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Recoil Rob

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  1. I take mine and cut them into manageable lengths to fit into a large black iron skillet, about 8-10"

    In the meantime take about 1/2cup of virgin olive oil and heat gently in a small saucepan with fresh herbs, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, etc.

    Salt and pepper the meat and brown all over, the meat should be about medium rare since it is small diameter. Rest a couple of minutes and slice into pieces about 3/4-1" thick and drizzle with the warm herb oil.

  2. Very lovely Baron, did you use something to keep the pink color intact?

    I was very pleased with my first attempt, universally declared delicious by my table. My only minus was the skin, though beautifully colored deep brown, was thin and leathery, certainly not crisp enough to eat. Next time I may try the dusting of baking soda. I did cover the snout and ears with foil and the ears were crisp enough as was the tail.


  3. T minus 7 hours and counting!

    Babe will hit the oven at 6pm for 6-7 hours at 250˚ and then teh high heat if needed to crisp the skin.

    My butcher, (Peter on Arthur Avenue, for those that get Saveur there's a full page picture of him in this year's Saveur 100) said it weighed about 20 lbs before he boned it out. He left the legs intact so I also took out the leg bones ( and kept the four baby trotters for another adventure). It was then filled out with about 6 more pounds of boneless pork shoulder. I kept the seasonings along the lines of a traditional porchetta, plenty of salt and black pepper plus a mixture of finely chopped garlic, sage, rosemary, fennel seeds and lemon zest.

    I have to practice my bondage but I think it will work out. The whole package came out a bit larger than I thought so I will have to cook it in a curve. Already had to hacksaw a grate to fit the bottom of the roasting pan.

    First time with a small pig, should I remove the eyes?

    The die is cast, will report tomorrow.



  4. I still remember the porchetta sandwiches I had in Rome almost 25 years ago, a small shop with 4 tables, small glasses of red wine and paper cones with olives. The entire pg would come out of the oven, each pannini had meat and skin along with some fat, just great food

    I've always wanted to try this at home and the time has finally come. I'm going to do it for my girlfriends birthday.

    I have done the requisite searches online and come up with mostly variations involving a boned pork shoulder. One looks very good, it comes from Jamie Oliver, at least the photo looks like the real thing.

    What I'd really like to do is a small whole pig, just for the presentation value alone. I imagine I could do it with a 18-20lb pig, I have the skills to bone it.

    Would love to hear any comments, ideas, warnings, etc. before proceeding.

    thanks, Rob

  5. One of my pet peeves is restaurant tea service, usually never fails to disappoint. Le Bernadin is an exception though, but then again, they do everything right...

    I also get to visit Harney's store and tearoom in Millerton, NY regularly, they are trying to promote proper service in restaurants that use their teas. They have a tasting room with hundreds of teas.

  6. Not to be prudish, but am I the only person who thinks this is a creepy idea? Are you planning to tell them before they eat it or after?

    Are you expecting your friends to think you yourself killed it? If so, that would be a mountain lion (cougar), since that's the only type of panther in the continental US as far as I know. It's not legal, by the way, to kill a mountain lion. They are protected. I assume that it is equally illegal to export dead leopard (old world) or jaguars (So. America.)

    If you expect them to believe you, then it's one way of finding out just how dumb your friends really are.

    Actually it is quite legal to hunt mountain lion in a few western states, when I was in AZ javelina hunting they were giving out free lion tags because they feel the population has grown too much.

    I recall reading that the Lewis & Clark expedition ate up to 9lbs of meat per man, per day. Mountain lion was one of their favorites.

    I myself have had bobcat "balsamic" stew a few times at a local game dinner, the meat is quite similar to good pork, one of my favorites. I think if you gt a piece of well marbled pork and cut it into chunks you wouldn't be far off.

  7. Ipswich calms are soft shell calms, steamers, piss clams. they're the ones you dig in the mud flats at low tide and are used for steamimg or frying. I believe you are speaking of hard shell clams, quahogs, littlenecks, cherrystones, etc. These are used for clams on the half shell, stuffed clams and chowders.

    I don't know what Ipswich clams are, but for regular Maine clams this is what I do. Learned from a friend who worked at a local clam shucking operation.

