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  1. We recently drove down to the North Carolina coast and took an unsuccessful shortcut from I-95 to I-40. The one nice thing about the routing was that we drove through a couple of legendary barbecue towns (Goldsboro and Wilson, not that we stopped). And at one point we passed through a place called Mt. Olive, where the signage claimed the town is the pickle capital of the world. I made a mental note and then, as with many of my mental notes, I forgot all about it. A couple of days later I was at the Food Lion getting some food supplies and a section of one aisle caught my eye: there was a whole block of shelf space devoted to the product line of the Mt. Olive pickle company. I bought a jar of kosher baby dills. Later, I ate a couple. I must say, they were probably the best shelf-stable pickles I've had. Very crunchy with a nice balance of salt, vinegar and seasonings. Certainly much better than the major supermarket brands. I'd have to do a more rigorous tasting against B&G -- my previous favorite brand -- to be sure. The location of Mt. Olive's facility, by the way, is the corner of Cucumber and Vine. The company's website: http://www.mtolivepickles.com
  2. Rhubarb Jam 5kg Rhubarb 6kg Preserving sugar (high in pectin) 75g Fresh ginger, coarsely chopped 10 Lemons 780g Water * Cut the Rhubarb and place in to a bowl big enough to include the sugar. * Cover with the sugar and allow to stand overnight. * Place into a suitable sized thick bottomed pan & add the water. * Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the pan. * Reserve the pips & place into a muslin bag along with the chopped up ginger. * Bring to the boil quickly and skim, continue to boil until 110°C (or Jam). * Place in sterilised jars and steam for 25 minutes & then chill.
  3. I picked up some cooked squid from a local Korean market. It said it was boiled. One squid was packaged and came in at just under a pound. It was sliced in 1/4 inch rings and the tentacles were packed as well (almost like small octopi legs) It was firm but not overly chewy. The sauce in the small container packed alongside was the standard hot pepper paste with added sugar and sesame oil - very thick and sweet. If this is a standard item, how is it served? It seems like a great snack with cocktails. I have been eating it cold or letting it come to room temp. It is chewy enough that I can't really wrap it in shiso with rice. Thanks for any input.
  4. There are a number of choices on the various menus available in 7 Park place restaurant. Basically it`s one of those menus that`s impossible to pick from and just reads so well from start to finish.Foie gras, scallops , crab , langoustines , truffle , sea bass , turbot , foie gras , foie gras, stuffed oxtail , truffles….and more foie gras…Totally fantastic, where do i start ?. Firstly there`s the lunch menu , no scrimping on luxury here , it`s a 2/2/2 choice menu at £29.50 and starring ingredients like Fillet of veal , Monkfish , Foie gras parfait and fresh crab. Then there`s the serious food , Two courses are available for £ 49.00 off the a la carte menu, Three for a very reasonable £ 55.00. The best option for me had to be the 6 course Menu Gourmand for £ 65.00. ( Cheese course and coffee with treats were extra ). I like to choose the gourmande as i find it a good insight into the Chefs culinary journey over the years. Also its a good test of the sommelier and i chose the recommended wine flight at £118 all inc with the food. So on to the food - we were presented with the menus and wine list but we had already decided long before to go for the Gourmand and selected wines , choice was made. We chose a couple of non alcoholic cocktails ( £8 ) from the list and they were mixed at the bar in front of us.They were served with green olives and smoked nuts at the bar.The bar itself was a beautiful sight , bright colours , nothing drab , clean cut and modern.The unusual mixture of art all around us was a definite leaning towards the `gentlemans taste`, a terrific gallery of nude and saucy semi nude ladies all around us…..i wasn`t complaining , it was a wonderful start to an exciting lunch.There was no sign of an `amuse bouche` , canapes , or a small taster of any kind from the kitchen which is normally `par for the course` these days before the action starts.I would like to have seen that to start the show off.Instead we were offered a selection of sliced fresh bread , white, brown , sesame and fruit and nut. Basic , well baked, fresh , simple and very enjoyable. The set meal starter was a very generous slice of seared Foie gras sitting on a piece of brioche with sweet confit of quince and surrounded by toasted Hazelnuts.The sauce was a sticky , shiny and classic reduction that had such a `wow` factor.I loaded my fork up , took a mouthful of the food , closed my eyes and floated away.It`s quite a few years since ive experienced those wonderful flavours and it all came rushing back to me at once…..`who the hell needs drugs` ? This starter could never be improved upon. 10/10…..and a great feeling that this was going to be a wonderful lunch. The next course was the classic single Ravioli of Langoustine , encased in fresh, soft and perfectly cooked pasta.The truffle hit me immediately , the aroma dominating the air all around us , it was amazing.The ravioli sat on a little mound of buttered cabbage and was accompanied by a generous serving of truffled butter sauce.Simple , rich , very moreish , i could have eaten a dozen of these but unfortunately there was just the one…..and then it was gone…i immediately craved more. Next course was the Grillet fillet of Red Mullet with caramelised fennel and `sardine` puree.I have to admit , this was the only part of the menu i wasn`t too keen on.I had only eaten red mullet the one time and it was far too strong of a fishy flavour for my liking. Paired up this