w

Willa's Profile

Title Last Reply

Chanterelle quenelles in Oxtail Consomme?

Thank you!

Jan 02, 2014
Willa in Home Cooking

Chanterelle quenelles in Oxtail Consomme?

Sort of! See my reply to Bob, below.

Jan 02, 2014
Willa in Home Cooking

Chanterelle quenelles in Oxtail Consomme?

Well, AdinaA and BobB, this project did not exactly work as planned. I am journaling about "extreme cooking projects" and this one falls right up at the top with homemade har gau. First, I went to the butcher to order veal bones for veal stock. Seemed simple enough. They should have had the bones readily available. No. They ordered them. I needed ten pounds. Had to buy twenty pounds. Ninety dollars. Don't ask. Had to have them. Proceeded to make a delectable veal stock. This took some time but omg it was beautiful. At least half of the bones were filled with lovely marrow. When ready, I strained the stock into a pan carefully to remove solids. Had the "raft" made of beef and egg whites, intended to float on top of the stock and absorb all specks of anything and leave it clear and rich. Umhm. A friend was over. The colander with bones was sitting in the sink with the precious stock in a big pan, about to be treated with the raft. The friend thought the whole sink was full of dirty dishes and turned the water faucet on the colander, diluting the stock! OMG! So hoping that no soap was involved, and as politely as I could, I retrieved the diluted stock and simmered it for hours trying to regain the rich, silken texture. We got it. But the clock was ticking and Thanksgiving was approaching. When the texture was just right, applied the "raft" technique and that worked beautifully. Browned the oxtails in the oven and then cooked low and slow until the meat was falling off the bone. Painstakingly deboned all of the oxtail meat. It was incredible. But by this time the chanterelles had started to fade and we had made them into mushroom pasta. The entire oxtail soup process took four days. No mushroom quenelles. Lots of lessons learned, including protecting your stock with your body, if necessary. I turned the consomme into an oxtail soup with spaetzle, and a few vegetables. The whole project took four days and we ate it the night before Thanksgiving. Photo below. It was fabulous but I have a lot to learn! The mushroom quenelles would have been divine.

Jan 02, 2014
Willa in Home Cooking
2

Where do you go for "authentic" Chinese food in the Northern Suburbs?

Lao Beijing is great. My family was in from Michigan over this Thanksgiving weekend and we went to Chinatown for lunch before they went home. Party of twelve. Ooooops. It was packed. Cai was our first choice -- very good dim sum. Mom could not make it up the stairs and there was no elevator. Lao Shanghai and Lao Sze Chuan were both jam packed. So was that dim sum restaurant next door that I have never considered because we like Cai. So we finally found a table for twelve -- a miracle -- at Lao Beijing. Had never been there. We had a fantastic meal and a wonderful time! Loved the shredded duck with vegetables. Homemade noodles. House special dumplings that are long thin rectangles. Our waiter was Michael and he was excellent. Very efficient, very friendly, almost became an honorary family member. We will go back again!

Dec 01, 2013
Willa in Chicago Area

Quiet, reasonable/cheap midtown dinner for two?

I just looked at the menu at Mint again and omg. The ala carte menu. Photos of tables are as I remember. Prices are incredibly reasonable. Dishes are on the smaller side so my suggestion would be to order lots of different things and take home leftovers. So worth it. I can't even think where to start on that menu. It is a rare treat and a true celebration of Indian food to dine at Mint.

Nov 24, 2013
Willa in Manhattan

Quiet, reasonable/cheap midtown dinner for two?

I was there at around 6 or 7 on a weeknight. It is not a loud "happy hour" kind of place; or at least, it was quiet that night. They are serious about and proud of their food. I remember the tables being spaced pretty generously but you might want to call. I have never had such wonderful Indian dishes -- except once, when my Indian brother-in-law's parents made a huge meal for our family. Mouth watering again. Good luck. The Hotel Benjamin is really cool as well if you are going to stay the night in Midtown. Right next to the Waldorf but on Lex, not Park Avenue and so rooms are cheaper. Old elegant building, most rooms have balconies, some have full or partial kitchens so you can take your leftovers home and get 'em out later that night. Beautiful views. Great beds. Have fun!

Nov 24, 2013
Willa in Manhattan

Chanterelle quenelles in Oxtail Consomme?

I'm thinking of a consomme as a light Thanksgiving first course (Ochsenschwanzsuppe). Beautiful Chanterelles are available and I think they would be lovely if made into quenelles and floated on the clear consomme with perhaps some chopped parsley and a few tiny fall vegetables. Does anyone have a recipe for mushroom quenelles? Other ideas?

Thanks,
Willa

Nov 24, 2013
Willa in Home Cooking

Quiet, reasonable/cheap midtown dinner for two?

