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how do i cook for 3 hounders and one very picky eater

I simply think stuckinschool should please him or herself and the adventurous eaters and not let the prospect of the picky eater worry him/her too much. Picky eaters are a drag. We don't know what kind of equipment stuckinschool has or what kind of dishes stuckinschool is dying to make. Stuckinschool, don't use the grill to prepare food for dinner guests until you are comfortable with it, or your guests are indulgent in case any mishaps happen.

My suggestions, and yes, go buy the cookbooks:
1. appetizer - baguette + chicken liver pate, made the day before (from Nigel Slater's APPETITE) + olives
2. main course - Pan Roasted Veal Breast with garlic, rosemary and white wine (from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian cooking - btw, this book has great menus in the back.) Feel free to make the rib-eye steaks, but that will be one expensive dinner if you're going to make enough for four and not want to look like a miser.
3. Green salad - Good mesclun leaves olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette
4. Cheeses - a good gorgonzola, Rouge et Noir's camembert, Keen's cheddar.
5. Dessert - if you have the foresight to buy nectarines and mangos a few days in advance so they get ripe in time for your party, do so. Otherwise, your favorite cake or pastry from a store.

And don't forget the wine. Go to a good wine store like Kermit Lynch and talk to the salespeople about what food you are going to serve. And don't forget to get great bread. Voila. I think 80% of your time will be spent shopping, and getting great ingredients.

Jul 11, 2006
Bearnaise in Home Cooking

how do i cook for 3 hounders and one very picky eater

Part of the reason why American home cooking has gone downhill are all the parents cowing to the appetites of their picky children. End the cycle. Make what you want to eat and let the picky eater enjoy or starve.

Negotiating the menu with your guests (unless they're paying for the food too) is so juvenile.

Jul 11, 2006
Bearnaise in Home Cooking

Scrambled eggs: A lost short-order art?

The best scrambled eggs are made on a pan set over a double boiler. When I had scrambled eggs at La Tour d'Argent and the Ritz in London, they were made that way. Of couse, this produces extremely creamy and luxurious scrambled eggs. Freshness of the eggs are important.

Jul 11, 2006
Bearnaise in General Topics

Any suggestions for food to bring on a cross-country flight? [Moved from Home Cooking]

I would make a chopped salad nicoise without lettuce- Equal quantitles of boiled potatos, chopped tomatos, canned tuna in olive oil, a few chopped anchovies, a sectioned hardboiled egg, some chopped red onion or scallions and a few pitted black olives. Dress with your usual olive oil vinaigrette.

Roast a chicken the prior night and have leftovers cold with some mayonnaise. You might as well just grab some packets of mayonnaise from the fast food stands before boarding the plane.

Another thing I liked to make for a plane ride is tortilla espanola, which one should only eat at room temperature anyway. It's the Spanish potato omelette, and you can cut it into wedges. The recipe I use is from Penelope Casas's The Foods and Wines of Spain

You can also bring a ficelle baguette, some cheese like English cheddar, St. Andre or tallegio and celery sticks. To boost the morale, also pack a fruit tart from your favorite patisserie.

Jul 11, 2006
Bearnaise in General Topics

Reading

If my apartment was on fire, the the first book I would grab would be "The Spectator Book of Imperative Cooking" by Digby Anderson, which is a collection of his articles on food published in The Spectator between 1984 and 1987. It's entertaining, merciless and incredibly bossy. I love it. He's all about cooking needing skill, discipline, hard work, and seeking good ingredients. It's been out of print for a while, but copies turn up on abebooks.com If ever I come home from a badly cooked meal, this is the book I turn to for comfort and strength.

From the chapter on Tapenade:
"The world of food is inhabited by two classes of person- Chaps and Girls. You can tell a Chap by the way he or she addresses the plate, alert and businesslike with a firm hand on the fork. Girls sit as if on a blunt drawing pin and shunt their food about. Chaps like well-hung woodcock with the guts left in, Provolone, French blood sausage, Provencal dishes of onions stuffed with garlic, eels, late season hot radishes, sheep's testicles fried in olive oil, Fernet Branca, ducks' eggs, Calabrian pasta with chillies, dumplings, the dark meats of crabs and Paan... Girls don't enjoy anything, except mild processed Cheddar, fluffy omelettes, Golden Delicious Apples... They leave things..." etc... he goes on from there.

A really wonderful book.

Jul 11, 2006
Bearnaise in Food Media & News

Fresh MANGOSTEENS - Mulberry and Canal

OMG. The last time I came across a mangosteen was at Fauchon's fruit stand, so this is great news.

Jul 07, 2006
Bearnaise in Manhattan

Chocolate tart

Chocokitty, NYC is not Paris. We have more nail salons here than patisseries, and we get the pastry stores we deserve. The competition to make a great chocolate tart here is not so fierce that there will be an outstanding version that's not expensive.

If I remember correctly,the nine inch diameter chocolate tart at Maison du Chocolat was $21. It could serve four easily, and compared to the $70 millefeuille cake from Lady M or the wonderful cakes at Sabarsky which are around $50, I think it's a good deal for something so delicious, and made with great ingredients.

