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  1. Fat Guy

    Pasta Shapes

    Was checking on gemelli and found a couple of nice sites running down the pasta shapes: http://www.ilovepasta.org/shapes.html http://www.foodsubs.com/PastaShapes.html
  2. I quickly learned in China to avoid “Western food” restaurants. Just as Chinese food in the west bears little resemblance to the real thing, those restaurants offering western food here fall well short. I am not saying there are zero good places, but the very few there are tend to be in Shanghai and very expensive. I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating. Most “western” restaurants are managed by people who have never really eaten western food. They employ chefs who have never really cooked or eaten “western food”. They may have seen pictures of “western food”; that’s all. Or they just copy the menus from other Chinese “western food” places. Liuzhou Jia Yong Trading Company was started in the 1990s by a Mr Tan who took advantage of favourable tax allowances for disabled people starting businesses. This scheme was introduced under pressure from then Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping’s eldest son who was himself disabled after falling, jumping or being pushed from a window during the cultural revolution. He has since worked to improve conditions for the disabled in China. Helped by the tax advantage in the early years, Jia Yong expanded to become the biggest grocery chain in the area. They also undertake charitable work among the disabled. Several years ago Mr Tan sold his chain of supermarkets and convenience stores to Lianhua, China’s largest retailer. He made millions and semi-retired. However, he has kept a keen interest in catering and opened a number of restaurants in the city including a chain of KFC look-alikes. A number of his restaurants are ‘foreign food themed’. Why? Oh why? He knows nothing about foreign food. The worst of his forays into western food is a restaurant on the 3rd floor of the large Bubugao Plaza shopping mall. In the advanced depths of his delusion, he has persuaded himself that he has not only an Italian restaurant but that he is an Italian Expert. There is nothing, zero, zilch, niente Italian about the place. This is NOT an Italian restaurant by any stretch of the imagination. Any real “Italian Expert” would probably know that Boston, Hawaii, Texas, Mexico and New Orleans (the supposed origin of the pizzas they list on their menu), are somewhere far to the west of Italy; or the east if you go the other way. He would also know that the signature dish, the “Thin crust pizza in Naples” as his Mis-Translate software renders for him is not in any way related or even on nodding terms with anything Neapolitan. Neapolitan pizza is strictly defined (and legally protected). This shit comes nowhere even close. It is an approximation of an OK pepperoni and olive excuse for a pizza. Neapolitan pizza does not contain cheap, nasty, mechanically retrieved meat sausage or bottled, dyed olives. In fact, it doesn’t contain sausage or olives of any kind. But it does contain tomato and buffalo mozzarella (Their sad excuse for a pizza doesn’t contain the latter. And shows little evidence of the former.) But something concerns me even more. So we begin. My visit. Apart from one almost happy experience, it was much worse than I even anticipated. I rolled up at 17:39 trying to be ahead of the 6 pm rush. Good thinking. The place was almost deserted. I found a seat and a young waitress handed me a menu then told me my name. Seems she knew me from somewhere. Then she left me alone to peruse the selection on offer – bliss. I was expecting the usual Chinese waitress intimidation. The menu begins with set meals then jumps to drinks then desserts then hops towards pizzas, noodles and rice dishes. Finally it ends up with a sparse four mains (sadly listed under the idiotic American term, “entrees”.) Ten minutes later, I place my order. I have decided to go for the “Naples Pizza” just because it is the one they trumpet. I also choose the “Fresh Porcini Rice”, basically because I don’t believe it. Then I throw in a salmon salad. I also ask for a glass of wine from their extensive list of three, none of which are Italian. All of which are crap. Seven minutes later my glass of red wine turns up – ice cold! ¥18 Italian experts who don’t know to serve red wine at room temperature? Still it does have the advantage that you can’t taste it. First food to arrive is the salmon salad. Here it is pictured on the menu. Apologies for picture quality. I was using my primitive cell phone to take pictures of bad pictures! Here is what turned up: Yes. Some lunatic has decided to improve the salad by drowning it in Kewpie Thousand Island Dressing. I hate Thousand Island Dressing! Bizarrely, it also comes with a bowl of soy sauce and wasabi. They are just chucking everything Japanese at it. Except anything remotely Italian. I push it to the side and ignore it. ¥23. Next, at 18:07, my pizza turns up. It looks fine, but, as I’ve said, nothing like anything recognised as a Naples pizza. As I’ve also said, it could be a reasonable, if dull, pepperoni and black olive pizza. It ain’t dull. The first bite has me gagging and downing the glass of