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  1. I have a wealth of oysters from LI Sound and would like some new ways on cooking them. I see many recipes from France but few from Italy. I would love to hear of some Italian preparations for oysters. Thanks, Rob
  2. I visited the Venice fish market in August and posted some pictures and impressions in my panathinaeos weblog. I do not think there is any other market that gives me this sense of freshness and immediacy. The only other one I can think of is in Syracuse, Sicily, on the little island of Ortygia.
  3. A friend has given me some chocolate orange farfalle. a) Please tell me they are not as much of a perversion as I think they might be. b) What do I do with them? Sweet: Creme Anglais, strawberries or raspberries, maybe pistachio ice cream Savoury: Duck strips, mole,
  4. I've poured over both the Chester County and Montco threads, but there seems to be a dearth of recommendations for Italian - posting a new topic as my area sort of straddles the topics of those threads. Looking for something with a nice atmosphere suitable for taking a lady-friend one might be in the early stages of trying to convince to spend more time with him, pref with entrees in the $25 range. BYO preferred, but not an absolute requirement. Ideally somewhere in the rough triangle formed by KoP, Phoenixville, and Skippack - I'm willing to stray a bit farther, but much beyond that area and I may as well go down the city. Thanks!
  5. I'm looking for a gift for a friend and am trying to find a book with just, or primarily, great pasta sauces. I'm not particularly looking for a general Italian cookbook, though if the best variety and quality is in a more general book, then that's what I'll get. A general search on amazon brings up a a ton of results, but I don't recognize the authors and would like to get something especially good. Any ideas?
  6. I have a friend in Bremerton who is originally from NJ. He's craving a cannoli badly, says he's had one in the six years he's lived there, at "a really expensive Italian restaurant in Seattle." That just won't do. Can anyone help me point him at a bakery near him? Thanks!
  7. File this in the 'waited til the last minute' box. Today is our town's annual chocolate fest. I've done a chocolate ravioli filled with white truffle infused ganache. Tastes great, looks cool, and i've figured my boil time at 8 minutes. But, here are my questions: First, until you bite into the creamy center the flavor is kinda bland. I didn't salt the water. I did try a sugar boil which was a bit better. Any suggestions to improve the outer taste which will be the first impression? Second, I have to do 240 of these so I feel like I need to pre-boil then do a last second revive. I've never had to do this in a mass production setting. What's the best technique to keep it from getting soggy and bringing it back quickly? thanks
  8. I've been making a lot of fresh pasta recently and a lot of my recipes involve using pasta cooking water in the sauce. In restaurants, the same batch of water is used to make multiple batches of pasta, leading to full bodied pasta cooking water and superior sauces. I've taken to trying to replicate this effect at home by reusing pasta cooking water. I keep a half gallon tupperware container of pasta cooking water in my fridge. When it comes time to cook pasta, I'll add the water + another half gallon of fresh water to a large pot on the stove and bring it to the boil for at least a minute and use it to cook about a lb of fresh pasta. Instead of draining in a colander, I use a spider to scoop out the pasta and dump it directly in the sauce (bringing some cooking water along with it). I leave the water on the stove until it's cooled down to room temperature, then strain half a gallon of it back into the container, discarding the rest. I then add enough salt such that, when re-diluted, it'll be at the appropriate salinity to cook pasta next time. So far, I've been using the water at least once a week so I'm not too concerned about the food safety issues but I figure the excess salt buys some protection as well. Every time I've used it, I taste it beforehand and it's fresh and clean tasting but I assume if you're cooking pasta less than once a month, there may be issues with this approach. Also, now that I have it around, it's been occasionally useful as an all-purpose light thickener when I want to add just a bit of body to a dish. Because it's so heavily salted, it needs to go in before the final seasoning adjustment but I've found it's actually really great in soups where it adds just that hint of thickness that gives it the mouthfeel of a stock based soup (at the expense of cloudiness). Does anyone else regularly do this? What's been your experience?
