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  1. INTRODUCTION-BACKGROUND So I’ve been thinking for weeks now about what kind of things to put in this blog, images of food porn dancing in my head, fantasizing about the nice restaurants this will give me a good excuse to go to, and predicting the looks I’ll get when the waiters watch me photographing everything brought to our table. But I didn’t really think much about the introduction. Now it’s a day before I’m to start and suddenly I have to think about this! My real name is Bob Beer, I’m nominally a Seattleite (14 years) and I’ve been living in Istanbul, Turkey for around 6 years now. The original reason I came here was to study Turkish folk music, as well as learn Turkish well (I work as a translator). And of course, eat and learn to make at least my favorite dishes. I am not nor have I ever been a food professional; I’m just a person who likes good food, and is drawn to what is different. I remember as a kid begging my mother to buy a persimmon in the grocery store — they were terribly expensive — because the idea of a fruit I had never tasted was so alluring. Years later I spent 10 dollars I didn’t have to try durian for the first time. (Fortunately I loved it.) A random note that doesn't fit into the flow - the pictures in the teaser are 1) a view from my garden to the mosque next door, 2) a boy in our local weekly neighborhood market selling snake gourds, and 3) a cup of strong Turkish tea in the typical glass. My mother is a southerner and the daughter of a Greek restaurateur (he was Greek, the restaurant wasn’t but he was a damn good cook in any case) from Marmara Island, about 2 hours west of here by fast ferry. You might imagine that I grew up eating lots of Greek food, but mom was married to a meat-and-potatoes man whose mother was, by all accounts, a horrible cook. Chicken was boiled. Steaks were fried-till-dead, then incarcerated in milk gravy and boiled further. My dad was thus very finicky about food and many a meal was begun with a tentative sniff, and a “....what’s this?” (The groaning buffet table to which we were invited at a Chinese friend’s house was a wonderland for me; to him I think it was more like a chamber of horrors, the little whole octopuses and thousand-year-old egg topping the list of terrifying surprises...) Greek food? “Hrumph! Why do they keep putting cinnamon in the beef?” Lamb? Mom tried feeding it to him once, convinced that he wouldn’t even recognize it. He did. I was a kid who ate pretty much everything except fresh tomatoes; the rule for my brother and I was that we had to try everything. My brother took on more after my dad, I took after my mom. So aside from some really good sweets around Christmas, Greek food happened mostly on those weekends when my dad was out of town, much to my brother’s dismay. To be fair, my first taste of feta cheese made me want to hurl... And we both did like yogurt, which we always had around, because my mom made her own, not a common thing in Iowa in the 60s. We called it "yiaourti," I didn’t even know it had any other name. I remember one of my playmates almost gagging when we fed him some. When I was growing up, my dad was a grad student and mom a housewife, so we ate cheaply and mostly out of cans; more Spam than I care to think about. Mom was a pretty good cook actually but I think tended to see it mostly as a job and not something to get really creative with unless there was company. I don’t think I ever had fresh beans or peas till I was in around 6th grade and my mom planted a big garden. That was a revelation. Various things spurred me to really get interested in food. I had a good friend in 7th grade from Taiwan, and I ate at their house a lot. Living for a summer and then a year in Greece (where I discovered that tomatoes could be edible and nearly everything was made from scratch) was definitely another one. The first cookbook I ever bought was on that trip. For a while there I made bread every week. I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. When I moved out of the house, I went to Champaign, Ill., and was exposed to a wok for the first time. There was a big Asian food store there, and all these mysterious ingredients! I still can’t cook Chinese worth a damn though. My first trip to Turkey was in 1982, for 2 weeks, and I instantly fell in love with the country, its people and its food. I was living in Greece at the time so it was fascinating to see the different takes on things that were very familiar, as well as things completely new to me. I also was dismayed to find that recipes I found for some of these foods in cookbooks in the west came out tasting very different from the way they tasted in Turkey. Milk is not milk, yogurt is definitely not yogurt, and pepper paste is...more or less nonexistent. Yeah, it's all in the pepper paste! Most of the time, I eat fairly simply. My own cooking habits are strongly influenced by my time in Greece. I suppose if I were writing this blog from Greece, I’d say my cooking habits are heavily influenced by my time in Turkey. It’s a relatively new border, with Greeks and Turks on both sides of it, what the heck! I’m not vegetarian but I don’t eat lots of meat. I cook for myself a lot but don’t usually go all-out unless I have guests. So this blog should offer a good opportunity to make some good food, go to some of my favorite (if not necessarily upscale) restaurants, and take you on a virtual tour of some of the wonderful food markets here. Of course I’ll take suggestions as well: If there’s something you’d like to see (excluding the cuisine served in a Turkish jail), just ask. TURKISH PRONUNCIATION I’ll be using lots of Turkish words, so here is a quick guide to pronunciation for those who are curious. That way I can write a word like “İmam Bayıldı” without constantly having to include hideous transliterations like “ee-MAHM bah-yuhl-DUH” in parentheses. Or you can go to the online Turkish/English dictionary http://www.seslisozluk.com and hear the words pronounced. You have to become a member for that function, but it’s free. You may have to change your encoding for these to display properly. If you are seeing letters like “þ” or “ý,” then you need to choose View > Encoding > Turkish on your browser. Turkish is 99% phonetically written. Maybe 98%. The vowels are: a - father e - bet (Or, if you are the Turkish equivalent of a valley girl, a drawn out, nasal a as in “bad...” If you want to hear a masterful imitation of Turkish valley girl, I can direct you. ) ı - somewhere between butter and wood. Capital: I i - about halfway between bit and beet. Capital: İ o - roll ö - close to the German ö u - tool ü - close to the German ü The consonants are pretty much as you might expect with the exception of: c - jet ç - cheese ğ - lengthens the preceding vowel j - Zsa Zsa ş - shoot
  2. Good afternoon. I'm Erik Ellestad. I apologize for the late start to this blog. You may know me as the guy who posts a whole lot in "Fine Spirits and Cocktails" and occasionally elsewhere. I'm also one of the Specialists who digests the San Francisco Chronicle Wine section. I've recently started acting as a host in the "Fine Spirits..." and "Food Media and News" forums here at eGullet; but, am relatively new to those duties. My wife and I live in San Francisco, CA in a neighborhood called Bernal Heights. You'll see more of that shortly. The short version of my bio, is, I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. Went to school at UW-Madison. While at school, I started working in restaurants. My first job was at a place called Brat und Brau, where they initially decided to put me on the Cash register. Unfortunately, I did not handle the simultaneous pressure of social interaction and money handling well, (plus I'm fairly certain the manager was using my incompetence to steal from the till,) and they moved me to the early morning setup. Filling salt and pepper shakers, setting up the salad bar, that sort of thing. Doing dishes later in the afternoon after the customers started coming in. After that job, I made the transition to a catering company, where I first started actually cooking and doing prep work. Nothing like doing prep for really large functions to force you to learn how to use a knife. Eventually, I graduated from college, and not being particularly keen on pursuing further studies in my major (BA-English), I continued working full time in restaurants.
