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  1. Remember how Pogo sang, to the tune of Deck the Halls "Walla Walla Wash and Kalamazoo?" You don't? You're too young! In any case, this blog will take you from Walla Walla, not to Kalamazoo, but to Orcas Island, by way of Bainbridge Island. That's all the way from the extreme southeast corner to the absolute northwest corner of Washington. You'll see things you never imagined about Washington, and we'll cook and eat all along the way. As you might remember from my first foodblog, I'm a personal chef. This week I'm going to show you Extreme Personal Cheffing, as well as lower-case personal cheffing and just plain cooking. And I'm going to show you lots of beautiful parts of our state, especially if there's good food to be found there. Ready, set, go! A couple of months ago a guy down in Walla Walla asked me to do the food for his 30th anniversary party, in a church kitchen, with a staff of teenagers. There'd be no opportunity to see the kitchen before the event, it was a sit-down plated dinner for 50 (17 of whom were small children), and the crew would be kids from 12-15 years old, none of whom I'd get to meet in advance of the event. Oh, and no weird food, please! What would you have done in a case like that? If you were smarter than I am, you'd have gotten under the bed and sucked your thumb. Me, I said, sure, what the hell, why not? Thus begins our tale. Taking my husband with me for moral support, I set out for Walla Walla, some 6 hours away, with a car full of cooking implements and foods that might be hard to find in Walla Walla. It's quite a journey from Puget Sound. Now, I have a zillion pictures for you, but ImageGullet "is experiencing technical difficulties," so this first post is just to say hi and give you a little teaser about what's to come. As soon as I can get my pictures posted, we'll be on our merry way. I'm glad you're along for the ride!
  2. Prologue: Our hero and master chef has gone off to the wilds of Elsewhere in America to slay dragons with his high notes. Left to her own devices, our heroine quickly realizes that ordering out every night will not only expand her waistline, but severely reduce her cash flow, and one can only eat baked potatoes for so long without getting bored. She has no other alternative but to do what she has successfully resisted for an obscene number of years. She must...learn...to...cook. Cast of characters: bergerka, your intrepid heroine slkinsey, the absent hero Charlie, their roommate, who was kind enough to lend your heroine his digital camera and who seems to have no objection to serving as a test subject for recipes ewindels, dessert maven and restaurant god Eric_Malson, frequent partner in crime for cooking and restaurant/bar trips SarahD, ditto Asher, Zebulun and Issachar, the ferrets, who turn their noses up at mice, preferring raw chicken. Mickey, the little bastard of a cute fuzzy brown mouse who has taken up residence in our apartment. Mickey pushes traps aside contemptuously with his nose and likes to poop on my stovetop. A few other characters will pop in and out from time to time. Act 1: First of all, thanks, everyone, for putting up with another foodblog from me. For anyone who doesn't know, I'm an opera singer who lives in New York City with slkinsey, our roommate Charlie, and three cute little ferrets. Somehow or other, I missed the day when we were all taught to cook, although I bake pretty decently. As mentioned above, slkinsey is out of town until just before Thanksgiving, and I am taking the opportunity to figure out the mysteries of the kitchen once and for all. So far, I've made the following: a spicy pumpkin soup, described here, which was really good, sopa alentejana, also delicious, which Eric_Malson taught me to make (and which was my first experience ever poaching an egg. Hint: do not poach eggs for 5-8 minutes, as The Joy of Cooking tells you to do. You end up with concrete eggs. Fat Guy's EGCI course, here, is much better and easier to follow, and combined with telephone advice from mom produced two perfectly cooked eggs), and arroz al frango (a Portuguese chicken and rice dish), which Eric and I made this past Monday night. No, you don't get to see pictures of my first attempt at cutting up a whole chicken - there's only so much laughter at my expense that I can take. There were also pumpkin cranberry muffins that didn't turn out quite right, and a pumpkin cranberry pecan bread that did, I'll post the recipe below. As mentioned above, Charlie the roommate has lent me his super-duper high tech digital camera, which does everything except push the button for you, so there will be pictures. I can't promise you the exquisite composition provided by, say, slkinsey and bleudauvergne, but they shouldn't be THAT blurry, and yes, there will be ferret porn, metaphorically speaking. I have planned the week to include a few evenings of cooking for myself, two evenings out (one at Churrascaria Tropical in Queens and one with fried dumplings in Chinatown followed by a trip to Pegu Club to overindulge - I mean, have one or two little...teeny...drinks), and - yes - one dinner party with friends at my apartment. If you have any (REASONABLE, remember I'm a beginner) requests, please express 'em and I'll do my best to accommodate. I may pick up opera tickets one or two nights, which will throw the whole schedule into turmoil. Let's get started with breakfast, shall we? Before he took off into the wild blue yonder, slkinsey taught me, once and for all, to use the damned espresso machine. We have a Rancilio Silvia, and I've always found it intimidating, but no more - after two weeks, I'm practically an expert. Plus I have the written instructions up on the refrigerator door. Slkinsey also roasted about a week's worth of coffee before he left, but I ran out of it and do NOT know how to work the roaster and have no desire to try. Fortunately, Eric_Malson introduced me to Cafe Caracolillo, which can be had for $8 a pound at La Rosita restaurant (where they make a delicious cafe con leche and cubano sandwich) and which makes a dark, thick, chocolatey shot of espresso. The bag is shown here: Here is the Rancilio, savior of my morning: Oooh, sorry, that picture is kind of dark - I thought I brightened it before I uploaded, but it was very early (I had to be at my day job at 8:30 today, a long story). Here is the finished product, with a slice of pumpkin pecan cranberry bread. Ack! I'll work on the pictures tonight, I promise. That one is really not very good. For my birthday, a couple of weeks ago (28 again!), I asked my brothers and sisters to send me their favorite recipes. My sister Carol sent this one, for the bread: Mix together in a bowl: 2 cups sugar 4 eggs 1 cup oil 2 cups pumpkin (cooked and mashed or canned - I used the leftover fresh pumpkin from the soup) Into a separate bowl, sift: 3 1/3 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon allspice Have ready: 2/3 cup milk 1 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans) 1 cup raisins, fresh or dried cranberries (if you use fresh, as I did - I like the tartness - cut them in half. I used about 1.5 cups), or mixed raisins/dates Cream the eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin in a bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Beat well. Fold in the fruit and nuts. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan (this makes one very large loaf or two medium sized ones. Either way, fill pans a little more than 1/2 full with batter) at 350 degrees, for about one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Good morning, first time blogger here. I'm quite nervous and excited to be doing this. I hope to, as past bloggers have, keep you riveted, informed, and engaged in a dialogue. Feel free to ask question, offer suggestions and comment on everything! But first info on me: My name is Maggie and I live in the FAR northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois: Crystal Lake, with my husband John and our kitty-cat Cashew. Besides the usual mega-marts (Dominick’s, Jewel, Meijer) Crystal Lake does have a few nice shoppies: Joseph’s Market, Rosmart Polish Deli (Go Polska!), and a Mexican market. Even though our weeks are hectic, a 3hr. roundtrip commute to/from work plus a 4 hours class once a week, I strive to prepare 4 weekday meals at home. I am an adventurous eater and see the plate as a place to explore flavors, textures, and cooking styles. I have been fortunate to live in Poland, travel around Europe, and the continental US. I am blessed with foodie parents that encouraged culinary Maggie. At age 9, I read Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet cover to cover. Because of an extra busy week (month-end at work) my posts might be delayed, so please be patient. The Game Plan: - 5 dinners at home - 1 “crap” food night - 3 dinners out - Last trip of the season to the Green Market, in Lincoln Park - Excursion to Polish Markets more info to follow Thanks and I hope you all enjoy -- Maggie
  4. 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...
