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eG Foodblog: Boris_A - A life in a week, a week in a life


Boris_A
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Hello and Good Morning, foodbloggers!

For some reasons I was tagged/untagged/tagged again. All within the last 48 hours. Just to give you an idea of the drama. I had no idea about the nature of the foodblog before. Now I'm the one who has to continue after Mongo's blog. Do I need to say more? Oh Gods, what is my sin? Is this a Hiob test?

Please note, eGullet is about the only place where I have to deal with writing English language. I'm working part-time as a translator for English/German technical documentations. But writing in an foreign language is a different animal. Forgive in advance. And if anyone is tempted to answer, please translate the coolest, latest slang expression for me. Ok?

It's now 7 in the morning here on a gray, rainy summer day in Erlenbach, a village near Zurich, in the German speaking part of Switzerland. That's the place where the blog is going to stop for a week. (Geographically, tiny Switzerland is the watershed of a continent. Within a circle of 50 kilometers, there are the springs of 4 rivers, each one reaching a different sea around Europe. )

I've grown up in this country where I was born about 50 years ago. My mother was of mixed Italian/Swiss origin, my father is a Bulgarian immigrant. For 19 years, I'm together with my beloved Beatrix. We built a home 4 years ago and now, we are living together here.

I'm a bit tired today, because yesterday I visited a wine producer working at the majestic lake of Geneva. This producer devoted all his energy to variety called "Chasselas", a variety known to the Aegyptians already. It's cultivated at the border of the Lac Léman (the lake's real name) for some 900 years. This wine is generally not in high estem with the elitistic wine community (and Switzerland doesn't export almost any), but what Pierre-Luc Leyvraz achieved with his tiny production is a truly oustanding apéritif wine. Until now, it's a almost a grassroot evolvement. I have to unload 120 bottles this afternoon.

On the way home, I stopped in Gruyére (the town) of course and bought some Gruyère d' Alpage (the deleicious summer, mountian variety of Gruyère, produced on spot by hand. Etivaz as a reperesentant of that Gruyère variety), a piece of Gruyère Surchoix (more mature than regular Gruyère) and some Extra-Vieux (Gruyère matured for 18 months).

Now I'going to prepare some coffee and to walk over to my bakery to pick some fresh croissants. Afterwards, I've got some work to do.

So again, foodblog community: Hello!

We are going to spend an easy, less exciting week (we all need that after Hurricane Mongo, no?) and I try to give you an impression of our food and how we live here.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Good morning, Boris! I'm looking forward to following along :smile:

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Ah, the calm after the storm.... Excellent choice, Hurricane Mongo. Welcome, Boris, to the chiaroscuro of blog-land.

Something for the rest of us to look forward to (while Mongo puts his feet up and munches on the Indo-Korean equivalent of Cheetos).

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Hi Boris, It's so wonderful to see that you are blogging!

The Etivaz that you picked up in Gruyere sounds very good, reading the link. I have never noticed this kind of Gruyere but will keep an eye out for it. So it began with 76 families in 1930. How many producers are there now, do you know?

We are not far from you. It's raining here too.

Do you live on the lake?

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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Thanks for the welcome. And Good Evening Asia.

Yes, we're going to work a bit to enlarge the chiaro share of the chiaroscuro

Bleu, I'm living on the lake. Almost "le pied dans l'eau" (the foot in the water).

Etivaz got an AOC status recently. (Gruyère missed that). It's a rather small spot up at Col des Mosses. I think they are still about that number of producers. Would be an interesting research once how some families might have different terroir (different soil and meadows influencing flavor), and how the milk possibly changes character when the cows are moving to higher meadows in July/August and how to deal with that.

Just picked up my first digicam. I know about my obligations to shoot some crappy pics.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Yo Boris! We aren't goin' to be all up in your grill, just chill and spit what you what. Dawg, its all about the food.

Slang Translation: Hello Boris. Don't worry, after last week, we all just want to relax and hear what you have to say. It's all about the food. :laugh:

Why do you have to unload 120 bottles of wine?? Looking forward to this week.

ciao!

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Oh yeah. This is gonna be gooooooooooood. :smile:

Thanks, Boris!

Edit: Forgot to include some new slang.

Fo' shaganoff = for sure, yes.

Obnox = Obnoxious

Riddick = Ridiculous

GT = Good times

RT = Rough times

Totes = Totally

Poison = the police

Son = used to address someone if he/she is doing something silly or stupid. "You need to stop doing that, son, knomesay."

Knomesay = Do you know what I am saying?

I'll think of more, fo' shaganoff.

Edited by Pumpkin Lover (log)
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Boris, welcome.