  3. Welcome to my life! The short and sweet of it is that I moved here from San Francisco in 1984 and opened a cooking school right in front of the Central Market in 1988. My web presence started with my first site in 1997, with a dining guide for Florence and Chianti as well as recipes online. This is a work week for me so bear with me. I am meeting students for a walking tour and lunch, then three days of cooking and a Friday day trip to Chianti. The weekend I will be in Certaldo ( near San Gimignano) and catch a local market and visit my neighbors, the Coopertive olive oil mill that is in full swing! Join us! Right now I am off to have breakfast at the market.. (My husband and I have formed a team and he helps me with the cleaning etc so by the time I get up... the kitchen is already cleaned and he is ready for a second breakfast!) more later! this is great that the Italy food board is also doing Tuscany this month. Bon Appetito!
  4. Greetings and salutations from sunny San Diego! Any of my closest friends will tell you I am not one to be easily intimidated, but I admit it is a bit unnerving to be directly following such exemplary bloggers as John Whiting. But don't worry, I'll get over myself fairly quickly. I was originally going to subtitle this blog something like "Beggars Banquet," or maybe "The Tightwad Gourmand" (as in "you've heard of the Frugal Gourmet, now meet ... " et cetera and so forth). These titles were attempts to address the fact that, for various reasons, I live a pretty low-budget lifestyle, but still manage to have a damn good time enjoying food. In fact, I kind of revel in finding and enjoying good cheap eats, and this blog would be a chance to go on at length about that revelry with folks of like mind. For one of the many things about eGullet that has really turned me on is the great egalitarianism of food tastes here--I've noticed that many of the same people who contribute passionately to topics on five-star restaurants and rarified vintages also weigh in with equal vigor about sliders, barbeque, chili, and other "just plain folks" food. But as to the blog title I wound up with: by the serendipity of scheduling, it turns out that I will be moving at the end of this month to a neighborhood a few miles away from the one I currently live in. That means not only a whole different kitchen, and a whole different household with different tolerances about cooking, but also a whole new neighborhood of food resources to explore. So--one of the themes of my blog this week will be taking you all along with me as I get ready to move my personal food act across town. If I'm lucky and the fellow currently occupying my new digs vacates in time, you'll actually get to see my new kitchen and what I'll soon have to work with; but at the very least I'll take you with me as I start exploring the shops and eateries around my new neighborhood. There might even be an IKEA run in there somewhere--meatballs ahoy! I don't get to do big cooking projects in my current living situation nearly as often as I'd like, partly because my current household companion (who I've immortalized in various posts as Fearless Housemate) is really sensitive to food smells, and partly because this wacky house has a substandard kitchen exhaust fan that vents directly into FH's bedroom--YIKES! So I do try to spare the poor guy from being stanked out of his own room as much as possible. HOWEVER, Fearless Housemate will be out with his band on a gig this Saturday evening, so I plan to execute some kind of minor cooking extravaganza in his absence--the exact nature of which will be determined by what looks good in the markets, what feels good to me, my energy level by the time we get to Saturday, PLUS your input and suggestions. As for the bulk of this week's meals: I'm taking inspiration from Pan's foodblog, in which he demonstrated the dining, take-out, and delivery food wonders of his immediate neighborhood. Only I'll have *two* neighborhoods full of dining and take-out opportunities to draw upon--my new one as well as my current one, both of which feature a fabulous array of inexpensive ethnic eateries. In fact, the teaser photos for my blog demonstrated just a small sampling of the local riches in my current neighborhood: The above, in order of appearance: a bento box from Nijiya Market; a medley of cold Szechuan-style appetizers from my beloved Ba Ren; and the iconic San Diego takeout meal, a fish taco combo, this one from El Cotixan, the nearest 24-hour taqueria to my current abode. And that's just for starters; within a five-mile radius of where I'm sitting right now, I can also sample such cuisines as Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Middle Eastern, Filipino, Indian, South American, Greek, Hawaiian, Jewish-style deli, several different styles of hamburger from national chains to one-of-a-kind monsters, and others cuisines that I'm still only just discovering after three-and-a-half years in this town. Oh, and one other little adventure: on Sunday evening, I'm going to be playing Mistress of the Church Coffee Reception. The congregation of which I am a member is going to be hosting a distinguished lecturer, and I volunteered to do battle with the social hall's brand-new high-volume high-speed high-falutin' coffeemaker. I'm told it's supposed to be easy, all the instructions are written out and taped to the beast. Ooooo-kay ... so how come nobody else volunteered for this task? I sense a potential for this to turn into something right out of an "I Love Lucy" episode, so I'll be sure to bring my camera along in order to record any coffee carnage. There will be other neighborhood adventures as well, depending on time, schedule, whim, energy level, and audience suggestion. About those audience suggestions: I do hope folks will chime in early and often with questions and comments as well as suggestions. As you may have noticed, I like to have a lot of fun while hanging on the board here, and it's so much more fun when I have accomplices to help bat the conversational shuttlecock around. P.S. Oh yeah--despite my fondness for Frank Zappa, there will be no corn sandwiches in this blog (shudder). However, there may well be some fried seafood of some sort, though perhaps neither oysters nor eels (not that I wouldn't mind that...)
