s

SharpCheese's Profile

Title Last Reply

Indian Spice Grinder

dibribac, thank you for the information and cookbook recommendations--I will certainly put them to good use!

Sep 03, 2012
SharpCheese in Cookware

Around the World Party

Pardon my ignorance, but what country are these foods from? I am very interested in learning more about them as I have never heard of them!

Mar 13, 2012
SharpCheese in General Topics

Around the World Party

That's a wonderful start! I can't wait to research these!

Mar 13, 2012
SharpCheese in General Topics

Around the World Party

I love the tres leches idea--Thanks!

Mar 13, 2012
SharpCheese in General Topics

Around the World Party

I did consider that, and it is a great idea--but, most of the combinations I can think of would involve putting alcohol in the dessert and some of the people coming to the party don't want any alcohol (hence the need for two different drinks).

Mar 12, 2012
SharpCheese in General Topics

Around the World Party

Hi Chowhounders! I am planning an "Around the World" dessert party where I will be pairing a traditional dessert with two beverages (one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic) from as many different countries as possible!

After spending the last three hours trying to put together a list of traditional beverages and desserts from around the world, my head is spinning and I am sick of google-ing.

I would love your ideas for this party! Please list the country and any traditional beverages/desserts that would represent that country. I don't need recipes, just ideas! Thanks!

Mar 12, 2012
SharpCheese in General Topics

Dinner in Portland--ANY place I choose...

Another wrench in the works...just found out the dinner will be Monday night...lots of the recommended places are closed Mondays! :( Who would have thought picking a place to eat would be this difficult?!?!

Jun 13, 2011
SharpCheese in Metro Portland

Dinner in Portland--ANY place I choose...

I know, this makes it harder for me too! Unfortunately, the party is in August...so I miss the awesome dining month opportunity! As for Screen Door, the vegetarian specials look amazing and I know I would love it...but I'm not sure how the rest of the group would feel about southern food. I'm definitely going to keep it on the list and check the menu in August.

Thanks for the suggestions, feel free to keep them coming!

May 27, 2011
SharpCheese in Metro Portland

Dinner in Portland--ANY place I choose...

Thanks syrahgirl! There are too many wonderful places to dine in Portland...I'm having a hard time choosing! Of the places you mentioned (or others if you should think of something else), would you say there is one or two that would be best suited for a group of 15 whose budgets are quite small? My mom did say I could choose ANY place I wanted...and then reminded me that most people in the family are on tight budgets, which is a not-so-subtle way of saying "choose frugally." This is tough because I want fresh, local, organic, etc. and that comes with a premium.

What place or places would be the most budget friendly and still suit my tastes? Thanks so much!

May 25, 2011
SharpCheese in Metro Portland

Dinner in Portland--ANY place I choose...

I don't know the Galloways, but I don't go to Italy until September...so maybe I will meet them?!?! I am definitely a fan of ethnic food from many regions ...I actually think I will have a lot of trouble adjusting to the food in Italy because I don't really care for pasta and I don't eat pork!

Thanks for all the recommendations, I will investigate them all and let you know what I pick! Keep the suggestions coming if you all have more!

May 21, 2011
SharpCheese in Metro Portland

Dinner in Portland--ANY place I choose...

Hello! I am preparing to be a missionary to Italy for the next year (and potentially the rest of my life) and my family is throwing me a going away party so I can see everyone before I go. The dinner will be at any restaurant in Portland that I choose...and I have no clue (I live in Washington and have not had the privilege of enjoying Portland's culinary scene).

I am open to all recommendations, but I eat mostly vegetarian (will eat salmon, turkey, and halibut) and love when things are local, organic, and made from scratch.

May 20, 2011
SharpCheese in Metro Portland

Birthday Dinner at Tilth

Jeffo405, you absolutely should go! Tilth does put the cheese courses on their dessert menu, but it is mentioned at the bottom of the dinner menu as well. I personally think a course between dinner and dessert is strange, as having a starter and main course should leave you relatively full enough already! I guess it's just personal preference :)

Sep 01, 2010
SharpCheese in Greater Seattle

Birthday Dinner at Tilth

Hi chowmac--you are in for a treat, that's for sure! Oddly enough, both my mom and sister ended up getting the salmon. My brother in law, however, got the Eel River Ranch Sirloin and said it was the best he's ever had. It was served over cheesy grits with a chow chow relish.

