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  1. Hi All, It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since I last blogged. My! How time flies! Some very brief background about myself. I am 41 and I live in the northern suburbs of Chicago with my wife and my 7-year-old son. I work in the food industry selling bulk ingredients; primarily 100% natural, processed fruit products. I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. I love to do it and I love to learn how to cook new things but I also reserve the right to "not cook" any time it (or the thought of it) ceases to be fun. My wife is culinarily-challenged and, as such, I am the primary meal provider in our house. There are some nights when after getting home from work, spending time in the kitchen is the last thing I want to do. So I don't. There are other times when after getting home from work, nothing sounds better to me than relaxing by spending time in the kitchen (or out by the grill or smoker) making a meal for my family. I'm not exactly sure what specific factors influence these moods but they will no doubt manifest here, over the course of this blog. It'll be a mixed bag this week for sure...probably about 1/3 cooking, 1/3 going out and 1/3 scrounging for leftovers. I started out this morning (and pretty much every morning) with an Iced Venti Americano (no water, please) from Starbuck's. To this I add 1 packet of sweet and low and a splash of half and half. I really need the caffeine in the a.m. but I'm not a particularly passionate coffee person. When I occasionally come across the good stuff, I'm very happy to have it but I don't go out of my way for it either. A friend of mine roasts his own beans and he will hook me up from time to time. Yes, I can tell the difference and yes I can appreciate it. But honestly, I'd rather sleep an extra few minutes in the morning than spend the time making coffee for myself. When I get to my office, my IVA is waiting for me because one of the guys at the office hits Starbucks every morning. Good deal I spent most of this past Sunday cooking (was really in the mood ) and I brought some split pea soup to the office today to share with my cohorts. I'm sure it'll end up being part of our lunch in some manner but we'll no doubt augment it by ordering carryout from one of our local spots. There are 5 of us in the office and we recently went to a system where each one of is assigned a day to choose the lunch venue. Today, our resident vegetarian will be making the choice so the soup, which turned out quite well, is a solid insurance policy that lunch--or at least some portion of it--will be edible =R=
  2. Welcome to the new season of the ever popular eGullet Foodblogs. I will be coordinating them this season, so if you want to participate as a blogger please let me know. We will be starting off slowly and hope to jump up the pace as the calendar fills. Starting Saturday August 27th through Friday September 2nd we offer a blogger with these teaser shots:
  3. It’s not even 6am yet and I was so excited about starting my food blog today, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I had quite the late night last night, yet my body seems to be telling me that 4 hours of sleep is enough when there is food to write about! First, a bit about myself. My name is Henry H Lo. I am in no way connected to the “industry” but have found that I have a passion for good food and cooking my whole life. I am 33 years old and an architect in Seattle. The relationship between cooking and architecture is generally discussed among the architecture world. Both are art forms which are not always recognized as art by the general public. Just as food must provide nourishment for life, architecture must provide shelter. Once these basic requirements are established, only the educated few can see the artistic qualities which some architects/chefs elevate their work to. A few exceptions exist which are too obvious as to not be recognized as art. The buildings of Rem Koolhaus, and Ferran Adria’s work come to mind. I find that my architecture is greatly influenced by lessons I've learned from the cooking world. After all, in both endevours, we are creating "functional art." Another nice thing about being an architect was the fact that I was able to design and build my own kitchen. More on my kitchen to come. When I found out I would be food blogging, I set up a number of events in Seattle for myself and my friends to take part in. Here’s a short list of the things I have planned for this week: Friday March 17th Trail the chef at Veil Veil I did this last night and had a great time. More on this to come. Here's a teaser photo though: Friday March 17th Dinner at Crush Crush Had a great time! Stay tuned for more information. Saturday March 18th Dinner at Veil Sunday March 19th Brunch at Monsoon Monsoon (That's me on the webpage behind the potted cypress. The owner is sitting to my left) Sunday March 20th “Sopranos” Pot Luck Monday March 21st Dinner at The Barking Frog Barking Frog Tuesday March 22nd Dinner Party at home Wednesday March 23rd Special lunch at Salumi Salumi Thursday March 24th Dinner at Mistral for 20 Mistral Friday March 25th Trail the chef at Mistral Saturday March 26th Dinner at Marjorie Marjorie I also plan on taking you all on a sandwich tour of Seattle. After all, the sandwich is the perfect food! I am really looking forward to sharing my great food town with the rest of you. Please feel free to let me know if there are any specific places or things in Seattle you would like me to explore. Talk to you all soon!