  5. Greetings from the OTHER Charleston! I am getting a rather late start because I got slammed the minute I got into work, but I am very excited about doing this blog. First, a geography lesson – anyone who watched World New Tonight last night on ABC is probably confused about where Charleston, West Virginia is located. They had a correspondent in Charleston (the capital city) reporting on the mine safety legislation that just passed, but the map they displayed showed Charles Town, a WV city about 5 hours away. Here is where both cities are located. West Virginia has been in the news recently for some very unhappy events. I hope to show you that West Virginia is more than these depressing occurrences, and that while not a culinary mecca, there is good food available to most residents of this state. I welcome, nay, encourage, any questions about West Virginia and its food. As the title of my blog suggests, there will be baking in this blog. Lots of baking and indeed baking with bacon. I found an interesting recipe for Swedish Ginger Cookies that calls for bacon fat. Mmmmm, bacon. I also just purchased some almond meal and might try to make macarons for the first time (inspired by this macaron thread on eG). I may bake other items on request, so think about what you might like to see. In addition, I need to bake myself a birthday cake (sorry, no cassoulet on my birthday). My birthday is Thursday (I will be 37), but I will probably get to baking and decorating this weekend. I would like your suggestions on what kind of cake (or pie?) I should bake for myself. My friends all think I am strange for wanting to bake my own birthday cake (and for other reasons also food related), but I love to bake (even if I do cuss a lot whilst doing so). Ideas? I have to run out for an hour or two, but before I leave, here was this morning’s breakfast: All hail the coffee maker, without which I would never get going. There is yogurt underneath all that granola. Gotta run, be back soon! Edited for tipos.
  6. Good morning, all! I'm really excited about doing my first foodblog, and I can't wait to show you around New York City, my adopted hometown. This week we'll be hitting the opera (pre-theatre dinner and during-intermission Champagne make it food-related!), Babbo, a couple of markets, and loads of other fun spots. I'll also be cooking a whole bunch, and giving it my all to make something I've never made before...but more on that later. I've lived in Manhattan since graduating from college in 2001, and have loved it from day one. At first, my forays into the New York food scene were exclusively restaurant-based - milking my California-based mom for dinner at all the new places I wanted to try when she was in town, while eating Kraft dinner or Ramen at home when she wasn't. At some point, I realized how much money I could save and how much better I could treat myself if I actually started cooking for myself. I always had the skills (I used to throw brunches and cocktail parties), but just never cooked for myself on a regular basis. Well, that's changed, and if I'm still not the most accomplished home cook I know (and certainly not anywhere close to it here on eGullet), I am one of the happiest. I live on the Upper East Side, a neighborhood known for its museums, its palatial Park Avenue apartments, and its (clothes) shopping. I'm hoping to show you my version of the Upper East Side, filled with tiny coffee shops and tinier produce shops, fantastic bakeries and even the occasional decent restaurant. But not to worry - we'll also be making visits to SoHo, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village, at the very least. I am off from work this week, since my mom is here from California, and am leaving right now to meet her for breakfast before she has to catch a plane home. But, I'll be back with a full report on breakfast and any adventures undertaken on the way home. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from all of you - is there anything you'd like to see me do this week? Any place you'd like me to visit and photograph to death for you? Anything you think I should make? I have a bit of a head cold, and am pondering garlic soup for dinner tonight. Recommendations are VERY welcome! See you soon!
  7. My name is Rochelle. I host the Cooking and DC & DelMarVa forums here on eGullet. Long timers may remember the Diary of a Cooking School Student I kept back when I studied at L’academie de Cuisine for my culinary degree. Fans of the Foodblogs may recall that I completed a turn in the hot seat about a year ago, when I was the chef for a sorority at the University of Maryland (34 Hungry College Girls). My, how things change in a short year. Since I kept that sorority-chef blog, my life has shifted dramatically. My husband, who is almost done with a doctoral degree in music, landed a position at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV (about 85 miles from Washington, DC), which he started in August 2005. So we sold our house in Takoma Park, MD and moved to Harpers Ferry, WV last summer. This meant I had to leave my job at the sorority…which was okay with me, it was getting a little boring although it was a fun and fairly easy job to do and do well. So, what next for me? I had long fantasized about teaching cooking skills, and I decided to try to piece together a career that would include that as one of my primary revenue streams. I also wanted to try my hand at catering, and I wanted to land some sort of regular food writing gig. So I founded my own business, Rochelle Myers Catering and Cooking Classes, and got cracking. Last fall, I catered a few weddings and private parties, and I managed to line up some teaching gigs for this winter. I also teach private classes when I can find the work. And I even managed to hook up a monthly gig writing a “Cooking 101” column for the Martinsburg, WV Journal-News. I’m always looking for more work, but for now I’m pretty busy. This past summer, we discovered that I am pregnant with our first child. The future food nerd/music snob is slated to arrive sometime around 10 April. We feed him only the best…my homemade food via the umbilical cord, and a steady diet of classical music via my mp3 player and a set of earbuds stuck in the waistband of my maternity jeans. I expect that when he turns 14 he’ll be listening to thrash metal or gangsta rap or whatever the equivalent is at that time and eating McDonald’s as a rebellion against his super-focused artistic parents. We couldn’t be more excited about our baby and eagerly await meeting him. Right now, I am teaching a bunch of one-off cooking classes at Frederick Community College in Frederick, MD (about 30min away), and also teaching a six-course “basics of cooking” series for Jefferson County (WV) Public Schools Adult Education program. This week, I’m also putting together my next column for the Journal-News, so there should be a visit from a staff photographer who comes and snaps images of my work-in-progress to publish with my article. My mom is visiting this weekend because there is a baby shower being held in my household on Saturday;she might be bringing a friend, and I expect to cook for them a little bit, plus probably have one or two meals out at some of our limited local restaurants. On Sunday, I’ll be going back to my alma mater, L'academie de Cuisine, to check out their 30th anniversary gala dinner—should be a good time, they’ve invited back a bunch of alums to prepare special dishes for the event. In between, I’ll be eating whatever strikes my pregnant-lady fancy, preparing low-carb meals for my husband who is losing weight, and sleeping about 10 hours per day. Gather ye antacids while ye may…
