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Big Mike

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Everything posted by Big Mike

  1. Anyone excited for this one? http://www.abccookingshow.com/
  2. Reviving an old thread. Headed down to Knoxville and Nashville for a few days, what are the good eats?
  3. A third endorsement for a coffee grinder. The world of difference between fresh ground and stuff that's sitting in a bag for weeks and weeks is night and day.
  4. I've been looking to pick up a whipped cream maker to play around with sauces but didn't want to spend upwards of $100 for a toy. I saw the Sexxy Whip made by WhipRite selling for around $30, and 24 chargers for less than $10 which is way more reasonable to me. Here's the link to the website selling it So my question is, has anyone used this dispenser? How do WhipRite's other products hold up?
  5. I've gotten bushels of crabs from a place in the Camden/Gloucester area but I can't remember exactly where it was or if it's still there. Anyone know a place that has good prices for bushels of crabs in the South Jersey area?
  6. Anyone who wears rings and bracelets while cooking, sooooo skeevy. I saw a video of someone making hamburger with a ring on his thumb and I wanted to vomit.
  7. I made these stuffed Italian long hots last weekend in my oven. Stupid easy and soooo so good. 12 Italian Long Hots 1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto 1/2 lb mozzarella Slit the peppers lengthwise, remove seeds and veins. Take one piece of prosciutto and place a piece of cheese in the middle. Wrap the prosciutto around the cheese and stuff into the pepper. Roast until the cheese gets melty but doesn't liquify. The peppers should still have some snap when you bite them.
  8. 15 more since last posting: Heart of the Artichoke, Zuni Cafe cookbook, The Whole Beast, etc etc etc
  9. I live for the frozen langostinos. Thawed and tossed into a seafood salad or risotto they are fantastic. Also love the big honkin bar of dark chocolate to cook with. Makes a great souffle.
  10. Nobody around me sells whole truffles, anyone know a reputable online dealer they've ordered from with satisfactory results?
  11. I like the cut of your jib, sir.
  12. I really liked Zuni Cafe in San Fran, I just ate there a few weeks ago and loved it. Also check out the Ferry Building for all sorts of high end products, while there you can eat at the Slanted Door. I also really liked Saison but it's pricey. I've heard a great deal of good things about Coi, this may be a better choice for high end meal in town.
  13. All the comments you guys have made is right on except Saison, which I count as one of the most amazing meals of my life. We were outside by the wood fired grill and oven, and chatting to the grill chef was amazing as well. The guy worked with Robuchon and Keller before manning the grill at Saison, he was really interesting. I wrote up a report on the meal here. There are only two things I would change about my experience... 1- Completely edible shrimp, shell and all. Um, no, it's like trying to chew glass. 2- The bill. Unbelievably expensive but we made up for it in drink. We got there early so they just started pouring us wine. Between 7 wines, extra pours, and two glasses of the high end special stuff the sommelier makes as a side business, we must have consumed at least triple what it cost for them to purchase the wine.
  14. The Sonoman and Napa trip was a raging success, much thanks to everyone who gave all the great suggestions. I wrote up a long blog entry at The Easy Bohemian but here's the executive summary. These places rocked my world: Schug, Smith Madrone, Pride Followed hot on their heels by: Terra Valentine, Whitehall Lane, B Cellars, Madonna Estate and Castello di Amarosa (it is worth the crowds if only to marvel at the attention to every last detail) These I would skip: Gloria Ferrer (go to Domaine Carneros instead for sparkling), Jacuzzi(unless you're bored, it's a nice setting), V. Sattui (avoid at all costs) Whew! That was a lot to slam into three days. I have to say by the time dinner at Bouchon rolled around after doing four wineries I was roasted. Three is better, four is rough. I enjoyed talking to Charlie Smith at Smith Madrone, that was maybe the most enjoyable hour and a half of the entire trip I agree with the no spit sentiment. It seems like such an insult, like spitting in the wine maker's face. I end up tasting once and pouring out the rest. As an aside, Chateau Montelena pissed me off big time. They were closed for a private event for the entire day Saturday with no prior notice. This was a real joy to learn after driving from Napa proper all the way up to Calistoga. It worked out in the end, we found B Cellars which we really enjoyed.