  4. eGulleters meet in the strangest of places. So how did it happen that Chufi from Amsterdam and Abra from Seattle find themselves in a charming little winebar in a charming little town in the South West of France, where the bill is scrawled in marker on the zinc counter top? Because, well, can you think of any better place to meet? Chufi to Abra: "So, here we are together in a wine bar in France, just you and me and a Spanish ham. " Abra to Chufi: "Hey, what about my husband? Are you calling him a ham? Ok, yeah, he is a ham, but he's an American ham." Chufi: "Well, I'm kind of nervous that just being in France and cooking with you and going to cool French towns and tasting all the wine in sight will be kind of, well, you know, boring." Abra: "Hey, I know, maybe we should do an eG food blog about your visit." Chufi: "But we've both already done lots of food blogs, would anyone even want to read another one?" Abra: "Hmmm, you might be right. Just to liven things up we could invite bleudauvergne down to cook with us, and by the way that would be a great excuse to make her bring us some of that gorgeous cheese she's always posting pictures of." Chufi: "Maybe we could cook something totally weird that I'd never make at home, like how about some......" Abra: "There's this recipe for a stew of pigs feet and tripe that I've been dying to make." Chufi: "Uh....." Abra "Come on, we'll stay up late drinking tons of wine and then have tripe and pigs feet at 2:00 a.m." Chufi:"Can we drink a lot of wine BEFORE we have to eat the pigs feet?" Abra:"Come on, you'll love it, it's gelatinous." Chufi: "My husband will never believe this!!" Abra: "And there's no way my husband will even eat a bite of it, we'll have to cook a whole separate meal for him. I have a freshly killed chicken in the fridge with its head still on, we could cook him that." Chufi:"Let's be nice to him. What would he really like?" Abra:"Cheese enchiladas and something chocolate!" So that's what we had tonight. For your first meal in France with us, we bring you, ta da, cheese enchiladas, which is actually quite an exotic dish, in France. And mini buchettes de Nöel, just to prove that we really are in France. And to further prove that we're in France, we're going to bed right now, even though most of you are barely waking up. Rest assured that as soon as we get up in the morning we're going to rub those pigs feet. At least one of us is. We'll let you guess which one will be doing the rubbing and which one will be hiding behind her camera. And a trip to a gigantic French supermarket will be necessary, and if they don't throw us out for taking pictures, we'll show you how many different kinds of yogurt will tempt Chufi into buying them. There's a LOT of yogurt in France.
  5. Click here for The Tale of the Corporate Cafeteria. WARNING: This is a Foodblog unlike any other. There won't be very many pictures. Not only do I not own a digital camera, I'm not quite a techie. For instance, it really does take me more than two minutes to figure out how to use a cell phone. Yes, I'm hopeless. My eating habits have changed drastically since late 2003. In December 2003, I weighed something like 138 lbs. soaking wet. Fast forward twenty-two months and countless trips to the gym, and I'm now 187; furthermore, I'm contemplating going on a diet for the first time in my life. It's been quite a ride. This week promises to be fairly interesting. You'll get to see how a professional hobbit deals with having seven to nine meals a day, in ways that make Frodo Baggins look like an amateur. In some ways, meals are an adventure every day. At other times, eating tends to be a chore. Lest you think that my food life consists of endless bowls of cottage cheese topped with tuna and Mrs. Dash, I do plan to actually cook a dinner or two that's worthy of the Dinner! thread and not the infamous Dinner II thread. What these will consist of shall remain a secret for now. I'll give you a hint though -- one of them involves a dish only an eGulleteer could love. Sunday evening I'll probably want to have dinner someplace in the city. This is where you, Gentle Reader, come in. Take a look through our New York forum and pick two or three restaurants that you think I might have a reasonable chance of securing a reservation on short notice. It doesn't matter if you don't have any familiarity with restaurants in New York. I have a feeling that if enough readers weigh in on this Foodblog, I'll run a relatively good chance of going to some place good. I don't have any food dislikes apart from stinky cheese (so things like epoisses are out), jellied eels and extraordinarily weird food such as although it's worth noting that something like doesn't phase me. Weird, huh? So without further adieu, welcome to my world. I promise it won't be too bad...
  6. Dave Hatfield

    eGfoodblog: Dave Hatfield

    I was delighted to be asked to do this blog. It’s exciting, sort of like getting a new job or something. At my age I like some new excitement. Obviously, it’s my first blog so bear with me as I stumble through it. So you have some background; I am an American, retired, and living in rural France with my wife Linda, who is British, and our dog, Rupert, who is a 2 1/2 year old standard poodle. We’ve been here full time for nearly 5 years now and absolutely love it in France. I’ll answer the question that I expect will get asked right up front; namely: “How did a native Californian end up living in rural South West France?” As you might expect the answer ain’t that simple. Firstly, I lived and worked in Europe for over 20 years; Spain, Belgium, France, Germany & mostly England. During all of that time my work responsibilities covered all of Europe so I traveled widely. Thus, Europe is very much a second home. When Linda finally persuaded me to retire we were living in Rhode Island and planning upon retiring to our home in Carmel Valley, California. But then as the reality hit we realized that all of the family (kids from previous marriages for both of us & Linda’s extended family.) lived in the UK. Why were we going to locate 6,000 miles away? Stupid! So we sold the house & thought this retirement out. Closer to family & kids, Yes. Good weather, Yes! Good food & wine, Yes! South West France which we had visited many times qualified. Weather, good communications, food! Cheap (at the time) property was an added bonus. So, here we are. The kids & grandkids & family & friends from all over visit frequently. Between our French & expat friends we have an active social life; so life is very very good. And, of course, we’re in one of the great food & wine regions of the world. So, now that I have the time I can indulge my passion for cooking; thus my interest in eGullet and thus this blog. My focus will be upon food & cooking. The meals will be things we eat fairly regularly. In a couple of instances I am going to try to give you recipes that I’m going to do the next day. Using the time zone difference to our advantage you can, if you are so inclined, cook the same dish (s). As a result I’ve tried to pick things to cook that have ingredients that are readily available in the states. I’ve not always succeeded, but I’ve used nothing so French that you just can’t get it any where else. Because the 4th of July holiday falls in the middle of my blog I’m going to cover that in a special way by describing a local yearly event. Think you’ll enjoy it. Also, we will be going to one of my favorite restaurants. Michelin starred & one of the top 5 female chef’s in France. Since I was asked, I’m going to do a little rant about drinking & buying wine in France. I’ve been asked to comment upon wine, cheese and cooked meats (sausages) so I’ll do that in essay form to get a topic started and to impart some general information. After that its open to anybody to contribute, ask questions or whatever. We’ll also do a bit of touring around our local countryside & I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about France. I understand that on blogs there is a certain amount of ‘off topic’ latitude so here’s your chance. I only hope that you, my audience, enjoy this blog as much as I’m going to enjoy doing it. Bon appète! (No cringing, friends on the French forum!)