If they still have the chilled tomato soup on the menu, I would say it is an absolute must!

They change the menu every month supposedly, so you might get a totally different September offering than I had in August. Please let me know what you end up getting!

Aug 29, 2010
SharpCheese in Greater Seattle

Birthday Dinner at Tilth

My birthday dinner at Tilth was impeccable! You can really taste the freshness and purity of the local and organic ingredients Chef Hines uses to create her masterpieces.

I began dinner with a cheese course, Mopsy's Best from the Blacksheep Creamery with balsamic reduction and a strawberry rhubarb sauce. It was a sharp, nutty cheese served at perfect room temperature.

Then, I progressed to the Chilled Billy's Gardens Tomato Soup with basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, and mini grilled cheese garnishes. The presentation was stunning (they pour the soup over the garnishes from a little pitcher at your table) and the flavor was pure tomato spiked with garlic and mellowed with creaminess.

I chose the Pete Knutson's Sockeye salmon for my entree, served over a bed of romano bean, tomato water, and currant tomato. The salmon was by far the best I have ever had; it was cooked perfectly and simply to allow its freshness to shine through.

For dessert, I went with the Theo Chocolate Ganache Cake with a chocolate cookie, cocoa cream, and sea salt. The server, Emily, was fantastic and she put a candle on my cake without even being asked! It was very rich and decadent, but the cream really balanced it out.

Dinner at Tilth is a wonderful experience that I highly recommend to anyone who appreciates the sincere, simple beauty of fresh food!

-----
Tilth
1411 N. 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98103

Aug 27, 2010
SharpCheese in Greater Seattle

Birthday Dinner at Tilth

According to the website, these items are all on the August menu. You are very correct that personal preference is tremendously diverse, but sometimes there are dishes that foodies in general find exceptional or worthwhile--that's what I am looking for :)

Thanks!

Aug 18, 2010
SharpCheese in Greater Seattle

Birthday Dinner at Tilth

Hello! I will be celebrating my 24th birthday next Tuesday at the Tilth restaurant in Seattle. I have never been, but after seeing the owner/chef Maria Hines on Iron Chef and reading about Tilth in the Seattle Met Magazine, I am excited! I have never been to a restaurant of this price-point and I want to make sure that I am not disappointed (though I highly doubt that will happen here) with my order.

Here are some of the menu items I am considering:

Hors d 'Oeuvre (date, blue cheese, almond)
Carrot-ginger soup (carrot-ginger chutney, chives, garlic)
Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup (basil, heirloom tomatoes)
Pete Knutson's Wild Salmon (tomato water, currant tomato, romano bean)
Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut (artichoke barigoule, picholine olive, fregola)
Farro Risotto (basil pistou, mornay sauce, spinach)
Cheese Tasting (1, 3, or 5 cheeses with accompaniments)
Theo Chocolate Ganache Cake (chocolate cookie, cocoa cream, sea salt)

This question is for those who have eaten at Tilth: What do you recommend from the above choices?What items are "must-haves" and what won't be worth the money?

Aug 17, 2010
SharpCheese in Greater Seattle

Indian Spice Grinder

I have just recently experienced Indian cuisine and cannot get enough! I have started to make it at home, but would like to achieve greater results by using whole spices and grinding them myself.

I know most people in the U.S. use a coffee grinder for this, but I would like to know what people use in India, both for dry spice grinding and wet grinding (for pastes and chutneys). I want to be as authentic as possible :)

Thank you!

Jul 05, 2010
SharpCheese in Cookware

Chutney, Jam, Marmalade Help

I have checked out a dozen home preserving books from the library because I want to make chutney, jam, and marmalade. However, all of the recipes rely heavily on sugar to preserve and I am trying to cut sugar from my diet.

I am not so concerned with being able to can large quantities, so can I just omit the sugar and make refrigerator chutney, jam, and marmalade?

Or, can I use a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup instead?

Does anyone have any good recipes for chutney, jam, or marmalade without refined sugars?

Thanks!

Jan 18, 2010
SharpCheese in Home Cooking

Marmalata?

I am watching Iron Chef America and the challenger made "fig marmalata." I have never heard of marmalata, but I assume it is a version of marmalade. Unfortunately, it was not one of the dishes that got good coverage on the show, so I don't know what ingredients went into it--but the finished product looked great and now I want to make it!

After googling my fingers to the bone, I am tired of being told I must mean marmalade even though several restaurant reviews mention this "marmalata" concoction, so I know it exists!

