Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

Grocery Store Tourism

This may seem a bit strange, but one of my very favorite overseas travel activities isn't visiting the museums or galleries (though they're very nice, of course)... it's touring local grocery stores and food shops.

I like to see how the average person lives. In Italy, for example, your average shopper has access to powerful traceability and sourcing information.

Behold! Egg coding!

Italian Egg Coding

The eggshells come with printed sets of numbers. The packaging includes the key to translating the numbers.

What do you find in that code? Everything about where that egg came from, including the state, province, municipality and farm where it was produced, the breed of the chicken and of course, the date on which the hen produced the egg.

Pretty cool, no? One glance at the eggshell, and you know just where it came from, what kind of chicken made it and how fresh it is.

Similarly, when I visited both Italy and France, I noticed that the produce is all labeled with the country and/or region of origin... even at the farmers' markets.

Farmers' market labeling

The second reason I enjoy checking out other peoples' groceries: they have things we don't.

While looking in rural France (Les Eyzies) for food that would work well on the grill, we were delighted to find an upgrade on the traditional canned campsite "pork 'n beans" duo. This canned duck confit and lentils heated up just fine on the grill and made couple of très magnifique dinners.

The same shop also had shelf-stable jars of duck rillettes (essentially a fatty duck spread), which tasted amazing when spread across a fresh baguette.

Can of Lentils & Duck Confit

And finally, there's the joy of discovering cool packaging logos and graphic design. You'll find some of my recent favorites, below:

Goat's Milk Yogurt
An adorable goat's milk yogurt label from Trento, Italy

Devilish Rotisserie Chicken Bag
A devilish rotisserie chicken bag from Toulouse, France

Devilish Rotisserie Chicken Bag
A charming nut sack from Berlin, Germany

Corleggy Cheese Label
A lovely little cheese label from Belturbet, Ireland

I know I can't be alone in my tendency toward grocery store tourism. Anyone have foreign food discoveries to report? Let me know in the comments or link me over to your adventures.

Cheers!
Miss Ginsu

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10.18.2009

A Dozen Ideas for Boiled Eggs

Ahh, Easter. Egg dying. Egg hiding. Egg finding. And then... a lot of hard-boiled eggs to use up in a hurry.

Blue Easter Eggs

I'm sure you know how to make a simple egg salad (dice boiled eggs, add chopped celery if you like and slather with enough mayo to moisten), but just in case you're long on eggs and short on ideas, here's a dozen other things to do with a hard-boiled egg.

1. Persian-Style Chicken Salad
Dice a couple of eggs with a few diced boiled potatoes, two cups of diced, cooked chicken, three tablespoons each of chopped pickles, diced celery, sliced black or green olives and fresh dill. Toss gently 1/2 cup of lemon-olive oil vinaigrette or mayonnaise, as you like. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and serve over lettuce leaves with wedges of tomato.

2. Simple Niçoise Salad
Fill a large bowl with four cups of mixed, washed lettuce or Boston lettuce, add a couple of sliced boiled eggs, two to three new potatoes, boiled and halved, about 3/4 cup water-packed or oil-packed tuna, 1/3 cup boiled green beans, two to three tomatoes sliced into wedges, two sliced green onions and a tablespoon of capers or oil-cured black olives. Toss with a vinaigrette of your choice.

3. Classic Deviled Eggs
I love deviled eggs so much. Just peel a dozen eggs, slice in half (reserve the whites, holes-up on a platter) and place the yolks in a mixing bowl with 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 to 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Worcestershire, 1/2 tsp hot paprika. Blend until smooth and season to taste with salt. Place the yolk mixture in an appropriately sized plastic bag. Clip off one of the corners. Squeeze the mixture from the bag into the hollows of the egg whites. Garnish with cayenne or paprika and serve immediately.

4. Serve with Smoked Fish
Grated eggs go well with smoked fish alongside chives and chopped radishes. On the same note, there's also the Scandinavian Sillsalad or Laxsalad, both of which combine cured fish with eggs, potatoes, apples and caraway.