  7. Good morning! I'm pleased and a bit surprised that nobody identified me as the next Foodblogger. The teaser photos are of Highland cattle and a plate of seafood with lupins. The cattle are in the back field here on the farm in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. The chowder and flowers are from my home outside Halifax. It's been more than four years since I put together my 1st eG Foodblog. This time I'm on the road and away from my own kitchen. We've just finished catering a wedding here so there will tons of photos in the very near future. Tonight I'm going to Cavendish, Prince Edward Island for the week. The Foodblogs of late have been quite excellent and I've got some hard acts to follow. This week I can promise you a lot of seafood, extreme cheese, fine port and good whisky. The topic description reads "More Maritimes" which refers to the three eastern provinces New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI. If you throw in Newfoundland & Labrador, you get "Atlantic Canada". Time to pack!
  8. Good Morning! And welcome to a reprisal of "She who only cooks." Well, not exactly a reprisal. When asked to blog again (boy, was I flattered) I thought it might be fun to take the cooking and eating in a bit of a new direction. Some history: First a little background in addition to what is already here, let me fill in on my foraging history. I suppose I have been foraging since I was a kid. Most of what I remember from childhood involved seafood. My grandfather had a family compound at Oyster Creek where we went on weekends. The kids always had crab lines hanging off the pier. The way we crabbed was to tie a chicken neck or gizzard onto a string, weight it with a big nut, toss it into the water and wait. Pretty soon a crab would come along and try to exit stage left with the bait. The string goes tight and the fun begins. Now, you must carefully pull in the crab so he doesn't smell a rat (or crabber) and drop off. One deft swoop of the dip net and another crab is in the washtub. Ooops, first you have to check that the crab is big enough (from point to point on the shell, at least the length of your spread hand from thumb tip to little finger tip) and that it was a male (from looking at its underside and checking the shape of its flap). Information on our common blue crab is here. The rules were our own on the conservation of the crab. There were no legal requirements or limits at the time but we thought it was the right thing to do. I still think that crab traps are a lousy way to get crabs. Not only are traps boring but they just don't seem right to me. The story of me and the crab is an example of how we related to the bounty of the waters around us. We learned about the critter; its habits and habitats, seasonal comings and goings, and of course how to eat it. My mother, grandmother and great aunt were terrific cooks and knew their way around our seafood. Grandpa had a "big boat" and the guys would use it to go after shrimp and oysters in our bays. They would also have seining parties on the beach front. Grandma and Aunt Minnie were legendary chasers of the redfish or Red Drum. They were even written up in the Houston paper sometime back in the early fifties. I still remember the picture of them in Grandma's skiff, their bonnets in place, Grandma at the helm, headed up the creek to look for the tide line. When I was in junior high and high school, my sister was married to a hunter. He got my dad re-interested in hunting, so we added white tail deer and dove to our diet. Then, my sister got interested in foraging. She had just read her first Euell Gibbons book, Stalking the Wild Asparagus, and she has been hooked ever since and hooked me as well. That worked out because, in addition to places to go on the water, someone had a country place inland and we liked to camp and hike in the East Texas woods. We have found some things that were delicious to eat. We have found some things that we decided weren't worth the trouble but we could at least eat it if we were stranded in a survival situation. (Yeah . . . Right!) But the most fun part of our various foraging adventures is learning about the world around us as we go. We consider good eats a bonus. Alas, my kids (in their 30s) are city folk and don't necessarily participate with the same passion that we do. However, my nephew is a passionate hunter and fisherman. He has also decided that the plant kingdom is worthy of consideration so the tradition continues.
  9. Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013. At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak. Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it. In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi. That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it. I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going. So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations. Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary. Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!) When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops... Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor: On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers. I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood. I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice. This is what a lot of local food places look like:
  10. Good morning! I think it's my turn and it's a scary thought to follow Kristen and Rachel. I know I can't compete with either of them for their generosity in sharing their experiences but I will do my best to make this as interesting as I can. I have called my blog "Thirteen Steps to Dinner" and will reveal the meaning behind this as we go along. For now, here's The Dane's lunch for today. He HATES taking lunch and would prefer to spend his 10 hours in the machine shop foodless! I worry that anyone operating dangerous machinery on empty is ripe for an accident and so he allows me to pack him half a sandwich. The other half will be my breakfast. This is store-bought white bread (busy week!) with liver paste and bacon. His "goodies" are 2 home made chocolate chip cookies, one home made gingersnap and in the plastic wrap his all-time favourite, a marzipan and dried cherry square. He does not object to the goodies - just the sandwich!
