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Everything posted by Alcuin

  1. This is a really great dish. The only difficult part is getting all the sticky rich meat out of the hocks (but that's not too hard either). In the original recipe from the book, Keller suggests mache but I like bitter greens. It is an extremely rich dish that needs some sturdy wine.
  2. I remember when I got "The Way to Cook" for Christmas one year from my mom (who worked as a professional cook). I can safely say that it taught me how to cook. I knew some things from observing my mom, but that book taught me how to think about cooking. I don't know much about the history of cookbooks, but I've always regarded that as a milestone in American cookbookery. It wasn't just some recipes, it was a clear expression of how to think about cooking. It truly lived up to its title, doing what so few have been able to do by clearly establishing a path, not just showing you some choice posies from along the way. Only a visionary, but in complete control of her vision, could accomplish that. For that reason alone (one among many says me) she deserves her great stature.
  3. I've done this every year I make Thanksgiving. Only been doing that for a couple of years, but the gumbo's become something we look forward to now on top of Thanksgiving itself.
  4. Alcuin

    Thanksgiving Day Wines

    For a good cheaper white Burgundy, I like Domaine Matrot. It's imported by Vineyard Brands out of Birmingham, AL. Good value if you can find it. I've heard it was declassified juice from Meursault, but that's an unconfirmed rumor. It should be around $15-$17. I also like Meyer-Fonne's Gentil d'Alsace, a great blend imported by Kermit Lynch. Should be around $17. For a crowd pleaser and something sure not to get in the way, a good cru Beaujolais will always work for Thanksgiving. There are also a ton of good sparklers. A sparkling Vouvray called Tete de Cuvee yes that is the name of it) is a favorite of ours and good for the holiday.
  5. I'm so glad you made this. I was thinking of trying it out soon, and I wasn't sure rolled up belly alone would do, so I was contemplating wrapping loin with belly. Now that I've seen this, I'll just go with belly by itself-thanks! Great blog-everything looks fantastic. (edited for clarity)
  6. Alcuin

