Friday, January 13, 2012

Fresh or Canned Tomatoes?

Chef Mark Maasen, colleague and runner up of  the First Sears Chef's Challenge of 2009 told me once that if you do not have a choice of usisng fresh homegrown tomatoes for your sauce, canned is acceptable.  But, which canned tomato is most appropriate?  The least processed.  Out with the paste, stewed tomatoes, and even crushed tomatoes.  Least processed will be whole peeled tomatoes.  Drain the juice out, seed  and use to replace your fresh tomatoes.

Chinese truffles vs. French/Italian Truffles

French, Italian truffles vs inferior Chinese truffles CBS did a newsarticle on the proliferation of Chinese truffles in France and being sold to fool customers that they are eating the real thing. Some great restaurants, on the other hand are being robbed for their valuable stock of the good kind. What to do, what to do...the French claim that the Chinese truffles are basically, garbage, removed of perfume and flavor. The reason: The French and Italian truffles are harvested by pigs and dogs and smelled when ripe. Chinese truffles are dug with picks and axes, with no regard for ripeness...The Chinese will learn soon enough....truffles for everybody....I myself prefer the chocolate kind.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

History of Gingerbread

Ttruth be told, gingerbread is neither German nor French. The history is Armenian, brougth to France by a monk who settled near Pithivier. With the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula and followed of course by the Crusades,the spice trade spread all over Europe, and in the 1400s were being made by Swedish nuns to aid in digestion. Some modern day books claim that gingerbreads were created as a diversion for kids while the parents party on New Year's eve, I had always conjured that the presence of ginger, cinnamon and sometimes cardamom had a great deal to do with overindulgence during the holidays, hence its popularity during Christmas