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Castelvertrano olives

The best spot for them that I've found is at Bon Appetit, in Princeton. Probably, they're a little more pricey here than other places, however, they are far and away the best--softer, less bitter than, say, what Whole Foods stocks, better overall flavor, too. McCaffery's, right next door, also sells them, but theirs are not as good, though better than at Whole Foods. Perhaps they all use different suppliers, but perhaps it's due to Bon App's storing them in oil while, I believe, WF uses just water/brine and probably McCaffery's, too, though I wouldn't swear to it.

Nov 10, 2012
brownie in New Jersey

All-Fruit Bars Recipes?

I'll give that a shot, but fruit leather is really flat. This isn't that hard, though, I'd imagine one could interpret a leather recipe to re-create the bar. Good advice, thanks.

Sep 13, 2012
brownie in Home Cooking

All-Fruit Bars Recipes?

Hi All,

You know those bars you can buy at, say, Whole Foods--they're all dried fruit, no nuts, no grains, just fruit, at least I'm pretty sure they're all fruit. Anyway, my 3 year old loves them and asked me if we can find a recipe (pointed to the laptop) for them. I bought one at WF the other day, though, of course, threw out the wrapper. I'd love to find a recipe for them that we could make together. The one he liked was raspberry but as long as it's red, he'll be happy.

Everything I found online had either nuts or grains. I'm not opposed to either, but he liked the texture of the all-fruit.

I'm figuring it's something like putting various dried fruits in the food processor and then forming into bars? If anyone has an actual recipe, I'd love to see it!

Thanks,
Brownie

Sep 13, 2012
brownie in Home Cooking

Hamilton (Mercer County) NJ- New Aladdin's Palace (House of Meat) at 5 Points

Wait, that awesome bread they used to make back in, say, 2006?? Do you know when that will actually take place? I'll be there--man, that was the best hot fresh pita ever! Thanks for this update!

Aug 16, 2012
brownie in New Jersey

Dry Milk in Granola Bars? And a sticking-together query too.

Hi All:

A friend and I have been making granola (mine is based off of the Eleven Madison Park recipe, found on the NYT website) and are trying to make bars, too. She found this link: http://www.thesneakychef.com/free_rec...

These were pretty good, though I'd omit the rice krispies, just b/c I don't care for their texture in a granola bar. Otherwise, they're good.

So, I've got two questions:
The first: why is there 1c of dry milk in this recipe--what's its function? I'm mostly just curious, nothing against dry milk. If it's helpful in keeping things stuck together, then that might answer my 2nd question...

2nd question: how can I make the Eleven MP recipe into bars? My hunch is that I'd need to either up the syrup levels, or take out the maple syrup--a rather less sticky syrup--and maybe add in agave (would like to avoid honey just b/c I don't love a major honey taste). But, I really like the flavor of the maple syrup. NB: at this point, I'm not using the brown sugar, but have subbed in date syrup instead, just b/c it's tastier. Maybe the date is overpowering the maple, anyway, and so just using agave would solve my stickiness problem and I could thus make bars.

Anyway, without rambling further--does anyone have any suggestions? If possible, I'd rather not add more sugars, or oils. Am I asking the moon?

Thanks, all!
Brownie

Jul 23, 2012
brownie in Home Cooking

Old Madrid Hands (my parents) looking for new spots to try

Hi All:
I'm usually a poster on the New Jersey Board but my parents are in Madrid for 3 weeks--Dad is giving a lecture series at the Prado--and they're looking for new spots to try. They've eaten many meals at Balzac (which they feel has gone a bit downhill of late), Botin (to kick it old school), La Terraza, and the tapas bars on the street behind the Palace Hotel. There's another place, starts with a C--maybe Colimar?--that specializes in seafood, where they've eaten a few times, too. I think what they're really in search of is modern cuisine at reasonable enough prices. Yes, they can expense a few meals, but not most, so maybe 60-70euros/person would be good.

Any ideas? They'd really appreciate it, as will I! Thanks so much.

Brownie

May 09, 2012
brownie in Spain/Portugal

WSJ Recipe for Torta di Mela--Anyone Try It?

I've almost always had success with the NYT recipes, but was foolish to trust the WSJ! Should've known... But yeah, Roland Parker, I'm right there with you on the dry and tasteless. What a waste of nice Gala apples (just so's you know, even with great, local apples, the cake still was lousy!).

Oct 04, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

WSJ Recipe for Torta di Mela--Anyone Try It?

