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Posts posted by DanM

  1. The local grocer had a couple of packages of jarret de veau, or veal shank for half price. Clearly, this is not the case or the French have some strange cut of shank that does not include the bone. I am hoping someone here might be able to identify what cut this is. It is boneless and came in two pieces, weighed about 500g and are about 15cm long. Any help will be appreciated. 



  2. 18 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

    Wouldn't it be easier to stay at home?


    Yes, but that would be a dull and boring life.


    Since we started this expat experience, I have dragged my kids to Alsace, Venice, Barcelona, Israel, Nuremburg, Hamburg, back to the US, and Lucerne. This does not include the numerous day trips to neighboring France and Switzerland. I currently have plans in the works for Genoa, Jerusalem, Rome, Provence or Brittany/Normandy (I haven't decided yet), and Vienna over the next 18 months. 

    • Like 6
  3. 5 minutes ago, ElsieD said:



    This serrated little knife might be useful.  While called a tomato knife, I have also used it to slice bread and it is a lot smaller than a bread knife.


    Victorinox has a similar knife for about 5 francs... and it comes in fun colours!  I might swing by their store to take a look. https://www.victorinox.com/ch/fr/Produits/Couteaux-de-cuisine-et-professionnels/Couteaux-doffice/Couteau-a-tomates-et-de-table-Swiss-Classic/p/6.7831

  4. 54 minutes ago, weinoo said:

    One of the first things I enjoy doing when we arrive at a destination, is to head to a local store for provisions, as well as things which might not be stocked and which I think I'll need.  And often it's where I'll find small gifts to bring back to people back home, especially those who enjoy cooking. Salts are always available and usually pretty inexpensive.


    Same thing with certain herbs and spices; compared to the prices I might pay for things like pimentón or herbes de Provence back in the states, they cost next to nothing...and usually, they're a lot fresher.


    Admittedly, though, I don't do much cooking when we travel, as we often travel for the specific purpose of exploring the food of wherever we go.  I do, however, always make coffee and something for breakfast. And that's what I bring in my bag - some ground coffee (though obviously not the best way to keep coffee fresh, but after an experience with a hand grinder and tearing a rotator cuff using it, I now take the easy way) as well as a small pour over contraption. Like this one...





    This is a good idea... I have been tempted by Bodum's french press travel mug.

  5. 2 hours ago, liuzhou said:


    It's nothing to do with AirBnB. It's normal in most homes around the western world.


     I agree with @weinoo. Your list is somewhat excessive. When you are travelling, improvise. No one needs a paring knife AND a veg peeler, however convenient at home. I haven't possessed a bread knife for decades and manage just fine. Ditto can opener.

    Can you explain your reasoning behind limiting spices/herbs to six? Frankly, I'd be outside seeing what they have locally instead of carrying all that with me.


    Sorry, but I disagree. It is an issue with AirBnBs as many hosts/companies that run AirBnB apartments equip their kitchens with the cheapest items possible, keep the provisions to a minimum, and provide little maintenance for them. 


    The pairing knife is essential as I have a 7 and 9 year old who are not yet comfortable using a 8" chef's knife, so a cheap paring knife is always a good option. Our routine on trips is to fill a box with cut up fruits and veg for lunch and snacks throughout the day. This is usually supplemented with fresh bread, cheese, and a tartine or rillette that we pick up as we head out for the day. with As such, a veg peeler for the carrots, apples, and other items is essential.



    Most bakeries I have been to during our travels do not have slicing machine, so a serrated knife is useful.


    I don't do much real cooking while travelling. It's mostly heat and serve. As such, spices are of limited use during our travels. As far as buying as I go, I have found that I will at times spend 15 euros per trip on salt, pepper, spices, oil, etc that usually get thrown out  or left behind.


    I am also contemplating a silicone expandable strainer. Ravioli, tortellini and similar pastas are quick and easy meals for the kids. It is damn annoying when there isn't one in the apartment.


    • Like 1
  6. I am getting annoyed with poorly equipped and mantained AirBnB kitchens. The knives are damaged, basic tools missing, buying salt and pepper every time I travel, etc... I want to make a knife roll for the 4-6 times a year that I travel. These are the basic utensils that are either commonly missing or in poor shape at most apartment rentals. Here is what I have right now...


