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SethG
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ruthcooks... Please please please put the gumbo recipe in RecipeGullet. We need more gumbos in there. I just did a search and we only have two.

Seth... If you want to get into gumbo, I put some roux making techniques in this recipe. (Did I post this before??? Oh well.)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I see multiple Zuni Cafe recommendations. What's up with that? I know nothing of the restaurant or the book. I'll have to check it out. Braised bacon sounds very good.

Looks like you're making good use of any free time you have for cooking; this is a fun thread to follow!

Zuni Cafe in SF is a favorite of many; it has been around for close to 30 years and Judy Rodgers has been there since the late 80's--she was at Chez Panisse at earlier times in her career. If I had to describe the food I guess I would say it's "rustic California-Mediterranean". Seems like it might fit in with some of the flavors/dishes you seem to enjoy. Worth looking at the book--and checking out the restaurant if you find yourself in SF!

Here's a thread in which people share some comments on things they've made out of the cookbook:

zuni cafe cookbook

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Pickled onions, onion compote... what's not to like? That Zuni Cafe cookbook looks pretty good, even though it seems afflicted with California disease, a condition in which a cookbook's recipes must be filled with many (too many) exotic ingredients. (A related syndrome is 1980s disease-- every recipe must have at least a dozen ingredients, and must include either sun-dried tomatoes and/or goat cheese.) Maybe these exotic ingredients are just easier to find in California than in NYC.

It's funny, I was reading through the Wolfert duck confit/cassoulet recipes, and saw that juniper berries were called for. When I asked above if Alice Waters' cassoulet required juniper berries, I was actualy making a snide reference to my (perhaps unjustified, see below) belief that she suffers in a big way from California disease. Waters has a famous and much-distributed turkey brine recipe that calls for juniper berries, and I always laugh when I see it. It makes me want never to make her turkey brine. And yet, here I am, buying juniper berries for my Wolfert cassoulet. Alice Waters gets the last laugh.

What the hell are juniper berries, anyway? Have I been missing out on a normal cupboard staple my whole life? I guess I'll find out this week.

Ruth: I too would also be interested in gumbo. I have a gumbo cookbook that I got from Maggie the Cat, but I confess I've never really been tempted to use it. You could probably tempt me with yours, however.

The sourdough I made today totally sucked. I ate half of it, hoping with each successive bite that it would improve. It had okay flavor, a good crust, and a thick, dense, chewy, brick-like crumb. Heavy. Very little rise. I'm going to have to ferment at temperatures in the 70s, let it take a full day, and then make the dough. I'll get less sour taste, but at least it'll rise, right?

I ate a ton of challah to get the bad taste of that sourdough failure out of my mouth.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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And another thing. I forgot about onion confit! I'll be doing that sometime in the next week. I just read through that thread and I may try both the slow and fast versions described therein.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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You need to post a picture of your bread in the Ugly Desserts thread over in Pastry and Baking. :laugh:

There is some discussion there about setting up an "Ugly Thread". I think your experience is reinforcing that idea.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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It's funny, I was reading through the Wolfert duck confit/cassoulet recipes, and saw that juniper berries were called for. When I asked above if Alice Waters' cassoulet required juniper berries, I was actualy making a snide reference to my (perhaps unjustified, see below) belief that she suffers in a big way from California disease. Waters has a famous and much-distributed turkey brine recipe that calls for juniper berries, and I always laugh when I see it. It makes me want never to make her turkey brine. And yet, here I am, buying juniper berries for my Wolfert cassoulet. Alice Waters gets the last laugh.

What the hell are juniper berries, anyway? Have I been missing out on a normal cupboard staple my whole life? I guess I'll find out this week.

There are some rather esoteric ingredients in there; and although it is relatively easy to get most of the ingredients out here (if you know your way around food shopping a bit); one that threw me a little was the 'glasswort' for pickled glasswort! Apparently is an algae that has/is? used as a food in France and England.

I've never really thought of juniper berries as that strange though given that I have some background in German and Austrian cooking. (Don't know where else it would be used, except for, I guess... some cassoulets!) It's a stock ingredient in sauerkraut and cabbage dishes, and also used in pates, sausages, pork loins/roasts, beef stews including sauerbraten and very often in dishes with game, like venison. I've also seen it in Alsation choucroute garnie recipes. A little goes a long way though; it has a lot of flavor. And of couse there's gin; although I don't make my own. :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Glasswort is described here.

