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  1. 8am... Why did I volunteeer for this? I'm sure I will lose any reputation that I might have as a serious foodie...need more coffee. This is not going to be about elelegant restaurant food, but bourgeoise domestic cooking. For those that don't already know Jill and I live about 5 miles west of Cambridge, UK where it is currently dank and raining, but not too cold. Some forecasters predict the weather will turn cold and snow, but a white Christmas is unlikely. Our main meals tend to be in the evening, except for holidays and the odd Sunday. Unless otherwise noted, breakfast for me is a mug of coffee (mix of 1/3rd Old Brown Java, 1/3rd Kenya Pea Berry, 1/3rd Mocha Mysore, all medium roast and made in a press pot) with semi-skimmed milk. Probably made stronger than coffeee in the US, and when I'm in the US I find there is something strange about the milk usually served with US coffee. Powdered milk, or NDC is not acceptable at any time. I usually skip lunch, or graze. For the holidays this year we are expecting this year Jill's grown up sons plus their partners, one of whom is vegetarian, and various waifs and strays. We are not religious, so this is a secular celebration, encompassing as many traditions as possible, but rooted in English customs with a fair bit of Provence influence. Currently I plan. eG folk, please comment and advise. Circumstances may change, and it may not all happen. Today Saturday 20 Dec. First day of Chanukah Supermarket shopping at Tesco's, 100,000 sq ft of supermarket for most of the basics. Start making Pannetone. Has to be Latkes, and I guess Brisket for supper. Maybe kale or cabbage or sourkraut to go with. Sunday 21 Dec Winter Solstice, Yule Get in Yule log, holly, Mistletoe, Xmas tree, (which my brother, being frum, calls a Hannukah bush) Finish Pannetone Baked Ham, parsley sauce Monday 22 Dec Dunno. Leftovers or take-out Tuesday 23rd Dec Company (www.artimi.com) Xmas dinner at the University Arms Hotel. Rubber turkey I expect Wednesday 24th Dec Xmas Eve Bread baking: Pome a l'huile Making mince pies to the sound of King's College Carols Provence style Gros Souper, meat free maybe: l'aigo boulido, a garlic and herb soup, cauliflower (gratin), Salt cod balls or en raito, celery with anchoïade. Cheese. Trifl; the "trieze deserts". As we don't go to Midnight Mass, we wont follow with the Souper Gras Thursday 25th Dec Xmas, and Sir Isaac Newton's Birthday. Late Xmas lunch Amuse: Truffled Brandade and Tapenade crostini Caviars, blinis etc Truffled consomme dore (shot glasses) -o0o- Turkey, with all the trimmings - Fois gras truffe - Sausage meat and a vegetarian chestnut stuffing (for the veggie) - chipolatas, bacon rolls - cranberry and bread sauces, Jus - roast potatoes, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) - Sprouts, carrots Christmas pudding, hard sauce Cheese Mince pies, tangerines, walnuts etc Friday 26th Dec Boxing Day Brunch Invited to supper by our neighbors Saturday 27th Leftovers: Soup, maybe devilled turkey wings, a pie, or Risotto... Sunday 28th Standing rib roast Monday 29th Leftovers: Tuesday 30th: Stew? Wednesday 31st New Years Eve Cock-a-leekie Haggis Syllabub and shortbread Cheese
  2. Good Morning from beautiful, sunny Vancouver Island. My name is Ann and I live with my husband Moe in Duncan, British Columbia right in the heart of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. We have a son, Matt, who is 24 and lives just an hour south of us in Victoria. My blog theme is planned around all the wonderful foods that are available here on the island, mostly in the Cowichan Valley and the Victoria/Sidney area. I have a friend visiting from Toronto this week and Sandra and I plan to drive all over the southern part of Vancouver Island visiting farms, markets and wineries. It is my intention to cook most of our meals using local in-season produce, meats and seafood also from the area. We got started early by going to a couple of the farmers’ markets in Victoria on Saturday and the Cedar Farmer’s Market on Sunday. Duncan has a wonderful farmer’s market that is open every Saturday 12 months of the year and I very seldom miss it. I love this time of year. Each week the selection at the market just gets better and better. I can’t wait until the corn and tomatoes are available. Actually this week won’t be too much different from the way that I normally cook and plan meals. I’ve always shopped on a daily basis and I’ve never minded driving some distance to find what I want. Here is a picture of Saturday’s take from the Markets. The garlic is from the James Bay Market and the rest of the produce came from the Moss Street Market. It's early here, just 6:15 AM so I'm off to the kitchen to make coffee.
  3. FOOD! GLORIOUS FOOD! The word "BLOG" is a familiar one in our house. My hubby Bill, is a prof. in the Faculty of Education, and "blogging" is one of the requirements for his Communications and Computer technology courses. But, I have never been involved in blogs until this invitation...and this sounds much tastier! Thanks for the opportunity. Life is much more relaxed now that we have retired from the restaurant biz. http://home.westman.wave.ca/~hillmans/soosera.html Since 2002, I have been teaching half time at our university in the EAP program with international students. This leaves me the rest of the day to cook . . . what else? Brandon is a rural city of 44,000. Dining out does not include gourmet meals, tasting menus, etc. Until I found Egullet, a tasting menu was a 9 or 11 course Chinese banquet, complete with a 26 oz. bottle of Crown Royal ;-) My cooking these days involve learning traditional family recipes from my 95-year-old mother, pulling out old recipes from pre-Soo's Restaurant days, and trying out ideas from Egullet and my overflowing collection of cookbooks. This week will be a hectic one for blogging. My sister and family are visiting from Burnaby, B.C. so lots of food will be involved. On top of that, hubby, our kids and myself are performing Saturday and Sunday at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Brandon Folk Music & Crafts Festival. We will have out of town musical guests . . . so more food! Good thing I am on summer vacation this month. DAY ONE I love my mornings. When university is in session, I am up at 5 a.m. so I could do my prep. while the house is quiet. These days, I can sleep in until 6 a.m. I take our daughter to work at her summer job at the hospital, then I get to relax with my breakfast and 2nd cup of coffee. Today, I sat out on the deck with a cup of Tim Horton's brew-at-home with Coffee Rich creamer, 2 slices of toast with my home made peach/apricot/pineapple conserve. I love this stuff on toast, ice cream or just by itself as a snack. The recipe is one handed down by hubby's Nana Campbell. She even used bits of apricot pits in her recipe! It added a touch of crunchy bitterness to the sweet and tang of the fruit, but not enough arsenic to topple us. For lunch, my daughter packed a roll-up made with whole wheat tortillia, poached chicken breast, a handful of spring greens with raspberry vinegrette, shredded carrot and juilenne cukes. At home, we had wonton soup with shrimp egg noodles, Shanghai bok choy, shrimp and lap cheung.
