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eG Foodblog: johnder, slkinsey, weinoo (2011) - A tale of two boroughs


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Well, it's time to get the party started since I'm already awake on this freezing Sunday morning in New York City. I know, I know; there are plenty of you who are undoubtedly in colder climes, but that doesn't mean it's not shivery here.

This week you'll all get to join in with not one eGullet food blogger; not two eGullet food bloggers; but three eGullet food bloggers as johnder, slkinsey and I take you on a foodtastic tour of no less than two of New York City's five boroughs. (There might even be a trip to a third or fourth borough sometime during the week).

Let me give a quick explanation of the 3 pictures of mine which were used over in the coming attractions topic:

Pez_1.jpg

This rather small Pez collection resides on a shelf in the corner of our galley kitchen, using up room which would otherwise be taken up by more darn kitchen stuff, no doubt. But it's fun, and I've had the collection for at least 25 years, so for now, it stays.

Then there was this:

IMG_3132_1.JPG

Indeed, Pierogi, that is Washington, D.C. My wife's (Significant Eater, btw) job is in D.C., and we have an apartment down there; that's the view of the monument from our rooftop.

And finally:

IMG_3073_1.JPG

What could be more New York City than that universal street food, the pretzel (okay, Philadelphians, relax!)? This was taken at the Hester Street Fair, a flea market/food fair that takes place every weekend from spring to fall on a little piece of our co-op's property.

So props to gfweb, lancastermike, Kent Wang and prasantrin for their outstanding guesses. As well as to all the eGullet food bloggers who have come before.

Hang on to your hats - it should be a heck of a week!

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?

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Woooo Hoooo!!! I'm excited! :cool:

I love your Pez collection. Do you still add to it?

Hi Shelby. I haven't added to it in quite a while. Maybe later this week I'll stop in at Economy Candy - they have some unusual Pez dispensers on display (of course, they'll probably tell me I can't take any photos, but I've sneaked photos in tougher places than that).

BTW, I was thinking of hunting squirrels and pigeons this week, but it's cold and frowned upon...your blog made my cohorts and me quite jealous of all that lovely game :smile: .

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?

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Here are my pictures and explanations. Not nearly as crafty as Mitch's and John's:

slk_teaser.jpg

I have a lot of cocktail stuff. And I drink a lot. I suppose neither of those things comes as much of a surprise to anyone here. During the course of the week I'll be playing around and talking about some of my favorite and some of my more unusual pieces of cocktailiana. That thing that looks like a space alien artillery shell is actually a very interesting cocktail shaker my brother gave me for xmas. I'm in the preliminary stages of working on some cocktail-related writing projects, but nothing I can share right now. Expect to be delighted (or horrified!) at the volume and variety of booze I filter through my liver and kidneys on a daily basis.

I'm working on a cocktail based on Geritol for Mitch. Oh, that's something you should all know about us. When we get together in any kind of cooking-related setting, we give each other a lot of crap. A lot. I hope I'm not spoiling any kind of surprise when I say that Mitch is horrified that I often cook at home with no shoes on.

photo.JPG

When my wife and I were married on Guy Fawkes Day 2007, we put two items on our "wish list" that we didn't necessarily think anyone would get us . . . but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? These were a portable dishwasher and a chest freezer. Turns out that some friends (johnder and weinoo among them) came together and got us the portable dishwasher. As someone who has not had a dishwasher since 1990, I don't need to tell you that this was a life-changing acquisition for the slkinsey family.

Well, nowadays we're trying to eat more healthfully and especially more economically and with less burdensome preparation requirements (more on which throughout the week). So we started pining after that chest freezer, thinking that it would be great to be able to take advantage of sales, buy certain foodstuffs in greater bulk, and freeze home-prepared (or partly prepared) foods for faster and easier meals. And thus it was that a nice man from Home Depot arrived at our apartment last week with a 7 cubic foot chest freezer that now lives against the wall in our dining room. Currently, it's somewhat ungloriously covered with a tablecloth. Eventually, we are going to hire our friend Zach to build an open-backm vented shell around it to look like cabinetry.