Aren't you the one with a magnificent French restaurant cooker? When do we get pictures of your kitchen?

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Rosti, bitte! :biggrin:

I went to school in the '70s just over the ridge from Col des Mosses in Chesieres/Villars. I never knew that about the cheese of L'Etivaz... probably too busy being an adolescent. It sounds like it would make a great expedition for the students so I will email them about it.

Thanks Boris!

:smile:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Oh yeah. This is gonna be gooooooooooood.  :smile:

Thanks, Boris!

Edit: Forgot to include some new slang.

Fo' shaganoff = for sure, yes.

Obnox = Obnoxious

Riddick = Ridiculous

GT = Good times

RT = Rough times

Totes = Totally

Poison = the police

Son = used to address someone if he/she is doing something silly or stupid. "You need to stop doing that, son, knomesay."

Knomesay = Do you know what I am saying?

I'll think of more, fo' shaganoff.

Yo, son - you bein' obnox and riddick, fo' shaganoff. Quit tryin' to mess wit' poor Boris head - knomesane? :angry:

Just ignore her, Boris. I think she got up on the mischievous side of the bed this morning.

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Welcome Boris

I have enjoyed your tasting notes and comments on the Wine Forum and am waiting with great anticipation to the pairing of your food and wine knowledge. P.S. whose Chasselas did you get? I love this wine but it is almost impossible to get stateside.

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I'm done with my daily work for today.

Thanks for the encouragement. I needed that.

I was just overbidden at an auction on two nice Danish mid-century-modern chairs I wanted for my collection. The other guy was prepared to pay a high price. I was not.

It has been chairs by Hans Wegner. That's the one who desigend the chairs Kennedy and Nixon have been sitting on during the first TV-campaign duel.

Then I learned that the f..[MTV-style-noise]..ng ImageGullet server is down, so for the moment crappy descriptions instead of crappy pictures. If they don't fix it soon, sombody needs to help me with upload space. Otherwise, we are going to be blind.

At least sunshine is back and I'm grasping my shopping list to get the stuff for a short cycle Bulgarian Banitsa (and salad) this evening.

Tiny countries with tiny villages have some advantages. We are living in the "core" of the village (with some houses going back to 1500 aC) and therefore everything is in walking distance. We have two bakeries, two butchers and two supermarkts (you'd call it a grocery in the US, I suppose), but the remotest is about a 5 minute walk away.

I'm not going to cook a lot, because this evening there's Italy (my grandfather) playing aginst Bulgaria (my father) in the Europen Soccer Championship (every 4 yeras only). It's possible that both get eliminated. Yesterday, Switzerland had to leave the tournament. So maybe: "Eliminacion total" of all teams I'm somehow related with, but I don't mind. Usually, I'm not a big soccer fan, but with those European and World Cups, the level of playing is just overwhelming.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Aren't you the one with a magnificent French restaurant cooker?

Grüezi Moby

I never admitted this, as far as I remember, but as I'm going to upload pics (as soon the image server is up again) and not having a Photoshop to eliminate this elegant monster, I'm not denying it.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Rosti, bitte! 

I must confess, I didn't make them for almost 10 years now, but if there's demand and as pictures and language dont' transmit taste, I have to concentrate on optics only. Difficult enough! :smile:

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Boris -- while some would accuse me of being a wine elitist, I'd love to hear more about the wine you are drinking.

I used to live by a 'German Village' in Southern California and cherished the fact that I could buy very interesting Georgian, Austrian, and Swiss wines. Oddly, they sold more of those than they did German although their German beer selection was pretty awesome!

Looking forward to pics, too (I'm one who is anxiously awaiting the ImageGullet fix as well).

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P.S. whose Chasselas did you get?  I love this wine but it is almost impossible to get stateside.

They guy is a one man show on tiny 3 ha (how many acres?).

His name is "Pierre-Luc Leyvraz" and his "Saint-Saphorin Les Blassinges" is the most regular, award-winning Chasselas I've ever seen. I could convince wine lovers who never bought a bottle of Chasselas in their life. His wine costs around $11 here, but unfortunately I believe he will never export any because of the minuscule production.

He is a member of the "Arte-Vitis" (web-site defunct right now, of course, arrghh). These are 12 producers deeply comitted to quality (really, I mean), and as soon as I can I give you those names. They all are sure values. Provided you like Chasselas.