I used to stay at the Hotel Benjamin in Mid-town and I LOVED the restaurant across the street, roughly Lex and 3rd, called Mint. Fabulous, memorable Indian food that I still dream about.

Nov 24, 2013
Willa in Manhattan
1

Your Thanksgiving Dressing/Stuffing?

LOL, just finished reading this post and thought, "That is exactly how I like my stuffing!" I then realized that this was my own post. Duhhhh!

Sometimes we have two stuffings. Cornbread, kale and chestnut. Goes in the neck cavity. Oyster in the main cavity. Can't wait until Thanksgiving!

Oct 14, 2013
Willa in Home Cooking
1

URGENT! Late night chinese tonight

I am looking up Triple Crown. Have never been there but good to know. I like dim sum at any time of day. Thanks for the response.

Jul 20, 2013
Willa in Chicago Area

URGENT! Late night chinese tonight

Yikes -- I should have remembered that about dim sum and brunch. Love Lao Sze Chuan. Thanks for the response! We saw "Wait wait don't tell me" at the Chase Auditorium and ended up at one of my favorite Italian spots: Volare.

Jul 20, 2013
Willa in Chicago Area

URGENT! Late night chinese tonight

Going to the theater tonight and planned to have dim sum at Cai in Chinatown. Didn't realize it closes at 4! Any recommendations for late night Chinese or Asian? We like authentic, some heat, dumplings, etc...

Jul 18, 2013
Willa in Chicago Area

What non-food/non-traditional food items did you eat as a kid?

The blankie story reminds me of an excellent Stephen King short story. A doctor was flying a small plane over the Pacific and crashed on a desert island. On the plane were pharmaceuticals. He had broken legs. Could not move. No food. Began to take the drugs for pain. After a while, took a bite of his toe. More drugs. Another toe. More drugs. And more flesh....... Great story. Exceptionally well told and horrifying.

Feb 07, 2013
Willa in Not About Food

What non-food/non-traditional food items did you eat as a kid?

The real question is: where were our parents???? They did not hover like they do now. They did not accompany us to travel sports away games because these activities did not exist. They let us play outside for hours because it was another era and for the most part; safer.

And that is why my parents never knew that I used to pry flattened gum off of the sidewalk and chew it.

Feb 07, 2013
Willa in Not About Food

What non-food/non-traditional food items did you eat as a kid?

I ate paper all the time. Especially straw wrappers. This is a tame confession compared to what I read above. I knew others who ate paper.

Feb 07, 2013
Willa in Not About Food

Pacifica dining recommendations? And update on Lers Ros Thai.

Have not had chinese yet.
Barbara's was fabulous. But I didn't buy a fish off a boat and have them cook it! Too bad.
Moss Beach Distillery was pretty but very disappointing.
I'll look at Surf Spot but I'm leaning towards Millbrea.....
Thanks so much.

Jan 27, 2013
Willa in San Francisco Bay Area

Pacifica dining recommendations? And update on Lers Ros Thai.

It is Willa from Chicago! I've been enjoying the Bay area for over a week now. Some truly wonderful meals in SF and in Half Moon Bay. I will write about most of them separately. But oh man, for those of you who got caught in the Lers Ros thread (SF thai, best ever for me), I went back for more and it was even better. Loved it! Had the green curry (again, had to!) and the fried brook trout. So fresh. Flaky and crispy. Could eat most of the bones if you didn't want to remove them. Served with a lime, cilantro, ginger and hot chile sauce (I may be off on the ingredients). Was so ecstatic and so full after my meal that I gave away all of my leftovers to a homeless group on my way walking home out of the tenderloin area. Most of my cash, too, lol. Those hot chiles bring out the best in me. Couldn't get a cab. But it was worth it and good karma.

Anyway, was supposed to get on a plane today but Chicago is suffering from freezing rain and I didn't want to skid off the runway when I got home, so I chose not to board the plane. Didn't even get to the airport. I'm in a fabulous Best Western, right smack dab on the roaring surf in Pacifica! Blue skies. Huge waves that threaten to enter my room. Hiking trails. How fun is this????? Fun!!!!! This was meant to be! Now, where to dine? Nicks? Moonraker? Tam's? Hmmmmm.

Any Bay area chowhounders with advice? Anyone looking for dinner plans around here?

Willa

Jan 27, 2013
Willa in San Francisco Bay Area

Willa calling! Amarena tonight?

This is Willa, I am still here in San Francisco! Embarcadero. Leaving tomorrow. Have had some spectacular meals, mostly small local places. Ristorante Milano was superb. Lers Ros brought tears to my eyes, of course. A friend and I are having dinner shortly. Should be excellent, but not a top tier extravaganza. We have not seen each other in a long time. How is Amarena? Willing to cab it!