Jul 06, 2006
Bearnaise in Manhattan

Offal Good: Chris Cosentino's blog

Thanks. I especially appreciate the audio link to the talk he did with Fergus Henderson.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in Food Media & News

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

I always love it when Gordon introduces the chefs to oxtail.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in Food Media & News

What's your favorite champagne? And a book review. [Moved from Not About Food]

Vintage Pol Roger for me.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in Wine

Honey

My favorite honey is Scottish Heather Honey. That, sea salt and a slug of Langavulin in McCann's oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts (thanks, Nigel Slater.)

The honey has this nice peaty flavor. The only time I've seen it in New York is when it's sold in this overpriced Fortnum and Mason honey set (the heather honey is sold together with two jars of more pedestrian honey) at Saks Fifth Avenue, but you can also order heather honey from Zingerman's website.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in Manhattan

Japanese Breakfast?

I had a Japanese breakfast at the Kitano hotel on Park Avenue and 38th St. a few years ago. I thought they did a great job.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in Manhattan

Is there good supermarket cheese?

That canned camembert from Germany or Denmark is great covered with breadcrumbs and deep fried.

Also, when I lived in California, some of the Safeways carried the Rouge et Noir Brie and camemberts, and those are much better than the brie and camemberts exported to the US from France. However, it's now carried at Dean and Deluca, so I don't know if they're still selling Rouge et Noir at the less fancy California grocery stores.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in Cheese

What is Summer for Chowhounds?

Insalata Caprese. Bufallo mozarella layered with tomato slices and basil leaves. I sometimes eat this four times a week.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in General Topics

One food for the rest of your life?

A plate of Jabugo "Bellota" pata negra ham for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The restaurant in NYC? Cafe Sabarsky.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in General Topics

Pork for Dessert?

If she's not already serving prosciutto in an earlier course, have a dessert and cheese course with mission figs, proscituto and a creamy goat cheese.

I like the pie crust made with lard idea.

Jun 30, 2006
Bearnaise in General Topics

Need fish course for Italian themed dinner

If you're going to make the ricotta gnocchi from scratch, my suggestion is to scractch the fish course and serve the gnocchi before the steak as your pasta course. If well made, gnocchi and bistecca fiorentina can and should shine on their own. Gnocchi takes so much care and love, that I find it sacreligious to serve is as a side.

Jun 28, 2006
Bearnaise in Home Cooking

Best butcher in NYC

For steaks, I like Citarella (UES) and Ottomanelli's (Bleecker St.) However, for veal, I love Florence Meat Market. They will order organs for me like heart, and whenever I make blanquette de veau from their veal ( I ask for a mixture of shin and breast) it always comes out perfect. When I open a packet of veal from them, I smile because the meat is beautiful and has a pearly sheen. They never second-guess me or question the cuts I want. When I ordered a piece of beef from them for bouef a la mode, they asked me if I wanted it larded. I don't remember the prices, but they're somewhere between Key food and Lobel's. You just need to call and place your order a day or so before you pick it up.

My favorite chicken is from d'Attolico's game and poultry stand in the Union Square market on Saturdays.

I would go to Grace's more often, but unfortunately, they're spotty about carrying inexpensive cuts of meat, and there's an unattractive butcher there who makes sausage jokes and keeps inviting himself over for meals.

Jun 27, 2006
Bearnaise in Manhattan

have you read any good food books lately?

Kingsley Amis wrote a funny book on wine and cocktails titled KINGSLEY AMIS ON DRINK. Well worth looking for.

My favorite food book is Digby Anderson's THE SPECTATOR BOOK OF IMPERATIVE COOKING. Whenever I return from a bad dinner party, it's the book I turn to for solace, resolve and laughs. For an idea of the contents, go to findarticles.com and look up the food writing he did for the National Review and the Daily Telegraph. Anthony Bourdain is rather mild compared to him.

I bought Nigel Slater's KITCHEN DIARIES and enjoy it very much. Very inspirational, and great photographs. I hope this is the book that finally makes his name in the US.

Jun 27, 2006
Bearnaise in Food Media & News

What are your favorite foodie movies?

I prefer movies that don't treat food in a pretentiously sensual way, so my two favorites are HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE, and MUNICH. In MUNICH, Avner, the protagonist and his shady source go shopping at a Paris food market and discuss ramps. Also, Avner loves to cook elaborate meals for the crew. Finally, the shady source sends Avner some charcuterie and Celles sur Cher, one of my favorite French cheeses. I was just so delighted to hear it mentioned.

There was a German movie I saw at the Tribeca film festival called EDEN, which was touching and whose first scene featured the chef plucking a goose, whispering to the goose the different ways he was going to cook her. The rest of the movie becomes another food = sex/love cliche, but I liked that opening scene a lot. I hope the movie gets US distribution, but it's shot with digital film and may be too quirky.

Jun 27, 2006
Bearnaise in Food Media & News