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Nathan P.

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Everything posted by Nathan P.

  1. I found an interesting recipe list from a book called "LA Cucina di Valtellina e Valchiavenna". Unfortunately, it is only in Italian but I figured it would be usefull for some of you and the rest of us can take our chances with babblefish.
  2. Goodnight Piemonte/Val d'Aosta. As Kevin mentions in his section on these regions, Piemonte is the traditional home of Vermouth with Carpano being a leader there. This bottle is their Antica Formula which is supposed to represent the way vermouth used to taste. Stronger spice/herbal notes with a touch of bitterness and less sweet than the MartiniRossi I have on hand. And in a perfect transition to next month they are now owned by Fernet who, I think, are headquartered in Milan. I've actually been eating semi-Piemonte food for the last couple of days. Dinner has consisted of non-Piemonte canneloni stuffed with my leftover agnolotti stuffing and topped with balsimella. On the side I gratineed my leftover sformatto with olive oil and parmigiano. Lunch has been very tasty truffled pork sandwiches.
  3. Great looking meal April. Is the Stradette a blend of corn and wheat flour? If so what is the ratio and how course of a cornmeal did you use. I am unfamiliar with this pasta but corn and leeks go great together so I will have to try this in the future. Kevin- Nice final write-up on your thread, who makes the cotechino you use. I have seen a Molinari product in my area but have not tried it yet. If you have extra Mostarda sitting in your cupboard I have a recipe for squash/mostarda cappellacci from Cremona if you want to use it in the Lombardy section. I think that is the kind of cheating we all aprove of Marco_Polo, except for your crazy use of multiple herbs I maintain my minority vote for Trentino/AltoAdige next.
  4. The only thing I ate to celebrate Chinese New Year was a tasty green waffle. Anyone do any special banquets or?
  5. I'll check out the wine thread. I just did not have any anchovies on hand. Plus since I was doing the pork and the complicated agnolotti and the sformatto I felt justified in some easy fill-in products for the rest of my anitpasti.
  6. Brilliant! Did you make that term up? More bagna cauda? Great meal and pics, Nathan. I was worried when reading this and saw you putting the truffles into the meat and cooking it that they wouldn't carry through in the final dish. Glad that they did; and I liked that they went in raw to the sauce at the end for two different flavor layers. ← I made it up but it is an obvious rip-off of Batali of course. He always loves to highlight dishes with names like this and makes up his own as well. These truffles were more of a subtle flavor point but I figured inside the pork loin if I only took it to medium they would not get too cooked and the flavor would hopefully penetrate the meat. The pork dish went amazingly with the Barabresco. The fat in it cut the tannins in the wine bringing the fruit flavors forward and the mushroom/truffle flavors and aromas really harmonized well with the wine. I figured it would be ok but was amazed at how well it worked.
  7. Are there any Italian wine enthusiasts in this crowd? I am a wine amateur but have been getting a bit more interested in wine over the last year. I'm off to a slow start but I have a side goal of drinking wine from every region as we go through them. (Uh I think I missed ValDAosta allready). I am lucky to have a good local wine shop that, while small and not an Italian specialist, searches out wines from smaller producers, less familiar grapes and regions. I want to try and avoid the modern style stuff and look for regional wines to go with the food. One good example would be this bottle of Freisa from the Langhe that was part of my thanksgiving table this year. Beyond the fact that Freisa is not on every shelf, this wine was slightly sparkling ( I was told the term is frizzante). Totaly interesting and went very well with raosted meat which should fit with the hearty cuisine we have been seeing.
