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Everything posted by babka

  1. if you've got a gas oven, lightly filming the iron with olive oil (or pork fat, or whatever) and then leaving it overnight in the oven, turned off, works wonders. repeat as necessary--you're already paying for the pilot light.
  2. I can't help you on the tax-free state, but Chesapeake Bay Cooking is one of my staples...
  3. thinly slice & saute in lots of olive oil until not quite golden, add dried marjoram and continue cooking until dark golden with black spots, add toasted pinenuts, toss & serve with pasta.
  4. I think that Science of Meat page above glosses ove a stage. Brining forces more water into the chicken by virtue of osmosis, but at the same time, the salt works magic on the protein, stretching them a little bit so that they can both absorb more liquid, as the page explains, and _retain it_ through the cooking process, which it doesn't really cover. If memory serves, and it rarely does, Cooks Illustrated once did a side by side weight comparison of chicken soaked in water, a chicken soaked in salt water, and chicken with no treatment. Both the chicken soaked in water and the chicken soaked in salt water gained weight after treatment and lost weight after cooking, but the chicken soaked in salt water retained a significantly higher percentage of its gained weight through the cooking process, while I _think_ the chicken soaked in water lost as much absolute weight as the chicken without treatment. E.g.--it's not the water alone, but the added ability to retain water that makes the difference. So my best guess on the difference between brining and the dry-salt of Zuni is that the Zuni approach, by letting salt work its way through the chicken for 24 hours stretches out the proteins so that the meat retains more of its natural liquids during cooking without forcing in that icky water stuff. and after all--who needs water when there's wine on hand? In addition, the airdrying seems to help on the crispy skin front--I think the salt draws moisture out from the skin, drying it, while working its way into the chicken, making it jucier. (Oh--and Rocks--you were screwed. I've made that bread salad six or seven times and it's one of the single best dishes to come out of my oven.)
  5. wow. speaking as a journalist, I'd be out of my job in a heartbeat if I'd misrepresented that one-time gig to the same extent as the WSJ did. thanks for clarifying, Jose, and please do write that letter. (also, thanks for lunch last week--I hope you know what a wonderful oasis of sanity Cafe Atlantico presents in the middle of the day. :).
  6. 'course, your daughter is about to disown you, practically speaking.
  7. babka

    Barilla blues

    actually, Barilla in the US was always made in the U.S.--the plant is in Ames, Iowa. The box said "Italy's Number 1" pasta, and they got in a bit of legal trouble over that, given that the American product was made in Iowa, albeit with the same grain, recipe, and machines as they used in Italy. don't remember how it was resolved.
  8. nuh-uh. the nibbly nutty cheese with sweet-salty crostini and a spoonful of honey--THAT was the dessert we might have otherwise ordered. the risotto & the quiche was just the second course.
  9. I had cold lamb and sticky baby goat cheese ravioli this morning before the coffee was even done. I'm a happy woman. Food's been voluminiously raved over, but this place has serious class. We had an 8 pm reservation last night, but my guest was jet-lagged and his cab went to the wrong hotel and everybody just smiled at me as ten minutes stretched into forty and I chatted up the Trinidadian doorman, who says the food there is good and all but some hot Indian soup, that's what the day needed. Once seated, neither I nor my guest could drink--me for a cold, he for religion (and that would be the first time in two weeks that I've appreciated my cold)--so we ordered sparkling water and our waiter, bless him, treated it like a bottle of wine--good glasses, never empty, the bottle carefully wiped between pours. We passed on dessert for a cup of tea, and they brought out beautiful little pots and mugs, and we opened the pots, saw the dark liquid, poured, tasted, looked at one another, looked again in the pots with their dark sides, and then caught a staffer's eye. "Tea bags," he declared upon arrival. Yes, please, and some of the most pretentiously-packaged but wonderfully delicate tea I've ever seen was hastily brought out. We may have closed the place down, and we were very, very happy people.
  10. My dearly beloved roommate, an accomplished cook in her own right albeit somewhat new to temperature-sensitive meat dishes, was cooking lamp chops last night for the first time. She called out a question about the temperature. "135," I shouted back. "Not even close," she said, pulling the temperature probe out and stuffing them back under the broiler. "But the temperature is still going up on the probe," she said, holding it out in front of the counter. Five minutes later, she pulled them out to check again. "Should I use the same hole or poke another one?" she asked. "It's an awfully big hole." "Test it in another spot," I said, and she put it in another chop while I came out to check. "Still not there," she said. I looked at the digital read-out, then looked at the probe, which seemed curiously fat. Oh. "It works a bit better," I said, pulling the plastic out of the chop, "with the cover off."
  11. isn't there a Global Market in Pentagon City, too? next to the Sur la Table.
  12. babka

    EVOO on the cheap?

