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eG Foodblog: MelissaH and phaelon56 - Salt Potatoes and Onions, but n


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Dinner tonight: we went to Rudy's!

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Totally digging the vibe of this place. It's a Northeast US type of joint that holds major nostalgia for me. The griddle and the Fryolator and the soft serve and shake machines rule at those kind of joints.

Also loving all the oatmeal stuff. In the winter when I'm making congee every day, sometimes I've been using rolled oats in the broth instead of rice. Need to try that with the un-squished oats one of these days ... only doing the start-them-overnight trick.

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Melissa or Owen -- before the blog is done, could one of you put up a picture of a half-moon cookie? They don't exist anywhere but CNY. There is a pretender that exists in the NYC metro region called a black and white cookie, but they aren't the same thing at all.

If you can find a picture, I will post a decent recipe for making them. My mom clipped it for me from the Herald Journal food page (which dates it, doesn't it) and I have saved it and used it since then.

Owen - hope you're feeling ok...

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Owen - hope you're feeling ok...

Thanks for asking. It's early Sunday morning at the moment and I'm finally up to posting again. I managed to work the day Friday and actually got a few meals in but Saturday's food activity included nothing but a light breakfast - had to pass on lunch and dinner. I'm glad this blog was a tag team effort (thank you Melissa!)

...before the blog is done, could one of you put up a picture of a half-moon cookie?  They don't exist anywhere but CNY.

If you can find a picture, I will post a decent recipe for making them.

I promise to do that. And I look forward to that recipe - my dad loves half moons.

No visit to Ithaca yesterday and thus no Moosewood visit. But I have decided to get down there some upcoming weekend very soon and will report on that visit in the New York forum.

My mom clipped it for me from the Herald Journal food page (which dates it, doesn't it) and I have saved it and used it since then. 

My mom was long active in the Home Ec Club of Syracuse and was involved in the management of that recipe sharing column in some way for years. A few weeks ago I spotted a recipe she submitted recently in response to a reader's query (this being in the Post as the Herald is long gone). It was one she'd clipped years before, filed and knew exactly where it was - but she never made it for us!

Ghostrider (who happens to live in the same "swamps of NJ" where I lived until a few years ago) asked:

I'm wondering if the Fall Creek House, another favorite destination, is still around.

Ahhhhh... the "Crick House". Yes it's still there. Not thriving as it once was when Ithaca Gun was still in business and ran three shifts but it's there. One of my former Cornell colleagues tells me that some of the Ithaca gun retirees would show up there every weekday morning at 8 AM to have coffee while their still working friends came in for beers after third shift.

And the Louie's versus "Truck" info is appreciated. I walked by Louie's every day when I worked at Cornell as I was living on Wyckoff Ave. But the "Truck" I barely noticed as Stewart Ave was not on any of my regular routes.

Having mentioned a few days ago that my latter art improved I'll confess that it has to do with improved espresso shots. On Thursday evening I decided to change the gasket and the dispersion screen inside the brew group head (gasket seals the coffee holding poretafi8klter in so proper pressure will be maintained and the dispersion screen has a fine mesh screen behind a metal plate with multiple small holes that regulates the flow and distribution of water. I'd been suspecting the grinder - a used Mazzer that I recently put into service (one of the many grinders and espresso machines in my basement).

Voila! Great espresso once again and improved latte art to boot. Here are the results from the past three mornings (Saturday is a bit abstract but maybe it's a swan?)

Friday

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Saturday

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Sunday

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I haven't had Owen's ribs, but I have had the pleasure of eating John-John's. I, too, fail to be impressed by Dinosaur BBQ, and prefer to make my own. I like sauce on my ribs, and usually use =Mark's South Carolina Mustard Barbecue sauce.

This is sounding like it may turn into a smackdown at some point. biggrin.gif

Smackdown indeed - you're on!

And I'm sad to report that John-John's operation seems to have ground to a halt as it has so many times over the years. They closed for State Fair week and threw up a hastily lettered sign saying they';d be back after the Fair. All the smokers and the cart are still there but there's no one present and no food being cooked.

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Friday's breakfast was the usual thawed croissant, banana and an apple. No need to show that. And I humbly submit that the apples grown in the Syracuse area - specifically in the Lafayette Valley area just south of the city, are the finest in the country. One particular variety known as Macoun (pronounced Muh-cown) has the most incredible combination of fine crisp texture, tartness and sweetness that I have ever tasted anywhere.

By the way - terroir matters in apples just as it does in wine and coffee. If you happen to find Macouns in a store like Wegmans they come from big apple farms in the Hudson Valley or from flatland farms on the south side of Lake Ontario. They are not remotely close to being as good as those coming from the Lafayette Valley. This variety is grown in limited amounts and has a much shorter season than the more well known types (Macintosh, Empire, Jonagold, Cortland etc.). I'll get some today if they're ready by now.

