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eG Foodblog: tupac17616 - Barbecue & Foie Gras


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[...]I've been curious to try and discover what Polish cuisine is actually like, a question my mom (whose heritage is Polish) was not too sure about either.[...]

Have you been to any Polish places in New York?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Tupac, I look with mouth agape at that amazing garden your family has. What a treat for you to have access to it every day.

Also, that chocolate pasta is outrageous!

I take a similar approach to cooking. I cook almost exclusively based what looks good and what is fresh (although unlike you it's not coming from outside my back door :raz: ).

I think it can be very limiting for people to rely on recipes, as they normally call for a lot of ingredients, some of them obscure, and this can turn one off from cooking completely. But in order to cook from what's fresh at the market, one needs to have an understanding of what goes well with what, and much of that, for me, comes from reading, as I live in an area with a limited number of restaurants. When you say you mostly use your cookbooks for the illustrations, would you say that a lot of your inspiration comes from all your experiences eating out, particularly at those 270(!) places in NYC?

Edited by Shaya (log)
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Oh man. Chocolate pasta? Where can I get it?

Awesome garden. I grew up in Louisiana and I miss the great lush vegetable gardens. Our property is way to shaded, and our soil is much too sandy to grow veggies as easily as my parents do.

The tacos look like what my husband's grandmother (in Dallas) makes for breakfast every morning. I vote for more Tex-Mex, please!

Are you cooking anything special for Fathers' Day?

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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Mmmm! Those tacos look fab! I can just taste them! Taco night was a favorite of mine growing up. I LOOOOVE real tacos!

P.S. Tupac's gravy DID NOT look "anemic." It looked like real gravy.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Growing up in San Antonio, where the Hispanic population is the majority rather than a minority, the influence of Mexican culture is everywhere.  As far as cooking/eating goes here, though, what we think of as "Mexican food" is unquestionably Tex-Mex.  The restaurants where you can get a typical combo plate of enchiladas, rice, beans, chile con queso, etc are a dime a dozen.  The likelifood that you can find, say, an authenic mole from the cuisine of some region in interior Mexico, or a Mexican seafood restaurant here is incredibly slim, though.  Kind of sad, actually.  Not that Tex-Mex is bad, I just wish there were more places where a could explore the other sides of Mexican cuisine, a cuisine that I know is much more intricate and complex that it is often made out to be here.

You don't mean to tell me I'm more likely to encounter non-cucina frontera Mexican cuisine in Philadelphia than I am in San Antonio?

(Unfortunately, the local crowd wasn't quite up enough on the variety of Mexican cooking to keep the first Mexican seafood restaurant in Philly, Rio Bravo, open. It closed after about two years in business, and its space at 11th Street and Washington Avenue now houses a Chinese seafood restaurant. Tequila's on Locust Street offers a more upscale take on the foods of interior Mexico.)

On to sausage gravy:

I've had it several times before, and it is definitely the stuff dreams are made of.  :wub:

Having made sausage gravy, I can second this opinion.

Confidential to The Old Foodie: In South Philadelphia, "gravy" is a thick red substance made from tomatoes and served over pasta.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Batali - well, you chose a wonderful influence!  Have you ever read Marcella Hazan?  I like it that you looked to the garden and market for inspiration.

Never read Marcella, but I've heard a lot about her, and her son Giuliano, as well. My understanding of it is that she was kind of a pioneer in introducing traditional Italian cooking to America. I gather that she kind of demystified Italian cuisine in the US in the same way that Julia Child did for French cuisine. Sounds like maybe I ought to check out her books, perhaps. Any particular suggestions?

This continues to be excellent.  I must say I am especially pleased to see two techniques in particular, whacking an avocado seed and an egg yolk in the palm of a hand.

I always separate eggs in my hand. Not a big fan of the pass the yolk back and forth between the shell halves method. And my mom insisted I do a picture of her whacking the avocado seed, because if the blog happened to inspire someone to make guacamole, she didn't want their seeds flying half way across the room in case people might not know how to get it out! :biggrin:

Have you been to any Polish places in New York?

