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  1. If anyone is interested... Paolo's a new modern Italian restaurant has just opened on Percy Street, just off Tottenham Court Road. Head chef is Michele Franzolin has previously been at Zafferano with Locatelli and more recently head chef at Al Duca. Manager is from Isola. I was recommended by a friend who tells me the food was superb and extremely well priced (£20-25). I have seen no press coverage yet but assume that it is imminent as such people will entice the critics. This will probably result in a price increase and the usual drop in standard until they ge used to being busy. I've booked for tomorrow and can't wait!! Paolo's, 16 Percy Street. 020 7637 9900
  2. According to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, the three stars for this year are Sorriso - Soriso (Piedmont) Il Pescatore - Canneto sull' Oglio (Lombardy) Le Calandre - Rubano (Veneto) (new three star restaurant) There are also three new two-star restaurants: Flipot (Torre Pellice - Piedmont), Sadler (Milan), Mulinazzo (Villafrati - Sicily). I am not aware of any demotions from 2 to 1 star but there may be as the newsfeed was fairly vague. Francesco
  3. The Fat Guy has asked: "Given that most gourmets would cite Italy as one of the top food destinations on Earth -- there are even many who prefer dining in Italy to dining in France -- why is it that Italy hardly seems relevant to the world of modern gastronomy? Is it a simple question of the heavily regional orientation of Italian cuisine combined with the lack of identifiable Italian chef-personalities? Or is there something more to it?" A lively, if only partially informed, discussion ensued, which, if you have time on your hands, you may read here. What is your opinion?
  4. I havent been to a lot of places but I would find it hard to believe you can find better than Mr. Beef on Orleans. Get it 'hot and wet' which means w hot peppers and a little au jus. Man, that is good...The place is a hoot to go into too...mostly autographed pictures of Jay Leno all over the place...seeing it's Jays favorite Chicago eatery... Im having lunch at Portillo's tomorrow to check out their italian beef... Anyone else have any favorites....
  5. I am reasonably confident of finding my way around French, American, Australian and even Spanish wine lists. I always struggle with my bearings, however, when it comes to Italian lists. I know a Barolo from a Chianti and a Barbaresco from a Dolcetto. But I lose all orientation when it comes to the unclassified Vinos de Tavola. I am sure that a lot of the best drinking is to be found among such wines, and I have had some lucky picks. But I don't know what to do other than pick a price range, point my finger and hope (or rely on the sommelier). Is there any way to find ones way around such wines other than trying to memorize the names? Any other tips for navigating Italian wine lists would be appreciated too.
  6. Risoto is one of my favorite dishes to cook for guests. My preferences lean to seafood and mushroom variations. I love, but haven't tackled black risoto yet. I'd be interested in other recipe ideas. For convenience, I buy freshly made fish stock from Citarella's or Jake's Fish Store here in NY. I doubt that home made fish stock would be much better, but I'd be open to opinions on that. I use arborio rice exclusively. I'm unaware of any quality differences among the arborio rices avalaible in super markets and specialty stores. Any opinions?
  7. What are your favorite Italian places? Here are two of mine: In the formal category, I LOVE Tulio (Vintage Park Hotel, 1100 5th Ave). Top to bottom, I have never had a disappointing meal there. The appetizers are fantastic: sweet potato gnocci with marscapone and sage, a bundle of asparagus wrapped in proscuitto. Service is also excellent. In the neighboorhood bistro category, Salvatore's (61st & Roosevelt) is amazing. I've been there probably 25 times. The menu is fine (get the grilled mussell appetizer), but the 5 daily specials are where it's at. Tremendous veal and chicken dishes.
  8. Zucchini flowers stuffed with foie gras I have a bunch in my garden now (I know we planted late). What are your favorite preparations.
  9. WINE: COMMITTEE TO SAFEGUARD DOC AND IGT BRANDS (AGI) - Rome, Italy, July 29 - The 2003-2008 national committee for DOC and IGT wines has been established: the chairman is Tommaso Zanoletti. "The committee has always - said the undersecretary of agriculture, Teresio Delfino - reply firmly to the needs of our appellation controlle' wines, and will pursue initiatives which are already underway (reform of law 164), for a concrete wine policy". The administration will enhance the committee's tools, in order to meet the demands of the wine sector. (AGI) 292034 LUG 03 COPYRIGHTS 2002-2003 AGI S.p.A.
