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  1. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. I think that T. S. Eliot was wrong: July, not April, is the cruelest month, at least when it comes to food. Many of us in the northern hemisphere are struggling with hot, humid conditions (conditions many of us in the southern hemisphere, especially those near the equator, tolerate year-round), and for folks in the U.S. the food-dreary holiday of Independence Day arrives soon. Who wants to be in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove, or out ba
  2. Hello friends and welcome back to a time-honored tradition--the popular eG Cook-Off Series. We're in the heat of summer right now and our gardens are literally blooming with all manner of peak of the season ripe fruits and succulent vegetables. And there's no better time of year to honor a vegetable that is often maligned as not being as colorful or trendy as the chi-chi breakfast radish or the multi-hued rainbow chard. In addition to not always being recognized for it's looks, every August and September it becomes the butt of jokes at State Fair competitions across the country. If you can ge
  3. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. There was this rat, and he wanted to be a cook. When he finally made it into the kitchen of a Parisian restaurant, he needed some help coming up with a signature dish to impress the critics. So he sent his producer to stage a few days at the French Laundry, a little-known, out-of-the-way joint run by a guy named Thomas Keller. Keller had come up with a dish he called "byaldi," and with a bit of tweaking, handed over a recipe for Thomas Keller's "confit byaldi." Rat made it, critic was thrilled, everyone's happy. A li
  4. Welcome to our latest eGullet Cook-off, number 48, Grilled Pizza. You can find the complete Cook-Off Index here. Our last cook-off took us into the world of Asian Tofu dishes. Tofu, one of the world’s oldest and most versatile vegetable proteins-an inexpensive ingredient that yields exotic and flavorful dishes. When Summer weather beckons, we move the kitchen outdoors and onto the grill, the smoker, the barbecue or the hibachi. And while we typically associate outdoor grilling with meats, fish and vegetables, there is another favorite food that is delicious when grilled on the barbecue-piz
  5. Street Tacos with Salsa Verde, Le Merced Market, Mexico City Mexican Salsa. It can be hot and numbing to the tongue, sweet or bitter, made with red tomatoes or green tomatillos, dried, roasted or fresh chiles, grilled pineapple, chopped, diced, chunky or blended smooth. Salsas can be raw or cooked, or use a combination of raw and cooked ingredients. And the style of the salsa, the heat and the flavor, should be matched to the dish you serve it with. The two most common types of salsa most people think of are Salsa Roja, better known as red sauce, often mild and sweet in
  6. Raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, marionberries, gooseberries and huckleberries. Peaches, apricots, plums and pluots. And don’t forget the cherries. Pies and ice cream. In a cake, a clafouti or a cookie. Cobblers, crisps, compote’s and Betty’s. Whichever fruit you pick, whichever recipe you choose, there’s no denying the sweetness, the juiciness, the lushness of summer fruits. Yet we never limit our creativity at eGullet, so let’s go beyond the boundaries of sweet dishes and showcase the piquant notes of summer fruits in savory recipes. Blackberry jelly with grilled quail you say?