  8. Good morning everybody! Between the Dutch Cooking thread, the Amsterdam thread and my regular postings on the Dinner thread, I feel that my daily food-life is pretty well-documented here on Egullet. (too well, some of my friends might say). So when I was thinking about doing another foodblog (after the fun I had doing the first one February 2005), I wanted it to be really special. I was very happy when it turned out I had the opportunity to share one of my favorite weeks in the year with you all! I have a lot of fun things planned for this week. I have shuffled my workweek around a bit so I only have to be at the office 1 day during this blog, on Friday. The rest of the week will be devoted to food and festivities Tomorrow is my birthday. I love my birthday. I usually manage to get a whole week of celebrations out of it, and this year is no exeption. On Sunday I had the first birthday dinner for 10, with family. Tomorrow I’ll start the day with coffee and cake with a friend, then do a bit of shopping and sightseeing in Amsterdam, and have dinner at one of my favorite places with my husband and some friends later. On Sunday the 30th, there’ll be a party for about 18 people at my house! Lots of Egulletters have helped me plan the menu over on this thread, and I’m sure it’s going to be great! On Monday, I’m baking somethng to take to work on Tuesday and treat 20 or so co-workers. Now that’s the Birthday Cakes part of the blog title explained. I’ll talk about the Royal Celebrations part later… or maybe some of you already know what I'm referring to? If you have any question, things you would like me to eat or do, let me know. (but please don't say frites ) It looks like it's ging to be a nice, moderately sunny day in Amserdam today. I'm going to go out for some air & a little excercise. See you later!
  9. Howdy folks. Welcome back to my little food-world. I'm really tickled to have been asked to blog again so soon, and am looking forward to having another really fun time with y'all. And I do hope that, once again, people will feel free to participate with questions, suggestions, stories, whatever turns you on about what I'll be presenting. In this week of traipsing around with me, you'll notice that a lot of the same obsessions evident in my first blog will still be in full effect in this one, including but not limited to: good cheap eats in little hole-in-the-wall mom-n-pop joints; ethnic markets; Asian cuisines; exploring neighborhoods; shameless references to classic rock. You'll also note a whole new obsession making its presence known, which I realize I've been harping about almost too often in my posts around eGullet recently--but hey, it's helping me keep my commitment, so I appreciate you all humoring me. Yep, I'm talking about my whole little crusade to come up with a weight-management plan for myself that is realistic, healthy, customized to my food preferences, and enjoyable enough that I can stick to it for a good long time without it driving me nutz. So far it's been going pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. So I'm only feeling a little bit nervous showing you all what I do now to implement this weight-management plan in my daily food doings. Part of what I do now with weight-management will be occupying most of my morning today (I mean, once I get done with the business of sleeping). I'll be headed over to my HMO for my weekly weigh-in and exercise class. Then I've got a bunch of errands lined up, some of which are food-related: one will be catching lunch at a local pho cafe, and at least one other will involve some shopping. I will bring camera along, of course, and do my best Harriet the Spy imitation for your enjoyment. Other plans will be revealed as the week progresses. Some of them are admittedly rather fluid--I do a lot of little shopping trips for fresh produce, and I tend to let what I cook be influenced by what looks good and appeals to me at any given moment. And this week, I'll also be soliciting opinions and ideas from you folks--so feel free to chime in. As to (somewhat) more solid plans: I do know there will be at least one outdoor farmer's market. I think there's supposed to be at least one food-related community event at my organo-groovy UU church. There will even, finally, be a visit to Ba Ren, the local Szechuan joint I love so well--my food plan includes, for the sake of my sanity, the concept of the pre-planned occasional splurge, and a few of my local foodish friends will help me demonstrate how that's done. Oh, and I can't resist filling you in about the photos from my blog teaser, especially as they too relate to planned blog stops: This is a wonderful Vietnamese soup known as "bun" -- actually, I think the word "bun" refers specifically to the type of rice vermicelli noodles used in this style of soup. This variation has tomatoes, periwinkle meats, and fluffy cubes of shrimp cake. The broth is spicy, and enriched with a fermented fish paste. Like its sister-soup pho, this one comes with a big pile of veggies and herbs to add in. I had this at Saigon, 4455 El Cajon Blvd, one of the westernmost outposts of a whole string of Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants and shops that I am busily exploring. I may or may not hit Saigon again during the week, but I'll definitely show you some of "The Boulevard's" delights. Oh yeah--and this blog would not be complete without an appearance by the owner of this scarf: I guess I gotta call him Fearless Ex-Housemate now, huh? I was over at Humphrey's Backstage Lounge, a local live-music venue attached to a very popular resort/restaurant complex, to hear one of FXH's bands perform, and I was lining up a photo of the extremely nice warm scallop and shimp salad they served me there. When FXH noticed how Humphrey's dishware pattern matched the scarf he was wearing (swag from the recent concert tour of Donald Fagen, better known as one half of the classic-rock act Steely Dan), he couldn't resist accessorizing my photo--and voila, he "scarfed" my salad. (ow. sorry, couldn't resist). It was in fact FXH's Steely Dan tribute band that was playing that night--whenever he plays there, he can't resist directing the audience's attention to the view out the lounge's windows: ...of course, it's night by the time he sings the lines "The end of a perfect day/Distant lights from across the bay..." All this is actually on topic, because there will be at least one more planned musical visit from FXH during this blog--and food will very much be involved.
