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Roasting Chestnuts - How to?

After I score the chestnuts, I also soak them in water while the oven is pre-heating. Once the oven is to temperature (400 degrees), I drain the chestnuts and place them on one layer in a sheet pan. Roast about 20 minutes. To keep the chestnuts from cooling too quickly, keep the chestnuts in the pan and cover with a kitchen towel.

Unless you are saving your chestnuts as an ingredient in another recipe, you should roast what you need. I find they are best eaten while warm.

Dec 15, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Favorite savory butternut squash/pumpkin/winter squash recipe?

Giada De Laurentiis' Butternut Squash Lasagna is DEVINE. I do leave out the ameretti cookies, though: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi....

Dec 15, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Colicchio Restaurant Group Sued for Tips

Interesting. I've managed many restaurants and in one restaurant, also managed the payroll and do not understand how management can take the tips from credit card tips -- as it is clearly indicated on the credit card report the amount received for food & beverage, for tax and tips. Am I just lucky that I've worked for reputable owners?

Dec 12, 2008
Vshu in Food Media & News

Low-Key, Great Food for Party (20-30 people)?

Hmmm...$30/head for a private dining room or a private area of a restaurant will be tough in NYC -- especially in Manhattan. December is also prime holiday party season, so you will be competing with corporate dinners who have budgets to pay higher prices -- even in this economy. Is this for dinner or are you open to lunch or brunch? If you are set on dinner, try Congee Village on Allen Street -- they have private dining rooms and I know that at least one of them can fit 20 people, as I had my engagement dinner there. If you are open to a brunch or lunch option, try Jane Restaurant on West Houston Street -- they have a private dining room that can fit up to 35 and the price for bruch is around $30/person.

Good luck.

Jul 27, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

Caterer in St. Paul?

Hello Everyone --

Thanks so much for the suggestions! I got wrapped up with other things and forgot to check back! I will look into this!

Jul 18, 2008
Vshu in General Midwest Archive

Caterer in St. Paul?

Thanks Soupkitten!

The event will be outside and will be a 3 hour cocktail reception. The organization I am working for is still working on exact budget, but I will estimate anywhere between $50 - $75/person all in (food, beverages, rental, service),

Thanks for the welcome! I acutally live in NYC and while I have coordinated events in other cities throughout the US, this is my first in the Twin Cities -- and most events have been in hotels, so no need to search for caterers. This should be a fun event to coordinate, as I lived in Woodbury from 1879 - 1982.

Jul 14, 2008
Vshu in General Midwest Archive

Caterer in St. Paul?

Could anyone recommend a caterer in St. Paul for a party up to 300 people? I also need to order a tent and other party supplies. If there are any that specialize in Southeast Asian cuisines, that would be icing on the cake.

Thank you!

Jul 14, 2008
Vshu in General Midwest Archive

please help cure me - i always make too much food!

My mother makes too much food and it drives me crazy.

They way I keep from cooking too much is by limiting the amount of protein -- usually 3/4 pound total for my husband and me and then have a lot of vegetables. Since I love vegetables -- I can eat a whole head of lettuce, a pound of spinach (or kale or collard) on my own -- I always finish all the vegetables. I also limit the amount of starch -- if it's pasta, I cook 1 1/2 servings; for rice and other grains, I only cook 1/2 cup.

Apr 17, 2008
Vshu in Not About Food

Private Party for 30 people

Jane Restaurant at 100 West Houston Street has a private dining room for up to 35 people (I think). It's a lovely restaurant and I've seen some pretty nice parties down there.

Apr 07, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

Elegant Breakfast Meeting Locale w/ Scrumptious Fare

I absoluately LOVE breakfast at Jean George -- it's actually in Nougatine, but still -- it's so lovely, with a view of Central Park. Great breads, pastries and the most perfect omelets.

Apr 07, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

Please help find small private room.

THat's tough for a restaurant. You may need to look into hotels, as they have AV equipment handy.

Apr 04, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

Very dark, soft, caramelized plantains--how?

I think a lot of restaurants deep-fry their plaintains, which is why they are so good.

What I do at home, though, is this
1. pan fry them on low heat until soft (but still able to hold its shape)
2. remove from pan and place on paper towels and cool completely
3. when ready to eat, heat up pan with oil to 350 or so
4. return plaintains to pan and fry until dark and crispy

I tend cut my plaintains on the bias, about 1/4 - 1/3 inch thick.

Good luck!

Apr 03, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Suggestions for cooking a wild turkey breast

Salt-bake your turkey breast! Here's a general way to do it:
1. make a compound butter with any herbs you'd like
2. s&p turkey breast and smother with compound butter
3. wrap turkey breast with cheese cloth
4. mix about 5 cups of kosher salt with an egg white and just enough water for the salt to look like wet sand
5. wrap turkey breast in salt mixture. if you run out of salt, just make more
6. bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.
7. take out of oven and rest 15 minutes
8. carefully remove the salt crust from the breast -- once you crack it, you should be able to peel the whole thing away with help from the cheese cloth
9. Serve with whatever sides you'd like
10. watch as your friends and family ooh and ahh, exclaiming that this is so neat and wow -- the turkey is so moist and not a bit salty!