Sure haven't, Pan. I'd love to check some out, though. A quick search on Menupages for Polish restaurants reveals only 7 in Manhattan (East Village) and Brooklyn (BklynHeights/DUMBO & Williamsburg/Greenpoint) total. Surely there must be more. Any suggestions?

When you say you mostly use your cookbooks for the illustrations, would you say that a lot of your inspiration comes from all your experiences eating out, particularly at those 270(!) places in NYC?

Most definitely. And I found that inspiration really developed into a totally different thing over time. When I first started cooking, eating out would sometimes inspire me to do re-create certain dishes exactly at home. I'd come home from Babbo, for example, and say to myself, man, I've gotta find that recipe for Sweet Potato Lune. That inspiration would spark a recipe search, which in turn would mean a search at the store for the exact ingredients, trying to follow the exact method at home, etc.

Now I am much more likely to be inspired by a technique, a new flavor combination, or something along those lines. I come home from Jean Georges, for example, and think, hmm, he did a caper-raisin emulsion with seared scallops...maybe I can do a caper-golden raisin emulsion with skate, whose flesh is sweet like scallops? So the inspiration I get from eating in restaurants has really become a tool of empowerment in the kitchen, rather than some sort of Platonic ideal of the perfect dish that I feel like I have to strive to achieve at home.

Oh man.  Chocolate pasta?  Where can I get it? [...]  Are you cooking anything special for Fathers' Day?

The chocolate pasta came from a candy shop in New Orleans (which we bought during our first and only trip there the very weekend Katrina came....don't ask), but a quick Google search (the answer to all of life's questions) reveals that the brand I used last night is this one from a company called Chocoholics Divine Desserts, so I'm sure you could easily get it online if you can't find it in a store near you.

For Father's Day, the tentative plan based on my dad's requests is:

Fritto Misto

Osso Buco (whether veal or lamb shanks will be used depends on what the store happens to have tomorrow)

Risotto (Not sure what kind yet. He doesn't have anything specific in mind, so it may be chef's surprise)

Asparagus

Dessert yet TBD (pecan pie is a strong possibility it seems, though)

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Have you been to any Polish places in New York?

Sure haven't, Pan. I'd love to check some out, though. A quick search on Menupages for Polish restaurants reveals only 7 in Manhattan (East Village) and Brooklyn (BklynHeights/DUMBO & Williamsburg/Greenpoint) total. Surely there must be more. Any suggestions?[...]

My standby local Polish diner is Teresa's East Village location, but you might want to look at the Lomzynianka thread.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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My usual go-to place for soft-shell crabs didn't get any in this week, so I had to look elsewhere. I called a store that is even closer than that one and they tell me they have them. Great, right? I've had the urge to do a soft-shell crab BLT for a while now, and it's all falling together...applewood smoked bacon, fresh tomatoes from the garden, some lettuce, some nice fresh bread, plent of basil to make a basil aioli, all I needed was a couple of our crustacean friends. Guess I should've specified fresh soft-shell crabs, because when I got there and asked about the crabs (which were not in the case, mind you), the guy came back in a couple of minutes. With a box. Of frozen soft-shell crabs. :hmmm: Alas, a fork was thrown into my dinner plan. (Get it? Get it? Fork into the dinner plan? Okay, I'm not funny. :biggrin: ). At that point I was disappointed and frustrated, so I came back from the store empty-handed, figuring I'd just throw together something simple at home. The result? Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to announce the winner of the most boring meal of the blog award...

Scrambled Eggs with Bok Choy and Mushrooms, along with Caprese Salad, Toast (not pictured), and some Smoked Peppered Salmon (also not pictured)

gallery_28661_3068_19331.jpg

Followed by a dessert of

Blueberry Morning -- My favorite cereal (with Special K Red Berry a close second)

gallery_28661_3068_33325.jpg

P.S. Is this a lot of fruit, or what? My parents went to Sam's this afternoon, and came back with this load. Looks like I'm set for some nice breakfast/lunch fruit spreads for a while. :smile:

gallery_28661_3068_9755.jpg

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O.K. I cant stand it any longer. Will someone please explain to those of us outside the US of A - "Cream Gravy" (looks like what I would call White Sauce!) and "Country Gravy"?