    Chef knife

    Bread/serated knife

    paring knife

    can opener

    corkscrew (aka my victorinox cheese pocket knife.)

    wood spoon

    veg peeler

    salt shaker

    pepper in a grinder

    no more than 6 spices/herbs. Paprika, garlic powder, herbs de provence, and 3 tbd...


    zip top bags


    What else should I add? Any advice would be appreciated.



    • Like 1
  7. On 5/20/2019 at 8:38 PM, Alex said:

    I'd go with a full-bodied, spicy Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a rare breed and hard to find. There is only one kosher wine from this appellation.  I was in luck and found it at the kosher market. It was an amazing wine. Thanks for the suggestion!


    • Like 1
  8. I found a lamb shoulder on the cheap and the market is brimming with fresh apricots from the Mediterranean coast. I found a recipe from River Cottage Fruit for slow roast lamb shoulder with spiced apricot sauce. The ingredients are listed below. I assume I should have this with a red wine, but what type? Since I live in Switzerland on the French border,  I have easy access to  Swiss and French wines. Other countries are as rare as a dog that speaks Norwegian. Any advice will be appreciated. 


    1 shoulder of mature lamb, or mutton or hogget, on the bone 
    A little olive oil, to trickle 
    2 tsp fennel seeds 
    3 tsp coriander seeds 
    1 cinnamon stick, broken in half 
    10 cardamom pods 
    1 tsp black peppercorns 
    2 star anise 
    2 tsp dried chilli flakes 
    2 tsp sweet smoked paprika 
    10–12 apricots, halved and stoned 
    4 garlic cloves, finely sliced 
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    Mint leaves, to finish (optional)


    Many Thanks!

    • Like 1
  9. Challenge accepted. I have most of a bag of frozen veg, some flagolet beans, broth, and three chicken thighs. 


    I browned the chicken, added the veg and beans, and then the broth. I let it simmer until tender. It was a little soupy, so I whipped up some drop biscuit dough, evacuated the chicken, cooked the dumplings, and then, through the magic of television, I have chicken and dumplings.  



    • Like 4
  10. This morning I picked up a massive bundle of fresh baseball sized onions. I am in the process of making progress for dinner with them. 


    Now what to do with the tops. I have a bundle 4" thick and about 12-25" long of greens. They are a bit too big and firm to use like scallions or green onions.  Any suggestions? 



    ETA... How about grilling and serving with romesco sauce like calcots?



    • Like 2
  11. The market  over the border in France had baseball sized Spanish grown artichokes for 1.80 Euros per kilo. I have never seen them that cheap. There are about 8-10 artichokes per kilo. 


    Now what to do with them? I am looking to branch out from the old standby of steam, roast, fry or grill and them plucking it leaf by leaf with some mayo or other dipping sauce. Any other creative ideas out there?





  12. We are heading to Barcelona in February and can use some recommendations. We are traveling with a 7, 9, and 15 month old.


    Specifically, I need simple places for lunch or places to pickup for a picnic. Dinner out is unlikely as Spanish dinners are too late for our kids. Vegetarian friendly is a plus. 


    Any suggestions for pastries? They are an easy snack for the kids.





  13. I am looking for new ideas for our RoccBox pizza oven. It is a bench top propane or wood fired oven with a stone floor. They claim it can get as hot as 500°c. We have used it a few times to make pizza, pita bread, roasted mushrooms, and padron peppers. Tonight I will be using it to make flammemkuchen. 


    What else can I use it for? Any brilliant ideas out there? Maybe an apple crumble?



  14. On 8/7/2018 at 5:55 PM, teonzo said:

    I live 25 km from Venice but I'm ashamed I can't be a great help. Everything is overpriced in Venice, so when I go there I tend to avoid going to restaurants.

    As @liuzhou wrote, first rule is to keep far from the tourist roads, 99.9% of restaurants placed on the turist roads are going to screw you.


    If you have kids, then the best suggestion is to look for "bacari". Bacari are the equivalent of the tapas bars in Spain: informal pubs/restaurants where you can eat a series (how many as you want, of course) of small plates, most of them have vegetarian options. No problem with kids there.

