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  1. 恭喜发财! Greetings from Suzhou, and Happy New Year. I've been living here since August 2009, since moving from Japan. It's a pleasure to be bringing you the beginning of the rabbit year, as I'm 2/3 of the way through a full cycle in the Chinese zodiac, having moved to Asia in 2002 - a Horse year. Will I make it all the way through? I'm not sure yet. I'll be blogging to bring in the new year this week from Jiangsu, Suzhou as we say around here. To put that on a map for you, it's about 20 minutes on a high-speed train outside of Shanghai. Suzhou's famous for its gardens and canals - locals are fond of quoting the famous saying, "Just as there is paradise in heaven, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on Earth." I'm not sure how close Suzhou is to paradise, but I've been pretty happy living here. This week, I'm not quite sure what we'll be seeing, as I haven't stayed in China through the holidays. Last year, to bring in the Tiger, my husband and I took some time off to tour around Malaysian Borneo, but since the Rabbit year is meant to be more quiet, I've decided to hang out at home, soak in the atmosphere, and blog for you. The New Year is a time when many shops close and most people journey back to their hometown. I say "journey" because it often takes several days to negotiate the traffic and crowds to make it home. Trains and buses are often sold out completely, and planes aren't much better. That's why I'll be staying close to home - no sights of Shanghai for us, I'm afraid. I've stocked the larder, so if every restaurant shuts down, and the market is deserted, there'll still be food to see. Through the miracle of the Earth tilting on its axis, I've actually already lived Sunday, and am now recapping my first day for you. I'm going to take you on a brief tour of my high street and my daily shops, brunch at my local Cantonese place, and a "Kitchen God" inspection of my kitchen. You all, of course, being my kitchen gods - although I'm warning you now, I have not set out any cakes. Since I'm not Chinese, there's a lot that I see and experience here that I don't have much or any understanding of - I hope that everyone who does can weigh in on things. Part of the joy of living in a foreign country is learning about the cultural traditions your host country has to offer, and living in China is one of the richest and most exciting experiences I've had overseas so far.
  2. Good morning and thank you Ms. Victoria, I hope I can do justice to the blog tradition! But first, a shout out to all of us Mothers, mommies, moms, mas, mammys, and mahs: Happy Mother’s Day!! I’m a "here and there" home chef. Right now, here is NY, and there is Italy. My husband and I have spent a quiet weekend at our house in Northern Westchester, we’ve been getting the house ready for spring and summer, planting flowers, cleaning up the outdoor plants…and we’ve been eating rather well. A quick bio: married, 1 son, 2 cats. We’ve been married a long time…20 years…and lived together for a few years before that. Our son is just finishing his first year in college, he can’t make it home for Mother’s Day because he’s working away finishing his last project of the semester. We are going to Philadelphia on Tues to bring him (and his mountain of stuff) home, I’ll still be his mother on Tues, so we’ll celebrate then. Most of the week we live in a loft in Soho, which is in downtown NYC; weekends we try to head up here to Westchester. I’ve had some formal training with cooking, I graduated from an accelerated program at the NY Restaurant school (the school has since merged with some other school, I’m not sure of the name anymore). I thought I wanted to become a caterer, but as this was an early mid-life career change, I found I could make more money working in the garment center, and have weekends off; so now I just cook for family and friends. Some of the high points in my life have been very literally high points: I’ve climbed and stood on some of the world’s highest peaks with my husband and son. We climbed Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus and some peaks in Bolivia to mention the really high points. We are avid downhill skiers. Anyone want to talk about the trials of cooking at altitude?? Now that’s a real pain. I commute to work in the city by bike, which is an adventure in its own right. Hold on: we just got some great news!! Our friend who is an avid hunter, just called to say he finally got a wild turkey!!! Its been a long, dry spell since he’s been successful. Our deal is, he hunts, I cook. He just called from upstate on a scratchy cellphone connection to let us know the good news. Oh boy!! Enough bio. Onto the food. We left work a little early on Friday, so we were able to eat to come up here to the house, and have dinner at home, which is a rarity on Fridays, as we usually have to leave the city late, after the traffic has abated. Friday night was grilled artic char and shrimp, served on a nest of cappelini with a parsley brown butter sauce, and some grilled baby fennel. Need to work on the baby fennel part, it would be great if you had very sharp teeth and were in need of fiber…maybe this is one vegetable that needs to come to maturity before eating. We opened a 98 bottle of Haynes vineyard Turley that was magnificent. A bit overboard for the fish, but it was delicious. And it was Friday night, after all! Saturday lunch was a warm white bean and shrimp salad. Is there any more symbiotic relationship than parsley and garlic? This was served with a Tavel rose that worked perfectly with the bright flavors of the salad. I’ll post photos later, right now, I’m working off a really s l o w dialup connection, but I can post when we get back to the city. Saturday dinner was a TV dinner. That means the temperature dropped, it started to rain, so we had to eat inside. So dinner was served while we watched Sling Blade. Remember, that old Billy Bob Thorton film? It had some serious story flaws, but overall it has held up and is still interesting to watch. We had grilled quail for dinner. The quail had spent the afternoon relaxing in a ginger, garlic, and lemongrass bath. So they were simply grilled and served on a bed of rice, along with some white asparagus, and a terrific watercress salad. The watercress was a type I had never seen before: very thin stalks with oversized leaves. It was firm, crunchy and very peppery. I tossed it with some sliced red onions, micro-planed some orange zest on top, and made a simple vinegarette with EVOO and orange juice. The oranges are very, very, very tart. Sunday morning I made my favorite Sunday brunch breakfast. It has a number of names: salade du pays, survival salad, but it’s a frisee and lardon salad. I’m able to get some nitrate free, applewood smoked bacon in a slab. That gets sliced up into cubes and cooked, frisee salad gets a very light simple vinegarette. This all gets tossed, 2 poached eggs on top, a little toast and you have the perfect meal. We had some fresh squeezed orange juice (need to find some sweeter oranges to mix in with these babies!), and grapefruit juice. Coffee is illy brand coffee, made in the mokka with the foam coming from the chuga-chuga. I honestly don’t know what its real name is, we bought it in Italy, and I just made the motion and chuga-chuga sound to the man at the store, and he instantly produced exactly what I wanted. Anyway, the chuga-chuga is a metal cylinder, heavy bottomed container that you heat the milk up with, the top has a plunger with a mesh screen attached. When the milk is warm, you pump the plunger a few times, and voila! You have perfect foam for the cappuccino. Low tech perfection. Here you can see my dear old Caloric stove. The clock has worked in years, but the burner space is large, the oven is large, its truly an old reliable friend. We have a bunch of people coming for dinner, its Sunday Soprano Supper. Something that has become sort of a tradition, we eat dinner and watch the Sopranos. Of course, we start with the Simpsons, because you just have to love the Simpsons. And for the Sopranos, you need a bunch of people around to keep you up to date on the plot. I need to go and get some groceries, so we’ll be back…!
