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Bill Klapp

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    Neive (CN), Italia

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  1. Wondra also works brilliantly for sauteeing fresh foie gras, should one's ethics, morality, sense of fundamental fairness and applicable state law permit its consumption...
  2. The Charentais is also thin-skinned and does not keep as well as most cantaloupe-variety melons. I grew them in Italy during the terribly hot summer of 2009, and was not pleased with the result, but that could have been the year. The melons from Mantova in Italy are better (it is the classic sweet and juicy melon paired with prosciutto here, not as sweet as the Charentais and not quite as soft), but likely even less available in the U.S. That said, for my taste (and I like a sweet melon), the Mantova melon and the Charentais are the two best cantaloupes that I have ever eaten. Ripeness always seems hit-and-miss in the U.S., better in farmer's markets, but for whatever reason, cantaloupe-style melons are almost always excellent here. (Watermelons are another story!)
  3. Bill Klapp

    Salami Safety

    Don't eat the moldy orange. Show some respect for our "when in doubt, throw it out" brethren! But don't mind me. I never refrigerate butter, either! I agree in principle that no foodstuff is worth nausea or worse, but I also think that many people who know no better throw out tons of perfectly good food unnecessarily, due to lack of food science knowledge, the fetishing of food science knowledge or subscription to food science voodoo. (I have some leftovers that I do not care for myself!) We humans are teeming with bacteria and all manner of unsavory stuff, as is most everything around us, like it or not. We are still here, and in the first and second worlds at least, we do not even suffer food poisoning with any regularity, and it seems that when we do, restaurants are guilty at least as often as our own kitchens and refrigerators. Compare the incidence of food poisoning in your own life to, say, the incidence of colds and flu!
  4. Bill Klapp