  4. Note: Now that it's Thanksgiving week, this Diary has upped the ante by turning into the weekly foodblog as well. Click here to go down to the beginning of the foodblog. In consultation with our blog Czar over in the General forum, I am going to be writing about the preparations leading up to our big Thanksgiving Dinner which, as most of you know, is just around the corner in a few weeks. I guess it's been around ten years now that I've been doing Thanksgiving dinner partys, and they have increased in sophistication and complexity every year. It was just the usual turkey, dressing, and vegetable sides the first year. Then that grew into Turducken with the usual sides jazzed up a bit. After a few years of Turducken, I started getting tired of that and began moving in the direction of multiple courses. The first time I think we made a lobster bisque followed by a buckwheat crepe filled with a leek and gruyere mixture alongside a bundle of three asparagus spears held together with a strip of bacon, and then a turkey ballotine stuffed with a chicken and foie gras mousse. From there, it just kind of took off, and this is where we found ourselves last year: So the question is, what are we going to have this year? Over the next few weeks I'll post here about the process from end-to-end, from settling on a guest list to picking the wines, to QAing new dishes to picking out wines to dinnertime logistics and execution to cleanup, and more.
  5. Well today I'm going to start this blog very slowly as I had a very bad night with the youngsters of my family (read too many beers and way too many shots). I'll start with an introduction and then later today I'll post about the mayhem and madness making and devouring Easter lunch My wife is a NYer born and bred - Me, I'm Australian through and through. We met just after 9-11, when I was across here on an exchange with the fire department. AFter spending 3 weeks in NJ and NY together, then my wife (I'll call her V) visiting me for 2 weeks in Australia, we got married last April in NJ - tomorrow's the big one year anniversary. For those of you wine conniseurs, we currently live in the Clare Valley in Australia which is the home of such great wineries as Taylors, Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Barrys and MANY other smaller boutique wineries - god I could spend a day here just writing about the wineries in our area. I believe grand total it's about 120 wineries both big and small, good and bad The unfortunate part of living where we do is that restaurants and supermarkets are few and far between, and sometimes it's just basically a pain in the ass trying to get the supplies I want for a meal. Our family over here actually moved to NJ from the Bronx back in the 80's. They're Italian-American, so food is definitely a thing of importance which is great for me because good food is damn important to me too. I'm the youngest of the "kids" so I get ALOT of perks until it comes to cooking and then they basically shut the kitchen door and leave me locked in there until the food is ready They're slowly realizing that I'm a better cook than the MIL, so every time we come back for vacation I get an email from my FIL requesting various things. One day I'm going to have the nerve to tell him that grilling when it's like 32F outside is just not fun!!!!! Food wise, V and I will basically eat anything - Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Greek - you name it, we'll eat it. OK I'm lieing, the only offal I'll eat are kidneys and V will eat nothing of the sort. Call me a wuss if you like but that's just me, other than that everything's fair game.... those deer and groundhogs in Dad's backyard are looking pretty damn good. Anyone know what groundhog tastes like?? Anyway that's all for now, I have Easter lunch to hook into and make (read create ) and then later today I'll post about dinner last night and lunch today. Cheers Tom PS I hope everyone has a great Easter and just keep on smiling NOTE: sorry guys I'm yet to move into the 21st century so there won't be any pics just verbal descriptions of what we're eating
  6. Welcome to Edmonton! I am located just off the downtown of the city, conveniently close to both of my jobs and to the city's one significant natural landmark, the North Saskatchewan river. The river was Edmonton's original raison d'etre; like most of our western capitals it began life as a Hudson Bay Company trading post. In the glory days of the fur trade, it was possible to ship furs by canoe from the modern-day Yukon territory all the way to Montreal with no portage longer than 10km (far enough, with the loads they carried!). Today the river is primarily a tourist attraction, playground, and occasionally the instigator of insurance claims for flooding. I will take you for a quick stroll through a part of the river valley within the next few days, as weather permits (the lengthy drought broke when we moved here two years ago, though I can't take credit for that...). During the appropriate season there are many berries to be gleaned there, and it's always a pleasant walk. Photos will be a bit late in coming. My digital is painfully old and low-end, and essentially only works in perfect lighting. To supplement it I've bought a simple film camera, but that of course involves processing and scanning time. I hope to start posting some pics by Thursday evening (Friday at the latest), so please bear with me. I am not nearly as active on the board as some of the recent bloggers, so I'll provide you with a bit of context. I am a career changer, 41, originally from Halifax Nova Scotia. A couple of years ago, in one of those epiphanal moments, I realized that I'd just drifted into sales when I was young and had coasted ever since. Verging on 40, I thought that...just maybe...it was time I gave some consideration to what I wanted to do when I grew up... The choice was fairly obvious. I've been a dedicated home cook and baker since I was an adolescent; and while I knew going in that the life of a professional cook is a hard one, I reasoned that at the end of the day if you're doing something you love for its own sake you're ahead of the game. So I went to school. I took my first year at the Nova Scotia Community College in Halifax (honours) and my second at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (honours). I have been working, since my arrival in Edmonton, at this this respected fine-dining restaurant; upon graduation from school I added a full-time job in this popular market/lunch spot. Last summer, while still fresh out of school, I was inspired to blog a typical work week, for the benefit of the insatiably curious. It seemed that there was a lot of interest in how foodservice jobs work in practice, and I thought it might be of interest to many among the community. And that's where it would have stayed, except that a few weeks ago SobaAddict in his role of Foodblog Czar asked for those who are bakers or pastrychefs to step forward. Since I run the instore bakery at my day job, I thought that perhaps I should volunteer. So, here's Chromedome II...the return of the career changer. A few points to clear up at the beginning: for one thing, this is a serious "pot luck" blog. I have one or two special things I'm hoping to squeeze in, but I don't know yet what shifts I'll be pulling over the weekend. That means real life, folks...on the home front you may see souffles or you may see mac and cheese. I promise you I eat better than Wendy ( ), but her work photos are a LOT more interesting than mine will be. Still and all, this is what it looks like. I cook for my family, and they get what I have the time and energy to make. So...we'll be looking at some shots from one job at least, possibly both; my baking at work and at home; my garden; and to the extent that it's pertinent, a few bits and pieces of the city. My budget (wife, two kids, two student loans, the highest utilities in the country, etc) does not permit of special ingredients or excursions to the city's restaurants, and my kitchen is at the opposite end of the envy-inducement scale from Daddy-A's starship bridge and Jackal's vintage AGA. It's a come-as-you-are foodblog! From the subtitle of this blog (and the tone of the teaser Soba posted on Jackal's blog), you may be wondering just how I'm feeling about my career choice. Well...I'm still enjoying myself, but it's most assuredly not for everyone. I'll elaborate further in the course of this next week, and naturally I'm more than happy to answer anyone's questions about that or any other food-related topic. For now, though, I'm going to bed. Tomorrow morning is sneaking up on me, and it's got a cudgel in its grubby little clutches...
