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About Ampelman

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    New York, NY

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  1. While browsing at the Strand this afternoon, I stumbled upon a copy of Munich foodblogger Nicole Stich's new-ish cookbook Delicious Days. While there are a number of appealing recipes accompanied by winsome background stories, what really impressed me was the book's excellent, eye-catching design and incredible photographs (most of which are the author's) -- enough so that I bought it. Look forward to giving this a spin in the kitchen.
  2. They can. But these were small-ish beans, and both the "soak" and the cooking were followed by a leisurely natural pressure release (to help minimize skin-bursting) -- the cooking times if you opt for quick-release are longer. Plus, the beans in this recipe are simmered in the sauce for an additional 35-40 minutes, so *just* tender after the initial cooking helped ensure intact beans by the end of the total time.
  3. Nigel Slater's beans with tomato, coriander and coconut milk, made with RG Black Nightfall beans: I used the pressure cooker to "soak" (1 minute) and cook (5 minutes) the beans per Lorna Sass then finished the recipe in the same pot; I added the grated zest of the limes along with the juice, and used a spoonful of palm instead of a pinch of regular sugar. Colorful, warming and full of bright, vibrant flavors.
  4. Last week made a Mille Crêpes "cake" for a family gathering -- needed something portable as was also lugging gifts and a vat of bigos on Metro North. Made the crêpe batter and pastry cream the night before, the crêpes that a.m. and whipped the cream/assembled in situ. Chilled pastry cream was way too thick for folding so just beat it into the whipped cream in the mixer on low speed. Stacking/spreading was a snap; didn't have a mini-torch or salamander so just dusted the top with 10x sugar. Everybody loved it: great-looking, light and unusual. A good option when transportability is an issue.
  5. Ampelman


    Well, it appears they have -- if, that is, AD himself flies into the restaurant to make sure your meal is up to snuff: Benoit's No Ball
  6. Small article on these in yesterday's New York Post: The Fernet Effect. Scarpetta GM Jeffrey Tascarella hopes to 25-30 varieties available within the next year. I think I'd like to give Branca Menta a try. In related (but not really) news, Estonia's Vana Tallinn -- not a real balsam like Riga Black (Rīgas Melnais balzams), but more of a balsam-esque liqueur -- is apparently now available in the U.S. Good thing since the bottle I brought back from Estonian eons ago is due for replacing.
  7. Ampelman


    I wonder if things have improved recently in the wake of the spate of generally poor reviews soon after Benoit opened. From Steve Cuozzo's piece in today's NY Post re: the 2009 Michelin Guide to NY:
  8. I'm with Steve on this one -- the food was good but nothing special, and the prices seemed on the high side for what you get. The pastas were uniformly undercooked just short of al dente, and I agree that the pizzas at Lucali are better, packing more flavor and character. Our waiter was a very nice fellow, but the woman who brought over much of the food was kind of icy and brusque. Wine was good.
  9. Ampelman