Friday lunch was comprised of two local specialties - purchased at an outdoor grill just down the road from my office. They use a big cooker fired with hardwood scraps from the nearby Stickley Furniture factory. Syracuse was the epicenter of the Arts & Crafts movement in the US with Gustav Stickley's Craftsman Workshop in Eastwood ( now a neighborhood of Syracuse - then a small separate community on the edge of the city).

The Roycrofters were in nearby Aurora NY (about 45 minutes away) and my all time favorite ceramist - Adelaide Alsop Robineau - had her studios here and created the incredible Scarab Vase (the Apotheosis of the Toiler). I stop to look at this piece very time I visit our local Everson Museum (first art museum ever designed by IM Pei - maybe we're not such a hick town after all :wink:

eGulleteer Lonnie (aka Lonnie Chu) has a terrific blog called Walkable Eastwood - which highlights the efforts she's been spearheading to help this neighborhood retain its historic character. Here's a great she did on Cafe Kubal - a great local microroaster and cafe (one that I visit regularly). Among the local connections are the fact that all of the cabinetry in the shop was built by a Stickley alum using some methods unique to that product and the antique roaster being used is a Royal #4 - made in the early 1900's in Hornell NY.

On to food. I had a chicken Speidie (Binghamton's contribution to the food world) and some salt potatoes. A healthy and decent lunch for $5.

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That evening my plans for a Polish dinner were postponed due to schedule shuffling by my planned dining partners. I wasn't up to driving across town anyway so it seemed a good occasion to try this mysterious little Korean restaurant that is just a few doors down from th e currently shuttered John-John's BBQ operation.

By the way - when I have lived in town (which is for close to 40 years of my 51 year life) I have always gravitated to the East side - where both my mom and I grew up. We like to think it has a more interesting mix of people and culture than do other parts of the city - nothing wrong with being biased towards your own neighborhood.

A few doors down and behind Chorong House - the Korean restaurant - is the Jean's Potato Chips factory. In 1995 they were purchased by a larger regional chain known as Terrell's but the Jean's brand still has a loyal local following and is available to this day. Upthread someone mentioned "Friday fish fry". Perhaps due in part to our large Catholic population there has always been an abundance of places where fried haddock was served on Friday. Although the Catholic Church has long since removed the dictate against eating meat on Friday the tradition prevails. There are fewer fish fries now than there were back then. But "back in the day" we used to visit the jean's Potato Chip factory every Friday - where they opened a special retail counter one day each week to sell fried haddock and French Fries.

And.... no sooner did I tell Sandy upthread the Syracuse University has little if anything to do with the number of local ethnic restaurants.... but I find Chorong House to be one exception to the rule.

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The few other restaurants in town that offer Korean food are billed as "Japanese-Korean" and sushi offerings, teriyaki etc. play a large part in their popularity. Chorong House appears to have a primary market of Korean students from the nearby university, who appear in significant numbers on weekend nights, leave their shoes in the foyer and sit cross-legged at low traditional tables in a large rear dining room. The two middle aged ladies whom run the restaurant appear to be surrogate moms of a sort who feed the hungry throngs and bring them a taste of home. I sat in the tiny (five tables) front dining room adjacent to the open kitchen.

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In case you might be wondering about the subject matter of the photos on the "wall of pictures" - nearly all of them are pictures of happy diners sitting in front of that same wall of pictures!

I am nearly clueless about Korean food and until this meal I'd never had any that I found all that appealing. But this was a terrific meal and I will definitely return.

Meat and vegetable dumplings

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Kim Chi and other pickled items served as a complimentary appetizer / side dish (one of the items appeared to be slices of either small hot dogs or large Vienna sausages that had been pickled - but it was tasty)

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The main course was Bimbam... bap? I'm not sure of the suffix as there were several Bimbamxxx items on the menu. It was comprised of marinated and cooked slices of beef, mushrooms, lettuce, spouted beans and other vegetables along with some thin black strips of what appeared to be seaweed - all served on a bowl of steamed rice with a dried egg on top. This dish is similar in many ways to one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes. The table adjacent to me had a huge bowl of steaming soup that I'll be sure to try when I can revisit along with other people to share the food.

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Melissa or Owen -- before the blog is done, could one of you put up a picture of a half-moon cookie?  They don't exist anywhere but CNY.  There is a pretender that exists in the NYC metro region called a black and white cookie, but they aren't the same thing at all.