  5. Good morning! I'm Chris Amirault, and this here's my first foodblog. Hell, it's my first blog of any kind. Thanks for reading it! First, a quick personal introduction. I'm an unremarkable eGulleteer: pretty good skills around the kitchen, adventurous palate, opinionated as all get-out. I've got me a swell life here, what with a great partner, two great daughters, a great dog, a great house, and a great job; you'll see those folks and things at different moments during the week (though, unfortunately, not the preschoolers in my care due to security concerns). I should say right off the bat that my main hope this week is to interact with y'all as much as you'll allow. Ask questions about what you see and read here; I'll do the same, so that the foodblog can have a sense of dialogue to it. Also, feel free to bump me in directions you find interesting. While I hope to hit a few particular meals, I also feel pretty flexible, and would be happy to try to go where you want me to go! I do, however, have an overall theme. When Stash asked me for a title and image to announce my foodblog, I realized that my interests weren't only centered on sharing my week's eating and cooking with y'all. Of course, they are a little. Well, ok, a lot. Might as well cop to the narcissism required for foodblogging right out of the box, you know? Like many around the eGullet Society, I'm a big fan of the food scene in my home town, particularly concerning purveyors and cheap to moderate eats. But unlike folks living in NYC, Nice, NOLA, or Napa, Providence RI seems not to rate very highly for out-of-towners, particularly now that our ex-mayor, Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci, Jr., is making license plates in a NJ jail instead of marinara in City Hall. I'm here to tell you that it's a damned shame, because Providence is a remarkable food town. So, in addition to showing you a slice of my own food life, I will also be trying to set the place of Providence for you, dear reader. I take this challenge with the extreme optimism of someone who lives in a town where, as Mad Peck knows, most of us live off -- or in my case, work on -- Hope. To start, I offer you an initial structuring analogy, complete with paper plate: a fantasy Providence meal, one that you can't get in its entirety anywhere in town but that represents the odd correspondences among some of the cuisines from which so many of us make our meals. It's a delicious combination of immigrant and working-class foods, chosen from a few dozen possibilities, that makes Providence stomachs growl in delight: First, for an app, we have nime chow, a.k.a. goi cuon, a.k.a. fresh spring roll. This is a staple item at the many pan-Southeast-Asian restaurants found throughout the Providence area, and the familiarity of the dish is an indication of the wide dissemination of Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, and Hmong cuisine over the last few decades. I ordered this particular one at HON's (House of Noodles, a great pho joint just over the Cranston line on Rt 2, a.k.a. Reservoir Ave) by requesting "goi cuon" as written in the Vietnamese menu, but the hostess made sure to confirm that I wanted "nime chow," using the more familiar Cambodian word for a fresh spring roll. Like last week's bloggers, Susan and Kristin, I'm hoping to make a southeast Asian meal this week. We're pretty flexible about names, as you can also tell from the main course, the NY System weiner. Many would tell you that this short dog, topped with mustard, minced onion, chili sauce, and celery salt, sitting in a center-split bun, is the official food of Providence. Its origins have been traced to Coney Island, but that's probably apocryphal; it's more likely that a canny weiner vendor several decades ago thought he could sell more franks to hard-working folks if he gave 'em the NYC seal of approval. I bought this one at the Olneyville NY System shop down the road from Hon's on Rt 2, the closest source to my house for good weiners; you'll likely see one of these making its way toward my mouth sooner rather than later! For dessert? Why, the longer-than-it-is-wide dessert of choice among the fine folks who turned Providence into a foodie haven in the mid-20th century: the cannoli. I have yet to find a perfect cannoli in Providence -- if you know a contender, please post here -- but, given its central place of Federal Hill in the establishment of the city's culinary credibility, leaving Italian-American food off my little paper plate would have been a travesty. This baby is from Scialo Bakery, nearly 100 years old and still in fine art deco form. Like all food, these three items say more about Providence folks than we probably realize. I'm hoping that, in the coming days, I'll be able to figure out what a few of those things are -- with your help, of course! -- during this glimpse into my odd little food world. In the meanwhile, I've got a week of shopping, cooking, and eating to do (and I'm already nervous about the prep work for that -- there oughta be a special brand of foodblog Maalox! ) not to mention full days of actual wage-earning work. And the dog needs a walk! It's time to get crackin'! But first, on this fifth rainy day in a row (again, see the Mad Peck Providence poster for details on the rain situation here in Providence), since some foodblog conventions are worth keepin': coffee!