5. If you have cash to spare, serve with caviar.
Grated eggs are a classic accompaniment to Russian caviar, alongside blini or toast points, diced red onion, capers and sour cream.

6. Scotch Eggs
Peel boiled eggs, cover each in a layer seasoned sausage, roll in breadcrumbs and deep-fry until the sausage is cooked. Decadent pub fare. Make a batch and eat alongside beer. And Rolaids.

7. Workout Snacks
As I mentioned back here, boiled eggs are the protein bar of the ancients. And they come in convenient, eco-sensitive biodegradable packaging, too.

8. Wilted Spinach Salad
Wash and dry four cups of fresh spinach. Place on two plates and top with two to three boiled eggs, sliced; four strips of cooked bacon, diced; two sliced green onions, one tomato cut in wedges. Drizzle with 1/3 cup hot bacon grease, sprinkle on two tablespoons tarragon vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Steamed Asparagus & Salmon Salad
Steam one 6 to 8 oz salmon fillet and one bunch of asparagus. Chop the asparagus into 1" segments. Flake the salmon. Combine in a mixing bowl with an apple cider vinaigrette (whisk together 1 Tbsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, juice of quarter of a lemon and 4-5 Tbsp olive oil) and serve over two sliced, boiled eggs and a bed of greens.

10. What's a bowl of ramen without strips of pork, a dollop of seaweed and a sliced, boiled egg? Just a bowl of noodles, nothing more.

11. Stinging Nettle Soup, courtesy of Nami-Nami.

12. The classic Cobb Salad.
Create a bed of romaine, iceberg or Boston lettuce and top with diced bacon, diced ripe avocado, diced cooked chicken breast, diced tomato, diced hard-boiled eggs and roquefort or your favorite blue cheese. Dress with a simple vinaigrette.

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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4.12.2009

Day 22: Eggnog Flan

This post marks Day 22 of Miss Ginsu's 2008 Advent Calendar. To find other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.

After falling in love with the divine flan at Mercadito Cantina recently, I thought it'd be a good plan to combine a lifelong passion for eggnog with the decadent flan genre.



In case you've never made flan, it's kind of a two-step process. The first step involves making a caramel sauce that coats the bottom of the pan. Thereafter, a custard mixture is poured over the caramel and it's baked, then flipped over to put the caramel at the top, making the dish very like a tarte tatin or a pineapple upside-down cake.

You could, of course, pour the caramel sauce and the batter into individual ramekins, but I don't have that many ramekins or that much ambition... so I'm going with one large flan that gets cut into wedges. Less pretty, but it's faster to make and easier to transport.

As it turns out, the recipe for flan and the recipe for eggnog are very similar. The major difference is in the preparation.

In fact, I reserved a bit of my flan batter and warmed it up in a double boiler while the rest of the flan baked. Cream, fresh eggs, sugar and spice... no surprise this combo made a fine, festive 'nog.
Merry Eggnog Flan (Serves 6-8)

3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp spiced rum or whiskey (optional)
1 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. In a small saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat until begins to melt. Don't stir or touch it; just lower the heat and heat it, swirling the pan, until the melted sugar caramelizes to a golden brown.
3. Pour the caramel into the bottom of a 9" quiche/flan dish or cake pan. Turn the dish to evenly coat the bottom. Allow to cool.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl, blending in the condensed milk, cream, milk, the rum/whiskey and the nutmeg.
5. Place the quiche/flan dish inside a roasting pan (with high sides) and pour hot water into the roasting pan until it measures about half-way up the side of the flan dish.
6. Carefully move the roasting pan to center rack of the oven and pour the egg batter into the flan dish. (This process prevents flan flubs on the way to the oven.) Bake until the flan is firm in the center, but still has a little jiggle — about 50 to 60 minutes.
7. Carefully move the hot flan dish from the roasting pan to a wire rack to cool. Then chill in the refrigerator at least 2 to 3 hours.
8. To serve, warm the flan for a few minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the dish and place a large plate on top of the flan dish. Gently flip them both together so that the flan gently flops onto the plate. Lift away the flan dish and cut the flan into wedges.