    Goya. Disturbingly aristocratic for its plebian market share.
  13. At midnight this evening, my brain remembered that it hadn't been fed since breakfast. With the clock ticking down on a most undignified meltdown, I toasted a slice of brioche, smashed half a ripe avocado into it, and promptly lapsed into an undignified--but fully adult--state of mind. What's your five minutes fix?
  14. an unremarkable local caterer who thoroughly earned the description I gave above but doesn't deserve the public thrashing of having their name published.
  15. My office has one late night a week on which we order dinner in. It's typically pretty wretched stuff--reheated lasagna, dry chicken breasts, sticky-sweet salad dressing, and the occasional much-anticipated sandwich platter. The woman who's just taken over ordering is looking for better suggestions, and since I've got more than a vested interest in the outcome, I thought I'd see what you all could come up with. Our budget is $400, and we've got to feed 23-27 people. Any ideas?
  16. For waterfront dining, you can't do much worse than Jenny's. I attended a Christmas party there last month. It's scary. for pre-Arena dining, I usually head to Cafe Atlantico and then jump on the green line down to the waterside mall--door to door takes about 20 minutes, unless you get caught in metro hell.
  17. are your dressing proportions right? I usually crush half a clove of garlic with a bit of salt and then mix with three tablespoons olive oil and one tablespoon of sherry vinegar. then toss it well with the greens.
  18. sorry folks--my spoken words, upon reading the ending of Mr. Hanbury's quote, were completely unprintable in either a family publication or in egullet.
  19. babka

    pork roast

    thanks again, everyone, for all your help--it was fantastic, melt-in-your-mouth succulent stuff. stalled out at 172 hour half an hour, than raced up and out. I took a picture, which I'd post tonight if it hadn't taken FIVE HOURS at 300 degrees to cook through. (we're recalibrating our oven tomorrow...it's never been off like that before)
  20. babka


    Nectar, one of our dearly departed brilliant restaurants had the world's best creme brulee--creamy and crunchy and a serious kick to the thing. chipotle, I guessed, wrongly. Tobacco. they somehow infused the liquid with tobacco (some sort of a tincture, I guess) and then used that for the dessert, if memory serves.
  21. babka

    pork roast

    she's in! 275, because I was frolicking in the snow and want to eat dinner before 9, rerolled according to snowangel's fat cap directive. thanks very, very much for all the advice--Fifi's point about cooking it through the stalling temp made some sense when I first read it and much more sense once everyone reinforced her point.
  22. babka

    pork roast

    thanks everyone....I'm getting a much better understanding of pork. Snowangel--can I ask what temperature you cook it at, for about how long? the technique makes sense--lowish temp, roast until it's done, and then keep going until it gets good--but I don't know quite how to translate that into delivering food onto tonight's table.
  23. babka

    pork roast

    hmmm...follow-through dumb question, from the woman who's about to make her second attack at cooking pork and has gathered only that it should neither be red like beef nor white like bread: What color is the damn thing supposed to be when it's done?
  24. babka

    pork roast

    I buried this question last week in the Zuni Cookbook thread, which wasn't a good place to ask for help. So, bumped up and generically phrased: To what temperature do you cook a pork roast? I've got a 2.5 lb Boston Butt which has been sitting in my fridge since Friday night, salted and dry-rubbed until it smelled so good that we considered eating it raw. It's cold and snowy and sleety, so we're eating that sucker tonight for dinner, but I'm a little worried about the cooking temperature. Last time, we roasted it for 2.5 hours at the 350 degrees specified in the recipe (Zuni Cookbook's Mock Porchetta). At the end of that time period, the internal temp was only 170. We let it cook for another half an hour, which brought it almost up to the recipe's stated goal of 185, but it tasted a bit dry to me, and 185 seems awfully high. I've seen Wolfert's advice elsewhere on this forum for slightly overcooking a picnic shoulder for pernil to 175 or 180, but that's got bones and skin. me, I've just got pure pork to roast. so--when should I take it out?
  25. when you refuse to let anyone else make the scrambled eggs in the morning. you can't cook 'em if you don't understand 'em.
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