If you know what it is and/or have a recipe, please pass it my way!

Jan 10, 2010
SharpCheese in Home Cooking

Can you substitute whole wheat flour for all purpose flour for simple thumbprint cookies

Baked goods made with whole wheat flour will be very dense, heavy, and not have as much rise as those made with all-purpose flour. I personally enjoy the heartiness of whole grains, so I don't mind baking with whole-wheat, but whole-wheat pastry flour is best if you want to please most people.

The chutney is an interesting idea, but I can't imagine it would be sweet enough to make this a dessert. With the earthiness of the whole wheat flour and the zest of the chutney, you'll be making more of an appetizer than a cookie--but I think it will taste ok as long as you tell people what to expect.

I would personally shoot for a different cookie that works with the ingredients you have. Whole wheat molasses crinkles would be a nice choice.

Dec 23, 2009
SharpCheese in Home Cooking

Cheese Ball Recipe?

This sounds great! I think this will work perfectly, but I would still be interested in your other cheese ball recipe if you were able to find it.

Thanks!

Dec 23, 2009
SharpCheese in Home Cooking

Cheese Ball Recipe?

My mom is head-over-heels for the Hickory Farms cheese balls and spends ridiculous amounts of money on them every year. I was trying to convince her that she could make her own that would be just as good, but EVERY recipe I can find uses cream cheese--which she detests and refuses to use. I checked the label and sure enough, there is NO cream cheese in the Hickory Farms product.

Does anyone know of a good cheese ball recipe WITHOUT cream cheese? Thanks!

Dec 21, 2009
SharpCheese in Home Cooking

My Trip Reviews and a Sad Tale

Truly sweet. Dare I say, the best I've ever had...;) In all seriousness, it had a great flavor and wasn't watery or mealy at all.

Sep 01, 2009
SharpCheese in San Francisco Bay Area

Not the Same Old Sandwich and Pizza Request

See the review of my trip here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/648560#

Aug 30, 2009
SharpCheese in San Francisco Bay Area

My Trip Reviews and a Sad Tale

The shop in the cannery was NORMAN'S ICE CREAM & FREEZES. They had quite a few offerings, so I think it is definitely much easier for tourists who want to try Mitchell's without trying to find it!

As for lemon boys not being heirloom, the mistake is mine :). I've never seen that variety in Washington, so I thought it must be special. Just out of curiosity, how can you tell what is heirloom and what is ordinary?

As for the budget, I lived very well and healthfully on $25 a week in college, so $20 a day almost seemed like a luxury--except that I wanted to eat at restaurants instead of regular grocery store fare! I am proud to say I didn't have one meal composed of something that I could get just anywhere or at any place in my hometown. Every bite was meaningful and special.

Aug 30, 2009
SharpCheese in San Francisco Bay Area

My Trip Reviews and a Sad Tale

I will summarize my food adventures on my first trip to San Francisco and share a sad tale from the trip (you can ignore the end of the post if you don't care about anything but the food reviews)

Armed with a two page list of restaurants recommended by fellow chowhound foodies, I realized that my 2-day trip was going to decidedly limit my experience. Thus, I was forced to simply eat at the places on my list that were nearby the other "touristy" things I wanted to do. I was also crippled severely by a $20 food budget PER DAY. I did crafty things like make almond butter sandwiches with goods from the ferry building for breakfast, so I won't review anything for breakfast meals.

My first lunch was an amazing turkey sandwich and O'Henry peach from Frog Hollow Farm in the Ferry Building Plaza. The bread was the whole wheat levain from Acme (I had to buy it myself and bring it back because the Frog Hollow was out of bread!), which was the perfect hearty texture with a pure sourdough tang. The sandwich is usually served on the regular pan levain from Acme, but I always get whole wheat when I can. Then came quality, organic, white turkey breast meat that was thinly sliced. The crowning jewel was their asian pear chutney that was slathered over the turkey. It was just the right balance of sweet and savory--I even bought a jar so I could replicate the sandwich at home!
And considering that peaches are my all time FAVORITE food, it is a high honor when I tell you that the Frog Hollow Farm O'Henry was the best peach that has ever graced my lips.

My travel buddy (dear ol' dad), ate at the Mastrelli's Delicatessen, which was also in the Ferry Building. He got to select a gigantic sandwich roll from a bin with a wide variety of breads (perhaps a bit unsanitary?) and had it packed with meats in the Italian Combo. It was a very big sandwich and satisfied his appetite for under $7.

