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Everything posted by scottie

  1. Try these guys, in the EV: http://www.taralluccievino.net/ OR These guys: http://www.freewilliamsburg.com/listings/restaurants/neighborhood/graham/fortunato-brothers I'd choose the latter, but you would have to travel to Williamsburg, Brooklyn (2 whole stops on the L train). Super old-school, and the pastries are EXCELLENT, I kid you not. Though sfogliatelle are really only good the same day. F Bros is always fresh, can't vouch for the other. Just give them a call and see. Hope this helps.
  2. I'm so pleased to see the Grand Hotel in your AL travelogue! My husband and I were married there in 2007. The food was excellent, much better than I had expected wedding food to be, and the chef quite generous in giving us a tour of his garden. My husband's parents and grandparents live in the Lakewood neighborhood, directly adjacent to the hotel. Whenever we visit, we wind up at the bar for mint juleps at sunset. If you saw the statue of Bucky, the old bartender, that was sculpted by my MiL. We will be returning to the Grand Hotel next weekend for my husband's grandfather's 100th birthday party. Thank you so much for addressing the issue of the current state of Gulf seafood. As a former Gulf resident and frequent visitor with family down there, I can tell you that folks there took the oil spill pretty hard. It was demoralizing for a region already all too familiar with disasters. So I am very glad to hear that the reputation of the seafood seems to be making a comeback. My MIL does hold that the oysters are still questionable, due to their stationary status and filter-feeding, but she and the other kin have been enjoying the crabs, shrimp and fish that are always so delicious there. I'm glad you were able to find some of those wonderful Royal Reds. Sometimes we order those by airmail from Joe Patti's Seafood in Pensacola. I'm looking forward to checking it out for myself next week. Thanks again!
  3. Coffee, coffee, coffee. I recently had to quit all coffee, even decaf, due to ulcer-like stomach issues. I miss the hell out of it and sometimes buy it and take two sips, but even that will hurt for several hours afterwards. I try to subsist on the aroma. Pickles are out completely, which isn't too bad except for the vinegary cucumber-and-onion salad indigenous to the South, which I grew up eating and discovered this summer is now forever relegated to the past. Seltzer. My favorite fizzy water. Carbonation is a no-no. But I love Prosecco, so I figured for now I'll trade seltzer for that. Cutting out spicy foods is looming on the horizon. I've cut way back on hot sauce and will miss it heartily when the day comes, but for now I use it very rarely and sparingly, at least compared to how I used to pour Sriracha and the like all over everything. I just bought a bottle of the (locally) famous Guyank Sweet-Hot, which I believe ought to last me for about ten years. But I'd give up all this and more if I could have my beloved coffee back!
  4. Oh yes, Samoas are way too sweet for me now, but were my absolute favorites as a Brownie. McRib Sandwich- every few years, McDonald's would dust this one off and offer it for a limited time, much to my delight. Had one again about ten years ago, and boy howdy, was that gross! But I still, even now, feel a twinge of excitement whenever I see an ad for them. Vienna sausages- these remind me of fishing trips with my dad, but I have not considered eating them ever since because ew.
  5. I love reading these stories and seeing these pictures. The oldest thing in my kitchen is a cast-iron Bundt pan from the 19th century. It was my great-aunt Effeldee's; I believe she inherited it from her mother. So it is very old, and much smaller than modern-day Bundt pans. Also, we have a ricer from who-knows-where, that seems kinda old- then I saw the exact same model on display, and it was from the 1920's. Cool!
  6. I agree about the strawberries. They have been disappointingly watery this season, and they spoil quickly. I've had some okay sugarsnaps, but the flavor has not been up to par. Must be pretty rough right now for many of the farmers. Has anyone seen favas this year?
  7. As long as the for-profit business is set up separately, and pays even a nominal rental fee to the synagogue, it should be fine. Personal chefs and caterers do it all the time. Churches, synagogues et al. are required to maintain certified kitchens that they might only use for a few hours weekly. These kitchens are comparably inexpensive to rent, the rental generates a bit of income for those institutions which are often strapped for cash, and legality is maintained all around.