  6. Click here for the first Tag Team Foodblog: A Tale of Two Kitchens. This is the second of a series of recurring threads and a special feature of the eGullet Foodblog. As with the first Tag Team, two Society members will be blogging and will be coordinating menus throughout this week. Out of seven days, they will commit to a set number of matched meals, in this case five. (The number of meals may change in future installments, depending on the participants, their schedules and other factors.) The execution doesn't have to be the same, or even the recipe, but the overall meals have to be essentially similar. Snowangel previously appeared in Midwestern Thai. Torakris was previously featured in New Year's Festivities in Japan, A Week of Fun in Japan, and Pocky and the Geisha. Susan and Kristin will post later today, but in the meantime, here are a few highlights during the upcoming week: Tuesday, 4 October: based on trips to the farmer's market, or Kris's coop basket. This could be interesting....This will really be a "wing it" night, and suggestions from members will be solicited. Wednesday, 5 October: dinner on the run. Susan will be doing a soup from her husband's new cookbook, which will be featured in a separate topic. Thursday, 6 October: Recipes from RecipeGullet. Advice and feedback from members would be greatly appreciated. Some of this may be predicated by trips to the market. Friday, 7 October: Three recipes from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet. As with Thursday's dinner, this will depend on what is available at the market. Saturday, 8 October: Kristin is going to a festival with her family. Susan's family will celebrate a birthday, and she will smoke brisket, in addition to baking a cake. Sunday, 9 October: BBQ. Kris and her family are going to friend's for a BBQ, and Susan's family will have a neighbor get-together. Monday, 10 October: Homemade pasta. Wish our bloggers luck! As before, we've started the thread a day early so that everyone can orient themselves and get their bearings. In addition to all of the above, they will be blogging their daily eating. Let the games begin! Soba
  7. OK, Susan wins !! Not only did she precede this blog with a great installment of her own, but she also guessed the identity of this humble blogger, based on Soba's teaser. Good job Susan...have a beer on me Being a first time blogger, I studied the masters who blogged before me. So who am I to give tradition a cold shoulder? From what I gather, we are all supposed to Hail to the temple of caffeine.... And keeping with tradition...a little about your blogger for the week (the foodblog Czars must really be scraping the barrel if they asked me to blog)... I belong to a small (approx 100K worldwide) religion/community called Zoroastrian or Parsi, who's origins date back to 1500 BC. This community originated in Persia and settled in India around 700 AD. Throughout this time, they have maintained their unique culture and cuisine. (The only reason for me mentioning this is to share some of the hard to find recipes from this community....see list of topics below). Having spent my formative years on 3 different continents with very different culinary outlooks put my taste buds through the wringer and frazzled my poor little mind. WARNING: what you may be exposed to in this blog will be from my own twisted perception of "good eats", so proceed at your own risk !! Seriously though, while I enjoyed "good food" for as long as I can remember, my interest in cooking only peeked when I was in college, where I did not have my mom or the private chef who helped her to cook family meals. It was at this point that I decided to get an off-campus apartment and start making my own meals. I soon realized that I could not do much worse than the so-called chef in the college cafeteria, though I did come close a few initial occasions. Soon friends and friends of friends showed up for weekend dinners (that's college weekends, which start on Thursday and end on Monday), many of which we would start cooking around 3am after a few rounds of "social drinks" at the local bars. Anyway, having spent most of my life in big cities, I currently reside in a suburban area, bordered on the East by Philadelphia and Lancaster (Amish country) on the West. Over the next week, I hope to bring you a glimpse of each (city dining as well as Country/Amish dining). I would like to make this blog as interactive as possible and I plan to answer each question, but I do ask for your patience, as I have a busy work week and a sick family member. Speaking of family, there are 3 of us, my wife, myself and our cat Peanut, aka "little miss foodie" (she prefers foie gras and caviar over almost anything else). Wendy, you may have that alias on eGullet, but in this household, it is already taken You may see some posts of what I have for lunch while at work, but for legal reasons, I prefer not to go into details or identify of my employer (remember the Google and American Airline incidents?). All I can say is that it is a large multinational company, for which I get to do a little overseas travel and enjoy the local customs and cusine. This is where I need some audience participation...... I already have a few special events planned (on Wed and Sat evening) and given the limited amount of time we have, I need your help in prioritizing a list of topics you would like me to feature on the blog. Please post or PM me your top 3 choices: * Lunch at an Amish restaurant * Visit to an Amish farm * Tour of Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market * Philly Cheesesteak Kings * Breakfast Bonanza * Special "Parsi dishes" like Dhansak or Sali Gosht or Machi (Fish) nu Sauce * Typical Indian dishes like Tandoori or Goan Curry Rice * Other food topics of your choice (please specify) While it is with some trepidation that I embark on this journey, I hope you are as excited as I am about this blog. Cheers Percy
  8. Good Morning! ...What a way to start a day, and what a day to start a foodblog. Today is very meaningful here at Casa del Burgess in sunny Florida. Though the timing of this blog happened by chance, I am happy to be sharing the day and the coming week with you. It is a date I treasure, perhaps even more than any holiday or my birthday. It is the anniversary of moving to Florida. Four years ago was settlement on the purchase of our Florida home and move-in day. It was the night of our first dinner here. Today is also Russ’s birthday! I’m an avid walker-slash-runner, and even though I don’t enjoy getting up before dark to do so, on some of my days off I take my walk in the morning at the beach to watch the sun rise. When I do, I don’t even drink coffee before I go. I save that for when I come back. Today's walk was short; I was eager to get home, to continue celebrating and start foodblogging. I love the state of Florida as much as I love the world of food. Welcome to this week’s foodblog and the celebrations: a birthday, an anniversary, a wine festival, a picnic, and more...
  9. Hi, wow, been very nervous about this, but now that I'm at the jumping off point it doesnt seem so bad, lol. Welcome back to Scotland, Edinburgh again in fact, although hopefully, a different view of our city and eating. I live with my husband and mum, my sister and her little girl are here for most meals during the week, I also look after her little one after school so I'm usually on lunch duty too. My main enthusiasm is baking, I love making bread, cakes and cookies, however I do not partake as I can only eat a soft/pureed diet. I also make jam, I have an occasional stall at my niece's school market. On the agenda this week, a trip to a pick your own orchard, jams and jellies, haggis, a dry run on making a pumpkin shaped cake and international talk like a pirate day! arr. I have to scoot out but will be back shortly with (hopefully) a laptop cable that will allow me to post some pictures of today's eating!