  3. Ok, so it’s on me to try and log my daily food habits. I am not sure how interesting how they will be. The problem is I really hardly ever plan my weekly meals, I more or less have a general idea of what we might have. Something along the lines of “hmm…I have not had any Indian at home in a while AND I have some yogurt, I need to do something with that” or “that basil is getting out of hand, I think some pesto might be in order” and so on. I honestly always envied the planners, you know those who have a set menu for everyday of the week. I tried that a couple of times, never works for us. The main hurdle is that I am pretty much the only cook in the house and both my wife and I work. We also have a one year old who needs to be dropped off and picked up from daycare. So by the time I get home which could be as late as 8PM dinner plans might have to be seriously re-vamped. This week, here’s what I am “planning” on: -I want to enter a recipe into the Food and Wine burger contest and I have a vision of a chicken burger with some type of Lebanese twist on it. Thought it might be fun. -I DO have a tree of basil so pesto might make an appearance in some form or shape. -I’ve been meaning to test a braised short ribs recipe with mushrooms. Hopefully it will happen this week. -A homebaked bread is a weekly must have. I also plan on having some pictures posted, mainly of dinner items. Since lunch is usually at my desk in the office and breakfast is usually nothing more than a cup of coffee except on some weekends. So, hopefully my log is half as enjoyable as the other ones have been so far and I look forward to some interesting discussions. Elie
  4. Okay, it starts with a 9AM coffee from WaWa and a 10AM medium sized muffin me papa bought that was lying around the house.
  5. Give us some clues, ok? Inquiring minds want to know. Soba
  6. It looks like I've been tapped by Soba to do the next foodblog in this thread, so here goes... Lunch was wonton and roast pork soup with udon noodles and truly first rate cold sesame noodles at "Spade's Noodles, Rice, & More" on 37th and 3rd. A very cheap, surprisingly good Chinese restaurant for a quick lunch in Midtown East. Dinner was my version of pasta puttanesca: tomato, lots of oil-packed anchovies (there were no salt-packed in the house), lots of capers, gaeta olives and Sicilian colossal olives (pitted by me using the "whack with the flat of a knife" method), onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and plenty of fresh minced parsley. As I sat down at the table, I realized that I didn't have any pecorino -- my grating cheese of choice for this sauce -- and so I grabbed a chunk of bottarga di muggine... That sent it right over the top and into another category of deliciousness entirely. I probably would have made a salad, but was busy playing with the ferrets and didn't have time. Dessert was Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch -- my favorite. Tonight the ferrets are having a little bit of a whole chicken (including bones, skin, fat, giblets, etc.) that I ran through a grinder and lightly cooked. Perhaps I'll give them a whole gizzard or two as well so they can tear something apart.
  7. Traveling is always tough. I had my first bite to eat on Northworst en route to Minneapolis, aka "the Kremlin" to the oldtimer Nortwest employee. It was a Quaker oat and raisin Chewy with a cup of luke warm black coffee. Turbulant flight over the Dakotas. The next segment of the trip I opted for the turkey sangie. It came with that Hellman's Dijon Mayo, small bag of Fritos, a tiny sealed cup of Spring Water and an apple. It was dinner roll sized, but not all bad. The apple was sour. Alaska Air was dismal. "Juice" service with salty Beer Nut brand peanuts. The juice was in these little 3 ounce sized portions. I felt like five years old again while taking a sip from these. I opted for the apple juice. I sat a bit in Seattle and people watched. One of my old regulars from Sitka's Pioneer Bar was on board the same flight! I got to Sitka and had the worst watered down Belvedere Martini, up, I've ever encountered. Back up plan -- my favourite Alaskan Amber, but somehow it wasn't the same beer I adored a couple years back when I lived here. Maybe it was the pint glasses and excess soap (from washing and not a thorough rinse) killing my enjoyment. But before the martini flop, my aunt and I took a brisk walk through town. New food happenings here. A new sushi place appears days away from a Grand Opening! My friend's Mojo moved (a small cafe that used to have odd operating hours). It still looked quite styling in its new location and remained as ecclectic as its artistic owner. In the old Mojos was a new place called Luigi's. It looked postively charming. Must stroll by when I'm not power walking and huffing and puffing to catch up with my very cardio in shape aunt! What a gloriously sunny day. I thought it looked odd that many of the pituresque mountains didn't have any snow on their caps. Nor the volcano. *yawn* It's late. Good night y'all.
  8. Well - Fifi has tagged me so I guess I'm it. I hope my bizarre eating habits aren't too dull, or too revealing of my other *ahem* idiosynchracies. Started today as I always do. Big cappuccino from the dining room. One of the advantages to working for a restaurant is having the cappuccino machine downstairs at all times! Makes the long hours pass with a much higher level of alertness. Otherwise getting my synapses to fire in the absence of caffeine is like trying to spark a campfire with wet wood I've had a couple of North Star Farms peaches so far. Late summer peaches are SO good! Not terribly hungry today as lunar cycle issues are making me feel a bit queasy. Also like I'm birthing a small litter of porcupines, but this too shall pass when the painkillers kick in. Then I assume I'll be back to my usual hoovering self. Am I the only woman that feels like any foodstuff that isn't nailed to the floor isn't safe in my presence at "those" times? Particularly anything chocolate, fried or carbohydrate loaded. I'm having visions of a big plate of mashed potatoes... More later...