I was rudely surprised the first time I ran into a half moon cookie. My family has roots three generations back in NYC, and I've long been a fan of black and whites. When we moved here, I saw a cookie that looked like a black and white, but the nameplate said "half moon cookie" instead. I got one. I still haven't gotten over my disappointment :angry: and I still haven't bought another half moon. Can you believe, you can get them with a chocolate cookie? That still seems just as wrong to me as the gooshy icing.

The only place I regularly see them in Oswego is Ontario Orchards. Even our grocery stores don't seem to have them.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Happy Sunday, everyone!

When I opened my eyes this morning, I was greeted by a chorus of meows. You don't need to speak Cat to understand what the boys were saying: "FEED ME!" But our boys have been known to lie to us before, so instead of automatically getting dishes and a can from their storage place in my morning-fogged state, I first checked the fridge. And this is what I found:

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We always put the half-can of food for the boys' dinner in a green-lidded container. I know that if I see a green lid like this one in the fridge, my husband the early bird has already taken care of the boys. Most mornings, he's way ahead of me. But some mornings, I find the container holding the cat food sitting on the counter instead of the fridge. Sometimes when that happens, the lid's not even on the container yet. And once I found the container, uncovered, with all the juice licked off. :hmmm: The cats are not permitted on the kitchen counters, or the dining room table, but the rules only apply when someone's there to enforce them. Ah, the mind of a cat.

After satisfying Leo with a rub behind the ears and nearly getting tripped by Lyon weaving through my legs so he could bash his head against my ankles, it was time for a drink. It was chilly last night, so I decided I wanted something hot this morning.

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Same old electric kettle. I like this one because all the wires are in the base, and you can pick up the water-containing part with no strings attached. And (I tried but couldn't get a decent photo) when you turn it on, there's a cool blue light inside. The tea and teacup both came from our last visit to Belgium. I like that the cup's clear, so you can see how dark your tea is getting without having to lift the lid. The tea we picked up at a shop in Brugge called Javana. Here's a better look at the label:

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I don't speak much Dutch beyond the basic polite phrases. As far as I can figure out, this is Fruits of the South tea, mixed from hibiscus, rose hips, and dried pineapple, apple, and lemon chunks.

The tea brews up to a beautiful reddish color.

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Some tea you can pour fresh water over the infuser and get a second cup of tea out, but not this. All the goodness has been extracted after the first cup.

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Today, there are two events on the agenda. First, there's a football game to watch! I grew up in Pittsburgh, and I'm old enough to remember the last of the glory years of the Steel Curtain. You can imagine the horrors I experienced when I moved to the Cleveland area. But at least living there, our TV antenna could pick up the stations from Youngstown, which usually carried the Steeler games rather than the Browns games. Here, the closest team to us is the Buffalo Bills, but you also find a fair number of Jets and Giants fans as well. This week, the Steelers are hosting the Bills, which means that I get to watch my team on TV. But I'll probably only see the first half of the game.

This afternoon, we'll be heading onto campus. There's a piano recital! One of our music professors (the same one who plays jazz on Wednesday nights, and who took part in the chamber music concert this last Wednesday) will be performing works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Liszt, Barber and Gershwin. His recitals are always a treat.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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The hard part about a foodblog is catching up with everything that happened after turning the computer off.

Yesterday during the afternoon football-watching session, I ate a little bowl of munchymix.

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Munchymix is our generic term for whatever we eat in front of the TV, if it's not a single ingredient like cashews or candied peanuts or M&Ms. My favorite munchymixes come from Trader Joe's, and they're relatively easy to haul back because they pack nicely. I liked this mix, because I like dried blueberries. (I know I've gone on the record above as saying that I don't like raisins. But I do like most other dried berries (blue, cran, straw), as well as other dried fruits such as cherries, pineapple, apple, papaya, and mango.)

And then we headed over next door. Our next door neighbors are both retired: he was an art professor, and she taught music for the Fulton school district, and still conducts the Fulton Community Band. (Disclaimer: I play flute in the community band. We usually have either rehearsal or a concert on Thursday nights, but we take the month of September off after a busy summer season.)

It was very much a culinary crowd for dinner last night. Both of us like to cook. As we were arriving, we met another couple coming for dinner, and he used to cook for a hotel here in town that's since become a nursing home. And the other two people were already inside: they're here for school, but he's a CIA graduate and cooked on a cruise ship for a bit.

The other guests of the evening were just babies:

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They're about two months old, and were adopted a week ago.

The evening started with rosemary cashews, cheese and crackers, and conversation in the studio.

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The wedge in back is St.-André. In front is Drunken Goat, and the piece on the left was something unremarkable coated in cocoa. (It was a tasty cheese, but the chocolate flavor didn't come through.)