Ms. Old Foodie...Southern gravy differs from a white sauce because it is based on caramelized meat drippings as opposed to plain butter or oil a la bechamel. Also a lot of black pepper and never nutmeg...it's amazing how different they taste with almost identical ingredients. While it may be called cream gravy it is based on milk.  Southerners are way too frugal to use real cream in gravy. Country gravy is just another name for the same thing though some claim that country gravy is based on a browner roux. Sausage gravy is another variation where fresh pork sausage is crumbled and fried and the gravy is built on it's fat.  Doesn't it sound horrid?  Tastes very good.  :wink:

On to sausage gravy:

I've had it several times before, and it is definitely the stuff dreams are made of.  :wub:

Having made sausage gravy, I can second this opinion.

Confidential to The Old Foodie: In South Philadelphia, "gravy" is a thick red substance made from tomatoes and served over pasta.

I am now thoroughly confused.

I think I'm just going to have to take a trip "over there" and find out for myself.

Janet

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Tupac, I loved the garden pictures, and your food pictures are making me drool. Your guacamole picture looked just like the guacamole I made last night.

I had to laugh at your picture of the rosemary bush. I also have rosemary in my garden, but it is a pee wee in comparison to yours. It is about 6 inches tall. Our rainy Ottawa spring has stunted its growth. My tomato plants have just now produced blossoms and it will be several weeks before we see fruit.

I have Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan and I find it to be an excellent resource. I like to use the cookbook for inspiration, and then do my own thing.

Dawn aka shrek

Let the eating begin!

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The book I have of Hazan's is The Classic Italian Cook Book, which is out of print. She combined it with her second book, More Classic Italian Cooking, and the updated, melded version is Essentials of Italian Cooking, which Shrek mentions above.

I don't yet have Essentials, but I would say with certainty that I do believe her cookbooks to be terrific resources.

Edited by H. du Bois (log)
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Mmmm! Those tacos look fab! I can just taste them! Taco night was a favorite of mine growing up. I LOOOOVE real tacos!

P.S. Tupac's gravy DID NOT look "anemic." It looked like real gravy.

I was certainly confused by gravy when I came to the US from Australia. Cream gravy does indeed look anemic to an Australian to whom gravy signifies thick, rich dark brown stuff made primarily from meat drippings, rather than white cream gravy. It's an entirely different beast. Cream or sausage gravy over biscuits is just a divine breakfast however, so I think I might have adapted ;)

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Last night, in honor of half of my heritage (actually in honor of my mom's request  :wink: ) we had Mexican food...

The Prep

Homegrown Tomatoes harvested minutes before, many of which will go into fresh Pico de Gallo and Guacamole.  Some just go straight into our mouths.  :biggrin:

gallery_28661_3068_22061.jpg

OK. So you just want me to have heart palpatations. At least you didn't include sweet corn, which would have resulted in a trip to the ER...

The taco night sounds just like what I do here, and it is very, very popular. Do tell more about the rice. Do you cook it in water or chicken stock?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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This continues to be excellent.  I must say I am especially pleased to see two techniques in particular, whacking an avocado seed and an egg yolk in the palm of a hand.

Er, I'm a total ignoramus. :blink: What is the whacking of the avocado seed technique? What's it for?

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This continues to be excellent.  I must say I am especially pleased to see two techniques in particular, whacking an avocado seed and an egg yolk in the palm of a hand.

Er, I'm a total ignoramus. :blink: What is the whacking of the avocado seed technique? What's it for?

:unsure: ummm...getting the seed out of the fruit without damaging the fruit. How do you get the seed out?

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[...]

[...]Confidential to The Old Foodie: In South Philadelphia, "gravy" is a thick red substance made from tomatoes and served over pasta.

I am now thoroughly confused.

I think I'm just going to have to take a trip "over there" and find out for myself.

Janet

You should make the trip.

But this one, at least, is fairly easy to explain: Italian-American "gravy" is at least roughly equivalent to Italian ragu'. So if you know what ragu' is, you have a decent concept of what the sauce many of them call "gravy" is. They may use a lot more of it on their pasta than most Italians do, however.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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This continues to be excellent.  I must say I am especially pleased to see two techniques in particular, whacking an avocado seed and an egg yolk in the palm of a hand.