This week, we're going to turn out attention to filling the freezer with a variety of foods, and I'll write a bit about my strategies for using the freezer with our lifestyle. A big part of what we want to be able to do is to come home late and create affordable, healthful meals, and to be able to spend what little home time we do have together rather than mostly in the kitchen. And also without ordering delivery. We're both practicing and studying a lot on opera-related things (I'm in the finishing stages of switching from a repertoire that centered around works such as Il barbiere di siviglia, L'elisir d'amore and Lucia di Lammermoor to one centered around works such as Pagliacci, Andrea Chénier and La forza del destino, which is a major shift) so that means that we frequently don't get home until 7:30 or 8:00. We'd also like to figure out ways to save money by bringing lunches to our soul-killing day jobs instead of buying, but we're getting tired of sandwiches and they're kind of a pain in the butt to make every morning.

photo-1.JPG

Yea... so this is some small percentage of my cookware collection. But I figured people around here knew I was a pots-and-pans geek. Those are some of my favorite pieces : Falk Culinaire copper and heavy gauge carbon steel.

--

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Sam, that freezer is going to change your life as much or more than the dishwasher, I predict. You can make meals double or triple the size you'd normally make for many things, freeze them with a vacuum sealer, and reheat them precisely with your immersion circulator or other tool. In a lot of cases, there's very little loss of quality.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Or, he can keep his shoes in there - WHILE HE'S COOKING!

Dude. I've only dropped a knife on my foot, like, twice.

Okay, maybe five times.

But no more than seven.

Still leaving you with 3 toes.

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?

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. . . .

This week you'll all get to join in with not one eGullet food blogger; not two eGullet food bloggers; but three eGullet food bloggers as johnder, slkinsey and I take you on a foodtastic tour of no less than two of New York City's five boroughs. (There might even be a trip to a third or fourth borough sometime during the week).

. . . .

Super! An overview of Queens and Staten Island's food highlights is long overdue... WHAT?!

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Ok, my turn. First off, I am not really a morning person, so keep that in mind during the week. :biggrin:

Taking one for the collective eGullet team I am up and already baking (another thing that I do every now and then, but as you will see I am not really a baker). I will go through the teaser pics and then give you a little outline of the schedule for the week.

First photo:

teaser1.jpg

As Sam and Mitch mentioned we have been doing these impromptu dinner clubs over the years in a never ending battle of one-upmanship. (Sam had one night he was hosting was in last years Savuer 100). Given these dinners are 6-9 people and range 6 to 8 courses a lot of prep and mise is needed.

For this dinner among the courses were A pork tongue amuse, pork foot croquette, crudo, pasta... If anyone is interested I can post some of the pics from the party. I was particularly ambitious with the photos that time.

teaser2.jpg

As some of you may know, I was the opening bar manager (along with donbert) at PDT here in NYC. One of the perks of this is I got to go on some amazing excusrions, one of which was a Plymouth bus trip to Jerry Thomas' grave in Woodside. In addition to keeping us quite lubricated on the trip they passed around some amazing original barware and bottles includong this very old Plymouth bottle. (Oh how I miss the old bottles)

I am quasi retired now, but still keep active helping out every now and then when needed by Jim. Don't fret, I may try to make a guest appearance at one point this week. (If nothing else to make my own drink) :biggrin:

Lastly, I threw this one in to try and throw people off the scent. I live in Brooklyn, in an area that is considered by realtors to be Park Slope, but in reality it is South Slope. For realtors most of Brooklyn is actually considered Park Slope. I am still at the same house that was documented in my first foodblog. The kitchen is the same, a few improvements here and there as you will see but overall its my favorite room in the house.

teaser4.JPG

However, we also have a house in upstate NY. It is in a little town called Canada Lake. We purchased a house quite a few years ago with the intention of ripping it down and building a new one. This process started about a year and a half ago and it is about 75% complete. This is the view from the front of the house. The great thing about the house is there is no road access and you need to get there by boat. The bad news is there is no road access and you need to get there by boat. If you have ever built or renovated a house, imagine trying to do it with no roads. It is a challenge to say the least.

I have a stripped down pontoon boat that is used to schlep materials back and forth. Here is a pic on the way back with some wiring supplies. The view makes it worth it!

teaser3.jpg

So, where do that leave us for this week?

We have a few joint things planned, and a few surprises, but here is a glimpse.

Sunday -- We are going to be watching the Jets win and doing our own thangs...

