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paul o' vendange

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  1. paul o' vendange

    Duck Confit

    I will just throw this in. Likely the answer is no (esp. in light of slow braising/tight lids), but is it possible we don't want all the volatiles to remain in our cooking? I can only infer from brewing...where some compounds are not desired, and so some evaporation is desired (largely to rid of sulfurous, and vegetal compounds). I can't think of where this would apply in cooking, and obviously our job is largely to extract and preserve, not drive off, flavor and aroma. But I wonder if there is something here? Merely a point of thought. Food chemists?
  2. Went to Evanston Farmer's market. Got among other things, fennel, chanterelles, purslane, lavender, lettuces. Have rabbit from Paulina Market. Think I will make tonight (for tomorrow night): fennel oil chicken stock "quick" rabbit sauce a la FL and tomorrow will make: braised rabbit leg, roasted rabbit saddle roulade with smoked bacon; plate with rabbit sauce, chanterelles, both cuts of rabbit; top with paper-thin (mandoline-sliced), caramelized fennel, and ringed with fennel oil. Will use the lavender to make a peach-lavender sorbet; and will use the purslane in a starter salad of some kind. Will start with a Gruner Veltliner; move on to one of 2 medocs: Chateau de Pez/St. Estephe 1996 or L'Ermitage Chasse Spleen/Moulis 1998; and a sauternes I know nothing about, Clos L'Abeilley. Edit: Watching my little boy dip his apple slices into his prune juice for dinner, I think I'll take his cue, reserve the rabbit legs to make a terrine, and serve with a prune compote, and caramelized apples.
  3. Bux, and John, thank you, the both of you. I really appreciate your comments. I remember reading somewhere that "inside the heart of every Frenchman beats a peasant," but seems this is quickly becoming memory. You have both given much to think about.
  4. Great! Shall we say we have a quorum and set it? 7/21, 7:00?
  5. We have one on board! Do I hear 2? 2, ladies and gentlemen?
  6. OK, folks, how does Monday night, 7/21, 7:00 pm sound?
  7. I agree wholeheartedly, that things must necessarily evolve. I do not agree that necessarily means the outright abandonment or dissipation, for the most part, of classical technique. I will give an analogy. I am a trained martial artist, having lived as a direct disciple of an Aikido Master (I was an "uchi-deshi", literally "inside" student - a live-in, full time student). The view in that world is to soak up everything the master imparts, by getting onself out of the way, as this is the only way to then create something of real worth, something truly learned, to make an original creation of the "true self." In other words, learn classical technique, then use it to create something truly original. It is not out of homage to "dead ancestors" that I use, and seek to perfect, classical technique; it is because I think that within that world there is an endless, constantly deepening culinary experience. I would rather perfect my classical technique than seek to improve on it by tossing it out. Another analogy. Tired of "dead ancestors," American Shakespeare has relegated itself to "modernizing" the verse, and throwing in "conceptual art" (think motorcyles for horses, Great Gatsby or Capone Gangland milieu for warring states) in an attempt to make it "understandable" to modern audiences. I think we have got it wrong. American Audiences don't "get" Shakespeare because American actors are afraid of text, how to own it, how to make it a corporal, sensual experience, and not a dead uttering of a dead Englishmen. The problem is not the verse, or its "classicism," rather what we do with it. We don't truly, wholly own it. In other words, I think we are looking in the wrong place when we look to abandon classical technique without first seeking to perfect and make it our own. I believe there is enough there to keep us occupied for a long, long time. Andre Soltner said something to the effect of "there is no new food," by which I take him to mean we are not dealing with molecular reconstruction here, we are talking an essentially finite substance, nourishment (forgive me, if I have misquoted him, I saw it somewhere).
  8. paul o' vendange