time with an even stronger `puree of sardines`, quite unusual and sounding fishy to the extreme…..I was wrong , totally wrong.The fish was cooked to perfection,the `fishy` flavour that i was expecting turned out to balance out perfectly with the sweet and salty sardine puree and the sweet anise tones of the caramelised fennel topped the course off and had me sitting like a very happy little chappie indeed. Our next offering was the Roasted Turbot fillet a meaty punch of goodness , caramelised perfectly on the outside and moist in the middle.It was presented on rich braised lentils , a greener than green parsley puree and a very hearty reduced red wine sauce.I`m sitting here writing this now and i can taste this dish in my mind, i just want to get on the train and head back for more.I think it was at this point that my dining companion commented on the food. It was a simple – ”This is better food than the Waterside”. So far this year he had done a dozen of the top flight restaurants , Ducasse, Fat duck , Dinner , Lenclume, Martin wishart ,whatley manor , le manoir , Kitching , Northcote , Sharrow bay and the waterside.He rated Waterside as his all time favourite all round dining experience ever….then he went to Drabbles place. Main courses were up next and to be totally honest i would have preferred to change the Lamb for the dish that ill never forget from Michaels Nook in Grasmere. `Pot roasted corn fed chicken with foie gras and truffle sauce`….how good does that sound ? Along with `Boudin of wood pigeon with foie gras, caramelised turnips and Madeira sauce` its one of a few Drabble signature classics that have been with him for years.I`ll never forget my day in the kitchen with Billy up in Grasmere , it was a case of “Alan…..taste this” , Billy shouted me over to the pass and spoon fed me a little taste of heaven , a rich cream sauce of truffled chicken , enriched with melted foie gras and the worlds smallest Morel mushrooms.That one taste will stay with me forever….and there`s something very similar on the a la carte menu….minus the baby morels. ( hint hint William ) Anyway , i felt a bit cheeky asking to change the main course on the tasting menu so i settled for the Lamb .It was a `best end of Lune valley lamb with confit potatoes , caramelised onion and a thyme jus`…Ahhhhhh ,more of the rich stuff again. When it comes to learning to cook lamb to perfection Billy had the best teacher in the business.., Nico Ladenis , a god of the Eighties cooking scene in Britain. During that period`sous vide` wasn`t a word that was used in the kitchen very often and it was a time where classic and traditional methods were widely used in cuisine.The lamb at Nico was legendary , melting , tender , pink to perfection all the way through and surrounded by a delicate coating of soft herb crumb. Nico passed his `special` cooking method over to Billy and it has stuck with him ever since.If anyone wants to sample lamb at world class level then simply book a table at 7 park place. It looks like a staple on the menu now so its something that has to be eaten by every serious food lover.The sauce tasted seriously of roasted bones , classic reduction methods and old school skills.The accompaniments matched up perfectly. At this point in the meal we were offered the Cheese as an optional extra (£13 ). It was a simple selection of 4 well matured British cheeses by Paxton and Whitfield of London. Blue , Goats , hard and an English brie. We got this selection as a taster between the pair of us just to try it out.It was accompanied by plain oat and charcoal crackers and fresh grapes….simple selection that hit the mark perfectly. Now then….here`s my favourite part of the meal.The part that i look forward to all the way through to feed my sweet cravings.I have to admit , i had a little look at a few other diners puddings during a couple of trip to the washroom so i kind of knew what was what by then.I wasnt too keen on the tasting menu dessert after i had spotted `chocolate` on another diners plate near to me so i decided to chance my arm and ask for something different than the pineapple dessert off the tasting menu. ” Absolutely no problem sir” , it was a simple as that and the young lady was off into the kitchen to order our two Dark chocolate Negus desserts with coffee ice cream and gold……Ohhhhhh dear , i was starting to feel funny all over. The dessert landed , it was rich, it was gooey , it was sooooo chocolatey with gold and chocolate biscuit and rich coffee ice cream, could life get any better than this ? Coffee and treats came as extras and not included on the tasting menu.I prefer to see it as part of the meal and wouldn`t mind that extra fiver added to the set meal price , looks better that way.Anyway, we chose whatever coffee we fancied , and it was accompanied by a strange wooden box.The box was opened at the table by one of the front of house staff.She certainly wasnt going to leave go of it either as it contained a wonderful selection of sweet jellies and handmade truffles….” Fantastic , i`ll have one of each”,….. it wasn`t a problem. Once these had finished we were full to the brim and starting to loosen clothing off for comfort.A small silver container arrived at the table containing pink and white marshmallows , “Ohhhh jeez” , impossible , yet it was our duty as two working men to eat them all.We both gave up after only a couple. So summing up William ( Billy ) Drabble at Seven park place , St James – Rich , classic , luxury ingredients , accurately and very well sourced and cooked by very talented chefs.Very much old school ( which i adore ) yet very modern English / European in their 2011 skin. I cannot recommend this place enough , for me it ticked every single box and i left the place vowing to return as soon as possible……and now , a week later , im craving to go back….Please try it and i sincerely hope it does for you what it did for me.