  7. Welcome to the 2012 season of eGullet Foodblogs and welcome, too, I guess, to my corner of Melbourne. Now, it's not Sunday. Not yet. Not even here. It will be soon--it's Saturday night--but I figured I'd post my prep for Sunday's dinner now, given early on Sunday I'll be spending most of the day at the Australian Open. I must apologise in advance, too, for the quality of some of the photographs. When I'm in a store somewhere I tend to prefer using my iPhone to my hulking SLR, a decision that often results in shitty photo. Some context. I live and have always lived in Melbourne's south eastern suburbs. I've spent most of my life in suburbs with a very high population of migrants from all over the world. Australia's culinary scene is shaped by migrants. The Italians and Greeks and others from that part of the world, back in the second half of the 20th century, they brought pizza and pasta and capsicums and salami. In the later part of the 20th century, the Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodians brought over a wide array of condiments, fruits and vegetables. Every batch of refugees and immigrants has brought their food with them--from boiled bagels to biltong, chorizo to bok choy. Entire suburbs became, and to some extent remain, 'enclaves' for various ethnic groups--Springvale, which I'll show you some time during the week, is home to a great many Vietnamese and Cambodian-Chinese. Clayton, where I am now, was once home to many Greeks and Italians--they're still here--but now has a very large population of Koreans and Indians. Dandenong, which you'll also see, has a lot of Sudanese, Sri Lankans, Indians, people from what used to be Yugoslavia and many others. The nation's collective palate has matured, too. At some point, not too long ago, supermarkets started selling frozen packages of 'stir fry' vegetables and a selection of dried pastas that went beyond spaghetti and 'macaroni'. Products I once had to look for in specialist stores--one of the many local Indian grocers, for instance--I can now find in most supermarkets. Much of this change has been in my lifetime. In my family home the menu evolved from variations on bangers and mash to include an increasing selection of heavily Australianised Asian and Italian dishes. The South East Asian influence is very obvious in the menus of our fine dining scene. I could show you many different parts of my city. If you visit here as a tourist, you're likely to visit Queen Victoria Market and maybe a couple of the big name restaurants in the CBD. I'll show you a little bit of that, but my focus will instead be on where I live and the surrounding suburbs. The preview pictures Canned grubs from South Korea, as avaliable at the 'Hong Kong Supermarket' just down the road. Not a mango or orange tree. It's a lemon tree in my backyard. Many Australians own lemon trees and we tend to get a bit weird about paying for lemons in the supermarket, even tho' they're typically only $3-4 per kilogram. Harry's Deli, a large Greek grocery store located at the end of my street. Reasonable selection of spices and dried goods, as well as olives, Greek cheeses and 'homemade' dips. A selection of umami boosters that, as a couple people pointed out, includes vegemite. I very much prefer savoury flavours to anything else. One of the local butcher shops. Australians might recognise these titles as coming from local chefs/authors. We also have reasonable-sized Indonesian population in Clayton. This is one of two Indonesian restaurants--very cheap and not bad, either. The food is very much like what you'd imagine getting in an Indonesian home in terms of presentation and menu options. A small part of the spice section in India at Home, one of the two larger Indian grocers (there are two big 'supermarkets' and a lot of smaller places, most of which also sell hot food items such as samosas) in Clayton. Also sells products from elsewhere in southern Asia, Fiji and South Africa. Some of the cheeses sold in one of the local Italian delis. Also sells a small selection of non-Italian products, including Spanish paprika and canned fish from Portugal. Harry's Outlet -- Greek deli I ducked into Harry's in search of juniper (not Greek, sure, but their spice selection is decent)--no luck--but ended up stocking up on some of their 'homemade' dips. Oasis Bakery -- Middle Eastern bakery, grocery store, etc My search for juniper led me to Oasis, a Middle Eastern grocer five minutes from home. It's 'Middle Eastern' in its focus but also sells a lot of interesting foodstuffs--some modernist cuisine-type additives, canned snails imported from France, a variety of canned fish eggs, a decent selection of Mexican chillies, etc. The spice selection is easily the most extensive there is so close to home. It's a nice shop. Vine leaves, obviously. A selection of dips, including all of the usual suspects--hommus, ful, tzatziki, roasted capsicum, etc. A selection of duck and goose products including fat, confit and rillettes. Salmon roe, lumpfish caviar and a few other varieties of 'fish egg' priced between these two points. Actual caviar is not sold here, of course. We're not in the right area for that. A selection of olives, ranging from hulking kalamatas marinated in a variety of ways to pricey little ones from Italy. Part of the section dedicated to oils and vinegars. Avaliable are products such as raspberry finishing vinegar, organic sesame oil and a truly baffling variety of infused extra virgin olive oils and fruity/spiced vinegars. Opposing this shelf is a shelf dedicated to sauces, including a selection of peri peris from Portugal and southern Africa and some 'gourmet' chutney. A section of the (long) wall dedicated to nuts and dried fruit, running from macadamias to slices of pear. A section dedicated to pre-packaged Turkish delight, running from cheap bulk packs to expensive organic stuff. A line of tajines they're pushing. Part of the spice, herb and powders section--you can pre-made blends, a variety of different chillies (in powder or whole form) and chilli blends, vegetable and fruit powders, natural food colourings and essences, whole and powdered spices and additives. A selection of salts, ranging from the usual--table salt, rock salt, etc--to some flavoured salts (wild garlic, etc), expensive Maldon sea salt and a few interesting ones, such as black salt and hickory smoked salt. Selection is actually superior to that of the ultra expensive gourmet shops such as Simon Johnson and Jones the Grocer. Part of the pickles section--runs, again, from industrial-sized cans of pickled onions to little jars of chillies. Freeze dried fruits and vegetables, sitting atop a freezer that holds icecreams, pastry, savoury and sweet-filled pastires, dough, ready meals such as their housemade Lebanese pizzas (avaliable hot in the restaurant), desserts of various kinds and a huge selection of frozen fruits and berries (want 3 different kinds of cherry, by any chance?) Just near here, too, is a whole wall of cheeses and a counter that sells a variety of pastries, ranging from baklava to macarons (insanely popular in Australia at the moment, thanks to Masterchef). Some honey--again, the range includes expensive local stuff (Manuka, organic, etc) and some imported ones from Greece and other places. Still cheaper than Simon Johnson, Essential Ingredient and other places aimed at wealthy inner suburbanites. If I find the time I'll show you one of those stores as a nice bit of contrast. A section dedicated to dried beans and grains, ranging from farro and organic quinoa to chickpeas and navy beans. Some dessert-type products, including Persian fairy floss, orange blossom water and rose water. Around the corner is a selection of chocolates, mostly imported or good quality local ones. Some beverages. There is also a large selection of teas and coffees for sale at Oasis. Oasis also has a restaurant, which sells--both for takeaway and sit-in customers--Middle Eastern dishes such as Lebanese pizza, doner kebabs, salads, desserts and a wide selection of stuffed bread/pastry-type products. The food is reasonably priced and, in my experience, very good. I don't eat there often--my shopping tends not to coincide with lunchtime, as Oasis is insanely popular and it's difficult to get in/out of the carpark, as it's on a busy main road--but I've never struck a dud dish. The haul. I went in looking for juniper--I need it for Sunday night's dinner--and came out with smoked sea salt (I'd been on the look out for this stuff since buying the Hawksmoor at Home book, so it was hardly an impulse purchase), goose rillettes and some wild Australian olives. The olives, which I ate with some of the imported brie I bought the other day. Very nice olives. Dan Murphy's I'm cooking kangaroo on Sunday night so I figured I'd want some beer to go with it. Luckily, Dan Murphy's is just down the road from Oasis. Dan's is a chain of booze outlets owned by one of the two big supermarket chains. It has very good prices and a very good selection of some of the finer things in life--craft beer from Australia, wine from Australia and elsewhere, spirits and, of course, single malt whiskies. I have enough wine, whisky and spirits at home, so I was only in search of beer. Part of the liqueur/spirit section. Looking