From there, we moved to the dining room for a sweet potato gratin with pecan topping,

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pork tenderloin with fried sage leaves because the garden's been prolific in its sage production this fall,

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and a dish of green beans, tomatoes (from the garden), and crispy pancetta with shaved parmesan.

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To drink:

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For dessert:

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I think this is a peach parfait recipe from Fine Cooking earlier this summer. The peaches were peeled and sliced off the pit. The whipped cream was sweetened with honey. And the crumbs were crumbled biscotti.

We'll probably see our neighbors at the recital this afternoon. This professor always puts together a nice program, and it doesn't hurt that he's drop-dead gorgeous!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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The main course was Bimbam...  bap?  I'm not sure of the suffix as there were several Bimbamxxx items on the menu.  It was comprised of marinated and cooked slices of beef, mushrooms, lettuce, spouted beans and other vegetables along with some thin black strips of what appeared to be seaweed - all served on a bowl of steamed rice with a dried egg on top.  This dish is similar in many ways to one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes.  The table adjacent to me had a huge bowl of steaming soup that I'll be sure to try when I can revisit along with other people to share the food.

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I learned about Bibimbap (there are as many spellings as recipes, I think) when I lived in Evanston, IL. It's Korean comfort food and if you ever see it as Bibimbap dol Sot, order it! The difference is that it is prepared and served in a heavy clay bowl which has been heat. The result is that the rice in the bottom gets brown and really crispy. The egg on top is very common also and I've had the whole range from fried over well to freshly cracked (raw). :shock: In the latter case, the Korean-way to eat it is important. Imagine, this nicely arranged bowl of different items on rice is intended to be tossed by the diner into a jumbled mess. In the case of the raw egg, the heat from everything else cooks it and you get a nice sauce. We learned this technique from the Korean restaurant owner in Evanston. We were eating parts of our nicely arranged bowl and she walked over and said "You really need to toss it." We looked at her puzzled and she grabbed my spoon and chopsticks and tossed away. "There, that's how it's done" This brings up something we learned latter, the Koreans usually eat with their spoon and use their chopsticks to pick up items to serve themselves.

Did you also get some of the spicy red bean paste to add to your bibimbap?

Casey Raymond aka CRChemist

Chemist, Homebrewer

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Who knew there were so many oatmeal lovers out there? :wub: And that's only including those who have come out of the woodwork so far!

MelissaH

Count us in---same brand, cooked a bit dry-er than just creamy, with little raggedy, torn-up edges standing away from the spoon.

Chris is a S&L/milk-stirred-in, and I am a moat-of-milk around the circle of the bowl, with Turbinado sugar sprinkled over the center, for that burst of sweetness in every bite, and a satisfying crunch between the molars now and then.

This has been a lovely glimpse of a world as far away as Madagascar---all the tides and the fishing---I miss the pier-nights of listening to the Gulf as the guys plied their lines into the dark water.

And Owen, I do hope you're all well now---it's been an awkwardly un-me Summer, with several hospital trips, and one more this week, so I sympathize and send my best wishes for your good health.

Thank you both for the tours of your area---I've enjoyed every minute and every jaunt. (Though, coming from a habituee of bait-shops from here to the coast, the kind that feature everything from stuffed alligators to deep-fried twinkies, with all manner of stuff in between and denizens just awaiting discovery by John Waters, I would not have entered that dark door, either. It was stark and scary).

All else was bright and lovely, and I hope to see it all someday.

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if you ever see it as Bibimbap dol Sot, order it! The difference is that it is prepared and served in a heavy clay bowl which has been heat. The result is that the rice in the bottom gets brown and really crispy.

The clay pot option was indeed listed on the menu - I'll try that next time.

Did you also get some of the spicy red bean paste to add to your bibimbap?

Yes - a big squeeze bottle with no label that looked like a ketchup bottle. It was tasty and I applied it liberally.

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I think I've just about worn myself up for the week and the weekend. I'll catch up with yesterday's lone meal and provide a glimpse of what's in store for me for tonight - or perhaps tomorrow as I'm not feeling enthused about standing up to cook at this point.

Saturday's real meal was breakfast (dinner was a leftover rib and some sweet potato salad).

Yellow grits - love these (don't much care for plain old white grits) and can't find them around here. We picked these up at a roadside stand in rural South Carolina when I had a hankering for boiled green peanuts (which are weirdly addictive)

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Tried to make "basted" eggs but I screwed 'em up pretty darn good. The oil and butter was so hot that the eggs spread out too thin and got crispy in the whites. But I was able to keep the yolks runny so they could ooze down into the grits they were served on top of - crucial.