  8. You might want to check out Spuyten Duyvil Grocery in Williamsburg. It's run by the same guys who run Spuyten Duyvil, the bar (and Fette Sau). It's small, but the focus is on great craft ales from the USA and beyond. It is a shop, not a bar, in Bedford Cheese's old location on Bedford. I realize this is not in Manhattan, but hey, it's just one stop!
  9. Wow, there are some odd products out there. We are totally going to try the Zevia cola. Thanks, guys!
  10. My husband is looking for a beast which probably does not exist. Does anyone out there know of a diet, aspartame-and Splenda-free soda which still contains caffeine? He is willing to give up the artificial sweeteners, but not the caffeine. There appear to be some Stevia-sweetened sodas, but they are all caffeine-free. The ideal would be a diet China Cola. Alternatively, has anyone out there ever heard of a caffeinated seltzer or club soda type beverage? Weird, I know. Thanks!
  11. Does anyone know of a brand of butterscotch chips that does not contain nasty stuff like hydrogenated oil and artificial coloring and flavor? I want to bake some cookies for Christmas that I loved when my mom made them back in the day, but Hershey's and Nestle butterscotch chips and the like are full of nastiness. Any ideas?
  12. Check out Vosges, in Soho. Their chocolates are beautiful and unusual- also expensive, but they make lovely gifts. If nothing else, you can get a really nice mug of hot cocoa while you're considering their selection. I plan to get my dad their chocolate pig with bacon bits! Vosges suggests storing chocolates in the fridge for not more than two to three weeks ahead of time.
  13. Well, here is the response I got from the wonderfully named Mr. Jacques Couture, president of the Vermont Maple Foundation: > "It would be interesting to know how the syrup tastes after > 12 years! I would follow my instincts if I were you. If the > inside of the can is tarnished the syrup has probably picked > up a very tinny taste. If not, it may still be good to eat, > but don't take any chances if you are not comfortable. > I may not sound very decisive in my recommendations. > It's kind of hard to know not being there. > Good luck...be careful. > Jacques Couture" > Of course I threw out the can before thoroughly inspecting the interior, which was covered in crystals anyway, so I am going to taste a big spoonful and then decide. Probably it's going in the garbage. Thanks for all of your responses! -scottie
  14. What a good idea! I have emailed them this question. Thank you for posting the link. I agree with Chris that it would not be such a problem if the syrup had been stored in glass. I am pretty sure that protective lining was not in such wide usage 12 years ago. This can did not seem to have any such lining, though it was hard to tell through all of the crystallization. I have used the syrup once, and it tasted more or less okay, but I was so paranoid I haven't used it since. I am awaiting response from the Vermont Maple Foundation, which I will post here as soon as I get it. Thanks, guys!
  15. My husband has had this 1/2 gallon can of maple syrup for 12 years, never opened. I got a craving the other day and opened it to see what kind of shape it was in. It was really dark. I poured it all out into various bottles, thinking I could get a better feel for its condition that way. Of course there was all sorts of crystallization at the bottom- maybe that lent to the darkness of the syrup, since the crystals were clear. This giant, perfectly clear crystal fell out! That was cool. But not the point. The point is, is this syrup still safe to use? It seems like it might have absorbed a metallic character from the tin. I hate to throw out that much Real Vermont maple syrup, but who wants to eat tin? Any thoughts?
  16. I don't like celery either, but use it for stocks and soups. Always hated Bumps-on-a-Log. Right now I have a bunch of VERY leafy and strong-flavored celery that I got at the farmer's market, and I'm wondering what the heck to do with it. Maybe a pesto? Would that be weird? Think I'll probably make the cream-of-celery soup suggested by Magictofu above.
  17. scottie

    Per Se

    Would love to hear about it. We're planning on going sometime soon.