  11. Hello everybody! I hope you guys like bananas! 99.9% of my diet consists of bananas. For protein, I pick ticks from my fellow wild men. But seriously... I work as a computer programmer in Poughkeepsie, NY. So what's this crap about being a wild man of Borneo, I hear you ask. I am really from Borneo. I was born and raised in Sarawak, Malaysia, but my grandparents originally came from Fuzhou, China. From the age of 13 until 26, I lived in Melbourne, Australia. For the last four years, I've been going wild in the jungles of Poughkeepsie. "Wild man gone wild" is now available in VHS and DVD from your local quality video store. Why is the wild man rambling? I think it gives some background to the type of food you can expect to see in this food blog. That's right, it's gonna be a confusing and incoherent mish mash. Ok, there will be Chinese, there will be Malaysian, there will be Australian, and there will be Sarawakian. There will be steak because I love steak. I like cooking only when it's not a "chore", so sometimes we eat out. I bet all the New Yorkers are dying to read about the wonders of Poughkeepsie's restaurant scene. Here's an attempt at providing some structure to the ideas swirling in my head, in no particular order: Pork congee - what I'm going to have for lunch today. Pictures to come. Asian BBQ pork - inspired by the recent eG BBQ pork thread. Kari Ayam (Malaysian Chicken Curry) Umai - Sarawakian raw fish salad Sarawak Laksa (of course... and nothing like the one from Penang) Tuna casserole (Australian recipe) Aussie burger with the lot (that means fried egg and beetroot, I'm afraid) Steak I'm terrible at making desserts, but I'll have a go at making kueh salat, because I miss it so. I hope that list meets with your approval, fellow eGulleteers. There's only going to be two of us eating the food, and our main meal is dinner, so the list may be overly ambitious. Forgive me if I don't get around to every item or if I change things around mid-stream. I can't make any promises, but there is a plan to eat some stinky durian and to incorporate as much stinky shrimp paste in the recipes as possible. Be prepared to hold your noses! If any term or ingredient is unfamiliar to you, please feel free to ask. My googling skills are at your disposal!
  12. Welcome to my second foodblog here at eGullet. The first one was entitled So, you want to remodel your kitchen? and described the results of a recently completed (at that time) renovation of our kitchen. I also showed you some of the weirder stuff that lives in my kitchen (like basil seed and mastic) and invited you to guess its provenance and purpose. This time I'm going to continue in that vein, and ask you questions that are food-related, but not necessarily about items in my kitchen. The first question's already been posed, in the eG Foodblogs: Coming Attractions thread. Here it is again, just in case you didn't see it: The questions accompanying this image are "What is it? And what has it got to do with food?" The question's already been answered by azureus: So, brava to azureus/April, and more about the image. Not technically a cross section (which implies that one has taken a section, or slice, at a particular angle relative to the long axis of the critter or organ in question, and bone marrow doesn't have much of an axis of any sort) but rather a very, very thin slice of bone marrow that's been fixed (so that it won't decompose), decalcified (so that the bone is soft enough to be sliced with a microtome) and impregnated with paraffin (so that the marrow itself will be firm enough to slice in this manner). The tissue slices thus obtained are so thin and flimsy that they are generally handled by floating them on the surface of a water bath, from which they can be scooped up onto a a glass slide, where they will stick. The paraffin is then washed away with solvents, and the remaining tissue is stained with chemical dyes so that you can distinguish the different sorts of cells and their components. There are lots of different sorts of cells in bone marrow, and some of the most important are stem cells (which can't be identified using only a microscope, unfortunately), the cells that are the primitive starter cells for lots of different tissues in our body, and that's why I'm using this image as the "beginning" of this blog. In order to see it in this much detail you have to use a microscope, of course, and so the camera has to be mounted on the scope as well. The term for this sort of picture is a photomicrograph, and I'll be showing a number photomicrographs in the course of the blog. And what it has to do with food is that it's delicious roasted and spread on toast. What exactly makes it delicious roasted and spread on toast is pictured above: the "holes" in the photo, which aren't actually holes at all, but adipocytes, or fat cells. Each hole represents a single cell, stuffed with fat, and so bone marrow is not only fatty (so like butter) but very soft, as there's very little connective tissue (apart from bone, seen in this image as the large pink ribbon in the left of this image) to get in the way of your enjoying it. Time for me to go get breakfast. While I'm away feel free to pose additional questions about this image.
