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eG Foodblog: therese - So, you want to remodel your kitchen?


therese
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Tiny black mustard?

More great guesses. They do look so much like tiny black mustard seeds (particularly as they come in the same sort of bag, from the same store) that I occasionally pick up the wrong bag. In fact, that's one of the reasons I moved this item to the jar.

Fennel and parsley seed both excellent guesses, particularly as both show up Italian cooking. The plant is, in fact, a green leafy sort of item.

A while back docsconz noted that they reminded a little bit of larvae, and while they aren't, when prepared the seeds are remarkably similar to frog or fish eggs.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Or(guessing wildly now) Thai basil seed?    Too black for ajwain.  Stumped.

Woo hoo! We have a winner! I'll find some links that show what it looks like. And tonight I'll show you some pics from home.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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So basil seed it is. The description of the final product on that site is quite accurate. The flavor is very mild, and (I think) vaguely reminiscent of kiwi.

The seeds have a capsule (made of what's basically dietary fiber) that swells and becomes translucent when it gets wet.

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But Therese, you know the only reason we're reading your blog is to see those pictures of you in your pajamas! Some of us Seattle eGers are going to a Korean women's spa and out for Korean dinner tomorrow, so your pictures really get me in the right mood. And my husband, native Atlantan that he is, will be enjoying your pajama pictures, er, blog, too.

edited to add, now that I've gotten with the program and read the second page, what other uses for basil seed are there besides planting and the Thai drink? What do you make with them?

Edited by Abra (log)
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That WAS fun.  The suspense was killing me... but not as much as the suspense of waiting to see photos of your kitchen!

You can see a little bit of it through the door out of the mudroom. More soon, I promise.

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Another thing I’ve learned is that if you try and take photographs of highly reflective surfaces while wearing your pajamas you will end up with a lot of photographs of yourself in pajamas.

Photography tip of the day:

When shooting something with a highly reflective surface, don't shoot straight on or you will get a nice picture of a) yourself and/or b) your flash. Instead, shoot the subject at an angle, off to one side. This prevents flash bounce-back and unwanted reflections.

I have never heard of dutch babies before this blog. Is this a traditional dish for your family? Or is it just something you learned how to make on your own?

 

“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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But Therese, you know the only reason we're reading your blog is to see those pictures of you in your pajamas!  Some of us Seattle eGers are going to a Korean women's spa and out for Korean dinner tomorrow, so your pictures really get me in the right mood.  And my husband, native Atlantan that he is, will be enjoying your pajama pictures, er, blog, too.

edited to add, now that I've gotten with the program and read the second page, what other uses for basil seed are there besides planting and the Thai drink?  What do you make with them?

Heh heh. The pajamas in question weren't really the sort that anybody would go to great lengths to sneak a peak at: pink flannel plaid bottoms and a stretchy pink shirt. You can see my reflection in the doors of the two Korean restaurants; I'm wearing tan trousers and a black hip length coat.

I didn't notice that I'd taken my picture 10 times over until I saw them on the computer screen. I went back and re-took them using a tripod. Well, not really a tripod, but a kitchen bar stool and the time delay on the camera. Another member of my family can be seen in one of them (not yet posted).

I don't know of anything other than beverages that uses basil seed as an ingredient. I keep my jar of basil seeds in my "tea prep" area near the stove, and noticed it this AM when I was photographing the oatmeal tin (which I also keep next to the stove) and thought it would make a cool picture. I use it in what's basically iced chai (made with tea masala and milk, not the concentrate stuff), but I've also had it in local Indian restaurants as an ingredient in falooda.

If you've not had it before, falooda is somewhere between a beverage and dessert, often sort of an ice cream float. The name (I think) refers to a sort of little pasta kind of item that's not necessarily always in it. Coconut milk and rose water and ice and ice cream and little strips of jelly and basil seeds are typical ingredients, but it never seems to be the same from place to place.

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Photography tip of the day:

When shooting something with a highly reflective surface, don't shoot straight on or you will get a nice picture of a) yourself and/or b) your flash.  Instead, shoot the subject at an angle, off to one side.  This prevents flash bounce-back and unwanted reflections.

I have never heard of dutch babies before this blog.  Is this a traditional dish for your family?  Or is it just something you learned how to make on your own?

Yep. I'm not using a flash in the pictures in question, preferring the natural light (of which I've got lots) and knowing that there would be bounce back. But for some reason I just didn't think about my reflection.

The reflection of myself in the restaurant windows was deliberate.

Dutch babies are also called German pancakes. I've seen them all my life, though not too frequently. The Original Pancake House here in Atlanta has them on the menu. We use the recipe in The Joy of Cooking (except we use less butter---it calls for a boatload of butter).