I'd definitely make a more traditional Jewish apple cake. But, then again, as a friend of mine said: why wouldn't you make a chocolate dessert?! And then make applesauce or apples and honey? She is so right!
Actually, for some reason, last year, I made this insanely delicious lemon-cornmeal cake and, by gum, I should've made it this year, too.
Basically, the best I could say of this torta was that it tasted like the kind of pastry you'd get in Italy at a 2nd-tier bakery. Dry, flavorless. And, you know, I did use really good apples and they were the only good part. Mind you, a killer crostata, like ones we had this summer on an Italy trip, definitely make a person remember that there is more than tiramisu to great Italian baking.

Sep 30, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

WSJ Recipe for Torta di Mela--Anyone Try It?

In a word, awful. It was dry and flavorless, except for the parts where the lemon zest weirdly rose to the top, then, it was kind of disgusting. You just don't want that much lemon zest in one bite. Maybe that other recipe, linked below, somewhere, is better. Definitely avoid this one!

Though, having said all that, my husband loved it. So, go figure. Everyone else thought it was gross!

Sep 29, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

WSJ Recipe for Torta di Mela--Anyone Try It?

I'll report back, for sure! Maybe the poster, on the WSJ, just doesn't like a crumbly crust. I, on the other hand, am all for that, as long as it's a little sweet. Anyway, i'll let you know!

Sep 26, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

WSJ Recipe for Torta di Mela--Anyone Try It?

I'd love to do that, but what with work and a 2.5 year old, I don't have the time. Of course, perhaps if I weren't on CH, I would! It sure does look like a good dessert.

Sep 26, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

WSJ Recipe for Torta di Mela--Anyone Try It?

Hi All,

I was thinking of baking this on Wed, for Rosh Hashanah dessert. I read one review on the WSJ's site that said it was very dry and tasteless. Someone else didn't agree w/the baking times, but that can just be oven-specific. Anyway, I am just wondering if it is as good as it looks like it is, or if people would warn me off? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

If you did make it and tinkered with the recipe, do let me know what worked.

Thanks!
Brownie

Sep 26, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

New Jersey Chefs who bicycle, or bicycle-friendly NJ restaurants

And in Stockton, though I've never stopped there, is a place near the road that takes you to the bridge into PA. They have pies, cookies, full breakfasts, too. I have the kind of stomach that prefers gatorade and maybe a luna bar or good old PB&J on a long ride, but clearly, there are plenty of cyclists flocking to this joint in Stockton! In Ringoes, bottom of Lindbergh Rd, where it meets Wertsville Rd is a little convenience store. I see cyclists stopped there all the time. Back in my youth, before I cycled, they made insanely good layer bars. Maybe they still do and that's why people stop there! Must make a note to check that out!

Sep 06, 2011
brownie in New Jersey

Bell and Whistle in Hopewell--Anyone Have Info?

I was riding thru Hopewell the other day and noticed this spot, behind Boro Bean. I think I saw a sign on the door about hiring servers, which led me to think they're probably not open yet. Anyway, just curious if anyone knows anything about it. I haven't seen anything on this board yet. I hope it's something exciting and interesting! The facade, from what I could see from my bike, looked pretty cool.

Thanks!
Brownie

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Boro Bean
9 E Broad St, Hopewell, NJ 08525

May 09, 2011
brownie in New Jersey

Need sauce Recipe for Dan Dan Noodles Recipe in Jamie's America

Thank you so much! This is a big help.

Jan 26, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

Need sauce Recipe for Dan Dan Noodles Recipe in Jamie's America

Hi All,

I made these two weeks ago and we all enjoyed them. I had used the Library's copy and had to return it and while I meant to write down the recipe for the sauce, naturally, with small child on hip and my lacking three arms, it just never happened... Anyway, I'm hoping to make these tonight and I remember the How of the recipe and most of the large ingredients, but not the What of the sauce. Anyone out there who could help?

Thanks!
Brownie

Jan 26, 2011
brownie in Home Cooking

Indian Hut in Plainsboro?

Hi all,

Has anyone been there yet? More specifically, how were the dosa? A fellow food-safari-ist and I tried out Cake Walk a few weeks back and while it was fine, it wasn't, in our opinion, as good as Udipi or Dosa Grill. Then, after we left, we saw a sign for a dosa spot over at the other shopping center in Plainsboro, where Bombay Palace is (was?). Then, we were confused--was this place over in the Schalks X-ing center the same as the old resto there? Was it a new luncheonette type of place like Cakewalk?!? Help!!

Thanks!