  13. Early morning greetings everyone! I guess my hint photos for this blog were somewhat of a giveaway, especially to Megan. Oh well. For those that don't know, the bridge picture is a shot from my walk from the subway to work -- it is the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan bridge and if you look closely, you can see the Empire State building framed within the arch of the bridge. It was an overcast day when I took the photo; I will try to get a better picture this week. For those that don't know much about me, I will give a quick background. My name is John Deragon, a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. My father’s heritage is Quebecois and my mother’s heritage is Norwegian. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a lobster fisherman in Coney Island, so I spent quite a bit of time on a boat as a child, and still love being around the water to this day. Growing up as a child in Brooklyn was a pretty awesome experience. Not only was I exposed to the great foods Brooklyn had to offer (Knishes, Bagels, Nathan's franks, etc.) we had tons of ways to entertain ourselves with various games we learned (stickball, stoopball, ball & crack, skulls…). I will get into more detail on the food and games as the week progresses. I currently live in Park Slope, which is a neighborhood in Southern Brooklyn that is framed by Prospect Park along with my wife Jeannie and our dog Dune. (Which is whom you see in my avatar photo) Prospect Park is the sister park of Central park and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who also designed Central Park. The rumor is by designing Prospect Park after Central Park, they fixed all the mistakes they made in CP. More info about our great park can be found at the Prospect Park website. We purchased a small wood frame house about 2 years ago with the purpose of doing a lot of the renovations ourselves. The house was priced right mainly due to the dysfunctional layout of the first floor, mainly the pathetic kitchen and bathroom layout. From what we could tell, the house was built sometime between 1915 and 1920, and for the most part is pretty sound. The kitchen was built in the back of the house and was roughly 5’ by 6’ with a small window going out to our relatively (by NY comparison) backyard. To the right of the kitchen was a small bathroom with another very small window. Those two photos are as the kitchen right before we moved in, as the previous owners were packing up. We made a decision to start the construction (or more precisely the demolition) on the kitchen immediately as you can see from these photos: Needless to say we found a lot of surprises along the way. (more details on that later this week, including that chimney you see, along with some nasty termite damage) All the work was done while I was working a full time job at an interactive advertising agency, so all the work was done at nights and weekends, which lead to us living with a fridge, laundry sink and microwave for almost 10 months. Fast forward to today and our kitchen is done and is awesome, if I say so myself. During the day I am now the Chief Technology Officer for Waterfront Media which is a company that provides online versions of many popular diets, as well as a health related reference site EverydayHealth. The offices are located in Dumbo, which stands for Down Under [the] Manhattan Bridge Overpass, hence the teaser photo! Ok -- given it is getting late and I have a early meeting tomorrow morning I am going to wrap it up for now. As far as what to expect this week here is the schedule as it stands now: Monday: Dinner at home, or possibly out at a friends Birthday dinner. Still up in the air. Tuesday: Dinner at Applewood Restaurant one of our favorite local restaurants here in Park Slope. Wednesday: Dinner at Annisa, Anita Lo’s restaurant. Thursday: Pegu Club Friday: Still up in the air. Saturday: Dinner party for 8 at home. All during the week I will be preparing for the dinner party on Saturday, so there will be bits and pieces of Saturdays dinner spread throughout the week, from tracking down ingredients, to prep work, to figuring out the wine pairings. With that, I will see everyone back here in a few hours!
  14. Alcuin set a high bar indeed via posts of succulent braised dishes so perfectly executed that I found myself craving them in 95F weather . And now for something a little different ... The plan is for this to be a travelblog of my visit to India, where I am visiting friends and family and conducting some business. I hope to provide a "behind the scenes" look at a typical Parsi household (if there is such a thing) and the various culinary delights that can be found in and around Bombay / Mumbai. We will visit street vendors as well as fine dining establishments. We will also get to visit a "hill station" (Panchgani) which is where Bombayites escape the 90+F year-around temperatures. The tranquility is also a much needed relief from the hustle and bustle of the city. This time of the year, Diwali or the festival of lights is celebrated, so I hope to be able to capture of few images of that as well. Above all, I would like the blog to be interactive but ask for your patience as my response times will be subject to timezone and internet connectivity as I hop between 3 locations.
  15. I thought about calling this "Meet Me at the Bar" because, well, I do have a bar in my living room, but I don't want people to get the wrong idea, and besides, my Mom might be reading this. (Actually, my parents know I have a bar in my living room. I've had it for years.) Then I thought about calling it "A Girl and her Cookware" because, having worked at a cookware store for more years than I can believe, I have collected a frightening amount. So why "Park and Shop"? People of a certain age (women, probably) might remember the old board game by that name. Or maybe not -- maybe my sister and our friends were the only ones who played that strange game. In brief, here's an overview. You had two markers: one car and one pedestrian. You drew cards that told you which shops you had to visit. You started out with your car, and "drove" to one of several parking lots, depending on where your shops were located. Then you used your pedestrian to visit all the shops. (I know, we're not talking the excitement of buying property on Boardwalk, but hey, we liked it.) Of course there were squares you could land on that sent you to jail (I don't remember why -- jaywalking?) or otherwise set you back. But mostly, the strategy involved trying to find the shortest, most economic way of visiting all the shops on your list, and that's why I always remember it, because in many ways, that's my shopping life today. Back when I worked in an office and had a civilized hour for lunch, I often used that time to run as many errands as possible, and that's when it first came to me that I was living the "Park and Shop" game (without the parking, but close enough.) Now, since I am without a car, much of my food planning revolves around trying to figure out exactly that same thing -- how to get to all the shops I need to without making unnecessary side trips, taking impossibly long bus routes, or ending up with so much stuff I can't carry it. But "Public Transportation and Shop" doesn't quite have the same ring, does it? So "Park and Shop" it is. I'll talk more in a while about the shops I visit, how this whole process plays out day to day and how it influences my cooking style. But first, here's the way I start all my mornings, feeding the boys. Damien, Mookie, and Felix having breakfast. Max generally prefers private dining. Once they've eaten and I've let them out, I can concentrate on caffeine. I have a 10-cup programmable Krups machine, but I've found that my little one-cup Melita, which started life as a travel coffee maker, is more manageable for just me. I drag out the big black machine only when I have company. So, if you'll let me drink my coffee, I'll be back with more about the week ahead (kitchen pictures, too).
