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ISO something different to do with pork shoulder roast

I would like to acknowledge my indebtedness to the WO pork shoulder for the development of what is probably my best recipe. Basically, I've been applying the same technique to pork belly, only stacking the belly on top of thick rings of fennel, onion, and apple in order not to have it too immersed in the liquid (which in this case I've substituted with mostly apple cider vinegar -- a little white wine too, sometimes chicken broth). Once it's just about to fall apart, remove to the fridge to cool. (You can use the braising vegetables in a savory tart with some brie.) Skim and reduce braising liquids into a sauce. Once it has firmed up you can better cut it into individual serving pieces and reheat in a skillet, flaming with brandy. Try it -- your guests will be stunned. The contrast of the sweetness of the fennel with the bitterness of the vinegar, which also cuts through the fat of the belly, is just terrific.

Mar 15, 2014
rvgregerson in Home Cooking
1

Surprise Menu

Thanks -- I had no idea that "trompe l'oeil" was also used for food!

Mar 13, 2014
rvgregerson in Home Cooking

Surprise Menu

That is the craziest use of a dishwasher I've ever heard. I thought I was a bit nuts for using in to proof cinnamon roles, but that takes the cake!

Mar 12, 2014
rvgregerson in Home Cooking

Rome, Sora Margherita question

I go to their other location in Prati on a regular basis and have always found the food to be great. Sorry you had a bad experience.

Mar 12, 2014
rvgregerson in Italy

Rome, Sora Margherita question

I would recommend Flavio's for Testaccio.

Mar 12, 2014
rvgregerson in Italy

Rome restaurant suggestions

I would go for L'Asino on Saturday (get the boar, apologies ahead of time for their bad wine list), Flavio on Sunday, Armando on Monday.

Enjoy Cesare -- always a favorite!

Mar 12, 2014
rvgregerson in Italy

Surprise Menu

I'm giving a dinner on April Fools Day and want to have a sort of surprise theme. I'm looking for dishes that taste differently than what they seem like they will, that you bite into and think, "Whoa, I definitely was not expecting that." Visuals will be huge for this. Or it could be things prepared in different and unexpected ways. Really, anything that is surprising in some way.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions offered!

Mar 12, 2014
rvgregerson in Home Cooking

What is the best material for a dutch oven to be made of?

So I'm confused as to why you can't keep the fond and jus when using the enamel coated variety?

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

I think that I was confused by the 9 cm paring knife not having a straight edge. I've never used a paring knife without a straight edge. But admittedly I don't know that much about good knives -- I grew up on Chicago Cutlery at home.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Sorry, I was looking at the 9 cm paring knife and made a translation error. But oddly the Italian sites group the 9 and 12 cm paring knives in one place and then the 7 and 8 cm knives in another place as "vegetable knives," whereas the English site keeps them together. The Italian description puts an emphasis on the use of the 9 cm for slicing onions and such. But this could just be how an Italian would use the knife vs. how we would use it. It is shaped the same way as the 16 cm slicer, though, and not like the 8 cm paring knife.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

What is the best material for a dutch oven to be made of?

I have had great luck with Lodge casseroles, for making beef pot roast, boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, braising cornish hens, etc. They are also stick-resistant and work well on the flame, except that you can't expose them to really high heat. I would look into whether this is the case for Staub too, just in case. Obviously this won't be such a problem with the copper. Another nice thing about the Lodge pots is that the white surface makes sauce skimming and browning much easier because you can actually see what's going on, which is the problem with a black cast iron.

I always associated dutch ovens with the ones we used to use in Boy Scouts to make peach cobbler by covering it in live coals. But I've also used those same ovens to produce stellar bouef bourguignon, etc. Once they've been well seasoned they'll have a completely nonstick surface, just like my grandma's 100 year old cast iron skillet (a treasured piece of cookware). The problem here, though, is that the walls are so thick that it sometimes works too well. If your stew gets too hot getting it to slow down from a rolling boil can be quite tricky.

I guess what I like best is the Lodge pot, and then if I want to do a reduction I skim the fat and then move the liquid to a saucepan or pot to reduce. On the other hand, if you can swing the cost of the Falk, it obviously makes a lot of sense and I'd certainly appreciate having one. And I'm also assuming this is the kind of stuff you're making with the DO, which I guess may or may not be the case.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Okay, thanks. I definitely don't plan on doing either.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Funny: that 9 cm knife is referred to as a slicer on Italian language sites and as a paring knife on English language sites. It's clearly not actually a paring knife, though, because the pictures show the slightly curved blade of a slicer.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Funny, I saw these for the first time a couple weeks ago in France and was wondering what the deal was. I will have to give it a try if I go for the bird's beak knife. Any other reason to prefer that one over the straight-edged paring knife?

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

This decision may just have been decided. There is a four piece set on half off sale for euro 222.22 that includes a 20 cm chef's knife, a 20 cm slicer, a 20 cm bread knife, and a 9 cm slicer, all Ikon Blackwood. (Comparison: the chef's knife alone goes for euro 139 and everything separate would be euro 433.98). That could be too good of a deal for me to pass up. Downside: doesn't include a paring knife.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Unfortunately I've never seen them in person because I haven't been able to locate a brick and mortar store where I live that carries them, but from the pictures I've been able to find them cream color looks sleek. But "de gustibus"...

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Okay. There's about a 40 euro difference ... not worth it for me, then.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Any reason to go for the blackwood over the classic? Or is it just looks? I like the looks of the cream ones myself.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Yeah, this is one of the only times when living in Italy makes something I want cheaper.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

I live in Europe so they're a little cheaper here. 95 - 105 euro depending on the length, from a good online retailer.

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

Thanks!

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

Wusthof Ikon

I am looking at purchasing a Wusthof Ikon chef's knife, either the 20 cm or 23 cm blade. Is there anyone out there who owns one of these knives and can tell me their experience of using them? Do you think they're worth the $100 they cost? If there's anyone who's owned and used one for a good amount of time I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. I'm also looking at a paring knife in the same line. Thanks!

Jan 06, 2012
rvgregerson in Cookware

ISO something different to do with pork shoulder roast

Very sorry to hear that, Mr. Owen.

Nov 15, 2011
rvgregerson in Home Cooking

ISO something different to do with pork shoulder roast

I had been meaning to prepare this for a while and finally got the chance yesterday. It was indeed fantastic. If I may be so bold as to offer improvements, I would say that the following were good additions:

I added two bulbs of fennel root, sliced, and a couple of apples cut into chunks, as well as onions and more garlic. I also added a good deal more liquid (chicken broth, white wine, and apple vinegar (would have used cider but I live in Italy and it's not available)). With the added liquid it cooked up quite a bit faster and was falling-apart tender after less than four hours of the long and slow process. I then removed the meat and rapidly reduced the liquid into an absolutely delicious sauce. You can mash all the liquid out of the vegetables or serve the fennel alongside the pork (which is really great, because it's picked up all sorts of great pork flavor).

Nov 15, 2011
rvgregerson in Home Cooking