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Dosa Grill
1980 State Route 27 Ste 3, North Brunswick, NJ 08902

Udipi Cafe Restaurant
3029 State Highway 27 N, Somerset, NJ 08873

Cake Walk
660 Plainsboro Rd, Plainsboro, NJ 08536

Jan 21, 2011
brownie in New Jersey

Don't buy the 365 brand canned tomatoes from whole foods!

You know, all the 365 tomatoes were gone at our branch, so maybe there was something amiss? I did wonder... I buy them all the time, mostly b/c they are cheapest and have always been good. Not as good as more $$ kinds maybe, but if you're trying to save a few dollars here and there, 365 is a good way to go. But, seriously, they were all gone, nary a can, so maybe a recall?

Jan 18, 2011
brownie in Chains

Southwestern Style Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

A few years ago, Bon Appetit (or maybe still Gourmet) had a few great recipes for Latin-flavored T-G. I made the ancho-chile rubbed turkey and it was a hit. Check out Epicurious and see if they still have those recipes posted.

Sep 17, 2010
brownie in Home Cooking

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Our babysitter, from Puebla, makes the best corn tortillas I've ever had, either side of the border. She just uses the masa harina from the bag and some water, dash of salt. From watching her make them, it seems like the trick is in the kneading. Too much, they get tough, she says, too little, they'll fall apart. Unfortunately, this is not much help since it's like a mom-recipe that says, pinch of this, handful of that.
I guess my point is just that you can use the storebought, non-fresh, masa and still make killer tortillas.

Sep 15, 2010
brownie in Home Cooking

Rhong Tiam, Plainsboro, NJ

cranrob, you rock. A big thanks from a newish mom who doesn't get to explore as often as she'd like--you're always out spotting the new stuff! I hope we can get there soon. I'm disappointed that the larb was too sweet, as i love that dish but like it spicy and lime-y. In fact, that's my biggest complaint with Thai, the too-sweetness that you so often get. Anyway, I'm looking forward to checking it out--thanks!

Sep 10, 2010
brownie in New Jersey

What's with Cardamom?

Cardamom has been my go-to spice for about 5 years now; i love it! I agree, super good addition to sugar cookies, fruit crisps, muffins. My 18 mo old happily eats it if it's in muffins or dishes with grains--quinoa, or cous-cous, or in meat stews. I like to add it to kofte and to turkey burgers. If you make a stew with lamb, or chicken, and add pomegranate syrup and cardamom to whatever else you put in, oh, yum!

I know it's all been said by everyone before, but since I love it so, I just had to add my 2 cents!

Sep 09, 2010
brownie in Home Cooking

The Peacock Inn, Princeton

A group of friends and I went on Wednesday night. There were 5 of us, so we got to sample somewhat across the menu. The room is lovely and I especially liked the "stars" in the ceiling. The service was fine, although when our server asked if we wanted a 2nd bottle, we said no and yet she still brought it, which was odd since it was a clear No, but in any case, we didn't drink it and they didn't charge us, so no harm. It's quite loud there, which isn't great if you're at a large table, as we were--a round 5-top.
We enjoyed the amuse, a turnip soup with lobster. It was pretty rich and creamy, so the amuse was the right size, especially if you prefer an all-veg puree soup, rather than cream-based but that's just my preference and certainly not that of others. Our friend with the shellfish allergy was given a lovely looking (and tasting according to her) asparagus soup which looked to be the veg-puree I like.
We had salads and one person had the roasted corn soup about which she raved. It was presented with the various vegetables and herbs in a bowl, sans liquid, and then the soup was poured in, table-side. They do that at Elements too, and elsewhere, to be sure, it's a nice show, I guess, but kinda silly IMO. Salads were fine, nothing special and the manchego croquettes were OK but more like mozzerella sticks than croquetas, which was what I had assumed they'd be. If you're going to have fried cheese on a salad, I think that goat works better as it's creamier and easier to meld into the salad, but whatever, these were tasty enough. Salty, though, but then again, cheese is salty usually.
On to the mains: 2 ordered the suckling pig, and then one each of roasted chicken, tuna, and lobster in broth. All were pretty salty, except the chicken which was moist but not overly salty. The suckling pig is presented as a hamburger, that is, it's pulled and then molded into a patty, with a round flap of skin on top, which looks like a layer of ketchup. There are fries, can't recall if potato or yuca, but they look like big steak fries. The guava salsa was really the best part, according to the eaters and samplers, as the pork was way too salty. The tuna suffered from over salting too. Why does the kitchen think that salt=flavor? It should be an enhancer, not the main taste. The tuna was nicely seared and the turnip puree was good, although the caper-piquillo salsa on top was, again, too salty. The lobster might've been the best, although one bite was enough for this note-taker, as it was super rich. That's not bad, mind you, just a lot! Still, I really enjoyed my taste. The chicken wasn't exciting but it was really well roasted, great moistness and flavor.
We were too full for dessert, as the portions are a generous size. Compared to Elements, where for the same price, you often get a tiny amount, then, yes this was a better deal, price-wise. But, I do think that for that price, I'd rather have more creativity and less salt. Frankly, we all thought that the soups were the best and said we'd come back again for drinks at the bar and a soup, maybe a dessert, too, since we missed out.
So, in all, food-wise, we thought that if there was a less generous hand with the salt, the flavors of the ingredients would shine. The preparations were all fine and the ideas for the dishes thoughtful, just not super-creative. It is a lovely room and a good place to go for a special occasion, but at that price point, I think I'd be more inclined to hit Elements (if you're going to be in Princeton). I love Eno Terra, too, but we tend to eat in the Eno Teca, so I don't think I can make a fair comparison as it's been since January that I ate in the ET main dining room.