  10. Brain. Earth to brain. Come iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin brain. Drat. I knew it fell out somewhere back there in August. Or so it must have if I actually volunteered to do an eGullet Foodblog during back-to-school week. Oh well. Chalk it up to temporary Mommy-brain insanity. Mental lapse aside, I suppose I should introduce myself and the rest of the Mouse house. *curtseys demurely* I'm Joie, a real estate marketing executive in my former life and a stay-at-home Mom in my current one. Co-habitating in marital bliss with my husband Ian who indulges my love for all things food-related. Mommy to our four-year-old son Noah whose growing passion for food is almost as big as mine. Owner of Shadow, the largest Norwegian Forest Cat in all of Christendom who adopted us two summers ago. We've been living in a beautiful heritage house in Vancouver, British Columbia for the past couple of years, housesitting for two friends of ours, and are in the throes of renovating a home of our own with plans to move in by month's end. See what I mean about madness? The start of school, home renos... what was I thinking?! Nonetheless, I hope that you'll fasten your seatbelts and join our family as we rush headlong through this first full week of September. Cooking will be far from gourmet this week as Ian, Noah and I readjust to our fall schedule. To placate Soba, I'll try to squeeze in some Filipino food over the course of this blog. And we'll close off the week with some fellow eGulleters at Aurora Bistro's A Taste of British Columbia! dinner. Fire away with any questions you might have about Vancouver, Filipino food, preschooler dining habits or life in general. For the span of this week, my house is your house and I'm more than happy to accommodate. Let's have some fun!
  11. Hi Gang! Most mornings I ride my bike over to Spring Point to get a lungful of sea air and see what's going on in the channel. Spring Point juts into Casco Bay on it's western side, just outside the mouth of the Fore River where the city of Portland sits on a peninsula. Around the bend from the point is Willard Beach, a typical New England seaside neighborhood with a mix of summertime folk and year-round dwellers who make the short commute over the bridge into Portland for work. At the little town square there is a bakery called One Fifty Eight owned and operated by eGullet's KeysToVt where I like to stop in and get a peach muffin or some local cheese, but today I didn't have time. We'll catch her later this week. Welcome to Maine, everyone!
  12. In Northeast Minnesota, what they call the Iron Range, Where men are men and that is that, and some things never change, Where winter stays 9 months a year, there is no spring or fall and it's so cold the mercury cannot be seen at all... -- So begins Garrison Keillor's Ballad of the Finn Who Would Not Take a Sauna. It's a fine read, if you like that sort of thing (I do), and it's even better if you can hear Garrison himself recite it. It's also as good an introduction as I can think of to this corner of my world. As luck and good timing would have it, I'm blogging during that all-too-brief time that is NOT winter, and might be called summer if you were to squint. Summer here is the despair of gardeners. It started this year around July 4, as it frequently does. Tonight is August 17, and the temperature is predicted to dip to 39F. We're on the fast downhill slide from summer into fall, all right. I can't speak for everyone around here, but I'm clinging hard to the last vestiges of summer. It isn't that I don't like the fall - I do - but summer and its produce here are too ephemeral to wish them to hurry away. This blog is to be a bit of a tour for you, to show you around the area and its produce, and to celebrate summer as it starts to slide in earnest. My area of coverage is pretty broad. I live near Duluth, which is at the pointy end of Lake Superior, but I spend a lot of time working up the North Shore of Lake Superior, and somewhat less time inland on the Iron Range. (Do not let my blog title and the poem confuse you: Duluth is not the Iron Range is not the North Shore. From a distance they may look alike, but the residents will no more appreciate being mislabeled than, say, a Scot would appreciate being called English.) If you look at a map of Minnesota and imagine lopping off the northeastern quadrant, going roughly straight north from the end of Lake Superior, you can see why it's called the Arrowhead. The cultures and foods of the areas I visit are different enough that they're all worth exploring, and I'll do that to the best of my ability. I'll add a couple of words about my work and the way I imagine this blog will work, and then post this to get things going. First off: I work two jobs - one full time, one less so. Sometimes I'm near a computer during the day, but I can't count on it, so my main activity is likely to be during the evening, or first thing in the morning. The full-time job is only indirectly related to food. The part-time job is as a flight instructor, and it isn't at all related to food, although there's likely to be an airport lunch sometime this week. However - both jobs involve a lot of teaching and communication! I cannot abide posting or lecturing in a vacuum, so I hope you'll ask lots of questions or post comments. I plan to solicit opinions and suggestions for some cookery I intend to do, too. While I've been typing on this, I've been having an evening snack: Nectarine-plum ice cream based on Ruth Smith's Peach Ice Cream, the original recipe, and Folie a Deux Menage a Trois wine, an inexpensive blend of zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Mmm. Ice cream and red wine are a nice combination, especially at this hour. Welcome to my world!
