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  2. The absolute best meal of my life was in Italy -- a cuttlefish stuffed with chopped squid in a garlic sauce. I've been chasing this dragon for a very, VERY long time. I was a kid and I don't even know the name of the trattoria. But I can still taste it like it was yesterday's dinner. Without a doubt, it's the meal that set me on this path. I can score cuttlefish from my local Asian market, so that part is easy. The problem is the timing -- the squid need to be cooked quick (otherwise it has that murky deep sea taste, the dish in question was certainly sautéed in a very hot pan for a couple minutes, tops), the calamari has to be cooked slow so it's almost fork tender. Next time I attempt this, I'm going to sous vide the cuttlefish, stuff it with sauteed squid, and give the whole shebang a quick sear. If anyone is saying, "oh yeah, I know this dish," please, please, please reply.
  3. I feel like having pasta for dinner. I have a bunch of green peppers in the fridge. Suggestions?
  4. Can anyone recommend a few good Italian baking/pastry books? (in English, I mean) I have Carol Field's The Italian Baker, the newish Biscotti by the American Academy in Rome Sustainable Food Project, and Gina de Palma's Dolce Italiano. Oh, and Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray. TIA.
  5. Event: Dinner at Maison Boulud Montreal May 31st 2012 type of cuisine: Contemporary French / Italian Full photo & text review can be found here. Just dined at this new restaurant in Montreal. Although it is way too early to judge this table (only in its first week), here are some first impressions: -Service: of top level, on this dinner (attentive, courteous, great balance between formal and casual) -Food: technically without any particular flaw (cooking well timed, modern presentation where it needs to, slightly more rustic where it has to). The cooking of meats (had a superb veal filet and their lamb rabbit ragu was succulent) seems to be their strength. They just need to be a bit less liberal with the salt (some of the dishes were a tad over-salted, although still packed with great flavors). -Decor: lovely contemporary setting, with comfy chairs, plenty of wood and granite, you can look inside the kitchen through a big glass window.
  6. I stopped in at my local fish shop to get some clams (Maine steamer/softshell) so I could steam a few for supper, but Kendall's wife was feeling generous and gave me almost twice as many as I wanted (and paid for ) so now I have many more clams than I'll eat tonight. I'll cook them all tonight and shuck out what I don't eat so I can make a spaghetti/pasta clam sauce tomorrow for supper. I usually just use onions and garlic sautéed in some EVOO/butter and toss in some flat leaf parsley with the clams and that's it. Any ideas to do something else will be appreciated - but no exotic ingredients please. This is the coast of Maine.
  7. The original The Italian Baker was a groundbreaking book with it's well researched recipes and techniques on rustic Italian breads and pastries. It was a huge influence on my style of baking and I'm excited to see there is an updated version. I'll be picking up a copy in the next couple of weeks but I was wondering if anyone has gotten their hands on the new version and can comment on how much it has evolved?
  8. Is it me or is it impossible to keep orecchiette from sticking together when you cook them? I've had this happen to me twice recently. I'm pretty sure I've done everything right: tons of water, stirring immediately -- yet many of them nest inside one another and stick. What's the issue here?
  9. I finally took the plunge and made my first batch. I used the recipe for swiss chard malfatti in Amanda Hesser's NYT book, but, being me, I couldn't help tinkering with it. Frankly the specified amounts of butter and eggs were frightening. I used the basic ingredients and technique. My first problem was that the chard purveyer at the farmers' market didn't have a scale, and the recipe specified 4 lbs. I went away with two enormous bunches, which I figured might weight close to 3 lbs. I don't have a scale at home either, so I just winged it and used it all; when it was well drained and chopped it seemed like a fair amount. I used almost the amount of ricotta and flour specified, but literally half the butter and half the egg yolks. The end result was far better than I expected for a first try. They were not stiff but rather delicate, but they did just hold their shape sitting on a board for a couple of hours before cooking. They were very chardy, which I liked, light and tasty. I served them as suggested, with a brown butter sage drizzle. Next time I might try them with a fresh tomato butter sauce, or a cooked tomato sauce in the winter. I checked a few other recipes and it seems that they all are wildly different. Some use bread instead of flour, some use no eggs, some use lots of whole eggs, others mostly yolks. And they also differ as to cooking time, even allowing for the fact that the size of the dumplings varies somewhat. Most all recipes say they are done when they float; some recipes say that will take about 3 minutes. Amanda says 8-10 minutes. Mine floated at about 2 minutes, so I left them in to simmer another 5 minutes, which seemed fine. What's your experience making malfatti? Are the quantities of ingredients as flexible as they seem or was I just lucky? Gnocchi seem much less forgiving.
  10. The pizza-consumption idiosyncrasies topic has been a goldmine of ideas for related topics. One thing I wanted to start getting to the bottom of is a taxonomy of non-pizza, pizza-like things. I happen to like stromboli a lot. I assumed it was a real Italian pizza variant but Wikipedia says it comes from Philadelphia in the 1950s. I also hear that "pizza rolls," which are sometimes like stromboli, I gather, and sometimes like egg rolls with sauce-cheese filling, are gaining popularity. What else is out there?