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And my multi-grain bread was smeared with this tasty concoction I found at a Christmas crafts market in Ithaca last year - very good stuff.

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And we do have a bit of food retailing in the family tree. My dad's father ran O'Neill's Cash Store during the late 20's and through the middle of the Great Depression (when he went under because he extended too much credit to people in need at his "cash" store). At my great grandpa Johnsonbeck's insistence he made Mr. Manton - the butcher - teach him the art of meat cutting - which later proved to be quite useful.

This is an original handbill that is framed and remains on my parents dining nook wall.

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Porterhouse steak was one of the pricier items at 29 cents per pound - then again.... one of my uncles was a food salesman making $25 per week - considered to be "big money" in our area at the time.

The store was located here - the neighborhood has changed....

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After the store closed he went to work in a commercial bakery a few hundred yards from his house - the decaying brick hulk of which was still standing when I was a young boy. But in his mid to late 70's, before the Social Security program provided the elderly poor with a semblance of a living pension, he returned to work - as a butcher (needless to say - my dad, his three sisters and their spouses wanted to make up the income shortfall but pride would not let that happen).

So.... when I was 7 or 8 years old my brother and I would regularly stop at the Dale Market to get a big smile and a piece of penny candy from Grandpa O'Neill. ironically enough it happened to be the same market and butcher where my mom's family bought all their meat when she was a girl. And today it remains in service - only ten blocks or so from my house - as the Syracuse Real Food Coop. Some circles remain small.

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With no further ado - for the benefit of Catew (whose mom lives even closer to the Food Coop than I do) here is the Half Moon Cookie. Now - where is that recipe you promised? :wink:

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I bought the cookies at a satellite store of Harrison Bakery - an outfit that consistently fails to impress me except for their very tasty Half Moons. By the way - there are plenty of truly mediocre Half Moon cookies now sold in this town at grocery store bakeries, convenience stores and the like. But a few good ones remain.

And in another sign of the times - this bakery (a few blocks from my house) is in the exact same space where Martin's and Tannenbaum's Kosher Meat Market was located for many, many years. Times change... groceries like Wegman's meet most people's needs and the number of families in town who keep Kosher continues to decline.

John-John's remains closed - all the more reason for a rib smackdown sometime soon.

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This is just one of his several smokers - the man can handle volume - for certain.

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Sunday was a restocking trip.

First a jaunt south for some apples at O'Neill's Orchards (no relation that we know of but somewhere back in misty time we are undoubtedly kinfolk).

Entering the Lafayette Valley from the East - on Rte 20 -aka The Cherry Valley Turnpike.

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They have a nice outside eating area where you can have a snack or relax after doing U-Pick. And you might want to eat your fresh apple fritter there (first really good one I've ever had!).

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This baby was oozing with nice chunks of fresh apple.

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I had a nice chat with the owner Keith O'Neill. We became engaged about picking schedules because I was in search of Macouns - which I'll have to wait at least 7 to 10 days for. One of the migrant crews that works for him every year is Jamaican - he says they call him "the White Jamaican" because he loves their cooking so much. He was kind enough to share with me a few good bites of the breakfast dish they gave him this morning: bananas with mackerel and tomato. If you like ackee with salted codfish and plantains for breakfast then you'll love this dish - I did. You just never know when you'll stumble across great food in the most unlikely of places!

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From there I headed north for North Syracuse to visit the area's newest Italian Imports store. It's owned by Sam Mondello and Vince Lombardi (no - not THAT Vince Lombardi!) . Vince's family has run (and still does) the Lombardi Imports store on Syracuse's North Side for many years. I've written about shopping at Lombardi's in other threads and I still go there regularly.

But with the neighborhood changing and a large number of potential customers in the Northern suburbs Vince opened a place of his own out that way this past November with Sam as a partner. Nice place. Big, bright and well stocked. And I chatted for a bit with Sam - an affable host.

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Plenty of bulk goods here including olives and nuts not to mention coarse and fine polenta, durum flour and extra fine semolina (which I use in my pizza dough). Even fava beans. I'll get to those eventually.

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Big deli counter where I bought imported buffalo milk mozzarella, Parma prosciutto and some of their excellent made on premises Italian sausage. And I bought some of the marinara sauce and past they make there as well. I think that's tomorrow's dinner.

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Nice prosciutto - I just eat it straight from the package.

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Tomorrow's meal includes some aged Balsamic and some espresso soda that I purchase awhile ago at Lombardi's.

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And no Italian meal is complete in this town without bread - most often from Columbus Bakery - good Italian bread as baked by Greeks :rolleyes: .

The only thing mechanized in this place is the dough mixer and the bread slicer. That long wooden trough on the floor is where the dough rises and is kneaded by hand by a team of men.