  10. I have a garden of out-of-control pumpkin plants and must pinch off some of the flowers. Do they give the same result as zucchini flowers when stuffed?
  11. ITALIAN CREAM CAKE 1/2 c BUTTER (RT) 1/2 c SHORTENING 2 c SUGAR 5 EGGS, SEPARATED 2 c AP FLOUR 1 tsp BS 1 c BUTTERMILK 5-1/2 tsp VANILLA 3-1/2 oz CAN GRATED COCONUT 1 c CHOPPED PECANS Cream Cheese Frosting 1/4 c BUTTER (RT) 8 oz CREAM CHEESE (RT) 2 c SIFTED XXX SUGAR 1 tsp VANILLA 1/2 CHOPPED PECANS 1/2 c GRATED COCONUT Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar, beating til smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and soda. Add alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla. Add coconut and pecans. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in 3 greased and flour 9-inch cake pans at 350* for 20 to 25 mins, or until done. Cool and frost with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. Frosting Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, mixing well. Add vanilla. Spread between layers and on top of cake. Sprinkle with pecans and coconut. Keywords: Dessert, Cake ( RG1053 )
  12. Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 50-60 g very aromatic olive oil 80 g honey 120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 2 eggs 2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 230 g flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios 50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed Optional: more olive oil for brushing Heat oven to 170 deg C. In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. Let chill completely before removing from tray. Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea.
  13. I've got a pasta recipe that calls for crumbled ricotta (preferably Buffalo). I don't think I've used Buffalo ricotta before, but if it's like the ricotta I have used, it's not something that would "crumble". Feta, that would crumble. Ricotta? Seems to have too much moisture to crumble. Not as much as say, cottage cheese, but enough to make crumbling a challenge. Am I missing something? Will the standard ricotta give the same effect? Steve (FWIW, the recipe is pasta w/tomato, spinach and crumbled ricotta)
  14. Here are the top 16 restaurants in Italy according to the 2003 Gambero Rosso Ristorante d'Italia. It is worth noting that Balzano has two on this list while Roma has only 1 and Milano 0 and the only one in Piemonte is now closed. Toscana leads the pack with 4 while Ancona, Terni and Napoli are the only ones holding up the pride of the south. Do you agree with these rankings? Please share your experiences with these restaurants. 95 - Gambero Rosso, San Vincenzo (Livorno) 93 - Ambasciata, Quistello (Mantua) 93 - La Pergola dell'Hotel Cavalieri Hilton, Roma 92 - Vissani, fraz. Civitella del Lago, Baschi (Terni) 92 - Dal Pescatore, Canneto sull'Oglio (Mantua) 91 - Da Guido (closed) 91 - Don Alfonso 1890, Massa Lubrense (Napoli) 91 - Paolo Teverini, Bagno di Romagna (Forli Cesena) 91 - La Stua de Michil, Corvara in Badia (Bolzano) 90 - Antica Osteria del Teatro, Piacenza 90 - La Madonnina, Senigallia (Ancona) 90 - Enoteca Pinchiorri, Firenze 90 - La Tenda Rossa, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, (Firenze) 90 - La Siriolo de l'Hotel Ciasa Salares, Badia (Bolzano) 90 - Il Desco, Verona 90 - Da Caino, Manciano (Grosetto)
  15. Has anyone noticed that once you cross the border from Italy into France, Switzerland, Germany or Austria that you can no longer get real-taasting Italian food? I haven't tried Italian food in Austria or near the German-Italian border part of Germany. However, I have been to the two"best" Italian restgaurants in Nice-L'Allegro and Auberge de Theo" and the food tastes (and the restaurants smell) just like I get in New York. I have also eaten in the Ticino, but have never had a seemingly authentic Italian meal, although it has been a long time since I was last there. Am I mislead by somehow being psychologically affected by stepping across the Italian-Something border? Is it possible that great Italian cooking is so regionalized that once you leave the area for obtaining the proper ingredients it deteriorates into a vulgarized version of "internationale" Italian food? What do you think?