Monday -- I am going to visit Donbert at Cocktail Kingdom to taste the latest batch of my Abbott's bitters and see what else is going on at the cocktail temple. Also I am going to be going to one of my favorite local places here in Park Slope Beer Table. Tomorrow they are hosting a Bayerischer Bahnhof tasting where they will be pouring some Bahnhof Berliner Weisse and Leipziger Gose as well as a few surprise kegs they brought over from Germany.

Tuesday -- Cocktail night out. To mix things up we were thinking it would be interesting to do a little comparison of cocktails among our favorite bars here in NYC. The plan as we were thinking was for us to meet at a bar of our choosing and order 2 cocktails. We would order the "house" version of these cocktails. I think it would be interesting to see how these cocktails differ from bar to bar, especially a lot of the bartenders in NYC originated at the same place at one point or another. (Pegu Club).

We were going to order a Negroni rocks as the first, but looking for suggestions on the second from everyone. After the 2 drinks, we were all going to meet at Pegu Club for our final drink.

Wednesday -- We figured since Sam likes competition we would do a little Mystery Basket Round II. Sam, Mitch and I are going to meet at Eataly and the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesday afternoon with $25 bucks in our pocket. We are going to argue and fight about what ingredients we are going to buy, but the premise is we will all purchase the exact same ingredients to make a meal with.

This mystery basked will contain enough to make dinner for 2-3 and our initial shopping will include everything but the protein. We are allowed to use anything we have in our pantry to supplement the ingredients we buy, but the caveat is everything needs to be used at some point. (not in the same course, but as part of the meal). Where you, the eGulleters come in is you need to decide which protein we will cook with. Keep in mind that we are in NYC so most things are available, but be kind on us. I am not really in the mood for Geoducks this week.

Thursday -- We cook the mystery basket Meal and a cocktail pairing at home.

The rest of the days we are keeping in our pocket for now.

Should be a fun week!

ETA: Fixed lack of caffeine induced typos.

Edited by johnder (log)

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Or, he can keep his shoes in there - WHILE HE'S COOKING!

For those of you that have seen Sam cook, the state of the kitchen afterwards is, how shall I put this kindly... uh, a bit unkept. :biggrin:

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Or, he can keep his shoes in there - WHILE HE'S COOKING!

For those of you that have seen Sam cook, the state of the kitchen afterwards is, how shall I put this kindly... uh, a bit unkept. :biggrin:

Hello? It's not easy to turn out a 5 course meal in a 20 square foot kitchen with one counter.

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Or, he can keep his shoes in there - WHILE HE'S COOKING!

For those of you that have seen Sam cook, the state of the kitchen afterwards is, how shall I put this kindly... uh, a bit unkept. :biggrin:

Hello? It's not easy to turn out a 5 course meal in a 20 square foot kitchen with one counter.

Actually, Sam's kitchen is pretty well organized. he usually has lists, bus tubs, etc. Oh, and hands and feet as well :laugh: .

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?

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For the second Tuesday comparison drink, I think it would be very interesting to see what approaches you'd get if you asked for an Old Fashioned (Cock-Tail). If you want something a bit more specific, you could specify the spirit, but I'm hoping at least one of you'll go to Mayahuel....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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So one thing you will soon find out is we all have Rancillio Silvia's/Rocky combos, complete with PID. This of course leads to constant debate among us over who can pull the best shot and steam perfect micro-foam milk. Given I mainly only use my Silvia on the weekends, I will take 3rd in this part and let Mitch and Sam duke it out.

However, I still think I pull a mean shot. I used to roast my own beans, but once my iRoast blew out, I never bothered to get it replaced. Plus, even with my massive range hood the house still stunk like hay for a few days after. I am buying my beans mostly from Intelligentsia but also buy a lot from Stumptown.

I am making my way through the last of my Intelligentsia Honey Badger Espresso blend.

Here is the Silvia corner..

1silvia1.jpg

And a shot being pulled. Intelligentsia specs call for 19.5 grams of coffee, 201 degrees, 26 seconds, 1.8 oz. I have been trying to figure out what I need to set my boiler temp for via the PID to get the perfect 201 brewhead temp. From what I remember, the sensors for the PID actually are displaying boiler temp, not the actual water grouphead temp. So I am pulling them with the boiler set to 221.