  13. Our next Foodblogger is akwa, otherwise known as Will Goldfarb, formerly of Cru Restaurant in New York City. Will may not be online until later tonight or possibly midday tomorrow due to internet service being spotty in the Hamptons, but I wanted to get his Foodblog started in the meantime. I'm sure many of you will have questions as to his tenure whilst he was at Cru, not to mention what does a pastry chef eat during the day. We have had pastry chefs blog before in the eGullet Foodblog series, notably Dessert, the Most Important Meal of the Day and Living the Dream, I Guess. This is the first time (and hopefully not the last) that we've had a known chef sign up for the series. You can read about Will's previous work in the following threads: Cru Restaurant NYC -- The New Chocolate Lover's Heaven? Frank Bruni, main restaurant critic at the New York Times, reviews Cru Restaurant here. Soba
  14. Well I must say that it is quite a strange and nervous making experience to be creating a foodblog. However, eventually one must take the plunge... A tiny bit of background information. I am an Australian Anglo-Croat living in Edinburgh, where I work at the University of Edinburgh as a Biologist. I have lived in here for five years and while it may not be the most exciting place on the planet, it has certainly taught me a few things about myself. As a word of warning, I find the restuarants in Edinburgh to be pretty dull, so this blog will mostly be about what I cook myself, good, bad and ugly. So sorry about the lack of tips to Scotland's Festival city. Ah, but for todays routine: Up at 6:30, cup of tea made for the wife and off to the gym. After the gym I have a healthy and nutritious breakfast designed to give me all the bouncy energy that I need to get through the long hours between breakfast and brunch. Actually, this is all lies. What I normally have is a coffee and sometimes a piece of fruit. For the simple reason that I don't have the time for breakfast and I don't feel like eating before 10:30 normally. If ever during this blog you find yourself thinging "I wonder what he had for breakfast?", during the week it will always be a crapy, bitter nasty, cup of coffee like this: It sets me up for the day of crappy, nasty, bitter work
  15. I'm packing up to hit the road for our summer family reunion. My mother, daughter, and younger son will be driving from Atlanta to Dune Allen Beach in south Walton County, Florida -- one of the string of communities between Destin and Panama City along highway C-30A that comprises some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Tomorrow, we will meet up with my older brother and sister-in-law, and a couple of days after that, my younger brother will show up with his three kids. Because I'm in a hurry at the moment (it seems that the last few hours leading up to a vacation are the most stressful), I'll cut to the chase, and we can get more into the area and the setup details later. When I take a trip like this, where I'll be doing a lot of cooking, I like to pack a few things to make prep a little easier. There's the tools: and the bar equipment: a few spices, because what you usually find in rental units is old and limited: Like I said, just a few items. The thing is, the trouble that it is to get this batterie together is repaid in convenience and currency saved at the destination. And anyway, everything but the very biggest stuff gets tucked away in this: I apologize for cutting this off quickly, and not rhapsodizing about where we're going, who we're meeting, and all the great things we're going to eat and drink when we get there, but like I said, I'm in a bit of a hurry. I need to duck out for about nine hours; I'll go on to the point of boredom on all of those subjects when we've arrived and I've gotten back on line. In the meantime, there's some background on the area in Steven Shaw's Daily Gullet piece on Sandor Zombori (whose restaurant, alas, is now closed), and you can catch me picking the brains of our cocktail peeps in the Beverages forum thread, Vacation Bar. Happy reading. Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you tonight.
  16. Good morning, all! Summer is a beautiful time of year in Oswego, NY, and I'm thrilled to be able to share a week of it with you. Oswego is in central New York, on the shore of Lake Ontario. (In fact, my house is about a ten-minute walk from the lakeshore. Next time I head out that way, I'll be sure to bring the camera.) We're on a little bump of land very close to where the shoreline turns northward, so we get glorious water views both to the north and to the west. Oswego has about 18,000 residents, and SUNY-Oswego where both my husband and I teach has about 8600 students, mostly from all over New York. We have three supermarkets, an orchard store up the hill a few miles out of town, and a terrific independent bookstore called the river's end that helps me feed my cookbook addiction. Best of all, every Thursday night from June through mid-October, the city closes down a couple of blocks of West 1st Street for a farmer's market. It's actually been about a month since I last went marketing, since we just got back from a conference/vacation trip earlier this week. When we left, there wasn't much interesting at the market: lettuce, radishes, the last of the asparagus, and apples from last year. This evening we should get a much wider selection! This morning started for me with a July ritual: My usual breakfast is a bowl of cereal with milk. The cereal itself varies from day to day, depending on what was on sale that week, what else we have in the house, how much my sweet tooth is rearing its head, and the weather. This time of the year, it's always cold cereal. And this time of year, I always eat it downstairs in the family room, with the TV on to OLN's live feed of the Tour de France. Today's plan is to head onto campus to start getting things in order for the fall semester, since that starts a little more than a month from now. (Yikes! ) My husband's been there for a few hours already. I'll probably go for a swim at noon, and then go back to work for the rest of the afternoon. The market opens at 5:30 this afternoon, and we typically arrive downtown shortly after that. Later, MelissaH
  17. Hello, everyone! By popular demand, I am the blogger this week. Some of you know that I have previously been full of excuses for why I shouldn't blog -- mostly, that I almost never cook anymore. This in spite of the fact that some people who know me well enough to have experienced my cooking would tell you that I have good skills (some would say very good, but I wouldn't want to push it among this extraordinary assemblage of home cooks). If I knew an easy way to find it, I'd link to the place in the Dinner thread where I posted on my improvised Nasi Goreng (Malaysian-style fried rice) that caused my parents to say I hadn't lost any of my cooking skills at all (no pictures to document that, though). I think I'd be rustier if I tried to cook other things. But having established that there will be no cooking in this blog, why should you read it? Well, no-one's forcing you! But seriously, because I will show you why and how it is that I enjoy food every day on a fairly frugal budget without cooking. Part of the reason I don't cook is that I'm a bachelor living by myself and prefer the stimulation of an appreciative audience, but that didn't stop me from cooking my own food almost all the time while I was in undergraduate school at SUNY at Purchase or in graduate school at SUNY at Stony Brook. You see, there were no good alternatives to cooking in those cases. Food on and walking-distance from campus ranged from inedibly horrible to barely acceptable, except for one upscale Italian restaurant across the train tracks in Stony Brook that would have bankrupted me if I had eaten there often. So when I wanted bistecca alla pizzaiolo, I damn well got the steak, the tomatoes, the onions, the garlic, the herbs, and the red wine and cooked it myself. When I wanted breakfast, I fried eggs in extra virgin olive oil, added a bit of sherry, and ate them over toast, or if I had more time, I made eggs scrambled with fried onions, garlic, tomatoes, green herbs, cheese, and pepper in wine sauce. Etc. But now? Since 1996, I've lived in the East Village, smack dab in the middle of the greatest collection of diverse affordable restaurants in the city; most of them deliver, and some of the rest do takeout. Chinatown is about a 20-25-minute walk from here, as well. In store for you all this week if things go according to my typically loose plans (as a musician who likes to play things by ear) are trips to several of my favorite East Village eateries, Chinatown, a visit to my folks' place on the Upper West Side (probably bearing takeout food from the local Grand Sichuan branch) and one day in Flushing, a distant neighborhood in Queens that I've spent a lot of time in. I'm an adjunct professor of music, and one of the places that's taken me is Queensborough Community College, a long freakin' commute from here (1 1/2-2 hours via two trains and a bus -- that's right: like many New Yorkers, I don't drive) through Flushing. I've made virtue of necessity by picking up breakfast/lunch in Flushing to eat on the bus and then having a sit-down dinner there after each long QCC teaching day. Now that I'm on summer vacation and might not be back at QCC in the fall, I welcome the prospect of an ~1-hour trip to Flushing just for fun. In between times, I'll post a few photos of the neighborhood, to give some of you who haven't been here a little bit of the feel of this historic district, home of some wonderful architecture and some strange-looking people. But first, I need to free up some more space on my hard drive and take care of some errands. One word of warning: I am not a morning person, especially since I'm on intersession now. So no "good morning" pictures out the window a la Lucy, but not just for that reason: All you'd see is the building next door. I face away from the street, which gives me more quiet but a boring view out the window. Not that I'm complaining, mind you: The least interesting view from the least interesting building on this block is still in the East Village. Ciao for now.
