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Friday
April

8

2005
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Food News, April 8, 2005 The New York Times (free registration required) gives its guide to high-end food shopping on the web. Unlike most print publications putting their articles on the web, the Times actually puts hyperlinks to the sources in the article. Amazing!

Not to raise the foie gras issue again (please please don't write to me complaining) but here's a pretty well-known chef, Charlie Trotter, renounces foie gras on "ethical grounds".

Jeffrey Steingarten had a whole chapter in one of his books about salt and whether it really makes any difference which one you use. Since salt has the same chemical makeup no matter what brand you buy, dissolved in water, how could you tell the difference. That said, I have found, at least for me, that the shape of the salt (undissolved of course) really does play differently on the tongue. The Los Angeles Times (free registration required) talks about the variety awaiting you in the world of salt.

Heidi at 101 Cookbooks is kicking ass with some great posts. My favorites as of late have been her survey of drinkable chocolate, cheesy potato spoon bread, and sour cream waffles which I plan on making Sunday morning for breakfast.

Derrick of Obsession with Food is still cranking as well. His post for SFist all about snap peas has such a mouthwatering picture at the top that you don't even have to read the article to start salivating.

There's a new food blog (roughly every ten minutes) called Eggbeater that I found out about via Food Chronicles. I was immediately inclined to like the site as the first post I saw talked about making green beans with guanciale. There is nothing not to love about guanciale.

Orangette is a really good food blog. It's not just that the author Molly writes well and posts great photographs, but she really opens up about herself. I think if you're going to put yourself in the position of giving opinions on something, you need to have a deep honesty about yourself and all the aspects of yourself that will affect your judgment. Trust me, this is hard, but I think important. Her latest post covers her aversion to change and chickpea-tomato soup.

I've been meaning to post about this for awhile. At first the idea of a pretend restaurant seemed a little wacky to me. Why have a restaurant without food? But Sub-Rosa is really well done and a labor of love. And essentially there's no difference between writing about food in a blog or a magazine vs. writing about it as if you were cooking it in your own restaurant. I'm thinking of starting my own virtual food spot.

 

     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

 

 

   

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  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

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