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SobaAddict70

eG Foodblog Tag Team: slkinsey and Marlene - A tale of two kitchens..

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I LOVE asparagus, but $8 US for a bunch!?!!  Yikes!

It's not cheap, but keep in mind that each one of those bunches weighs around 2.5 pounds. So that's around $3.20 US per pound. Still not cheap, of course, but it's worth it to me when I can A) get very high quality and peak freshness, and B) support local farmers.


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Great asparagus Sam. I haven't bought any yet, but I plan on asparagus with the chicken on Tuesday so I'll let y'all know what the price is up here.

Today has been mostly a prep day for me to get ready for our dinner party for 8 tomorrow night.

So far I've made:

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Three Cheese Cheese Balls. The three cheeses are blue cheese, very old cheddar cheese and cream cheese. This is a great recipe. It makes two cheese balls and they freeze very well, so one will go into the freezer for another day. These are going to be wrapped in plastic wrap then into a ziplock bag. Tomorrow, I'll roll one in chopped walnuts before serving.

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Potatoes Madelaine. The first time I made these I used store bought breadcrumbs. This time I made some fresh breadcrumbs. It's one of the few times I wish I had a food processor. My crappy blender does not make bread crumbs easily.

These can now be refrigerated until ready to bake tomorrow.

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Roqufert Dip for Crudities. I've also cut up the raw veggies I'll be serving with this so they're ready to go.

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Shrimp Cocktail sauce. I used gin instead of vodka this time to give it just a little more zip.

I'm taking a 10 minute break before I prepare the strawberries for tonight's shortcake. When Don gets home we'll have a real cocktail on the deck if it stops raining, but in the meantime, I figured this would suffice:

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Normally I'd have Caesar juice on hand to make my own, but for some reason I don't right now. Oh well, add it to the list of things Don's going to pick up for me on the way home.

Ry's got a friend over and they are scarfing down chips.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I've just been told we're having unexpected company for dinner. Argh! Don is bringing one of his partners home. This guy is helping out at the client's and is here from Edmonton I believe.

I guess I'd better go clean up the kitchen!

ack.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Tonight's dinner is going to be braised beef short ribs with ricotta gnocchi. I'll probably do a chopped salad as well. I ended up settling on beef short ribs because I found myself in the vicinity of Western Beef. At Western Beef you can get whole primal cuts of meat at deep discount, cut to order. They were selling whole slabs of beef short ribs for two dollars a pound. I had them cut into four sections.

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On the left is what they look like when I got them home. It's a double layer, with one short rib slab on the top and another on the bottom. You can see the lines where they were run through the band saw. On the right is after I separated them into individual ribs, removed the membranes and trimmed the fat and silverskin.

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Here they are browning off in the enameled iron casserole, and on the right is a pile of ribs that have finished browning. They are now on the stove at a bare simmer, moistened with some demiglace and a touch of aged balsamic vinegar.


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I bought local asparagus at my summer farmer's market in Orillia this morning for 2.90 Canadian . It was picked yesterday P.M.

Love the steaks, and agree that a real butcher is the key. Fortunately we have them both in the city and here in Orillia in the summer. And the longer you have been a customer, the more you get from the relationship. My guy in Orillia saves me pork roasts with skin in when ever they come in.

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Ok, now I'm drooling. Thick steaks are the best if they are cooked properly. Sam, I know you can. Those shortribs look awesome too.

Canadian maple syrup is pretty good, but my local NY State stuff is pretty good too. It wasn't the best year for volume this year, but the quality is good. When I was recently in Montreal I brought back some birch syrup. I have yet to try it, though.

There is no place better in the US for getting variety and quality ingredients than NYC (notice I said no place "better" - there may be places as good). It will be interesting to see how Toronto stacks up in this department. I know Montreal is excellent in this regard.


Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I LOVE asparagus, but $8 US for a bunch!?!!  Yikes!