  18. I know that most bloggers feel a slight sense of apprehension when embarking on a foodblog, that apprehension stemming from comparing one's self to those who've gone before, and I'm certainly no different, especially on the heels of Varmint's fabulous Southern food and his adorable children. Of course, I have to do everyone one better, in that I'd been meaning to title my installment, "My Acquaintance With the Man Behind the Curtain," and yet I didn't even think to check as to whether there were too many characters in that sentence to fit in the allotted spot. But that's just one of the things I love about being me: I never seem to tire of proving to myself, over and over again, that I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am. By way of introduction, I suppose I can clarify that I am not, in fact, a man, and the man referred to is figurative, and not literal. Restaurant work is my career of choice, and over the years, I've come to know my way around a kitchen and every other position that can possibly be worked in a dining establishment, so I'd like to think that I know a few things about adding value to food and beverage, and making every bit of the guest's experience worthy of a relatively high price tag. Currently, I work in two restaurants, both of which put a great deal of effort into packaging an experience that will make the guest feel that he or she not only was fed, and fed well, but that everything about that meal from beginning to end was part of a seamless performance. Restaurants as theatre, food as entertainment. And then I have this other little job: That of running my small business, wherein I step off the stage and teach people how to make that restaurant magic happen in their own homes. I'll be preparing for a FoodTutor event this week, and showing some of the shopping and prep necessary for planning the menu, as well as documenting the things that I actually manage to eat. As a restaurant worker, I must admit to having an irregular eating schedule, similar to some of the previous industry bloggers, but I'll be making an effort to have slightly more normal meals this week. You know, the kind that civilized people have, where they put food on actual plates and sit down to eat it, as opposed to just shoving things into one's mouth while standing at the refrigerator. So I'll start with this meal: Sweetbreads and eggs. The sweetbreads were braised late last week while we were toying around with ideas for a tasting menu, so I simply had to dredge them and fry them up to go with a nice soft scramble, and the biscuit is actually just reheated from a small batch I made a few days ago. Ideally, I'd have gotten up hours ago and made a fresh batch of warm, fluffy biscuits like Varmint's, but heck, I worked a double shift yesterday for the July 4th holiday, so this will have to do. Besides, the biscuits were really more of a vehicle for shovelling strawberry jam (also made by me a few days ago) into myself, and these worked nicely. Throughout this blog, I'd like to answer questions about any aspect of restaurant work that piques anyone's curiosity, and I'll be including some pictures from both of the places where I work, hopefully. I can't share certain specific restaurant recipes in some cases, though some will be very easy to duplicate, but I would like to go into exactly as much detail as everyone would like to see. Really. Ask me anything, and I promise I won't bite. Questions like: Why do you work in two restaurants? Isn't that inconvenient? What are sweetbreads? (No doubt another eGulleteer could answer that faster than I could.) Who is Farrow Beacham? (More on him later.) What, exactly, do you teach TheFood to do? Now it's probably time for a little nap. That double shift really whooped me, and I've got a big week ahead of me.
  19. Let me cut to the chase: God is not perfect, as he made me a Yankee. Although my birthstate is New York and I spent the first 17 years raised in Pennsylvania, I have lived all of my adult life in the South. I am a Southerner, and if anyone wants to fight me over that, bring it on. This week, I have decided to take that most adventurous of vacations: I am staying at home with my wife, the lovely, talented, and extremely brilliant Mrs. Dr. Varmint and the four L'il Varmints. I can't promise you that I'll introduce you to any new herb species or a great new pastry technique, but I'll show you what my family is all about, primarily through what we eat. Much of what I'll be cooking will involve my 4 children in the preparation. Hell, I am on vacation, so I might as well avail myself of the free labor. Today was not the greatest day to start a foodblog, as my 9 year old daughter is playing in a soccer tournament. We also had a birthday party today, but as I look back, I'm pleasantly surprised over the amount of food-related information I can convey. Details to follow.
  20. Welcome to Edmonton! I am located just off the downtown of the city, conveniently close to both of my jobs and to the city's one significant natural landmark, the North Saskatchewan river. The river was Edmonton's original raison d'etre; like most of our western capitals it began life as a Hudson Bay Company trading post. In the glory days of the fur trade, it was possible to ship furs by canoe from the modern-day Yukon territory all the way to Montreal with no portage longer than 10km (far enough, with the loads they carried!). Today the river is primarily a tourist attraction, playground, and occasionally the instigator of insurance claims for flooding. I will take you for a quick stroll through a part of the river valley within the next few days, as weather permits (the lengthy drought broke when we moved here two years ago, though I can't take credit for that...). During the appropriate season there are many berries to be gleaned there, and it's always a pleasant walk. Photos will be a bit late in coming. My digital is painfully old and low-end, and essentially only works in perfect lighting. To supplement it I've bought a simple film camera, but that of course involves processing and scanning time. I hope to start posting some pics by Thursday evening (Friday at the latest), so please bear with me. I am not nearly as active on the board as some of the recent bloggers, so I'll provide you with a bit of context. I am a career changer, 41, originally from Halifax Nova Scotia. A couple of years ago, in one of those epiphanal moments, I realized that I'd just drifted into sales when I was young and had coasted ever since. Verging on 40, I thought that...just maybe...it was time I gave some consideration to what I wanted to do when I grew up... The choice was fairly obvious. I've been a dedicated home cook and baker since I was an adolescent; and while I knew going in that the life of a professional cook is a hard one, I reasoned that at the end of the day if you're doing something you love for its own sake you're ahead of the game. So I went to school. I took my first year at the Nova Scotia Community College in Halifax (honours) and my second at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (honours). I have been working, since my arrival in Edmonton, at this this respected fine-dining restaurant; upon graduation from school I added a full-time job in this popular market/lunch spot. Last summer, while still fresh out of school, I was inspired to blog a typical work week, for the benefit of the insatiably curious. It seemed that there was a lot of interest in how foodservice jobs work in practice, and I thought it might be of interest to many among the community. And that's where it would have stayed, except that a few weeks ago SobaAddict in his role of Foodblog Czar asked for those who are bakers or pastrychefs to step forward. Since I run the instore bakery at my day job, I thought that perhaps I should volunteer. So, here's Chromedome II...the return of the career changer. A few points to clear up at the beginning: for one thing, this is a serious "pot luck" blog. I have one or two special things I'm hoping to squeeze in, but I don't know yet what shifts I'll be pulling over the weekend. That means real life, folks...on the home front you may see souffles or you may see mac and cheese. I promise you I eat better than Wendy ( ), but her work photos are a LOT more interesting than mine will be. Still and all, this is what it looks like. I cook for my family, and they get what I have the time and energy to make. So...we'll be looking at some shots from one job at least, possibly both; my baking at work and at home; my garden; and to the extent that it's pertinent, a few bits and pieces of the city. My budget (wife, two kids, two student loans, the highest utilities in the country, etc) does not permit of special ingredients or excursions to the city's restaurants, and my kitchen is at the opposite end of the envy-inducement scale from Daddy-A's starship bridge and Jackal's vintage AGA. It's a come-as-you-are foodblog! From the subtitle of this blog (and the tone of the teaser Soba posted on Jackal's blog), you may be wondering just how I'm feeling about my career choice. Well...I'm still enjoying myself, but it's most assuredly not for everyone. I'll elaborate further in the course of this next week, and naturally I'm more than happy to answer anyone's questions about that or any other food-related topic. For now, though, I'm going to bed. Tomorrow morning is sneaking up on me, and it's got a cudgel in its grubby little clutches...
