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Everything posted by annieb

  1. I am hoping to find these jars somewhere in the US/Canada. I have searched to no avail. http://www.moderndroguerie.eu/catalog/terr...it-pi-1671.html They are like the 8 oz mason jars, only they are about 12 oz. A perfect size for canning pate, which is what I have seen them used for in France. I want something that can stand up to pressure canning, which I don't think the le parfait or the weck jars can (but please tell me if I'm wrong). If I'd known they would be so difficult to find, I would have lugged a couple dozen back from France. Modern Droguerie will ship, but it's exhorbitant. On the subject, I used to be able to find 24 oz. wide mouth straight-sided mason jars. They were perfect for some things, and I would like to find them again. They're like a larger version of the 12 oz preserves jar, wider and taller. I like the 12 oz, but would also like to find the 24 oz. I've only got 1 or 2 left. Any help appreciated.
  2. If you are going to prepare it yourself, you can get fresh whole foie gras from Chicago Game & Gourmet on Ogden. You must call first. They only take checks. They are a purveyor to the trade, but will do individual orders. Fox & Obel are ridiculously uninformed (and snotty) when it comes to the foie gras question. My understanding of the ban in Chicago is that it extends to prepared foie gras served in restaurants. It is still legal to sell raw or cooked foie gras for preparation/presentation and consumption off premises (although obviously not a "to go" order:-) When I tried to enter that discussion with them, they were just plain rude. I had hoped they might be willing to special order, as at the time I was only looking for a slice of raw foie, which I had seen there in the past, rather than a whole foie. Been to F & O about three times, total, and except for the lunch meeting, where the food was decent but not earthshaking (but best available in the Navy Pier area), I remain completely mystified by the success of this place.
  3. Identifying the meat cooked with different woods? Easy. The one cooked over maple tastes like floors and the one cooked over oak tastes like chairs. Now that I've got the graduate degree, all I need is a job and next year, I'm there!
  4. annieb

    Swamp Cabbage

    The summer place I referred to was in Wisconsin, and there are the Hot Sulphur Springs in Colorado.
  5. A downstairs neighbor who is peruano had an excellent version: A feta cheese (more like a Bulgarian than a creamy Hungarian if that helps, that's what they sell at the local produce market here) Saltines Bijol for food coloring Water In a blender, blend. Garnish with hard boiled eggs and olives, if you can't get peruvian (or they're too pricey) he used to use kalamatas. Also a good potato that will hold it's shape, not really a red waxy, around here there's a thin-skinned variety called papa criolla, although yukon golds work also. My guess would be that it's not the something missing that's elusive, it's the "too much stuff" that is detracting from what is a brilliantly simple dish.
  6. Not just cheeses are succumbing to EU regulations. A farmer friend in the Auvergne complains that EU demands that everything now has to be "Inox" in sausage production, and he has had to seek out an old sausage making artisan to help him make his annual production of sausage, which he refers to as contraband because it is cave-cured. I had a long discussion with the proprietor of the charcuterie in the old Albi market who said the same thing. He said if his grandmother had lived to see EU regs which do not allow for selling some sausage after 60 days...she always hung some sausage in the loft behind the chimney, where it acquired a smoky taste and became very dry. He made a connection between the EU regs and a change in taste to a softer style of sausage.
  7. annieb