That night, I did venture out to A16 for a 9:30 dinner reservation. It is really the only culinary hotspot I was able to hit. After getting off the bus at the 1300 block of Chestnut street only to realize I needed to be in the 2300 neighborhood, I was certainly hungry by the time I arrived. The first thing I noticed was the incredible noise that billowed from the open door. The place was packed even though the woman on the phone said they closed at 10 pm. I guess maybe 10 is the latest they let new people in, but they certainly weren't going to clear the place in a half hour.
The table reserved under my name was full of people that were still eating dessert, so we opted to take the two available seats at the chef's counter. It was a really great place to sit, even though it was really WARM since it is right in front of the huge woodfired oven. We were entertained the whole time watching the chef work the dough, put on the toppings, and tend the the pies in the oven. It is a good thing we had that distraction because it was so LOUD that we couldn't have a conversation even though we were right next to each other. Since we were on such a strict budget, we decided to split a pizza--a challenging feat considering my dad is a die-hard carnivore and I don't really care for meat. The solution? We ordered the pizza margherita and asked for their house-made sausage on HALF. The pizza was made very quickly and soon we had a nice tomatoey pie with a thin, charred crust. The sauce was clearly fresh and vibrant tasting. The mozzarella was also fresh, but the chef had an extremely light hand with that and the basil (two leaves on the whole pizza). The crust was thin, but not crunchy like a cracker--it was doughy yet charred and really enjoyable. My dad enjoyed the sausage, but we were both a little shocked to see they charged $4 for that extra topping on half the pizza, which again wasn't exactly what I'd call a decent amount.
Overall, it was certainly yummy pizza and I'm glad I had the experience, but it didn't stand out as a "must try" food experience.

Dessert was also quite a trek as I walked 18 blocks from the nearest bus stop to get to the Bi-Rite Creamery on 18th and Dolores. It was a small whole in the wall with no where to sit inside, but the atmosphere was fun. The employees were sort of hippyish and gave off a very naturalistic vibe. They also used real metal spoons for their tasting samples, so I could tell they were into being green. I got a sample of the salted caramel as it is their signature flavor. It was good, but it left a strange aftertaste in my mouth so I knew I didn't want a full serving. My dad went for that and enjoyed it, but he's the kind who enjoys almost anything. I opted to build my own sundae starting with toasted coconut ice cream, hot fudge, and macadamia nuts. They had a ton of unusual toppings, so it was hard to choose! The toasted coconut was very flavorful and creamy. It is a nice full-fat ice cream that doesn't melt quickly, so I was able to savour and enjoy it slowly. I loved it and think it was worth the journey to try some fun flavors and have unique topping options.

Some other places we visited for my dad were Bob's Donuts and Blue Bottle Coffee. He had an apple fritter and a glazed old fashion at Bob's. They were ginormous and fairly cheap, but he said they pretty much tasted like any other grocery store donut. The atmosphere wasn't the best either as the owner just grumbled with other older women who came in about all the young kids who come in and just buy one macaroon because they want change. Blue Bottle was also a disappointment. My dad stood in line for over an hour (we were at the Ferry Building Market on Saturday) for his vanilla latte. He asked the girl for extra sweetener because he said it just tasted like plain black coffee, and she told him "the milk me use is extra sweet. If you aren't happy with that, there are some sugar packets over there." All that wait for a sub-par, bitter latte didn't make for a happy experience.

That day I made a delicious sandwich with a sharp pecorino romano cheese from Cow Girl Creamery (I was actually disappointed in the size of their store. It was very small and didn't have as many varieties as I expected. The gourmet grocery store in my tiny town in Washington has nearly the same amount of offerings), which was firm and nutty, just the way I like it! I put the cheese on a whole wheat sandwich bun from Della Fattoria's bread stand and a super sweet lemon boy tomato from a special booth (more on that tomato booth later).

We also indulged in Ghirardeli because it is the touristy thing to do. I got the Mint Bliss Sundae with one scoop of vanilla, one scoop of mint chocolate chip, and a healthy drizzle of DARK chocolate hot fudge! It was so rich I nearly got sick, but it was good. The dark chocolate hot fudge is what made it special, otherwise it was just like eating Dreyers ice cream from the store. If you are sentimental and nostalgic like me, you should go there once, otherwise seek out places with special ice cream flavors like Bi-Rite.