  16. Stopped here for dinner last evening after Mass. The food was extremely good. I had the veal chop with gorgonzola sauce and the Insalata Mista. The salad was very fresh and had a good mixture of greens with some slivers of red pepper, plum tomatoes and onion, in a very good house vinegarette. My husband had the Caesar Salad and the filet mignon special, which he said was excellent. We did not have dessert just coffee. It is BYOB, which we did not know, but we will the next time.
  17. As I am getting lots of useful advice today, why not go the whole hog and run tonight's intended main by you? I came back from Borough with a bunch of vegetables, some of which will go into Italianate lukewarm starters and some into a salad, but I think I will use the trevise I bought, along with a jar of those Spanish Navarrico broad beans in brine, for a risotto. Now, trying an unpracticed recipe on friends is one thing but improvising it is even more risky. My main concern is that I haven't used these jarred broad beans before and am not sure how I should treat them v. fresh. Also whether this will end up too bitter unless i do something to the trevise tips first. Anyway, here is roughly what I intend to do. Is there anything you would do differently? Finely chop trevise stems. Roughly chop tips (maybe burn them slightly on a ridged grill first?) Blanch broad beans for 3-4 minutes. Drain (not too dry), add some butter, s&p. With hand blender, turn about a third of this to a rough paste. Melt finely chopped red onion and celery heart in butter (maybe a crumbled red chilli or two in there). Add stems of trevise and and stir for a minute, then add broad bean paste and wait another minute or so before adding rice. Make risotto as normal (glass of white wine or prosecco; then thin Swiss marigold stock [so sue me]), aiming for soupy Venetian-type consistency (rice=vialone nano). Stir in whole broad beans and most of trevise tips, a bit of chopped parsley, s&p. Scatter with remaining trevise tips to serve.
  18. Hi Mark! I'd like to first thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to participate in the Q&A here at eGullet. It is very much appreciated. I was wondering which region of the world (and style of cuisine) has your heart. Does French cuisine appeal most to you? Maybe it's Italian? I'd love to know! And in the same vein, how do you feel about the recently-emerging "avant-garde" style of cooking? Trio, WD-50, et al. jump immediately to mind. Have you dined at these establishments? How do you feel they fare against other cuisines? Thank you very much for your time, -Chris
  19. I'm holding in my hands a package of Mrs. Leeper's Corn Spaghetti, which I bought on a lark. It was located in the ever-growing "gluten-free zone" of my local Whole Foods (I personally have no problem with gluten), which also contained rice pasta and Quinoa pasta. Located across the other side of the shelf--a bit set off from both the gluten-free and the "normal" semolina-based were also a few made with Spelt--which apparently also has its own form of gluten, but people who have problems digesting "regular" wheat gluten apparently don't have as much of a problem with it. Putting aside issues about gluten sensitivity itself, are any of these products any good on their own merits? How do you sauce/prepare them?
  20. I have been introduced to this soup by Ed Schoenfeld. The soup called Venetian Bean Soup at Le Zie, in Chelsea, NYC, is superb. When I asked the server what beans the chef was using, he said pinto beans. It comes garnished with a fruity olive oil and with pasta inside the soup. I add some grated parmesan into it. It seems like the soup has lots of pureed beans in it and they leave a good amount whole to play against the texture given by the perfectly cooked pasta. Could this really be an authentic Venetian Style Soup? Is it one of many variations that are popular? Does every restaurant and home chef have their own take on a soup like this? Any recipes that one could work with to make a soup that is similar to what I mention and also traditional?