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I think we can all agree that we don't need to see any more pictures of cooked oatmeal in this blog.

I actually love McCanns, but I suppose the modern age has spoiled me for a breakfast which takes a half hour commitment and just winds up looking er... like that.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I actually love McCanns, but I suppose the modern age has spoiled me for a breakfast which takes a half hour commitment and just winds up looking er... like that.

It really is too bad that so much really good food looks so ominous. It looked a little less scary once I'd added milk, but not much.

I use the half hour to make lunch and tidy the kitchen and check up on eGullet activity overnight (the family computer being in the kitchen, of course).

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General stuff that I wanted in my kitchen:

1. Low maintenance, functional surfaces.

2. Relatively tight work area (range/sink/fridge) for a single, primary cook. Similarly tight loop for clean-up (table/sink/dishwasher/storage).

3. Cabinets and major appliances positioned so as to minimize stretch/reach and bend/reach motions, as well as repetitive bending.

4. Decor that respected the period of the house (though obviously this sort of kitchen wouldn't be even remotely consistent with the original period).

So, remember my priority list? Well, I'm going to go ahead and address the second part of item #2, a tight loop for clean-up. Of course, items #1, 3, and 4 are addressed along the way as well.

The single hardest item to source in my kitchen was my sink. It wasn't actually all that difficult, but it was the one thing that we were careful to order well in advance, as I really wanted this particular item (or something very similar to it)...

Oh, hold it, I've just realized that I've not yet loaded this set of images into Image Gullet. They're still at home on my computer (and I'm at work, obviously not doing much work at this precise moment).

So I can't show you my really cool sink yet. But it is really cool, and I'll show it to you soon. Really I will.

You're beginning to think that I don't really have a kitchen at all, I bet. :biggrin:

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So what I did load into Image Gullet early this AM were photos of last night's dinner. We often eat out as a family on Sunday nights: it's not a usual "date night", restaurants are not as busy, and there's no frantic school/homework/after school activity rush.

Last night we chose one of our favorites, Woodfire Grill. I'd already booked it before I knew I'd be blogging, as I assumed there'd be crowds for Valentine's, and I was right, it was packed.

We like this restaurant because the food's great, the atmosphere's cozy, and it's not far from where we live. And they've got half priced bottles of wine on Sundays.

One of the things that makes the restaurant so pleasant is the small open kitchen in the front of the restaurant. This picture is taken with a flash, and shows the woodfire grill:

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This picture is without a flash, and so is very blurry indeed (no tripod, and it is the working kitchen so I couldn't exactly doodle around with the time delay and everything) but conveys the warm of it:

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There's an adjacent woodfire oven that I didn't manage to take a decent picture of. That I managed to get any pictures at all is courtesy of Woodfire's extremely gracious chef and owner, Michael Tuohy. A very cool guy who has been on the Atlanta dining scene for years, and deserves a large share of the credit for making it what it is today. That's him on the right (obviously), with the wine director Greg Koetting (an old friend, who was also waiting table last night):

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Dinner was great. As there were four of us (me, The Man, 11 year old Girl, and 14 year old Boy) there are lots of dishes to show.

Firsts include salmon carpaccio (Boy's), smoked tuna (The Man's), assorted olives (for the table, but mostly The Girl's), and salad with goat cheese and blood orange vinaigrette (mine, except what was I thinking? a salad? fortunately The Man traded with me halfway through---I guess he really does love me):

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Second courses were flat iron steak (Boy's, ordered rare, earning him a second and approving look from our waiter), crawfish with grits and collards (The Man's), pizza (Girl's, a special request without prosciutto and speck because, well, puberty must be rearing it's ugly head, because she loves both prosciutto and speck), and yellowfin grouper with celeriac and parsley puree (note the truffles) in a lobster broth with bok choi (me---I'd clearly gotten my priorities in order by this point):

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We all got dessert, but the only one I managed to capture before it was unphotographable was mine, a suite of sweets (heh heh---I'm here till Friday, and don't forget to tip your waitress) all based on figs:

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My husband and I both had glasses of Shramsberg Cremant Demi-Sec, a beverage for which we have a particular and possibly ruinous fondness:

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With dinner we'd enjoyed a bottle of chardonnay from Harrison's in Napa. Pricey by Woodfire standards (which always had a great list, reasonably priced) but a great deal on Sundays.

