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Nathan P.

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Everything posted by Nathan P.

  1. My go to sparkler these days is Domaine Allimant Laugner Cremant d' Alsace Rose. Super tasty pinot noir bubbles for $20. Laugner Site They don't give any info on production unfortunately. If anyone is in the SF Bay Area, Santa Fe or Seattle, the Spanish Table has had some nice rose cavas in the past for around $15. They don't show up on the web site but it seems to only list a fraction of the wine they have at their Berkeley store.
  2. At the risk of slipping into the $10 plonk thread, La Vis pinot nero has been a good bargain find at $10.50 at my local geeky wine shop. Its all fruit but bright and not candied or super extracted and with good balancing acidity. With no oak to get in the way it is the kind of fun sipper you can drink by the bottle but has enough pinot fruit character to make it interesting. Cantina La Vis My brother work at a wine shop in SF while going to grad school and tells me they have another northern Italian Pinot for around $15 that is flying out of the store and getting lots of repeat buys. He has promised me a bottle for comparison and I will post if I get to sample it. On the $40 is cheap compared to Burg. pricing, I was impressed recently with the basic Domain Drouhin oregon Pinot a few weeks back. Nice earthy character that would have made me guess France not Oregon. These days for value in lighter bodied reds, I have been drinking some super tasty gamay. Not the same as pinot of course, but serious cru Beujolais is tasty and can be nice and complex around $20. My current fave is 2001 Granger Cuvee Speciale from Julienas.
  3. They don't weigh significantly different than steel woks. They are just as thin as the steel ones and the whole thing weighs less than the handle on an American cast iron pan. Here is a pic of mine which I suffer through using on an electric stove. I bought mine at the shop linked above though I was fortunate enough to be in driving distance to their real shop in San Francisco. Nice place with good customer service and they are perfectly fluent in english which helps for us gringos.
  4. So much great looking/sounding food. Chufi- beautiful gnocchi! I remember the first time I tried this using a Williams-Sonoma recipe that either sucked or was followed poorly since they did not set well and then melted more in baking until they were a pile of mush. FoodMan- I love doing pasta dressed with cooking juices. It always tastes great and makes so much sense. I'll have to try lamb braised in milk one day- a nice regional variation on a well known dish. I'm starting to think that we could all just braise pork in milk every month and call it regional food. I did it in Piemonte, Culinaria had it in the Lombardy section, Downie has it in Rome, I think Boni gives it to the Veneto and there are claims for Emiglia-Romagna as well! Nice dessert too. Kevin- Nice purple artichokes- love how there is a but of a purple tinge on the tops of the trimmed ones as well. I've done the pasta with artichokes a number of times but will have to try adding fennel next time- sounds like a great addition. Brad- Thanks for the wine write-up. My grocery only had one bottle from Lazio so I am waiting to see if my wine shop can do better. Here are my Artichokes alla Romana. I thought these came out a bit flat- not enough seasoning and I think a bit more fresh mint to perk them up would have helped. I actually took my leftovers and fried them up with a bit of chile to give them a bit more excitement. I also made some delicous spaghetti a cacio e pepe. What is everyones view on the use of fat in this preperation? I've always used butter or olive oil or a combo (which is what I did here) emulsified with a bit of pasta water and then blended with the pasta and cheese. I was surprised to see that Downie's recipe was just water with cheese and pepper.
  5. All of my recipes said to leave the stock on which I thought seemed odd and would make them hard to fry. I compromised by cutting off an inch of stem and leaving the stub. (That inch was of course thrown in the frying oil and eaten as a chef's snack ) I did not want to break the leaves of so I did the first fry with the artichoke in its normal shape. After letting it cool down a bit, I squashed the now softened leaves out to get a more flower/star shape for the second fry. I ended up losing a bunch of leaves at this point so I just tossed these on the plate after I took my pics. I also chose to skip adding water to the blazing hot oil which seemed insanely dangerous but is supposed to make them crisper. Downie recommends useing a mister and one of my other books says to get your hands wet and drizzle a bit of water in. Anyone courageous/sucker enough to try thisd technique?