out over the wine section. This store, by the way, seems smaller than the other near near my house. Cider has become popular in Australia in the past couple of years. In addition to the shitty overly sweet 'apple, strawberry and bullshit'-type stuff, there's also some good quality imported French and British (as well as a few local) ciders. At some point this week I'll try and track down some of the better Australian ones--they're not sold at Dan Murphy's yet. Part of the beer section. The selection runs from the mass produced locals and imports (VB, Carlton, etc, as well as Stella, Corona, etc) to locally made craft beers, a few that straddle the line between mass produced and crafty (James Squire, the Matilda Bay range) and some nice imports (Duvel, Chimay, Leffe, Sapporo) from Belgium, mostly, but also France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, South Africa and other places. A wider selection of, say, Indian beers (Kingfisher, Haywards 5000, etc) can be had at some of the smaller bottle-os in Clayton, which service a large Indian clientelle. The haul. Note the Sierra Nevadas--I've heard very good things. All of the others (aside from the minis) are local beers. Spiced and smoked kangroo -- prep Why did I head out in search of juniper and ale? On Sunday night I'm cooking kangaroo, working from a recipe in 32 Inspiration Chefs -- South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia [and some other places] for springbok. In the original recipe, some springbok loin is marinated in a spice mix, tea-smoked and then seared in a pan. It's accompanied by, among other things, a verjuice reduction, an apple chutney, parsnip puree and braised radicchio. It's a little more involved than what I'd normally make for dinner, but it's the weekend, school holidays (I'm a teacher) and the moment I saw some of the springbok/kudu/etc recipes in that book I was really keen to try all of them with 'roo fillets. Kangaroo, incidentally, is the most widely avaliable game in Australia--most supermarkets will sell the 'Macro Meats' brand fillets, steaks, 'kanga bangers', hamburgers, mince, mini-roasts and a variety of pre-marinted products, including sis kebabs and spiced steaks. Through a decent butcher, you can also order in--or sometimes even find, if you're lucky--kangaroo meat from other companies and in other cuts, including tail. In Queen ViC Market you'll maybe find 'roo biltong or salami. It's very lean and a bit like venison in terms of flavour--a bit sweet, a bit of iron, a meat for people who like meat. It's disgusting if over- or under-cooked, too. A lot of people don't like it because their one experience was negative--it's so easy to ruin. An increasing number of fine dining restaurants, including Vue de Monde, The Point and Jacques Reymond, are starting to include 'roo on their menus. The 'roo fillets, sitting in a marinade comprised of cumin, coriander seeds, chilli, mustard seeds, juniper, salt (I used some of the smoked salt), black pepper, soy sauce, treacle, olive oil and Worcester sauce. Verjuice reduction (water, sugar, verjuice). The apple chutney (Granny Smiths, red onion, sultanas, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, celery, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay, cardmom and cloves). When I return home from the Open I'll set to work on the last minute elements of the dish--the parsnip puree, the radicchio and some polenta (corn meal seemed like a nod to the African origins of the dish, while ticking off the starch requirements nicely). Instead of smoking the fillets in the oven with rooibos tea, orange zest, star anise and cinnamon as in the original springbok recipe, I'll load up my smoker with some hickory chips. The dish shall be served with much beer.
  8. We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food. A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions. A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.
  9. My fellow eGulleters... Hello there, my real name is Mike, I live just outside of Washington DC, and Uptown tagged me. We'll see how this makes my week a lot different food-wise. I have some bad dining habits mixed in with my own pretty-good-for-an-amateur cooking along with some meals from some excellent, or at least reliable, restaurants in the DC area. Can I start with last night? It's been so cooooold. And for whatever reason, braising seems to be the way to go when it's chilly. So, I went to visit my best friend, his wife, and my twin Godsons, armed with a bunch of short ribs, carrots, onions, celery, beef broth, red wine (lots of it), garlic, parsley, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and a can of fire roasted tomatoes. A delicious meal ensued. More details later as this PC at my friend's place is misbehaving, and the Indian carryout just arrived.
  10. I never imagined that my first post in my first eGullet foodblog would be so difficult to begin. With so much to share over the next week, I hardly know where to start. I want to make these next several days engagingly fun, witty, and intimately personal so that anyone so inclined may easily immerse themselves into my food-obsessed world. My goal is to bring enough of my (hopefully) unique personality and perspective to make this blog as interesting as possible. And, of course, I welcome any questions, comments, feedback, or musings that you all may have. Together, I think we can make this a really fun week. With that said, let's begin. First, a little on my background for those who may be unfamiliar. As you may have surmised, my name is Bryan. I'm currently living in northern central New Jersey and am 19 years old. During the school year, I attend Duke University in Durham, NC and am actively involved in the food community both on campus and in the surrounding area. At home, I cook a lot and work a little, much to the chagrin of my bank account. I'm half-Japanese, in case you're wondering, and this identity has played a relatively significant role in my culinary philosophy. By the way, I turn 20 on the 15th of July, in the midst of this foodblog. This scares me to no end; my childhood is but over. I'm more than willing to talk further about my background, culinary or otherwise, if anyone is interested. Just ask. Now let's introduce some of this week's crew. First, the Girlfriend. Offical taste-tester and capable of eating her own body weight of, well, just about anything. You know the stereotypical jock boyfriend (usually a football player in those TV family sitcoms) who eats his girlfriend's family out of house and home, my situation is eerily similar. She also apparently picks herbs while looking mysterious and deep in thought. Next, the Mother. Pays for groceries and other toys. Provides general financial and moral support. Drinks a lot of wine, as seen here. Finally, the Sister. Takes care of the pastry stuff that I'm too lazy to do. Baking, ice creams, sorbets, all that jazz. I must confess to not being on eG much in the prior week or so. Just a couple of days ago I returned from a trip to Anguilla and French St. Martin, two Caribbean islands known for having very good food. Perhaps fittingly, in Anguilla we stayed at the Cuisinart Resort and Spa, a great luxury resort owned by the Cuisinart kitchen appliance people. I'm not sure if this is directly relevant to food per se, but I'm more than willing to reflect on the meals of my recent travels if anyone is interested. Bringing us to the here and now, this week marks the beginning of New York City's Summer Restaurant Week 2006. While Restaurant Week has it haters and admirers--I'm of the latter camp--it does offer the opportunity to eat at many of the city's top restaurants on the cheap. Today, Monday, I have two lunches and a dinner planned as part of Restaurant Week. After that, I swing downtown to see a concert at the Bowey Ballroom and perhaps stop by at Room 4 Dessert, Will Goldfarb's (akwa on eG) hypermodern dessert bar. On Wednesday I have two more lunches and another dinner. On Friday the family is off to California for a weekend trip. We're driving from LA to San Francisco up the coast with an overnight stop in Carmel. Then on Sunday I've got meals at Bouchon and Gary Danko. Then, this blog must unfortunately come to an end. Of course, I'll be cooking a good deal, too. Some of the things I'll be playing with this week include carbonated fruit, a recently purchased commerical induction burner, my new mini-water bath, and trying to figure how to make alginated butter orbs (the plight of many a molecular-inclined cook). Much more on all this in the coming days. Finally, I'm working on a long-term project of opening up an underground restaurant in my apartment/dorm next semester, similar to the late and great StudioKitchen in Philadelphia. If people are interested in this or have advice to give (or legal counsel) please post. My concept is called Z Kitchen. The site is up and running but still in beta development. My Z Kitchen e-Lab, HEAVILY influenced by the brilliant people at ideasinfood (twodogs on eG), is also in its infancy. So, yeah, a lot to do and only a week to do it in. I hope you all continue to tune in and participate and ask questions and all that fun stuff. ETA: My mother requested I add a picture of myself. So, Hi.