It is also known as samphire. This stuff grows in our salt flats in the Texas Gulf Coast. It is great to snack on. It is crunchy and salty. You basically strip the juicy crunchy parts off of the fibrous core. I think I remember that it was served as part of Princess Diana's wedding breakfast and was brought from Sandringham. I may not be correct in all of the details about that.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I totally agree with a freezer stock up plan!

How about making quantities of demi glace and glace de viande and freezing portions of that - you could make yourself a year's supply.

Incidentally, that's what you could do with the duck stock - reduce it to a glace with some wine. Then you can just sautee off a duck or chicken breast add some of your frozen glace de viande and yum, in 5 minutes.

Make some ice cream - Seth, I don't know where you live but in Tokyo today felt positively spring-like. Your 2 year old could schmeer that around too. (I have 2 kids myself, so that shot looked pretty familiar.)

Make batches of Rillettes for the freezer.

And some confit from your duck.

It's probably not to late to air cure some pork products for later consumption or grind up some meat and make some sausage to hang. It will just be getting ready when you're going back to work.

Grab some salmon and gravlax it.

Prepare vast batches of pasta - freeze some and dry some too.

Pity it's not summer, think of all the preserving you could do. But there's probably still something you could do in that line of thinking.

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you seem to be having TOO good a time. Too bad your not UP HERE, they get a year off with pay that can be divided half and half between mom and dad. Would have been nice to have that 20 years ago. You seem to have waaaaaaay to much time on your hands though. Did I miss it or has no one asked how your wife or significant other is taking all this great cooking? The only thing my husband ever attempted to make for the kids was spagetti with a can of tomato soup and a can of creamed corn.

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If you cook your way through Maida Heatter's cookbooks, you will make everyone in your family and neighborhood happy (and chubby...). I am home with a 3-month-old. Our cookbook collection is growing, I have replaced all of cookware and we eat wonderfully!

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Also: for sourdough, Nancy Silverton's La Brea is my bible. Her instructions are incredibly detailed. If you follow them precisely, you will get gorgeous, full-flavored sourdough with a crackling crust and lots of interior bubbles. Just perfect. It's much like taking care of a baby - the starter and dough need food/attention every few hours, so it it should match your rhthyms well. Nothing more gratifying than gazing at a pile of perfect boules just out of the oven.

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You seem to have waaaaaaay to much time on your hands though. Did I miss it or has no one asked how your wife or significant other is taking all this great cooking?

My wife takes the cooking fine-- she eats it all up. But she complains that I neglect other housework (which is true), and that even though I usually clean up the kitchen as well as cook, I'm still getting the better bargain because I enjoy cooking. Nobody enjoys laundry. Don't get me wrong, now that I'm home I'm doing all the laundry. Just not as fast as my wife would like!

I didn't cook much of anything yesterday, but today I made both beef and duck stock. I read the big thread on mad cow here at eGullet, and decided I have no way of knowing what risks I'm taking by eating beef. But it seems like the risk of BSE from eating beef is lower than the risk of, say, heart disease that comes with eating beef. I wasn't really talking about eating beef in general, anyway. What I was wondering about were the neck bones I see in the supermarket-- are these a short route to the infected central nervous systems of our most neglected cows? I decided that I don't care if they are; I'm not about to stop eating ethnic food here in New York, and I'm sure most of the restaurants I frequent make stock from bones that come from similar sources.

I also took Snowangel's suggestion and went back over the eGCI courses I missed last semester. I was really intrigued by the Lebanese and Japanese lessons, as well as Craig Camp's risotto course. I purchased a big chuck roast in order to boil it up and make the kind of broth Craig would accept with which to make risotto.

And pate. I forgot. I want to make pate.

Oh, and today I also made this ricotta/prosciutto pie with a sweet crust called a Pizza Rustica. Really nice.

And I went to the library, but no Zuni cafe. I did check out a Rick Bayless book-- Burger King aside, he's legit, right?

So this week, there'll be some Mexican on the menu. And I will be making duck confit in a couple days, in preparation for cassoulet.

And some baking. I've read good things about Silverton. I checked the King Arthur baking book out of the library, and I thought I might try one of the sourdough loaves in there.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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What I was wondering about were the neck bones I see in the supermarket-- are these a short route to the infected central nervous systems of our most neglected cows? I decided that I don't care if they are; I'm not about to stop eating ethnic food here in New York, and I'm sure most of the restaurants I frequent make stock from bones that come from similar sources.