It's not cheap, but keep in mind that each one of those bunches weighs around 2.5 pounds. So that's around $3.20 US per pound. Still not cheap, of course, but it's worth it to me when I can A) get very high quality and peak freshness, and B) support local farmers.

$1.99 a kilo in Ottawa. And that's Canadian money so it's like 30c American.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I LOVE asparagus, but $8 US for a bunch!?!!  Yikes!

It's not cheap, but keep in mind that each one of those bunches weighs around 2.5 pounds. So that's around $3.20 US per pound. Still not cheap, of course, but it's worth it to me when I can A) get very high quality and peak freshness, and B) support local farmers.

$1.99 a kilo in Ottawa. And that's Canadian money so it's like 30c American.

And $2.00 US/lb here. Yikes!

Of course my mortgage is probably nowhere near the rent in NYC. :wink:


V

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I should point out that that's a high price for asparagus even for NYC. Although most things tend to cost more in metro NYC (and we tend to earn more here as well), asparagus can be had here for two bucks a pound (or sometimes less). The high price is the price for "just picked on the farm and trucked in to Manhattan at the crack of dawn this morning to be sold at the Greenmarket" asparagus. That sort of thing commands a high price around here.


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Nyah nyah, Sam. I'm talking about in Byward Market, grown mere miles away.

Anywho, nice short ribs. But it's yer steaks I'm waiting for the goods on.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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[...]

There is no place better in the US for getting variety and quality ingredients than NYC (notice I said no place "better" - there may be places as good). It will be interesting to see how Toronto stacks up in this department. I know Montreal is excellent in this regard.

I still think California is better, or at least that you don't need to put in as much effort to get high quality there.

Sam, my problem with Oppenheimer's is that they never or almost never had organic chickens; instead, they sold Bell & Evans and claimed that was organic chicken. It isn't, and you can taste the cod liver oil that was in the feed. My father goes down to Citarella for poultry and meat because they sell actual organic meats, even though Oppenheimer's is almost around the corner from him. Are they selling any organic meat nowadays?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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[...]

There is no place better in the US for getting variety and quality ingredients than NYC (notice I said no place "better" - there may be places as good). It will be interesting to see how Toronto stacks up in this department. I know Montreal is excellent in this regard.

I still think California is better, or at least that you don't need to put in as much effort to get high quality there.

There is no question that California grows a wider range of quality produce than New York and if one were limited to local produce that clearly would be the winner. I did not set that limit, however. NYC is as good as anywhere for finding quality ingredients from around the world. Therre certainly may be places that match NYC, but surpass it? For specific items, certainly. European seafood and produce markets like The Boqueria in Barcelona beat anything singularly available in NYC. Although I haven't been yet, the same can probably be said in other parts of the world. That being said, one can find almost anything of decent or better quality in NYC.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Nyah nyah, Sam. I'm talking about in Byward Market, grown mere miles away.

Oh, yea. I wasn't suggesting that there aren't plenty of places where one can get fresh-from-the-farm asparagus for a much better price. But I think you'll agree that the cost of living/usual income is quite a bit lower in Ottowa than in NYC. Even then, the Greenmarket stuff is very expensive. But it's a price I'm willing to pay to support local farmers and get the best.

Anyway... here's the rest of dinner tonight. . .

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I also made some pearl onions to go with the short ribs and gnocchi. Simmered them in rich chicken stock with smoked paprika and a touch of butter until the liquid evaporated and glazed the onions.

On to ricotta gnocchi. I make these more often than potato gnocchi because they're delicious and so much easier to make.

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Start with good ricotta (not the watery Polly-O crap), a few egg yolks, flour and, if you're me, plenty of nutmeg. Mix into a light dough, adding just enough flour to bind it together.

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Roll the dough into cylinders and cut it into pieces.

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Get a guy with thick fingers and hairy forearms to flick each piece over the tines of a dinner fork, and then you're done. Toss them into boiling water and they're done when they float to the top.

