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  1. We like the Paul Prudhomme Magic Seasonings. I like the vegetable magic on any vegetable, and on most meats. The Salmon Magic is off the chart on salmon or any meat. Blackened steak and blackened redfish magic are also great, but require blackening to be at their best. Finally, the pork and veal magic is very good. If I had to pick one, it would be vegetable magic. Salmon magic is a very close second and is just perfect on salmon.
  2. It works incredibly well for baby artichokes. Trim and cut a dozen of them in half and toast in a cast iron skillet with a bit of garlic butter. Peel the stems for handles and you can eat the whole thing. Do not stir. Continue cooking cut side down in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and put on a plate with the cut side up. Grate parmesan on top. I might try finishing with a little truffle oil next time. Texture is rich and soft with crunchy spots. It reminded me of soft shell crab. You could roast asparagus, mushrooms, etc., in the same oven. Serve on a plate with homemade mayonnaise.
  3. Uncle Bud's Deep Fried Peanuts are a distinctive addition to your peanut diet, and you eat the shell and all, so they represent good roughage, too.
  4. I recall it too. I think it is cucumber, salted to remove the liquid and make it crispy, rinsed and chilled, plus, sesame oil and garlic, plus chili. I would add cilantro or something like that and make a salad or slaw out of it. But this is from memory. Good luck.
  5. We never see them in the store. I just use Angostura bitters with a little lime or orange juice. It makes a big difference in salsa.
  6. I render bacon until crisp in the microwave and simmer for 30 minutes with a can of chicken stock. You can remove the bacon if you like. The additional fat is trivial and easy to skim by pouring over ice.
  7. I omitted to mention that I process my greens a leaf at a time and cut out the stems from everything but the spinach. It makes for a more refined dish. I bought the pre-processed greens in a bag last year. Never again. Too many stems and that puts people off of greens. With a pot of mixed greens without stems, your guests will be much happier. One thing I have discovered that adds a great touch to greens is anchovies. Just a couple in the pot add a great flavor that people appreciate but can not put their finger on. You might also try worcestershire but the anchovy does the trick for me.
  8. I am an expense account New Yorker but I try to get around. Locanda Vini y Olli in Brooklyn is more than worth a visit for the duck. I agree with the guy on Food TV that it is the best fruit dish I ever ate. I thought the other dishes lacked taste, however, although the calamari charcuterie was amazing. I have my doubts about an italian restaurant that does not smell of garlic and this place does not. It gets a Zagat 26 for food however, and is a bargain at the price. Great vistit to Il Mulino for a veal chop milanese and an arugula and basil salad on top with a side of pasta and porcini mushroom cream sauce. These two restaurants have the same Zagat rating but could not be more different. I am coming back to Il Mulino, even at twice the price. NoHo Star at the Bleecker exit off the 6 train, one block West of Broadway. Calamari salad and spinach ricotta omelette. Although I have never tried the Chinese menu, everything else is good here, too. Homemade ginger ale and limeade, too. This place may be my favorite everyday place in Manhattan. I was introduced to it by my late, great, super-cool friend John Ernst, who introduced me to Christ Cella, Iperbole, One if By Land, River Cafe, Fraunce's Tavern, Dean & DeLuca, and Ferrarra's bakery. He was usually right, and NoHo Star is a worthy spot. I love everything at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central. I have convinced myself that the Atlantic oysters are safer than the Gulf oysters. I hope I am right. The clams and scallops are excellent, too. Interesting small plate meal this year at the Carlton Hotel in the bar. 28th and Madison. Great wine list with bar food to complement it. Finally, check out Napa and Co. in Stamford CT. Truly outstanding. Not quite New York, and not quite Napa either. But truly outstanding.
  9. We buy purple hull field peas at the farmers' market in July and freeze them until this weekend every year. We render smoked jowl, make a stock with the meat, add a bunch of green onions, a handful of parsley, a can of RoTel tomatoes, and a couple quarts of peas. This year I intend to add three links of Vaucresson Creole Hot Chaurice which I picked up myself in New Orleans last week. Vaucresson makes the hot sausage for the Jazz Fest and this has plenty of spice for the whole pot, way more than andouille in my opinion. You can reduce the meat and use chicken or vegetable stock with a couple of strips of bacon, as we do in the summertime, but I think the New Year's luck resides mostly in the hog jowl based on 30 years of data at our house. I recently learned of a Whole Foods (Freida's or ElBurrito I think) product called SoyRizo, a vegetarian chorizo., which people love. I have a vegetarian in the house and we may make him and his circle a small batch. I can't guess how his luck might be however. For greens we use a hambone to make stock, and use a combination of the green gumbo recipes from Emeril's Real and Rustic, Richard and Rima Collin's New Orleans Cooking, and other books. This year I used greens from mustard, turnips, kale, collards, chard, spinach, celery tops, basil, italian parsley, green onions, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, plus red, black and white pepper, a cup each of onion and celery, and a dash of KPauls Vegetable Magic, and a big spoonful of file. No meat, no roux, just the hambone stock. I like the cornbread recipe either from Anson Mills or Susan Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques, on opposite ends of the cornbread spectrum. Happy New Year.
  10. Full gourmet dinner with simple ingredients from a toaster oven. With guidance from Eric Ripert. http://aveceric.com/wp/recipes/get-toasted/
  11. Check this out. I discovered these in a convenience store in Wisconsin but they are made in Tennessee and available locally as well. The peanuts are fried in the shell and seasoned on the outside. Imagine a pair of peanuts surrounded by a SunChip. The shell is seasoned with salt, cajun, garlic or other flavors of choice, and frying makes it crunchy enough to eat. These require an open mind, but once you try them it is hard to stop. This product celebrates two major fast food rules: Fat tastes good. Salt tastes good, too. http://www.unclebudspeanuts.com/ sc
  12. I have tried the cookie presses from Williams-Sonoma, Pampered Chef, and Kuhn Rikon. All of them have been overpowered by my cheese straws which are made with 5 cups of double sifted flour, 1t salt, 1t cayenne, and two red blocks of Cracker Barrel cheddar. I need a better solution. I pipe the straws through the star shaped pastry tip and it will not cycle to the next notch after a while. I never use the cookie disks. I am thinking something with a screw or hydraulic mechanism would be better. The modern cookie press of my experience is just no match for this dough. What is your favorite cookie press for cheese straws?
  13. I have been to Gary Danko and Chez Panisse and both are great, but I always find myself wishing I had gone to my old standby Jackson Fillmore. JF is my favorite place in San Francisco with zucchini carpaccio, tricolore salade, great pasta and meat dishes in a small neighborhood place. On Fillmore near Jackson. Hard to beat for quality and price. Great wine list too.
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