jen kalb's Profile

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COTM May 2014 Announcement Thread: My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Cooking by Niloufer Ichaporia King

amazon.com lists a bunch of used copies....

about 9 hours ago
jen kalb in Home Cooking

Opened salame package, and it smells like feet. Not normal, right?

salame is a fermented product and to some noses can smell "rancid". My dad was a food scientist and could not tolerate the smell of non-industrial european salamis for this reason - he never developed a taste for them.

Your salami looks fresh and I would not judge by smell alone. why not peel it, slice and give it a taste test? If you still do not like it give it away .

I see I made the same comment to the OP on this thread!

about 17 hours ago
jen kalb in General Topics

Where to buy lamb (raw) in the boroughs?

I think the last I looked at was $14 but I may be wrong. And it had been frozen, like most of the meat these vendors sell. I think they pay through the nose for slaughter and butchering, probably.

about 20 hours ago
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Where to buy lamb (raw) in the boroughs?

the ground lamb price at the GAP farmers market is just plain ridiculous.. Better IMO to buy some lamb at costco or a halal butcher and grind it or food process it yourself if making kibbeh. Maybe Union Square is different, but I think the GAP farmers market sellers of lamb and goat are raising primarily for milk or wool rather than meat 0- they do not butcher regularly.

2 days ago
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Fred Plotkin on Italy's changing eating practice

Id say the family structure trend is most troubling to me - not only the two income family but smaller families overall and the loss of mama in the kitchen carrying forward food traditions and expertise (not to mention the lack of sons and daughters to carry forward family restaurants).. In the US its the difference for example, between pies made at home, as an ordinary activity with lots of women knowing the "secret" of making pie crust and pies made by specialist bakers who charge $8 a slice for pieces of "special" pies - or by hobby bakers like me who make them a couple times a year. In Italy, it may be women not having time any more to make ragu, slow cooked stews, fresh pastas or to learn the fine points of braising, preparing artichokes, peeling favas, putting up preserves, etc or men and women not having time to grow their own vegetables, forage, etc... Since the italian restaurant and eating culture is largely based on extension of home principles (vs the chef-driven high cuisine in france) I wonder how long the restaurant eating survives the dilution of the home culture in addition to all of the other changes occurring through mass immigration, EU, etc.

2 days ago
jen kalb in Italy

Shopping around Noto, Sicily

IN case you dont get more specific reccs, I bet your landlord could give you this info! if its like elsewhere in smalltown Italy, there will certainly be small fruit and veg, butcher, groceries, wine and oil shops, pastry shops and bakeries which can meet your needs in the nearby towns, and likely a weekly market day in each where a larger market occurs. You can also pick up things in the towns you visit in your touring. There are also some supermarkets in the area

2 days ago
jen kalb in Italy

Where to Buy Tahini Sauce?

well yes - its so easy to make tahini sauce that I figure the op was looking for tahina

Apr 19, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Upcoming Trip ... Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Ravello

You might be interested in some of these for your visit to Campania
http://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/rist...
click on the individual restaurant names for more info

Apr 17, 2014
jen kalb in Italy
1

Cicchetti tour

I guess I agree, and clearly just as in the past many people experience their italian trips through tours - Im just saying its hardly necessary and in tourist-impacted Venice, it can be felicitous to encounter the city and its people outside the mediation of a tourist bubble. The side calle can be peaceful and quiet if you are on your own and not part of a group.

Apr 17, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Upcoming Trip ... Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Ravello

here is the Sunflower guide I referenced
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/A...

(much cheaper purchased from the UK site
)its also available for download from the publisher.

the ravello tourist office had very good free maps of the local footpaths if that is the only area you would be walking. I think walking around is the most wonderful thing to do in this area, especially if it is not too hot, - the sights and smells are amazing and will give you a good appetite!

Apr 17, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Cicchetti tour

Everybody has their own comfort zone with dealing with local culture in a foreign language, and certainly a tour can remove this anxiety as well as the need to navigate for yourself and may also provide its own type of social experience if wanted, but to me this trend is part of the Disney-ification of Venice. Venice as a whole is fully accessible to visitors without the assistance of guides to mediate the experience, and tourists have been navigating the back streets of venice and dropping into local bars and ordering a drink and some bar snacks there literally forever. Im guessing if you plan to go on your own and have questions about how its done folks here will give some advice in addition to bar reccs.