At this point dinner was almost ready and it was time for a drink:

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I decided to make a variation on a rum swizzle. The Barbancourt white rhum has a nice finish, not unlike a rhum agricole. This I made with 2 ounces of white Barbancourt, 1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum (a lightly alcoholic flavoring with almond, ginger, allspice, vanilla and lime notes), an ounce of lime zest-infused simple syrup, 3/4 ounce of fresh lime juice,a dash of Angostura bitters, a few mint leaves and plenty of crushed ice.

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This is a not-very-good picture of the finished short rib dish. It's unfortunate that the short ribs don't stand out very well.

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We followed the short ribs with a salad: shredded romaine lettuce, red onion, julienned granny smith apple and pecans dressed with evoo, lemon juice and pumpkinseed oil.


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All right folks, it's time for dinner pics. Two things. First, I managed to fall up the stairs tonight while getting my mixing bowl out of the freezer, and I've a bruise on my shin the size of a full moon, so I'm moving rather slowly. Normal people, fall down the stairs. Secondly, with the exception of the rice, everything I made tonight was a first for me. Furthermore, I pledge to you loyal readers that I will make something completely new to me each night of this blog. So without further ado:

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Caribbean Pork Shoulder. Pulled pork goodness folks. I couldn't have asked for better. Tendy, juicy with a wonderful crispy skin.

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The makings for Carnival Corn.

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Fry it up

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Oh yeah. This is somewhat rich given the bacon fat and butter, but man oh man was it worth it.

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Saffron butter rice. I meant to put peas in the rice, but I totally forgot!

This was all good folks but believe me, the total star of the night was this riff I did on the traditional strawberry shortcake

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Phyllo squares

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Strawberries marinating in honey and currant vodka

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Voila, a riff on strawberry shortcake.

Tomorrow's pics will be a bit late in the morning as we need to drive the RV out to the dealer's for service. Brunch is supposed to be Eggs Benedict and then we'll get ready for our dinner party tomorrow night.

In the meantime, I'm finishing off the evening with a coffee and Grand Marnier.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The pork looks awesome, Marlene. How did you make it? Must have been good with the corn dish, which I gather still had a bit of crunch.


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The pork is from Molly Steven's All About Braising book. It was marinated overnight with spices and then braised for about 4 hours. Once the braise was done, it was roasted in a 475 oven for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.

The corn dish was still a bit crunchy yes, but just tender enough. All in all, I was very pleased with the way this turned out.

Sam, you mentioned up thread that the short ribs were cooking with a dash of balsamic vinegar and demi glace. Being a fan of such vinegar, I'd be interested in hearing you describe this more.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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All right folks, it's time for dinner pics.  Two things.  First, I managed to fall  up the stairs tonight while getting my mixing bowl out of the freezer, and I've a bruise on my shin the size of a full moon, so I'm moving rather slowly.  Normal people, fall down the stairs. Secondly, with the exception of the rice everything I made tonight was a first for me.  Furthermore, I pledge to you loyal readers that I will make something completely new to me each night of this blog.

Whoa, you're a sport! I'm impressed! Looked really good, too. :cool:

Take care of that shin.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Sam, you mentioned up thread that the short ribs were cooking with a dash of balsamic vinegar and demi glace.  Being a fan of such vinegar, I'd be interested in hearing you describe this more.

I've long thought that reduction sauces and braises need just a touch of acidity for balance, so I've taken to adding a bit of vinegar. As it so happens, Fairway has been selling a really nice, very concentrated 12 year old balsamic vinegar. It's not aceto balsamico tradizionale, but it's very thick and full flavored. I don't tend to measure these things, but I'd guess I used maybe a cup and a half of demiglace and two tablespoons of the Fairway 12 year balsamico. Using balsamic vinegar has the added advantage of bringing some sweetness to the table, which is also often a good thing in a braise or reduction sauce.

Anyway, I cooked the ribs bone-side-down together with the demiglace and balsamico on the stovetop at a bare simmer for a couple of hours until tender. Nothing to it.