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Eno Terra
4484 Route 27, Kingston, NJ 08528

Aug 20, 2010
brownie in New Jersey

Nj monthly Top 25 And Readers Poll Winners

Interesting list. I'm surprised that neither elements nor Eno Terra, both Princeton, didn't make the list. Nor Nomad Pizza, Hopewell, although perhaps that's too new?

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Eno Terra
4484 Route 27, Kingston, NJ 08528

Jul 19, 2010
brownie in Food Media & News

Eating with 1 Year Old in St. Germain/Latin Quarter--Suggestions for All Meals and esp. good Bakeries

Thank you both! Yes, rue de Pre aux Clercs, I couldn't remember the full name. Don't tempt me with the shopping! I'm really glad to know about the market street, that should help us with all meals, really. Perfect!

Jun 30, 2010
brownie in France

Eating with 1 Year Old in St. Germain/Latin Quarter--Suggestions for All Meals and esp. good Bakeries

I'll be with my one-year old, solo, or seule, I guess, for just 2 nights. We'll be staying near L'Universite and Pre de Clercs (as a crossroads). He's a good little guy, but won't do well for more than a short meal. I am not looking for great French cuisine meals because it's unrealistic, but I also don't want to only eat pizza. I know it's a pricey area in which to stay, but it's also super convenient to Louvre and Orsay and Tuilieres which is kind of key for us.
So: which patisseries do you all most recommend for breakfast, both for a nice raisin brioche for the little guy and some sort of pain integral for me?
I'd love to find some great middleastern if possible and some good modern French cooking in a casual setting. I know there's an American man who has a very small resto in Paris which sort of meets that criteria (can't recall the name), but they'd have to be OK with a small guy eating with me.
Also, a rec for a great cafe where he can have a really tasty Croque Monsieur would be very welcome. He's got an adventurous palate, but still, sometimes a nice grilled cheese hits the spot.

Thank you so much!
Brownie (from the New Jersey Board)

Jun 29, 2010
brownie in France

Chickpea Flour for Fruit Crumble (For Friend with Celiac)--Will that work?

Dodged a bullet here! Thanks, guys! Almond meal would be perfect. The reason I thought chickpea flour would be OK is that I used a couple TBs of it once in a lemon-cornmeal cake, to sub for the flour, but a few TBs is a far different creature than 1/2 c or more!

Whew and thanks!

May 19, 2010
brownie in Home Cooking

There is no joy in Mudville ... or what's the point of only cooking-by-recipe?

I like to think of many recipes as being suggestions or starting points. However, if I want to make something complicated, something in which a substitution that I might normally make cavalierly would be a bad move, then i'll follow the recipe as closely as possible. Definitely key, for me, to follow the recipe if I'm trying to make something I've enjoyed at a restaurant. Or, if there's a new technique I might've been "scared" to try just on my own, making something up. I like to read them, too, like a book!
But most days, I fly by the seat of my pants and just make it up.

May 19, 2010
brownie in Home Cooking

Chickpea Flour for Fruit Crumble (For Friend with Celiac)--Will that work?

Usually, I make a very simple, yet delicious, crumb topping of just flour, sugar, butter, and a pinch of kosher salt. My friend has celiac and I know that Chickpea Flour is OK for her to eat. The question is: if I replace the regular King Arthur White-Whole Wheat with Chickpea, will the consistency be Ok or awful? Any other ideas for replacement "flour"? Thank you!

May 19, 2010
brownie in Home Cooking

Bon Appetit Issue with Kitchenware and Furniture?

thank you so much!

May 12, 2010
brownie in Cookware