We skipped one course that's great at Woodfire, cheese. But Chef Tuohy obliging unlocked the cheese cabinet (which I think of as the cheese spa, because part of the labeling includes the word "confort") so that I could take a photo without getting bounce back from the flash off the glass door:

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Therese, your blog is wonderful! I haven't been to Atlanta in 10 years, and even then it was only for a weekend. Your pictures are wonderful, and after looking at that dinner and the cheese cabinet, I'm starving!! I can't wait for the rest of the week.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Therese, your blog is wonderful!  I haven't been to Atlanta in 10 years, and even then it was only for a weekend.  Your pictures are wonderful, and after looking at that dinner and the cheese cabinet, I'm starving!!  I can't wait for the rest of the week.

Glad you're enjoying it. I'm definitely having fun doing it. If only I didn't have to go to this darn job...

While I'm posting I'm going to once again urge people to ask me questions. Even questions that seem rude, like "Hey, are you sure you're from the South? 'Cause people from the South are all ignorant yahoos who don't wear shoes and don't know how to spell."

Maybe that's a bad example, though. Maybe an ignorant yahoo who doesn't wear shoes or know how to spell is exactly the impression I'm giving. :cool:

A better example might be "Wow, you sure do eat a lot. Are you sure you don't have a tapeworm?"

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Okay, how about this -- I'll relate it to food in some way.

I have a friend who lives in Atlanta, I'm assuming suburbia. Their community is gated, they have their own community centre, pool, daycare etc. and in discussions with them seem to find it normal to keep to their own little neighbourhood. It does come across as rather snobby when they tell it....They have mentioned that this is usual in Atlanta (they're Canadian). Is this an isolated group or is it common in your area of the south. The food angle, well, she used to eat Kraft Mac & Cheese every day for lunch growing up.

Also, will we get to see some real southern cooking/food this week. You've mentioned you like Asian, what are your other favourites and what did you grow up on?

edited for pathetic typos.

Edited by Jake (log)

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Also, will we get to see some real southern cooking/food this week.  You've mentioned you like Asian, what are your other favourites and what did you grow up on?

Southern food? Stay tuned.

I grew up eating lots of different sorts of food.

I was born in Virginia, the very western bit of it, west of Roanoke. We moved away (to the Midwest, first to Keokuk, IA, then to Lafayette, IN, then to Cape Girardeau, MO, then to...it goes on and on) when I was still an infant, but as soon as my mother could do so in good conscience I was shipped back (along with my two younger brothers) to Appalachia for extended periods (a couple of months at least) every summer. I don't know how old I was when this started, but pretty young, as I remember being away at my Grandmother's when my youngest brother was born, and he's only four years younger than me. His first summer on the farm he was still drinking from a bottle and small enough that riding the chickens seemed a reasonable thing to try.

The farm (garden, orchard, pigs, chickens, dairy cows, beef cows) was an amazing lesson in food, and how much work it takes to produce and prepare and preserve (a huge part of life on the farm, as the mountain winters are long and cold---even if you wanted to run down to the Piggly Wiggly and pick up some Kraft Mac'n'Cheese you wouldn't have been able to, the roads being snowed in). My grandmother cooked on a big black wood/coal-burning stove (which also heated water), and that feeling of a hearth is one that was important to me when it came to desiging my own kitchen. Yes, wall ovens must be wonderful things---I just can't imagine cooking in one.

I can yatter on like this for hours and hours, by the way. Blackberry jam, fried pies, cornbread... everything was imprtant.

Oh, and by the way, there's a special place in hell for people who put sugar in cornbread.

Fine if you want sugar in it, but then call it what it is, cake.

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So summers on the farm, the rest of the year with my parents, mostly somewhere in the Midwest.

My mom's an excellent cook, and as interested in food as I am. For her time she was amazingly adventurous, and would often get neighbors from other places to show her how to make something. She was also a big fan of Julia Child, and I particularly remember her making Beef Wellington once for a dinner party when I was young. Bajillions of different sorts of Christmas cookies, each and every one of them perfect.

She had (has, actually) lots and lots of cookbooks, and I particularly remember a series published by Time Life, with each book in the series featuring a different part of the world. More a travel series than just a cook book, sort of "A Cook's Tour" without all the swearing. The one about French country cooking included a piece on the Boulat family---very weird to come across that name years later in the person of the now grown daughter who's a photographer/journalist.

Anyway, I always wanted to travel, and I got my first chance in high school, when I did an exchange in France, just outside of Deauville. A very cool experience in every way, including the food.

My next extended period abroad was in college, when I worked au pair in Italy (stopping off to see my French family en route). Well, I was supposed to be working au pair, but that didn't quite happen, so instead I traveled with Italian friends and their families. Again, very cool food.

I now travel as part of my work, exactly as much as I'd like, and pretty much only to places I want to visit. In the last five years I've been to Greece, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, England, The Netherlands, and New Zealand. I passed up a meeting recently in Belgium---too bad, as everybody who went said the food was fantastic. :cool:

Cool trips planned so far this year are London and Athens.

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