  6. Yeah I did a double fry with the second being hotter. I don't know the exact temperature of the oil but it seemed to work well. I used a litre of deCecco's EVOO which seemed fairly priced at $8. So now I have just under a litre of slightly bitter artichoke scented olive oil! Should be fine for roman braised chokes and I think mild enough for another round of fried chokes.
  7. Another fine history lesson, Hathor. I stocked up on artichokes at my wednesday farmers market. Bought 18 at the bargain rate of $2 a pound for organic, grown within 20 miles of my house artichokes. I decided to take a shot at making Carciofi alla Giudia. I've never had this dish but as an artichoke lover I have always been curious and suspected that this would be the peak of all artichoke eating. And one more bonus shot because these were so good. Like a perfect artichoke heart with artichoke potato chips and lots of extra vigin olive oil flavor. One of the best vegetable dishes I have ever made. I lost a few leaves in the scond frying which is, according to Downie, a sign of some lack of youth or freshness so perhaps this would have been even better the day before. I could have eaten 10 of these tonight. My second was spaghetti all'amatriciana. I used Rustichella pasta, my guanciale, and san marzanos, chile and pecorino romano. On the ingredients that show up in some recipes, I went: No Wine No Garlic Yes to Onions One of my favorite pasta dishes- perfect balance of fat, spice and acid. Everything good about rustic southern Italian cooking. I don't think I got a huge pickup with the guanciale vs. pancetta but it was fun to have the authentic touch. Of course I even like this dish with American bacon as long as it is not too sweet and smokey As I was fairly busy with the previous 2 courses I did a simple main of pork saltimbocca with a side of broccolini cooked with olive oil, garlic and chile flakes. I went with the older version in Downie's book of Marsala and butter. I liked the contrast of the sweetness in the wine with the salty ham in the middle of the meat.
  8. This could describe a nice Loire Cab Franc as well though the Rhone will be easier to find. I'm enjoying a glass of reasonably priced Baudry Chinon right now that would work. I have another Chinon (Pierre Breton) that a sales guy at Kermit Lynch said was a popular match at the Slanted Door in San Francisco for their Nouvelle take on Vietnamese food. Nice acid as well which I like with food.
  9. A modest start to Lazio for me this evening. I made a Batali recipe of zucchini stuffed with ground lamb and mint. Not the most exciting dish but decent enough after I added the extra mint after I took the pic. I served some radicchio simply dressed with lemon and olive oil as a contorno. I also made a simple antipasti to start the meal. Under the theory that anything with artichokes fits into Lazio, I made a simple raw artichoke salad with lemon, shaved fennel salad and some ham. The ham was, unfortunately, Spanish but quite tasty. The other day I was given a gift wrapped in butcher paper and told it was Bresaola which I planned to serve with the raw artichokes. Right before dinner, I unwrapped the package and what I found inside was.... What timing, Guanciale just in time for Gricia, Amatriciana etc.... I am also going to try and stock up on fresh artichokes at my farmers market on Wed. I'll take a few pics if it is not raining.
  10. ← Thanks- I was feeling rather clever but was also in a wine and cheese fat blur! The store I bought the Montasio from had no idea what the age of the cheese was. Based upon a few of the descriptions of the cheese I had read and the fact that it took a bit of weight on the chefs knife to cut it made me think it was the higher aged stravecchio version. It was drier than the parmigiano reggiano I have aright now. It is possible the cheese was a bit dried out as well as these pieces were pre-cut and pulled from back stock at the store.