I sampled the special Macapuno (sweet coconut) ice cream at Mitchell's Ice Cream (sold in some little ice cream shop in the cannery building). I had just eaten Ghirardeli, so I couldn't have a full order--but when I saw the flyer that said "serving SF's BEST ice cream," I had to at least taste it. It was smooth, bright, and very sweet tasting. It was more refreshing than toasted coconut flavors and really captured the natural flavor of the tropical plant. I'll definitely get a full order if I ever get to return!

Completing the tourist experience, I had to get a sourdough turtle from Boudin's. Considering I haven't eaten anything with white flour in over 2 years, it was no small sacrifice. Other than being nutritionally devoid of benefits and entirely refined, that little bread turtle was scrumptious! I expected it to be more sour and tangy, but it still had a nice bite to it and a wonderful chewy texture.

At the Farmer's Market, I went crazy for the following items: St. Benoit Plum Yogurt, Galaxy Granola (vanilla almond and their honey peanutbutter meteorites), G.L. Fieri Farms Almond Butter and Dark Chocolate Almond Brittle, Marshall's Farm special SF honey varietal, and a wide assortment of fruits and heirloom tomatoes.

Time for the story. Allow me to set the scene: A young 20-something woman wanders blissfully through the tents of ripe produce, soaking up every sight, sound, and aroma in this culinary heaven. She has dreamt of coming to this market for 4 years and feels like she has found paradise on earth. A crusty roll and wedge of cheese tucked in her bag, she sought the perfect heirloom tomato to kiss her sandwich with sweetness. Drawn to the sunny yellow hue that boldly called out amongst the many shades of red, she reached for a delicate, plump specimen that bore the name "lemon boy." She worried that it might be too tart or sour as a tribute to its name, so she glanced up to ask the person in charge to describe its flavor. Imagine her surprise to find that her entire tomato experience had been watched by a handsome pair of eyes, peeking beneath a windswept lock of hair. Two nervous smiles were exchanged. Her words came out all muddled and ridiculous, "what is their taste?" she managed. "Sweet. Very sweet," he replied in a thick, voluptuous accent. She nearly melted, but kept her composure and paid for the precious gem. "Are you visiting?" he asked, flashing an innocent grin. "Yes. I'm from Washington." she wished she could think of something more to say, but he filled in the gap. "That's wonderful. I am from France." "Oh really, perhaps you could show me around your hometown someday..." is what she wanted to say--but "that's so awesome" is what rolled out, like a silly middle school child. In embarrassment, she quickly stepped back into the thickening crowd and caught a last glimpse of his bright eyes as they watched her leave.

A sad tale indeed. Sadder still because the she is me and the he was a very charming young Frenchman who I may never meet again. Strangely enough, my dad, who had been watching from afar, said that I should go back and give the guy my e-mail. I laughed and told him how completely silly that would be, totally out of character for me and way more humiliating than I could stand. Yet, one week later, I cannot stop thinking about our meeting and can't shake the feeling that I should have done something to keep a line of communication possible. Unfortunately, I was so taken with his vivacity that I failed to notice what farm stand he was working at, so I have no way of even attempting to contact him.

At least I had some awesome food!

Aug 29, 2009
SharpCheese in San Francisco Bay Area

Not the Same Old Sandwich and Pizza Request

After indulgently allowing hours of my life pass away reading countless threads on San Francisco's best sandwich and pizza recommendations on chowhound (linking to menus and reading pages of detailed menu reviews), I have yet to find information to fulfill my food-quest.

This August I am making my first trip to SF (only 2 days, a Wednesday and Thursday) and want to experience an exceptional sandwich and pizza with very specific requirements. Here are the specs:

For the sandwich, I want to find one that I can't just whip up every day in my own kitchen. I want 2 things: Whole grain artisan bread and AMAZING cheese. No white rolls, no meat, no special mayonnaise, no standard cheddar, swiss, provolone fare.

The pizza holds nearly the same requirements. I want fantastic crust and a unique cheese offering, with one additional stipulation--it must be cooked in a WOOD-FIRED oven.

Fresh and local are almost a given with these types of expectations. I am plagued with a palate that has high demands--but I trust that San Francisco in all its culinary infamy will be able to satisfy it.

Thanks in advance!

Jul 22, 2009
SharpCheese in San Francisco Bay Area