Apr 17, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Upcoming Trip ... Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Ravello

Yes. The visits up and down the coast are definitely better at lunch time, Id say, both to see where you are travelling and availability of the public buses (or boats if they are running this year) that travel through this area. Its much preferable to schedule lunches away and dinners "at home" in this Coast, unless you can spring for a cab

The walks from Ravello are wonderful if you are relatively fit - check at the tourist office for maps or buy the Sunflower guide before you go - and I particularly recommend the walk down the hill to Atrani/Amalfi for a nice lunch. Check the search box above for restaurant recommendations in these two towns.

p.s. the place we enjoyed on our own spring visit several years ago was A'Paranza, in Atrani (slowfood).

Apr 17, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Hot Cross Buns in Brooklyn?

too bad they shut down but that location was doomed from the start in that terrible location with no real foot traffic. It was nice to be able to buy our christmas pecan ring without suffering through a line though.

Apr 15, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

Apr 15, 2014
jen kalb in Los Angeles Area

Best German Chocolate cake?

The thing is that German Chocolate Cake is a specific preference - for a silky textured not very chocolately cake and the coconut-nut filling and frosting

Many bakers dont get this and make the layers with dark chocolate and put a chocolate frosting on.

That Couronne looks good but its a totally different thing and is not going to convert any GCC lover.

ps. the Billy's looks traditional but without tasting the cake could not be sure.

Apr 15, 2014
jen kalb in Manhattan

January 2013 COTM: JERUSALEM -- Stuffed; Meat; Fish

If you get to the end and the rice seems a bit overcooked or dry, simply add a little more water cover tightly and give it another say 5-10 minutes.

Apr 15, 2014
jen kalb in Home Cooking

January 2013 COTM: JERUSALEM -- Stuffed; Meat; Fish

the dish is fine without it. Just use a little more of the other herbs. We have made it both ways in the past and it is a wonderful dish without the dill.

Apr 15, 2014
jen kalb in Home Cooking

Lunch stop between FCO & Siena

lots of local Italian food shops (including butcher shops) close at some point during the lunch break until mid-late afternoon. Because of your timing you may miss out in Orvieto but you will have plenty of opportunities after that.

If you put Orvieto into the search block up top, you will find other recommendations and reviews.

Apr 14, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Great pancakes in Brooklyn

its been a long time since we've been to Toms but the pancakes were never special. Its interesting to see some recommendations - good pancakes are not all that common - unless you make your own.

Apr 10, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Inexpensive to midrange Italian in park slope

I agree with Famdoc though both are "acceptable"

Apr 10, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Piedmont Wines ~ very long

Thanks for posting this - and I will note that we buy and enjoy the Michele Chiarla Barbera in the NYC area - its a very good pricepoint.

I have to believe that when you are in Piedmont there will be many other selections which your sommelier or waiter can recommend at your price point and Id be inclined to seek that assistance since they will know their lists better than most of us at any rate - we do very much enjoy drinking barberas, dolcetto and the less expensive nebbiolo wines - if we did travel to this region I would want to spring for some good barbaresco - its been a while since we have had it due to cost, but the fragrance and texture can be extraordinary. As noted, Id preferto ask some questions and seek a recommendation than to select for myself but at a minimum your list gives you a framework to consider.

Apr 10, 2014
jen kalb in Wine

Rome dining on a piazza

Im not really sure what you are imagining or how old your boys are. Rome is a major crowded city with lots of people and also vehicles moving through - Id be hesitant allowing young kids to freely wander other than in a very contained and quiet cul de sac. Also note the Rome fountains are not for playing.

Apr 10, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Rome - four days to feed

yelp exists in Italy but it really has not got much of a foothold.and it would be about my last source for valuable info there. The Minchilli and Parla apps work and give you lots of valuable info without the data connection, but minus the mapping function.. Assuming your phone is unlocked you can get an Italian sim card for about 20E in Rome, but that might not be worth it for such a short visit.

I usually start out looking at the Italian language reviews on Tripadvisor on the assumption that they would be more savvy, but of course there are many Italian tourists as well.

Apr 09, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Rome - four days to feed

I imagine the dishes we liked at Il Bocconcino were ones that you could do better at home! (:-))

Apr 08, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Quiet Saturday Supper near Grand Central

Here's a quick summary report on our dinner at Vitae, thanks again to all those who provided ideas!