  11. Good morning! Here are the two teasers hints from Friday: Good guessing, this is Atlantic Canada. Looking left from the above vantage point you see a fairly well known Canadian landmark: This is the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove (its also a post office) as it appeared a few months ago. I have to say I am really pleased and excited to be doing an eGullet foodblog. It’s a new experience for me and I’m not so sure how it’s going to unfold – which is a big part of the appeal. The past blogs that I have seen are fascinating to me; to get such a candid look into somebody else’s food routine as it goes down so far away is totally compelling. I am just going to “share as I go” and hopefully reveal something interesting or authentic about my region and food traditions. It certainly seems to have worked in the past for other bloggers.
  12. I'm not going to start my "official" blogging until tomorrow but, while I've got a few free minutes, I thought I'd at least introduce myself. My name is Jen Jensen and I live in Sacramento with my husband and 14 year-old daughter, Kathleen (AKA the Spawn). We are imports from BC (Canada) and have lived here for 5 years now. I "retired" when we moved here, as I only have a "live" visa, not a "work" visa. Before moving here, I worked as a technical writer on various IT and business process projects. My hobby is dog racing (whippets, not greyhounds) so we also live with four of the five dogs I own. Living here in CA with us are Streaka (AKA Über--as in Streaka über alles.); Tighe (AKA Goober, because it rhymes with Über and matches his personality); Dayton (Dids); and Rogie (meiner Deutscher Junge), whom I co-own with a friend back home. My fifth dog, Derby, is Tighe's daughter and lives with my friend in BC. In the coming week, I'll be eating at home, eating out, and (most exciting of all) eating at Tigh-na-Mara, a spa/resort on Vancouver Island in BC. The trip to Tigh-na-Mara is why I won't be starting until tomorrow ... I want to be able to include my meals there in the blog. Until tomorrow ...
  13. Good Morning, All... It's me, phlawless, and I'm here in Durham NC. I haven't been much of a poster on the boards, so this blog is an exercise not only in recording my attempt to eat within 100 miles of my home (more about this in a minute), but also so I can get more comfortable with writing about and documenting my life as it pertains to food. Now, when I say that, understand that the majority of my waking hours are spent thinking, planning, purchasing, organizing, handling, preparing, and yes, finally eating, food. I have been in the 'business' for a dozen years or more and have recently taken a bit of a sabbatical from restaurant life as I have a 15 month old daughter now, and am only doing a bit of work out of my home. I thought motherhood might distract me from my food obsession, but I find myself with a bit more time and energy to read, experiment and cook than I did before M came along. Plus, the added challenge of feeding a toddler is one that is surprisingly enjoyable. As for the subject of this blog, a couple of years ago some kids from San Francisco got some press for this, and I thought I might give it a shot. If you go to the link read the details, the national challenge is supposed to happen in May. Well, I had a lot going on then, and also July here in the southeast is brimming with fantastic produce. So you all will witness the first week of feeding myself, my partner, and my daughter for the entire month eating local as possible. I still am a bit green when it comes to posting photos, so I'll get those up in a bit from this morning.
  14. Is it bad form to start Foodblog admitting to be lightly intimidated? I mean, seriously, having to follow Kew & Tepee's blog is like a comic having to follow Robin Williams! I hope I am worthy. My name is Arne Salvesen, I'm 39 (40 in August - egads!) and live in Burnaby, BC, Canada which is the next municipality east of Vancouver - home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games Bottom line, I'm no more than 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. My family consists of my two sons (who gave me the Daddy-A handle) who live with their mother in Pitt Meadows (we'll be making a trip there this week), my wife "J", and our two Jack Russel Terriers, Ringo & Gromit, who graciously allow us to share our home with them. I'll be posting dog pictures later, but in the meantime my avatar will have to suffice. My connection to the "food" scene is completely amateur in nature. Never worked in a restaurant and have only really thought about it as a "hobby" over the last couple years. Professionaly some of you already know I am a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), so that is probably my closet "professional" connection. My web site is in my sig line, or you can PM if you'd like more information. Still, one of the greatest joys I have in life is cooking for my family & friends, or enjoying a meal out in one of the most vibrant food scenes anywhere. That is what I hope to share with you this week: a small sampling on how Daddy-A cooks & eats his way through a week in Vancouver. We'll visit some of the better known places, but I hope to also introduce you to something new. Along the way we'll also meet a few of the local eGulleters, and see what I can do with my brand new Weber Smokey Mountain! Heaven help my waistline! A.