  10. 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.
  11. Hello dear friends, members of eGullet! Stan asked me if I would be interested in blogging this week and I said yes – that was back in I think September. He is very cunning in his ways. I wonder if it’s going to be possible to see the rhythms as I weave through this week. So much is changing, life is taking special, lucky turns. The routine I am trying to establish is not perfect yet, I’m in the midst of a battle to get used to a new one. I am doing the best I can to prepare to catch the golden apple next time it comes ‘round, and we’ve got the holiday coming up. It’s very particular being in a holiday mood when everyone around you has no clue. Can you imagine it? Your own private secret holiday. It’s important to try and keep things cool as I deal with my vendors, they are on a completely different wavelength. They just don’t ‘get’ the idea of monumental importance that seems to be oozing from my being. They know I’m a strange one, they think it’s funny, and from there, we do Thanksgiving. At the same time I keep my daily life grinding along. The leaves are changing here in Lyon, the weather has gotten cold, we had ourselves the annual a glass of the Beaujolais Nouveau (I don’t know why they said it was supposed to be more ‘traditional’ this year, it still tasted like banana bubblegum to me.) We took this moment, as we have for the last few years, to map out what we might like to do this year for the holiday. I’ve taken out my notes and taken a chance to remember what I liked and didn’t like about last year. In any case, I have a loose plan laid out (I don’t like to write things in stone, especially when blogging!) and I heartily welcome you to accompany me through this week. I hope I can do it justice.
  12. Good Morning. It's raining. I'll get right to the photos! All Breakfasts Served this morning: As plans for (human)meals for the next few days come up, I'll let you in on them. One special highlight of the week will be Sunday: we're having a true Mexican/Michoacan goat roast in our yard with one of our goats. Don Miguel, a trained butcher/Birria cooker from Michoacan will cook for some of our food-industry friends from the SF Bay area. I promise many photos. More about me later, the restaurants are calling, I've got to call the field with the orders, I'll be back in an hour or so. cg
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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..
  16. For the next week, I invite you to join me for meals at my house...nothing quite so exotic as eating in SE Asia (not by a long shot!) but, based on some of the threads popping up lately (e.g., January Detox and New Years Resolution - Lose Weight), it might be of some interest. As a quick introduction, I am Jen Jensen and I live in Sacramento. This is my second turn at blogging; the first blog is here. I won't go into too much personal detail, since it's all there and I'd just be repeating myself. Back then, I wrote "In the coming week, I'll be eating at home, eating out, and (most exciting of all) eating at Tigh-na-Mara, a spa/resort on Vancouver Island in BC." Well, I definitely ate a lot! A few months later, I stepped on the bathroom scale and realised that, if I didn't do something, I was just going to keep putting on weight until I popped like that fellow in the Monty Python skit. And so I joined Weight Watchers. My primary goal was to relearn my better eating habits. I reckoned if I did that, then I would also lose weight. So far, it's worked quite well. As of yesterday, I've lost exactly 27 pounds. And, thanks to eGullet for inspiration (and the Weight Watchers thread in particular), I've been able to eat some pretty damn good food while losing that weight! And now...I'm off to make my breakfast!
  17. Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese. As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better. Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which. We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product. So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it. But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast? Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat. The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner. I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
  18. Good morning, everyone. Let me begin by saying I am freakishly excited and quiveringly nervous. Let's begin, then? I often eat a multi-stage breakfast, as you'll see shortly. This morning I slunk out of bed at 4:40 to make it to a 5:15 Pilates class (I only do this once per week!), drinking a small coffee adulterated with General Foods International Coffee (vanilla flavor - an on again, off again addiction) on the drive over. After class, and partially awakened, I head over to work and eat a greens bar on *that* drive. Calories of any sort after being at the gym is always a good idea. Finally, at work, I have my customary cafe au lait with crappy work brew and nuked 2% milk, and a small bowl of plain yogurt with handful of granola and a little bit of leftover "breakfast" quinoa from lunch yesterday. My camera phone takes an awful picture, I know, but some visuals are better than none, I hope: Bad photo #1: Bad photo of freaky yogurt quinoa mush #2: More to come, and better pictures - I promise. Andrea http://tenacity.net [edited to change photo links]
  19. My name is Andy Lynes and I am a Site Manager for eGullet. I live in the village of Patcham, just outside of the seaside resort of Brighton and Hove on the South Coast of England. I'm 39 years old and married to Gill. We have two kids, George (11) and Alice (7) and a German Shorthaired Pointer named Lulu. My entire life revolves around food. Apart from my duties here on eGullet, I write about it for a living, I cook most days at home, I eat out a great deal and I read everything I can lay my hands on that is food, drink and restaurant related. My interest in just about anything else (apart from music and Uma Thurman) is limited, which can make me tiresome company for the non-food obsessed people in my life. However, I think we're all on the same page here, so this week I'll be documenting everything I cook and pretty much everything I eat. I won't pretend that its going to be a normal week in the Lynes household, I'll be making a special effort in order to make the blog at least readable. So I'll be visiting my local butchers, fish mongers, markets and supermarkets to give you a flavour of what its like to live and cook where I am. I'll be sharing recipes, techniques and general food-musings with you and I'll document the soundtrack to my cooking (there's always music or the radio playing when I'm preparing a meal). I'll tell you how I'm feeling in order to judge if mood can affect what I cook and how well I cook it. I'll be exploring what food means to me and who and what has influenced the way I cook. This week is a particularly interesting one as it will include a visit to Bray to chat with Heston Blumental and a gathering of UK eGullet members for a winter feast in London. I'm looking forward to it.