water they kindly provided me with when I sat down. This thing is so oversalted! I am very salt tolerant, but I feel like I’ve just exceeded the recommended annual dosage in one small slice of pizza. It is inedible! Utterly disgusting. ¥33 Probably I should have stuck with the “Larry Italian Pizza” which features both “blacl (sic) pepper beef short ribs” and that Italian favourite, ”kungpao chicken”. As eaten by every Italian on a daily basis! What drugs are these people on? And who the hell is Larry? Their drug dealer? Just as I fall into despair, the dish I have least confidence in turns up. My “Fresh Porcini Rice”. To my astonishment this looks nothing like its depiction on the website or leaflets. It actually looks like a reasonable Italian risotto. I take a tentative forkful and it’s delicious. Perfectly cooked and flavoured with those porcini. I’m happy at last. But it’s a bubble about to burst. As I tuck in, I begin to find foreign objects lurking within. Large pieces of raw, cheap, fatty bacon. This is not mentioned on the menu. Lucky I’m not a vegetarian. I wade through the rice digging out the intruders, then settle back to the rice and mushrooms. I still don’t know if the porcini were fresh or dried – I suspect the latter, but they were fine. However, they could have been washed a bit better. As I reach the bottom of the dish it gets grainier and grainer until I feel I’m eating sand. I can’t say I was disappointed. I got more or less what I expected. Bad, non-Italian food. It wasn’t the worst meal I’ve had in Liuzhou, but it ran a close second. My friendly waitress, whom I still cannot place doesn't even glance at the uneaten food as I ask to pay. Situation normal. Not her concern.
  3. I need help with pasta sauces. I only ever make something that is tomato based or a meat sauce that has tomatoes. Marinara with meatballs. Bolognese. All'Amatriciana. That's pretty much it. I want to break out of this rut and learn more types of sauces. Bonus points if it's something that I can whip up quickly in small quantities. Like enough for a single, healthy portion of pasta. Extra bonus points if it uses "staple" items that don't perish quickly.
  4. Here is my predicament: I love limoncello, but the yellow sugary syrupy stuff sold at most restaurants in NYC (notable exceptions: Babbo and Girasole) and at liquor stores is totally undrinkable. Where can I find the good stuff? (I live in NYC, but any recommendation would be appreciated). Let me also add that I have been too lazy to make my own, but am starting to think that is my only option. Please, please help me.
  5. What is the difference between these two? Apparently, Bucatini is in short supply because some wackos think they make great straws! 😯 Then "Big Pasta" got US Customs to block the importation of one brand because they didn't add enough "iron" to their pasta to be legal for importation from Italy! 😲 Looking for some good pasta, I came across Colavita in these two styles as I don't want flat pasta or one of the other shapes. It looks like these names are used interchangeably but, they are different pasta shapes. How are these different from each other? Is the hole size different? Is one thicker than the other? In the $2~$3 per pound range, where do I get good "dry" pasta? What brands and shops are the better ones to shop at? Amazon can hook me up with 20 pounds of Colavita for a reasonable price in today's inflated market but, other brands and sources might be a better option. I am looking for quality pasta, not cheap mass-market pasta from the local grocery store that carries bland mushy Skinner and American Beauty. TIA, Sid
  6. I have been making pancetta for the first time. I have experience with the curing process doing things like bacon and cold smoked salmon in the past but this is the first time I have ever hanged anything. After a week of curing it has had 11 days hanging so far (I was planning on taking it to 28 days hanging) Although I foolishly forgot to weigh it. It smells really good like some awesome salami and the outer rim of the pancetta looks lovely and rich and dark. It was a recipe by Kuhlman in one of their charcuterie books. But when I inspected it today it had the mould growing on it as in the pics below. I have since scrubbed the mould off with white wine vinegar and returned it to the cellar. Is it wise to continue? Daniel
  7. Has anyone tried to cure guanciale (cured pig's jowls) at home? There is a simple recipe in the Babbo cookbook, which also appears on the Babbo Web site: http://www.babbonyc.com/in-guanciale.html I was surprised that the recipe did not call for using any "curing salt." I would love to avoid using curing salt/nitrite, but from some preliminary research, it seems to be a standard curing ingredient in order to kill certain bacteria. I looked at a few recipes for pancetta, and they all use a curing salt, in addition to regular salt. I'm wondering if this is an omission in the recipe, or if it could safely be made without curing salt. Another question: The recipe does not discuss washing the salt off the meat after the cure and before the drying period. This is a step I have seen in pancetta recipes. Another omission of a step that should be followed? Any thoughts on either of these questions? Thanks.