    I love ajvar -- was turned onto it at a lunch at home of Serbian friends, after which we settled in for marathon viewing of Kusturica's Podzemlje ("Underground"). I'm not wild about the ajvar sold in jars -- often the Marco Polo brand, but I've had others too. Too many red peppers and a bitter aftertaste, to my palate at least. I like the fresh green version I often make at home -- it's easy and a nice thing to have around. I use the recipe from Paula Wolfert in Mediterranean Cooking, an adapted version of which is as follows: Ajvar (Adriatic eggplant and green pepper relish) Makes 2 cups 1 lb eggplant 4 Italian frying peppers (the long pale green ones) 1 long hot green pepper 1/2 tsp. minced garlic [sometimes I use a little more] 2 Tbsp. grated onion [sometimes I use a scallion or two] 2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice or white wine vinegar 6 Tbsp. fruity extra-virgin olive oil salt & pepper Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with foil. Pierce the eggplant in a couple of places with a fork or knife tip and place on the sheet along with all the peppers. Roast the eggplant for 20 mins, turning midway, and then remove with tongs. Leave the peppers in for another 10 minutes for a total of 30, also turning midway. Set eggplant over a gas flame (or hot coals) and turn with tongs until collapsingly soft and charred/blistered. Rub off blackened skin under a cold tap, squeeze gently to exude any bitter liquid and chop pulp finely. When peppers are done, cover with a towel or place in a plastic bag to steam as they cool. Slip off skins, core, seed and chop finely, mixing with eggplant (don't use a food processor for any of this chopping or you will end up with liquidized mush). Add garlic, onion and lemon juice or vinegar, then beat in oil a Tbsp. at a time. Season with s&p and chill to let garlic flavor settle. I like to serve this with warm crisp pita triangles and for contrast, some mouhamara, a totally addictive roasted red pepper, ground walnut and pomegranate molasses spread. I like Sonia Uvezian's recipe in her truly excellent Recipes and Remembrances for an Eastern Mediterranean Kithcen, but Paula's is good too and it's available online here.
  10. My favorites are tied to specific dining experiences: - Filets de perche at Café du Port in Rolle, "La perle du Léman" (nr Geneva) - One of the zander preparations at Restaurant 1913, Voznesensky Prospekt, St. Petersburg - The sparkling fresh fish at La Marinella, overlooking the sea near Miramare in Trieste
  11. Ampelman

    Nancy Wilson

    Andy Williams -- lookin' suave! Thanks for this Rancho. Yes, she a motor-emoter; in that "Don't Go to Strangers" clip, it's amazing that her "eyelashes" hung on during those teary blink-fusillades. More than once in that number she seemed, vocally, to be channelling Dina Washington -- eerie! In contrast Ella's and Sarah's voices later in their careers, Nancy's seemed to improve with age. Witness this clip, with Ramsey Lewis, from 2002 (the Andy Williams clip was from 1966): VY5SHQx3dt8
  12. Sneak, great post on Fülemüle Étterem! (I love it how the euphonious name means "Nightingale Restaurant".) Actually I'm loving all your posts from this trip -- many thanks for taking the time to write up your experiences so vividly and share 'em. (Omni -- you mean, ay ay ay jóságos ég! )
  13. In today's NY Post, Mr. Cuozzo offers "a handy guide to things we'd like owners and chefs to annihilate upon their return" from their late-August peregrinations (headings only below): 1. "CONSULTING" AND OTHER BREEDS OF WANDERING CHEFS. 2. SUSHI IN NON-JAPANESE RESTAURANTS. 3. MENUS ENTIRELY IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. 4. FORGETTABLE FADS. 5. RUBBER OCTOPUS. 6. WAITERS WHO RECITE THE MENU WORD FOR WORD. 7. WAITERS WHO DON'T EXPLAIN A MENU THAT NEEDS EXPLAINING. 8. "LUXURY" BURGERS. 9. "DAYBOAT" ANYTHING. 10. PRODUCT PLACEMENT. 11. NARRATIVE DISRUPTION. 12. MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKE (in any restaurant not run by Jean-Georges Vongerichten). 13. BRINGING DOWNTOWN UPTOWN. EX-CUOZZO ME! NEW DIRECTIONS FOR FALL
  14. The Technivorm came out tops in the comparative rating in the current issue of Cook's Illustrated: The $240 price tag gave them pause, but they addressed that issue too:
  15. We had a homey lunch here the last time I was in Budapest (back in 1997). Glad to see it's still around. Wonder if they still have the roasted goose leg (wing?) with potatoes and cabbage... (Did you know that the restoration of the 1859 Dohány Synagogue -- largest in Europe and I think 2nd largest in the world -- was in part funded by a foundation organized by Tony Curtis, a child of Hungarian-Jewish immigrants?) I haven't been, but if you're interested in haut-esque Magyar fare, you might ask around about Lou Lou's reputation these days. (Pest District V; Vigyázó Ferenc utca 4., Tel: +36/1 312-4505)
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