  16. My name is Gerhard and I live in Wilderness in Eden. Two years ago I decided to retire and do nothing for a while. The problem with doing nothing is that it is difficult to know when you are done. That is probably the main reason why I decided to buy a guest house. The Artist's prodding did play a role. Her version was that I interfered with the creative process and was a nuisance around the house. Mine was that I was merely offering support by way of constructive criticism. Be that as it may, I woke up one morning with the thought that we should up stakes in Johannesburg and move to the coast. If we could find a large house, we could convert it into a guest house. I could keep myself busy looking after guests and cooking. The artist always had a yen to live at the seaside and I got enthusiastic support for the idea. She would paint and I would be the innkeeper. Two weeks later we bought Mes Amis in Wilderness, an existing, somewhat dilapidated guest house. 9 guest bedrooms and a large 2 bedroom apartment for us. The location is terrific: right on the beach with a splendid view of the Indian Ocean. Wilderness is an area of rivers, lakes, wetlands, mountains, forests and the Indian Ocean. Perhaps slightly overdeveloped, but still a quiet, bucolic village where the main economic activity is tourism and life proceeds at a gentle pace. We have a temperate climate, with an average min/max of 17/25 in summer (Oct-April) and 8/18 in winter. In May 2004, we relocated. The artist, sissy tutu and I. I made the mistake of visiting our local animal shelter shortly after arriving, and the result was two new additions to the menagerie, Bibi and Becky. This will be mainly a breakfast blog. That is where most of my culinary creative energy is spent these days and it may just be mildly interesting for you to follow me through a few days of cooking for the guests. (And, of course, for the artist and myself). Breakfast is served a la carte in our breakfast room: It is now just after 11am and breakfast service is done. We had 13 in, a table for 8, two for two and one single. As always seem to happen when we have a large table, the whole lot sat down at the same time. Here is today's menu: The front and back and the inside Between helping Miki with table service, giving Veronica a hand with cooking and smooching the guests, I did not have time to take pics, other than the fresh fruit: I'll do better tomorrow morning. The 8 Italian guests checked out and service should be easier. Voluble bunch, the table for 8. The shy young Swiss couple in the corner were somewhat bemused. Every time I headed for their table to discuss their plans for the day, and advise where I can, I was waylaid by the Italians. Time to take it easy. I intended watching the cricket test, but we are (again) getting soundly beaten by the Aussies. I have a large pot of duck legs on the stove and may as well start preparing the jars for the confit. The rest of the day will proceed placidly. Patricia will draw up the list of stuff that we need to order – groceries, fruit, veggies, meat, toiletries, cleaning materials and so on and place the orders for delivery tomorrow after I've checked the list and added my two bits. Time then to take the dogs for a walk on the beach, have a short siesta and then get ready to receive guests. That involves checking the reservations book and memorizing new guest names. It is often very easy to guess names correctly when the guests arrive. Tonight we have a German couple, two ladies from the UK, a businessman from Johannesburg and a repeat couple from Cape Town checking in, so I should be able to greet them all by name. I will, if you will allow me, tell more about my innkeeping day tomorrow.
  17. Yes, it’s me – I’m amazed at how quickly I was ‘outed’; I’m awful at guessing! The title is a bit of a misnomer. I am not a housewife, but wish I was. I always say that I was born in the wrong decade. My ultimate dream is to stay home and cook and take care of my home and family. Circumstances haven't allowed that very much in my life, but I still love doing all that stuff! Mr. Kim promises that I can retire in 3 years (but he's been saying that for at least 5 years....hmmm). We live in Richmond, VA with our daughter, Jessica who is back home after graduating from college last spring. The first teaser picture was of our summer house. I kid, I kid - it's the state capitol. I cannot believe that I have to follow Chris. I feel especially grotty and slobby when I look at the pictures of his beautiful, bright, CLEAN kitchen. The things that normally show in my house aren't as clean and tidy as the stuff that normally doesn't in his! Please know that while I am messy and my floor might be questionable, I keep all surfaces and objects clean. I promise. I've decided that my 'angle' for this blog is going to be new stuff. I am an incorrigible recipe/cookbook collector (hence, my second teaser picture). I have them stashed all over my house. Here are some in the island that Ted Fairhead made: In the last picture is also our ‘bar’, some storage and ‘my’ drinks (more anon regarding that). I have a file drawer in the family room full of recipes that I’ve torn out from magazines and printed out from the internet: Here’s a shelf and a half in the living room: Upstairs in our bedroom, I have cookbooks under the TV: and beside the bed: Oh, crap, there’s some more: So for this week (at least for dinners) I will only cook new recipes that I have collected – some from my fellow eGulleteers. If we eat out, it will be at new restaurants I have wanted to try. In my files I have a 'Richmond restaurants to try' file stuffed full of newspaper/magazine articles and print outs of internet suggestions. I'll tell you right now that, except for the weekend, breakfast will be boring. I am not a breakfast fan, so you're going to see a banana and a Special K bar or yogurt most days. I love breakfast food anytime of the day and if I can have it an hour or so after getting up, I do. But that doesn't happen on work days. Lunch is more varied. Sometimes I have leftovers and since I work in a doctor's office, we have drug company reps that sometimes bring us lunch. This week we are supposed to have lunch brought on Monday, but that’s all so far. I only have 30 minutes, so eating out doesn't happen very often. One thing that you should know about me (some already know) is that I had a gastric bypass in 2003. I lost about 100 lbs. My before and afters: Before: After: In the before picture, I am the large flowered object on the left (amazing amounts of self delusion were going on that day), my daughter is in the middle (she also had a gastric bypass and lost even more than I did) and my momma (Ted Fairhead's wife) is on the right. Ideally, I would like to lose