  8. Gnocchi is one of those foods that can be great or horrible. When its good, its light, soft and almost creamy, and when its bad its like tasteless lead sinkers. The strange thing about it is that it contains only 3-5 ingredients (potatoes, flour, salt, and maybe egg and/or some nutmeg). It looks so easy to make, yet I can't seem to get it right. Almost everything I've read says you want to use as little flour as possible, and to do so, you've got to allow as little water as possible into the potato. You also have to use floury potatos such as russets. While I've tried baking and boiling the potatoes, using a masher and a ricer, with egg and without egg, I can't seem to get it right. Does anyone have a tried and true recipe or know what I'm doing wrong?
  9. The Holidays and New Year caused me to lapse in my planning for this thread, hence the delay and subsequently shoddy initial post. Trentino Alto Adige is one of the Northernmost regions of Italy, above the Veneto and bordering Friuli Venezia Giulia. The cuisines share some similarities and key ingredients. TAA is equally informed by Austria in its cooking and culture. Dark, whole grain breads are a key staple. When they get too stale, one use for these breads is to make them into canederli, a type of gnocchi or dumpling. Sauerkraut also can be found used here, as can perhaps the best-known export of the region, speck or smoked prosciutto. Game abounds, and beef is used quite a bit in the cooking as well. This is one of the thinnest referenced regions we've covered, unfortunately. No books devoted exlcusively to it turn up in an Amazon booksearch. Ada Boni roles up the Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, and Friuli Venezia Giulia into one whole chapter. Marlena di Blasi leaves the region out entirely from her Northern cookbook, dismissing it as "too Germanic". That leaves a thin chapter on it from Ada Boni's book, and the chapter from Culinaria. If I recall correctly, Lynne Rossetto Kasper also imparts a few reigional recipes in her Italian Country Table cookbook as well. There's a not-terribly enlightening article on it in the new all-Italy edition of Gourmet magazine. Hopefully, Pontormo will be able to help us with online resources, and of course others' knowledge and input are welcome as well.
  10. All, This cookbook is due out very soon. Mine is due Oct 10,'13 See the link below. Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way: Oretta Zanini de Vita, Maureen B. Fant: 9780393082432: Amazon.com: Books
  11. I am looking for cookbooks that feature recipes and cuisine from the Northern region of Italy. ( My ancestors originate from Torino. ) I am looking for 'light' or healthier versions of traditional northern Italian recipes. Any recommendations?
  12. Hi. I'm brand new to this site. I used to be on Chowhound but I see now that that site is a mess. I found this site and it looks pretty cool. The main reason I joined is I’m looking for recommendations for a restaurant to hold my wedding in March 2018. We were hoping maybe in Brooklyn but we are open to anything interesting. There will be 55-60 people and the ceremony will also be at the restaurant. I’m thinking of a brunch/early afternoon affair, most likely on a weekend. Would love to find a funky/old school/unique/charming type of place for my sweetheart. Inexpensive please! Thank you in advance!
  13. Hi. I'm brand new to this site. I used to be on Chowhound but I see now that that site is a mess. I found this site and it looks pretty cool. The main reason I joined is I’m looking for recommendations for a restaurant to hold my wedding in March 2018. We were hoping maybe in Brooklyn but we are open to anything interesting. There will be 55-60 people and the ceremony will also be at the restaurant. I’m thinking of a brunch/early afternoon affair, most likely on a weekend. Would love to find a funky/old school/unique/charming type of place for my sweetheart. Inexpensive please! Thank you in advance!