Though it'd be a lovely afternoon treat with hot coffee, I think this flan would also make an appropriate postre for the holiday taquitos of Calendar Day 6.

Feliz navidades a todos!
Miss Ginsu

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12.22.2008

Wow of the Week

Having missed the farmers' market today, I was at the Bowery Whole Foods picking up some eggs. And then I saw these beauties...

Ostrich Eggs
When you're in the mood for a truly remarkable omelette

Ostrich eggs. Local, even. You can see the quail eggs on the shelf above for size reference.

I'm told it takes a hammer to open one of these eggs... and a brave soul to harvest them.

To be honest, I'm not sure what's more impressive, their girth or their price tag.

Cheers,
Miss Ginsu

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10.12.2008

FoodLink Roundup: 08.11.08

Cupcake's Link Roundup
It's Cupcake's birthday! Hooray, and happy birthday, Cupcake! Last week, our exploratory pastry hero was located out in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Where in the world is Cupcake this week? Post your guess in the comments.

Beijing breakfast of champions
Eggs and tomatoes... with ginger!

Sorting Out Coffee’s Contradictions
Contrary to popular mythology, coffee doesn't appear to cause cancer, send you to the loo or give you high blood pressure.

Cutting Calories and Saving D'oh
Very nicely done.

Consumers are raising cane over corn sweetener
Count me in among the wary. I'm a big label-reader and HFCS-avoider these days...

.: Jen's Chocolate Cake :.
Not a blog, but simplicity itself: a single chocolate cake recipe that Jen (and others) apparently adore. I made a peanut-butter glaze for it last week.

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8.11.2008

Food Quote Friday: Baron Wormser

a farm-fresh dozen

"What a person desires in life is a properly boiled egg. This isn't as easy as it seems."
Baron Wormser from A Quiet Life

More food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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6.20.2008

Ten Thousand Picnics & One Custard Baklava

Our extended cold, damp spring was all forgiven this past weekend. For those of us who stuck around for the holiday, three glorious days of sunshine, blue skies and idyllic chirping birds reminded us that New York can actually be a pleasant place to live.

From my informal survey of city parklands, I estimate there were roughly oh, somewhere in the neighborhood of ten thousand picnics happening around the city this weekend.

Prospect Park, Central Park, McCarren Park and every other patch of urban green upheld seas of blankets, spread after spread of good eats and a few million grinning hominids.

Sheep in the Sheep Meadow
Sheep in the Sheep Meadow, Central Park, image from the NYPL. Circa 1870?

Picnics in the Sheep Meadow
Picnics in the Sheep Meadow, Central Park. Circa 2008

For my own pic-a-nicking, I was in the mood for something exotic. I found a recipe for galatoboureko (custard baklava) in Cold-Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase and, despite the book's out-of-season topic, I thought it might make for a nice picnic dish. My adapted version appears herein.

As it turns out, a bourek boureko is either a Greek dish or a Turkish dish (depending on whether you're speaking with a Greek or a Turk) composed of layered phyllo with a filling of meat, or cheese or veggies or a sweet or savory egg custard.

J recently traveled through both countries and found it everywhere (particularly the not-so-sweet egg variety, which he ate for breakfast). His suspicion is that galatoboureko hails from an ancient neighborhood in Istanbul (so ancient it was still Constantinople at the time) called Galata.

