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Everything posted by fresco

  1. Yes, I should have said, "in my experience, smokers...."
  2. I seem to recall from her books that Marcella's big beef is that we on this continent don't put enough salt in the water when cooking pasta. It must also be said that she is a smoker, and smokers tend to like their salt and heavy seasonings.
  3. I don't think Marcella does this, in the corporate or any other sense. And to be fair to USA Today, they were certainly aware that she doesn't.
  4. This piece is, in its own way, brilliant--holding the Olive Garden "experience" up to the eyes of the Hazans, who are unusually rigorous in their insistence on authenticity. What's more, it's balanced, and you come away with some real appreciation of what's wrong and right about Olive Garden. I wish more food journalism was this good--and this from what used to be called "McPaper."
  5. Zucchini pakoras, but that's really just a variation on fritters, isn't it?
  6. and the use of non-english words for foods that have a perfectly good english word all set up already and ready to use is a bit strange as well. probably done for the same reasons. I'd second that. Have to say, though, that "aubergine" sounds a hell of a lot better than "eggplant" although I couldn't bring myself to say it.
  7. I'm finding it a bit of a stretch to see this as offensive or a blunder. The name itself strikes me as cloyingly, almost nauseatingly cute, which would be reason enough to kill it. I'm sure it tastes much like that, too.
  8. Dairy Queen. Sounds like a nasty gay slur.
  9. I guess all of us have our tics, verbal and otherwise. Do you find yourself cutting TV chefs a lot of slack for stuff like this if you like/respect what they do?
  10. fresco

    Cooking Octopus

    The major action of tannins on protein is to aggregate and even cross-link them. This is how you produce leather from animal hides during the tanning process. If tannin is involved in the cooking process of the octopus the logical effect would be for them to get tougher, not more tender. This cork thing frustrates me, I can see logical reason why it would effect the tenderness of a octopus. Many cultures eat octopus, but to date the only references I have seen to the cork thing are Italian and Croatian. Are the Japanese so stupid that they wouldn't have worked such a system out? The Greeks? If the effect of the cork is real, why don't people use this method to tenderise tougher cuts of meat meat during braising? I suspect that putting a cork with a cooking octopus does result in a tender octopus. But, I also think that octopus would end up tender irrespective of the presence of a cork or not. It's like putting a teaspoon in a champagne bottle to 'keep the fizz in'. Yes, overnight you will have fizz left in the bottle, but you would have the same level of fizz with or without the spoon. Still it would be interesting to find out. It would be a very interesting to compare say five octopi independently cooked with and without the corks. Another group could use synthentic corks as a control... Until such an experiment is done, the octopus and cork thing is firmly in the realm cooking myth. Thanks for volunteering, Adam. I'll look forward to hearing the results. Heroic of you--10 is a shitload of octopus to consume.
  11. fresco

    Cooking Octopus

    Cork, being bark, contains tannins, which can break down or tenderize proteins. So this makes sense. Sam, I'd guess that an octopus would probably exude a lot of liquid, which would then activate the tannins in the cork.
  12. I live adjacent to what is probably the greatest concentration of souvlaki joints in the world, outside of possibly Athens. Lamb souvlaki is actually rare here, perhaps because of the cost. The most common offerings are pork and chicken.
  13. You've just given me another reason not to watch the Urban Peasant. The main one is that he can't cook.
  14. TV chefs from Canada, the US and the UK committed hundreds of hazardous gaffes during a series of programs on Food Network Canada analyzed by researchers at University of Guelph in Ontario. "For every instance of handling food correctly on popular TV cooking programs, there were 13 food-safety errors, with an average of seven such mistakes made during a typical 30-minute show. "Primarily, it was poor hand-washing, and we know that insufficient or inadequate hand-washing is a key contributor to contracting and spreading food-borne illness, both in the home and elsewhere," said Douglas Powell, scientific director of the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph. http://www.canada.com/health/story.html?id...FD-F4E5C484D391
  15. I'm neither Spanish nor Portuguese, but have been to both countries and enjoyed the food immensely. Miguel, being Portuguese, you are acutely aware of the differences, but it does strike me that there are many similarities -- rice, in combination with seafood especially, plays a big role in the celebrated dishes of Spain and Portugal. While you almost never see paella in Portugal, the rice and squid or rice and octopus or shrimp dishes are close cousins. Hams and sausages are revered on both sides of the border, and they are similar sorts of hams and sausages. Pork, generally, rules in both countries. There are probably a couple of dozen other examples, including flan. So I'm wondering if, in fact, the people of Spain or Portugal simply prefer their own versions and don't consider the food from the other country to be sufficiently "different" enough to support a lot of restaurants or invite experimentation by home cooks.
  16. Having a small, fixed sum to spend on food actually means you have a better chance of eating healthily, but it does require enormous discipline. In general, a lot more seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, and little or no meat. Pretty well nothing packaged or canned, with the exception of tomatoes when they're not in season. Rice and beans. But $10? Depends where you live, I guess.
  17. A lot of great suggestions here. My own experience is that necessity tends to make a cook efficient and there is a lot to be said for the ability to get a good meal on the table quickly. But it is a great luxury to be able to spend all day preparing dinner.
  18. Yes, I've noticed myself that millions of Indians and Mexicans have this need to be trendy.
  19. Has anyone consulted the NY Times style book? I'm sure there is one, and it has a prescribed spelling. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...950301?v=glance
  20. Ice wine has to be the most successful fraud ever pulled off in Canada.
  21. Fresh fava beans are great, but I agree they are a pain to shell. It's a real treat to buy them shelled in markets in Europe.
  22. Caviar. I've had good caviar several times, including one extremely excessive caviar tasting arranged by someone just back from Russia, during which several ounces of the stuff was scoffed back in various ways by a few people, but just can't warm up to it.
  23. If I recall my history right, much of what we associate with upscale restaurants (and restaurants generally) originated with the French revolution, when cooks formerly employed by the aristocracy suddenly found themselves out of work. Many started establishments which offered, for the first time, food prepared with skill and good ingredients, to anyone who could pay the price. Interesting that fine dining establishments should now be viewed, by some, as symbols of entrenched, uncaring privilege.
  24. Ok, I'll discuss it. Income disparity is not immoral. Any society offering free choice is bound to have both winners and losers, as well as every gradation in between. Can you think of very many counter-examples? Well, perhaps you'll think of something, but in general the societies without income disparity are the societies without income. Income disparity is not only not immoral, but inevitable. If proof were needed that Grimes should stick to food, this is it.
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