  9. Morning all - it's a lovely temperate morning here in Little Current on lovely Manitoulin Island. Anna's in the kitchen making something - I'm sitting enjoying my first very large mug of tea of the day. This is my brown betty in it's dutch tea cosy - the better to keep my tea nice and warm for a number of hours. My tea - in the largest mug I could find at the Value Village in Sudbury a couple of years ago. I love my tea, but I'm lazy and don't like to go back and forth to the kitchen several times to get enough - so this is a ceramic beer mug and holds the equivalent of several cups. I can get about 2 1/2 of them out of my 6 cup brown betty. And don't let the 'fabulous father's hall of fame' fool you - I'm female. (I find on eG it's sometimes hard to figure out who's male and who's female based on their names and mine's a boy's name anyway) My view off the balcony while I post.
  10. It feels a bit strange to say 'Welcome to Denmark!', since I'm not Danish, did not grow up here, and find Danish food culture (my boyfriend, who is Danish, began laughing when I told him about wanting to reconsider traditional Danish food this week) kind of elusive. However, this is where I'm blogging from, so... welcome to Denmark! I'm afraid that first teaser image threw people off track, although Kerry was right, it's a rape-seed field in bloom, the dominant note in the Danish landscape in late spring. I took the picture while sitting on the pillion; just leaned a bit to the side, so I could see around my boyfriend's helmet, and took the shot (that's his hand you see). The second image is the Roosevelt Island Tramway station on the Roosevelt Island side: I was born in New York City (making me a third generation American/New Yorker), although my parents moved to Italy when I was a baby. I grew up in Florence, and the Tempio Maggiore is one of my favourite buildings; we often walked around its garden, on the way to a nearby park. Growing up in Florence had a major effect on my food preferences, the way I shop and prepare food, and the way I feel about food (having American parents who became vegetarian and inclined to health foods affected the way I think about food). Next image: My boyfriend gave me Modernist Cuisine for my birthday! I've only had it for a month, and I'm still in the 'Oooooh, look...' phase (although the 'Holy crap, how do I afford even the smallest pieces of necessary equipment?!' phase has begun). That's essentially my entire collection of cook books, there. I also have a stack of Cook's Illustrated, and some small books on Tuscan and Florentine cooking, but that's pretty much it. I have a really strong aversion to things that just take up space, so I don't get a cook book unless I'm quite certain I'll really use it. The globule on the plate is one of the more successful 'spheres' from my first effort at spherification. Mostly I got a lot of weird looking slime, but it was fun, anyway, and I learned a something. I'm thinking of giving this another go, this week. The last image is from Grenen, up in Skagen, which it is the northernmost point of Denmark. Virtually every one of the people standing in the water got someone to photograph them standing approximately where the guy nearest the horizon is, then went home to show their friends and family, and explain that they were standing in two bodies of water at the same time: the Skagerrak to the north, and the Kattegat to the south (the turbulent area is where the two bodies of water meet). The two seasons in Skagen are 'inhospitable', and 'packed to the rafters with tourists'. Where I am is a good way south of here, on the east coast. My cooking tends to have Tuscan roots (simple, lean) overlaid by a thick slab of experimental geekery (currently curtailed because the kitchen I'm using is not my own), and adapted to accommodate local ingredients/conditions, sudden whims, and a complex array of food sensitivities and preferences (mine and my boyfriend's). So that's the background. To fill in a bit more about where I am, Denmark runs to cool, wet summers, which means that things like home grown tomatoes are still off in the future. Our plants haven't even set flowers, yet (we did start them a bit late): We also have a couple of chili plants. One seems to be going all out with blossoms and is setting fruit, the other has not a one, which may be entirely normal. The kitchen situation here is a little unusual. We're temporarily staying with my boyfriend's parents, since we sold our flat, but are still hunting for a suitable replacement. Here's their kitchen: I try not to take over the kitchen, so I plan around what and when my boyfriend's parents use it. Also, I mostly use my boyfriend's parents pots, pans, and utensils, since our own kitchen is mostly in boxes, apart from the little bit I've unpacked (there just isn't room to unpack much, and packing and repacking gets old really fast). I tried to take some shots of the inside of the cabinets where I store the things I did unpack, then realized that I wasn't able to get more than about a half metre back from them, and couldn't get a clear shot (there's the also thing with needing a flashlight to see things in there). This setup presents a few challenges, so most of what I cook these days is not particularly ambitious. To be honest, I've let myself fall into a rut, which I'm planning on hauling myself out of, this week. You can probably count on at least one spectacular culinary disaster (if that doesn't happen, I will happily share my images of the apple pie fiasco of this past New Year's Eve <<<shudder>>>). If you have questions or suggestions, fire away!