  15. !חג פסח שמח or Happy Passover! This is not the first time I've done an eG Foodblog during Passover. It's hard to believe that the first one was in 2005 and the second one, just one year later in 2006. Since it's been 5 years since I last blogged, I thought it was time to do it again. For those of you who don't know me, I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. If you take a look at this map of North America you'll find Winnipeg right in the center - about 100 km north of the US border (we border North Dakota and Minnesota) and dead centre between the east and west coasts of Canada. I work in the family business - we call it Desserts Plus, but the emphasis is more on the Plus and less on the Desserts. We're kosher caterers and have a kosher food store in Winnipeg. Tomorrow (Monday, April 18th) marks the end of the 3 busiest weeks of the year for us -- we expect over 150 catering orders to go out over a 4 hour period, plus customers coming in for last-minute items before Passover starts tomorrow evening. You probably won't hear much from me tomorrow -- unless there are some lulls during the day. But if you have any questions, please ask them! I'll get to them as soon as possible. The plan for the week is a small seder dinner on Tuesday night and a lot of home-cooking over the holiday. It's 11 PM and I have to go finish packaging the chopped liver -- I've been here since 8 AM and have to be back by 8 AM tomorrow - and there's still stuff to do before I go. (This is about 1/3 of the 90 lbs. we made this year)
  16. So here we are in an internet cafe in Siem Reap Cambodia, sharing a dial-up connection with a handful of locals. We've been traveling for two weeks, we're blogging the last week of our vacation here. In the past two weeks we've been wandering around Thailand, we were fortunate in our inability to extend our diving trip in Phuket last week so we were safely up north in Chiang Rai for the earthquake and Tsunami that trashed the beach we were staying on a few days earlier. We spent the past two days in Phnom Penh which was surprisingly enjoyable. Good food, nice people, and traffic that makes my driving look calm by comparison. This morning our first meal was on a converted cargo plane flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. We'll add pictures once we find reasonable speed net access. On a 45 minute flight on President Airlines we were fed a bag of peanuts and what looked like a croissant but was egg bread with some sort of coconut jam inside. When we checked into our hotel this morning we had a proper breakfast (for the country we just left) of rice porridge with chicken, scallions, and celery tops - the usual condiment tray of chili powder, sliced chilis in vinegar, fish sauce, and sugar was provided. Some pineapple, papaya, orange juice that tasted more like flat orange soda, lipton tea, and a doxycycline pill rounded out the meal. We're off to Angkor Wat for the day, we'll check in again tonight - hopefully with pictures. MsMelkor & Melkor
  17. Good Morning, all. Thank you, Ronnie Suburban, for a great blog! It would be hard to deliver such an appealing display of foods! Hopefully we can provide continuing enjoyment to all, as eG food blogging travels south, especially to those of you who dream of a warmer climate, like we used to! I will start this, and acquaint you with my husband, and his own introduction will follow soon. We are pleased to be food blogging during this time of year, when many think that Florida is at its best (well, except for all the election controversies). Fall does hold some of the best weather in this sunshine state, and the weather affects our cooking and eating almost as much as anything else. We have been having days in the mid to high 80’s, and nights in the high 60’s recently, with mostly clear skies. We hope to show you that Florida is much more than strip malls, the hanging chads of 2000, hurricanes, and who knows what by the time this Election Day is over; and we hope to share some of the joys of being here and living our dream. We will both be leaving for work shortly, and so until we get home and continue posting, we welcome you to our home, our kitchen, and our eating places. Come on in: Here's an outside view of the porch: Our kitchen, as you enter from the dining area: From the other end: And, from the living room, looking across the bar: For those who know me from the eG topics I frequent, especially the Dinner thread, it is no secret that our eating place is usually our porch. What is more of a secret is that we have a TV on our porch and we often watch a lot of sports and some other programs while we eat dinner. Some of our most romantic dinners were with a baseball or soccer game, a NASCAR race, or other sports event on TV, and a beautiful place setting with candlelight and flowers on the table. It’s been a tradition for us for a long time. I often post on eG about the enjoyment my husband and I have in cooking together, or cooking for each other; but as you may have gathered, Russ reads a lot more than he posts. When he introduces himself in this blog, it will be his second post! I asked him to join me in this, since so much of our cooking involves him. (He might say that I threatened him in some way if he didn’t do it.) So after I have introduced myself to those who don’t know me, Prepcook will introduce himself. Then we will proceed to journal our eating! I work part time and he works full time, so most likely I will have more entries and most of his will probably be early morning or evenings. Unfortunately, neither of us can access eG while we are at work, but please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions, and we will respond as soon as we’re back home and online. I grew up in a food-loving home, and my parents were good cooks. They bought a restaurant when my brother and I were teenagers, and spent most of their waking hours there for several years. I first learned about meal planning and cooking from my mom, but she did not teach me about what she did. She was one of those people who, for reasons unknown to me, didn’t share her knowledge of home cooking and kept many of her recipes “secret.” After I was grown and on my own, my mom and I began sharing recipes, and I began developing my own tastes and my own cooking styles. I have loved cooking ever since. Up until our move to Florida, I always worked full time and more, except for the first five months of my son Michael’s life. With rare exception, Russ and/or I cooked a nice dinner from scratch every night, no matter how many practices or games or other activities were going on, and we always sat down to eat together. Some nights back in the days of Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, and all the school teams, we ate dinner at around 10 PM! We all loved it, and our home was where all our boys’ friends wanted to come for dinner, and often did. …All that was making a short story long, to say that I am a self-taught cook. After the boys grew up, and were going to college and all that, my love of cooking and food became a passion. As much as I have always enjoyed cooking, it is even more fun now to cook for just the two of us. We do love the empty nest syndrome. There were a couple of years after I retired and before moving to Florida that I did some food consulting/ recipe development/ food writing/ food and wine education -- mostly for a wine shop where Russ and I both moonlighted. I owned a small company and had a web site called Culinary Passions. However, since moving to Florida, I have only pursued these activities as play, rather than work. This morning I am having my usual black coffee, even as we speak (type). On work days, I rarely eat breakfast and usually not lunch. If I get hungry and take the time, I’ll eat just a little on the run at around brunch time. I’m not sure how today will be, but I’ll keep you posted.
  18. Welcome to the first eGullet Foodblog Tag Team. This is the first of what we hope will be semi-regular recurring threads and a special feature of the eGullet Foodblog. Two Society members will be blogging and will be coordinating menus throughout this week. Out of nine days, they will commit to a set number of matched meals, in this case three. (This number may change in future installments, depending on the participants, their schedules and other factors.) The execution doesn't have to be the same, or even the recipe, but the overall meals have to be essentially similar. Previous installments featuring slkinsey include Of Opera Singers, Food and Ferrets and Thanksgiving Haute Cuisine. He appears in Still Life With Tenor And Ferrets in a supporting role. Marlene, on the other hand, was seen in Driving The Food Bus and most recently in Mrs. Claus And The Canadian Food Sleigh. Marlene and Sam will post later today, but in the meantime, here are a few things to look forward to: Saturday, 28 May: Braised something. Sunday, 29 May: Dinner party along the lines of cocktails followed by a big steak dinner with various accoutrements and bread pudding for dessert. Any cut of steak, but not a roast (although the steak can be roasted). Monday, 30 May: Hot soup featuring garlic. Tuesday, 31 May: Chicken with spring vegetables. This can be, but doesn't have to be, roast chicken -- could be poached, etc. Wednesday, 1 June: Something creative with leftovers or free. There will be steak leftovers, braised leftovers, broth, etc. Thursday, 2 June: Italian restaurant outing. Friday, 3 June: Pasta with meatballs, or variations thereof. Saturday, 4 June: Catered dinner/restaurant outing. Sunday, 5 June: Mystery ingredient dinner (basically a mystery basket tbd by you, the audience. ). Since this is kind of a first for this type of thing, we've started the thread a day early so that everyone can orient themselves and get their bearings. I hope it'll be as fun for you as it will be for our two co-stars. In addition to all of the above, they will also be blogging about their daily eating. Ok, enough from me. Let the cooking and discussion commence! Soba
  19. I have to start cooking tomorrow. I haven't cooked dinner since the beginning of the year. I don't even know where my pots are, but somehow I have to find them. Hi, I'm Jennifer, and this is my foodblog. I have been posting about my kitchen remodel here. for the past few months. With all my heart, I wished my remodel would have been complete on Friday, but there are a few details left to handle (like dusting out my cabinets) before I can begin moving back into my kitchen. With luck, I'll be able to actually start putting things away and getting to know my new kitchen this week. I definitely have to start cooking again, as the homecooked frozen dinners I squirreled away last fall finally ran out at the end of last week. My husband and I live in San Francisco. He's a technical writer; I'm a pastry cook/production manager at a French bakery. We're both "near" 40. Join me as I try to settle in to my new kitchen, adjust to the taller counters and expansive storage, fine tune where everything goes, and adapt to having to cook again. I have a new professional-style range. I'm not entirely sure that I won't just burn everything with the intense heat it produces. Right now it's quite late for me. Typically I go to work about 5. As in a.m. Today, being Easter, I went in at 3, which meant getting up at 2:15 a.m. I did get a nap, but a good amount of wine at my brother's Easter fest and plenty of good food means that by now I'm just about wiped. I apologize in advance for the typos I know are lurking in this, but I wanted to introduce myself and get this foodblog rolling. Answers to snowangel's post of my teaser photo tomorrow. At least one of you had one ingredient right. See you tomorrow morning!