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People often buy two loaves - one for dinner and one to eat in the car on the way home :laugh:

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It's been a fun week and I've appreciated the feedback and questions. I didn't choose this town as my home but it has plenty going for it and good food is never more than a few minutes away for those willing to search for it.

Today's dinner - sliced Striped German tomato, fresh basil, Buffalo milk mozzarella, Sicilian olive oil and a drizzle of aged Balsamic. See ya all later - I'm ready to eat!

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OMG I grew up 5 minutes from the Kilakanoon Winery in Clare and haven't had any since I moved to the US in 2004. Clare is famous for it's rieslings - the cold nights and hot days during summer make for some intense and interesting flavours. How was this??

Tom

I want food and I want it now

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Korean food is awesome--I'm still on the learning curve myself, but let me see if I can fill in a few more blanks here:

Meat and vegetable dumplings

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Those are known as mandu or mandoo (all of these things get transliterated into the Euro alphabet in a variety of ways).

Kim Chi and other pickled items served as a complimentary appetizer / side dish (one of the items appeared to be slices of either small hot dogs or large Vienna sausages that had been pickled - but it was tasty)

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Ahhh -- banchan or panchan. I love this stuff. There are tons of different panchan, and it's customary to always serve at least a few different choices, but kimchee is the one must-have.

The main course was Bimbam...  bap?  I'm not sure of the suffix as there were several Bimbamxxx items on the menu.  It was comprised of marinated and cooked slices of beef, mushrooms, lettuce, spouted beans and other vegetables along with some thin black strips of what appeared to be seaweed - all served on a bowl of steamed rice with a dried egg on top.  This dish is similar in many ways to one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes.  The table adjacent to me had a huge bowl of steaming soup that I'll be sure to try when I can revisit along with other people to share the food.

I see somebody else has already jumped in with an explanation of bibimbap. It's one of my favorites, and I agree the dolsot bibimbap is especially great. The stone bowl holds heat for a long time, so as you keep stirring and eating, more bits get to crisp up against the bowl, so your meal keeps changing as you eat. :biggrin:

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John-John's remains closed - all the more reason for a rib smackdown sometime soon.

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Oh, this is a sad sight! I actually thought about swinging by on my way home Wednesday (well, not really on the way, but not too far out of my way either) to get some ribs for dinner, but then I realized that with the concert, I wouldn't have time to eat them. Let's hope they rematerialize soon. And in the meantime, you're on for a smackdown!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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The recital this afternoon was fine. This pianist always puts on a good show, but this was not the best concert I've heard him do. (Some of it might be the piano: two summers ago, there was a bit of an energy crunch here, and the call went out for energy conservation. The university complied by killing the AC in all nonessential spaces, with disastrous results: the Steinway concert grand was sealed up in a non-AC room, and wound up getting virtually destroyed by the humidity. Last year they borrowed a Yamaha, which would have been fine for a pop music concert but just sounded all wrong for a classical piano recital. This year they had a Baldwin, which sounded somewhat better. I still miss the Steinway, as other people apparently also do.) The highlight this afternoon for me was the piano sonata by Samuel Barber, which I hadn't heard before.

After the concert: dinner! Neither of us was particularly hungry. We went grocery shopping this early-afternoon, and when we got back I had a bowl of cereal and Casey had a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. (I've never liked canned tomato soup.) I met our next-door neighbor at the recital, and invited her to come back for some ice cream. She, too, loved the PB&J combination. I still have some left!

But that was just a stopgap measure. I needed to make some real dinner. And I decided to try something brand-new, to use up some of my carrots. The recipe came from this book

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which I acquired courtesy of Anna N. The author was born in Belgium, but married a Chilean and lives in Chile now. We also have her Belgian cookbook, and the recipes we've made from that have meshed with what we've eaten in Belgium. I was looking through this book earlier this week (yes, I read cookbooks as if they were novels) and found a recipe for a carrot omelet. Since we had all the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a go. This was the first recipe I've cooked from this book.

The ingredients:

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I forgot to include my flour container in the photo, but you'll need two tablespoons of flour also.

I started by separating three eggs. I broke a yolk. Oops.

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The other prep work: peeling

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and grating

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the carrots. The recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of grated carrots, from 2 to 3 carrots. I used 3 carrots and didn't measure anything more.

And I minced the clove of garlic. I don't know what variety of garlic this is, but it's grown locally.

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The preparation of this omelet was different than any other omelet I'd done before. It started by beating the egg whites and a pinch of salt

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to soft peaks.

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Yes, I did this with my whisk, by hand. It wasn't so bad.

