Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

eG Foodblog: Chris Amirault (2010) - Holidays in Rhode Island


Chris Amirault
 Share

Recommended Posts

Dude, I follow your and Russ's advice religiously. I have it written on a laminated card. But I don't get consistently good artichokes by following it -- and based on Dave's comment, I'm not alone.

I guess all those years I lived in California gave me some sort of second sense about chokes - because I never buy bad ones. Though I touch plenty of bad ones in the stores...and at $3 and up a pop, those just never make it into my cart.

I'm pretty sure that the freshness factor has lots to do with it. If you're getting an artichoke that's 3 weeks picked, even if it squeaks, even if it is heavy in the hand, etc. it's just not gonna be as good as one picked much more recently.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience with artichokes is that the good ones stay together. In other words, if you have a produce bin of artichokes and one is good then they'll pretty much all be good so if you get one good one and grab others that are visually similar they'll all be good, and if one is bad then it's usually a bad bunch and you should just skip buying artichokes for the day.

For me the most reliable test is to pull off a leaf. If it snaps, it's a good artichoke. If it bends and is kind of limp, not good. This assumes that you've already picked up a heavy, tightly-packed specimen with good color.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah you don't want to be pulling off a leaf from every artichoke candidate, unless you want to get into a fistfight with the produce manager. But I think one leaf from one artichoke works well as a batch test to make the threshold decision, "Am I buying artichokes today?" I find this is a good general approach to product buying: only buy from a good batch. If you try to find the three good specimens in a bin of poor produce, you're fighting an uphill battle. Just cook something else that day.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, I get in fights with baggers over my potato chips. I've got no problem breaking off a few artichoke leaves in the name of TQM.

A few shots from last night. A few months ago, I had a big score in Tucson:

post-19804-069518800%201287608036.jpg

First crack at that corn this week. I got it slaking last night for an overnight soak, following Diana Kennedy's advice and a few tips I've gathered on my own:

DSC00053.JPG

Meanwhile, Andrea was thinking about breakfast on Christmas morning:

DSC00054.JPG

DSC00057.JPG

I'm a baking dumbass, so she handles the breads, cookies, cakes and pies for all our big meals. She also humors then ignores my "advice" when I feel the need to point out some half-baked baking theory. Invariably, I appreciate her polite refusal to engage with me, given the outcome:

DSC00059.JPG

That makes three sets of fruit soaking in booze: the smoked pineapple syrup, the prunes in armagnac, and the rummy raisins for the cinnamon rolls:

DSC00042.JPG

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I mistaken, or are those cinnamon rolls resting on a sheet of dough? If so, what's that about?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I mistaken, or are those cinnamon rolls resting on a sheet of dough? If so, what's that about?

The PC is putting in a few hours at work, so I'll have to get back to you on that. Perhaps someone else around here knows....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the freezer indicated, we like our English muffins around here, and we like them in one particular preparation: a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. (Lots of hand-wringing about what that means over in this topic.) This morning, thanks to a cheese splurge for the onion soup tomorrow, we had a special treat:

DSC00061.JPG

I am too harried most mornings to make a perfect fried egg, and frankly my technique isn't always what it should be. But this morning, using a ton of butter and a pastry cutter, I took a deep breath and coaxed one through a slow cook.

Sometimes, the foodblog spirits shine down upon you:

DSC00068.JPG

Bull's eye.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris do you utilize Trader Joe's at all? English muffins are one of many staple items I've switched over to the TJ's list. I think TJ's "British muffins" are slightly better and slightly cheaper than Thomas'.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DSC00053.JPG

You mentioned here that you are jonesing for a Thermapen. As difficult as it is for me to believe that a guy with so much high end kitchen equipment doesn't already own a fleet of Thermapens, I wonder how its use might differ from the infrared thermometer.

Your blog has been ridiculously entertaining so far. Please keep it coming. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I mistaken, or are those cinnamon rolls resting on a sheet of dough? If so, what's that about?

The PC is putting in a few hours at work, so I'll have to get back to you on that. Perhaps someone else around here knows....

Here's the word from Andrea:

"Sitting on mixture of butter, brown sugar and (stabilizing) corn syrup: will caramelize as bakes an make the goo."

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris do you utilize Trader Joe's at all? English muffins are one of many staple items I've switched over to the TJ's list. I think TJ's "British muffins" are slightly better and slightly cheaper than Thomas'.

I've switched over from Thomas's too, but to the Whole Foods' store brand ones. I'm sure I've given TJ's a try some time in the past few years, but I'll have to refresh my memory.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One main reason: you can't poke meat with the IR thermometer.

