Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Video: Vintage New York Commercials

Doesn't Santa look suspiciously like Fudgie the Whale?  The Cookie Puss antecedents of the traditional Hannukah cake are all too obvious.

Meet you at Teddy's?  Oh, I wish I could.

I'd rather not think about foods going down the digestive chute, thanks.

What, no skin on my My-T-Fine?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Lucy's Whey

Cheese, I thought I made bad puns...
Anyway (ouch), Lucy's Whey, an East Hampton favorite, recently opened a branch in Chelsea Market.  It's a wee store, specializing in American artisanal cheeses.   I did feel a bit too waited on, which is better than the reverse, I suppose, and the staff is certainly quite generous with both information and tastes.  Chose Rogue Creamery's Smokey Blue, the first-ever smoked blue cheese.  One would think that this would be a clash of flavor titans, but the light nutty smokiness seems to both temper and enliven the tang of the creamy blue.  Also picked up a small bag of shelled black walnuts.  I thought salad, which is really the only thing to eat when the windchill is -2.

Blue cheese and walnuts are a classic combo, but I was disappointed when I tasted the walnuts: they had an odd, funky flavor.  I was expecting an uberwalnut,  and was decidedly underwhelmed.  Bruce suggested that I toast and then candy them. Never having candied anything but grapefruit peel before, I was good to go.   I heated a little grapeseed oil in a pan over medium heat, and tossed in a handful of nuts.  As soon as they started smelling toasty, I stirred in a couple of teaspoons of sugar and stirred some more.  Holy nuts, they were actually candying!  As soon as they started to color (and they will do this very quickly), I dumped them onto a paper plate.

I sliced up about half a jar of Rick's Picks Phat Beets.  Used some of the jar's liquid--with a little chopped shallot and salt and pepper --for the dressing.  Tossed in crumbled blue cheese and candied walnuts.  Toss again so that the blue cheese turns violently pink.   Serve with crusty bread.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Food Day Roundup

In the NYT, Sam Sifton eats Vancouver,  or at least the Asian and seafood parts of it.  What, no Nanaimo bars?
Butterfly cheese, sheep eggs, and more, from the Hampshire Chronicle, via Topix.
According to most news outlets, everyone is giving a Superbowl party.  Who goes to them, then?  Not me.  Pizza sliders from the Cape Cod Times, to serve at your party.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Shrimp Heads, Shrimp Heads

  Saturday I went to Chelsea Market, since there is not much at the farmers' market these days, and it was   colder out than Gary Bettman's heart, anyway.  I got to a couple of new places, like Lucy's Whey, but gravitated to the tried-and-true Lobster Place when thoughts of a warming dinner--or two--danced in my head.  I've talked about Maine shrimp recently, so I won't go through all that again, except to say that this time I was cooking two pounds, so they were in the pot for about a minute.  And that I added some Old Bay to the water.  Okay, now we're up to speed.  The shrimp are cooked; the shrimp are eaten.  And there is an enormous pile of shrimp detritus quite literally staring at me.  What do they want?  They want to live on! Into a plastic bag they go to await their fate, which is to be reborn as Maine crab bisque.

Next morning, every shrimp scrap goes into a large pot. Lots of water, parsley, tomato paste, a peeled and  halved onion, a few aging mushrooms, and salt and pepper join them.  Now, I need carrot and celery, of which there is neither in the crisper swamp.  It is fourteen degrees with a perceived temperature of Chilly Willy. No one is going anywhere.  Bruce reminds me that Spike has carrots and celery and tons of other stuff.   Shake a fair bit  into the pot.  Bring to a boil, skim.  Lower heat, simmer for about an hour.  Strain through a double layer of paper towels for a clear, reddish broth.  There should be a quart or more. 

I doused the crab with a tablespoon or two of sherry and set it aside.  Had a nip of sherry.  Now, to make a veloute.  Melted two tablespoons butter over medium heat, added two tablespoons flour, stirring until smooth and golden.  Slowly poured in two cups of stock. Stir until thickened.  Add crab and cream.  Heat through, but do not bring to a boil.   I made enough for two (which I would soon have cause to regret), but it can be doubled.  I had time to spare, so I let the bisque cook and reheated it before serving, which improves the flavor. Here's where we stopped taking pictures, as both cameras went wonky.  Oh, well, one bisque looks much like another.  Unless you drop an entire bowl of it onto the floor.  I mention no names, but it wasn't me.

While the above seems like a long string of directions, making the bisque itself took less than ten minutes, an example of why it is an excellent idea always to have stock in the fridge or freezer.

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.