  7. Welcome to this edition of the eG Cook-Off! Click here for the eG Cook-Off index. This time around, paella is going to be on the table. I've had it but once or twice, and this eG Cook-Off now a bit about preparing it -- what to include, what to exclude, what kind of rice to use, and the appropriate cookware. There is a bit of stuff floating around here on making paella, including the Paella topic, one on fideua (a noodle paella) and a couple on paella pans (one on carbon steel vs. stainless steel and another on smooth vs. pebbley interiors). There's also a recipe in RecipeGullet for Rice with
  8. The summer salad is often regarded as summer food's unpopular kid. Sure, potato, pasta and egg salads are the standard bearers of summer salads, yet they seem stuck in a time warp in terms of creativity. When I was growing up in the 1960's, the only "exotic" summer salad Mother served was a gelatin mold studded with shredded carrots and surrounded by heaps of Miracle Whip dotted with green olives. We dreaded seeing Mother parade that salad out of the kitchen and put it on the picnic table yet we grudgingly ate it lest we disappoint her. Yet we should not ignore the bas
  9. Today we’ve reached a milestone, the 60th edition of one of the most popular discussions that graces our forums—the eGullet Cook-Off Series. (Click http://forums.egulle...m/#entry1581324 here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). In celebration of reaching Cook-Off #60, we’ll be discussing a sandwich that is a marriage of French and Vietnamese cultures. A sandwich that has crossed international borders and now finds itself on restaurant menus throughout the world. It’s served on fine china at white tablecloth dining rooms and it’s delivered on a paper plate out of a food truck parked in downtow
  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRIUbFLjtX0 Fortunately, Lloyd only got the accent wrong. “Shrimp on the Barbie” was a catch phrase that grew out of the smash-hit 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee” starring rugged Australian Paul Hogan. Yet Australians and Austrians alike, folks the world over for that matter, share a taste for shrimp grilled over an open flame. Summer is the perfect time to introduce our latest Cook-off, eG Cook-Off #70, Shellfish Grilled Over an Open Flame. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). Wikipedia defines shellfish
  11. Welcome to eG Cook-Off 46! Click here for the Cook-Off index. We spent the last Cook-Off perfecting french fries, delightful yet leaning toward the one-dimensional. This time we're shifting gears and making the multi-dimensional Mexican dish, enchiladas. The variations on enchiladas are endless-there doesn't seem to be one "definitive," classic, enchilada recipe. They can be filled with beef, pork, chicken, smoked duck, smoked turkey or steamed octopus. An enchilada might be slathered with melted cheese, sprinkled with queso fresco, or have no cheese at all. It seems as though the only thin
  12. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our fifth Cook-Off, we're moving away from gumbos, curries, and other stews (sorry, Jason, mole poblano is on the way, as is tagine, Smithy!) and, thanks to a substantial campaign, we'll be firing up the stove for fried chicken. Like gumbo, fried chicken inspires some heated debates, so we'll likely have quite a few different approaches. Bring 'em on! I'll start with a confession. Though I have figured out a fool-proof fried chicken recip
  13. We were driving through Southeast Washington when suddenly Marnie shouted, "look, there it is, stop the car!" Needless to say, we were all a bit stunned and thought there must have been some critter scooting across the highway. And then I saw it for the first time: asparagus. It was decades ago, but every spring I relive the memory of seeing asparagus growing for the first time. Our family had been at a horse show in Pasco, a town in the Columbia River basin in South-Central Washington. We decided to drive over to Walla Walla, the heart of Washington's asparagus fields, to visit
  14. Welcome back to our popular eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Hash, took us into a heated discussion of the meat of the matter--should it be chopped, hashed, sliced, diced, or chunked. Click here, for our Hash discussion, and the answers to all of your questions about this beloved diner staple. The complete eG Cook-Off Index can be found here. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 59: Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish. Drying fish is a method of preservation that dates back to Ancient times, but more recently, (let’s say a mere 500 years ago or so), salt mining became a major
  15. Curry. Throughout India, from Goa, to Kerala and Gujarat, into Burma, Thailand, Japan, Europe, North America and across the world, curry transcends boundaries and cultures, weaving a mosaic of flavors and textures along the way. And while the reach of curry spans the world, at its core it is a regional, personal dish that isn’t defined by one recipe or one ingredient. The genesis of curry points to archaeological evidence dating to 2600 BC, showing the use of a mortar and pestle to grind spices including mustard seed, fennel, cumin and tamarind to flavor foods. The earliest Roman
  16. Ginger. The exotic, ugly little knob that releases and intoxicating perfume with flavor notes of pepper, citrus and tropical fruit. Yet none of those words fully describes ginger. It's only after we peel back the outer skin that we get that first waft of the unmistakeable scent of ginger. Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome, or root, is widely used as a spice, but also for medicinal purposes. Ginger is part of the same family of plants that includes tumeric, cardamom and galangal. Ginger originated in Southeast Asia, and is reported to have been domesticated some 5,000