    Swamp Cabbage

    We had real bad sulphur water at a summer place. When we had guests who were in danger of overstaying, I'd run a couple loads of wash, extra rinse, and leave the lid up on the washer as it filled. Generally drove them right out. Takomabaker, good luck on your swamp cabbage. Don't get discouraged if it takes a few tries, it'll be worth it. I only make my grandma's potato salad about once a year, but I've finally got it down, and now when I make it, I make a lot, usually for a big potluck, so when people say how good it is I can tell them about my grandma Jess.
  8. Well, there's the classic song from Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks: "Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in bed."
  9. Lest we forget, the southern part of Illinois is further south than Richmond, VA. Finding peaches growing near Chicago, you've got to go to the fruit belt in SW Michigan where the weather is considerably milder. Peach cobbler shows up a lot in Chicago, primarily in soul food restaurants. You don't have fruitcake on that list, and while it's become the brunt of many jokes, I think that's because most people haven't had a good homemade fruitcake from a Southern recipe. We're talking dark here, lots of molasses. I've got my great-grandma's from Alabama's recipe. First time I made it with my (not quite yet) husband and his brother to help me stir, they ate two hot out of the oven, and they had sworn up and down they didn't like fruitcake. She also made a dessert called "Apple Do Funny" which I've never seen referred to in that way. Also no specific recipe has come down in the family. It's basically an apple crisp. I think she may have asked some of her Alabama neighbors when she moved there as a young bride who didn't know how to cook at all, having been orphaned and raised on the fly by friends and finally a rich older sister who had servants. She may have described it to some neighbor lady who helped her figure out how to make it but thought it was a funny way to do apples. At least that's one explanation. The other is that the name came from Canada, where she spent her early childhood. For a bunch of Michiganders, my mom's family has a real weird combination of Canadianisms and southern foodways.
  10. A classic dish based on a local fish is Urta a la Rotena. Urta feeds on local crustaceans, and has a sublime flavor because of it, and a pinkish flesh. Haven't been to Rota, but had this dish in a family-run establishment in Cadiz (name long forgotton) and it was outstanding.
  11. I would agree completely with the last sentence, but would interject the humble spud as more than a common interest. As to Cornwall, Mediterranean markets, Breton presence at, etc., there has been trading among the Celtic people of western Europe (generally at "land's end" of whatever country) since the time of the Phoenecians--it's pretty generally accepted that saffron came to Cornwall via that route, where it is still found in saffron buns, etc. Kind of hard to make the trip in those little boats without stopping a lot along the way, eh?
  12. In my house, we call that GREASE
  13. My Grandma made this, I loved it as a kid, only she used salad dressing instead of mayonaisse and a little grated onion. Although she was from Michigan, a lot of her cooking was Southern, as her mother was orphaned at about age 8, crossed Lake Superior alone on a steamer to live with her much older (and wealthy) sister in Alpena, MI, where Aunt Liz nor her girls did not cook. When my Great-Grandma married, it was to a train conductor as he was being transferred to No. Alabama, where she learned to cook from a neighbor lady. Burgoo, I still make her fruitcake, some of the best fried chicken. I've also seen this as a small town funeral food in central Michigan.
  14. The BEST kielbasa I ever ate was sent, on a paper plate on Christmas Day, by a friend of one of my cousins in Detroit "for her family". It had LOTS of garlic. It was about two pounds, homemade, and not nearly enough even for people who were already very full. My uncle, who claimed not to like garlic and liked to say that my mother would put garlic in ice cream, loved it because it had "the right spice." It had a great crumbly texture, which I like, I often think people put too much water into their sausage to make it "smooth." There's a famous kielbasa maker in Milwaukee (sorry, can't remember the name, but on the south side of course) who uses ice instead of water. I think it's because you can use less, as the friction of grinding and ambient room temperature will make it melt. It allows you to distribute it throughout the grind, I think maybe with water you sometimes end up adding too much.
  15. Yah, but you still didn't explain what's a northern redneck. A friend from north Florida (which he liked to say was really more like south Georgia) said you could tell the difference between a redneck and a good ol' boy because the good ol' boy always threw his beer cans in the back of the pickup instead of on the side of the road.
  16. srhcb: Those northern rednecks wouldn't have jokes told about them, would they? Where they're always named Ole and Lena?
  17. More than one night, although my budget does not allow for Bras. Laguiole and the surrounding countryside are so beautiful. We were there in May last year, coming from near Clermont-Ferrand on back roads and the high meadows were stunning with miniature wild daffodils in bloom. And the next day in Conques (well worth a trip, especially if you approach by back roads) loads of Jupiter's Beard growing in the stone walls, and beautiful climbing roses. Conques was a stop on the Route of St. James to Santiago de Campostela, and you will see people who are taking trips by horse along the route who are stopping in Conques. Touristy (lots of postcards and bric-a-brac) but I also had a wonderful discussion with an old man in a storefront that consisted of a single small room carved out of the hillside who was selling the local walnuts and walnut oil, from his plot of land down in the valley. It was superb. It reminded me of Guadalupe, where among all the tourist bric a brac (and tourists, and we visited in late November, dead season) I purchased wild raisins and moronos (missing the ning ning on the n, there) that I then saw in Bosch paintings in the Prado and growing on trees among the ruins at Medina al-Zahra, the summer home of the Moslem Cordoban rulers. In addition to knives, we purchased some fabulous foie gras products in Laguiole. I'm sure there are lots of great producers, but La Drosera Gourmande (19, av. de la Violette) provided us with an excellent foie gras and Galantine de Chataignes (20% bloc). Both, sadly, now gone, but I had the pleasure of introducing my teenage nieces and nephew to foie gras. They were skeptical, but upon being reminded that they liked liverwurst a lot when they were young, tried and had to be restrained. After all, who can afford to feed teenage appetites on foie gras?
  18. Not all Americans are hypercompetitive, or perhaps it is just that we (Himself and myself) cannot afford to be, food wise. So we love Spain because while we cannot afford El Bulli, we eat very well indeed at a huge range of places. Andalucia is particularly underrepresented on this board, so I will add to vserna's list the classic Urta a la Rotena, merluza practically anywhere that has a competant cook at the stove, and pork products most anywhere, certainly prueba de la cerda in the fall in Extremadura is something you can try at different restaurants and really get a peek into the nuances of paprika. Likewise caldereta de cordero, which I had several different cooks, from family restaurants upwards, explain in great detail to me while I took notes. One of the things that makes Spain so delightful on a budget is how easy it is to "follow your nose." On our first visit, I walked into a small grocery with a few tables in a room behind the store, anticipating buying some bread and juice to go with some ham and cheese and olives we already had in the car. It smelled so good we changed our plans and ate lunch there with the family, a lovely stew. This in El Puente de Arcobispo, not exactly on the beaten path. But the quality of the ingredients and the total grounding of the cook made for fabulous eating. And if nothing looks or smells appetizing, a coffee or beer or wine, or even free use of los servicios, and you're on your way, no hurt feelings.
  19. The one thing I would add, since you say that you won't have money to eat super well in each of the cities that you plan to visit, is that you are really concentrating on larger cities. You might consider, given that trains are decent, doing some travel that involves stopovers in smaller cities. So perhaps take a look at the map and train schedules and figure out what the stops are between x and y and what might be of local culinary interest. Or even investigate flights, they can be competitive with trains (both time and money) in Spain at least, don't know about France. But Toulouse has a big airport, and some great local specialties (Cassoulet in February, works for me). You could go to a place renowned for cassoulet and then sample different sausages at the bar/street food level to get a sense of the variety/orthodoxy within which Toulouse sausage operates. Also Bux is right about wine-touring not being at all the same in France. We did stop at several vintners in both Switzerland and France last spring, and were armed with good research so were able to have short conversations with the person (often the wife) offering the tastes, and then purchase. However if you do your homework in advance and are armed with knowledge about local vintners and varietals, most cities have very good wine stores that will engage in perhaps more conversation and advance your education. In Albi, for instance, we were able to procure a bottle of the vin de voile of Robert Plageoles, when the vineyard was out (although we were offered the last bit in the bottle for tasting, which we did not spit out).
  20. annieb