I've done this with pheasant as well.

Good luck!

Apr 03, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Passover Seder

Thanks so much for the advice everyone!

While this is our first time hosting, it is not the first time taking part of a Passover Sedar. My husband's family is Ashkenazi, but a brother-in-law is Sephardic, with neither side very observant, although DH and I attend a conservative snynagogue for the high holidays (although it is in Woodstock, so I don't know if Woodstock conservative is the same as NYC Upper West Side Conservative). We have instructed my sister-in-law not to stuff the cabbage with rice (or any other grain). Why are string beans not kosher for the holidays? That is a new one for me. Ha! I wonder if DH even knows this.

I like the chicken liver idea! I am just about to put an order through my CSA for meat and will now include a couple pounds of chicken livers.

As for hard boiled eggs -- great idea as well, but what about deviled eggs? Are those allowed?

Apr 03, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Best chance of scoring a table

For all those places, you'll have to get there early, which is easier for the downtown locations, since people sleep later there. For Good Enough to Eat and Sarabeth's on the UWS, you will need to get there a few mintues before the doors open.

HOWEVER, since you are looking at the UWS, you should try The Neptune Room on Amsterdam between 84th and 85th Streets: http://www.ctrnyc.com/THENEPTUNEROOM/.... They take reservations and the food is really good.

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

place to eat, discuss and write

It's a little further south than Midtown West, but the Half King on West 23rd Street and 10th Avenue is great -- known as a literary bar: http://thehalfking.com/index.html.

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

Seafood market in Park Slope

There are two on 7th Avenue, both between 2nd and 5th Streets, but I don't know the names (could be as simple as Park Slope Seafood...). I've been to both and have been pleased with what they provide. Union Market has seafood, but I have never purchased from there before.

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Outer Boroughs

Good New American / moderate price?

Try The Smith: http://www.ctrnyc.com/THESMITH/index.... on Third Avenue between 10th and 11th. Great restaurant, atmosphere and prices. I've been there a few times with different friends since it opened in December and everyone always enjoys it. Last friday, before a show, a friend had suggested Momofuku, but it was to crowded when we got there (at 6:30pm!), so we walked over to The Smith and had a great meal -- even though our minds and tastebuds had been set on Momofuku.

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

What does a reservation mean? [moved from Manhattan board]

As having managed a few restaurants in NYC, this is what I think:

-- Your restaurant should be ready when you get there. However, if it is a second or third (or fourth) seating, you may have to wait a few minutes.
-- If the wait is longer than 15 minutes, I have offered a glass of wine and an acknowledgment that the party has waited longer than expected. Most people do not expect this and therefore, this is a pleasant suprise.
-- If the wait is particularily long (say, 30 minutes), a shared appetizer of some sorts (this depends on the type of restaurant, of course), is placed at the table within a couple of minutes of them sitting. I usually will not have the server do this, as it is not the server's fault for a late table, so I take the responsibility (even if it is the previous party's fault). I train servers to not even mention the wait once their tables are served; people do not need to be reminded over and over again that they have waited -- what is important is that once they are seated, they will thoroughly enjoy their meal.

In laying out tables for the evening, I generally went by these parameters:

-- 2 tops: one hour (usually a date and will go on to other things)
-- 4 tops: 90 minutes
-- 6 tops: 2 hours
-- Large parties: 3 hours

From my experiences as a diner, the above time frames are about right and as a manager, they worked most of the time and unfortunately, there is no magic formula that will work all the time. I have had tables who have had requested the check and still linger over that last bit of wine, or are just talking.

As for differing views on restaurants, I've found that super trendy restaurants -- like those in the Meat Packing district -- could care less if you wait. Owner-managed, neighborhood restaurants are much better on the customer service.

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Not About Food

Help! Group dinner: nice but not too nice

Try Beacon on West 56th Street: http://www.beaconnyc.com/index2.htm. Waldy Malouf is the chef there. I have been there a few times since they opened a while ago and have been very happy with the consistency. Never had a party there, though.

Good luck!

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Manhattan

Dinner w/ parents In Park Slope/Prospect Heights Area

If you want to go to Al Di La, you will need to get there early and eat during the first seating if you don't want to wait too long. My other Park Slope favorites are: Applewood (make sure you make a reservation), Stone Park Cafe, Canaille, AOC Bistro, Anthony's, Little D and Bar Tono. I have also heard great things about Rose Water.

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Outer Boroughs

Yellowfin Tuna from Grocery Store

I think you are overthinking it a bit, BUT, if you are still worried, how about making oil-poached tuna? You will never go back to canned tuna again after making this. I basically cover the steak (season with salt and pepper first) in olive oil, throw in some garlic cloves, shallots, thyme, bay leaf and whatever aromatics you like. Turn on the stove and bring to just below the point when it starts to bubble. Cook until done (sorry -- I have never timed it). Allow to cool in the oil. Remove and enjoy as you would canned tuna.