  11. Hi it is my good friend's birthday this sat. He eats, as he says, to live. In comparison we say we live to eat. Basically he eats very healthy, but his favorite cuisine is Italian. Definitely leaning towards old Italian ie pasta with clam sauce. Do you guys have a recommendation for somewhere in Manhattan that offers this? Thanks
  12. Does anyone have any recommendation for a short term {month or more} professional or at the very least a very serious amateur cook, school in the Naples area?
  13. Lately, I've been thinking I want to make a pot of minestrone, like maybe this weekend after I get back from USGM. Minestrone is a wonderfully versatile soup that can take on many different forms because its ingredients depend on the season and what's available at the market. Some examples: Harvest minestrone -- onion, potatoes, pancetta, cabbage, Swiss chard, zucchini, celery stalks, celery leaves, string beans, squash, tomatoes, RG beans, water. Summer minestrone -- onion, summer squash, green beans, fresh tomato, corn, carrot, cheese, vegetable stock Spring minestrone -- onion, ramps, asparagus, carrot, heirloom potatoes, celery, watercress, shallots, parsnips, RG beans, cheese. I used chicken stock this time around. In general, I prefer a light version where the vegetables aren't cooked to death, and where tomato isn't so predominant. I usually include pasta or beans. Sometimes I'll serve with a thick slice of crispy toast that's been rubbed with crushed garlic and drizzled with a little olive oil. How do you make yours?
  14. Anyone have any good suggestions for places to pick up some top italian / italian-style ingredients? after good olive oil, salted anchovies, mustard fruits etc - not London based but happy to mail order.
  15. Tomorrow yet again I have to BS my way through a cooking project. I have never actually made a brown butter and sage sauce for pasta. Is it really as simple as melting butter over medium heat and stirring until it browns, adding chopped sage for a minute, tossing with pasta and adding parmesan? Anything else I need to know?
  16. Been having major woes making IMBC. Last 5 times turned into soupy mess. taking syrup to 245f, beating egg whites to room temp butter cool and smashed to soften no go, no idea I might even take a video of next time. Any suggestions ?
  17. I was making my own homemade tomatoes - based sauce for spaghetti but i used JACOB'S CREEK - CHARDONNAY for tomato sauce.. i wonder any suggestion for any white wine such as SEMILLON CHARDONNAY etc..
  18. I'm on the search for Roman dishes of contested origins. I know there's a difference of opinion about carbonara and amatriciana, but are there any other Roman dishes that are questionable in their origins? Thanks in advance for any advice or help or suggestions.
  19. I just bought a Kitchenaid Pro 600 mixer and I hope to get the pasta making attachment this week. I really love quality dried pasta but I wanted to try making fresh. What recipes do you recommend that really show the fresh pasta to its best advantage? I know stuffed pastas but what about the non-stuffed ones?
  20. I was wondering as general rule as with bread flour whether the better quality product has the highest protein content? I did a quick shelf survey and the dreadful quick cook stuff has a sub 10% (sometimes 6%) protein content whereas the seemingly highest quality and pricier dried pasta is 13% plus and has much longer cooking times. That's not to say they weren't some lowish protein content pasta's masquerading as high end products and priced accordingly. Is it a credible theory?
  21. In a fit of enthusiasm I bought a small basket of good ricotta at the market Saturday, thinking we'd serve it as-is on Sunday, but we had so much stuff, I didn’t bring it out. Now every time I open the fridge it squawks at me that it's not getting any younger. I have realized for some time now that I greatly need new ricotta ideas, so here I am. Let me specify: I really don't want to make a sweet; I already know how to make regular pasta con la ricotta and view it as a last resort (though it may come to that), and I'm too exhausted from the Easter lunch yesterday to think about making ravioli. I might wait till tomorrow (when I can buy eggs) and make a tiella di Gaeta with ricotta, herbs, and onions, though my enthusiasm does not extend to the making of pastry. I also might just wind up putting it out with some excellent salami and bread and hoping Franco will eat it. Still, I'm sure there's some wonderful dish out there in ricotta land that I'm totally missing. Maureen B. Fant www.maureenbfant.com
  22. I'm buying a hand crank pasta machine and wanted to know what people thought of the different available brands. I've really been mostly looking at the Imperia that they sell at W-S but wanted to know if there were others I should look at. What kind do you have and what are the pros\cons?
  23. Hey Everyone. I was watching this video on youtube, and was wondering what kind of pasta your would call this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xB7V8I94mY At 6:13, a pasta is being made, then, it does happen quickly, but it looks like the filling is piped out in a straight line and folded to make these very nice pockets. Would you call these raviolis? Anyone have any details on how to make these? I make raviolis on a semi regular basis, but the way they were doing it in the video, it seemed like it could be done very fast and made into a nice shape. Anyways, just wondering if anyone's seen it done like this before.
  24. I'm currently trying to pick up some basic Italian and I wondered if anyone knew of any good Italian language television programmes, whether on air at the moment or older ones that I might be able to find online? I tried searching Google, but I couldn't work out good search terms to use. For learning Spanish I found Jose Andres's Vamos a Cocinar and Juan Pozuelo's Que Comemos Hoy really great for listening practice and mainly I'm looking for similar format, ie someone making something and talking you through it, but to be honest anything else food related would be great as well
  25. I'm trying to decide between buying a hand cranked machine (probably and Atlas or Imperia) vs the kitchenaid pasta attachment. The Kitchenaid is about twice as expensive but it's automatic. What are the pros and cons with each? For people who've owned them, which do you prefer?
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