  11. Sunday Frico Party!!!!!!! I've been laying low with other cooking projects and no Friuli books, but wanted to join in with a frico dinner. Perhaps a bit much cheese for one sitting but a lot of fun and I was happy with these though I don't have a lot of reference for these. Here are my starting raw ingredients. We've been having real cold weather in CA so you can see the artichoke has been touched by the frost- flavor is still good even if they are a bit ugly. The Montasio I bought was fairly aged, I suspect the 12 mo + kind. The recipes in Bastianich's book call for a younger softer cheese with Asiago as a sub. The only Asiago I could find was an aged US version so I bought some Swiss Gruyere and used around 1/3 gruyere for soft melting-ness with 2/3 aged Montasio for flavor. Can't live on cheese alone so I supplemented this meal with some Prosciutto San Danielle (super good and better quality than the Parma I can find where I live) I also put out some apple to add a lighter touch to the meal. I also opened 2 bottles of wine. My good local wine shop let me down with no Tocai but I picked up a nice Pinot Grigio. At my grocery store today, however, they had one bottle on the shelves. I did not have much hope for a lonely bottle of Tocai, but turned it around and found it was a Kermit Lynch Import, yeahhh. Both wines were from the Colli Orientali region and had the crisp acidity and brightness to cut through A LOT of fried cheese. I preferred the Pinot Grigio. So on to the Fricos! Oh and apologies for 5 courses in a row that all look the same Frico # 1 is the classic potato and onion. The potatoes were cooked in stock as in the Culinaria book and the onions were sauteed in olive oil until just done but with a fair bit of color. Frico # 2 is a vegetable version with asparagus: Frico # 3 is with some nice Hedgehog mushrooms I found- super good. It was now time for a lighter note, so cool frico with greens dressed with lemon and olive oil. We then moved on to a frico with carciofi. The artichokes were trimmed and cooked simply in water. The first side in the pan was the prettiest side for presentation but I'm showing the thinner 2nd side here to show the ingredients. Everyone is full a few fricos ago but it would be a sin to waste the leftover mushrooms ($20/lb) so one more frico with onions, mushrooms and potato. These are really good and, once I got in the flow of their timing, they were easy to make. The first one was a bit scary with a flip onto a plate that left cheese grease pouring onto my arm, the burner and the stove. Highlights for me were the muchroom and the asparagus fricos. I think the strong flavor of the mushrooms and brightness of the asparagus contrasted better with the stong cheese flavor. The wines were brilliant on the side and everyone at the table was fat and a bit tipsy. Let your Frico flag fly,
  12. Well the camera wanted to focus on the arugula but here goes anyway. Olive oil coddled pork crostini with arugula salad. This stuff is great and I will definately do it again.
  13. I just made the olive oil coddled pork as well. I have to say this is some of the best pork I have ever made. Incredible lucious texture and good penetration of the seasonings. I went with a different final dish which you may have seen on the Dinner thread. I made crostini using a Pain de Campagna from a local bakery. I then smeared the garlic on the crostini and topped that with shredded warm pork, a drizzle of the oil and a bit of pepper. To counter the richness I paired this with fennel pickles (from the Babbo cookbook) and some beautiful super fresh young arugula dressed with taggiasca olive oil and meyer lemon juice. Super good and I think I may have this for dinner tonight. I'll try to get a pic with better lighting this time.
  14. The beef was braised for 3-4 hours in the oven at around 300' in one of those very cool la Chamba pots that have become darlings of the eG set. The meat was insanely tender and still succulant with no excess drying. (did I mention the beef was larded with bacon?) I was particular pleased with the balance of the sauce considering I had to ignore my international cooking instincts to add stock to it! I have no interest in artichokes other than consuming them. I live just north of the major artichoke production center in the US so that pick was snapped at largish commercial farm stand where I stopped to buy some chokes and eat fried artichokes. Prices were $2 for Huuuuuge chokes and down to around $1 for smaller ones. (I think they had around 8 sizes) This farm on the side of the road was Pezzini Prices in season are around a $1 for a decent sized choke. There are also more small farms growing organic chokes as well. My little purple artichoke pic was taken last year at Mariquita farm which many of you will know is the farm of eG member chardgirl who did a good foodblog a few months back. I liked the buckwheat in this dish as the flavor stood out a bit more against the rich cheese, butter, and cabbage. This was particularly important, IMO, because in this dish the pasta was just one of the supporting flavors and not as prominent as most pasta with condimento dishes. But hey I love buckwheat crepes too! I have not decided my vote on the next regions but they will definately all focus on olive oil!