  20. 14 Sept 2004 8am Cambridge UK I've been tipped again to do the foodblog. Last time was Christmas and New Year. This time is Rosh Hashonah, which seems fair, so you will have to suffer my awful typos for this week. "L’Shona Tova Tikosaiv v’Saichosaim". "May you be written down for a sweet and good year in the Book of Life! " to all First of all coffee, mail and eG's overnight messages. The coffee is dark roast Java Sumatra, made in a press pot, and is breakfast unless otherwise noted. The mug is a Microsoft give-away. My desk, unusally tidy, and the view from the window in front of me. Sunny but windy. While I am not religious myself, I did have an othodox Jewish upbringing, and still like the food, so I guess some will figure this week. This week is fairly busy, and today is the calm before the storm. Main highlight is our annual apple pressing party on Sunday, weather permitting. We have open house, and expect about 100 people to come and pick apples and help press them into apple juice. We fire up the wood burning bread oven and bake pizza and things. . What we eat and talk about on the rest of the week is to some extent up to you, an I hope for a lot of interaction. If I get time I'll try and rig a webcam, as an experiment. Current fixed points: Today is fairly quite. Probably Bangers and Mash for supper Wednesday we are going to friends for supper to celebrate another friends birthday. Thursday a freind of Jill's (my partner) is coming to stay. Being Rosh Hashonah I plan a Brisket Tzimmes, with a pototo kugel. Friday start prep for the party, and start the bread doughs Saturday Fire the oven and bake breads etc Sunday Apple pressing Monday I'm hosting dinner in College The house is built in an old orchard, with about 20 of the original trees still standing. There is a newer orchard, maybe 30 years old, with 30 trees. Here are some pictures taken this morning of apples. The identification is noit certain, but were done by The Brogdale Trust. . Joan Morgan's The New Book of Apples (ISBN0-091-88398-9 is definitive. Regular eGulleteers may remember that many of apple trees were severely ringed by the rabbits last winter, and I feared for their survival. I'm happy to report that they seem to have pulled through. Some, like the NewtonWonder, are biennial bearing and are off this year with only a few apples, but most have a large crop. However since we have not pruned or reduced the fruit numbers the apples are mostly small. They are mostly cookers or eating apples, rather than cider. I've tried making cider from the juice, but it is thin and weedy stuff, but more of that anon. The apple juice is lovely, an we freeze it in plastic bottles, straight from the press. Allington Pippin (my favourite, good general purpose apple) and Newton Wonder (cooker, said to be derived from the apple tree that dropped and apple on Newton's head) Lord Derby (cooker) and Tydman's Early Worcester Orelans Reinette (russet); Queen Cox and Ellison's Orange Other apples are Charles Ross, Laxton's Fortune, Cox (poor trees), Grandier (cooking) and John Standish (late red, not yet ripe), Also pears and Quinces, again a bit early. Late purple plums (Marjorie's seedling?) and Damsons Dog rose hip and Brambles (wild blackberries) in the hedges
  21. Hi, I'm Randi. I'm coming to you from bright and sunny Socal, more specifically, Santa Clarita. Santa Clarita is infamous for chain restaurants and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Santa Clarita was incorporated in 1987 and is comprised of the cities of Valencia, Stevensen Ranch, Newhall, Saugus, Castaic and Canyon Country. I usually tell people I live in Santa Clarita, even though I really live in Canyon Country. Santa Clarita is the 4th largest city in LA county. We're about 35 miles from Downtown LA, Hollywood and Santa Monica. Much to my dismay, I'm 60 miles from Long Beach. I go to Long Beach a lot and traffic on the 405 is a bitch. The last 4 times that I blogged, I was living in Exeter, Ontario, Canada, Pop. 4,000. .When I lived in Canada, I was in a same sex marriage, for almost 7yrs. Unfortunately, as we all know things happen, people grow apart and change and marriages dont always work out. However, there is usually a silver lining to every sad story. In our case, we are both in new relationships. My partner Julie is amazingly fabulous and I thank the universe and facebook(where I found her again) every single day. We were together 18yrs ago and 11 yrs ago, but the timing wasnt right. You know what they say, the 3rd time is the charm : ). Prior to moving to Ontario, I attended law school. For mumerous reasons, I didnt practice in Canada, instead falling back on former culinary training. I cooked for some very ungrateful seniors in a senior dining program for 3yrs. I wasnt happy with the job nor with where I lived. I'm a city girl and Exeter is very much the country. I discovered egullet while I was living there and I'm grateful because I've met some wonderful people. I miss my Heartland folks very much!! Now that I'm back in California, I'm planning to take the California Bar Exam in February. I was supposed to take it in July, but I had to have surgery so I had to pull out of my prep class and the exam. My prep class starts again in December so I'm using my time before to study, cook some food for the freezer and do house projects. We're currently in the process of gathering quotes for a full kitchen remodel. I have a quote from Costco, an independent cabinet maker and my next stop is Home Depot. Julie and I discussed Ikea, but she wasnt crazy about those cabinets. I brought my two standard dachshunds with me to Canada when I moved there, and of course they came back with me( they are 12 and 13). Julie had 2 dogs as well, both females, a cairn and a westie. Now we have 4, we're like the lesbian version of the Brady Bunch, except with dogs, not kids. As far as this week goes, I have a few things brewing. Tomorrow I'm going to Long Beach to break the fast with my aunt and uncle. I lived in Long Beach before I moved to Canada and I honestly wish I still was living there. My uncle discovered a new Thai restaurant in Cerritos where he wants to go. Sunday is our towns Farmer's Market and I usually go. I also have a meet and greet for a foodie meetup group I'm a member of. Monday, I'm going to Santa Monica and will go out for lunch and to my favorite fish market. I have a cake to bake this week, a friend asked me to donate a cake for a "cakewalk" fundraiser. I also told Julie I'd bake something for her to take to work. Friday we're going to Pasadena for a DineLA meal with another foodie meetup group. We're spending the weekend in Long Beach too( we're dog sitting for my aunt/uncle). They have 3 dachshunds so we'll have 7 dogs to take care of. Not sure what else is on the agenda, anything you want to see?