  20. Good morning. Those cheers you heard this morning were from me, as I put the last of the three kids on the bus. I have loved having them home all summer, but I really loved the peace and quiet when they left. I celebrated my first day of freedom with a trip to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Before we moved to our new home, I was only about 5 minutes away. Since it's now a 20-minute drive, I don't get there as often. I stopped by my formerly-local Kowalski's market on the way home to get some Hope Butter. I do miss the very close and easy (most often biking distance) to a wonderful local supermarket and lots of Asian markets, but I am adapting. For breakfast today, I had several cups of really strong coffee and an Old Gold. Oh, and I had 1/2 piece of toast. I'm not a big early morning eater, and have noticed that as I've aged, I do not want to eat anything sweet in the morning. In fact, my sweet tooth in general is not very strong, except for fruit. I tend to have my first real hunger of the day at about 11:00 am. My eating patterns during the day will be quite different than they were up until last week, when there were three kids who wanted breakfast and lunch, not the frequent "little" meals I gravitate toward when I am home alone. So, now, I will go and grab something to eat and attempt to fix whatever happened on the computer to my camera program when Paul installed a new operating system. Hopefully, it will be an easy process so I can post photos of the bounty I acquired this morning.
  21. What do an ethnic Chinese, a foodie, and a computer geek have in common? Answer: Absolutely nothing! It just happens to be me! In mathematical terms, using the modern set theory: A = set of all Chinese B = set of all foodies C = set of all computer geeks There exists a subset D where: D = A ∩ B ∩ C And I am a member of set D. Or in Boolean logic: A = Chinese B = foodie C = computer geeks D = A AND B AND C Or expressed in SQL: SELECT Ethnic_group, Hobbie_interest, Profession FROM All_population WHERE Ethnic_group = ‘Chinese’ AND Hobbie_interest = ‘foodie’ AND Profession = ‘computer geeks’ Okay… I have lost half of the audience! That’s great! I can start with my food blog now. Greetings! My name is Wai-Kwong Leung. Or in Chinese convention, which goes in the “surname, given-name” format, my name is Leung Wai-Kwong. In Chinese: Leung (the top character in the picture) is a common surname with no particular meaning. My father named me “Wai Kwong”. Wai (the middle character in the picture) means “Great” (as in achievement) or “Hugh” (as in size). Kwong (the bottom character in the picture) means “Bright”. Leung, though it seems it may not be as common in the USA, is ranked the 11th in the most popular surnames in the Cantonese region. The order that I heard many years ago was (all pronunciations in Cantonese): 1: Chan 2: Lee (or Li) 3: Cheung 4: Wong 5: Ho 6: Au 7: Chow (or Chau) 8: Wu (or Woo) 9: Ma 10: Luk Do some of these surnames look familiar to you? My wife’s family is the Wongs. This surname is quite common in the Toysanese region in Canton. Many of them had immigrated to the USA since the railroad building days. It is quite common, though not required, that the siblings in a family have either the same first given name or second given name. For example, in my family all my brothers share the same second given name “Kwong”. My first brother is Leung Yuk-Kwong. My second brother is Leung Hung-Kwong. Father told us that it is for the sake of identification of our generation – since most people in the same village may have the same surname. When we say we are the “Kwong’s” generation, the villagers will know. They keep the genealogy and naming book in the small village temple. My father was born in a small village near Guongzhou (old name Canton). At the age of 13, he took a train to Hong Kong to look for work – and didn’t look back since - except during years of the Japanese occupation. Both my brothers and sister and I were born and grew up in Hong Kong. I came to San Diego, California for college and later settled down in the US. I like to be addressed as “Ah Leung”. And in Chinese: The word “Ah” is just a common street salutation in Canton. Therefore there are many “Ah Wong”, “Ah Lee”, “Ah Chan” walking down the streets of Hong Kong. In Mandarin, the same street salutation would be “Xiao Leung”, where the word “Xiao” literally means “little”. It is an attempt to be modest (a Chinese’s virtue) having others addressing ourselves as “little”. The food consumed in Hong Kong is primarily Cantonese style. But Hong Kong is actually a melting pot of all cuisines in the nearby vicinities. The primary reason is the influx of immigrants, legal or illegal – well, back in the 40’s and 50’s the Hong-Kong/Mainland border was quite loose. And there was a big wave of immigrants from the mainland seemingly overnight when Mao advocated his “Big Leap Forward” campaign (and later on “The Cultural Revolution”). Many new immigrants brought their home style cooking with them. In Hong Kong, you will find a mix of different cuisines from Chiu Chow, Hakka, Shanghai, Peking, Sichuan, Hunan, etc.. Because of over 150 years of British ruling, Hong Kong also iss influenced greatly by European cultures (primarily British, French and Italy, and to a degree Portuguese because of the proximity to Macau – a Portuguese colony). And in recent decades: USA, India, Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Hamburgers, thanks to McDonald’s, made its way to Hong Kong in the 70’s. And pizza, thanks to Pizza Hut, in the 80’s. Mexican food such as tacos, burritos and carnitas, however, did not receive enthusiastic response for whatever reason. In the late 1980’s, there was something like “Two” Mexican restaurants in the whole district of Tsimshatsui. When the eGullet blog team approached me to write a one-week food blog, I felt flattered and was very excited. The timing couldn’t have been better. The coming week is Chinese New Year. I would like to take this opportunity to mention some of the Chinese customs in celebrating this most important festivity in Chinese culture all around the globe through out this week. More to come later.
  22. my name is mongo jones and i once selected "revolution #9" three times back-to-back on a jukebox in a los angeles bar. the jukebox was shut off 3 minutes into the second playing. i'm just saying. see you all tomorrow. and if it all ends in tears, recriminations and mass-excommunications blame adoxograph.