  11. Hi everyone! Or, to play into an often frustrating - but almost always endearing - stereotype: Howdy, y’all!* My name is Rich, aka Rico, and I’ll be taking you through a bit of my culinary life in Dallas this week. Incidentally, my eGullet handle refers to the name by which I went in my high school Spanish classes many years ago - and I’m still awful at Spanish. Anyway, on to the teaser photos: Only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes (hat tip to Lyle Lovett). We didn’t really have much of a winter this year, so I was brave and planted my tomato seeds at the beginning of February. So far, I’ve had some pretty good luck. Trying out five different varieties this year; we’ll see how that goes. I’ve also got a few different kinds of cucumbers, beans, peppers and herbs going. Unfortunately, this blog will likely be finished before any of them come to fruition - or should I say vegetableition? And Zeemanb, I noted your comment about being six weeks ahead in being able to get a garden going, and I'll just say this - come mid July, when you're harvesting buckets of tomatoes off of your plants, I'm going to be spending my days doing rain dances just so my plants will stay alive in the 110-degree Dallas heat. Take solace in that, at least! My box smoker (wet smoker). This is not the typical sort of smoker I am accustomed to seeing down here. Most of my friends and people I know tend to use the oil drum-style smoker with a side box for the fuel. I do not begrudge that style in the least, but have gotten to know the operation of this smoker so well that I’m not going to change anytime soon. But we will most certainly get into that later this week. A few cookbooks and such. The Neil Sperry Texas Gardening book – the green binding – is ubiquitous in this state but I’m not sure it came through very well. Anyway, those are some of my books. The Wodehouse collections were not left in there intentionally; however, my affinity for the Jeeves and Wooster stories is undeniable. To address the MC volumes briefly – unlike one of the more recent food bloggers, Chris Hennes, my knowledge of Modernist Cuisine is laughably limited. That doesn’t prevent me from trying all sorts of things from it, but I’m probably not going to do anything from it this week; to try my inexperienced hand at it in a public forum might be a major step back in the development of the movement as a whole (kidding (kind of)). All right, then. A few other tidbits, I suppose: Having been born and raised here, I call myself a Dallasite, but for the past three years I have lived in the suburb of Richardson, about 200 yards from the Dallas line. I am fortunate to be in a fine location for a lover of things culinary, as I find myself within a few miles of a Central Market, Whole Foods, Saigon Market, Hong Kong Market, Fiesta, and few standard grocery stores. We can get into what all those are as the time comes, though I would suppose that a most are pretty self-explanatory. My wife will tell you that my approach to food is like a six-year-old with ADD who just had too many Coco Puffs**. I prefer to call it inspiration-driven. Meaning, I’ll tell her that I’m making dinner, and then I’ll happen to see a technique I want to try, spend a while at it, and then she’ll ask me what’s for dinner. “Ummm. Well, in about four hours, we’ll have some really nice dehydrated lime curd! That’s a good dinner, right?” (Note: dehydrated lime curd is never a good dinner). She is of infinite patience. As it is, I’ve got a several places that I can’t wait to show you, and a pretty good outline of what I’ve got lined up for the week . I’m looking forward to it all (and to getting to know some of you better) and hope you all enjoy reading it half as much as I am sure I will enjoy documenting it! *I feel I should explain my understanding of y’all. In Texas, we use it only in the plural sense – as a conjunction of you all – so that in its written form, we substitute the apostrophe for the o and the u in you. It is clear and its use saves a valuable syllable. However, in some southern states I have heard that its homonym can be used to refer to a singular person. It is my understanding that in this sense, it would be spelled ya’ll. I do not understand the reasoning behind this punctuation, and frankly, I do not understand the reason for the word’s use in the singular. All that to say, in this week’s blog you will likely see y’all spelled and used only in the plural sense, if indeed you see it at all. **This also applies to my writing style. My lack of focus and/or patience means I cannot proofread my own writing. I just can't do it; my eyes glaze over and ... well, all I can ask is that you bear with any typos, run-ons, tense disagreements and things of that nature.
  12. Hello egulleters! I so appreciate the confidence building comments to my teasers! I felt quite hesitant doing another blog as I didn't want to bore anyone... It will soon be Chanukah, so yes, this will be in the blog during the week. I am beginning with a new interest of mine (one among too many), the Bedouin culture. This morning while the kids were in various processes of waking up (ages 14-28, my husband and I left them to make their own Shabbat breakfasts, for a change, and took a drive of about an hour and a 10 minutes to a Bedouin village called Givot Goral, to the hostpitality tent, called Salaamat. I cannot do a blog with involving culture so I hope this will be acceptable... The host was a lovely and very hospitable man aged 38, husband to a beautiful and young looking wife, and father to no less than 8 boys ranging in age from 4 to 13. This is the Abu Nadi family, which belongs to the Al Gidiraat tribe, which consists of 10,000 people. This tribe belongs to the Shamar tribe of over one million people. This tribe originated in Saudi Arabia and has tribes in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait,Syria, Jordan and Iraq. They do get together occassionally,in Jordan. The tribe is very interested in opening its gates to other populations in Israel and has had many groups stay with them overnight, including my daughter's 9th grade class. This village is completely authentic and very friendly. From afar: A bit closer:
  13. Howdy all! I'm Panaderia Canadiense, aka Elizabeth, and welcome to my blog coming straight over the airwaves from Ambato, Ecuador, South America. A bit of background about me: I'm originally from northern Alberta, Canada; when my folks retired I got the opportunity to tag along on the vacation (our first in something like 20 years), and we all fell so much in love with Ecuador that we decided to change countries. Mom was her family's dessert-maker from the time that she could work an oven without burning herself, and Dad has his cordon bleu; we're all culinarily adventurous folks and what comes out of the kitchen tends to be fusion. Apart from baked goods, we rarely use recipes, so what you'll see in terms of home cooking will most likely be one-offs and riffs on various themes. There is very little that you won't see on our table; the exceptions are eggs (I'm violently allergic), tripes (can't stand the texture), and most pork (Mom can't handle the fats - no gallbladder). We have wholeheartedly embraced Ecuadorian cuisine, and various dishes that we now eat are influenced by the regional dishes of places we've lived or visited. A bit of background on where I am: Ambato is located almost exactly in the geographical center of Ecuador, and it's a reasonably true statement to say that most roads in the country will eventually end up here. It's certainly the transport hub for all goods coming from the south of the country to Quito, anything coming from the central-south Amazon into the Sierra, everything from the north going south or to the coast or central Amazon, and almost everything from the central-south coastal provinces into the Sierra. It's a market town, and the rhythm of life here is very much marked by the cycle of market days. Mondays are Gran Feria (big market day), and during Gran Feria the city very much resembles an anthill that's been violently poked. I'll be taking you into the fray on Monday - Ambato boasts what is quite possibly Ecuador's largest free-for-all farmer's market, and that's where I get my produce for the week, as well as specialty flours, spices, nuts, and dried fruits. I'll be trying my best to do a lot of "eat on the street" during the blog - Ambato has an astounding variety of foods available from street vendors and pushcarts. Along with all of that, you'll get to see whatever is ordered from my catering bakery in the upcoming week. I can tell you for sure there's an afternoon trip to the hotsprings town of Baños, which is famous for its pulled-panela taffies and other sugarcane confections. I may also go as far as Rio Negro in search of a good, fresh trout. Oh, and I almost forgot! The week of 30 October in Ecuador is an extended public holiday for the celebration of Dia de los Difuntos (the day of the dead) - and it's a food festival as well. I'll explain more about the traditions and the associated tasties as we approach November 2. As a baker, this week is one of the busiest of the year for me. Of course, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, and if there's anything specific you'd like to see foodwise please let me know. Also, I tend to lapse into partial Spanish in food descriptions, and if I forget to translate anything or you want something explained, tell me! I'll be back with breakfast in a bit!