  15. I was just at Boccalone last week, the meat cone is a thing of beauty. We did hit the Slanted Door for lunch that day, great food as you would expect. Service was slow, especially since we were there at the end of lunch and the place was starting to clear out. Regardless the food was stellar. We also ate at Saison for dinner, which I count as the most amazing dining experience of my life. I don't generally like the places that are so overly formal but this was just the right amount of high end service and laid back atmosphere. We sat out by the wood fired oven chatting with the grill chef in between courses. Warning, it's expensive. Two people with tasting was around $500 before tip. Lastly we ate at Zuni Cafe which rocked the house down. They also have a wood fired oven which is the star of the kitchen. The Oven Chef was really cool, he let me poke my head in there and ask a few questions in the middle of a banging service. The food and service was exceptional as well. We had to rush through dinner to get to the airport and we had apps and main course with ten minutes to spare. Love them, the only place I'll repeat next time I'm in the area.
  16. Here's an update on the wineries we're planning on visiting. Schug Gloria Ferrer Pride Smith Madrone Terra Valentine Chateau Montelena Castello di Amarossa Caymus The two clunkers in there are for my wife. Honestly, she would be happier riding the bus with the visor and fanny pack crowd. And we're driving to Calistoga from Napa on Saturday morning which should be a real joy. It should be ok, I'm from Philadelphia. We invented heavy traffic
  17. OK, so French Laundry was a bust. I called for three days straight, 5 phones blazing each day and all I could get was a wait list. What a crock, nothing is worth that amount of work. Anyway, here's what I managed otherwise: Tartine Bakery for 5:00 Bread Saison Bottega Buchon Zuni Cafe How's that list sound for dinners? Lunch will be whatever we happen to stumble into or picnics at the wineries.
  18. I've always said to my out of town friends, cheese steaks don't travel well. I give props to Primo's, whatever bread they use stands up really well to saving for the next day.
  19. I just got a used Manttra for $10. I wanted to get a cheap one to play with before going in for a high end model. Nice thing is it has two cooking vessels that both fit the lid; one is 4 quarts and the other is 6.5 quarts. It is made from aluminum so I'm kind of limited to what I can cook in it. I was going to make ossobuco this weekend but am concerned that the wine and tomatoes will react adversely. What's a good first recipe to test with?
  20. As great as The Sopranos series was, it was riddled with Coca Cola product placement.
  21. A million thanks for documenting the trip in such amazing detail. I have to say I'm feeling a bit torn between awe and sorrow because I know I'll never experience the wonders of elBulli personally. The markets alone look like they're worth the trip to Spain, utterly amazing.
  22. I think it makes sense to do Gin, Rye/Whiskey, Sweet and Dry Vermouth. From the top of my head that gives you about 50 classic cocktails to start with. As stated in a previous post, I'd consider bitters just another ingredient like your juices and it shouldn't count in the bottles that are needed. From there you can add two bottles per class, maybe themed like Rum for Tiki drinks which are making a big comeback or tequila for margaritas.
  23. I go to my butcher twice a month or more, I'm in the camp of loyalty and continued patronage. My guys are so old school, they probably wouldn't take a tip. I like the idea of bringing gifts. I'll hit them up with loaves of bread or focaccia, the occasional tomato pie. I do the same thing with my CPA, lawyer, in-laws, you name it. Everybody likes a nice tomato pie.
  24. I built my home SV setup using a Ranco temperature controller. http://www.amazon.com/RANCO-ETC-111000-Digital-Temperature-Control/dp/B0015NV5BE I paired that with a $5 flea market crock pot, some heat shrink tubing around from another project which you need to put on the temperature sensor to protect it, plus a short extension cord to wire the relay to the crock pot. I probably spent $70 all told, and it's dead simple. The only thing I would maybe add is an aquarium bubbler to move the water around. Even without a bubbler it performs beautifully. I've used it a lot, it's such a simple concept. I've successfully held it for hours at 130, 150 and 190F.
  25. Too bad about your dead starter, that's what I love about sourdough. I had a starter that I made with organic grapes that tasted awful, it could raise the dead and would triple or quadruple in volume but it was sorta gross. Have you ever saved starter for long term storage by drying it? I've read you spread it onto parchment paper and leave it in the oven overnight with the light on, then the next day just peel it off and smash it up fine then store in the freezer. I'm bringing one out of cold storage to make some bread this weekend, going to try it to see how it works. It would have saved me from having to start a new one recently when I used all of the starter to make a huge batch of pizza and forgot to leave some start behind
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