  23. I know that most bloggers feel a slight sense of apprehension when embarking on a foodblog, that apprehension stemming from comparing one's self to those who've gone before, and I'm certainly no different, especially on the heels of Varmint's fabulous Southern food and his adorable children. Of course, I have to do everyone one better, in that I'd been meaning to title my installment, "My Acquaintance With the Man Behind the Curtain," and yet I didn't even think to check as to whether there were too many characters in that sentence to fit in the allotted spot. But that's just one of the things I love about being me: I never seem to tire of proving to myself, over and over again, that I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am. By way of introduction, I suppose I can clarify that I am not, in fact, a man, and the man referred to is figurative, and not literal. Restaurant work is my career of choice, and over the years, I've come to know my way around a kitchen and every other position that can possibly be worked in a dining establishment, so I'd like to think that I know a few things about adding value to food and beverage, and making every bit of the guest's experience worthy of a relatively high price tag. Currently, I work in two restaurants, both of which put a great deal of effort into packaging an experience that will make the guest feel that he or she not only was fed, and fed well, but that everything about that meal from beginning to end was part of a seamless performance. Restaurants as theatre, food as entertainment. And then I have this other little job: That of running my small business, wherein I step off the stage and teach people how to make that restaurant magic happen in their own homes. I'll be preparing for a FoodTutor event this week, and showing some of the shopping and prep necessary for planning the menu, as well as documenting the things that I actually manage to eat. As a restaurant worker, I must admit to having an irregular eating schedule, similar to some of the previous industry bloggers, but I'll be making an effort to have slightly more normal meals this week. You know, the kind that civilized people have, where they put food on actual plates and sit down to eat it, as opposed to just shoving things into one's mouth while standing at the refrigerator. So I'll start with this meal: Sweetbreads and eggs. The sweetbreads were braised late last week while we were toying around with ideas for a tasting menu, so I simply had to dredge them and fry them up to go with a nice soft scramble, and the biscuit is actually just reheated from a small batch I made a few days ago. Ideally, I'd have gotten up hours ago and made a fresh batch of warm, fluffy biscuits like Varmint's, but heck, I worked a double shift yesterday for the July 4th holiday, so this will have to do. Besides, the biscuits were really more of a vehicle for shovelling strawberry jam (also made by me a few days ago) into myself, and these worked nicely. Throughout this blog, I'd like to answer questions about any aspect of restaurant work that piques anyone's curiosity, and I'll be including some pictures from both of the places where I work, hopefully. I can't share certain specific restaurant recipes in some cases, though some will be very easy to duplicate, but I would like to go into exactly as much detail as everyone would like to see. Really. Ask me anything, and I promise I won't bite. Questions like: Why do you work in two restaurants? Isn't that inconvenient? What are sweetbreads? (No doubt another eGulleteer could answer that faster than I could.) Who is Farrow Beacham? (More on him later.) What, exactly, do you teach TheFood to do? Now it's probably time for a little nap. That double shift really whooped me, and I've got a big week ahead of me.
  24. …to Louisville, KY, USA: Home to premium bourbon, beautiful horses and fast women, as they say. Every year in this city, thousands of banners like the one above begin appearing in mid-April draped over anything that’s stationary. If you work in the food industry, that’s your cue to roll up your sleeves, order tons of extra product, and break out your “F.A.B.O.D.” t-shirt to surreptitiously wear under your chef’s jacket. (In case you didn’t guess, that stands for “F*#@ A Bunch Of Derby” – lots of cooks and servers in town own similar shirts.) In typical Derby Week fashion, I’m gearing up here for several 14-to-16-hour days in a row this week. I’m also in the middle of moving house from one part of town to another. And as if that weren’t enough to keep me busy, I offered - in a bourbon-induced moment of temporary insanity, to be sure – to be eGullet’s foodblogger for Derby Week. So saddle up and ride along with me, your intrepid culinary Girl Friday, as I juggle my many hats at two different jobs (more on that later) in the race to feed the throngs of locals and tourists alike during the run-up to “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” - The Kentucky Derby!
  25. I'm it this week. And who am I, anyway? You could check out my bio, if you really want to, but really all you need to know is that I'm not professionally involved with food, although more and more I wish I were. I have amassed nearly 1000 posts here in (I think?) pretty quiet fashion. I mostly take from eGullet-- I learn new things every day, and I'm very grateful. I live in Brooklyn, with my wife Robin and our two children, Leah (2 years old) and Nate (almost 7 months). I am a lawyer, but for the past four months I've been on a leave of absence taking care of the kids. This leave of absence ends June 1. That's right, we are at the beginning of my last week of freedom. (Incidentally, I did a sort of half-blog for a while about new stuff I was learning to make while on leave. You can find it here.) When my leave began, I wanted to tackle a bunch of disparate projects, but eventually I became primarily obsessed with baking bread. I began baking every day, and I eventually got my own sourdough starter (whom I call Ringo) up and running. This daily bread-making has become part of my identity now, and it's going to be tough to part with it. Once I return to work, my daily baking is going to have to end, so I've recently been baking more than ever, trying to cram in what I can before I go back. So this week you can expect some bread from me. And I'll try to show you a few things about how we live here in Brooklyn, U.S.A. We will be traveling later this week. We'll be leaving Wednesday night to go to my mother's home in Maryland. My mother knows not of this eGullet business (at least, so far as I know ), and it might be best if this remains the case. So you may not get much in the way of food photos while we're in Maryland, but I'll give you some reports that you might find amusing. So, on with the blog already! Oh, by the way, I've been instructed to tell you that if you reply to the blog, you're fair game to be tagged as the next blogger. And that you have a moral obligation not to say no! I was apparently the very last choice to be tagged for this week. (They said it was because I live in NYC, where so many of the bloggers have lived, but really...) I've always been picked last since I was a child, so I'm okay with it. But don't put some other loser in my position! Say "yes" when you're tagged! Take it for the team! (Now will anyone dare reply? ) Okay, so dinner this evening was (drum roll, please)....... tuna salad. Behold, mortals! See, I made this poached chicken with aioli on Friday, and there's just a ton of aioli left over, which I love, but I'm having a hard time getting rid of it. Yesterday I assembled a bunch of cooked and raw vegetables for a sort of veggie "Grand Aioli," and tonight I briefly entertained thoughts of a Bourride, but it was so hot out, and like a jackass I had the oven at 500 degrees already for some French bread. The thought of turning on a burner was just too much, at least until we put in our stupid air conditioners. (See Note 1, below.) So it's just a tuna salad sandwich, not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's also got a little extra: it's made with homemade aioli on homemade bread. It tasted pretty good. I also put together some Biga (a firm batter of flour, water and a little yeast that will bubble all night, creating flavor for future breads), which I'll use Monday and Tuesday. I got my hands on some actual Italian "00" flour (their white flour), so I thought I'd make a Pugliese and maybe some durum wheat bread with my "00" Biga: For tomorrow: I dunno. I can never plan ahead. My wonderful wife got me this great gift for our anniversary: It's the seven quart Le Creuset (we have an oval five already, I think). Give me some ideas. What should I make in this pot? If I like your idea I'll use it on Monday or Tuesday! Also: I got these beautiful radishes at the greenmarket on Saturday: I dipped some slices in aioli yesterday. What else should I do with them? Put them in a salad? I haven't the faintest idea. Help me out. See you tomorrow (or later this morning, really). It's late. Note 1: This is what most of us New Yorkers do, by the way. We take down our air conditioners in the winter because otherwise we'd freeze, and we store them in closets, or in the corner, or wherever we can, and then when it's hot again we risk our backs picking them up and we install them in our windows, blocking our pathetic views of alleys and neighbors in their underwear. Glamorous, huh?
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