Vitae is a stylish modern styled place on two levels with comfortable seating - we were easily able to talk without disturbance from loud music or other guests even when the place filled up.
Food quality was at a very good level - they started us with very nice quality traditional hot dinner rolls, brushed with duck fat and sprinkled with seasalt along with an amuse buche of pumpkin soup. This last was extremely creamy with sweet spices - while we liked, it reminded me a little too much of pumpkin ice cream - I think a bit more savory and salty flavors would have offset the bland sweetness.
Our appetizers were fried oysters garnished with diced fennel and viniagrette - these were very good - an order of sauteed broccoli rabe, and my delicate chestnut agnolotti garnished with tiny fragments of fried prosciutto. I was luckwarm about this dish which came without the advertised crispy spinach and broth, and to me tasted suspiciously of truffle oil, a bete noir of mine, but husband liked.
Mains were the strongest course - friend enjoyed her duck combo (which I did not sample) husband's brook trout with smoked fennel was the dish of the night with great flavor contrast and depth. My lamb, served with fragments of swiss chard on a base of orange colored puree (supposedly sweet potato curry) with a jus based sauce on top was perfectly cooked and very nice, but the presentation again was on the sweet side in both the jus and the curry - neither the flavor of the sweet potato or any liveliness from spices came forward in this fairly bland treatment,.
I very much liked my dessert -good value - the affogato which consisted of a double expresso with a scoop of chocolate/cinnamon gelato, a good sized stick of cinnamon scented puff pastry and a nice glass of amaro ciociaro - a really nice amaro, which we sampled and then poured into the affogato.
We were offered tiny coke bottles (with straws) filled with fresh hibiscus lemonade - tasted like simple pink lemonade- and a tray of tiny pastries - fresh and crisp but no fireworks flavorwise at the close of the meal
-
An interesting tho to us pricy wine list - we stayed mainly on the white side, finally settling, after a few glasses on one of the most inexxpensive bottles, a nice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($42). Most wines were in the $60 and up range.
Service quality was polished in physical execution, but a bit quirky and sometimes more obtrusive than need be. I like the classic french service style where things just happen!. While we were able to sit for almost three hours., there were moments, when the servers were aggressively clearing plates, that we felt a bit rushed, though, at the end of the meal we were able to sit and sit without interruption.

In summary, we had a polished meal with some high points in pleasant, comfortable surroundings, just what we were looking for..A very good not great restaurant that served the purpose admirably, but I didnt fall in love...

Apr 08, 2014
jen kalb in Manhattan
1

Rome - four days to feed

This note relates to a few places near your hotel - there are lots of recommendations around the prominent touristic destinations, like Piazza Navona and the Vatican, if you review earlier posts. Also, if you read up some on the classic roman dishes you may find, you will have a better experience than if you choose randomly.If you have questions about what dishes to look for in Rome, just ask

You are staying in a very pretty, quiet neighborhood, and if you like classical ruins and amazing historic churches there will be a lot to see right around where you are staying.

Nerone is a good typical trattoria located up the hill from the Colosseo metro station (which is across the main Via Labicana from the Colosseum itself). In the Celio neighborhood, just downhill from your hotel, we have enjoyed Il Bocconcino, a slowfood place on Via Ostilia http://ilbocconcino.com/. We had good fresh tonnarelli cacio e pepe, and other items there. There is a Celio neighborhood pizzeria - Li Rioni - near Via Dei Santi Quattro 24 serving Roman style pizza which has been recommended before here- we have not visited staying in the neighborhood but it looks warm and cozy.

Apr 08, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Lahori Chilli and Sweets, Coney Is. Ave...

I agree with Deb, that looks like keema - which is made with fried ground meat - rather than haleem in which the meat is cooked down till it basically disintegrates. Havent had haleem since the mina days but hers was atypical..

Apr 08, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Fred Plotkin's book

Ive bought a new edition each time it has been issued but it never has been substantially updated (in the sense that he re-did his initial great research) Its good to see that it is still in print, but maybe Mr. Plotkin will come around and talk about this new version.

Apr 06, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Lahori Chilli and Sweets, Coney Is. Ave...

I dont think a pakistani place would normally feature gunpowder podi, which is a south indian thing

Apr 05, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs
1

Naples: in search of great pasta alla genovese and a waterfront seafood feast (plus coffee!)

here is a 2013 article on the Pignataro wineblog with some recommendations. I think I made my personal reccs on this thread already.

http://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/past...

Apr 05, 2014
jen kalb in Italy