  15. The places I go to in your general area are Layang Layang (mentioned above), good boiled dumplings at Tong Dumpling Pot, ramen at either Ramen Halu, or Do-Henkotsu down the street in the Mitsuwa market center. No shortage of great ethnic foods in this area. Also worth a drive down to SJ for vietnamese and there is a mexican area just north of there as well. Saw an interesting looking Birririaria in the center that houses tropicana market in San jose a few weeks back. Had some decent Indian a few weeks back at Southern Spice Bistro which specializes in Andhara food. I want to get back on the weekend to try their Biriyani.
  16. Dinner tonight: For a primo I decided to make pizzocheri. I was following the recipe in Bugiali on Pasta but also referenceing Ada Boni's book and Culinaria. My dough was 1 cup buckwheat flour, .5 cup AP flour, 1 egg and 5 tbsp milk. The dough was interesting; tacky, and softer than regular dough with the lack of gluten in the buckwheat flour. I thought there was a nice flavor to them and I think with a slightly thicker pasta for more texture these could be used for a range of pasta dishes. The finished dish with cabbage, green beans, potatoes, cheese (I used teleggio) and sage/garlic butter. Good dish that felt Italian even though it does not fit into more familiar catergories of pasta. I could not find any white wines from Lombardia to go with this so I opted for a white from their neighbors in Alto Adige. I recently did a tasting of a few wines from the wine co-op in Terlano just outside of Balzano in A.A. Worth a taste when we get to that region. http://www.kellerei-terlan.com/ My wine was the Muller Thurgau. For my main I did a simple stufato of beef to pair with the nebbiolo from Valtillena I mentioned earlier. The beef chuck roast was larded with bacon (could not find any pickeled pork belly ) and then braised with Barbera, carrots, onions and celery in a La Chambra clay pot. I opted not to reduce or thicken the sauce and serve it naturaly. Looks rustic as it is falling apart in the photo but very tasty. The contorno was, following the rest of the crowd, funghi trifolato (sp). You can see the sforato wine here in the foreground. It lived up to expectations with the taste of nebbiolo with more concentrated fruit and less tannins and went great with the beef. Worth a taste if you can find one.
  17. That Sausage/Risotto platter looks great, Adam. If anyone needs lobbying on what region to pick next, I can tell you that the Ca. spring artichoke crop is coming in and should be around for the next couple of months. Can we say April, Spring, Easter, Artichokes, Roma! This shot was taken this afternoon in Castoville, CA.
  18. I love a good challenge Picked this up at my local shop today. Unfortunately, this was the last bottle so I did not get to taste it at the wine bar in advance but was assured that it was worth the pricey, for my wine budget, $40. Am told it is Now I need to come up with something to pair with it.
  19. So I am at the grocery store today looking for a simple menu for 1 when I think, "why not throw together a quick meal inspired by the Lombardia thread?" So this will not inspire you with obscure micro-regional recipes but it all turned out fine. I started with a simple mushroom risotto using Alba Pioppini mushrooms. I was a bit disapointed that the amazing porcinis that were at the store on Friday were gone but these were a lot cheaper than those $35/# mushrooms. I then made what is perhaps the most famous dish from the region; Costolette Milanese. Breaded and fried seems like the kind of obvious thing everyone with bread would invent on their own but that makes it no less tasty. This is a veal cutlet. Without this thread, I would probably use pork which is cheaper and has more flavor. I also like to garnish this with a salad of parsley, lemon zest, chile flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice but tonight I decided to just pair it with a glass of red wine. It is amazing how well the term milanese has stuck. Even the Mexican taquerias in my area offer milanese for their tortas.