  8. I remember a PM conversation I had with Kevin before this thread started where he told me that he did not get a lot of volunteers to tackle this project and was not sure if there was much interest. Man am I glad this group has stepped up to create a great thread that I am sure will grow in the coming months. So, here is the answer to what I did with my truffle (I know you have all been holding your collective breath ). Antipasti: Antipasti consited of Roasted peppers with stormy sea bagna cauda (which means I did not have anchovies in the house), roasted hazelnuts, salumi, and artichoke sformato. I could not find cardoons so in a fit of jealousy I decided to go with their cousin the artichoke which is abundant where I live. This is a bechamel based sformato with pureed artichokes and little chunks of artichoke. Moving on to secondi. For my pasta course I made agnolotti piemontese with black truffle butter. This recipe was from Bugialli on Pasta which is the only all region book which I truly love. Unfortunately, Bugialli does not give any background on this dish but the complexity of the filling and the supersized aspect made me speculate that these are some sort of holiday dish. The filling is arborio rice and braised pork and while I made mine at 2 and 3/4 inches, the original recipe called for braised veal and 4 inch agnolotti. (I could only find a cookie cutter this big). Three was a piggish portion and the more sensible people only ate 2. The truffles are not really strong but add a nice earthy undertone to the dish. The filling consited of two things. First, pork shoulder (the recipe called for veal but I can't get veal, other than chops, ground and shank and pork is cheaper and tastier) was braised with white wine (I could not find anything under $18 from Piemonte so I used a white from Umbria), meat stock, carrot/onion/celery/parsley, and tomato paste. The second part was arborio rice cooked with onion and meat stock which then had parm. and 1/3 of the meat blended in. A border of the rice filling was made and then the meat filling was put in the center. You can sort of see that in the pic here. Great dish. I was worried the rice would be odd in the filling but it was nice and creamy. The braised meat actualy tasted quite a bit like my ragu bolognese but with a different texture. And now the main. I was intrigued to find a milk braised veal recipe on Langhe.net. This recipe is generaly attributed to Emiglia-Romagna but this differs from that in that it adds a bit of Marsala (I used Madeira, sorry Italy) and is further thickened with ground hazelnuts. I thought this would be interesting since I have done the milk braised pork many times and I thought this would be a fun place to use my truffle. Plus, I LOVE sauces thickened with ground nuts. I started out by butterflying my loin and spreading thin slices of truffle over it. I then tied it up before browning, adding onions, adding madeira, and braising in milk. The final dish: The final dish shot 2: Whoops, forgot to add truffle to the sauce. Lucky me there was some left in the pan so I shaved truffle into the sauce and you can see the black specks in the sauce on the final plate. I could only eat one slice since I pigged out on the agnolotti. This was absolutely amazing. At least 3X better than the standard milk braised pork even though I used pork loin which is not nearly as exciting as pork shoulder. The hazelnuts added a wonderful complexity and texture to the sauce and the subtle earthy aroma of the truffle permeated the whole dish. The contorno is oyster mushrooms sauteed in the leftover truffle butter from the pasta course and a bit of garlic. Looked like this: I skipped dessert Of course it would be shame to wash all this food down with water, some local Piemonte wines were required: The dolcetto was simple and went fine with the first courses. The Barbaresco was a more serious wine and went brilliantly with my main. It was not very old and a bit tannic, but the fat in the dish cut through the tannins to let its fruit show and the wine played amazingly off the flavors of mushrooms and truffles Overall I was very happy with this meal and am looking forward to the leftovers. Thanks for the motivation that I got from all the amazing meals here. The bad news is that after the 2 bottles with dinner, I just opened a Sicilian Nero d' Avelo/Cab blend.... does anyone have a traditional Piemontese hangover cure ?
  9. Uhhh, it went on a 160 mile roundtrip with me to discover my brother was sick resulting in a canceled dinner, me going out to mediocre Indian food , and not getting to drink Proddutori del Barbaresco. It is currently resting in Arborio rice in my fridge and will have a role in Friday's Piemontese meal.
  10. Nathan P.

    tomato paste

    I agree that you should be conservative in your tomato paste usage. I actully prefer his recipe that uses tomatoes instead of the paste. Either way it is good and leftover sauce freezes very well.
  11. Yes exactly. Nothing clever, just poaching the format of the cook-along threads that run on the Cooking Board. I noticed that every month one of the older cook along threads will pop up again as someone makes a contribution even though the group is months past the topic. I also have no problem with Kevin and Hathor picking the regions. People can always PM them and beg to modify the rotation if they need to tie in Cooking in Tuscany with their month long vacation there! Well truffle hunting was easy... Head outdoors, grab a dog, look for some trees, sniff around a bit and Bobs your uncle. Straight from the Piemonte Allright, only the rice is from Piemonte, the truffle hails from that lost region of Italy, Oregon Not a lot of aroma, but not a lot of $$. I just had a big non-italian meal downsized this weekend so I am going to slide in a Tajarin w/ truffle course for the new small group. Not a full meal but I am curious to see if these are a total waste of dollars. Either way we will be drinking single vineyard Proddutori del Barbaresco so I suspect the food may not really matter.
  12. Thanks for chiming in as I was away from the computer, Kevin. I think the single thread is fine while we cook, but considering the amount of great information that is coming up regarding the meals we cook, online sources, books, mail order sources, etc.. it would be very handy to have each regions info available simply. Plus that way if some kind soul gives you a bottle of Barbera in 6 months , you have the perfect thread to showcase the meal you cooked around it. I also like the quarterly approach to give time to track down rare food items and books. Alright, enough red tape- I'm off to go truffle hunting....
  13. They Change their menu very frequently. I can say I had a fantastic bigoli with red wine braised calamari sauce there last march.
  14. Non-photogenic food is totaly welcome here! You could put a picture of a rock next to those cookies and we would still all be drooling. I officialy vote Trentino /Alto Adige next. My local wine shop just announce a tasting of wines from the region mid-month which is good enough reason for me. My second place vote goes to Lombardia.
