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Everything posted by badthings

  1. Russ is right: Italian had the word zucca in the fifteenth century, but there was no squash in Italy. So Buford (inadvertently) raised an interesting question: what is fifteenth-century zucca? At the time, I guessed some kind of bottle gourd, but I have no idea. Maybe an "expert" would know the answer; but all you have to do is pay attention to arrrive at the question.
  2. badthings


    PSA on cooking times: If your farro is "semiperlato," it only needs to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. I've been getting "wheatberries" for the last couple months, which really need to boil for almost an hour, but last week I got some more farro (Umbrian, I forget the brand), and turned it into something resembling oatmeal because I didn't read the label. Not bad, actually, but not the firm texture you want for a salad. The whole spelt I have found also takes a long time to cook. Have not noted a dramatic difference in flavor between the 3 in unscientific testing.
  3. I started a blog years ago for my own sanity. I don't attempt to publicize it, and I have very few readers. But it did get me a real writing job, out of the blue. It's not an approach I recommend if you really want to be a writer, but you never know. I use blogger, by the way, which is free. It's certainly not a beautiful as Tana's blog, but it works fine.
  4. Russ, your review of McGee2 was much better than Thorne's. His objections made no sense. I'm sure it's vanished into the archives, but anyone who wants to read a balanced assessment of the book, along with relevant criticism, should go find Russ's review (LA Times, 11/10/04).
  5. badthings


    Too much information: This question is complicated because the terminology is unstable in english, italian, and latin. The three types of farro represent different stages of the evolution of modern wheat. T. monococcum (=piccolo farro = "einkorn"), the most "primitive," is diploid. T. dicoccum a.k.a. T. turgidum subsp. dicoccum (=farro medio = emmer) is tetraploid (i.e., the offspring of T. monococcum and a wild relative with a different genome). T. spelta a.k.a. T. aestivum var. spelta (=gran farro = spelt) is hexaploid (i.e., emmer plus a third genome from a different wild grass). T. monococcum is very rare, but the other two are grown on a small scale around the Mediterrranean, often in the same fields. So what you get when you buy "farro," though probably mostly T. dicoccum, may have some -- or even be -- T. spelta. It is also possible, as Adam suggests, that there is some durum (T. durum, tetraploid) in the mix. I can see almost no difference between the "wheat berries" and the "spelt" that I have bought at health food stores and Italian "farro semiperlato." The latter tastes a little more complex, rustic (I think), but this is likely a result of processing or even growing techniques. All three behave similarly in salad and farrotto. This picture (and the links collected here) may help clarify the genetic relationships.
  6. badthings


    Correct. But they cook similarly. Spelt works for farrotto recipes (as do "wheat berries"). You may have to adjust the timing a hair.
  7. I've been buying Frog Hollows again almost every week I've been around. They are, still, almost always the best at Berkeley FM. I still haven't made it to Ferry Plaza to see the Honeycrisp guy, despite the enticement of Russ's article. Overall, I do think the nectarines have been been better this year, but the peaches have mostly been very good, as Tana said. And there have been a few weeks of unacceptable bruising -- at least, unacceptable at $3.60/lb. Perhaps that was what the Market Hall guys were talking about.
  8. Further "irregularities" include the fact that it was the m-w.com word of the day on June 2, and jwagnerdsm's mysterious disappearance from egullet in the middle of his food blog. His Websites have vanished too. Different Sietsema though.
  9. Here in California, mexican markets usually sell "mexican limes" (which are the same thing) for considerably cheaper. FYI.
  10. Dear Chef Hill, In Italy a few weeks ago, we twice had delicious stinco al forno (once pork, once veal). These were whole shanks that had been roasted very slowly (many hours, they said at one place), apparently without moisture. I was shocked at how tender they were, and wanted to try to replicate it at home, but all I could find this week were sectioned beef shanks (cut as though for osso buco). Since you mentioned shanks in the pressure-cooker topic, I thought I'd ask you: should I bother trying to roast these, or should I braise them?
  11. Coincidentally, I was drinking Caprai grappa in Montefalco when you published this, Craig. Great article, and I'm not just saying it because I love grappa so much. The night before we left we had a homemade wild fennel infused grappa in Grottaferrata that was very good. (the infusion was done at home, not sure about the grappa itself).
  12. Good timing. And congrats for your well-deserved spotlight.
  13. Excellent work to assemble all that, but the most immediate context was her 2/25/04 review of Asiate, which ends with this sentence: [link]. Whatever you think of the ethics of that particular critical strategy, it was why people felt that her appraisal of Vongerichten might be intemperate.
  14. no, because anchos aren't smoked. Also, I vote Atkins off the island.
  15. Gawker has the memo, which appears to rebuke the "food elite":
  16. The best thing I have ever done to fresh porcinis personally is to carefully cut the stems lengthwise in thirds (leaving them attached to the cap), stuff in a handful of thyme/marjoram, tie them up, rub with salt/oil, and grill. [from, I think, the first River Cafe cookbook which appears to be out of print]. The Zuni cookbook, and its chicken recipe is here
  17. My point wasn't that you were stupid for backing the wrong pony -- it made sense to me, and no one else questioned you at the time. Rather that even someone who seems a good fit can have a hard time with such a difficult job. As the Observer pointed out a lot of people are suddenly nostalgic for Grimes. (And after reading about his adventures with shopping, I am too).
  18. I'm no native, but Cooking Texas Style has some very interesting historical recipes.
  19. I was at Kitchen Arts & Letters last week and they showed me a list of what had to be over 100 pre-orders, mostly, they said, from trade. So prepare yourselves for the 5th quarter, NYers! And good for those of you who bought it there instead of Borders &c.
  20. Irony: From the thread Bourdain started to criticize Marian Burros's interim reviewing. A thankless job indeed, though that does not excuse the JGV fetish.
  21. cafe rouge meat market, 4th st. berkeley. They can order whatever you need from Niman, and they have excellent charcuterie, as does fatted calf, run by former Rouge butcher Taylor Boetticher, and available at the Sat. Berkeley Farmers Market. The Berkeley Bowl has a pretty good meat dept. now, with good prices on Niman pork and grassfed beef.
  22. The book I referred to above, which is basically a record of pre-'49 (upper class) californio cooking, makes frequent use of olives in recipes both a la mexicana and a la "española". (I put "española" an quotes because Pinedo is eager for a variety of reasons to associate her culture, including food of course, with Spain; but Mexicans do still use olives in such "authentically" spanish dishes as bacalao a la viscaina). She even suggests frying (flour) enchiladas in olive oil. Anyway, the frequency of their use is easily attributed to their abundance here, which is of course a factor of their suitability to the climate as well as the rather more direct connection to the (franciscan) culture of the missions in California than in other parts of Mexico conquered earlier. Christianity is a religion of vine, grape, and wheat. Personally, I can do without california olives on my nachos. Or on pretty much anything for that matter.
  23. Understandable! On the other hand, Georges Risoud, my correspondant at the syndicat, seems mostly amused by all these americans obsessed with époisses, or as he put it, "smelling cheese."
  24. I've persuaded Clotilde, of Chocolate and Zucchini, who lives in Paris, to do a comparative tasting of raw milk and thermalized époisses. Presumably she can find better examples of the former than we can in N. America.
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