  9. Okay, pizza in Buenos Aires...a very complex topic to tackle! At once, it's ubiquitous and elusive. There's cheese (to the gills!) and no cheese. There's ham--deli-type and salt-cured--but no pepperoni. There's the thick, gooey crust that tastes and tooths like bread or there's the "pizza a la piedra," or stone-baked, thin, crispy crust that tastes like a water cracker. There's faina, a...hmm, how to describe it...chickpea flour biscuit-like, focaccia-shaped bread thing, slightly reminiscent of cornbread in appearance, that is eaten on top of the very local, very traditional pizza called fugazzetta (pizza dough piled thick with lots of onions, oregano and cheese, maybe some green olives...yep, that's it.) So, what's the complexity about? For starters, locals--Porteños, the residents of the Capital--will say that they LOVE pizza and that Buenos Aires has the best pizza in the world. Being here in BA, you will quickly identify that the former statement is as true as can be: almost every commercial corner in this city has either a pizza joint (or two) or a resto-bar that serves pizza proudly. Any lunch cafe will serve pizza. In other words, ubiquitous. But you will find that these eateries serve an identical menu--empanadas, pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches, milanesas--indicating that the local palate is quite limited. That isn't to imply that a limited palate necessarily must be an indiscriminate one, but...here, it kind of is. Argentine pizza is in its own category of cuisine. It is not Italian pizza. It is not NYC pizza, nor Chicago pizza. In order to appreciate it at all, you MUST divorce your preconceived notions of pizza from the experience of eating Argentine pizza. Then--and only then--you might be able to enjoy what you are ingesting. You will find that Argentine pizza is oozing with unbrowned, insufficiently baked, rubbery, bad mozzarella. You will find that the sauce is both lacking in quantity and flavor. You will find the crust, if it is the soft kind, bready without any yeastiness, often toothless. The cracker-crisp crust is better because of the improvement in texture, but again, tends to be flavorless. Sorry I sound so cynical, but 90% of the Argentine pizzas I have eaten have caused in me regrets and disappointment and low after-dinner self-esteem. My suggestion: try it for the experience of it, but I can't bear to make any recommendations here on an integrity basis and because I refuse to be held accountable either for intentionally leading anyone to a negative dining experience or for finding out that anyone had a great experience with something I define as mediocre! So, to find a GREAT pizza in Buenos Aires was an exercise in patience and grave tolerance, but finally that elusive pie has been identified... Siamo nel Forno Costa Rica 5886 in Palermo Hollywood 4775-0337, reservas@siamonelforno.com.ar Tues-Sun from 8 pm to close An exercise in Neapolitan-style, artesanal excellence: Original, imported, wood-burning oven from Italy; thin-crust, gourmet pizzas using highest-quality ingredients; nice wine list; great coffee! Warm, personable, professional service, English-speaking staff; owner/head chef will probably stop at your table to check in; comfortable ambience Super busy on weekends, so reserve if you plan to go after 9 pm. Second choice: Piola, 2 locations Libertad 1078 in Barrio Norte 4812 0690 / 4815 4746 open late night (until 2 or 3 am) Gorriti 5751 in Palermo Hollywood 4777 3698 / 4777 3298 http://www.piola.it/...mber=21〈=en International chain of pizzerias out of Italy, but consistent and with a huge variety of pizzas; also offer pastas and other dishes. They give a complimentary sweet limoncello (?) blended drink at the end. Service is sometimes perfunctory and slow, but generally kind. Lots of English-speaking waiters. Also very busy; they take reservations, but if you go early, you'll get in. Open all day. I don't quite understand why there are always TV's on at this restaurant.
  10. I'm going to the Italian Market tomorrow and need veal stock. The small demi-glace packets are available several places but IIRC they're expensive. Any other recommendations?
  11. I feel like having pasta for dinner. I have a bunch of green peppers in the fridge. Suggestions?
  12. 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.