  18. You know where else I'd go? Sammy's Roumanian. You're not going to get good chopped liver in Charlottesville.
  19. Wow, Nathan, I can't believe you are leaving NYC! Your voice has been so prominent in this forum. Whenever I see a post with your name on it, I know it's reliable. Charlottesville is not so far from D.C. that you won't be able to pop over once in awhile for some decent chow a la Jose Andres or Citronelle; likewise with the Cathal Armstrong places in what is it, Alexandria? Also, if you have a hankering for authentic Ethiopian or Chinese, you can get that in D.C. A family friend once said about 25 years ago, that you could tell which countries in the world were experiencing unrest by the new restaurants cropping up in D.C. Don't forget about the Inn at Little Washington, either- if you have an S.O., that's supposed to be one of the most romantic inns in the world, and the food's great, too. I don't know what your schedule will be like, though- I bet Army schedules are pretty rigorous. If I were in your shoes, I would definitely choose Per Se, and either Cru or Masa. I would pick either EMP or the Modern but not both. Having been to both, my personal preference is the Modern just because I find the service more sincere and the setting beautiful. Not to diss EMP! That's worth it, too, maybe even more fantastic; I just prefer the Modern. I think Oceana is worth a visit, just because I am familiar with Ben Pollinger's work and I think he is a good chef. But if you're going to choose only one fish extravaganza, well, Masa is the obvious choice. Tell us all about it, whatever you do! If I were going to leave New York tomorrow, I think I'd miss the street meat the most. After a month's absence from NYC, I once made my boyfriend drive me straight from LaGuardia to the corner of W. 21st street and 5th Avenue- Long Live Moe's Falafels! And hey, good luck.
  20. I apologize for hurting your feelings. I am guilty of using a broad generalization to make a point. Did you have something to say about the responsibility of a chef?
  21. Hi Sher, I'll tell you what I know. Yes, "onglet" = hanger. Sounds like the Wiki page is describing a single serving size of steak; the weight you have is possible from a large animal. Also possible is more than one hanger in your bag. FYI, there is only one hanger per beast. It will not be both the skirt and the hanger, as they are actually on opposite sides of the abdominal cavity (hanger interior, skirt exterior). You should make a cut along the center membrane, to wind up with two steaks. Remove any other gristly, membraney stuff. There is some fat in the structure, not too much to be greasy and not too little to require stewing. Enough to be moist and flavorful. It is not a tough cut. The flavor is pretty deep, but I do not find it "gamey." It's a good, beefy flavor. Supposedly it gets its depth of flavor from its proximity to the organ meats. However, I have not had a hanger steak which I found to be organ-y tasting. There's a subtle richness and a lot of flavor, so you want a preparation which enhances that. Hanger steak is excellent on the grill. Barring that, I would pan-sear it, basting with butter (add some oil to prevent butter burning). I would not stew it as for bourguignon- it's best cooked quickly. But a mushroom sauce might be nice. Suppose you could make tartare with it, but the cut is not as fatty as the stuff most tartare is from, so you would need to add some butter or something. Here in NYC, hanger is part of many restaurants' house burger mix, as in 40% hanger, 40% chuck, 20% fat. You could do that, too. I would recommend trying a simple preparation such as pan-searing first, to get a good idea of the flavor and other qualities of the meat. Then you could play around with it from there. Enjoy and let us know how it turned out! -Scottie
  22. My first responsibility is to provide tasty and nourishing food for my clients, while staying within their budget. This can be challenging when you have a really small budget. It's August, the height of corn season, and I want to make corn soup- all I need is maybe $4 worth of corn, tops, but I'm told to use canned. Canned corn! In August! In this respect, "local" or at least "seasonal" means more flavorful as well as healthier because it's fresher. If I serve my clients soup made from canned corn rather than from fresh corn, I am doing them a disservice and I am not being a responsible chef. As for the issue of illegal workers: That is the reality of this business, at least in NYC. Who would you rather have working for you, the lazy CIA grad who won't work for less than $9/hour, shows up late or calls in sick, and bitches about having to wash his own pots? Or the guy from Guatemala who shows up on time every day, never complains, and