    VD Stew

    Edna Lewis has a good recipe in her book In Pursuit of Flavor. I have served it up many times to Chicagoans, who are always ignorant of it. She tosses in a stick of butter at the end, which is really good.
  21. It will still be quite warm in Andalucia in September, if that is a consideration. It does get overlooked a bit on this board, but Cordoba and Sevilla are wonderful places to visit. Granada is a little less approachable, and there are many explanations why that may be so. An overlooked gem is Cadiz. While it does not have any world class tourist sites, it does have a great location and is easily the friendliest town I have visited in Spain. Excellent tapas, have not eaten at any destination restaurants there, great vistas. It is refreshing in having flat sidewalks (due to rebuilding after a natural disaster a few centuries back) and a grand cathedral that is atypically unadorned (due to the customs house--ie taxes levied on goods from the "New World" being transferred to Seville post-construction but pre-decoration). My husband and I spent the days before and after the millenium there, and were charmed. Girona is a lovely town and easily accessible by train from Barcelona, about 80 minutes perhaps, and many trains daily.
  22. Until the mid-80s you could find wonderful pork tenderloins in neighborhood German bars all over the north side, alas they have all been turned into yuppie cafes.
  23. Bux, Your note about Barcelona hotels not being much of a bargain, about 2,000 pension rooms were torn down as part of the urban renewal scheme in the ciutat vella. That would do it. For the chef-to-be: I have not been to the Basque country, but would throw in a word in favor of Andalucia, especially as it's still possible to find inexpensive lodging, tapas, and Spanish wine exploring is not complete without sherry. On the thought about a week at a farm to observe local cheesemaking, I can recommend a place in the Auvergne with lots of local cheesemakers and genial owners who would probably be glad to introduce you around. Rents for about $245 Euros a week in low season, fully equipped, central heat in the floors, etc. Would require a car as it is in the country.
  24. I have a cousin who I'm sure would say it was the raw broiled chicken I prepared (at my mother's instruction) when I was about 13. She neglected to tell me that you had to drop the broiler pan when you broil chicken. I kept saying the chicken needed to be cooked more, my mother kept insisting that she "likes her chicken rare" my cousin, who had always thought we were odd anyway, I'm sure thought we were odder. The entire episode came to an end when my younger brother draped a napkin over his chicken, coyly peeked under it and asked if he could take the patient into the recovery room (we were required to ask to be excused from the dinner table and expected to clear our plates). I have never broiled chicken again.
  25. Granada is an odd city. I seem to remember that things closed early. Second the recommendation about wandering the Albaicin for good honest food. Had some of the best fried fish there, bunches of different kinds, tiny sole, squid, anchovies, etc. As good as anything in Cadiz or Sevilla. And what may count as the single strangest experience in Spain, while driving through the Albaicin we actually drove down a few stairs into a plaza. No, we hadn't been drinking, the stairs were very widely spaced and not steep, it was dark, and we could see streets leaving the plaza at the other side, in the general direction we wanted to go. Once we realized we had actually driven down stairs, we paused to reconsider. The streets looked very narrow, even for Spain. From one of them emerged a person, so we thought we would ask. A Japanese person, who spoke no English and almost no Spanish. But we did manage through charades to find out that it would not be possible to drive through the street he had come from. We decided not to try the other one, instead turned the car around and drove back up the stairs.
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