Er, I'm a total ignoramus. :blink: What is the whacking of the avocado seed technique? What's it for?

:unsure: ummm...getting the seed out of the fruit without damaging the fruit. How do you get the seed out?

I damage the fruit. :smile: (I pry the seed out with the tip of a knife).

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Wonderful garden shots, and the dishes you've made are outstanding. The tomatoes :wub: are especially tempting---our little guys are still greenies, but we just got the garden in maybe four weeks ago.

Several years ago, we ate at a spectacular BBQ (trust me; I cut my teeth on Memphis pit-cooked) place on Riverwalk---can't remember the name, but you choose from the menu in combinations named for cars. I do remember that we chose the Cadillac for everyone at our table, which was a big platter of everything on the menu---ribs, brisket, a whole chicken, sausages, pork chops. I still dream of those dry, tear-gently-from-the-bone ribs.

And Chacho's---is that a chain that you'd be ashamed to patronize, or is it as good as I remember? The barracho beans are the best of any beans I've ever eaten, loaded with cilantro and garlic. (Family lore will include the three quarts I brought home in my carryon bag).

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[...] The taco night sounds just like what I do here, and it is very, very popular.  Do tell more about the rice.  Do you cook it in water or chicken stock?

This time I cooked it in some cooking liquid I had left over from some mexican braised chicken I had made a while back. So the broth had the flavor of chicken, sweet corn, tomatoes, garlic, chile powder, cumin, and some other stuff. I'm usually not the best maker of Mexican Rice. If it were up to me, I'd just cook up some plain rice to have with the tacos and call it a day. But this turned out pretty well I thought.

[...]  Several years ago, we ate at a spectacular BBQ (trust me; I cut my teeth on Memphis pit-cooked) place on Riverwalk---can't remember the name, but you choose from the menu in combinations named for cars.  I do remember that we chose the Cadillac for everyone at our table, which was a big platter of everything on the menu---ribs, brisket, a whole chicken, sausages, pork chops.  I still dream of those dry, tear-gently-from-the-bone ribs.

And Chacho's---is that a chain that you'd be ashamed to patronize, or is it as good as I remember?  The barracho beans are the best of any beans I've ever eaten, loaded with cilantro and garlic.  (Family lore will include the three quarts I brought home in my carryon bag).

A quick Google search tells me the BBQ place you're thinking of is The County Line BBQ. I actually haven't been there before. Sounds like it may be worth a trip. My dad especially loves ribs, so I doubt I'd have a hard time convincing him. :biggrin:

Haven't been to Chacho's, either. Another Google search turns up several awards for them having the best Margarita in town. In a place where the Margarita is as ubiquitous as it is here, that's no small claim. Turns out there is one about 10 minutes from our house. Sounds like another place that might be worth a shot. If I ever go, I'll let you know. And maybe I can send you a few quarts of those beans, too! :biggrin:

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Really enjoying your blog.  And nice garden.  The Japanese Plum looks like what I always call a Loquat which grows wild in the Houston area.

I was looking at that Japanese plum tree and thinking it didn't look like any of the plum trees around my house, but it looked familiar.....

I too think it is a loquat, in Japan it is called biwa and it is really a lovely fruit. Much better than the Japanese plum which isn't really good for anything but pickling.

a loquat tree in fruit

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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A quick Google search tells me the BBQ place you're thinking of is The County Line BBQ.

  And maybe I can send you a few quarts of those beans, too!  :biggrin:

That's IT!!! The virtual tour even showed me the exact big table where we had my Dad's last birthday together. What an evening---good food, Margaritas flowing, lots of silliness and laughing. And those ribs! :wub:

The beans would be a FedEx nightmare, I'm afraid. They're not the standard refried beans, thick and rich and chunky. They're a big bowl of pintos, cooked soft and tender and smoky with meat hunks and good salty pot likker and snips of cilantro. (Said beans recommended and touted ad nauseam on another thread during a major CRAVE moment). I mentioned in that post that as I returned from a couple of weeks in England, stopping in SA to visit my Dad, the ONLY thing the children wanted me to bring home was food from Chacho's.