  5. My wife and I were watching a recent tv show (I think it was Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, but could have been No Reservations (Tony Bourdain)) where the person was in Hong Kong. In one scene, they showed someone making soy sauce noodles, which gave my wife a serious Proustian moment as she grew up in HK and misses it badly. Ever since then, she's been craving this dish. And, I have no idea what how to go about making this for her. From what I can tell, the dish seems to be just egg noodles, soy sauce, and bean sprouts. They're all stir fried on high heat. That's it. Clearly, there must be something more to this. Is it just soy sauce or some special blend of things? Garlic? Onion? I pretty much know that the "secret" is going to be in the frying part, but I'd at least like to have a small chance of recreating this by knowing what to put in the dish. So, I turn to the great masses of eGullet and ask: does anyone know what this dish is? And, can you please help me figure out how to recreate it?
  6. Just read that marco pierre white doesn't think that jaime oliver is a "real" chef because he hasn't earned any michelen stars. I think it's crap, but maybe I'm wrong. What does is it take to be a "chef"?
  7. This morning for breakfast, I decided I was going to have toast (homemade whole wheat) with peanut butter and jelly; or PBJ, as it's known. However, when I started pawing through my fridge, I found out I didn't have any jelly. Oh, I had preserves (lingonberry - thanks, IKEA) and I had jam (strawberry - Smucker's) and I had "fruit spread" (apricot - Hero) which sure as hell looks like jelly, but jelly? Nah. And I ended up with peanut butter and those lingonberry preserves. But it got me thinking, which in and of itself at that hour of the morning is pretty interesting. What's your favorite - jam, jelly, fruit spread (!) or preserves? And, what's your favorite flavor?
  8. Raw tomatoes are available in plenty these days.This chutney is ideal as an accompaniment for chapathis or rotis and can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.the ingredients needed are: raw tomatoes -1/2kg, sesame seeds- 1 1/2 tbsp, green chillies- 4 or 5, salt and curry leaves.For the seasoning:oil ,mustard seeds,turmeric powder and asafoetida. Wash and cut the tomatoes into pieces and keep aside. Roast the sesame seeds till light brown in colour and keep aside.Heat oil in a kadai and at first roast the green chillies and curry leaves and keep aside.Then add tomatoes to it and let cook till tender.When cooked allow to cool and grind all the ingredients together with a little salt.The chutney is ready Add the seasoning and serve.
  9. I've been making a lot of fruit preserves in the past few months. A few of the jams (notably passionfruit-mango and guava-raspberry) didn't set up well - they're more of a sauce than a jam. I bought some "jam sugar" for soft fruits: it contains sugar and apple pectin, but the instructions on the bag give a higher proportion of sugar:fruit than I usually use (they call for about 10 per cent more sugar than fruit; I usually use about 60% sugar to the quantity of fruit) so it will be sweeter than I like. I have sugar and I have powdered apple pectin so it would be cheaper to make my own jam sugar, but I have no idea how much apple pectin to use. Can anyone here help out? TIA
  10. Recently, the 2011 James Beard Award nominees for Chefs, Restaurants and Restaurant categories were announced. On March 21, the nominees for the 2011 James Beard Journalism Awards will be announced. Yet the legacy Beard left behind is decidedly more than awards and dinners at the Beard House in New York. Beard was truly one-of-a-kind in terms of his impact on American cuisine and he left behind a rich legacy of teaching, writing and images that place him alongside other iconic figures--most noteably his dear friend Julia Child. I have my own personal reasons for celebrating the legacy of James Beard--our connection as native Oregonians and the foods we grew up with here. I've been a student of Beard's musings on food and cooking and his ability to turn the written word into a platform for his lesson plans on how to cook. Did James Beard leave a legacy that has had an impact on the way you cook and think about the foods we eat?