    Home-made Pancetta

    I remember Ruhlman saying that in Charcuterie. I hang my pancetta and guanciale in my walk in cupboard in the kitchen at room temp. I'm just over 2 weeks into a guanciale, and its almost firm enough to take down. Maybe tonight.
  7. Mixing ryes sounds like a good idea. You could mix some brandy in there too as some do (Handy and Louis Royer force 53 would be powerful good I reckon). Sometimes when I want to treat myself, I'll make a Sazerac with Handy, just subbing it in with my normal ratios of 2oz booze, 1/2 t rich simple, 5 dashes Peychaud's, absinthe rinse, lemon peel. It is bold, and requires a nice long stir. But you sit with it and let it become delicious in different ways as it warms up.
  8. Cosentino also has a grilled heart recipe served over beets with horseradishy vinaigrette that's pretty good. You marinate the hearts, then grill medium rare (no more or it will be very tough) then slice over beets with the vinaigrette. The earthy nature of the beets pairs well with the minerally heart and its very tender and has a pleasing texture served rare. Check out the recipe here on Consentino's blog: http://www.offalgood.com/site/blog/recipes/recipe-for-beef-heart. Have fun (it's good)!
  9. Once I switched to black coffee, no sugar, I can't really think about milk in my coffee. It just seems wrong. I don't know why that is, but maybe its because I used to drink a lot of that Dunkin Donuts cream and sugar with coffee. So sweet and creamy that its like a dessert. I'm not a big fan of dessert either, so there you go. Thankfully, I live a block down the street from the best coffeeshop I've ever been to(EVP in Madison, WI if anyone's familiar). Now I've learned to love acidic, subtly fruity light roasts.
  10. Do report back. Some time ago I tried to make Jamaican jerk bitters (click for post up-topic) but couldn't find a use for 'em. The main problem there was the scotch bonnets and habañeros, of course! Drank this in an Old Fashioned with applejack (Laird's bonded). It's profile is that of an aromatic bitters. It's spicy, with the ginger providing a backbone of spicy fruitiness, with allspice and pepper giving it a spice cake kind of feel. It was really very nice with the applejack, but I can see it working with anything brown really. It's powerful too, clocking in at 53 abv. Its not a jerk bitters, there's no picante kind of spice going on here (no peppers). The other Jamaican #2 has a strong grapefruit component. They are worth it. A funny thing, every woman I've showed them to (3) by dabbing on the wrists suggested they'd make great perfume. Not that they're perfumy or artificial seeming at all, they're just very aromatic in a pleasing way.
  11. Got my hands on some Bittercube bitters, the Cherry bark vanilla, Jamaica #1 and #2, the Bolivar, the Blackstrap, and the Orange. I haven't had a chance to play with them much, but I've inspected them a bit (dabbed on my wrist and in soda water) and my preliminary take is that they are really fantastic. These are some complex bitters. They also come in tincture dropper bottles which I think is great. Can't wait to try them out. I'm thinking I might try the Jamaica #1 (the flavor profile of which reads "allspice, ginger, black pepper") with scotch. Or maybe applejack. If you see them, they're worth picking up, though I don't know how wide their distribution is at this point.
  12. My Aunt Anna's (pronounced Anndanna) pasta fazool, the meatballs with tiny bits of potato from the leftover mashed (lumpy, natch) she used to tenderize them, her working the guitar in her small kitchen (under a very low light, she didn't turn the lights on much) to make pasta for the gravy. The first time my mom let me make dinner for everyone (I think I was nine): roast chicken with rosemary, baked potato, broccoli with butter. Developing a salsa recipe with my mom (I think I was 12) that I thought was completely unique-us talking about how much money we could make selling it. Going to the neighborhood brick oven pizza place in northeast philly before it got big. There were animals walking around everywhere and we always got to go in the back where the oven was (the pizza men used really long poles for the pizza). I would get a lollipop every time (I remember one that was so big I could hardly fit the whole thing in my mouth, it was pink). Being sent to pick eggs from my great grandmother's chicken coop. Broken clam shells everywhere on the ground, a very distinctive but not offensive smell that had a fertile ripeness to it mixed with the fragrance of damp hay (the scent was rich). The eggs were still warm from their pointless incubation. Playing with crabs from the bushel with my cousins before they were boiled (my cousin got pinched real bad once), then eating crabs out on the deck out back all day long.
  13. Food snobbery is in the eye of the beholder. A lot of times it has more to do with feelings (of superiority on the part of the snob, inferiority for accuser of the snob) not what's true or not. Your example doesn't sound like snobbery to me, but then again I've been called a snob before. People who know me know I'm not, but its hard to shake those preconceived notions. Someone once called me a snob and said everything doesn't have to be "gourmet." I don't know what gourmet is, but I do want things to be good. McDonald's fries are good. If you try to sell me two pieces of fried chicken for $16 and its not better than Popeye's, it's not good. This person would never go to McD's for political reasons and derides it. Who's the snob then?
  14. Actually, I'm thinking of replacing the Cherry Brandy with Curacao and renaming it The Elmegirab Cocktail. Or maybe the Evo-Lution Cocktail. ;-) I'm drinking one of these right now. Interesting drink. My girlfriend pronounced it boozy, and a bit like Fernet on the finish and I have to agree. Of course though, if this is an Old Fashioned, I'll eat my hat. But on the rocks, with an orange twist and a good cherry, some might be fooled...
  15. I think many people have gotten used to not thinking about what they want to eat until it seems impossible to cook anything, so the option is super quick shortcuts or having someone else prepare it for you at a restaurant. Making stuff often takes time, but not much effort. You just have to think ahead. I tell my composition students to spend the same amount of time they always would on their assignments, but stretch it out over several days instead of doing it all at once. The product will be better, guaranteed. This applies to cooking too. Also, I'd call myself a "minimalist" when it comes to cooking, but I still take the long way around on things. I wouldn't want to be minimalist in my effort.
  16. Agreed about the bitters. I really like the root beer bitters and was surprised at how much I liked the Great Speaker (thought it looked a bit sweet on the menu) which may be successful because of those coffee-pecan bitters. Wish I could get those. As for the hellfire bitters, I think they are a Charles Baker recipe, or at least he has a recipe for it I think. Not sure that TVH uses that recipe, but it exists so you could maybe concoct some yourself.
  17. This is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. Do professional chefs really "often grasp two knives in one hand when mincing or chopping large quantities of an ingredient?" I balked at that too. It sounds dangerous, not to mention really inefficient and sloppy. Maybe I just don't the chops even to imagine it.
  18. You might try a wire slicer too if you're committed to the idea of slices. How old's the cheese?
  19. It's a Williams-Sonoma exclusive version of the 600. When I was looking into getting my mixer I remember seeing a WS version of the 600 made of copper or something like that. Upon googling, I see that the copper one is the 620 (a steal at $899.95-wow). The 610 seems to have 15 more watts than the 600. Other than that I can't see much of a difference.
  20. Alcuin