another 40 lbs. and I am trying to lose another 20 right now. I am told that if my insurance company would just approve the skin removal, that would be 20 lbs. right there (which just skeeves me right out to even think about - the idea of 20 lbs. of SKIN <shudder>). I would never, ever recommend the operation to anyone else - that is a completely personal decision, but I haven't ever regretted doing it for one minute. I weighed almost 270 lbs. and was getting fatter every day. I had tried every diet in the world and couldn't seem to get a handle on my food intake. I was on diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol meds. Except for cholesterol, all of that is gone now. Because I eat less now, there is a chance that I won’t get all the nutrients in my food, so I take a lot of supplements. Here is my daily dose: from left to right – flaxseed oil, multi-vitamin, calcium, vitamin E, vitamins A&D, low dose aspirin, Nexium and Lipitor. The Nexium is for acid – a common consequence of a little stomach and the Lipitor for cholesterol. My blood chemistry tests are always good now. I walk for exercise and feel good. I am 48 years old (49 in July), so I won’t ever be toned and buff, but I look good for my age and my former weight. Flab is ok - I just cover it up and Mr. Kim is a kind man! I eat so much less now that it is just unimaginable to think about the amounts of food that I used to consume. I can eat most any kind of food that I want - as long as I watch portions. There are only two things that really bother me - I can only eat a bite of steak or rice. Some days my tummy is fine. Other days, nothing seems to 'sit' well. Or something gets stuck in the little exit from my stomach. Bad days (which are not very frequent - once every few weeks) I live on cheese, pretzels and Tic Tacs (they settle my stomach without being overly sweet). I hate my kitchen. Square footage-wise it seems pretty good, but I have terrible cabinet and counter space. The pantry is one of those pantry/laundry room things. The top shelves are almost impossible for me to get stuff down from even with a ladder. Thank goodness Mr. Kim is 6' tall! Ted Fairhead made me the island when we moved into the house: It adds much welcome storage, counter space, an eating place, etc. He does nice work, huh? Since I have such crappy storage space, we have stuff all over the house: Living room closet, attic, even under table skirts. It's insane - I try to keep a list on the computer of what is where, but I still lose stuff. I’ll post those pictures later. Richmond has a pretty active food scene and some very good restaurants. We live out in the 'burbs - Glen Allen if anyone knows the area. My favorite area in Richmond is actually in town - the old neighborhoods known as the Fan, the Museum District and Carytown. You can read about them here. It is where VA Commonwealth University is located and where I lived while I was in college and right after we got married. It has a cool city feeling without being too raw-ly urban - very diverse as far as age, ethnicity and even economics. It was always our intent to move back there after Jessica graduated from high school, but they priced us right out of the market! So I live in suburbia and shop, eat and walk the city when I can. I'll probably get down there during the weekend and both the restaurants that we plan on going to this week are there, too. So here I am - I am so nervous and scared that I will disappoint/bore y'all! Everyone who has ever done a blog, will, I'm sure recognize those fears! If anyone has any questions, please ask! My favorite blogs are the ones that are like conversations! Mr. Kim’s two cents: So, if Mrs. Mike is nervous and scared just writing about her food this week, imagine MY trepidation as I look ahead to trying to keep up with her this week. You should just TRY being the only person in the house WITHOUT a gastric bypass when Kim starts working her kitchen magic. I mean, someone has to eat what she can’t. So I wage a constant battle not to eat myself into a fleshy imitation of a Macy’s balloon. Okay, battle may be too strong a word – I don’t resist Kim’s culinary wiles too vigorously. I am glad to be along for the ride this week, and based on the menu and Kim’s likely portion sizes, I look forward to a new wardrobe by the time she’s through blogging. Do they even MAKE grown up clothes in Size Husky?
  18. Hello eGulleteers, and welcome to my first ever food blog. First, a little bit about me and where my eating & cooking are inspired from: I grew up in the Southwest (AZ), and after marriage spent a few years in Vegas, then off to Bangalore, India for a couple years, and now live in the far southeast part of New Mexico, right on the Texas border. Here's a picture from about five minutes down the road: Now, growing up the way I did (with a Jewish/Italian father) in the land of great Mexican food (imagine those meal combos!), and living in Vegas and India, my family and I have developed a taste (addiction?) for flavors that reach out and grab you. I have a naturally small appetite, so I really don't want to put anything in my mouth that doesn't taste amazing. When we lived in India, I really began to enjoy cooking. Partly it was the amazingly cheap and incredibly fresh ingredients available, and partly it was the desire to be able to replicate the amazing food of Bangalore when we finally moved back home. That's also when I discovered eGullet. So - all that to say this: I'm depressed. Seriously. I live in a town that has more than a hundred 'Mexican' restaurants, but in which black pepper is considered spicy. I live in New Mexico, yet in a mysterious vortex that doesn't have a strong green chilly culture. Oi Vey! I live in the south (land of sweet tea) but in a city with not one single barbecue joint. Am I being punished? This is the part of the country in which if you order a 'latte' people look at you funny and assume you're a 'foreigner' or of dubious morality. Don't get me wrong, there's some good food here, but very little of it is at a restaurant. We've got some friends that are amazing cooks, and I've been learning some new techniques & tools, but other than that, it's a food desert here. See the picture of the farm above? We're surrounded by them, but there's not a single farmers market here. So - this week you're going to follow me around as I try (desperately) to tickle my palate with the limited supplies available, and as I search high and low for something new and interesting. Full Disclosure: Some of these meals (and shopping) are a week old, because we were traveling and my schedule is a bit hectic, so if you see me post two dinners in one day, it's not because I'm time-zone hopping, but compressing two weeks of eating into one. Hope you enjoy the ride!