  12. The 2011 James Beard Award Nominess for Chefs, Restaurants and Restaurant categories have been announced. The 2011 Journalism Aware nominees will be announced in Portland, Oregon, on March 21. Your thoughts on the nominees? Read the list here.
  13. Our local Deli has a lovely coarse grain mustard on the table. It is quite mild and very flavorful. I do not remember the brand but it is similar to Savol. I tried an internet search and happened onto a french mustard "sauce" labeled Savora which is lovely and I do recommend it. It is smooth, mild with just a slight hint of sweetness and a lot of wine flavor. Still, I am trying to find the coarse "deli" mustard. terry
  14. In the German market in Los Angeles (Alpine Village in Torrance) I spied some bottles that had the word Heinz on them and ran over. They looked like this. I was in a rush and did not make notes on the types they stocked or the prices. Anyone seen and tried these?
  15. I'm racking my brain to come up with a hydro-colloid to make salmon roe sized balls of mayo. What if I "TRY" this...... 2gr.s Alganate & 200ml Mayonnaise flavored with oyster juice, Dijon & Creme Fraiche Mix with hand mixer slowly. Wait 2 hr.s 6gr.s Calcium Glucanate, 600ml Poland Spring water Drop the mayo in the CG water with syringes. Any thoughts? Sincere thanks, Joe
  16. I've begun appreciating the benefits of pickles at breakfast. In particular, I have been enjoying having a few pickled jalapeños with my scrambled eggs and English muffin in the morning; if there's a bit of monterey jack cheese around, I might toss that on, too. Breakfast here tends to be a pretty rich affair when it's savory, what with eggs, bacon, hash, and the like. A pickle cuts right through that as a tasty contrast. I know that the Japanese figured this pickle for breakfast thing out long ago; makes me wonder if keeping some oshinko around would be a good idea. Anyone else out there eating pickles for breakfast?
  17. So, I've got two - and photographic evidence. Obviously, photos are not necessary; what are the strangest/funniest/weirdest hot sauce names you've ever seen? BTW, both were seen recently at Kalustyan's.
  18. Let the Ketchup Battle begin. In this corner: Heinz. In the other corner: Hunt's. Crouton dared us to try them side by side. And so we shall.
  19. Industrial tartar sauce. (Hate the homemade stuff.) The more, the better. You?
  20. Spiced Pineapple Chutney * 2kg Pineapple * 100ml White wine vinegar * 1 Cinnamon stick * 2g Cardamom seeds * 5g Curry powder * 2g Fresh ginger * 2g Ground clove * 190g Castor sugar Toast the seeds of the cardamom gently for 5 minutes, then crush them. Peel all of the pineapple and remove the core, then dice quite finely (1cm cubes), save all the juices that come out. Place the vinegar, pineapple juice & spices in a suitable pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pineapple and cook for 15 ~ 20 minutes until tender. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook until it is at the right consistency.