  14. Hello there! Talk about a hard act to follow, Zeemanb! But anyway - welcome, everyone, to a week of shopping, cooking and eating in Sydney. Woolloomooloo, to be exact - an area of Sydney basically in the central business district and on the waterfront, steeped in both Aboriginal and colonial history, and my home turf. The University of Woolloomooloo reference in the foodblog's subtitle, is, (for the fans) from the Monty Python sketch of the Bruces - this sketch was the genesis of the great Monty Python that accompanied many a beer swilling night in my own university days.Not many takers on my teaser pics, though kayswv and Kerry Beal were on the right track recognising the naval shipyard; that's the Garden Island naval base on one side of Woolloomooloo Bay. On the other side are the rock formations you can see to the left, jutting out to a peninsula into the harbour, called Mrs Macquarie's Chair, after the wife of one of the chief governors of Sydney when it was a penal colony - she had a chair carved into the rock at the very tip of the headland so she could survey the ships come in and out of the harbour. She really was a lynchpin in the early (European-led) economic development of Sydney in its transition from penal colony to free town, and I think of her keen mercantile eye when I walk out there most weekends. My second teaser pic really speaks to the fact that these days I get most of my food inspiration from the web (including from you guys! Sometimes mostly from you guys..) and often whack my iPad onto the fridge with its magnetised case to follow a recipe, or inventory what's in the fridge, or look desperately for dinner inspiration. You'll see why I'm into magnetised spice jars, measuring spoons and whatever else I can attach rare earth magnets to and whack on the fridge when I share some more photos of my very space-poor kitchen. So apart from that compelling prospect, I'm hoping this week to show you some of the interesting food scene of central and Eastern parts of the city, take you on some of my marathon food-mission adventures (I'm an obsessed food-shopper, but aren't we all?), share in cooking with the spoils of the hunt, and generally indicating how well you can do for yourself being a greedy girl in Sydney.
  15. Hello everyone! Welcome to my foodblog. I'm a bit nervous so I hope you'll bear with me. First to address a few things that might be helpful as start our journey. Toolprincess - a longstanding web moniker derived from my love of gadgets and tools (not just kitchen related) I don't have a sous vide so no sous vide stories or Modernist Cuisine this week. (unless it's unintentional) I am obsessed with local places whereever I go and I love to find the best local dive...hotdogs, hamburgers, tacos, BBQ, even cafeterias. I love to cook but eat out way too often I do not give as much attention to fresh, local, or natural as I probably should - i.e. I do use canned foods, boxed mixes and things with high fructose corn syrup at times but I'm no Sandra Lee either. So now we have the preliminaries out of the way. I'm Laurie. I just got engaged a month ago. My life is fun but full with an aging mom who needs care, a fiance, a busy job and a soon to be stepson who is 8. I hope you enjoy my blog!!!
  16. G'day! My name is Evan but you know me as haresfur. I'm an FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) transplant to Bendigo Australia. Bendigo is a Victorian era gold rush town in the State of Victoria, southeastern Australia. It is a "Rural City" - quite the oxymoron, about 150 km from Melbourne. The population is about 110,000, which is I think the 3rd largest city in Victoria. That gives you an idea of how sparsely populated it is once you get out of the Melbourne area. I'll keep the blog focused on food but context is important to me, particularly as I discover a new culture. First, I'd like to recognize and thank the traditional owners of the land, the Dja Dja Wurrung people. Bendigo is a "City in the Forest" but the box-ironbark and mallee Eucalyptus across the street from me were looking rather sad when I arrived after 13 years of drought. Record rainfall in the last year has seen an amazing renewal in the undergrowth. The wattle in the teaser picture was happy last spring. Anyone know if all wattle seeds are edible or just some species? The gold rush starting in 1851 saw an influx of people including a substantial number of Chinese, some of whom came by way of the California gold rush. Many never left and I was told the town helped look after the single aging miners and now the Bendigo Chinese Association is a major supporter of health services. Easter is the time when the only Imperial Dragon in the southern hemisphere Sun Loong wakes to take part in the parade. He's hard to wake up so the day before Easter, the Lion Dancers and drums make a lot of noise followed by 100,000 fire crackers. As Anna N noted the Chinese population is well integrated and the greater community takes part in the lion teams, Chinese pipe band, and dragon teams. It takes a lot of people to carry 100 m of dragon. I encourage you to visit the Golden Dragon Museum website to learn more. Well enough of that. Bendigo is 17 hours ahead of the west coast of N America so many of you will be seeing this a day early. I'm a bit intimidated by the level of culinary expertise and passion here but I'll try to show a bit of my food life and have you explore the area with me. So my day started with a wet nose shoved into my face at 4:00 AM. It was a legitimate demand for food from the young Dalmatian, Spock (a rescue that came with name Spot, but I couldn't deal with that). He and the old Dalmatian, Misty, missed supper after having chicken frames for tea because he was asleep and Misty could lose some weight. The cats got tuna and I had Anzac biscuits and orange juice. Wattle's feeding station: Pinot's feeding station (I could use the counter space but have to keep the cat food away from the pups). Better kitchen pictures later.