But Pierre-Luc is the only one who chose the hard way and to build up his renomée entirely on Chasselas alone. It's a long story of guaranteed prices, import prohibitions, chronic underachievers and outragous quantyties per surface why this variety got so bad-mouthed. But his Chasselas has splendid concentration and balance. He's going the "Per aspera ad astra" way and I have always admiration for people like him doing their things in their own way and against all odds.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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For some reasons I was tagged/untagged/tagged again. All within the last 48 hours.

that's just part of the initiation ritual. (you should have seen what adoxograph did to me.) or you could just say i'm a doofus--after the blog week i barely knew what i was doing.

i've been reading your posts with pleasure all over the egullet map--glad we now all have the opportunity for some concentrated boris. and now that switzerland has no further part to play in euro 2004 you should have a lot of time for us!

edit: to get a sense of the higher mathematics involved in figuring out the chances of next-round qualification for the one team boris has family ties left to, see: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/euro2004/feat...=303562&cc=5901

Edited by mongo_jones (log)
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Boris,

As you requested, Pumpkin Lover posted some fresh slang for you, some of which I have never heard before so it's new to me, as well. The blogs are a good place to learn about more than food!

I love a good gruyere. You've mentioned wine & cheese...now all we need is bread and we'll be ready to dine! I am looking forward to hearing more about your cuisine.

What is your town's altitude?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Tiny countries with tiny villages have some advantages. We are living in the "core" of the village (with some houses going back to 1500 aC) and therefore everything is in walking distance. We have two bakeries, two butchers and two supermarkts (you'd call it a grocery in the US, I suppose), but the remotest is about a 5 minute walk away.

Excited to see you're blogging this week!

It would be great to get an idea of the offerings at your local bakeries--if that fits into your routine. I visited Switzerland once (eastern part of the country in Graubunden) but don't know too much about typical breads, pastries, tortes...

I've been hearing directly and indirectly from people following the soccer championships in Europe and to say that it figures huge within the populace is an understatment. It made me wonder--do people gather together at friends houses to watch certain games? Are there drinks or 'typical' foods that people have during the game? (i.e. has something evolved to be like or different the "superbowl" parties in the U.S.) Unless I hear differently, I'm picturing fondue parties around the tube??? :biggrin:

"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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What is your town's altitude?

It's a village. About 5000 inhabitants. A town needs to have 10'000 befor it's entitled to call itself a town. We are proud being a village. The smallest community around.

Altitude is 410 m. We are in the hilly pre-alps. We can see the glaciers from here, (and if we climb our little hill, about 1000 ft higher, there's the Eiger to be seen) but we are low-landers. Definitely.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Wow, I can't wait for this blog.

Your English is excellent. Most Germans seem to me to have very good command of English. (Due to school I guess?) I have German cousins whose English is so good, they often pass for native Los Angelans! :biggrin:

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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It would be great to get an idea of the offerings at your local bakeries

Bookmarked.

do people gather together at friends houses to watch certain games?  Are there drinks or 'typical' foods that people have during the game?  (i.e. has something evolved to be like or different the "superbowl" parties in the U.S.)

Of course we do that. I'm waiting usually for the endgame. You shouldn't forget, the tournament is running for 3-4 weeks. You have to be careful and economize on your forces. Like the teams. :laugh:

I think beer is the only typical "food". Anyway - anything you can munch wihtout turning the eyes away from the screen is ok. :rolleyes: Because the game can became so hectic and thrilling, you sometimes forget to chew.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Now back to food.

As I said: tonight a Banitsa. My recipe is here:

Here's my Stripped-Down-Like-a-Racing-Car-Banitsa:

I use a 30x20 rectangle mould (alu or thin stainless for immediate heat transport).

- two foils of thin (puff) pastry, one a bit larger

- 4 eggs

- 200g not too finely crumbled feta (acidity is important. At my supermarket, the cheapest is clearly the best!)

- 1 cup of yoghurt (preferred greek with extra fat 5-10%)

- 1,5 dl milk.

- soda (a tip of a knife)

Now:

- mix 3 eggs, crumbled feta, yoghurt, soda.

- place larger layer of pastry foil a the bottom of the mould, covering side walls too

- fill with egg/feta mix

- cover with upper foil

- with a wooden spatula, I diagonally and crosswise cut lines (by stamping down to the bottom) forming large parallelograms

- mix milk and 1 egg and pour over (to add liquidity)

- 30-40 minutes at 180-200 degrees. Golden color, brown edges.

Preparation time around 15 minutes, but I think once I came in with 12 min 27 sec.

Adding some cut spinach leafs to the egg/feta is a great variant. I imagine my recipe has done to real banitsa what back in the sixties an American TV-cook could have done to Lasagne.

I serve it hot out the oven, cold as aperitif (kind of quiche), rewarmed for dinner or the next day. I must have made north of 300 banitsas over the years, and I never had to throw away a crumb. I swear!

Time's running now.

Edited by Boris_A (log)

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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