  21. Good morning! Greetings from Cambridge UK. Here is the view from my study window, over the herb garden: The bright yellow you can just see in the distance under the rose arch is oil seed rape in the field next door. Thanks to Soba for dropping me in it - its going to be really hard to follow such a wonderful blog, actually such a wonder run of the recent blogs. I'm not sure what I can tell you or what more there is to say after my previous two blogs http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=33730&hl= and http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=51320&st=0 Nor am I sure about his advance billing of "spend a week in the countryside and get reacquainted with the glories of English cuisine amidst summer's bounty". Where we are is not really proper countryside. We are about 5 miles outside Cambridge on the edge of a village, in the soft south of the country - more suburban than real countryside. My cooking is a mixed metaphor, and rather plain rather than a glory of English or any Cuisine. As for the promise of "Strawberries and clotted cream", Strawberries will certainly feature, but its the wrong side of the country for clotted cream. That is more like Devon or Cornwall. Here we eat Strawberries plain, or with pouring or whipped cream, or as Eton Mess (strawberries, meringue and whipped cream all mushed together). Let me explain where we are in the academic year to give some context to the week. This week the undergraduates are taking exams. Traditionally the weather is hot, but its unusually rather cool today. In Cambridge your degree depends mostly on the final examinations, assuming the other requirements, such as residence have been satisfied. Very few subjects use continuous assessment. There is a nice tradition that examiners can ask any question they feel appropriate, regardless on whether it has been taught or not. It's therefore quite a tense and stressful time for the students, and towards the end of the week I will have piles of exam scripts to mark. Then all hell breaks loose, and May Week begins. May week is, of course, a fortnight in June. It used to be in May, way back when, but then the University term got longer. Many garden and other parties are held, outdoor concerts and play, much Pimms and other summer drinks are drunk, culminating, in two weeks time in the May Balls. These are lavish affairs given by the colleges (some every other year), Black tie, and champagne all night. My college's May Ball menu: http://www.emmamayball.com/menu.php Clare May Ball: http://www.srcf.ucam.org/claremayball/2005/?taste Trinity: http://www.trinityball.co.uk/menu.html Fortunately that will be after the end of this blog, and the weather will traditionally turn cold and wet to dampen their ardour. I used to supply fireworks for the Balls. I can't resist this snap. I apologise for the quality. Its a copy of one that hangs in my study The building is the Wren Library, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, at Trinity: I lit that one. I don't do fireworks for the Balls anymore, as its a young persons game, and the budgets aren't enough anymore to get me out of bed. After the Balls, term is over, and the undergraduates go on their way. Its a bitter-sweet time, as student friendships romances come to an end or are fulfilled, and the students go out into the big wide world, or at least until next academic year. Left behind are the residents, the graduate students and those of us who have to teach them - I'm teaching an MBA elective in Entrepreneurship for the next few weeks. They have brutal 3 hour classes, instead of one hour lectures. Let me mention my book that is the basis for the course "The High Tech Entrepreneurs Handbook", Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-273-65615-5. Its very good. Back to the subject of the blog. On the first Sunday of May Week (called Suicide Sunday), in the evening, Trinty College Choir takes to punts on the river and sings sweet Madrigals (and a little babershop). If it doesn't rain, which it normally doesn't, God being a Trinty man, it a beautiful and romantic occaision. If you are there (8pm) come and say "hi". I help punt the choir with some friends and wine stewards of the some of the colleges (some wine will be taken), and we arrange a serious picnic. In a way this blog is a slow build up to the Madrigal picnic. Your suggestions please for what we should eat. Finger food, cold for a dozen or so people, easily transported and eaten on the river. So far I've planned a surprise loaf filled with smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches. Others will supply Asparagus, Anne's famous Brownies (very gooey and slightly coffee flavoured), and of course, strawberries. What else should we have, especially for the protein component? Tea Eggs? Fishy balls? Chicken legs? Ideas please. Now comes the complication. To make the smoked salmon sandwiches I intend to bake the bread (naturally), and smoke the salmon (lox). I've recently discovered how to use my brick oven as a smoker. While I'm smoking I'll make bacon.More about that later. What else should I smoke? This is cold smoking - not above about 90F, so not chicken or the like which is hot smoked. Also this week I hope to potter in the garden, and with luck persuade Daniel Clifford, the chef at Midsummer House (which I started, now Michelin 2*) to share some time. That might not happen, as he is frantically busy this week, so may get tagged on the end. Fat squirrel has just come to vist to see if we have left any bird food out, and I mut prepare for my lecture, and this afternoon's discussion on how the University should treat IPR, currently a hot political topic. Are these pix too big? This will probably be an image intensive blog, and I don't know how good people's abndwidth is out there..