Someone here always gives me the right advice. Thanks in advance.

Willa

Jan 24, 2013
Willa in San Francisco Bay Area

Willa's question for tonight: Where to eat close to the Palace Hotel San Francisco?

It was fantastic! I had to order the green curry and it was absolutely the best I have ever had. Perfect balance of sweetness, salty fish sauce and a wonderful curry paste that I think they make themselves. Beautiful, really fresh and perfectly cooked thai eggplant. Carrots! Loved it. Very very spicy. My son had the pork belly and that was outstanding. We also ordered the glass noodle salad (pad woon sen) and it was to die for. Very fresh and different. It had tiny dried shrimp and ground pork in it. Lots of cilantro. Wood ear mushrooms.......Just delicious.

We walked to the restaurant and took a cab home. What a great night!

Thanks.

Jan 21, 2013
Willa in San Francisco Bay Area

Willa's question for tonight: Where to eat close to the Palace Hotel San Francisco?

I adore green curry and make my own curry paste. My sister and I make green curry for something fun to do some evenings, and each time it's a teeny bit different. So I always order green curry when I go to a new thai restaurant because every chef's version is unique. I collect memories of green curries like others collect Pez dispensers.

The pork belly looks excellent. The papaya salad, which is also on every menu, sounds great and full of fire. Thanks so very much for your quick response! We are off to Lers Ros.

Willa

Jan 20, 2013
Willa in San Francisco Bay Area

Willa's question for tonight: Where to eat close to the Palace Hotel San Francisco?

Thank you! We love thai, we love spicy, and we love off-the-beaten path. That would be perfect for tonight. Any recommendations? How is the green curry?

We had an incredible Mexican meal at El Gran Amigo taqueria in Moss Beach. A dive with food made from the heart. Unbelievable pinto beans. Everything was great.

Jan 20, 2013
Willa in San Francisco Bay Area

Willa's question for tonight: Where to eat close to the Palace Hotel San Francisco?

My 21 year old son and I are at the Palace in San Francisco. Arrived here earlier today from Moss Beach (Half Moon Bay area) where we had a remarkable time and remarkable meals. Started our afternoon with lunch at Yank Sing. Fabulous dim sum, as always. Then, after watching the end of the game, took a cab to the Buena Vista so I could introduce my boy to the lovely albeit touristy Irish Coffee. Then we had the best time! Walked back to the hotel via North Beach and Chinatown, and we're hungry. Love the Italian in North Beach. But where to eat in the Tenderloin? Great sit down Mexican? Other? Thanks.

Jan 20, 2013
Willa in San Francisco Bay Area

Potato salad secrets?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...... I saw the title of this thread "Potato salad secrets" and was immediately reminded of a horrendous four day visit years ago at my ex-sister-in-law's vacation home in the Ozarks. Oh God! LOL!

She never liked me. It took years after I married into the family for her and her husband to invite me and my now ex, with our kids, to her reputedly wonderful home in the Ozarks, on the big lake. It was a short flight from Chicago and then an awkward three hour drive or so to the home, two families, in one rented vehicle. When we got there, Nellie and her husband made a grocery list, we all shared the cost, and they bought provisions for meals.

Every night, my brother-in-law had control of the grill and cooked everything to a fare-thee-well. Once, I tried to get the tongs away from him and remove my meat before it died, and he actually struggled with me for the tongs! I lost. Nothing like a bone dry pork chop.

We fished for crappie. I was excited about the fresh fish fry we would have. But NOOOOOOO! My sister-in-law froze all of the fresh fish we caught and pulled out frozen crappie from their freezer. The last summer's catch. Freezer burnt and tasteless. Crappy crappie. I could not believe it!

The potato salad. My sister-in-law insisted on making a big potato salad the first day we were there. We had over-cooked, hard as rock pork chops and potato salad for dinner. Nothing else. The next day, she added a cup of mayonnaise to the potato salad and stirred it up. I can picture her as if it were yesterday -- standing at the counter, frowning with determination as she whipped that mayo into the potato salad to stretch it out. Good as new! It was our side dish that day too, with the crappy crappie. The next day, same thing!

How she stretched that potato salad, the thrifty skinflint. I was so hungry. By the last day, the potato salad had grown really long in the tooth. It was nasty; soupy with too much mayonnaise thinning from the juices that the few remaining potatoes and vegetables were releasing, as these things do just before they qualify as rotten. A quick stir with some fresh mayonnaise, though, and it was served!

My sister-in-law was as nasty as that remarkable potato salad. I spent a fair amount of time floating in my tube tied up to the dock and watching the kids fish for more crappie to freeze. From time to time, foamy water and alarming clumps of detritus floated by.