  22. Hi Everyone! This blog is going to be a very mixed bag! I’ll be eating out more than in a usual week (not because I’m blogging, it just worked out that way) and I also want to detail a fabulous meal/experience we had at the Napa Rose in Disneyland. First, a little about me: I’m 58 and live in San Ramon, CA (East Bay of San Francisco) with my wife, Ellen, my 21-year-old daughter Rebecca and our dog Max. In my previous marriage, my ex did all the cooking and I did all the cleaning. I always had a good palate and was good at telling you what was in a dish and/or how to fix a dish that was lacking, but never really learned anything beyond very basic kitchen skills. My kids always dreaded the days when Dad had to cook! From 1992 to 2003 I owned a beer and wine brewing shop and also a commercial microbrewery. I designed all of the recipes for the beer kits and most of the recipes for the microbrewery and they were very successful. Our IPA won Best of Show at the California State Fair, besting beers from all over the state including the big guys, and the smaller like Sierra Nevada. The next year we won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for the IPA and a Silver for our Red. In 1994 I wrote and published what is still the definitive (but now very dated) guide to using hops in craft brewing. (Bottom line: I always was good at creating recipes.) I got divorced in early 2007 and during the break-up I was working at Best Buy as the appliance manager. Along with washers and dryers I was selling ranges, microwaves, ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators and counter-top appliances - helping people to outfit entire kitchens. When I bought and moved into my own (and current) place, finding one with a decent kitchen was paramount because I intended to learn how to cook! There were several motivations for that: I wanted my daughter (who was staying with me half time) to look forward to meals, not dread them. It would also allow me to better sell kitchen appliances. And it would save me a lot of money compared to eating out! I now do 99% of the cooking for the family, and my daughter lives with us full time - learning to cook had something to do with that! So I enrolled in a 12 week cooking class at the now defunct Viking Cooking School in Walnut Creek and learned my way around the kitchen. I like the cooking part, but for me the joy is in creating recipes and tweaking someone else’s to my liking and/or methods. I started to upgrade my cookware and counter-top appliances - but that will be the subject of another post! The food I cook tends to be somewhat simple, comfort food. Normal stuff a family of picky eaters will eat! My plating skills are minimal, especially compared to some of you here. Now I work as a graphic designer/marketing person/data analyst at a large financial firm. I also read palms as a sideline. My current hobbies besides cooking are playing bluegrass guitar and sewing/embroidery. Off to work - will post more this evening.
  23. Well, it’s officially Sunday and we have a whole lot to cover this week, so...hello and welcome to Missouri. I’m a troll’s troll. And as much as I’d like to pretend that I actually DO live under a bridge waiting for goats to walk by, I am looking forward to putting my OCD to work and showing you a little bit of “MY Kansas City”. To begin my blog I’ll open it with an absolutely true story…in addition to changing the way I approach food, whether it’s dining in a new city or trying a new recipe, I owe the largest part of my happy life to eGullet. For it was HERE that my lurker wife (I’m sure she’ll pop in here at some point) first spotted my gleefully grammatically challenged wordsmithing and began to stalk me…and it went like THIS- A few months after my gastric bypass surgery in 2007, I hosted a dinner party and talked about it on the Sopranos food thread: The Sopranos Dinner Thread So she saw that and was like “Oh man, this guy is going places!”, and she fell into the vortex that is my blog (which DOES contain adult themes and language…BIG time) after hopping over there to read the extended version of the dinner. My blog is kind of like a landfill and gets about ten accidental visits per day, one comment every three months…it is absolutely shill and self-promotion proof. So in the interest of including some important non-food info I’ll link to a specific post without feeling too bad about possibly boosting my traffic to twenty over the next few days. If you skip to the third comment, that is where this whole story took off after a random dinner party report. My wife-to-be happened to post to something I wrote about online dating...comments complete with John Cusack references. Anybody here have a heart?!?! Isn’t it PRECIOUS?!?!? Thoughts about dating that reeled in a wife... And so thanks to eGullet we were off and running! I was in Kansas City, she was in Richmond, Virginia...and after several months of phone calls and literally hundreds of pages of emails we arranged our first face time. Planning for a worst case scenario, she would drive to DC (which would give her a quick escape if needed), and I would fly in and have three days to eat and drink in that town…with our without her. So where was our official “first date”? Is that a rhetorical question? We were going to be in DC, and you don’t remain a bachelor until almost forty without learning a thing or two about “classy” first dates. So no brainer…minibar. BOOM. You can’t make that stuff up. And my wife mentioned how much she likes it when the eG food bloggers include a picture, so here you go- this is us on that first date, at the bar at Café Atlantico, waiting to be summoned upstairs: We had a small destination wedding in Savannah, Georgia in Whitefield Square’s gazebo. On June 25th we celebrated our second anniversary during a roadtrip to Deadwood, South Dakota (Corn Palace, Wall Drug, the works). We live in Parkville, Missouri, which is about ten minutes northwest of downtown Kansas City (Missouri…there’s another one in Kansas  ). No kids, but we do have three rescue animals...one cute but common decency-challenged cocker spaniel and two one-eyed cats. Overall, life right now is grand. And this is a FOOD blog, but I will add that what makes life so great is making it through a pretty crazy first couple of years...I mean, we did everything you’re NOT supposed to do. Long distance relationship where we both bounced back and forth between Richmond and KC, planning a wedding with the full knowledge that in a few months I would be laid off from my job, getting married and then having her leave home to move a thousand miles away...finally arriving here with no job prospects and me being out of work for what ended up being seven months. 