  14. This may not mean much to non-British members, but I'm sad to read this morning of the passing of Antonio Carluccio, the only "celebrity chef" I ever met and spoke with. Many years ago, I was standing outside his beautiful Italian deli in the northern fringes of Covent Garden, London admiring the wonderful fresh wild mushrooms on sale which were displayed by the open door and regretting that I couldn't afford them that day. As I was doing so, the man himself came out and stopped to chat with me. He was large of body and heart. At that time he was known mainly from his books and for his passion for (the then unfashionable) mushroom foraging, only later becoming a television star, too. Here are a few links. One to an obituary, one to a personal memoir from food writer Matthew Fort and one to a Q+A session with the maestro.
  15. 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!
  16. My article was published (my first one!)! Hooray! And I do have some Florentine restaurant recommendations including the new Osteria del Pavone which is amazing--lampredotto ravioli is now a thing and it must be tried. http://www.classicchicagomagazine.com/florence-in-winter/
  17. Steve Sando had a nice write up in the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/dining/marcella-hazan-rancho-gordo-beans.html?ref=dining According to FedEx tracking my Marcella beans (and others) are due to arrive tomorrow.
  18. When grandmum made Cappelletti last christmas i took some pics , so i can share this tutorial. Cappelletti are pillows of pasta stuffed with bread, parmesan and stracotto juice, cooked in a chicken broth soup. So what is Stracotto: its just a Pot Roast made from some tough and unexpensive beef cut, simmered for a long time, 6 to 10 hours depending on the cut you choose and your willingness of making the ultimate sacrifice driyng your meat in order to get the best roast juice vs having a proper and tender pot roast on your table.
  19. A friend recently gifted me with a small jar of this incredible Bomba Calabrese. I thought I'd died and gone to spicy heaven. :wub: This particular brand is made by Gigi and is a product of Italy. The ingredients are: eggplant, pepper, hot chili peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, sunflower oil, olive oil, spices and salt. It is also not in chunks or pieces, but is easily spreadable. I found a few recipes for Bomba Calabrese online, but would like to try one that someone from eG recommends if possible. Barring that, I will make one of the found recipes and blenderize it perhaps. And also try to locate the product locally. I've contacted the distributor but not heard back yet. Thanks for any help.
  20. Ever seen this cooking technique ? A reference with pictures in italian language. Could'nt find any in english. http://cheprofumino.blogspot.it/2009/02/la-nostra-pizzasenza-forno.html
  21. Just found out that a member of eGullet, @Cia has begun to post his short videos on Italian culinary culture on YouTube. Only one to date but I know there are more in the pipeline. While made by an Italian based in Italy the narrative is in English. Here's the first instalment:
  22. My boyfriend and I are catering an event this weekend and we have some questions. We are going with an Italian theme. So---how much ground beef do we need to make meatballs for about 30 people, using a #40 scoop. Also how much pasta?
  23. After candying some quince, I decided the best fate for it is panforte, then realized that there is no way I'm going to be able get the ostie (thin, flat wafers made of I'm-not-sure-what) that cover it. My first thought was 'Make them!', then I wondered whether the rice wraps used for spring rolls could be used (thin as the discs are, the seem a bit thicker than what I have in mind, and the starch looks more gelatinized than it is in ostie). Have any of you either successfully used rice wrappers, or made ostie? I could get them online, but then I'd have masses of them, and I'd rather not have to store anything I won't be using relatively quickly, since storage is at a premium (we're in a very temporary space).
  24. Does anyone know of anywhere in (preferably central) London selling decent guanciale?
  25. So I've yet to ever cook with polenta, so I bought some to experiment with. I got the 'pre-cooked' package this time to simplify things. What should I make first? Other ingredients on hand: A couple of racks of pork ribs (on sale!), lots of great frozen hatch chilies, all kinds of root veg and aromatics. I'm jonesing to use the ribs, green chile AND polenta, but so far have come up with nothing inspirational. Any ideas?
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