  21. (also posted on the Spanish forum) A colleague at work has just revealed his ambition to set up his own business in his home country producing cured meats - sausages, hams etc. (Yes, things are looking up on the culinary front at work). He has already set up a learning session in Corsica and is now looking for somewhere in Italy where he can acquire knowledge, like a small producer. I have the odd contact in Italy that may be able to help him, but wonder if any of the e-gullet residents of Italy can help. I have no doubts as to his drive and ability to succeed, just sad that his business will be on the other side of the world. Any pointers? v
  22. As the fifty or so of you who looked at my earlier post -- http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...ST&f=3&t=21468& -- on Carciofi alla Giudia must have quickly realized, there is a lot of arcane mystification in preparing them. Now that I have made them, I see that much of it is needless. They are much easier to make than the cookbooks claim. Herewith, the results of my first attempt. Sharing the process should encourage others to try so that collectively we can improve the results. Make haste while the baby artichokes flower. Springtime is when they should be made. This is a dish where ingredients are more important than technique. Of the four recipes I linked on the original post, Claudia Roden alone addressed this, although her claim that only tiny Roman or Spanish can work is too restrictive. In the States right now, good produce stores do sell baby artichokes, from California not Europe -- I presume. So one need not fly to Rome to eat this delicacy. Baby artichokes obviate the elaborate sculpting repeated in many of these recipes. Furthermore these artichokes are tender enough so you need not bother to remove the fuzzy choke and the inner spiky leaves -- particularly since they are too small and tight to get at the chock without breaking the entire vegetable apart. Instead simply cut off the stem and the outer leaves. Cut off about the uppermost 1/5 of all the other leaves. That should remove the spikes and the toughest parts. The standard advice is to keep them in acidulated water, i.e. mixed with the juice of 2 lemons and the juiced halves so they won't discolor. I did follow that advice, but I wonder if it is necessary since frying changes the color in the end. By the way it may be that similar results can be produced with full-size artichokes, but they probably would require the kind of painstaking work detailed in the Roden recipe, most notably choke removal, and in Machlin, careful sculpting of the leaves. After they have been cut up. Do try to open, expand, and slightly flatten the artichokes so the leaves spread out like flower petals. Some of the recipe techniques seem absurd, such as hitting the artichokes against each other like cymbals to open them further. Squishing them slightly with the bottom of your palm -- the chokes, bottom up, leaves down -- on a cutting board, worked quite well. Generous salt and pepper are important. I sprinkled sel de mer and freshly ground black pepper. Some of the recipes call for 25 minutes and two stages of frying. I did it in about 15 for one stage and I fear that might have been too much for the babies. Ten minutes in rolling, boiling EVOO (actually I cheated since I also had some left over peanut and corn oil as well) should be enough. I did not cover the artichokes in oil. I turned them over once. The result was a vegetable that looked more like a marigold than chrysanthemum. The leaves tasted like green potato chips. The tiny heart had the consistency of fried clam bellies, but much more delicious. The seven of us scarfed them down. A few of the leaves were tough, but discarding them was no more annoying than getting rid of a kalamata olive pit.
  23. The Modernist Cuisine team is currently traveling the globe to research pizza and different pizza styles for our next book Modernist Pizza. Nathan and the team will be in São Paulo and Buenos Aires soon. We'd love hear from the eGullet community—what pizzerias should they visit while they're there? You can read more about our next book Modernist Pizza here. Thanks in advance, everyone!
  24. I am led to believe that World Pasta Day 2016 is to be on Tuesday, October 25 this year. So, with this in mind, what are the eG cooks planning on "cooking up" in celebrating the day? I will start the ball rolling. I am going to make my standard egg yoke pasta sheets, rolled out on my now seldom-used manual pasta machine and use them in making lasagna, using my old and reliable bolognese sauce recipe layered with béchamel sauce and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. And with the left-over egg whites I will make a few meringue bases for portioned pavlova - Spring is here in the Southern Hemisphere and berries and fruit are starting to appear in the shops!
  25. It being spring, and the asparagus and peas at the farmers market looking particularly good the last couple weeks, I've been playing around with "pasta primavera." I'm not using any kind of recipe, nor am I looking for the most "authentic Italian" version, I'm just looking for how others make theirs. Last week's I made like an Alfredo, but with added sauteed peas and asparagus. Tonight I gently sauteed the peas, asparagus, and some sugar snap peas as well in some nice olive oil, then gave it a squeeze of lemon, a hit of garlic, some more olive oil, and tossed it with some linguini and parmesan. Bother versions were good but not great. Tonight's showed promise, but I think needed more lemon and maybe some black pepper. What's next? Do you have a go-to recipe? Any other thoughts for pasta/noodle dishes that incorporate our springtime harvests?
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