  15. Wine Glad to see some risottos pop up. I picked up some arborio imported from the Piemonte last week which is going to find its way into some agnolotti next week as kanljung mentioned in his post. Also glad to be seeing some more antipasti ideas from here and Kevin's side of the thread. Nice looking red tounge.
  16. Pontoromo- I think your claim about anitpasti and primos being the most interesting dishes applies to every region and all US Italian restaurants IMO. Be interesting to see if any region changes my opinion as we go through them. All the food is looking great. Thanks Adam for proving my point that simple rustic dishes look good on painted plates not modern white restaurant style plates. On the Fontina front- I've tried two in the last couple of weeks. A widely available in my area version that is fairly soft, has a thin plasticy breaks off in little pieces outer coating , and a version from a food specialist (AGFerrari). The version AGF carried was aged longer and had a much better depth of flavor. The supermarket version is imported from Italy but reminded me more of boring commercial domestic cheeses. Both versions were mild though so it sounds to me like you got something odd. I looked for salt packed anchovies but could not find any. Will have to look for a source in San Francisco as these will be needed in other regions as well.
  17. I was thinking about trying this after reading his last column but it seemed like the next step was to try palm sugar for the simple syrup. Anyone tried to make a syrup with palm sugar?
  18. Hi Abra, I have a couple of questions on your galette. My brother recently offered to open up some pricy red wines he has including some Cal. Cab if I would cook for a group. The catch is that his wife is a semi-vegetarian will eat some fish type of person which makes this a challenging meal for me. Remembering this thread, I thought the gallete could make a good and interesting course. Did you undercook the vegetables in the initital roasting process so they would not overcook while baking in the gallete? How important and prominant was the mustard on the veg and how important were the olives? Is that a bit more raw cheese used as garnish? Did you put enough stilton on the gallete to make it a primary flavor or a lesser amount to be an accent flavor? Sounds like this was a clear winner at your meal but if repeating this, would you change anything? Thanks
  19. I really hope someone gets motivated enough to tackle what I consider to be a daunting task. I have at least been motivated enough to go out and buy a bowl of ramen with tonkotsu broth today It was amazing. As rich as a slightly thinned jus in the style that is so popular in bistro style restaurants these days with strong and deep pork flavor and little bits of soft pork fat floating suspended in this viscous porky brew. I won't even speculate on how they make roast pork that does not dry out at all...
  20. Thanks for the tips. I think it was Pim's recipe that inspired me to cook this but I reviewed many other sources as well. I am sure I looked at Kasma's since I know that site as well. One thing I did not do was pick up the pickled mustard greens so I will NEED to fix this problem the next time. As a huge lover of both soup noodles (pho, bun rieu, ramen etc..) and curry, this dish is a perfect blend of things I love.
  21. Did someone say cheese??? This is a soft goat cheese with black truffles I picked up today at A.G Ferrari's. It is from the Piemonte and about as close to truffles as I am going to get this month I also picked up some arborio rice from Piemonte and some fregolas for when we get to Sardinia if it lasts that long. Enjoyed the cheese after eating Cal-Italian out tonight (I did drink Barbera though). The problem with cheese with Barbaresco is that I have a cool take on Agnolotti that I want to do but need a secondo. There is a cool sounding take on the milk braise that we all know that adds ground hazelnuts as a thickener but I am not sure how that would work with the wine. And show us your tounge FoodMan, show us your tounge!
  22. It takes a serious white boy to make such serious white food Of course it is all this delicious monochromatic food that got the italian to make brightly painted plates to liven up brown, white and red meals. Nice looking meal Hathor- I'm swatting other hands out of the way to grab the tall breadstick with the round knob on the top. I'm looking forward to making agnolotti in the nest couple of weeks but have not come up with a main to go with some Barbaresco I have.
  23. That Khao Soi looks great. The only version I have tasted is one I made last year so I wonder if you could give me a better sense of the broth. How rich/coconut-creamy and how spicy is it? (I understand there will be a range depending on vendor) Similar or thicker than more common in the US soups that use coconut milk or so rich you can barely finish the last bit in the bowl. Mildly spicy so you can add extra chili or hot on its own- similar to a red curry or? Thanks
  24. Thanks for the info Adam and Divina. Yeah my first thought was an odd translation but the recipe is available in Italian as well so the starting point was salami cotto. Cured meats is one of the harder things to replicate in the US since it is hard to find much beyond prosciutto imported. Things are improving as new salumi producers seem to be popping up these days which is a postive step. Look forward to the market pics Divina! Give us some serious pork envy...
  25. I've also heard that it is boiling the stock that gets the pork fat to emulsify in the broth for that cloudy look and rich flavor. How they get the little flecks of pork fat suspended in the broth but not melting seems amazing to me. Good luck. Have you got a source for noodles and mastered the roast pork yet? In northern CA I get my ramen fix at Ramen Halu.
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