Processing the phyllo

Galatoboureko

The recipe below has a few adaptations from the original, which makes enough to feed an army (about 42 pieces). This one will serve a smaller army with about 21 pieces, depending on how you make your cuts.
Galatoboureko (Custard Baklava)
For the citrus syrup:
1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 slice orange (optional)

For the custard:
1 quarts milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup farina or Cream of Wheat cereal
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg

For the phyllo:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 pound phyllo dough, thawed

1. To make the syrup: Add sugar, water, lemon juice and orange slice (if desired) to a heavy saucepan and simmer 10 minutes, skimming away any froth at the surface. Remove and discard the orange slice. Set aside to cool.
2. To make the custard: Heat the milk and sugar in a deep saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the milk steams and is about to boil, shake in the farina. Add the butter and salt. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is thick and smooth, then remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
3. Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl until light, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cooled farina mixture, blending thoroughly.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
5. To assemble the dish, brush a 11 x 9-inch baking pan with a thin coating of the melted butter. Unwrap the phyllo dough, laying it out flat on a clean surface, and covering it with a slightly damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out.
6. Lay 1 half-sheet of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan and brush it with a thin coating of melted butter. Continue layering and buttering the dough in the same manner for 8 half-sheets.
6. Pour in all the custard and spread it evenly. Cover the custard with 8 more half-sheet layers of buttered phyllo dough. Puncture the top sheets with a sharp knife in several places to allow the custard to breathe during baking.
7. Bake until the custard is set and the pastry shakes loose from the pan, about 30-45 minutes.
8. Let cool 30 minutes, then pour the sugar syrup over the pastry. Cool completely before cutting into triangles or rectangles. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

The version of galatoboureko J has encountered abroad is much like this one, but he said they didn't generally use the citrus syrup to finish it and the dish was usually served for breakfast rather than dessert.

Either way, I can picture this boureko fitting in well at a brunch buffet... it holds up nicely at room temperature. Just don't plan on storing it too long before serving it. I find that storage softens the phyllo a bit much.

Now that we have another half-box of phyllo to play with, I'm excited to try out a savory bourek...

Meanwhile... cheers, ya'll!

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5.27.2008

Recession-Proof Recipes: A Foraged Feast

I remember Alton Brown once referred to quiche as "Refrigerator Pie," and while that phrase gave me the heebie-jeebies, I now see what he was getting at.

Quiche may sound a little stuffy or unapproachable, but if you think of a quickie egg custard in a pie shell as a tasty carrier for a world of little tidbits hanging around the fridge... that quiche suddenly goes from stuffy to sensible.

Have a random bit of cheese? Maybe there's a few herbs in the crisper? A mushroom or two? Some shriveling cherry tomatoes? What if all you have are onions? Never fear... dinner is close at hand.

The secret to making quiche a quick, easy and economical dinner is making sure you have a pie crust in the freezer. I know of no hungry person who's interested in rolling out a pie crust. Leave the crust-rolling and freezing to some lazy weekend day. Or just buy a pack of reliable frozen crusts from your favorite store.

When you meet up with that inevitable "there's nothing for dinner" day, just remember the handy pie crust in your freezer and do a quick forage through the fridge.

Mushroom Quiche and Lemon Greens

I always like to pair a richly flavored quiche with a crisp green salad.

Luckily, salads can also be great friends for the fridge forager and the hawk-eyed produce aisle sale watcher. One of my favorite salads of late has been the "bitter greens with a lemon vinaigrette" version. Something about a bitter green just loves the tangy bite of a fresh-squeezed lemon. Arugula, spring dandelion... even spinach works well for this recipe.

A word to the would-be lawn foragers: Picking baby dandelion greens from your own yard can be a terrific way to make a salad on the cheap, but you really have to be sure that 1. the dandelions haven't bloomed yet (for some reason, the blooms make the leaves inedibly bitter) and 2. nobody's chemically treated the lawn for at least three years. Nobody's looking for a mouthful of Roundup in their salad.
Forage Quiche
Quiche Base
1/2 cup cream, half & half or milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 9-inch pie crust

Add-ins
Grated cheese (up to 1 cup), sautéed onions, leeks or mushrooms, a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs or a teaspoon of crumbled dry herbs, roasted red pepper slices, cooked spinach or arugula, cubed cooked ham, bacon bits, cooked spinach, marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes or sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped roasted vegetables.

1. Heat oven to 375°F. If you prefer a crispier crust, pierce the shell several times with a fork and pre-bake it for 25 minutes before proceeding to the filling step.