    Can't give you direct suggestions, sorry. Bacari have a strange story. Up to to the advent of Tripadvisor and similars, they were the best kept secret in Venice. All of them were placed far from the tourist roads, so only people living here knew them. When you visited almost all customers were speaking Venetian dialect, they were local restaurants for the locals. You could find the authentic Venetian cuisine for cheap prices. There was the tradition of "giro dei bacari": you spent the evening/night going to a bacaro, eating a small plate with a glass of wine, then going to another, until you were able to stand on your feet, and without spending a fortune. After the advent of the reviewing sites bacari became known outside of the locals, so a lot of tourists started to flood them. Almost all of the historical names went to hell (raised prices and became hip spots). This phenomenon caught the attention of people who open new places in Venice, so there are a good amount of new bacari that open each year. The usual story goes this way: first few months you find good quality for correct prices. As the restaurant starts to get customers, then prices rise and quality lowers. I'm not up to date on current names, my best suggestion is to search "best bacari Venice" with google and read only the comments that were written in 2018.


    As far as gelato, I stopped trying. Every time someone said to me "this gelateria in Venice is top notch!" I always ended up being disappointed. I would suggest you to try Grom, it's a chain with a lot of stores in Italy and abroad. They have 4 stores in Venice. Their stuff is not the best but it's good. Their sorbets are made from real fruit and not from industrial powders, a rarity for Venice.


    The only good name for pastry shops is Vizio Virtù in my opinion, they are focused mainly on chocolate. All the other good places closed or have been bought out. Well, you can find some top places in San Marco, but their prices are much more over the top.







    Thanks Teo. It will be a bit touristy, but we are going to try and keep away from it as much as possible. What about on the mainland? Do you have any suggestions that would make it worth the trip for an evening adventure?

    • Like 2
  15. We are planning a family trip to Venice during the kid's fall break. I am looking for dining ideas that will put up with two kids who, if their life depended on it,  cannot behave in public. A vegetarian friendly restaurant would be a plus.






    ETA: I can also use suggestions for gelato in case they surprise me with decent behavior.

    • Like 1
  16. On 4/22/2018 at 1:26 AM, Okanagancook said:

    Do you have American Pie by Peter Reinhart?  There are 75+ pages about his Hunt for pizza greatness and a lot of it is in Italy.  https://www.fornobravo.com/pizzaquest/


    Oh yes. It is a favorite around here. There is a wealth of information in the book that will be useful. Sadly, the binding is starting to fail on my copy.


    This will be fun. We were at the Divonne les Baines market this past sunday and had a picnic lunch which inlcuded a tasting of fresh that morning, one day old, one week old, and one month old goat cheese. The girls had a blast with it.

    On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 AM, JoNorvelleWalker said:


    Ask first if they wash the dishes and glassware.  My experience may be four or five decades out of date.


    Thanks for the warning. Sometimes the places that make you offer a prayer to the dysentery gods are the best places to eat. It is just a game of Russian roulette. 

  17. Now that we are living in Geneva, Switzerland, Northern Italy is at our doorstep. Turin and Milan are a half days travel by train.


    I am starting to put together some ideas for a week to 10 day trip though Italy. We have 6 and 8 year old girls, so  I think a little light hearted fun should be part of the plan. When I'm not immersing ourselves in the local culture, I think I will be introducing the children to local styles of pizza (although, pizza is culture!!). I will make those ungrateful twits  my lovely children sit there and explain to me how this pizza is different than the last. If you were to plan a pizza tour of Italy where we would explore the local style, what cities would you visit and what style to they serve there?







    • Like 1
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  18. It was not edible raw... too tough and the fat layer was unpleasant.


    On 4/5/2018 at 8:40 PM, gfweb said:

    Looks like they suggest a braise http://buchinger.fr/product.php?id_product=113


    I was planning on braising a turkey roll for dinner in a stew of random veg, canned tomatoes, wine, and herbs. I pulled out a little into a small pan and braised this chunk of cow... It was perfect if not just a little over done after an hour. 

  19. One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry?


    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  20. Hi.


    i was considering a Bosch Mum for a stand mixer for our new Swiss home, but decided on the old standby Kitchen Aid instead.  The Bosch provides some food processing functions, but does not chop up veg very easily. That said, I need a stand alone food Processor. 


    I am considering this one from Siemens, but I'm open to suggestions. Any thoughts out there? http://www.siemens-home.bsh-group.com/ch/fr/liste-des-produits/preparation-des-aliments/robots-menagers/MK860FQ1?breadcrumb=kitchenmachines

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