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nolnacs

eG Foodblog: nolnacs (2011) - Pork, peaches and pie. Saying goodbye to

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I had a couple of overripe bananas to deal with last night so I made some banana bread. However, this recipe was not for a quick bread, but a yeast bread with a cinnamon sugar swirl. The dough was incredibly sticky even after adding a bunch of flour and as it was late I didn't feel like fighting with it anymore so I didn't get as much of a swirl as I would have like. Nevertheless, it was still delicious

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I have a certain... let's say, desire to catalog and list things so it is perhaps unsurprising that I enter all of the recipes that I make into a database.

The program I use is called Gourmet recipe manager which is available for Windows and as well as Linux (what I use). The handiest feature of this program is that it can import recipes from webpages which is especially useful as that is how I get a lot of my recipes and ideas.

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The database is also quite handy when I am trying to remember that mushroom dish that I made a year or so ago since the search function lets me to quickly find the recipe I want.

As the number of recipes in the database indicates (400+), I like to try new recipes and new dishes. There are a handful of dishes that I make regularly, for instance the bucatini that I made last night, but for the most part I am trying new dishes and learning about new flavor combinations and new techniques. I imagine at some point that this will slow down, but at this point I feel like I have so much to learn that I only return to the dishes that I truly love.

This might also be an appropriate place to comment on meals and meal planning. As I mentioned last night, I have no problem with eating unbalanced meals. I suppose there was a bit of vegetable in my pasta if you include the tomato and onion but mostly it was meat, fat and pasta. For other meals like the carrot soup, I eat primarily vegetables. I am more concerned about having a balanced diet throughout the week than for any given meal.

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Have you tried to cook Duck or lamb sous vide? Those are probably my favorite proteins to cook via this method.

Thanks

Percy

A few times, yes. I've done duck breast & duck leg confit before. For a dinner party a few months back, I cooked a large vacuum bag (8"x11") of duck sausage sous vide. Once that was cooked I used a cookie cutter to cut the pieces into even circles and then broiled them to get the outside nicely browned. That was really good...

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Dinner tonight will be some of the leftovers filling my refrigerator. We typically have a leftover night each week, usually when I get home late or don't feel like cooking.

Tomorrow should be more interesting as I am planning on going to the Italian Market. I have also been tasked with making cookies for a house(apartment)warming party tomorrow night. Any cookie suggestions? I was thinking that I would try these crisp salted oatmeal white chocolate chip cookies from smitten kitchen but I am open to other ideas.

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This might also be an appropriate place to comment on meals and meal planning. As I mentioned last night, I have no problem with eating unbalanced meals. I suppose there was a bit of vegetable in my pasta if you include the tomato and onion but mostly it was meat, fat and pasta. For other meals like the carrot soup, I eat primarily vegetables. I am more concerned about having a balanced diet throughout the week than for any given meal.

That is interesting and makes sense.

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For lunch today, my wife and I hit Cafe Nhu Y (8th & Christian) on our way to the Italian Market. While many of the shops and restaurants in the Italian Market area are still Italian, there are also numerous Mexican and Vietnamese options as well due to the changing composition of the neighborhood.

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This banh mi shop is in a tiny storefront along Christian and can be easy to overlook, but it is well worth a visit. I especially like that they use bread from Sarcone bakery (located in the Italian Market area as well) which is very good.

Tasty and cheap

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Mmm... gourd drink. Actually, I have no idea what that tastes like

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Not really sure what this is, but it piqued my interest

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Delicious

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So my wife has just informed me that the gourd drink is tasty. Duly noted.

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After our light lunch we continued to the heart of the Italian Market - 9th street between Christian and Washington. Our first stop was the Spice Corner. I previously mentioned my love for the Spice House in Chicago. The Spice Corner is the closest analogue that I found in Philadelphia. The Spice Corner's selection is not quite as good, but far exceeds any supermarket.

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They have a decent selection of beans and lentils.

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The wall on the right has many different type of tea

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Our next stop was Talluto's, which makes fresh pasta in addition to the various Italian dry goods, cheese and salamis that they also sell.

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My primary reason for stopping here was to buy so more pasta as they have the best price on De Cecco pasta in the Italian Market.

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Lots of olives

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Some of the fresh pasta is in this case, but they offer other types as well

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Various antipasti

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Lots of hanging meats and cheeses in the Italian Market

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You're really opening my eyes to all the great markets and product in Philly!

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There's tons of great foodstuffs here and markets to purchase them. nolnacs is doing a great job showing off our fine city, but you haven't seen the Polish market, Russian market or Middle Eastern market yet. One week isn't really enough time to properly showcase all the great stuff we have at our disposal. It's an embarrassment of riches, I tell you. We're very fortunate.