2. In a suitably sized bowl, whisk together the cream (or half & half or milk) with the eggs. Add the salt, nutmeg and pepper.

3. Spread about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of add-in fillings across the pie crust. Pour the egg custard mix over the fillings and place the quiche on a baking sheet.

4. Bake until the quiche is set in the center, about 35 minutes. Let it cool on a rack for 15 minutes to an hour before serving. Leftover slices are great for lunchboxes.

Lemon Green Salad
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 pinch sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups tender greens
6 halved cherry tomatoes (optional)
6-8 hard cheese shavings or crumbles of goat cheese (optional)

1. Whisk together the lemon juice and sugar. Whisk in the olive oil in a stream until incorporated as a vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a little more sugar, if desired.
2. Toss greens and vinaigrette in a salad bowl.
3. Top with cherry tomato halves and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

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5.15.2008

Recession-Proof Recipes: Veggie-Fried Rice

Last week, Recession-Proof Recipes discussed the satisfying (but cheap) crépe complete. This week, let's consider the lowly extender.

When I say "extender," I mean: an inexpensive ingredient that stretches out the use of other, more expensive ingredients.

Potatoes, pastas, rice, cassava and cabbage are some of the world's most popular extenders.

With a good amount of filler on hand, a meal can be made with very little meat (or none at all). Spanish paella. French gratin. Cuban black beans and rice. Indian curries. Irish cabbage and potatoes. Ukrainian cabbage soup. Have a glance at any of the world's poverty cuisines, and you'll quickly find extensive, creative uses of the locally available extenders.

Sometimes the use of extenders results in unique and beloved foods that are consumed even after the economic situation improves. Ground chickory root, for example, was once added to coffee as a filler ingredient, but chickory coffee later became a classic Louisiana beverage in its own right. Mmm... beignets and chickory coffee...

Likewise, thrifty Japanese long ago used toasted rice to extend their green tea supply. Genmaicha was the roasty-flavored result. It's actually one of my favorite teas.

As it's composed almost entirely of an inexpensive extender, the classic vegetable fried rice is dead cheap... not to mention extremely simple to pull off. And it's a great use of leftovers.

If you really can't stand the thought of a meal without meat, add some cubed ham. If you want to get all fancy, toss in some sliced mushrooms or bean sprouts or minced ginger or diced tofu.



Veggie Fried Rice (Serves 2)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided in two portions
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups leftover rice
1 clove garlic, minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas (or peas & carrots)
1/2 tsp soy sauce, tamari or shoyu
freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste

1. Heat half the oil over moderately high heat in a wok or a large skillet. Before the oil starts smoking, add the eggs and cook briefly, until soft but beginning to set up. Transfer to a plate.
2. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in wok, then add garlic. Cook for one minute before adding the rice, soy sauce and pepper. Stir-fry until hot and beginning to crisp, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Add scallions and peas and stir-fry briefly.
4. Stir in the egg and warm through.
5. Serve immediately.


Cheers!

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4.23.2008

Recession-Proof Recipes: La Crepe Complete

Last week's Recession-Proof Recipe examined stock and gave a fast variation for Pho. Pho is simple peasant food, and this week, I'd like to take an economical eating cue from yet another group of peasants.

Like yesterday's cassoulet, a humble country casserole that's often elevated beyond its original station, the sometimes pretentiously presented French crêpe is essentially just a thin pancake with tasty tidbits rolled up inside it. It's the peasant food of Brittany.

Several years ago I discovered I could afford a ticket to fly overseas and spend few days in Paris, but didn't have much money for lodging or food. So I ended up with a week of Paris hostels, student entry to museums and a host of street crepes.

For that week, my diet was primarily composed of the sweet crepe, or crêpe sucrée (it was supremely cheap and the whole transaction used up the only 15 words of French I could remember)... a charming banana-Nutella combo that I still remember fondly and order whenever I encounter it on a menu.