I bought several big containers of beans, snap-topped and foil wrapped, froze them for a day, then stashed them upright in the zippersides of my carryon tote. I was mildly afraid that the bag-police might confiscate those oddly-shaped, metal-encased bricks, but when the nice moustached man unzipped one side and saw the cups, I blurted, "I've just been to England, but the children didn't want souvenirs; they wanted Chacho's."

He just smiled, nodded, and sent me on my way.

I meant to add earlier that your house is like visiting my Sis just outside SA---her kitchen is yours, but all white, tiled island, glass-fronted cabinets and all, plus all your herbs and the curve of your pool---add a waterfall, and it's identical. Do you also have one of those little traveling-hose bottom-cleaners that surfaces and spits a cold stream onto unwary sunbathers?

And her oldest, my nephew, went to a CI and is exactly like you when he comes home for a visit---his Mom called me after one week of his culinary delights, in which they had invited neighbors and various people-to-impress, and extolled the various sauces and fusions and new vegetables and flavors. She also had a fit when she discovered he'd merely made STOCK for a lobster dish using two pounds of scallops, which were then little hockey-pucks and went into the trash. She fished them out, ran them through the Cuisinart (which made them into rubbery LITTLE bits), then enhanced the cats' food for several days with the best stuff they'd ever tasted.

He and I ran into each other in the Houston airport once, (before 2001), both by chance on the next plane to SA for a visit, and the x-ray people surely wondered at the odds of two people in line BOTH carrying almost identical knife-cases.

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Yep, that picture seals the deal. That is definitely it. Such a tasty fruit. We had a tree that would produce tons of those at our old house (only lived at the current house for 2 years), so we knew we had to find a tree for this house. I wonder how long before we'll see fruit...

I can't wait to see what's up for Father's Day, tupac. Are you making that pecan pie from scratch? (Please say yes...  :smile: )

I'm loving your blog! You're such a talented cook, and have such an ease with words. Your family is very lucky to have you cooking for them!

Thanks, Ling. Your're very kind. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. As for Father's Day, some circumstances out of my control meant we couldn't even start cooking dinner until almost 8:30 PM, so that meant no osso buco and no pecan pie :sad: Definitely would've been made from scratch, too. Ah well, maybe tomorrow.

Turns out that dinner was a definite success tonight, though. One of those meals where everything just seems to fall into place nicely. I've uploaded the pictures to ImageGullet and will post a detailed write-up tomorrow.

[...] They're a big bowl of pintos, cooked soft and tender and smoky with meat hunks and good salty pot likker and snips of cilantro.  [...] I bought several big containers of beans, snap-topped and foil wrapped, froze them for a day, then stashed them upright in the zippersides of my carryon tote.  I was mildly afraid that the bag-police might confiscate those oddly-shaped, metal-encased bricks, but when the nice moustached man unzipped one side and saw the cups, I blurted, "I've just been to England, but the children didn't want souvenirs; they wanted Chacho's."  He just smiled, nodded, and sent me on my way. 

[...] And her oldest, my nephew, went to a CI and is exactly like you when he comes home for a visit---his Mom called me after one week of his culinary delights, in which they had invited neighbors and various people-to-impress, and extolled the various sauces and fusions and new vegetables and flavors.  She also had a fit when she discovered he'd merely made STOCK for a lobster dish using two pounds of scallops, which were then little hockey-pucks and went into the trash.  She fished them out, ran them through the Cuisinart (which made them into rubbery LITTLE bits), then enhanced the cats' food for several days with the best stuff they'd ever tasted.

He and I ran into each other in the Houston airport once, (before 2001), both by chance on the next plane to SA for a visit, and the x-ray people surely wondered at the odds of two people in line BOTH carrying almost identical knife-cases.

Great stories, Rachel! Thanks so much for sharing. :smile:

[...] Do you also have one of those little traveling-hose bottom-cleaners that surfaces and spits a cold stream onto unwary sunbathers? [...]

You mean like this? I captured this picture one night when it randomly happened to be shooting straight up in the air. I thought it was kinda cool...

gallery_28661_3068_26447.jpg

Guess I ought to call it a night, now. Jury duty tomorrow. Ooh, the excitement of civic duty... :hmmm:

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