  20. I have Rustico out from my local library right now. It is a fairly nice book with good info and only limited by fact that it only has 10 recipes from each region. There is a particularly beautiful pic of a tomato and cheese topped potato pie from Apulia tha I have my eye on. I posted a link in the Piemonte thread to a publishers excerpt which I will repeat here in case anyone is curious.
  21. Nice recipe and demo, andiesenji. I've always made a northern sweeter style of cornbread but since I was doing BBQ for the superbowl I decided to give this a go. Alright, my yankee soul wimped out a bit and I added 1 tbsp of flour and a bit less than 1 tbsp of sugar. I was impressed enough that the next time I promise to leave out all those offending ingredients! The nice brown rendered taqueria lard I used did not hurt either.
  22. Another butt for your viewing pleasure.... Decided to go the BBQ route for the superbowl this year. The event started with a 3am visit to a friends house who has this cool old Japanese Kamodo smoker. I'm on a little less than 3 hours of sleep at this point and my body and mind are battling over if it is now really late or really early. Being a firm believer in the synergy between beer and BBQ, I decided it was late at night which made a beer seem much more reasonable A lump charcoal fire was started, put into the bbq and then a few chunks of soaked apple wood were added. The guest of honor is a butt of around 7.5 lbs. After a wait and checking of the vents to get a temp of around 225 I headed home for a few more hours of sleep. Back at 8:45 and things look good but the fire has dropped down under 200' At this point, food geek that I am, I drive 1 hour to get to a dim sum place to meet friends for a breakfast feast. After racing back to town, throwing together a batch of cornbread, I find my BBQ partner has pulled the pork since it hit 190'. He then got a touch nervous and left it in a 200' oven for an extra hour and a half. Final cook time was around 12 hours. Here are a couple of poor blurry picks, pre and post pulling. Sauce was a simple combo of cider and white vinegar with a touch of sugar and some chile and pepper. Apologies to the purists for not making a sandwich on cheap white bread. This was my first slow smoked butt and it came out much better than I anticipated. Nice smoke flavor though not superstrong and tender juicy pork. Thanks to all the earlier posters who provided so many tips.
  23. Not at all. With the butter, bacon fat, and sausage drippings it was barely a vinaigrette! More like a bit of acid to cut the richness. I can't imagine anything more purely Italian than homemade Bresaolo. Much more impressive than using the 'real' imported product. When do I need to get my order for guanciale in??? Nice looking soup as well.
  24. Well someone has to go first, Started tonight with chiscioi a version of sciatt made with beer. I have no idea what these are supposed to be like. Mine had a very thin crackly shell with a hollow inside with a piece of melted teleggio. Good but not amazing, I was having some temperature issues with my oil and I feel like the batter should have been a touch thicker. The recipe I followed was in "Bugialli on Pasta" and had a 4:1 buckwheat to wheat flour ratio. I fried them in canola oil with a touch of lard thrown in. Not having a ton of free time on Wed I went for a simple main that would cook in the background while I concentrated on the deepfry. I made Verzada from Boni's "Italian Regional Cooking". It is a simple dish of cabbage cooked with pancetta and onions with white wine vinegar and sausages. At the store today I found a bottle of Lambruso Montavano. This was a dry lambrusco- simple and fruity. And yes, the wine was fizzy! Overall a nice simple start to the food of Lombardia. I now have a stock of buckwheat flour so I hope to add pizzocheri and perhaps another variation on sciatt. Bugialli talks in some depth about the usage of buckwheat and how wheat has encroached over the years. He maintains that historically only a tblsp or 2 of wheat flour would be added to these doughs but since they are so difficult to work with the ratio has crept up in recent times. He also mentions the shallow fried version of sciatt and a dough form of chiscioi with 50-50 flour, formed into discs and boiled. He says this is a bridge between sciatt and pizzocheri.
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