  17. Last Fall we debuted our Apple Cook-Off and we were not disappointed. From Gravensteins to Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Northern Spy and Pink Lady, we presented you with Apple Springrolls, Apple Butter, Apple Tartlets, Roast Pork with Apples, Apple and Chestnut Stuffing and a concoction of Apple Juice, Apple Cider and Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). Apples are a worthy fruit no doubt, but today we enter into a more passionate and exotic realm of fruit cookery with the launch of eG C
  18. Welcome to the latest eGullet Cook-off, Chicken and Dumplings, Number 51 in our Cook-Off Series. You’ll find the complete Cook-off Index here. The eGullet Cook-off Series has covered such far-ranging and delicious topics as Cold Soups to Ossobuco and Enchiladas. Our last Cook-Off captivated us with the earthy aromas of a slow-braised Lamb Stew wafting through the kitchen, (and down the halls of an apartment building). As the cold, windy drafts of January blow us into a new decade, there are still plenty of winter days ahead and that's the perfect weather to savor a favorite comfort dish, Ch
  19. Welcome to the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index. It's getting cold in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and with the cold weather comes the craving for comfort food. So this time, we're going to try our hands at stuffed cabbage rolls. This is one of those dishes that my grandmother would say takes a lot of 'patskying' -- playing around. But it's worth the effort. RecipeGullet offers two recipes -- Russian Stuffed Cabbage and Holishkes aka Stuffed Cabbage. And there's a Stuffed Cabbage topic here. So, if you've always wanted to make stuffed cabbage rolls, now i
  20. Welcome back to our reknowned eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Bolognese Sauce, led to a spirited discussion over the intricacies of the beloved Italian meat sauce. Click here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 58: Hash, the classic American diner dish. Yet what appears as a humble, one-name dish is anything but ordinary. The difficulty in defining “Hash” is exactly why we’ve chosen it for a Cook-Off—simple definitions don’t apply when one considers that Hash is a dish that transcends regional and international boundaries. The ingredients o
  21. “Then he would peel apples from Normandy, and cut them into thin, even half-moons, and toss them in a bowl of white wine…beat eggs and cream and nutmeg into a custard, and fill the shallow crust half full. He took the apple slices from the bowl one by one, almost faster than we could see...and laid them in a great, beautiful whorl, from the outside to the center, as perfect as a snail shell. He did it as effortlessly as a spider spins a web.” MFK Fisher, 1908-1992 Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher was arguably one of the greatest food writers of the 20th century. A poe
  22. A gargantuan haunch of beef for Christmas dinner, ca. 1957 As a child in the late 1950's, our Holiday table was graced with turkey at Thanksgiving.....and another turkey at Christmas. It wasn't until the 1970's that my Father finally made good on his Christmas promise to "give us a Christmas Goose" by actually cooking one. To this day, I remember how little meat there was and it was dark, tough and chewy. We had indeed been given a Christmas Goose! Yet in later years Father (who always coated the meat with some type of rub), and Mother (who cooked the roast), redeemed themselve
  23. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q8zTVlZ19c Mmmm. The sweet, spiced aroma of a freshly baked pumpkin pie wafting over the Thanksgiving table. A large bowl of chilled, sweetened cream is passed around the table, a cool dollop of cream cascading over a slice of “homemade” pumpkin pie. (In many households, removing a frozen pie from a box and putting it in a hot oven is considered “homemade.”). Americans can’t seem to get enough pumpkin pie during the Holidays. Some 50 million pumpkin pies are sold for Thanksgiving dinner and according to astute company marketing execu
  24. Ah, the avocado! For many of us, this humble little fruit inspires only one dish. Yet the avocado has a culinary history that is deeper than we may understand. The avocado (Persea Americana) is a tree thought to have originated in South Central Mexico. It’s a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant - yes, it's a fruit and not a vegetable - is also called avocado. Avocados grow in tropical and warm climates throughout the world. The season in California typically runs from February through September, but avocados from Mexico are now ava
  25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5APc0z49wg "There's a bright golden haze on the meadow There's a bright golden haze on the meadow The corn is as high as an elephant's eye And it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky Oh, what a beautiful mornin' Oh, what a beautiful day I've got a beautiful feeling Everything's going my way" As Gordon MacRae sang in Oklahoma in 1955, it is indeed a" beautiful mornin" and a beautiful time of summer when the corn is "as high as an elephant's eye." It's the season of fresh sweet corn. Sweet corn is a hybridized variety of
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