Jan 04, 2013
Willa in Home Cooking

People who eat the food for sale in supermarkets - would you say something?

This recipe sounds fabulous! Good idea! The sour grapes will sweeten with roasting and be delicious with pork. Thanks, Leepa.

Jan 02, 2013
Willa in Not About Food

People who eat the food for sale in supermarkets - would you say something?

I never did return the clementines. I set them aside in the garage and they rotted with that terrible rotten citrus smell so I had to toss them before I went to the grocery store again. It was just one more thing on an endless list of things to do. My bad.

Funny, I was thinking about this thread just last night at the grocery store. I was in front of the grapes. The red ones were too big, oval and did not feel firm. They would not be good.

The green grapes caught my eye. I rarely buy them because they are usually sour. But some of you will remember when red seedless grapes did not exist, and as kids, we ate green grapes all the time. Remember? Those green grapes were delicious! Really wanting grapes, I inspected these green grapes carefully. They were the size of marbles, they looked very fresh and they were a rich bright green color. That's when this thread came back to me. Oh, I wanted to try one of those grapes so badly! They were not in a closed package. One grape just wouldn't matter...... But I said to myself, "No!" "What if everybody ate a grape?"

I selected a bag of the green grapes and bought them.

And nuts! They are very sour. I hate them! They are taking up a lot of space in my produce drawer. This time, I will try to take them back. But tomorrow is a work day and the pace is going to be relentless.

On the bright side, I have not had another bad clementine since I complained about that box. They just keep getting better!

Jan 01, 2013
Willa in Not About Food

People who eat the food for sale in supermarkets - would you say something?

A story.

About a year ago, I was standing in a long line to check out at the grocery store. A teenage boy was standing in front of me. He waited patiently. When it was his turn, he put an apple on the counter. That's all he wanted. The cashier told him the price and he couldn't afford it. Before any of us knew what had happened, the boy left the store without his apple.

We all felt terrible, including the cashier, who said she would have let him have the apple. The rest of us in line would have purchased it for him. Here is a nice teenage boy, waiting to buy a piece of fruit. One person ran out to find the kid but he was gone.

On clementines. I never took back the bad clementines. I got over it and I just didn't have time. They started to smell like old citrus in the garage so I threw them out. No matter. I have gone through two more of those big boxes since then and am starting to worry about my clementine habit! It has exceeded my love for grapes, which I no longer taste before buying.

But I did ask an employee of mine, who used to be a cop in Evanston, Illinois, what he thought of the grape issue. He has told me so many gruesome stories about his experiences (I egg him on and he loves it). Funny, because he looks like a sweet young boy, innocent, all american. He laughed and said the grape might technically be stealing but they wouldn't have time to deal with it. He did say that excessive grazers were shoplifters and sometimes got booked.

My final comment on this thread (you hope).

When I was a kid I had a book called "If Everybody Did." Every two pages was a different example of something that was only slightly wrong if one person did it, but devastating if everyone did it. It was a great book. I remember it fondly. If one person picks a daisy in a park, the park still looks the same. If everybody picks a daisy in the park, the flowers are gone. And so on.

I think that is the answer to whether it is right or wrong to eat a grape in the store without permission.

Dec 17, 2012
Willa in Not About Food

People who eat the food for sale in supermarkets - would you say something?

I feel that way if I buy a sweater or something from a particular store and, while wearing the sweater, consider going back to the store to buy another piece. I'm afraid I will look suspicious with a brand new sweater from the store.

Dec 17, 2012
Willa in Not About Food

Can you describe your cooking style in three words?

Seasonal, regional, international

Dec 14, 2012
Willa in Not About Food

Foods that unreasonably gross you out...

Oh MaxSeven, I wasn't repulsed at all, I was laughing at my own juvenile humor and for the first time, I could see the comparisons. I'm sure I'm way off the mark and my comments don't belong in a serious adult conversation. But we were having fun. Or maybe I was the only one guilty of having fun. Sometimes I blurt out things that people only think but then think better of saying. It may be nonsense, but I bet there are contemporary artists who would draw the comparisons and use them as a shocking subject.

Dec 10, 2012
Willa in General Topics

Wood Salad Bowl Quality- How durable can they be?

I have an olive wood salad bowl that I bought for $90 at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor Michigan. My sister piled it high with tomatoes from the garden. I warned her that the bottom ones would rot because it was too crowded and I should have taken matters into my own hands. But a lot was going on and I let it slide. Sure enough, when I went to throw out the tomatoes she had not used, there was nasty, nasty black rot and juices on the bottom of the bowl. Sally wanted to throw the bowl out. I objected! We washed it but it looks terrible. Will it help to sand out the damaged wood?

Dec 10, 2012
Willa in Cookware