I can't find it now but on a mad cow thread, I reported on the reply I got from USDA on the question of spinal chord tissue in neck bones. The person who replied to me said that neck bones currently (at the time of the e-mail) contained spinal chord tissue but that was going to be dissallowed in the next couple of weeks or something like that. Then on the question of oxtail, the spinal chord ends at the sacrum so there is no chord tissue there.

But... have you seen the price of oxtail lately?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Fifi, I confess I didn't make it through all fourteen pages of that thread. Are you saying my stock is likely a BSE lab? Or not? I can't tell you whether I saw spinal stuff in the neck bones or not.

And, as I sort of mentioned before, if I get my favorite beef Rendang at a Malaysian place in Chinatown, aren't I eating the same stuff?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I finally found the old e-mail dated Jan 5.

It is possible that beef neck bones purchased today may contain nervous tissue, as there are currently no regulations in place that require their removal.  This will most likely change in the very near future, perhaps in less than a week's time.  Anatomically, it is impossible for tailbones to contain nervous tissue as the spinal cord ends within the sacrum.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance,

Alexander L. Lauro, DVM

Technical Assistance & Correlation (TAC) Staff Officer

Technical Service Center

402-221-7400

402-221-7497 (FAX)

Alexander.Lauro@fsis.usda.gov

I don't know what Rendang is so I can't say. :blink:

I am going to be on the look out for things like knee joints. Are those even available? Beef shank was I think $2.49 a pound at one of the groceries the other day. :shock: If I see short ribs or something on a "loss leader" sale, I intend to pounce. Any other ideas out there? In the meantime, I am going to try that brisket idea and maybe add some bone by way of a little shank or whatever. We get brisket really cheap from time to time.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Whatever. If I get mad cow disease in eight years, we'll know why. I reduced my suicide stock today. And the house smelled great. How could this be bad?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I don't think it can be bad. I try to keep all of this in perspective. After all, people are not dieing in the streets. The odds of having a "problem" are miniscule and I don't buy into a zero risk attitude to life. I am just trying to come up with a reasonable strategy for supplying my insatiable demand for beef stock, and neck bones are on their way out.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I really don't believe there's much risk, either, or I wouldn't subject myself and my family to the stock.

However, mostly to satisfy my curiosity (and prove once and for all that I really do have too much time on my hands), I sent Mr. Lauro an email of my own today:

Mr Lauro:

I'm taking the liberty of sending you an email after seeing some correspondence you had with someone else about mad cow disease.  In that correspondence, you stated that beef neck bones currently sold in American supermarkets might contain spinal material-- and that there is no current regulation banning the practice of selling such material.  However, you also stated that there were regulations in the works that might change the legality of such sales.

Have these regulations come to pass as of yet?  If I buy neck bones to make stock today, is it legal for such bones to contain spinal material?

Also, do you think there is any significant risk inherent in using such bones today?

Thank you very much in advance for considering my questions.

We'll see what he says.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I got a quick reply from Mr. Lauro:

Hello Seth,

What has changed is that any beef neck-bones you see in the store, although

the may contain spinal cord, must come from animals < 30 months of age

(lower risk category).  This comes from regulation 9 CFR 310.22, which you

can find at the following address:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/03-025IF.htm

According to Mr. Lauro, this change took effect in mid-January.

Whatever.

So my freezer needs some help already:

i3414.jpg

As you can see, it's getting full. I know there's a thread here in which people describe what's in their freezers, but mine isn't that impressive. There's some bread dough, meat, stock, bags of breast milk. It's just smaller than I'd like it to be and full.

But I'll figure that out later. For now, I'm moving ahead to cassoulet. I bought some pork shoulder, four duck legs, and a whole duck this week. And I defrosted the duck carcass from my freezer. Then I carved up the new duck into legs, breasts and carcass, and pulled as much excess skin and fat as I could from the two carcasses and the meaty pieces. After making stock with the two carcasses on Sunday, I rendered fat off of all the collected excess skin today, yielding about 3 cups of glorious fat. (Add this to the cup and a half I got from the duck I cooked last week.) Then I took the duck legs and the pork and rubbed them with a spice mixture. These pieces are to stay in that mixture until tomorrow, when I plan to cook them in fat for confit.

i3415.jpg

Here's a photo of my meat in the rub, and my two jars of beautiful, valuable duck fat.