    Duck Confit

    If memory serves, Bocuse also uses a bit of water. See his Regional Cooking. I can't think of why.
  9. Bux - thank you. I freely admit my naivete, as I have never spent time in France (though I have been fluent, more or less, since 12-13, and had a Fleur de Lis hanging above my nightstand - j'ai seulement le sang, et une certaine sensibilite, Francais). My journeys are therefore vicarious ones, through Root, and others (like you and John). But at the heart of it for me is that I would hope the marriage, or re-marriage, of good food and traditional food would be the norm. So, two you two, what do you think would be a solution, if indeed you are having to research harder?
  10. If 7/14 is amenable, how's 7:00 pm? (if this date is bad, is this time good for people?)
  11. Everybody, how does Monday night, July 14th, sound? Maggie, I played Brick, once. Hopleaf should provide the click.
  12. Bushey, I am aware of the Budvar in England (and of the recent court decision which stripped them of the right to carry the name here, forcing the "czechvar" name - although the name in the U.S. goes back to a 1939 trade agreement in the U.S. - see: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus....R20030304c.html I am speaking of Budweiser, the AB company. It is sold side by side with Budvar, and other lagers, and Carlsberg-Tetley is a giant among many, sadly dying, independent ale breweries. The broader thing I speak of is that lagers of any ilk (and as regards A.B's rice-water, I use the term "lager" very loosely) are overcoming ales as the national beer of choice in England. Whereas in 1980, Ale and Stout accounted for 70% of total beer consumption, and lager 30%, the situation is now largely reversed (lager, 60%, ale/stout 40%). And the trend is continuing. Source: http://www.canmakers.co.uk/industry/can_ma...makers_report_3 So, back to the thread, John, very interesting, and thank you for the book cites. I hadn't thought of the "prosperity" phenomenon.
  13. I'm heartened by what John writes, and saddened by what Bux writes, respecting Waverly Root. But then, I wonder if I myself was conjuring up something which couldn't possibly be; Root's writing, spinning a dream, but bespeaking another, now lost, time? If bistros exist which continue to do justice to authentic cuisine bourgeois, then maybe we are simply witnessing a necessary cycle - the waning of haute cuisine (if indeed it is), does it merely herald the birth of something new, more profound, just as regional fare, once passe, found its rightful place again over the course of the last century?
  14. Fritz - Because you can drink 15 stouts on tap, from the source. Larry Bell knows his dark ales! Edit: If you happen to swing by the brewery, please say hi to Alec Mull (the head brewer) for me, will you? Oh, guajolote, just saw you asked how old my little guy is - born 12/12/2000, and, I'm sure like you, I am blown away by how much he knows already...likes to cook with dad, and throw his dad all over the futon (I am a former Aikido instructor - he learned early ). Sounds like your "damager" and my "crusher" could do some serious mayhem together!
  15. Actually, nothing sacred to me about the week of the 7th - anyone have a problem with the following week?
  16. FWIW, if Hopleaf isn't serving yet, Zaky's just opened, same (nice) family that owns Buy Low Liquors. I may be prejudiced, as I have known Elias and his family for years. Middle Eastern, really liked their baba ganoush the other night when we went in... Another option.
  17. As promised on da' other thread, a thread about a planned trip to Hopleaf. How does week of 7/7 look? My wife and I play switch hit on watching our wee lad (she works at Spago, nights), but M, W, and sometimes Thursdays are good for us; but if these are bad for everyone else, will try to make arrangements... What say ye?
  18. Bux, I agree with you, tend to think the "problem" is more the second of the two you posed...the French simply caring less about good food. Indeed, I think this is a problem everywhere - the "mother country" which spawned anything of global import (power, economic influence of England at its height in the 19th Century; the Pax Americana of the last century, France's gastronomy) has a hard time hanging on to that hegemony, by two, possibly ineluctable forces: the "export colonies" taking the wave with enthusiasm, and making it one's own (in this case, "New American" cuisine resting solidly on classic, and 'good' nouvelle technique, but with 'American' energy, ingredients, and outlook), and 'spiritual' lassitude at home. It seems the French have lost much of their taste for their own food, as the English have for their ale (Bud, yes Bud, is big in England, as are lagers generally) or the Germans for their lager ('alco-pops' are taking over; brewing is dying, rapidly). I just hope the same trends towards consolidation/standardization we see everywhere else do not sink their teeth too deeply into French soil - I think French gastronomy, including regional cuisine, is still something we can learn from...as they from us.
  19. Maggie, off topic, just saw your subtitle - the Dark Lady of the Literary Smackdown... May your name inspire great food writing, as the Dark Lady of the Sonnets brought forth, in this erstwhile actor's view, Shakespeare's best work!
  20. Any one see the attached article discussing "Foude France," Alain Ducasse's program to bolster the work of French cooks (outside Paris), and bring more renewed attention to French gastronomy? http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/06/26...d.ap/index.html Comments?
  21. Mogsob - Thanks. At the moment we're in Chicago, but as of March, next year, will be in NYC, attending the French Culinary Institute. Will put this in the file for future use. Lastsupper, wholly agree on the cassoulet. At 90+, I basically want to eat nothing (but a nice glass of Riesling)... Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. My wife and I are on quite the Rhone hunt, and happy dancing around there for the time being, but very intrigued by these "hairy" cousins...
  22. paul o' vendange

    Sauerkraut

    O.K., I'll throw my 2 cents in. As a former brewer, and quality control (bottling line) tech for a regional brewery, the issue of microbiological control was a part of my daily regimen. Even on a homebrew level, I never liked bleach - residue was hard to get rid of, and chlorine/hypochlorite is particularly noxious as an off-character. My sanitizer of choice, and one used industry-wide, is Iodophor, 1 tbsp/gallon of water, at least one minute contact time. There is an argument on the need for rinsing afterwards - often, what's in your rinse water is worse than any bugs previously in your container, and rinsing may itself contaminate - but I did, as I wanted to make sure no residue of any kind remained. I regularly ran micro cultures, and my beer was clean. But many brewers/cellarman swear by the no-rinse need. If you do rinse, Iodophor rinses well, although it will stain porous surfaces (like the 55 gallon plastic drums, cut in half, holding fermenter accessories). But I have found it to be the easiest and cleanest to use, and is effective as hell (we used to test micro counts by both petri culture and by bioluminescence - ppm "bugs" measured by their enzymatic reaction to a light-inducing reagent...) If you plan on doing a lot where you'll need the sanitizer, you can buy the gallon jugs at any farm supply store - if you are in a rural area, otherwise, homebrew stores sell in smaller quantities. A bit off your thread, perhaps, and sorry for the length, but I am really not a fan of bleach at all (though many are, with great results), and wanted to provide an option. Edit: guajolote, forgot you were in Chicago. Brew & Grow, street escapes me, has it. They're in the white pages.
  23. Changed up tonight's plan. Just don't feel like cooking indoors, will do Bbq-grilled chicken, marinated in tequila, lime, garlic, cilantro, with black beans, tortillas, salsa, maybe some roasted chiles, bells and tomatoes we've had a wee too long. Lots of Negro Modelo. Soba, we are closer than you think. I'm of French blood (we know what they eat), my wife's of Estonian blood. They can maw blood sausage with the best of them (usually to the tune of thousands singing, and a glass of vodka or two)!
  24. paul o' vendange

    Sauerkraut

    Only thing I'll add is when you're finished and ready to eat...my wife's side is Estonian, who eat it with a good deal of barley and a ham hock cooked over course of an hour or so with the finished kraut. Mutes, or rather balances the sourness (agree that natural lactic acid from the lacto-ferment beats whatever the hell acid they add in the jar - acetic acid?), and gives a hearty textural component.
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