1shot2.jpg

1shot1.jpg

I typically have a latte to start on the weekends, then switching over to a drip using Hario V60 setup. It may actually be wise to get the drip coffee out of the way first so I can concentrate more on my shot pulling. Maybe I will try that next time.

1shot-latte.jpg

Also, for those of you that take a lot of photos, I highly recommend a WhiBal card. This "grey" card is used to register the white balance in your shots. If you use adobe photoshop, when you open up the photos in Bridge, you can use the white balance dropper and select the grey area on the card and it will level all the photos. It makes adjusting for different lighting very easy.

1whibal.jpg

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Here are my pictures and explanations. Not nearly as crafty as Mitch's and John's:

slk_teaser.jpg

I have a lot of cocktail stuff. And I drink a lot. I suppose neither of those things comes as much of a surprise to anyone here. During the course of the week I'll be playing around and talking about some of my favorite and some of my more unusual pieces of cocktailiana. That thing that looks like a space alien artillery shell is actually a very interesting cocktail shaker my brother gave me for xmas. I'm in the preliminary stages of working on some cocktail-related writing projects, but nothing I can share right now. Expect to be delighted (or horrified!) at the volume and variety of booze I filter through my liver and kidneys on a daily basis.

I believe you and I would get along famously. :biggrin:

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Ok, rounding out the breakfast for the day. The finished soda bread:

soda.jpg

And, I am sure this will stir the pot. Some breakfast egg and cheese sandwiches.

For me, the ideal one is 2 eggs, a slice of cheese and ham on a buttered roll with hot sauce, unfortunately I have no ham in the house today. :shock: There are few things I actually use kraft singles on, actually 2 things. Cheeseburgers and egg sandwiches.

sandprep.jpg

This is a new york style kaiser roll, two Tello green farms eggs, house made hot sauce, Lescure butter, kraft american singles. The trick, as a few people have pointed out is the wrapping of the sandwich in wax paper or, as I prefer foil. You need to let it steam and soften the roll in order for it to meet the optimal egg sandwich texture.

sand2.jpg

sand1.jpg

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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For the second Tuesday comparison drink, I think it would be very interesting to see what approaches you'd get if you asked for an Old Fashioned (Cock-Tail). If you want something a bit more specific, you could specify the spirit, but I'm hoping at least one of you'll go to Mayahuel....

I suppose we could add Mayhuel to the list, it would definitely stir things up in regards to the old fashioned category as you will probably end up with an Agave based cocktail. I guess in terms of the cocktails they could be ordered in the form of:

Your house negroni on the rocks.

Your house old-fashioned.

If they still ask for a preference we can state that its dealers choice. However, I assume most places now have their house spec sheet.

For PDT when someone orders a negroni they are asked two questions:

Do you want it equal parts, and do you want it up or on the rocks. If they don't care they get:

Equal parts Beefeater, M&R sweet & Campari. Rocks and Orange twist (not flamed)

For the OF:

Demerara sugar cube, 3 dash ango. Muddle. 2 oz Rittenhouse BIB.

Stirred, strained over block ice cube. Lemon twist.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Johnder, I'd be interested in hearing about that hot sauce...

Hi Pilori,

I usually make 2-3 batches of hot sauce at the end of the summer when the Union Square greenmaket vendors start selling their peppers.

The batch I used for the one on the sandwich contained:

Long Cayenne

Serrano

Anaheim

Paprika Chilies

Red Jalapeno

My basic method of doing it is I seed them, roughly chop them and then generously salt them. Maybe 1T of salt per 2 cups of chopped loosely packed chilies. After about an hour I dump the mix into a saucepan with some sugar and white wine vinegar. Usually 1 part Sugar to 1.5 parts vinegar. Although depending on the heat of the chilies I adjust that as it goes.

I bring it up to a boil then reduce it to a covered simmer for about 30 minutes. This tends to gas up the house, so make sure you have good ventilation. I turn the heat off and let it cool down on the stove covered until it is cool. Throw the whole mixture into a vitamix and adjust seasoning.

For this style I am looking for one that has a forward sour/sweet taste with a lingering heat and pepper taste on the finish. As you can tell it is a somewhat thick sauce.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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      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.
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