  22. Welcome to the first eGullet Foodblog Tag Team. This is the first of what we hope will be semi-regular recurring threads and a special feature of the eGullet Foodblog. Two Society members will be blogging and will be coordinating menus throughout this week. Out of nine days, they will commit to a set number of matched meals, in this case three. (This number may change in future installments, depending on the participants, their schedules and other factors.) The execution doesn't have to be the same, or even the recipe, but the overall meals have to be essentially similar. Previous installments featuring slkinsey include Of Opera Singers, Food and Ferrets and Thanksgiving Haute Cuisine. He appears in Still Life With Tenor And Ferrets in a supporting role. Marlene, on the other hand, was seen in Driving The Food Bus and most recently in Mrs. Claus And The Canadian Food Sleigh. Marlene and Sam will post later today, but in the meantime, here are a few things to look forward to: Saturday, 28 May: Braised something. Sunday, 29 May: Dinner party along the lines of cocktails followed by a big steak dinner with various accoutrements and bread pudding for dessert. Any cut of steak, but not a roast (although the steak can be roasted). Monday, 30 May: Hot soup featuring garlic. Tuesday, 31 May: Chicken with spring vegetables. This can be, but doesn't have to be, roast chicken -- could be poached, etc. Wednesday, 1 June: Something creative with leftovers or free. There will be steak leftovers, braised leftovers, broth, etc. Thursday, 2 June: Italian restaurant outing. Friday, 3 June: Pasta with meatballs, or variations thereof. Saturday, 4 June: Catered dinner/restaurant outing. Sunday, 5 June: Mystery ingredient dinner (basically a mystery basket tbd by you, the audience. ). Since this is kind of a first for this type of thing, we've started the thread a day early so that everyone can orient themselves and get their bearings. I hope it'll be as fun for you as it will be for our two co-stars. In addition to all of the above, they will also be blogging about their daily eating. Ok, enough from me. Let the cooking and discussion commence! Soba
  23. 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.
  24. Good morning. I'm Randi. I live in Exeter, Ontario, Canada( pop: 4,400). You might be wondering where in the heck Exeter is. I wondered that too when I met my spouse and she told me this is where she lived. Exeter is about 25 miles north of London, Ontario. We're also about 2 ½ hours from Toronto. I moved here in December 2002 right after I graduated from law school. I left Long Beach, CA to live here because I married my female partner, Robin. If you're not aware, Same-sex marriage is legal in Canada and we were the first same-sex couple in this county to tie the knot. Here we are, I'm on the left. To say that I've experienced culture shock would be quite an understatement. I'm very much a big city girl, having grown up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and then Southern California. I took for granted the ability to eat out at 9pm, to run up and meet friends for coffee at one of the plethora of coffee shops in Long Beach , or to find any ingredients I needed without any trouble. My life has changed dramatically, and this week I'll introduce you to rural country life. Robin( username: Bennett) will be making frequent guest appearances here as well. When I moved here, I brought my two “ boys” with me. Oliver is 6 and Harley is 5. Oliver is a black and tan smooth standard dachshund and Harley is a wirehair dachshund. They would eat themselves to death if given the opportunity. Like a lot of semi-obsessed pet mothers, I often cook for them. They wont touch their bowls of kibble until I put a little bit of people food on top. Often its some of what we had the night before, but other times I'll boil them some chicken or vegetables. and here are the boys, Harley and Oliver. Now, a little culinary background: I graduated from college when I was 32, I took 2 years off and then went to law school. Due to a bunch of weird regulations here, I doubt I'll ever practice law in Canada. My next option would be a cross-border commute, but that would entail us moving closer to the border( we're 62miles away now) and Robin finding another job. That might happen one day, but for now I'm looking into finding some type of work in the food business. I attended the culinary program at UCLA Extension in my early 20's. I enjoyed it immensely, however I didn't complete the program because I couldn't afford the tuition. I put myself thru college working as a private chef for families. Luckily, I never had a problem finding a job. I did the grocery shopping, planned the menu for the week and cooked each night. It was the perfect job for me at the time. However, all that changed for me when I started law school, I basically stopped cooking. I had no time and a teeny little kitchen so I lived on El Pollo Loco and sandwiches. When I moved here, necessity forced me to become a much better cook that I ever was before. I had plenty of time to read cookbooks and source out ingredients and experiment. We occasionally eat out in London, but honestly, when we do, its not because I think I'll find some extraordinary place to eat, rather its that I just don't feel like cooking. So on to the week: We were in Ft. Lauderdale last week and we ate out a lot. Robin and I are both really sick of restaurant food. We ate out some great meals last week, but I think my favorite meal was one that I cooked with Robin and my best friend. I'll talk about that meal and post some pictures. I'll be cooking dinner at home this week. I also plan on baking some dog biscuits. I brought back a jar of something that you'll see soon. I have no idea what to do with it, so hopefully, someone can help. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you want. You can also PM me regarding anything that doesn't pertain to food. I'm an open book. And now, I'm off to the gym. I dont eat breakfast before I work out. Be back later.
  25. …to Louisville, KY, USA: Home to premium bourbon, beautiful horses and fast women, as they say. Every year in this city, thousands of banners like the one above begin appearing in mid-April draped over anything that’s stationary. If you work in the food industry, that’s your cue to roll up your sleeves, order tons of extra product, and break out your “F.A.B.O.D.” t-shirt to surreptitiously wear under your chef’s jacket. (In case you didn’t guess, that stands for “F*#@ A Bunch Of Derby” – lots of cooks and servers in town own similar shirts.) In typical Derby Week fashion, I’m gearing up here for several 14-to-16-hour days in a row this week. I’m also in the middle of moving house from one part of town to another. And as if that weren’t enough to keep me busy, I offered - in a bourbon-induced moment of temporary insanity, to be sure – to be eGullet’s foodblogger for Derby Week. So saddle up and ride along with me, your intrepid culinary Girl Friday, as I juggle my many hats at two different jobs (more on that later) in the race to feed the throngs of locals and tourists alike during the run-up to “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” - The Kentucky Derby!
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