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theabroma

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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    Arlington, Texas

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  1. Having lived in Central Texas for years and having eaten at the Big 3 in Lockhart frequently - Smitty's, Kreuz, and Black's - I just cannot get terribly excited about Lockhart in Davis St in Oak Cliff. It is good, but not fabulous. Pecan Lodge, on the other hand, is killer. I am also a fan of Smoke, also in Oak Cliff.
  2. If you are thinking of deconstructing a tarte au citron, then you would not want to add meringue ... that would be appropriate for a decon of a lemon meringue pie. The cream quenelle is not a direct component of tarte au citron, but it could be argued to be appropriate. The shortbread or sablé cookie or crumble fits, too. Perhaps a candied lemon slice or even candied lemon peel would be an appropriate addition here? Also, you could play around with Maghrebi salt-preserved lemon peel to add a lemon note with an unexpected twist? The saltiness and texture of the peel would fit and contrast nicely at the same time. And perhaps if they are available lemon flowers, brushed with egg white and rolled in sugar, à la candied violets??
  3. Cacahuate, don't know what your hotel budget might be; however I would recommend the Hotel Majestic on Calle Madero right on the Plaza Mayor. It is directly across from the Palacio Nacional, just south of the Metropolitan Cathedral, and catty-cornered from the Templo Mayor and it is very close to Mercado Merced. The Fundacion Herdez is there, the Museo del Templo Mayor, lots of restaurants, Churreria El Moro is close, etc. The concierges at the Majestic can get you guides - not culinary guides - if you want. It can be a noisy spot if there are demonstrations or protests going on, and too early in the am the army comes out with bugles to play the anthem and raise that huge flag in the center of the Plaza. Last I checked, doubles were +/- $60-$70/night. It also has a great rooftop with restaurant, but beware: they charge you for each cup of coffee!
  4. Think about this a moment: cold caramel? only with titanium jaw implants.
  5. Souffleed omelette? Curds? Bombes? French buttercreams? Huevos Reales? Does it have to be from the sweet kitchen? If no, oeufs en gelee? Omelettes? Brouillard? Fettuccini alla carbonara? Homage to the Southern picnic: devilled eggs? Or that fine, fine lily-gilding of Persian chelo: ultra long grain rice (dom siah or ambar du) with crusty, crunchy tah dig, and crowned with butter, sumaq, and raw egg yolk? Sorry, would propose more things, but I'm off to find my own fresh eggs! Theabroma
  6. To me they are one of those "vanilla ice-cream" sorts of desserts/pastries: very few ingredients which must be of excellent quality, preferably all freshly made in-house, where there is really nowhere to hide the flaws under "cutting-edge" flavors and treatments. Shatteringly crisp choux, vanilla ice cream that has a softness to it - not "gently" thawed prior to scooping, and an unctuous, yet still fluid chocolate sauce. To be at their best in a restaurant - and likely at home as well - they should, practically, if not literally, be prepared tableside for instant service. Otherwise, the choux are soggy instead of crisp, the ice cream is soft to liquifying on the outside and hard on the inside, and the chocolate sauce appears to have been transformed into Bosco. It is a dessert that should definitely be prepared a la minute, and should only be undertaken by restaurants that understand the high-maintenance nature of this delection, and are willing to commit resources to its proper execution and timely delivery to the client. Otherwise, they should stick to bread puddings ...
  7. If you have access to DVD's of Jacques Torres' "Passion for Chocolate" series, you'll find that he periodically makes use of small binder clips from the office supply to hold things together. Also, he is the undisputed King of the Hardware Store, having multiple uses for all sorts of construction materials - from plasterer's lath to galvanized metal ducts. So, likely he would get a section of appropriately sized PVC pipe, roll the chocolate covered acetate, and insert it into the pipe section until it has cooled. Withdraw the acetate, et voila. You can also use the cardboard tube cores of paper towels, toilet paper, rolls of gift wrap, or butcher or architectural blueline paper. Watching those programs will truly unleash your most creative self: you havent lived until you see him make cornstarch or gelatin molds for achocolate champagne bottle, or design and order up a silk screen or a Moet et Chandon label, to silkscreen it in chocolate onto a thin sheet of marzipan. Regards, Theabroma
  8. Tomate de milpa is how that variety of tomate de cascara, tomatillo, or tomate verde is also referred to. They were traditionally grown as part of the cornfield symphony, together with beans and squashes. Regards, Theabroma
  9. Gorgeous cake, that! With the curd fillings, have you considered piping a thick ring of mousseline buttercream, etc. around the edge of each layer as a dam? Also, you could then put a crumb coat of the curd all over the cake and then drape it with ultra-thin marzipan - which can be tinted, airbrushed, crimped, etc. to your heart's delight. It is far tastier than rolled fondant, creates the same porcelain-like finish, and will armor the cake against the elements. I would suggest, though, that the cake be given one heck of a deep refrigeration prior to putting it out. Regards, Theabroma
  10. You may want to 86 the onions, pick only the LEAVES of the cilantro, and use grated cotija cheese. I am not at all sure about the lime juice, however. I would strip it down to the basics: cilantro (the basil), garlic (ditto), lightly toasted pepitas, and a Spanish olive oil ... or pumpkinseed or avocado oil. Finish it off with finely grated queso cotija (the parm). This is how I make it and have never had problems with bitterness. Curious. I never use citrus in either my basil or cilantro pesto, so I am not sure what the limes are doing there ... lovely as they are, they might be causing a reaction with the parm that causes the bitterness. Quizzically, Theabroma
  11. theabroma