  13. After candying some quince, I decided the best fate for it is panforte, then realized that there is no way I'm going to be able get the ostie (thin, flat wafers made of I'm-not-sure-what) that cover it. My first thought was 'Make them!', then I wondered whether the rice wraps used for spring rolls could be used (thin as the discs are, the seem a bit thicker than what I have in mind, and the starch looks more gelatinized than it is in ostie). Have any of you either successfully used rice wrappers, or made ostie? I could get them online, but then I'd have masses of them, and I'd rather not have to store anything I won't be using relatively quickly, since storage is at a premium (we're in a very temporary space).
  14. I made ciabatta for the first time, and I think the holes in the baked loaf are a bit too big (see photo attached). What did I do wrong? I searched the internet quite a bit, and I found lots of people striving for ciabatta with big irregular holes, and not quite able to achieve it, but I found no one with the same problem as me. I followed Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe of Ciabatta with Poolish, which has 73% hydration, and calls for two folds during bulk fermentation. I followed the recipe as described in the book, to the best of my ability. The ciabatta tasted so good that I am eager to make it again. However, I'd like to know what I should do different to achieve a better texture. Thank you in advance for any replies!
  15. 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?
  16. 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
  17. I need some technical help with making "Fonduta." Fontina Val d'Aosta, milk, butter, egg yolks, white truffle love... Sometimes the cheese behaves badly. It gets tight, it gets grainy, its too thin... And then... how do you eat the Fonduta? Sorry if the topic has already been covered
  18. jende

    Baked pasta dish

    I'm making a cheesy baked pasta dish for a potluck dinner on Thursday. I'm basing the recipe on one from Giada which mixes ziti with marinara and ricotta, and is topped with mozzarella. I'm leaving out the meatballs in her recipe and serving Italian sausage on the side, in consideration of the vegetarians in the group. My plan is to assemble the dish on Wednesday and refrigerate it until it's time to bake it on Thursday. This type of dish should hold ok in the fridge until it's time to bake, shouldn't it? Any recommendations for other similar recipes to look at would be appreciated, too.
  19. I received an email this morning from Gambero Rosso adveristing one cooking class for la pizza alla pala and one for la pizza tonda. Other than the obvious difference in shape, do they differ from one another in any other respect?
  20. Hey Kids, I have a friend looking for an old (I mean OLD) Italian resty. Not all remodeled and shiny. He loves mid-century and doesn't mind peeling plaster. Any ideas?
  21. I'm on parole for four days in Rome. I'll try to cadge restaurant names off the boards and rely on pluck for the rest. I am looking for exceptional food locations in the area-I even have two days entirely to myself. Whether it be bread, charcuterie, supplies, etc., I'd love to have some addresses that inspire. Thank you.
  22. Hi, Any suggestions for unsticking unsauced clumped together cooked pasta that's been stored for a while in the fridge? Any suggestions for preventing cooked pasta from clumping if it's not used right away? I tried adding oil to the warm pasta, but after it cooled down the macaroni still clumped together. Maybe I didn't use enough oil? Shel
  23. I have tried a little search but without much success. Does anyone here have any experience with par-boiling pasta in large quantities to be able to serve portions quickly à la minute? I don't know where to begin with this technique but would like to find out more. How long is the initial cooking? How do you store the pasta in the par-cooked state? What is the best way to approach the final cooking? and so on. Any experiences appreciated. Thanks, Richard
  24. I need help with pasta sauces. I only ever make something that is tomato based or a meat sauce that has tomatoes. Marinara with meatballs. Bolognese. All'Amatriciana. That's pretty much it. I want to break out of this rut and learn more types of sauces. Bonus points if it's something that I can whip up quickly in small quantities. Like enough for a single, healthy portion of pasta. Extra bonus points if it uses "staple" items that don't perish quickly.
  25. So, Looking at purchasing one. Under 1500$ I'm not a fan of the add on, KA or Atlas roller/motor. I was looking at an Imperial 220, looks o.k . But is their anything else out , that is stand alone. Not the Roma either. This is for home use, as we periodically entertain for 12-16 people. Paul Ideas
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