  17. Hello everyone and welcome to Montreal. It's a beautiful day here, looks to be a beautiful week, and I couldn't be happier to have this oppurtunity to share some of my life with all the lovely people on eGullet. I am a student here in montreal, but as you will come to see my life revolves more around my obession with food than my studies, although they are beginning to leak into each other (we'll get into that). My apologies for the late start. I had forgotten I had lost my compression software in a recent crash, and it took a while to get that up and running. Firstly, I should explain my somewhat enigmatic title and teaser photos. I have something of a unique philosophy/approach to learning about the different foods that I am interested in. My interests are pretty much all over the board, so what I do to manage this is select a particular style of cooking, and concentrate on that for an extended period of time. I begin by gathering my resources for a specific style of cooking. This means getting atleast one super solid cookbook, bookmarking blogs, recipes, and other websites of interest pertaining to the topic. Reading a little bit about the evolution and history of the cooking of interest, learning the regions; I think you get the picture. This might make some sense to those of you who follow the Thai thread, as I have posted a number of pictures of my Thai food in there. Thai cuisine was my last focus; I did it for 8 months, and loved every minute of it. But the time for a change had come, and although I hadn't initially planned to do Sichuan or Japanese cooking, it just sort of turned out that way. I purchased a few cookbooks recently, and among them were these two: Both of which I found out about through egullet. Browsing through both of them after they arrived I was taken aback at how different Sichuanese and Japanese cooking were from the foods I had cooked before. For a while I struggled with deciding on which one to do first, until I realized why not do both? I already had many of the staple sichuanese seasonings, and the overlap in terms of grocery shopping was enough to make it feasible. So that what's I decided to do. That's where the teaser photos come in. The first was intended to be a contrast between the two styles of cooking, with 3 staple of seasonings of each cuisine on the top/bottom. For Japanese it was shoyu (soy sauce), bonito flakes (for dashi), and mirin (I didn't haven't any sake at the time). For sichuan: sichuan peppercorns, "facing heaven" chiles, and sichuan chili bean paste. The second photo is of all the ingredients I picked up a few days ago at one of montreal's better asian grocers. I carried that all in a giant backpack about 10km on my bike, as that particular grocer is pretty far from home. I've had heavier trips before, but none quite so long. The bagels are seperate of course, from the infamous St-Viateur bagel shop. I was hoping they might be identifiable enough for someone to guess montreal, but I guess that wasn't very fair of me. Welcome to the madness.
  18. Trading Places – A Tale of Two Cities…….would you believe one city and a village….would you believe one city and a kitchen?....... Welcome to my week. For some reason I’ve volunteered to do this. I’m sure it sounded like a good idea at the time. I’m starting this sitting in Suvarnabhumi Airport, wating for our 3:45 flight to start boarding. I’ve wrapped up in the lounge, having checked mail, had a Chilean Cono Sur ("connoisseur", Yoonhi points out to me) Chardonnay, and indulged in a ham sandwich smothered in butter. Is the modern Chardonnay the standard bearer of quality? If we consider quality to be defined as repeatability and standardization? This goes back to Signor Bellini’s discussion of Chardonnays back at the WGF (was that a week ago?). And how does that relate to food? Do we want everything standardized and repeatable? Ist that just an invitation to have all the joy taken out of our dining. Myself, I rebel against such strictures. Of course, that may have more to do with my inability to follow instructions the same way twice…… I’m getting ahead of myself. Or at least my stomach and nose are. This will be a somewhat schizophrenic blog. I’ll provide material on what we’re up to in the kitchen, especially as we’re just back from the Gourmet Fest in Bangkok. However, I get a distinct feeling that there’s more interest in the last week of eating in Bangkok with my spouse – Yoonhi - in tow. As I’m still in that state of bliss that Krungthep induces upon me, We’ll do both. By way of introduction (you expected structure from me?), I’m a 1960’s product of the Canadian government; the results of our country’s aid to St. Lucia, a small Caribbean island. My parents were there doing a project for Canada Agriculture, and I’m what the St. Lucians got out of it. They still won’t give me a passport. Anyways, don’t ask me anything about St. Lucia. I left when I was a few months old. All I know is that the banana boat called every few weeks, and children were killed by falling coconuts (I must’ve lived through that). If I was to call anyplace home, it would probably be Kitsilano, a neighborhood in Vancouver. I grew up a few blocks from where Lumiere is located now. I might have more memories about the soft ice cream cones dipped in chocolate at the Dairy Queen, though, than Lumiere and Feenies……(Modern Burger is pretty close, too). I left Canada over 22 years ago, and haven’t been back much. Houston, then Egypt, a very brief stint in Calgary that made me understand why I wasn’t staying in Canada (Yoonhi’s eyelashes froze shut on her), and then the Middle East for the last 22 years or so. We’re going to concentrate this week on the food of my great love, Indochina, and Thailand in particular. At first I had no interest in Thailand. Garish orange roofs, it all struck me as too much like a big Denny’s concession. But all the other expats in Egypt (our posting then) were going to Thailand and coming back to bend my wife’s ear. “Couldn’t we go to Korea or Japan or China or Italy or….” I’d protested. But Yoonhi has that steely perseverance that can get downright scary at times. Finally I gave in, and we were off for one month in The Land of Smiles. My attitude lasted only up to the point of my first bite of real Thai cuisine. I was head over heals in love. Let’s drop back into the normal time stream (or what passes for such around here). I’m tidily packaged into my economy class seat. I’m still cheap about flights if I have to pay for them myself. We’ve just had our in-flight Gulf Air meal, and, much as it pains me to say it, it wasn’t bad. Both of us started with the mild spiced noodle salad with cucumber and tomato, then I had the red curry beef with traditional biryani rice and vergetable casserole, and Yoonhi had the penne past with steamed carrots, pumpkin in cheese veloute, served with pan seared chicken and tomato sauce. Top that off with “white bread slices” which are straight from a Thai bakery. Only dessert was inediblem with a rather dismal pineapple crumble cake (it should crumble, not wallow in juice). I had tried the Blanc de Blanc earlier, but it was horrible, especially warm, so I’ve switched over to Carlsberg. It’s not cold either, but it’s bearable. I wonder who does their catering on the Thai side? Once landed, cleared through customs, and in the taxi, the rest was a piece of cake. We arrived home hungry again, and found Serena’s babysitter had steamed up some brocolli, breaded and fried some chicken breast and had some Filipina lumpia on the go. At that point we went to sleep. And now it’s not quite 6 a.m. here. It’s Ramadan, so there’ll be no coffee in the office later, so I’ve got a pot of Pakxong beans perking me up right now (I still think I’ve got a couple of kg of those Lao beans squirreled away somewhere). I’ll get this up, and then see if there’s still time for more before work (we start at 7:00 a.m.!) Next: more