After traveling around with J a bit, I discovered his crepe preference invariably fell to the crepe complete, a classic buckwheat crepe filled with an egg (whites cooked, but with a runny yolk, please) with melted gruyere and ham. Simple. Filling. Complete.

Whether in Montreal...

crepe complete in Montreal

In Mediterranean Spain...

crepe complete in Girona

In Midtown Manhattan...

crepe complete in the Midtown CyberCafe

Or in Paris...

crepe complete in Paris

Across the universe, la crepe complete is his crepe of choice.

As you may notice in those photos, my crepe is generally in the foreground, and I always order something else. The vegetable crepe. The goat cheese and fig crepe. The ratatouille crepe. And then I find I'm always jealous of J's hearty, savory crepe. He's made a convert of me.

By using just the slightest bit of ham and cheese with the egg, this meal manages to be simultaneously inexpensive and satisfying. And the construction of the dish is somehow magically classier than some lowly pancake and egg with skimpy slices of ham and cheese.

Though you may have encountered sweet crêpe batters before, I must insist on the buckwheat in this recipe. The earthy flavor really does something special alongside the cheese and ham. Those Breton peasants knew something about flavor on a budget.

Ladies and gentlemen of the blog-reading public, may I present:
The Crêpe Complete (Serves 2-4)
For the crêpes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
4 eggs, warmed to room temp
4 pieces ham, thin-sliced (or skip it, if you're vegetarian)
4 pieces gruyere or Swiss cheese, thin-sliced

1. Whisk together the water, milk, eggs, flours, salt and butter or whir in a blender until uniform. Cover and chill for 1 hour (or up to two days).
2. Place an oven-proof plate in the oven and turn the oven on to 200° F. Remove the crepe batter from the fridge and stir it up to unite everything.
3. Heat a large (12-17") crepe pan or skillet over moderately high heat. Melt a dollop of butter in the pan, swirling to cover the surface.
4. When butter sizzles, add 1/4 cup of the crepe batter and, again, swirl to cover the pan surface. Cook several minutes until the bottom develops a golden texture. Then flip the crepe over with the aid of a spatula/pancake turner.
5. Gently break one egg into center of the newly flipped crepe (try to keep the yolk intact).
6. Cook the crepe and egg just until the white is set. Top with one slice of ham and one slice of cheese. Gently fold two sides (or four sides, as you prefer) of the crepe in to overlap the egg, cheese and ham.
7. Use a hot pad to remove the warmed plate from the oven, then move the cooked crepe to the warm plate with a spatula.
8. Keep your completed crepes warm in the oven while you repeat steps 3-7 with the remaining crepe batter, eggs, ham and cheese. Serve crepes hot with a crisp green salad and a cold mug of dry cider.

Bon appétit!

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4.16.2008

Hedonista Hundred, Part VI: 26-30

In which Miss Ginsu gushes about a run of wonderful, inexpensive pleasure places.

Yes, this is a project that's taking me forever to complete, but I press on... The Hedonista 100 is an ongoing list of 100 favorite food finds: cookbooks, snacks, tools, places, recipes, ideas & more.

Now, I could give you a thousand words each on these delicious entries, but I believe a pretty photo alongside an ounce of linguistic restraint might be a bit more in order. Thus, herein you'll find a five-pack of tasty photos and their corresponding source sites.

Brekkie at Le Pain Quotidien
26. The Grand Street (off Broadway) Le Pain Quotidien. A soft-boiled egg and bread with a cafe latte whilst sitting at the communal table, perusing the Sunday Times.

Shakshuka and Hummus Brunch
27. Shakshuka and hummus brunch at Hummus Place, 109 St Marks Place just off Tomkins Square Park. Don't miss their zippy, spicy green sauce. It ignites the tongue (in a good way).

Gingered Duck Soup at the Slanted Door
28. Gingered Duck Soup at the Slanted Door in the Ferry Market, San Francisco. Clean, sleek decor alongside fresh, flavorful food. Whenever I feel I'm teetering at the edge of a cold, I want this gingered soup in a bad way.