  21. Doesn't seem to be as much activity as usual, so I wanted to try and spark a little interest here. I had made somewhat impromptu plans a few weeks ago, and was really in the mood for a cigar, so I ended up at Jamie's. On my first visit, there was a nice crowd for the Yankees game. Nobody was happy with the outcome, but that's a different topic. LOL. Seems to be a decent amount of regulars, which isn't a surprise as there are only a couple of places in all of Northern NJ -- yet alone the entire state of NJ -- where you can smoke. When you enter, the bar/room/space to the right wasn't being used. Nice space though. To the left is a small, nice dining area, space for about 10 tables or so. My initial thinking was that this was the non-smoking area, but I wasn't sure. However, later on, there were people sitting at these tables, eating and smoking. Perhaps at a certain point they allow people to smoke in this room. I also thought that if this room was smoking, then the room to the right was non-smoking, but again, I am not sure. After you walk through this space, you enter a very large, nice bar area with a nice, long bar. This is a very nice, large space. Plenty of seats at the bar, high-top bar tables, and a casual area with a couch/sofa, chairs, etc. This was a large room, almost with a feel of different spaces or areas -- near the bar, away from the bar, couch/sofa, etc. There were plenty of flat-screen TV's of different sizes -- every single one showing the Yankee game! This room is for smoking -- and there was plenty of it. A real cigar-smoker's haven. There is some sort of ventilation system, so while you get a nice aroma from the cigar(s), you don't get bad clouds of smoke or a massive amount of lingering smoke. Nice, attentive staff, although the bartender -- an excellent bartender -- also seemed to be waiting on (at least some of) the people who were seated at the tables (along with other staff), so he was running around quite a bit. Regardless, service was very good. They were attentive, clearing the table of dirty plates, napkins, etc. We had a couple of appetizers and a sandwich. The fried ravioli was good, nice taste -- stuffed with sausage, broccoli rabe and cheese. The fried calamari was good too -- not overly or heavily fried, and not "chewy" so to speak. I also had the steak sandwich, which was excellent. It was nice, thinly sliced steak -- good flavor, not stringy, chewy or fatty, and instead of melted fontina cheese, I got it with mozzarella. Excellent sandwich. We didn't have any entrees and many of the people/tables seemed to be having (multiple) appetizers. As mentioned before, service was very good. Overall, I liked this place. I will certainly go back.
  22. Does anyone know where I can purchase Chinese Ketchup, specifically the Lee Kum Kee brand? I've looked online not luck. E-mailed Lee Kum Kee, no response.Or maybe a comparable brand. I can't stand the "American ketchup" in Chinese dishes. I've been using tomato puree, recommend in a cookbook. Which works well, but I'd like to try using Chinese ketchup if possible. Jen Lin-Liu recommended it in her book Server the People. I don't use it in Sweet & Sour dishes, but some other dishes such as Sichuan Chile Prawns/Shrimp. I find it adds color and some thickness to the sauce more than flavor, at least the Tomato Puree does. I might go to NYC in a few weeks so I might try searching there in China-Town. Thanks.
  23. I used to buy the most delicious apricot jam from Agrimontana through the same distributor who I buy my chocolate from (Sparrow in Boston). They stopped carrying Agrimontana and now I want to make my Apricot Linzer again for the holidays - and I'd like to use this brand because it was so good. I don't want to buy this retail; I could never sell the tart if I were to buy a small jar through Salumeria Italiana..... Anyone buying Agrimontana? From who? Or where...?
  24. Pumpkin Preserves These things are delicious. They're made the same way Eggplant Preserves are made. We used the lighter colored flesh of white pumpkins so that the end product is not too dark. Peel and cut pumpkin into small pieces and soak overnight in a solution of water and pickling lime. Use 1 cup lime per liter of water. Make enough to cover the pumpkin pieces. Use a plate to keep them submerged. Recommended pickling lime, can be found at Kroger. Rinse the pumpkin pieces thoroughly two to three times. Squeeze every piece by hand to get rid of excess moisture. In a pot, add 1 kilo water (1 liter), 1 kilo sugar, 1 T lemon juice and 5 Cloves for every kilo of pumpkin. Bring the syrup to a simmer then add the pumpkin. Simmer for 2.5 hours. Let cool and place in jars, distribute syrup evenly among them.
  25. End of the Summer Pickles One of my favorite pickles. Good with everything! It's especially good with roasted chicken, a hearty cheese, and chopped fine and made into a tartar sauce (a little mayo, some Worcestershire) with beer-battered fish. Original recipe called for pre-cooking carrots and beans, but I could not really understand why as ten minutes is just fine. Ingredients 2 cup cucumbers, sliced 2 cup sweet peppers, chopped 2 cup cabbage, chopped 2 cup sliced onions 2 cup green tomatoes, chopped 2 cup carrots, peeled & chopped 2 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces 1/4 cup mustard seed 2 Tbs celery seed 4 cup apple cider vinegar 4 cup sugar 2 cups water 1/4 cup turmeric 4 cloves Garlic chopped 1 gallon water 1 cup pickling salt 1. Soak all the vegetables (not the garlic) in the brine over night. 2. Drain the brined vegetables and put in pan, add all other ingredients, except garlic and boil for 10 minutes. Add garlic and mix well (it has more flavor if processed less). 3. Pack into sterilized jars and seal. Servings: 100 Yield: 8-10 pints Cooking Times Preparation Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes Tips You can nearly use any vegetable combinations here. Cauliflower, celery, zucchini, eggplant, peas (with pods too), turnips, radishes, etc.
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