  19. Welcome to Portland, Maine, at the mouth of the Fore River on Casco Bay. I, johnnyd, will be your designated foodblog pilot for the next seven days. The teaser photos are taken from Spring Point Battery, one of three fortified defense points for Portland built in the 19th century. Some members might recognize the following shot from my first foodblog: Dining Downeast I The forts were fitted with giant gunnery... ...which, these days, are a perfect setting for Shakespeare and Wilde... We had beautiful weather this weekend so I took these photos to introduce the area to members and visitors of eGullet who may not know or have heard much of our part of the world. Hey, you never know - I knew zip about Surinam (and it's fascinating foods) exactly one week ago - hats off to Mr. Morse for his soon-to-be legendary blog. This a view of Portland from "Ferry Village", where I live, in South Portland. Momentarily, I am headed out on my friend Jeff's Lobsterboat to help him lay a few strings, re-bait a few traps, and hopefully bring home some you-know-what for dinner. I won't be back at the computer for at least ten hours. You can come along on our day by listening in on the NOAA Marine Forecast for Casco Bay: ** Clickity ** choose "open with" If you are patient enough to slog through the terrestial forecast and conditions, you eventually hear the current ocean buoy readings - wave height, wind direction and speed - and what the weather has in store for people foolish enough to agree to haul traps on a drizzly day in Maine. Jeff, however, has been a friend for a very long time, and his charm won me over. Pics to come.
  20. Just a 20 mile ride from miss Suzy and were here, still in the far northern reaches of NJ. Ok the fire is started and I am only running 2 hours late Yes we are smokin' today, let me go get the piggy on the grill. Tracey
  21. Good morning, Fortunately for those of us on this side of the Atlantic there is the benefit of time: a failed attempt at an early morning first post to my first blog, will nevertheless arrive in time for breakfast for those farther west. Before the necessary introduction let's get breakfast out of the way. It is a tradition of mine since i started my professional lfe - i wake up, shower and run out of the house as quickly as i can, thus breakfast always takes place at my desk. In our rudimentary office we have one luxury, our nespresso machine...free as long as you buy sufficient coffee each month. Not a problem in a company with many Italians and Portuguese. This is my desk, with coffee and today Bizcocho Dulce Don Satur, an Argentine classic. A week ago an importer of Argentine food which I know moved in to the warehouse next to us; that's how the biscuits from my home country made it for breakfast. The Bloomberg mug dates back to my days in NYC. The place is London, where i've lived for the past six years. The office is just south of Battersea power station (that amazing building on the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals album) where some of my blog will inveitably take place. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved around a lot as my stepfather was a diplomat. Ten years of my life were in the US, Philly for undergrad and New York for work. A few years ago I finally managed to leave the banking world behind, now I run the UK business of an online shopping service - we're like a supermaket with far better quality of product; and needless to say a far different view on the role of food in society. A little cheating will take place as I will include a trip I took last week to Italy to source some new products; aside from that everything will be chronologically in line...you'll be taken to the London fruit and vegetbale market as well as Rungis, the monster of a market with its own postcodes, hotels and banks outside of Paris. I'll leave you with the start of the trip, taking the express train as we head south through the city to Gatwick airport with a magnificent view of one of London's icons. Back to work now... Franco
  22. Good evening! My name is Hiroyuki, I'm 46 years old, and I live in a rural, snowy, rice-producing district in Niigata prefecture, Japan, 210 km to the north of Tokyo. I work at home as a freelance translator. Just an introductory post for now, before I go to bed. It's about 10 o'clock in the evening in Japan. I have a wife (45), a son (11), and a daughter (7). Unfortunately, my wife cannot join in my foodblog for the reason to be described later. I'm not a food lover, I'm just a food eater, and now that I'm in my late 40s (and besides, my children are still small), I'm more concerned about health aspects of food than other aspects. Shortly after she gave birth to her second child (daughter) in 1999, my wife developed some kind of disease, requiring me to help her a lot, especially in cooking. Early this year, her symptoms got worse, and now I am the main cook in the house. When I received a PM from Suzan (snowangel) in early March, asking if I was interested in foodblogging, I was in a very awkward situation. On April 13, my wife was finally hospitalized. Ironically, her hospitalization has made it possible for me to start foodblogging. I still feel uneasy about foodblogging, considering the situation I'm in, and I also feel somewhat guilty, but I hope I can finish my foodblog to the end. Teaser photo: The photo was not meant to be a teaser photo. It's the Komako statue, standing on the premises of Yuzawa Station. Komako is a geisha who appears in Kawabata Yasunari's masterpiece, "Snow Country". I was in need of a teaser photo, and I selected that one because I thought it was representative of the area where I live. Here is a full version of the photo: My foodblog will focus on home-style Japanese cooking because that's what I can talk about Japanese cuisine, and it will also focus on a tour of Snow Country and surrounding areas. As you can tell, English is not my native language, and I'm not very familiar with colloquial expressions because I studied it mainly from books. If you find any errors in my posts, fell free to let me know. Lastly, my sincere thanks to Susan, who did all she could so I could start blogging in time. (I notified her of my intention to start blogging only a few days ago.) My blog officially starts tomorrow. Until then, good night! P.S. Pan: How did you know it was me? Edited to add: Made a correction.