My plan is to make enough quick confit for a half-recipe of cassoulet, and to put up the remainder of the confit for a month or more.

Oh, and I used the breasts, sauteeing them. I served them sliced with this red lentil stew, which I made using my new duck stock, and roasted cauliflower:

i3411.jpg

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Oh my god. I think I'm drooling. That looks delicious.

I completely sympathatize with you on the freezer. Mine is about equal in size and equally full.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Thanks, Bloviatrix.

Today's project was, of course, duck and pork confit. It went pretty much without incident. I did have a little trouble squeezing duck legs into my wide mouthed one-quart mason jars. But I think I did it without mangling them too much. Now I just have to review the recipe(s) for cassoulet and figure out when within the next week to make it.

I also baked a loaf of bread today. A few weeks ago I got a copy of the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, which was out of print for a long time and came out again recently in a new edition. I read a rave review of this book once on one of those old usenet sites for sourdough people, which made me sit up and take notice because those sourdough people (a) know what they're talking about, and (b) are fanatics of the most insane order. The book deals solely with whole grain bread, but I've read in more than one place that if you believe whole grain bread means heavy, tasteless bread, this book will change your mind.

So I bought it, and today I opened it for the first time and tackled the first chapter, entitled "A Loaf for Learning." This chapter concerns one loaf of bread; the recipe for this loaf of bread is twenty-four pages long. There are detailed instructions, drawings, and analyses of the techniques for mixing flour and water, kneading, deflating, rounding, shaping, proofing and baking. And following the recipe there are another ten pages of common questions and answers.

This was not my first loaf of bread, but I still consider myself a beginner, and I have to say this was an extremely educational afternooon's entertainment for me. I came away from the chapter with a lot of respect for the people who put it together.

I was worried, however, that my loaf would suck, because the whole wheat flour just looked so.... brown. But everything seemed right, and when it came out of the overn it looked right, too. It won't win any beauty prizes, but I think it's a handsome loaf:

i3432.jpg

And it tasted great. Moistened with yogurt and sweetened with honey, this is a really nice basic whole wheat loaf. With a schmear of Plugra I might even go so far as to say it was delicious.

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Your whole wheat loaf looks very nice. It doesn't look too dense which is sometimes a problem with whole wheat breads. One thing I usually do before baking whole wheat bread is to taste my flour if I haven't used it for a few weeks. It goes rancid too quickly although it helps if I store it in the fridge.

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Rhea, I was worried about my flour because I saw on the bag that it is recommended to keep whole wheat flour in the freezer. I saw this the other day after I left the bag in the pantry for at least a month. But it was unopened, and it tasted fine when I sampled it.

Okay, so yesterday wasn't a bad day, project-wise.

I'm trying to get my sourdough starter through its weekly disappointment. This time I'm following the instructions in the King Arthur baking book. I'm feeding it twice a day until the third day, when I'll actually use it. Of course, I fed it yesterday and found it totally hooched (separated, with a thin film of alcohol at the top) by late afternoon. So I'll feed it again this morning and call today Day 1 if it goes well, I guess.

And I made Dulce de Membrillo (quince paste). This turned out to be both a nightmare and a good project to do when you have kids. It is a tedious process. First you soften a bunch of quinces, then you force them through a sieve, then you reduce them with sugar, constantly stirring, until you get a thick paste. The results are so good. But yesterday I softened the quinces, then started to force them through the sieve, and found it was taking forever. Then Nate woke up, and I had to go get Leah from school. And then I found that there was just no way to get a block of time large enough to finish forcing all those damn quinces through the sieve. So I kept doing a piece here, a piece there. And it took all day. And I didn't reduce the stuff until very late last night. But, on the other hand, the quince pieces and the glop I'd forced through the sieve just sat there patiently waiting for me all day, apparently none the worse for being left alone all day.

I also made this "Expatriate Chicken," a slow-cooked chicken with olives, from the new Wolfert book. This was a very nice dish-- the chicken comes out very very tender, with crisp skin. But it didn't deliver the kind of ambrosia we got from the Wolfert duck last week.

And I also made dough for this walnut/pumpkin/cranberry bread that I'll bake today. This really sounds like a Thanksgiving bread, but I had a can of pumpkin in my pantry and some cranberries taking up space in my freezer, so I figured why not?

Today, I'll bake that bread. Maybe I'll make a salsa from some haberneros I've got in the fridge, before they go bad.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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