Apr 02, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Canadian style bakery on Coney Island Avenue

I'm so glad to see this thread! DH and I saw this bakery and were wondering what made it Canadian. Please describe!

Apr 01, 2008
Vshu in Outer Boroughs

Passover Seder

Thanks so much for the link, Valerie! I did a search on this topic and for some reason, did not see this.

Apr 01, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

FDA Cantaloupe Warning

I remember learning in a food safety class that in salad bars, the culprit for salmonella lies more in the cut melons than in the other items, like tuna or egg salad. For as long as I have remembered, I have always thoroughly cleaned the outside of all melons (and fruit, for that matter) before cutting into them. Perhaps this is a practice of my parents, who came from Taiwan and there, they don't trust the skins on any fruit (my aunt peels her grapes!).

Like Gio, however, I am also allergie to canteloupe, so I don't eat it, but my husband loves melon, so I do get it for him.

Mar 31, 2008
Vshu in Food Media & News

Quince poaching liquid

How about making sorbet? Sorbet is basically flavored simple syrup anyway. Or even easier -- granita.

Mar 31, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Passover Seder

DH and I are hosting our first Passover Seder this year and I am very excited! I think I have propoerly asked my sister-in-laws to make their appropriate items (charoses, chicken soup and stuffed cabbage so they feel they have contributed and I am working on figuring out the rest of the menu. I would love to read what others are doing for Passover Seder.

Here is my menu so far:
Brisket
Matzo Kugel (will figure out the flavor later)
Pistachio-Chocolate Cake

My husband's family does not enough of vegetables (in my opinion), so I will be making a lot of vegetable sides, but the exact sides are not finalize, although I am thinking braised string beans, roasted beets, sauteed kale, roasted potatoes -- would love to get more ideas.

Depending on how busy I am, I may try my hand at making matzo balls. I do know, however, I am too busy to make gefilte fish. BTW -- I am not Jewish; my husband is; I am of Chinese decent.

On a slight tangent -- how do you insist that relatives and friends NOT bring anything more than what they have been instructed to bring? Every year, my niece's boyfriend brings this awful kosher cake. Except for not mixing dairy and meat and not eating grains, our family does not observe all the kosher rules, so no need to bring a kosher cake made with margarine and shortening -- is there any way to say this politely? And I saw another post about what to do with leftover chocolate cupcakes -- what about a leftover kosher chocolate cake? Each year, everyone takes an obligatory sliver of the cake the 3/4 of it is left over! I'm not saying that ALL kosher cakes are not good -- just the one he brings.

Thanks!

Mar 31, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

help! cooking vegetarian chili for 500 people

I've never cooked for that many people before, but if I were to, I would first make one batch of chili, measure it out and figure out how many people it will feed. Most likely, they will only have a a few ounces as there will be a lot of other food. After you have figured that out, do the math so you can feed 500 people.

Hope that helps.

Mar 28, 2008
Vshu in Home Cooking

Cooking school at the CIA

Hi! I attended the CIA and graduated almost 10 years ago. The curriculum now is different from what it was back then, but I agree with Docsknotinn that you get out what you put in. I was older when I attended -- 29 -- and it was a career change for me. However, I actually worked in a restaurant before applying, basically working my "real" job full time along with 30-40 hours a week at the restaurant. I figured if I loved the cooking that much, despite so little sleep, that culinary school was the way to go.

Getting in was a cinch for me and I think a cinch for others, given the "quality" of my classmates. Of all the students I graduated with, I would only hire 3. Most of the other students were either very young and came to class hung over and really had no clue what was going on, others were career changers who thought cooking was glamourous and still others, for some reason or another, just did not get it. I did not find it difficult and throughout the entire time, worked part-time -- even during "Breakfast Cookery" when we had to be in class by 3am.

Despite some less than desireable classmates, however, if you are good, it is your chance to shine while you are there. I had the opportunity to work with some great chefs and to work on some wonderful projects. And even before I graduated, I had job offers in NYC.

I tell everyone who has thoughts about culinary school to work in a restaurant first -- even if you have to do it without pay. Otherwise, culinary school (wherever you go) is a waste of money.

Good luck!

Mar 28, 2008
Vshu in Not About Food

cooking for him for the first time..

I say a nice juicy steak or roast chicken. The only thing I would be aware of the steak, though, is if you live in an apartment and do not have a real vent, it may get smoky.

If you do steak -- accompany with potatotes of any kind and a salad.

With chicken - as others have mentioned, accompany with roast vegetables and starch of choice (again, potatoes are good, but my husband LOVES plain old spaghetti mixed in with all the roasted vegetables).

Have fun!

Mar 26, 2008
Vshu in General Topics