    Wash clams. Put in a pot that holds them all. Then pour boiling water over them, so they're covered with hot water. Let sit for 30 seconds - half a minute. No more. Then drain hot water and fill pot (with clams) with cold water. Now, they're ready to shuck. They're not cooked. Just easy to open.

    If you're going to make a chowder, shuck them over a bowl to catch the juice to use in cooking the chowder.

    Maybe this isn't what you were looking for, but hope it helps.

  8. Found a great place to dig for soft shells here in CT and I had my fill of steamers this week so I want to try frying them clam shack style.

    I'm quite adept at shucking hard shells and oysters so getting the soft shells open is no problem. But what does one do about the dirty, coating on the neck and around the perimeter? I tried peeling a few and it works but to be quite honest it's very labor intensive, is there a faster way? Partially steaming them perhaps?

    thanks, Rob

  9. I think others have noted mistakes in some of Batali's books. I found one in Molto Mario. Dunno anything about your octopus, just sayin'.

    I found a mistake in another recipe from his book, they're not well edited.

    I've done octopus in a method recommended by Harold McGee.

    He suggest first giving the octopus a quick blanch in water then into a dry covered dutch oven.  The octopus will give off a considerable amount of liquid so in effect it will braise.  You braise in the oven until tender.  The skin gets that nice gelatinous texture.  I went one step further and grilled it just enough to get some char on the outside and some grilled flavor.

    Similar to Batali's but without the blanch.

  10. ...and cut cake. Absolutely, decadent, rich, luxurious! There were four of us and we couldn't finish 1/4 of the cake, it will easily satiate 16 for dessert. The actual cake part is actually fairly light without being crumbly, the ganache is over the top.

    Would definitely make it again.

    Be careful with the amount of 1c of sugar, it's a bit misleading. 1/4 cup in the eggwhites, 3/4c in the syrup. I'm also not sure if the 1/4c of flour used for dusting the pan is supposed to come from the total 1-1/2c listed. They did the sugar that way but the flour is confusing. I used an additional 1/4c.


  11. I've alway's believed that anyone who can read, follow directions and has enough manual dexterity to have sex could follow a recipe and cook. Baking is a whole different ball game.

    The cake and ganache both came out perfect but the devil is in the details. I have a new found respect for cake decorating.

    I went out and bought a piece of dowel to use as guides for dividing my cake into 3 even layers, I place one on either side and tried to keep my knife flat on the dowels. The first layer came out OK but the knife I was useing (my smoked fish slicer) was not rigid enough and the second layer was very uneven. I indexed all 3 layers so went they were stacked they would give a flat top and bottom.

    The ganache was a bit tough to spread, especially with the rum syrup soaking the cake, but I managed. I tried to get some nice detail going on on the sides drawing from my experience as an amateur potter. The toughest part was the chocolate shavings. The chunk I had left to shave just wasn't cooperating. It was coming of very dry ad then melting in my hands. In the end it was down to taking handfuls of shavings and throwing them at the cake. :raz: The dog got a bit on the floor, but he's a trooper, he's done it before.

    Still, it came out OK, I'm sure it's going to taste great, each component by itself (cake, ganache and syrup) was wonderful. I'll get a photo once it's cut later



  12. I assumed the 24oz. of chocolate was by weight, I melted it and used 3c of heavy cream. It's been in the fridge for about and hour and is just beginning to thicken. I think it's going to take longer than 2 hours to get to peanut butter consistency so it will be done about 4 hours before dessert time. We'll keep it covered in the garage, about 55˚

    thanks, rob

  13. Thanks to all for the quick reply. I imagine it's a blend, it was bulk chocolate from Teitels on Arthur Avenue. It passed the quick taste test.

    I will report back after making the cake.

    Thanks again, Rob

    So far , so good, cake is made, ganache is chilling, syrup, is done, just awaiting assembly. By the way, the chocolate turned out to be Callebaut.

    A question, the recipe makes no mention if the finished cake must be kept chilled when assembled. It will be done about 7-8 hours before we eat it, will the ganache keep at room temperature or should it be kept refrigerated ?

    Thanks, Rob

  14. This weekend I going to attempt the Chocolate Truffle cake in the new issue of SAVEUR. It calls for semi-sweet chocolate 54% . While shopping today my purveyor only had 58%, he said there's no practical difference it would make on my cake.

    I know baking is pretty much chemistry, do I need to worry about the outcome of my cake being affected by 4%?

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