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In addition to the food stores and restaurants there is also Fantes Kitchen Shop. In some respects (bakeware for instance), it puts a Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table to shame.

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I like the colorful stack of Le Creuset

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Lots of canning supplies. I picked up some more lids

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I've never seen waffle plates like these before. They would make some very pretty waffles

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That's a lot of rolling pins

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My wife likes coming to Fantes so that she can get chocolate covered espresso beans

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After we finished at Fantes, we decided that it was time for something sweet and trotted over to Isgros.

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Pignolias are one of my favorite cookies. We picked up half a dozen to nibble on

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Their cakes and such are good, but I wouldn't make a trip just for them

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I was a skeptical of these chocolate covered figs, but I bought one and it does work.

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The cannoli I would and do make a trip for. I prefer the ricotta filling

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So good

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What do you can?

Jams mostly. Currently in my cabinet I have strawberry-thyme-balsamic jam, fig preserves and apple butter. I don't make jam that often because I don't go through it very fast and I only have limited space to store it.

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There's tons of great foodstuffs here and markets to purchase them. nolnacs is doing a great job showing off our fine city, but you haven't seen the Polish market, Russian market or Middle Eastern market yet. One week isn't really enough time to properly showcase all the great stuff we have at our disposal. It's an embarrassment of riches, I tell you. We're very fortunate.

There's a middle eastern market? I must admit that in my two years in Philadelphia I have only rarely ventured out of center city and the immediate surroundings... :blush:

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Claudio's is probably my favorite store in the Italian Market. That has at least something to do with the giant provolones hanging everywhere, but more likely it is because of their incredible, mind blowing mozarella. The best mozarella I have ever eaten comes from Claudio's.

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I wonder how much the giant provolones weigh

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Any idea what someone would do with pasta in this shape?

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Smaller provolones and soppressata

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Mmm... Nutella. No joking around on this one. I love that stuff

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Most of Claudio's cheeses are Italian but they have some from other countries as well

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So much cured meat

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I'm off to the housewarming party with my cookies. More pictures later/tomorrow.

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Just spent a delightful and nostalgic (I lived in Philly from 99-06) half-hour reading the blog after traveling internationally and spending the subsequent week or so playing catch-up. The pork sandwich, noodle-shop, Reading of course, Italian market tour (including the Vietnamese places as well as the traditional Fante's, etc), the pie (lard, the love of my life); Metropolitan (I lived on Ritt Sq and went to my local one, diagonally across the square, every day)--all made me homesick for my favorite food city, maybe my favorite city period, hands down.

Most of all I am humbled (and somewhat cowed) by the quality of the blogging. You (and several others I could name, like Shelby) really put the pressure on (in a good way). Hard act to follow. Thank you!

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While I swear by Claudio's mozzarella, the store with the best selection of cheese in Philadelphia (at least that I have seen) is Di Bruno Bros. They have all sorts of interesting cheeses for around the US and Europe.

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A small portion of their cheeses on display along with all sorts of olives and other marinated/brined items

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Slice that meat!

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Di Bruno Bros. products tend to be a better higher end than the rest of the Italian Market and their meats are no exception. If you need Jamon Iberico, this is the place to go

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I've never tried their burrata

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but it looks so, so good. Hopefully it is better than their mozzarella which I find to be only decent

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I've never seen waffle plates like these before. They would make some very pretty waffles

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One correction here. Those are not for waffles but pizzelles.

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Among the many butcher's shops in the Italian Market, there is one devoted entirely to game meat. Of course, due to US law, they really aren't game in the traditional sense (i.e. hunted), but it does offer people a chance to try rather unusual meats.

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I like that they have 4 different kinds of grouse.

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A small selection of their meats on display

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I mentioned at the beginning that there is a substantial Mexican presence in the Italian Market now. One place in particular is worth mentioning.

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Fresh, warm tortillas are incredible and they are so cheap! If I want to make tacos, I always make a trip to Tortilleria San Roman for tortillas.

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I stopped in only a handful of stores in the Italian Market and truly there is much more to see and eat there. I have neglected to mention the produce stands. In addition to the stores on either side of 9th Street, there are produce vendors on the sidewalk. It's fascinating to me how the further north you are on 9th St, the more the produce costs. The stores generally get nicer the further north you are as well. These sorts of differences aren't that unusual, but it is rather remarkable to have them happen in a couple of (very small) blocks.

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Well, it is about time for me to wrap things up. Thanks to everyone for peeking in at a bit of Philadelphia and my cooking for the past week as well as the nice comments.

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from last night.

The salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies were excellent. I highly recommend that recipe

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I bought the best tomatoes I could find... but summer is gone and so are delicious tomatoes. I still enjoyed the dish, but it was not nearly as good as it was a few weeks ago

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