    Chili – Cook-Off 15

    I'm eating soupe au pistou for breakfast right now, cooked altogether so many of the vegetables melt into a thick, delicious soup. Maybe slow cook a lot of vegetables with the chilis and aromatics, then at the end add some fresh veg for texture, maybe some fennel, green beans, mushrooms-things that have different textures and flavors that you want to maintain. Then you'll have a thick stew with a good stage of flavor for fresh, textural veg to dance upon. I would definitely add some beans, maybe small ones like black beans and meatier ones like kidney or even canned fava.
  21. The videos provoke discussion. Some positive, some negative. That's what they're intended to do and that's what's going on here-people giving their reactions to a video designed to provoke reactions. That they're not all completely positive is the chance you take when you put stuff out there like this. Last night I was looking for something quick and easy to make. I usually turn to the OF for inspiration when I'm in that mood: 2oz Barbancourt 5 star 2 dashes Ango 1 t Giffard Banane de Bresil lemon peel garnish
  22. I completely agree. A lot of people I know though have no idea how to maintain the flavor of vegetables or even maybe that that's a good thing. Some of them have told me they grew up eating mushy steamed vegetables completely unseasoned if they ate them at all, as if they were medicine or something. Plus a lot of people are blasted with the idea that gobs of bottled dressing are the way you eat raw veg. They have no intuition or tradition to base their veg cookery on. It's crazy that all it takes is a bit of good judgment, but I think there are some deep seated things stopping them from trying. A friend told me he wanted to like eggplant but every time he tries to cook it, it turns out different and that its like a gamble for it to come out good. He's stopped buying it. We started eating much less meat a couple of years back. When we eat meat its usually 4oz or thereabouts (I'm just guessing here). One chicken breast for two. A couple of weeks back I bought I think about 14oz of sword fish when I wanted 10. I figured it would be an extravagance to have two big pieces of fish for a change. Neither of us could finish it though. Now that we're used to smaller portions of protein its hard to go back.
  23. We (there are two of us) usually eat vegetables for real once a day (not counting what's on a sandwich or eaten as leftovers). But its usually a lot. One huge bunch of kale or two small ones. A medium sized head of cauliflower or brocolli. Etc. When we eat salad, we usually eat protein/starch then clean the plate off and fill it with salad. When friends come over, I usually just double the amount of vegetables we eat to serve them. They always take a tiny portion and fill up on protein/carb. Since I don't like the idea of leftover veg for most things, I try to get them to eat it so I don't have to put it away but we end up eating most of it anyway! I think one of the main problems they have is making it taste good and planning for it. I usually wake up thinking about what I'm going to do for dinner. Throughout the day, I usually plan how I'm going to make it in my head in the shower, on the bus, etc. I'd bet a lot of egulleters do this or something similar. My friends I know do not. They think of it last minute or like to make big pots of stuff to eat throughout the week. Sure, you can say why don't they just plan a little. That's not going to get them to do it though. I'm always trying to give them ways of preparing things to make it taste good and be healthy. I tell them to cook their broccoli just so then make sure its completely drained of all the excess water that hides in the florets. Then, toss with butter so it doesn't get watered down and the butter evenly coats the veg. You can use less butter if you just follow this one step of drying it out a bit too. Then finishing with lemon is nice. This just takes a modicum of attention. I'm not sure any of them have ever tried it, easy as it is. Many people just don't think about food. I think its because the mental energy they reserve for it is stored away alongside flossing their teeth, rather than exploring and enjoying the variety of vegetables that for me is part of the night's entertainment.
  24. Oh, I agree for the most part, and so far. But, I'll wait for the bar to serve a drink or two before I judge. Craig has the food science part down and enough cocktail knowledge to be somewhat dangerous, while Josh has some serious mixology chops and above average skills with the rotary evaporator, but only recently actually joined the Aviary team. I expect that what we're seeing of the R&D process is only a shadow of what will eventually come across the bar. We posted pretty much at the same time. I agree though-if anybody can do it, they can. I doubt the "tricky" element of it will vanish though. I mean, that's pretty much what Alinea's about in a lot of ways. I say this counting a trip to Alinea as the best dining experience I've had too. I'll go to Aviary when it opens.
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