  23. [font="Trebuchet MS"]Hi everybody. Welcome to what we believe is the first eG foodblog from New Zealand. Due to time differences it’s a little late in the day now for me, but shall we start with some breakfast? Those are from Joanne Harris and Fran Warde’s book [amazon=0060893133]The French Market. The only change I make is to omit the egg wash – I find it gives a slightly ‘wrong’ taste; bitter, perhaps. And I have no trouble getting them brown enough (apologies for these ones – they’re slightly more brown than I’d like. That’s what happens when you put them in the oven just as you’re serving dinner, then forget …). I usually make a batch and freeze them; then they’re available at a moment’s notice when breakfast calls. I hope I can satisfy the anticipation you displayed in your reaction to the teaser photos. It’s going to be an interesting week for me, anyway. Shortly I’ll tell you about the City Market here in Wellington, where we’ll meet some very dedicated food people. Tomorrow we’re visiting a local gin distiller, and I’m taking you all to Valentine’s Day dinner (don’t read too much into that!) at my absolutely favourite Wellington restaurant - we’ll meet its chef at the market, just to get you in the mood. We have people coming to dinner on Wednesday (which is unusual, but I’ll manage it somehow), so you can sit in on that for a classic, if maybe predictable, dish (any guesses?). At some stage I’ll take you to a few of my favourite Wellington food shops, and next Saturday, weather permitting, we’re having a picnic with some of my work people – I have some very traditional New Zealand food planned for that. And there’ll be a few other bits and pieces thrown in as we go. Just as well I’m taking the next couple of days off work – I don’t think I could cope otherwise! Finished your croissants? How about some coffee before we go? Yes, Peter, I made one for you. While you’re enjoying that, let’s get some of the dry, factual stuff out of way, shall we? New Zealand is that funny-looking little group of islands way down at the bottom of the South Pacific (no, not that far down – that’s Antarctica). The two largest islands are imaginatively named the North and South Islands. Important note: if you’re ever talking about them, it’s always THE North Island or THE South Island – don’t forget the definite article. There’s also the West Island where Nick (nickrey) lives, but we won’t say too much about that. Wellington is the capital city and is at the bottom tip of the North Island, near enough to the geographical centre of the country. Greater Wellington has a population of 370,000 or so, of which Wellington City itself makes up around 180,000 (New Zealand’s total population is somewhere around 4.5 million – roughly the same as Sydney. Or Boston, apparently). The New Zealand dollar is worth around $US0.76 (or, to put it another way, $US10 buys $NZ13), and any measurements you see in the photos will be metric. Our time zone (we have an hour of daylight saving in effect at the moment) is 12 hours ahead of Europe, 18 ahead of California and 21 ahead of New York – that’s if my amateur time calculations are to be trusted. 10am here is 1pm yesterday in LA, anyway. This creates some difficulties doing a blog like this; I’ll try to make it sound like real-time, but in fact I’ll be well and truly shut down and in bed before many of you start thinking about reading it. Ethnically we’re quite a mixture. Most of us – it’s hard to say how many; the census figures are complicated by people claiming multiple origins – are of European ancestry – we have English, we have Greek, we have Irish, we have Italian – you name it, they’re here! The rest of us are of Maori, Pacific Island or Asian descent, with plenty of cultural mingling. That does make for an interesting food landscape, although I must confess up front: my palate leans very much towards Europe. I can’t help it; Asian tastes just doesn’t do it for me. Partly in recognition of this, our dinner tonight is going to be as traditionally New Zealand as it gets. I'll get that in the oven a little later and show you how it turned out - probably tomorrow (my time). A technical note, for those who are interested: the photos were taken using a Canon EOS 300D, most commonly with a 50mm f1.8 lens. I bought the lens, a fairly inexpensive one, specially for this blog and I can thoroughly recommend the joys of a fast lens for food photography. And yes, we must mention the teaser photos. I suspect there may be the odd smartypants out there who can use Google, so the quote in the second one probably wasn’t as hard as it might have been. But just so everybody knows: This one, I grant, could be anywhere. In the foreground are some nibbles I make for almost every dinner party we have. They're a very simple El Bulli recipe; peeled cherry tomatoes and balls of watermelon, separated by a basil leaf. The ones in the photo are shown not-quite-finished - there's a drizzle of basil oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to come. In the background, a loaf of the bread I make from the subject of this thread, and very good it is too. This one is part of the Wellington Writers' Walk along the waterfront. The quote is from a poem by Bill Manhire, who among other things teaches creative writing at Wellington's Victoria University. This one is over the roof of our house, looking towards Evans Bay. The airport is in the middle distance towards the right. It's often said here that you can't beat Wellington on a good day. This was one. And this one gets the obligatory Lord of the Rings reference out of the way. Remember the part in the first film where the hobbits are hiding from the Black Rider? That was filmed on Mount Victoria, in these very trees, maybe half a kilometre from home. Enough already. Let’s go to the market.
  24. Good morning from State College, PA (and congratulations to Kerry Beal for guessing my identity!) . I only wish that the first teaser photo was current---alas, it was taken last summer, things aren't quite that green yet at this latitude. Thanks, Susan, for inviting me to do a foodblog this week. First a little background: "Hennes" rhymes with "tennis," I'm 27, and I'm working on my Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. My wife is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Accounting here, and you're catching us an an exciting/scary/stressful time in our lives: tomorrow we have to decide where my wife is going to accept a job that she will begin at the end of the summer. More on that later... In the grand tradition of foodblogs past, here is how I begin my mornings (at least, when I have time!): The eGullet mug is an unusual embellishment: I usually drink my morning coffee out of a stainless-steel thermos mug so I can nurse it for a couple hours. But the mug seemed appropriate for this blog, so here it is! Coffee is typically my only breakfast: I don't get hungry until around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. I know, this is horrible and unhealthy, but there it is... you won't be seeing much breakfast food this week! What you will be seeing is a lot of pork, and a lot of chocolate: Sorry to disappoint those of you who are hoping to see chocolate-covered bacon, but this is as close as the two will get to each other this week . I've had bacon in a chocolate bar: it was good, but I can think of better uses for both ingredients . Other items on the menu this week include such thrilling entries as tacos, stir-fried green beans, and BLTs. Ah, the culinary adventures of a graduate student! I hope you'll drop by and say hello from time to time despite the mundane dinners! And I hope no one is too disappointed that I don't hail from anyplace exotic!
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