  19. Good morning everyone, and welcome to my foodblog! I'm really excited to be here sharing a week in my kitchen with you. Thanks to Prawncrackers for hosting such a great blog last week: you'll be a tough act to follow! Why don't I start by situating you a little bit in my life? As you saw in the Coming Attractions topic, I would say that two of my biggest interests - and two of the topics on which I've gotten the most help from the eGullet forums - are cocktails and "molecular gastronomy" (or avant-garde cuisine, or whatever you want to call it). I'll be trying to incorporate both of those topics into my blog this week. I think it's safe to say that both of those interests are symptomatic of a more general desire to "tinker" in the kitchen. When I first learned that there were chemicals you could buy to make spheres out of pea puree, I had to order them. Similarly, when I learned that the whisky I'd spent my whole life calling "rye" was different from an American whiskey that is also called rye, I had to buy a bottle to find out what it tasted like. "Trying it for myself" is my guiding principle when it comes to food. In the past year, I've also developed a fascination with Japanese cooking. You see, although my family name is Japanese, I'm only one-quarter ethnically Japanese. (The other three quarters are an Anglo-Celtic blend.) Growing up, I didn't eat much Japanese food, but as I've gotten older, I've become interested in exploring that facet of my heritage. So I'll be drawing on that cuisine this week, too. So thanks to eGullet for asking me to host this week. I hope you enjoy reading along!
  20. Hi, I'm SobaAddict70 and this is my fourth eG Foodblog. Here are Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Memo to self: must try harder the next time I do a Foodblog since Kerry got it right, with a little help from Mitch. This Foodblog will be a little different from all the others. There'll be lots of the usual cooking, eating and picture-taking; however, I'm borrowing a page from Iron Chef, sort of. This week, you get to decide what Soba cooks for lunch and dinner. But I'm getting ahead of myself slightly. Back in 2008, I decided to embark on a year-long experiment -- to cook seasonally and within reason, locally. I shop almost exclusively at Union Square Greenmarket, as well as neighborhood food shops in the Upper East Side. Sometimes I'll pick something up at Citarella, especially if it's fish. Lately I've been -- against my better judgment -- becoming fond of Eataly. I usually don't use much canned or overly-processed food. I suppose that might be a little limiting but I view it as a challenge. It keeps me constantly thinking about food, what to cook, what to prepare for the next meal. And it helps sharpen my curiosity and appreciation for the beauty of food. And that's what this Foodblog is really about: that the beauty of the world around us is reflected in the food that we eat.
  21. Good morning everyone! Time flies incredibly fast: when Susan offered me to keep a blog right after we moved to Moscow in the end of May, I did not want to say no, but I did not feel ready and asked if I could do it sometime at the end of summer, like August. Before I knew it, my blog week is here! So… A week of blogging from Russia, how exciting! Let me tell you how this happened. My American husband and I met in Russia when we were students, and got married 10 years ago. So I moved to States to be with him. Last year Shawn landed a job which eventually took him to Russia. In May he was offered to stay in Moscow long-term, and very fortunately my company was also able to offer me a job in our Moscow office. These two months of adjusting to the new life have been interesting, to say the least. I was expecting what they call a “reverse cultural shock,” which people experience when they move back to their home country. But I would say, to me it almost seems like I have simply moved to a new country, the language and customs of which I happen to know. Believe me, Russia has become a new country in the 10 years I’ve been away (and I have become a different person, too). Additionally, I have never lived in Moscow and am just getting to know the city. My new job is also a lot different from what I used to do before, more demanding and with much longer hours. Just to keep things interesting, life threw in another surprise: a few days after we decided to move to another country, we found out we are going to have a baby! When I think about introducing you to Moscow in a culinary sense, I get overwhelmed: there are so many things to see and do (and eat), and there are so many misconceptions about what’s available here that I don’t know where to begin. But, as they say, one cannot embrace the boundless, so I will not attempt. I will simply invite you to spend my usual week with me, with no weddings, Passovers, visits to wineries, or other special events planned. I think even that should be plenty interesting . And, as good tourists, we will assume we will return: hopefully, in a year or so I will be able to invite you to another blogging week in Moscow which will be completely different as I will be offering the view of a seasoned Moscovite . Well… What a long introduction! And you are probably just waiting for the pictures. Then, we shall begin with… breakfast! Before we do that, a short notice: since English is not my native tongue, I am sure I will make a lot of mistakes, but we’ll just consider them my quaint Eastern European accent, won’t we? And, my name is Alina, but I used the diminutive form of my name because Alina was already taken when I was registering. Either one is fine. Oh, and please ask plenty of questions: we can make this blog whatever we want, and your questions will shape what will be talking about.