Pastries at Bonaparte Bread in Baltimore
29. Pastries at Bonaparte Bread (903 South Ann Street, Fells Point in Baltimore, MD) are everything a pastry should be: flaky, tender, buttery, lightly salted... among of the best you'll find this side of Paris.


30. Banana batidas and tasty arepas at Caracas Arepa Bar, 91 East 7th St in the East Village. Always crowded... and with good reason. They just keep putting out awesome food at reasonable prices.

Miss out on the previous 25 wondrous food finds? You'll find them at the archive page.

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1.16.2008

Day 15: To Blog the Nog

This post marks Day 15 of Miss Ginsu's 2007 Advent Calendar. To click into other days and other projects, use the calendar page to navigate.

Christmas means different foods to different families. Some people go for gingerbread houses or pigs in blankets, but for me... it's all about the nog.

The "egg" aspect of eggnog is easy enough to figure, but people bicker about the origins of the "nog."

I was entertained to learn that within the taxonomy of cocktails, the eggnog falls under the "flip" category and is sometimes referred to as an "egg flip."

For me, the ideal 'nog is rich, creamy, loaded with nutmeg and spiked with rum. I usually go for the Ronnybrook stuff, locally available at NYC farmers' markets and FreshDirect.

But eggnog is so darn easy to make, I should really just suck it up once a year and whip up my own. All you really need is milk, cream and reliably fresh eggs.

If you don't trust your eggs, or are serving the squeamish (or immune-deficient), Alton Brown's frothy 'nog recipe provides a handy cooked method.

eggnog
It's nog, it's nog! It's thick, it's heavy, it's cream!

Alton Brown's Eggnog

4 egg yolks*
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites*

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

*Cook's Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160°F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.


Cheers!

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12.15.2007

Food Quote Friday: Charles H. Baker, Jr

"Words to the Wise No. VII. Offering up an earnest plea for recentness in all eggs to be used in cocktails or drinks of any kind, for that matter. A stale or storage egg in a decent mixed drink is like a stale or storage joke in critical and intelligent company. Eschew them rabidly. If really fresh eggs can't be had, mix other type drinks, for the result will reflect no merit round the hearth, no matter how hospitable it may be."

Charles H. Baker, Jr. (from the 1939 volume: The Gentlemen's Companion: Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask"

More supremely fresh food quotes here.

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8.25.2006

Food Quote Friday: Irma Rombauer

Egg in Glove

"Nothing stimulates the practiced cook's imagination like an egg."

-Irma Rombauer (1877 - 1962)

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6.23.2006

Want Coffee With That, Hon?

Neighborhood joints should have a bit of fun with their menus, right?

I mean, maybe restaurants in contention for multi-star reviews have some reason to write up flowery prose with cursive fonts, but I feel that the corner bistro and the neighborhood greasy spoon can afford to demonstrate a little personality.

Sometimes I love a menu so much, I'm forced to beg for it (failing that, I’m sometimes forced to thief it). Get a load of this one lifted a while back from The Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis.

The brekkie was fairly standard hip brunch-y grub (with some extra love for the veggies), but the menu itself... Swoon!

For your enjoyment, I've put forth the effort to transcribe the Breakfast Specialties (yes, unedited, thankyouverymuch), below.

Don’t blame me if, after reading this, you need to run in search of fried eggs and home fries, stat.

BREAKFAST SPECIALTIES

Welcome to the Triple Rock Social Club. We've put some serious thought into the composition of our menu, but chances are pretty good that you might want something customized a little bit. That’s cool, were into making everything available exactly the way you want it. So wipe he frown off your face and ask one of our bitter, overworked, underpaid servers for what you want. They’ll be less than thrilled to accommodate your every whim. Let’s get it on!