Then, the yolks get folded in alternately with two tablespoons of flour. The whites deflate somewhat as you do this.

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You season the eggs with salt and pepper, and then use a fork to mix in the garlic and carrots.

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This omelet gets cooked in a small nonstick frying pan. I heated mine over medium-low heat (the cookbook said medium, but I know how my stove heats!) with a touch of oil.

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The batter goes into the hot pan, and cooks for 3 or 4 minutes. I poured in the batter, and shook the pan to help distribute it. I used my heat-resistant spatula to make sure the edges stayed free, which was a particular problem around the rivets holding the handle in place. Once the edges were free, I could just shake the pan occasionally to make sure the whole thing was loose and unstuck.

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Then came my trouble spot. The recipe said to invert over a plate. If I'm going to try that again, I want a Spanish tortilla plate with a knob on the bottom. If I ever visit Spain, I want to get one and bring it home, because I can't find one here. Next time, I think I'd treat this like a frittata and put the pan under the broiler to cook the top side instead of trying to flip the omelet.

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It takes just a couple of minutes to brown the bottom side. And that's it!

The recipe said to serve with a salsa, for which it gave a recipe. I was lazy and just used some salsa from the bottle open in the fridge.

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I wouldn't have thought to make a whole omelet of carrots, but it tasted pretty good. I liked the sweetness the carrots brought to the party, and the garlic's bite kept it from being one-dimensional. The salsa was an unusual addition to me, as I generally prefer combining chips with salsa rather than veggies, but the sweetness worked nicely to offset the spiciness. I'd make this again.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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John-John's remains closed - all the more reason for a rib smackdown sometime soon.

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This is just one of his several smokers - the man can handle volume - for certain.

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In a past life, I'll wager the smoker on the bottom was a Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy"-class locomotive. (These are often described as the largest articulated steam freight locomotives ever built -- they were certainly the most powerful. They were built between 1941 and 1944 to haul long UP freights up the steep mountain grades in Wyoming. 25 were built in all; one sits at the entrance to the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pa.)

That is one mighty impressive piece of equipment!

And this has been one mighty enjoyable blog. Thanks for teaming up and sharing your passions with us.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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OMG I grew up 5 minutes from the Kilakanoon Winery in Clare and haven't had any since I moved to the US in 2004. Clare is famous for it's rieslings - the cold nights and hot days during summer make for some intense and interesting flavours. How was this??

Tom

Well, like I've said before, I'm not really a drinker. I put about two fingers' worth in the bottom of my conical glass, and that was plenty for me. It tasted like wine. Sorry. :rolleyes: I'll ask my husband for a better description.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I did one more thing in the kitchen tonight: baked an apple cake. I nearly always make an apple cake to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, because it's the right time of year for apples (a little early this year), and I like it better than the traditional apples with honey, or honey cake. This became one of the recipes in Dorie Greenspan's book but it started out as mine. Or rather, as my great-grandmother's. It came to me through my mother's sister.

As always, I started by getting my ingredients together. I didn't get the eggs (2 of them) out of the fridge for the photo because I realized that the kitchen was warm enough tonight to make the butter a little softer than ideal. I wanted to keep the eggs cold, to try and chill the butter so it would stiffen up a touch.

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First step: make the dough. Two sticks of butter, two eggs, and a cup of sugar go into the mixer bowl.

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When it's nicely creamed, add a tablespoon of baking powder (yes, you read that right, a whole tablespoon) and about half a teaspoon of salt. Then add the juice of one lemon; this will make the dough slosh around the mixer bowl, and you'll need to scrape the sides to get everything combined. Finally, add the flour. The exact amount of flour depends on how juicy your lemon was. Because this is an old touchy-feely recipe, I don't measure too exactly either. I know that it always takes at least 3 1/4 cups of flour, and I always use King Arthur AP flour for this. I generally get the first three cups in, scoop up the fourth cup, and little by little add as much of it as it needs. You're aiming for a dough that will eventually be rollable but you don't want to add so much flour that the dough gets dry. In this case, I used about half of the fourth cup of flour. It will look something like this when you're done:

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(actually, I probably could have used a little more flour in this batch. Guess my lemon was extra-juicy. The oversoft butter didn't help either.)

Divide the dough into two parts. Getting it exactly even isn't tremendously important, because you have more dough than you need. Flatten each dough portion, wrap each in plastic wrap, and let them chill in the refrigerator for a while. I typically leave them in while I make the filling, but my kitchen was apparently on the warm side because the dough really needed to be colder to be properly rollable. But fortunately, for this recipe it's not a big issue.

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Before you begin the filling, turn the oven on to 350 degrees F.

