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Cloudberry Jam (Hjortron)

You can get cloudberry jam directly from the source -- Dark Tickle Company in Newfoundland: http://www.darktickle.com/ They also sell other rare arctic berry jams. Cloudberry is known as bakeapple in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On the other hand, Lakka (cloudberry liqueur) is very difficult to find. Only a few companies produce this: Laponia and Chymos from Finland, Rodrigues in Newfoundland, and Mondia in Quebec. As far as I know, none of these are imported into the US. I would love to know of any source of this liqueur here.

Also, just to clarify the name of this wonderful berry: cloudberry, hjortron, lakka, bakepple, and chicoutai are all the same thing -- just being the common American (US), Swedish, Finnish, Newfoundland, and Quebecois words, respectively, for the fruit of Rubus chamaemorus.

Nov 24, 2012
apack in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mid-Saturday afternoon great meal

Publican is great, but I have found it to not be the best place for conversation -- it is often so loud that you have to shout to be heard by your dining companions. Not the best for sitting around and chatting. However, I imagine that this might be quite a lot better in the afternoon, and might then be a nice place to hang around.

Nov 22, 2012
apack in Chicago Area

Mid-Saturday afternoon great meal

Xoco is definitely a casual place, but I think the food is excellent -- it has a richness and intensity of flavor well beyond typical.

Irazu is even more casual, so if you're looking for a formal setting then that also won't be suitable.

Mercat seems like it should be nigh ideal.

Nov 22, 2012
apack in Chicago Area

Do I "Need" a Food Processor?

Definitely can see the value for times when you need a lot of cheese, like for lasagna. Here we're usually eating cheese plain, or using it as a distinct ingredient like in salads or sandwiches.

Nov 21, 2012
apack in Cookware

Do I "Need" a Food Processor?

An immersion blender is quicker, easier, and safer for pureeing hot sauces.

Nov 21, 2012
apack in Cookware

Do I "Need" a Food Processor?

That does not sound good to me. I would much rather have fresh cheese. Personal tastes vary, of course.

Nov 21, 2012
apack in Cookware

Do I "Need" a Food Processor?

I don't understand why so many people want to use their food processor to shred cheese in bulk. I have a set of microplane hand graters and a good box greater, and I can grate/shred exactly the amount of cheese I need in exactly the cut I want in 3 minutes flat. Cheese stays much fresher in wheels/blocks rather than shredded.

Nov 21, 2012
apack in Cookware

Mid-Saturday afternoon great meal

I would go ethnic. Xoco. Irazu. Mercat a la Planxa is also an excellent suggestion.

Nov 20, 2012
apack in Chicago Area

French Copper Pots = lined with TIN or STEEL?

My goodness, there are so many incorrect ideas here. I am an engineer with a background in both heat transfer and water quality, so I'll try to clear up some basic issues.

The main point of using materials with high heat conductivity is to distribute heat more uniformly over the cooking surface.

The main point of using heavier materials is to provide more thermal mass to retain heat longer and to again distribute heat more uniformly over the cooking surface (because there is more stored heat to redistribute if one part of the pan gets cooler).

There is an obvious trade-off between responsiveness and heat storage -- thinner pans will heat up and cool down more quickly, but are more prone to temperature variations. Conversely, more conductive materials will redistribute heat more quickly. For applications where you want to keep everything at a very constant temperature and you won't have high thermal variations, then mass is important. For example, heavy cast iron for low-and-slow cooking (personally I like Staub for this). For applications where you have greater thermal variations, as in most stove-top use, greater conductivity is better because it helps to keep the cooking surface much more uniform.

The real question on performance of these pans is how uniform your temperature will be in practice for real cooking tasks. Unfortunately that's difficult to answer in a general way. But my guess is that most people won't notice much difference between any good-quality pans. Any good conductive core material will help with heat distribution, and the interior lining is not going to be as important because it'll be much thinner than the core material. Actual performance probably has as much or more to do with construction methods, such as how the metals are joined, than with materials. I agree with some of the prior comments that all of the top-end manufacturers probably do a good job of this, as they have had plentiful opportunity to refine and test their designs. However, I am not aware of any rigorous testing of the relative heat distribution in various pans under various operational conditions. Presumably the manufacturers have this information, but don't share it.

The second trade-off is in reactivity of the surface. The main advantage of stainless steel is durability and lack of reactivity. Tin is less durable and more reactive, thus the need for re-tinning. For people who use tin, you do know that you're going to end up eating a lot of the tin that you lose from your pans, right? The tin mainly gets lost in two ways -- into your food during cooking, or into the air or wash water during cleaning. Generally speaking, it is not a great idea to consume excess metals. I don't know of any specific concern with tin from these types of pans, but nonetheless as a basic principle you want to minimize the intake of metals from cooking. Some people up-thread mentioned that they would view silver-lined pans as the ultimate because of improved heat conduction. That is definitely not a good idea because there are health concerns with intake of silver.

So, for me, I only use stainless steel, cast iron (both plain and enameled), and environmental- and health-friendly nonstick cooking surfaces (I like Bialetti Aeternum for the latter). I am looking at getting a copper pan, but decided that I'd only get stainless-steel lined because the difference in cooking performance between steel and tin probably isn't that great and I'd rather go with the more durable and nonreactive lining.

Nov 20, 2012
apack in Cookware

Do I "Need" a Food Processor?

Depends on the food you prepare. If you have good knife skills and prepare food mainly in small batches then you don't need a food processor. I find that set up and clean up time for the food processor are typically longer than simply slicing, grating, or shredding by hand. The food processor becomes much more useful when making large batches, and is fairly essential for preparations blending several ingredients, such as pesto.

Nov 20, 2012
apack in Cookware

What can I do with unripe pears?

Here is a good recipe for this: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...
I add vanilla to the poaching liquid as well. The leftover poaching liquid makes a base for a nice sorbet, e.g., with cranberries.

However, this should be done with ripe but firm pears. Under-ripe ones will lack sweetness and flavor even if softened by the poaching.

Nov 10, 2012
apack in Home Cooking