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I have another thought of a mystery ingredient or whatever: Hibiscus. Right now I'm heating up the tea kettle for some hibiscus tea, but I mean using it in something cooked. Perhaps a red-themed meal featuring rhubarb, hibiscus and some other red things (I don't know, red grapefruits? blood oranges? cherries?).


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I should point out that that's a high price for asparagus even for NYC.  Although most things tend to cost more in metro NYC (and we tend to earn more here as well), asparagus can be had here for two bucks a pound (or sometimes less).  The high price is the price for "just picked on the farm and trucked in to Manhattan at the crack of dawn this morning to be sold at the Greenmarket" asparagus.  That sort of thing commands a high price around here.

Next Friday get yourself up early and hit Kernan Farm at the 97th market before heading to work. They had big bunches of asparagus for $6 yesterday. And their stuff is wonderful.


"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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Whoa, you're a sport! I'm impressed! Looked really good, too. :cool:

Take care of that shin.

Definitely, Marlene. Put an ice pack on to make sure there is no swelling. No heat rub yet. Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.

As for the braised meats, I notice that Marlene's has no sauce or juice while Sam's does. Marlene, do you prefer no sauce with your meat?

I wish I could TASTE all of this, and I don't mean virtually or vicariously. :wub:


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Wow, hats off to both of you! You sure do have lucky, not to mention grateful, family and friends this week!

Will you be able to post recipes to RG or indicate the book the recipe is from for us?

Sam, the gnocci looked fabulous, tender and mouthwatering. And your drink was beautiful and looks so refreshing! (BTW, Kathleen I love Fresca too, especially here in the AZ heat!)

Marlene, OMG pulled pork is one of my favorites. I can't remember if you mentioned the spices that went into that...I'll have to go back and check. If not, can you list them? And the "strawberry shortcake" looked like summer! I use honey in my strawberry masceration as well, cool! I've never thought of the vodka for this too, I'll have to try it. Does Ryan like it? My guess is that there isn't enough vodka to actually give any kind of kick but I find sometimes the vodka flavor comes through strongly even in small doses. Mmmm coffee with Grand Marnier...my next stop tonight!

Wonderful to both of you :wub::wub:

(And I thought I was going to have to wait until morning for tonights pix, what a treat!!)

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I don't tend to measure these things

And there you have it folks. The very basic difference between our styles. Sam doesn't measure much, he's a go by feel cook, while I'm very much a follow the recipe kind of cook!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Sorry, there was a sauce for the meat, I just competely forgot to take pictures of it. The sauce from the braise was defatted and simmered on the stove while I made the rest of the meal. Ooops. And I do enjoy sauces with all of my various meats.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Wow, hats off to both of you!  You sure do have lucky, not to mention grateful, family and friends this week!

Will you be able to post recipes to RG or indicate the book the recipe is from for us? 

Sam, the gnocci looked fabulous, tender and mouthwatering.  And your drink was beautiful and looks so refreshing!  (BTW, Kathleen I love Fresca too, especially here in the AZ heat!)

Marlene, OMG pulled pork is one of my favorites.  I can't remember if you mentioned the spices that went into that...I'll have to go back and check.  If not, can you list them?  And the "strawberry shortcake" looked like summer!  I use honey in my strawberry masceration as well, cool!  I've never thought of the vodka for this too, I'll have to try it.  Does Ryan like it?  My guess is that there isn't enough vodka to actually give any kind of kick but I find sometimes the vodka flavor comes through strongly even in small doses.  Mmmm coffee with Grand Marnier...my next stop tonight!

Wonderful to both of you :wub:  :wub:

(And I thought I was going to have to wait until morning for tonights pix, what a treat!!)

the spices that went into the pork were:

whole all spice berries and corriander seeds toasted and then coarsely ground. Fresh Thyme from my garden, paprika, cayenne, and orange and lime juices. Plus a little kosher salt. Ryan loved the dessert. He and his friend had pizza for dinner though. The vodka flavour doesn't give the dessert a "kick" so much as it add a subtle nuance to the whole flavoring.

Ice pack on the shin, yes. hurts.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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