2009 was crazy….five people in my family died that year, I got married, I quit drinking, my whole team got laid off, my bachelor pad was about to be retrofitted for estrogen-friendliness, wife looking for a job, a one-eyed cat thrown into the mix...you don’t realize how crazy it is when you’re in the middle of it. So now I am literally thankful every single day for what we’ve got; we’re both employed (I’m in IT, she’s in healthcare), we have a happy home, great family and friends...and we love our food. When the good times come you devour them, and you pass on as much good as you can to others. And life will always come back and happen to you at some point…and sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, the good times will return. And when they DO return, YOU CELEBRATE WITH A FANTASTIC MEAL! So I just wanted to give that little backdrop to set up what I’m wanting to do with this week. I could have gone a million different directions or just try to make this what I think of as “eGullet-y”. But as my wife told me, there isn’t really any NEW ground to cover on this site, so best to just personalize it and see where it goes. I’m just going to blog how I blog, food-centric and minus the wildly excessive profanity... other than that pretty unedited and full of self-amusement. You’re going to see some good food, I promise you that. I’m going to test your limits with my rambling, horrible photography, and movie references...and I AM the king of the ellipses... but it’s going to revolve around food, who we are, and what makes us love eating in KC. I’ve lived in Arizona and Minneapolis, but Kansas City Kansas is where I was born (on the 4th of July!) and most of my life has happened in the major metropolitan area. I moved to the Missouri side after my broken-hearted return from Minneapolis in 1995, because it is just better than Kansas. Sorry, it’s just true . I’ll have to leave a lot of stuff out that may tweak folks familiar with the area, but I’m always available for questions, requests, and whatever is of interest about food in my town. If it exists here, I’m probably at least aware of it, I am deeply familiar with the current scene, and we eat EVERYTHING, too bad we've only got the week. Like many eG bloggers it will be a big one-off as far as overall dining costs and calories in a seven day span. Oh, and here’s the big kicker...no BBQ. I create world class bbq, I love talking about it, and am happy to chit-chat, but that is one serious all-or-nothing topic. Plus, a Kansas City blog without bbq is just funny. I gotta be FREE! Some NEW stuff! For its size, Kansas City has an amazing food community, and I will give you just a tiny fraction….and please ignore any eye-rolling and fact checking from other KC eGulleters because MY KC is the coolest version...full of folklore and intrigue!!! Oh, and “zeemanb” is a screen name I’ve used since around 1995 when I first got online. Sadly, some from KC think it has something to do with the Z-Man sandwich at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ…but cheese belongs on bbq about as much as mango chutney or pop rocks…or bbq sauce…so not hardly. I took the name from the character Z-Man Barzell in the Russ Meyer classic “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”, written by Roger Ebert. My holy trinity of movie directors would be Stanley Kubrick, John Waters, and Jim Jarmusch...so there is a big clue into my voice and worldview- with deepest apologies. In the morning I’ll detail how we approach hard narcotics, er, I mean COFFEE in this house. We’ve got friends coming over in the afternoon for some Ad Hoc fried chicken, and I am DYING to post dinner from tonight. I know it happened a couple of hours earlier than the start of the blog, but I assure you it is not to be ignored. Gotta hit the hay, so until then here are a few random shots to tide you over: Photo of my favorite spoonrest. And by favorite, I mean my only spoonrest: We find that the best use for the extra plastic grocery baggies we steal is- cheap cat toy: Lastly, before I head to bed, here is some super cool food photography we bought while we were on our anniversary roadtrip: More rambles once I get the caffeine in my veins.....
  24. Good morning and hello from sunny South Florida! Later this morning, I'm going to pick up my weekly CSA box, and then we'll know what I'm going to be eating this week. Until then... This is a Cara Cara orange, a navel orange with red flesh. It has very low acid and is sweeter than most oranges. I bought some this morning from Whole Foods; they were grown in Winter Garden, FL. A little juice for breakfast: See you after I'm back from the farm!
  25. Now that the cat's out of the bag, you might say I've been looking forward to this Foodblog for a long time. The focus of this Foodblog is a little different from all the other ones. Back in 2012, I decided that I wanted to change the way I ate, cooked and shopped, from buying specific things for a specific recipe, to buying what looked good at the market, then making something using what I came home with. In doing so, I wanted to see if I could cook, shop and eat seasonally for an entire year. My cooking had become stale; I was limited to the same handful of concepts. I sought to break out of the box I had become entrapped within. By limiting myself to a specific set of ingredients for days or weeks at a time, I was forced to experiment and broaden my horizons. That experiment, which I called The Year of Cooking Seasonally, was so successful that I've decided that's what I'll be doing for the rest of my life. When you are faced with weeks of POTATOES or CARROTS or ZUCCHINI or CORN, cooking in this way makes me want to dig deep within myself and really get into what it means to make something that's mundane seem interesting, exciting, delicious and enticing. It's not for everyone, but it works for me. This Foodblog is also different from the others I've had the honor of participating in, because I wanted readers to be able to partly influence the ingredients for this week's menu and in the process challenge myself. I'm always looking to improve, to learn, to discover, to explore, to teach and be taught, and to share with others. In addition, most recipes will be sized for one or two people, and are mostly meatless. These days, I consider myself a 'flexitarian' -- that is, someone who eats less meat than he used to. I would say I am 60% lacto-ovo vegetarian/20% vegan/20% meat. My hobby is cooking. My life revolves around food. Amongst my friends, I am known for cooking multi-course meals from scratch when I come home from work, at least three or four days a week. Perhaps this is a luxury to some, but THIS is how I relax. When Im in the kitchen, I am able to indulge my creativity in ways that prove to be nearly as satisfying as sex. This Foodblog is dedicated to anyone who's marveled at the beauty of life, as reflected in the passage of time and in the procession of the seasons, and in the love we share with each other in community and at the table.
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