    Salami Safety

    Greetings from the land decorated with hanging, unrefrigerated salamis and hams! Actually, kidding aside, sliced salami has a greater prospect of spoilage than whole salamis, but as liuzhou notes, it is a cured meat, and as such, it is going to be resistant to spoilage. If there is no mold, take a whiff, as Smithy suggested above. (I do not agree with the "overly greasy" notion, however, which can be a good thing, since refrigerated salami not brought to room temperature is not worth eating; on the other hand, overly dry and curled-up salami is not going to be worth eating, whether safe or not!) If there is no sour or off-smell, take a small bite. If it tastes good, eat it; if not, throw it away.
  5. Never seen the show, so this is not meant as a defense of the woman in any way, but "esPOSito" is how the name is pronounced in Italian. It is all of those hockey-playing Ess-po-see-toes who do not know how to pronounce their own names!
  6. I just found Walker's version for the first time in Italy, along with Walker's Shortbread, and the Stem Ginger Biscuits were outstanding. Not even remotely related to the ginger snap, and perhaps twice as thick as those pictured and a bit chewy, as well as crunchy. More akin to a crispy, whole-grain cookie with dried cherries or cranberries inside, but with a powerful ginger punch instead...
  7. I saw a picture in the NYT travel section of Hungarian red peppers hanging outside of a shop in New Mexico-style ristras, and, having just been boning up here on Hatch and related NM chilies, and knowing that Hungarian paprika peppers range from sweet and mild to hot, I began to wonder if Hungarians ever use fresh green and dried red peppers as New Mexican cooks do, even if for radically different dishes, and also, if I might source and use some type of Hungarian peppers to create Southwestern dishes in Italy. Any board learning on this?
  8. I am with andiesenji on this one. A friend here imports oysters, smoked salmon, other seafood, foie gras and butter into Italy for its top chefs. I have tasted through the butters mentioned above in this thread and many more, as well as most of France's top butters, and I am convinced that the best butter on earth is made in Isigny Sainte-Mere in lower Normandy, whether sweet or demi-sel. We buy it in bulk in a 5-kilo basket called a bourriche, then cut it up and freeze it. It will last for a year (or longer...maybe two!) frozen with virtually no loss in quality. Also, whether sweet or salted, it can be kept at room temperature (except in summer sans air conditioning, I suppose) without worrying about rancidity. You may not find it in bulk in the U.S., but Beurre d' Isigny is pretty readily available in gourmet stores in major metro areas. I could find it in Raleigh, NC, for example. As to rancidity, U.S. commercial butters seem particularly subject to it, to a degree that homemade farm butters are not. I would never leave Land O' Lakes sitting out in the kitchen in a butter dish for days. It would be interesting to know why. My typical breakfast here is toast made from a local bread that resembles nothing so much as South Jersey Italian bread, that cracker-crisp-crust, moist, doughy interior suitable for rolling into balls bread, also of hoagie and cheesesteak roll fame, slathered with Isigny butter, either demi-sel or topped with a little fresh-ground Himalayan pink salt if sweet, and then topped with first-quality Parma or San Daniele prosciutto. Add a caffe latte made with farm-fresh raw milk, and Alto-Adige yogurt or maybe a Star Ruby grapefruit from South Africa in season, and there is no such thing as a bad day here! All of that said, the butter may well be the most important item in that breakfast lineup...
  9. It could be safe again. Unless some scumbags are putting Bic disposable razors in rather large popcorn balls!
  10. People who give out homemade popcorn balls for Halloween. All three of them. Next question...
  11. Yes! Try a good imported butter from, say, Brittany, and taste it next to Land O' Lakes. And forget about Plugra. Not the real thing, that...
  12. I think that both ice packs and dry ice (the latter in a sharply limited quantity) are possible in the cabin, but timing is everything, since if your ice packs thaw in transit prior to your final security check, they will be thrown out as an impermissible quantity of gel. Just slipped in under the melting wire on a recent trip back to Italy, toting North Carolina BBQ, Lebanon bologna and corned beef! On the other hand, Italian customs seems to have none of the insane bans on the importation of foodstuffs that the USDA perpetuates. The EU may have bizarre regulations, but Italy being Italy, it has little use for EU regulation... Since it appears that I have pretty much missed the fresh season this year, it seems that frozen, roasted, in-the-skin green chiles will probably be my best shot, so let me raise THIS question: if I buy said chiles and they partially thaw in transit, is there likely to be a profound health risk in refreezing them? Thanks to Weinoo, Shelby, Rob et al. for the input...
  13. Thanks, Rob, but bummer that the hatch season is already over. I had it in my mind that it started and ended later. My first choice would be to rent a place in the Santa Fe/Taos neighborhood for 6 months, but too late for this year!
  14. I have a real hankering for some classic New Mexico green AND red-driven food. I have the cookbooks (Rancho Chimayo, Pasqual's, Coyote Cafe and others) and recipes here in Italy, and will be coming stateside this fall and in position to schlep back some chilies. In the past, I have traveled to the Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Taos area many times to eat the food and did a little cooking at home with red chilies, but never shipped in and used green chilies. Several questions: 1. What is the typical beginning and end of the green and red seasons? 2. I will use dried red chilies, but do fresh green chilies require refrigeration or other special treatment? (My plan is to ship them to Boston via UPS/FedEx, then hand-carry back to Italy.) I assume that roasted green chilies would be out of the question (and I can always roast my own, if need be.) 3. How long will fresh green chilies last? Should I freeze some once back in Italy, or just use what I have and wait 'til next year? 4. Is there any reason why I might prefer frozen, dried or canned green chilies? I presume that there is an invariable drop-off in quality from fresh to preserved, but I am interested in the views of those who regularly use green chilies in New Mexico cooking. (I can get canned green chilies in Italy.) 5. MOST IMPORTANTLY: anybody have a reliable mail-order source for buying green and red chilies? Thanks in advance!
  15. I agree that Pearson's and After Eight are both winners. They lean toward liquid rather than the chalky fondant of York's, which I have always found to be dreadful (but yet the perfect peppermint patty for palates that can eat Hershey's chocolate bars!). Both also get it right with an ultra-thin chocolate coating of decent quality. I also suggest looking at a Cella chocolate-covered cherry label to see how it maintains clear liquidity rather than the thick white sugar goo of other chocolate-covered cherries...
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