extstaygourmet At Least 7 Glasses of Wine Each Week http://t.co/sWkuVjCcY4
Ah, cheese! Cheese is so many things to so many people: creamy, tangy, dry, moldy, crumbly, melty, strong, sharp, mild. A good cheesemonger can help you find your kind of cheese or find something new and interesting.
The term cheesemonger refers to the person who orders, stocks, and sells the selection at your local cheese shop. Usually these people are so steeped in the cheese world that they become founts of information, and more often than not, they’re excited to share it with you. Experienced cheesemongers have an intimate knowledge of the cheeses they carry, who the cheesemaker is, the animal milks involved, and how the cheese was aged. They taste hundreds of varieties a year and know what’s available at any given moment. They’re like the cheese 5 o’clock news.
Don’t be too intimidated to talk to your neighborhood cheesemongers. The person behind the counter is most likely friendly, and should be your new best friend. Ask them about the cheeses you like and they should be able to steer you towards others you might also enjoy.
In doing so, you’ll learn new terms, discover gossip on the cheesemaking circuit, and may even find a wedge or two of “sample” cheese in your bag on your way out.
I am lucky to live within a quick drive to several good and un-intimidating cheese purveyors. Combine that with a knowledgeable wine shop and I’m all set.
Get out and meet your cheesemonger already, people! Let me know your experiences.
There are some people who actually like broccoli. Who think that eating lightly steamed little green trees is a treat. Who don’t have PTSD from a childhood spent choking down limp, lifeless florets while their parents loomed overhead.
This dish, created by Emma Hearst, owner (and onetime chef) of New York’s Sorella, is for the rest of us.
Turns out, all broccoli needed to be delicious was a batter covering and a dip in hot oil. Hearst’s broccoli fritto is deep-fried to glassy perfection and topped with spicy aioli, basil, and a small mountain of grated Parmigiano- Reggiano. You can’t exactly call this healthy, but it is the kind of side dish that dominates a dinner table—especially now, when broccoli is one of the few in-season bright spots in an otherwise mealy winter-produce aisle. Tempura and punchy toppings amplify the vegetable’s hearty, slightly bitter bite, and suddenly you realize: Your hatred was misplaced. It also doesn’t hurt that no one’s standing over your shoulder this time.
I’m a huge fan of freezing foods for convenience. The Kitchn’s tip for pancake batter is fantastic!
Just try this tip for freezing batter in advance so you’re always armed and ready with a killer breakfast arsenal.
Read the article to find out how, but you’re cleaver. You can probably figure it out now that you know it’s possible. Think pastry bag and you’re pretty much there.
It was on last summer’s family reunion on the coast of Maine that I truly discovered the joy of poached eggs. The resort did them up with smoked salmon, lobster meat, and other tasty options with a rich hollandaise sauce. I cam home and started making poached eggs.
I used the white vinegar in the water, each egg in a ramekin I’d gently lay into the water as I poured the egg out, and a wire spider strainer for corralling whites and extracting the eggs. It worked well, but not 100%.
Imagine my joy when I came cross this post at Serious Eats:
Egg-poaching is a technique that looms large in my legend, as they would for anyone who’s had to cook several hundred or maybe even thousand of them in various restaurants. See, even after years of practice, my success rate hovered at maybe around 75%.
Every time I dropped an egg in the pan, I’d make sure to drop a second, knowing that at least half the time, one of them would break or come out looking like a wispy ghost, its wet white tentacles threatening to spread over your toasted English muffin or shrouding your frisée aux lardons salad. That’s the last thing I’d wish on any diner paying over the odds for a perfect salad.
It wasn’t until I discovered this technique, which you’ll see in the video—something I first heard from insane British chef Heston Blumenthal—that my success rate suddenly soared to, well, pretty much 100%, where it’s stayed ever since. The method was actually first mentioned in The Curious Cook, Harold McGee’s second book. Strange, because I’d read the book countless times, yet somehow this one trick never stuck with me. Hopefully it’ll stick better with you.
Watch the video to learn the technique to perfectly poach eggs and then give it a try.
This is my second post in the Cleaning Series.
I don’t know if my washing machine was ever clean. I presume it was when it was brand new, but I inherited this one when I bought my house a long time ago. Figuring it had been at least 13 years, I ran through this last night.
When using appliances like washing machines and dishwashers – putting soap in and taking clean things out – one can sometimes forget that the appliance itself needs a good cleaning now and then. And boy, did my top-loading workhorse need it.