For the filling, start by peeling,

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coring, and slicing about 8 apples into a large bowl. You want lots of filling in your apple cake, so it's better to prepare more apples if yours are small. I'm using some of the Paula Reds that I got from Fruit Valley Orchards earlier in the week. Because these are a somewhat softer apple to begin with, I kept my slices a little on the thick side. Taste a sample or three to see how your apples taste before you add anything.

Squeeze the second lemon,

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and add the juice to the apple slices. If your apples are sweet, add it all, but if your apples are tart you may want to be more sparing. Toss the slices in the juice to separate them from one another, and to coat each slice with lemon juice. Add cinnamon and sugar to taste—again, this depends on your apples. If your apples were sweet to begin with, you won't need as much sugar. These apples were pretty sweet, so I only needed a couple of spoonfuls of sugar. I added a generous sprinkle of cinnamon because I like cinnamon. Toss it all together with your hands, and taste again.

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Once the filling is mixed, it's time to roll the dough. My dough was still really soft, because my butter started out really soft and the dough didn't have enough fridge time to firm up. Nonetheless, I floured my counter and tried rolling it anyway. I was able to get it rolled, fold it into quarters, and use my scraper to convey it into my pan (a pyrex deep-dish pie pan), but I couldn't unfold the dough without it sticking together and tearing. Oh well, never mind. This dough is quite forgiving, so if you don't like to roll dough or if you run into trouble, all you need to do is press the dough together, and push it where it needs to be. You can even get away with no rolling whatsoever: just pull off chunks of dough and pat them into the pan. There will be extra dough left over, so set it aside.

Then, the filling needs to go into the lined pan. I don't usually just dump the filling in from the bowl, because all the juice from the bottom of the bowl will make my crust soggy. Instead, I use my hands to move the apple pieces from the bowl into the pan, leaving the liquid behind.

Next up: another rolling session. I don't know why I bothered, because if the first half didn't go in nicely, the second certainly wouldn't. And it didn't. I rolled it out, folded it in quarters, and again failed miserably in unfolding the dough on top of the filling. So I got to patch it together. This is actually what most of the family does with this dough. To my knowledge, I'm the only one since my great-grandmother to actually successfully roll this dough and neatly get it into the pan. I usually have better luck, but I usually also have a much colder kitchen. So I'm just another family member tonight. :wink:

Once the top crust goes on the cake, you need to cut some vents. The dough will tend to close up on itself in the oven, so twist the knife to make the slits wider.

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And then, into the oven it goes! The trick is to get the filling cooked without underbaking the dough. The absolute worst thing you can do is underbake the bottom crust. That's why I use a glass pan: I can pick it up and look at the underside to know if it's done.

I always have leftover dough that didn't fit into the pan. I gather it up into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and put it back in the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll roll it out, cut it with a star-shaped cookie cutter because that's what my great-grandmother always used, sprinkle the cookies with cinnamon and sugar, and bake them off. My grandmother's older sister would take the leftover dough and form it into a roll to slice, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake.

Expect the apple cake to take at least 45 minutes to bake, and often closer to an hour or more. Eventually, it will be done (meaning the dough on the bottom is starting to brown). It then needs to cool before you can cut it and enjoy it. I'll leave mine to cool overnight.

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It's not a beautiful dessert by any stretch of the imagination. This one in particular is aesthetically challenged, since I screwed up the dough-rolling. But this is the only recipe I have from my great-grandmother, whom I never met, and because of that I don't want to fancify it or pretty it up. I hope she'd approve.

MelissaH

Edited by MelissaH (log)

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Those half moon cookies look a lot like Black and Whites!!

But they're not the same! They never will be! Any more than a pecan pie without nuts will be the same as a butter tart (which I also love, after many business trips to Ontario).

Also, something I didn't note before. In Owen's picture of the half-moon, you can see his hand behind the wax paper holding the cookie. A half-moon is a substantial piece of baked good. In my experience, a black and white is a much daintier pastry. Half-moon = 5" diameter -- black and white about 3". Not that I'm a size queen or anything.

There are things that clearly share a common ancestor, but have evolved into separate entities. And two of those are the Black and White and Half-moon Cookie.

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Melissa, I noted that you used Paula Red's for your dessert. What's your preferred apple for baked things? Here in MN, it's the Haralson. In fact, so beloved that if orchards also have restaurants and bakeries, they don't sell them, just bake with them.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I can't wait to try that apple cake Melissa. The dough may not have rolled well, but the finished product looks respectably rustic to me.

I've enjoyed the tag team blog this week, I'm sorry to see it end.

Owen, I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but that coffee art has me jonesing for a latte.

Melissa, it was a delight meeting you and Casey this summer. Hope to do it again soon.

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