works for peanuts? The second guy is the more valuable employee. At the very least, you make sure he gets fed and you help him if he needs a ride to work or his wife is sick or something. Maybe you buy him a good knife. You help him more than you would the legals, because once you have heard the stories about what people go through to get here, how many weeks spent in the desert, you realize that you owe it to him as your valued employee to try and keep his life here in America from sucking as much as it could or as much as it did back home. Something as simple as a decent meal at the end of the night helps. I've worked in places where we made sure the porters ate better than anyone else. And if some CIA kid complains about that, then you know who the asshole is. If you value an employee's labor, you have a responsibility to that employee. That goes for all employees, regardless of legal status. Arguing that an illegal immigrant is already a criminal is a slippery slope that leads to exploitation. If you would prefer to go the legal route with your exploitation of immigrant labor, you could do what a lot of the larger restaurants in NYC do: become a sponsor for your employee's work visa application. Then you hook him up with an expensive immigration lawyer, and garnish his wages for the legal fees. Then he is indebted to you for the next five years. Unless he can find another sponsor, he is stuck with whatever hours and wages you choose to bestow upon him. This makes him your indentured servant. I have seen some pretty atrocious exploitation of labor occur under this entirely legal arrangement. So, to answer your question about how one can help an illegal immigrant achieve legal status, which I am taking at face value, you can do this in two significant ways: by becoming his sponsor, or by getting him some quasi-fraudulent documents- people do this as well. I'm not saying you should hire illegals, I'm saying that if you do, and many many chefs do, you have certain responsibilities that are all the more important because there is no law in place to protect them and their rights in the workplace. BTW, my obligation to obey the rules of society is not the same thing as my responsibility as a chef.
  23. scottie

    Hush Puppies

    We just made corndogs a few weeks ago with hushpuppy batter and they were AWESOME. I can't even remember which recipe I used, but there were onions and buttermilk. At my summer camp when I was a kid, they always put a little Kool-Aid in the batter. It was good, and I grew up thinking Kool-Aid was an authentic hushpuppy ingredient. I would never do that now!
  24. I am an alum of Antioch College, whose motto comes from the college's founder, Horace Mann: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." I am constantly asking myself whether I am winning a victory for humanity. It makes for some lifelong psychological torment, I can tell you that. So I definitely believe I have a responsibility to adhere to my ethics concerning food sourcing and preparation. I think chefs absolutely have a responsibility within the food industry to help effect positive change, particularly because they are in a position to do so. With the position comes the responsibility. This not only includes positive change in the realm of food production, but also social change, as well. For example, supporting family farms over giant agribusiness and minimizing ecological impact by buying locally. Also, chefs have a responsibility to ensure their employees are treated well. For example, if you hire an illegal immigrant, you have a responsibility not to exploit that person's labor. You might even have a personal responsibility to help him or her achieve legal status. Labor is an issue and chefs are in a position to effect change in that realm, as well. Labor concerns arise in food production and distribution, too- witness the current boycott of Wild Edibles. Another concern is elitism. The ingredients I would like to use are often expensive enough to alienate a pretty large portion of society. If I become a private chef, it will most likely be for some fabulously wealthy asshat who not only votes Republican but contributes big bucks to political campaigns I despise. How can I stay true to my food values while keeping my cuisine accessible to all? I do my best by focussing on the sustainability issue. However, there is always concern for the bottom line in this industry. It's a tough balance.
  25. I'd check with Bonnie Slotnick or Kitchen Arts and Letters. I have the Greenbrier cookbook and love it for its visuals. I think it was the first fancy cookbook I owned- got it while on a family vacation there. Have you seen the Inn at Little Washington cookbook? Beautiful.
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