You can with mine -- similar gun but it accepts K-type thermocouple probes (i.e., the same fast response type used in the Thermapen). While I like the multitasking, it is a bit clunky to use. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably get this meter and a separate IR gun.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris do you utilize Trader Joe's at all? English muffins are one of many staple items I've switched over to the TJ's list. I think TJ's "British muffins" are slightly better and slightly cheaper than Thomas'.

I've switched over from Thomas's too, but to the Whole Foods' store brand ones. I'm sure I've given TJ's a try some time in the past few years, but I'll have to refresh my memory.

Sounds like I should get all three and do a side-by-side, eh?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a nice touch on the cinnamon rolls. There must be other applications for that trick too. Also means you don't have to grease the pan or use parchment. Do you happen to have a photo of the finished product?

Those flour dispensers are so amazing, they could be the basis for a whole religion or something. I have to look into whether there's a comparable device that can be acquired today.

My thought on English muffins is that it depends how you define the standard. If you make Thomas' the standard, then nothing gets you 100% of the way there. Thomas' have a certain texture and thinness that nobody else quite replicates. And once you're used to splitting and toasting Thomas', nothing else behaves exactly that way. Most of the competitors are slightly thicker and require a little more toasting time.

Probably the best English muffins in the universe -- at least the best I've had by a very significant margin -- are the ones served at La Grande Orange Grocery. I've been to the one in Phoenix a bunch of times and I think they originate in the LA area. But I have one friend who was like, "What is this crap? I want a Thomas'."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While we're on the subject, someone recommended Bay's brand of English muffins recently. I've never tried them, because I distrust refrigerated bread products -- it seems like they'd be dried out before you even got them home. Has anyone tried Bay's, and if so, how do they compare to Thomas's?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Around here they sell Bays at Walgreens. I have no problem with the refrigeration since English muffins generally wind up in the refrigerator or freezer anyway. It has been a long time since I tried one so I don't have a real basis for comparison but I remember them being fine. And I think they're the ones that come pre-split, which is convenient.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I eat Bay's. Toasted Bay's aren't doughy, have tons of nooks and crannies, into which the butter and jam deposit nicely, I like their combo of crunchy (around the edges, which tend to be flatter than the middles) and chewy. Haven't had a Thomas' in so long, I can't remember how they were, although the props make me curious. :smile:

Chris, this blog is a-mazing. Thank you for the great ride.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Duvel
      The first week of November are „autumn holidays“ in the area where I live. We wanted to use that time to go to Paris, but when my parents-in-law somewhat surprisingly announced they‘d be coming over from Spain for the whole of November, we scrapped that idea and looked for something more German …
       
      So … Berlin. Not the best time to travel (cold & rainy), but with a couple of museums for the little one and the slightly older ones to enjoy together, plus some food options I was looking forward it was a destination we could all agree on. The Covid19 warnings in the Berlin subway support that notion …
       

       
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By FoodMuse
      Hello everyone,
      eGullet was nice enough to invite me to write a food blog chronicling what I've made or eaten out for one week. I'm so excited about it! Thanks guys.
      About me:
      I dream about food, I wake thinking what's for dinner and I'm so excited to share it with you. I'm part of the food world in New York. By that, I just mean that I'm so fortunate enough to be invited to great events where I get to eat great food. I'm also a nerd and a part of the technology world. I produce, edit and sometimes host food related web videos and I'm also a part of the tech world.
      I'm launching a website called Please, Pass the Gravy. www.pleasepassthegravy.com We let you create a menu, invite friends and then collaborate on that menu. Never host another potluck with 8 pasta salads. You could use it now, but we're alpha launch, it works but it's ugly. It's my ugly baby. So, if you use it be kind and message me if you have improvement ideas. I thought it would be ok to write about it here because it is food related.
      I live in Brooklyn with a lovely guy who likes to eat and a small corgi mix dog. I cook pretty much every night and do a nice brunch on the weekend. I am not a crazy dog lady, but I do admit to cooking food for the dog. I have an excuse, beyond doting, he had seizures that have stopped since not feeding him dog food.
      Foods I cook:
      Spicy foods! If you look at my blog I have a simple papaya ketchup with habanero that is pretty darn good.
      I love great cheese. This may be the week for Beer Cheese Soup.
      I try to limit carbs, though I do cheat.
      In any given week C. and I probably eat cauliflower, broccoli and green beans as a side.
      Tonight's dinner will be Vietnamese inspired. We'll see how it goes. I'll post about it as soon as I can.
      Any requests? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
      -Grace
    • By Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
       
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
       
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 
       

       


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …
       

    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...