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR VEGANS: Most items on the menu can be made strictly vegan (*=can be prepared vegan). If you would like your food to be prepared in a strict vegan manner, just talk to your friendly server and we’ll do what we can to hook it up. And yes, the soy cheese is casein-free. Feel free to discuss any concerns you might have with your server and we’ll make it your way. Girl, you know it’s true…

SPECIALTY BREAKFASTS [Jump start your morning with one of our kick-ass specialties. You won’t be sorry]

The Mothertrucker $6.50
So you’ve got a great big convoy, you’re ridin’ cross the land. Sit your mudflaps down and dig in. We got the platter with what you need to keep all 18 wheels running. Home Fries with veggies and cheddar, topped with three eggs. Comes with delicious Toast. Get it with Bacon, Sausage, Ham or Veggie Sausage for only $1.25. Dedicated to Gertie.

Rock Star Egg in a Hole $4.25
If you are unfamiliar with the Egg In A Hole, you are definitely not a rock star. Through a complicated scientific process, we mold Egg and Toast together, creating a hybrid to kick breakfast ass. We’ll serve you up two Eggs in A Hole plus a side of Home Fries. Get it with cheese for $.75.

Fried Egg Sandwich $5.00
Eggs and cheese fried up like they were crazy and served on Toast. What, are you serious? Damn straight. Comes with a bunch of Home Fries, too. We’ll add Bacon, Ham, Sausage or Veggie Sausage for only $1.25.

Steak and Eggs $6.95
Three eggs, Home Fries and toast. Start your day off on the right track and pamper yourself with sizzling steak.

*Tofu Scrambler $5.25
A perfect way to start a guilt-free day. Resistance is futile. Comes with Home Fries and Toast. Get it with cheese or soy cheese for $0.75. Add veggie sausage for only $1.25.

OMELETTES [Eggs-celent. All omelettes served with Home Fries and Toast.]

Great American Pork-Off $5.75
This porkalicious concoction is chock full of every part of the pig from the rooter to the tooter. Bacon. Ham. Sausage & Cheddar. Suuuieeee!

Veggie Non-Porkorama $5.25
God Damn! If there’s one thing we love around here, its fake meat! Veggie Sausage, Cheddar and Onion.

Bob Denver Omelette $5.50
This ain’t your rocky mountain high, baby! This taller, goofier omelette is just what you need to keep your stomach satisfied on anyh three hour cruise. The Professor made us a bicycle-powered griddle and we’re not afraid to use it. Ham, Cheddar, Green Peppers and Onions are all included. This breakfast will keep you going until you get back to port, if that ever happens…

Devil Went Down to Georgia Omelette $5.00
Cheddar and Onions in a huge honkin’ omelette smothered with World Famous Triple Rock ChiliTM. Satan Endorsed. Satan Approved. We’ll add Bacon, Ham, Sausage or Veggie Sausage to your omelette for only $1.25.

Mushroom and Swiss Omelette $5.00
We knew we had to have something standard and regular for you damn geniuses. You know it, you love it. We own you, so eat it and shut up. We’ll add Bacon, Ham, Sausage or Veggie Sausage to your omelette for only $1.25.

Farmer Ted’s Omelette $5.00
Take down your overalls and bend over for this omelette, cuz we’re gonna serve it up hot. Farmer’s been workin’ overtime to give it to you garden-style. Onions, Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Spinach. Add cheese for $0.75.

Plain Omelette $4.50
We’ll add cheese or veggies to your omelette for $0.75 each. We’ll add Bacon, Ham, Sausage or Veggie Sausage to your omelette for only $1.25.

BETH”S BREAKFAST BURRITO [Out-freakin-standing.]

Beth’s Breakfast Burrito $5.00
We had our best people work this on out for us. It uses the same powerful technology as the burrito, but this one will cure all morning afflictions. Scrambled Eggs, Spanish Rice and Homemade Salsa, bound by the goodness of ooey gooey cheese, and wrapped in the love only a good tortilla can supply. Home Fries will round out the experience for you. We’ll let you up the ante with Ham, Sausage, Bacon or Veggie Sausage for $1.25. The deals just keep on coming…


The Triple Rock Social Club
629 Cedar Avenue
Minneapolis, MN
612-333-7499

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11.10.2005