    Huitlacoche

    It's botannical name is Ustilago maydis. As far as I know it is the only fungus that affects corn in this fashion, so it is edible. It was known as 'Raven's Shit' to some North American tribes. The name 'huitlacoche' or 'cuitlacoche' is the most common name in Mexico. It is from Nahuatl, the most spoken of the many indigenous languages there. And it's translation means something along the lines of 'Sleeping Excrement of the Lords.' If you can find naturally occurring cuitlacoche on field corn, you are way in luck. A lot of the cuitlacoche that is now grown here arises from the corn being innoculated with the fungus. This is not a problem per se; however they innoculate sweet corn, rather than field corn, and I, at least, find that the resulting product has an unexpected and unpleasant sweet taste to it. We do grow field corn in the US, but it is destined for stock feed. Field corn, which has bigger, starchy kernels, is not sweet. It is, somewhat like portobello mushrooms, meaty in its denseness. Regards, Theabroma
  12. One of the more entertaining delights of life is to watch the face of a Veracruzano, especially one from around Alvarado, as it is explained to them that people on the west coast batter and fry the fish for the fish tacos. They think that strictly comida de Gringolandia invading Mexico. Never a dull, boring, or less than tasty moment! Regards, Theabroma
  13. theabroma

    Almond paste

    Warming it gently will work to soften it a bit through making the oils more liquid. Friction is another option: put it in the mixer and 'cream' it. You may in the end need to press it through a tamis in order to remove the intransigent particles. Depending on the quantity, have you considered making a luxe stueusel, adding it to brioche crumbs and oats, etc. to top a special cobbler or coffee cake? Regards, Theabroma
  14. Perhaps ... unless you're using professional books. However, this does not apply to Beranbaum ... it would take the energy of 3 lifetimes to research measurements like she did. And if you want a detailed explication of why you should measure ... Beranbaum again. But there are people who prefer measurement by eyeball or heft (grandma-trained) or by volume, so unless you are baking for production, it really is your choice. But like any other choice about things of the table or in life, the more knowledge you have about the how's, why's, etc. will lead you to a better choice, and help avert dire consequences. Hell ... I started out a long time ago with the dip and tap method!
  15. Food processor works for me ... as does two good cleavers working side-by-side. It's good to freeze the cubes. One-inch is a good size. And pulse them in small batches. You want the pieces to be of similar size so that the air drying (if you are going to do that) will be uniformly effective. That said, pick a "size" theme and have some variation within that to give texture to the finished sausage. You might also want to check out Diana Kennedy's recipe for chorizo in The Art of Mexican Cooking. I like to get cross-inspiration going between her and Bayless. You can't go wrong on that one. Regards, Theabroma
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