as many other beverages and great social history) as made in the 1700s and 1800s, try to locate (libraries, anyone?): Brown, John Hull. Early American Beverages. Rutland, Vt., C. E. Tuttle Co. [1966], which includes lots of recipes from Mary Randolph's The Virginia Housewife as well as from: Mackenzie. Five Thousand Recipes in All the Useful and Domestic Arts: constituting A Complete Practical Library. Philadelphia: James Kay, Jun. and Brother, 1829.]
  22. Thanks, Eric and Chloe. Translation is a real challenge; every time I hear simultaneous translation in broadcasts from the United Nations, I'm amazed that anyone can do it! I know there are words in English which can have two opposite meanings and depend on the context; just can't think of one at the moment -- nor what that class of words is called.... As for the "wrapped up" and "sand" -- there's probably some interesting etymology behind those terms. Or else some rather interesting culinary dish! I've met only one person who has actually tasted the Italian sweet made from squash -- variously called cocuzzata and cucuzzata, among others. Apparently popular in Sicily, and to her, disgusting. I first heard of it through Elizabeth David's Italian Food, in which she quotes Apollinaire on a visit he made to Benedetto Orfei, a heresiarch living in Rome but who came from Alexandria: (I've been going after persicata, too, you can bet! Appears to be a specialty of Lombardy, in particular.)
  23. Hey, Eric and Chloe -- 1) Got to the library yesterday. This is Modesto's English version of the "nabada de Semida": I like that "dyeing the turnip" concept! (Is that an accurate translation, Eric?) 2) Thanks for the referral to the Tavares Crato cookbooik, Eric... 3) Chloe, thanks for these new recipes, particularly the "bagulhada" -- what does the name mean, literally? And is this regional or historical? Any preface to it (when you have *free time* -- doesn't sound likely, but...) 4) Exactly what do the following mean (just curious...): "ponto de rebuçado" [point of _______] "ponto de areia" [point of ________] 5) Am I missing something here, Chloe? I don't seem to recall seeing aything about this... 6) What are these theories about colors of quince marmelade, i.e., "no-knife" ?? I haven't run across that one. 7) What the Sam Hill does "Flemish ball" mean -- is that a Britishism? Boy, you probably didn't think you'd raise more questions by your postings, did you, Chloe! When you have time....Thanks again!
  24. Eric, shall do...Do I assume that you speak/read Portuguese? (So if I run into trouble trying to translate, I might be able to call on you for short spurts?)
  25. Jim, Thanks for the extra info. Being a not-so-subtle gal myself, I opt for the intensity/richness you describe. The only quince compote I've made was based on white wine, now that I think of it, which did result in a nice flavor. wingding -- Glad you did....Always good to be reminded of the need for balance (acid and sweet). But you also remind me -- warning! off topic -- that I've been pining for a fruit tree for quite some time. Must be lovely...like having an herb garden into which one can reach and snip a few of this and few of that, instead of having to buy far more than one can possibly use before they all spoil...
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