I highly recommend this process. I love it when most of the work is done by someone or something else. My washing machine doesn’t have the bells as whistles described in the post. And I’m not sure how you’d modify this for front loading washers, but I think the formula would still work.
Like the previous cleaning post this uses tools and ingredients you should have around the house or can pick up for five dollars. They’re all multitaskers, which I love. They’re also environmentally safe.
Added bonus: I use both baking soda and vinegar in my regular clothes washing routine. I mix a large container of baking soda in with my dry laundry soap. When the final rinse comes around in the cycle (about 25 minutes in) I add a cup of the white vinegar. I almost always wash with cold water. I don’t use fabric softeners or dryer sheets. All of my clothes comes out clean and fresh. The colors say well, too.
Anyway, Apartment Therapy does a great job with their posts. I find I’m reading the site more and more as I prepare my house for a possible sale in the near future.
What are some of your cleaning tips?
When it comes to giving your kitchen a good clean, the fine folks at Gizmodo offer some advice:
Punxsutawney Phil has deigned us worthy of an early thaw so there’s no use procrastinating on your spring cleaning—even if your kitchen is dirtier than a roadside truck stop Blimpie’s. Here’s how to make your kitchen sparkle using supplies that’re already there or at least should be.
My favorite multitaskers are the ones on Andrew Tarantola’s list: white vinegar, baking soda, lemons, salt, and a good rag. I try to use chlorine bleach as little as possible. I keep some around plus ammonia and hydrogen peroxide for specific cases. DO store your bleach and ammonia away from each other. You do not want the basic chemistry demonstration that will happen if the two come in contact.
I’ll also throw into my list of cleaning supplies a good scrub brush, sponge, old tooth brush, and abrasive pad.
There’s also no substitute for good old fashioned water. I’ll mix a little lemon juice into a water filled spray bottle for a spot cleaning solution for lightweight cleaning.
One recipe they don’t mention in the article but is in the comment thread is to use a half lemon sprinkled with salt to clean copper pots.
What about you?’ What kinds of cleaning kit do you keep for what kind of jobs?
Over at Serious Eats they posted a recipe for a shrimp recipe that hails from Chicago that looks nice and tasty:
Old-school and crazy-caloric, Chicago’s shrimp de Jonghe is said to date back to the late 19th century. Created by Belgian brothers, who ran a Chicago restaurant and served the dish at the World’s Columbian Exposition, it remains a treasure in many a Chicago restaurant today.
Its appeal is timeless. It’s also easy to make.
Use quality raw jumbo shrimp. And don’t skimp on the butter; otherwise your breadcrumbs with be dry. While some versions omit the lemon, I find it integral to cut through the richness and brighten the dish.
If you don’t have sherry on hand, dry white wine may be used. However, the effect won’t be quite the same.
Because it’s quite heavy, this dish bodes well as an appetizer, too. If you serve it as a main course, accompany it with a crunchy green salad.
I’ll give this a try next weekend, but you can probably give it a go for tomorrow. Let me know how it goes!
A Trader Joe’s store opened up in Royal Oak a whole bunch of years ago but I never went in until the other day. As a grocery I’d heard mixed reviews, but some staples were worth my time.
Before I went I searched for recommendations on what is good there, what’s a value, and why. There is a lot of information out there, and unsurprisingly a lot of it conflicted.
I managed to find a few hand fulls of things that will keep me coming back.
I picked up a smattering of whites (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay) and reds (Merlot, Cabernet) in the “2 Buck Chuck” Charles Shaw I’d heard so much about. The on-line reviews are mixed. I think it’s worth the fifteen dollars to see for myself.
I also picked up their Stockyard Oatmeal Stout to see how that goes down.
What do you get at TJ’s?
When I was a single father with a very tight budget I did things to stretch my dollar. Social consciousness about organic or free range or gluten free never entered into it. Getting the most value for my dollar was my mantra.
Later, as my hard work and determination earned me a release from my lean budgets, I relaxed my shopping mantra and expanded my kids’ and my pallets. I found a sweet spot for me between organics, etc. and getting cooking done.
Today things have changed. I’m unemployed for the first time in my adult life. My kids are still around, though they’re now over the legal driving age. Here’s a list of some things we’ve done so far:
It seems counter intuitive to throw things away when you’re dealing with a job loss, but it’s an important task.
In the next post I’ll talk about the inexpensive gear you need to make the most of your freezer and pantry. Then I’ll talk about how to refill the pantry and freezer.