Category — Weekly Dispatch
On the Home Front
Making extruded pasta at home continues to be a failure. I’ve tried no fewer than four pasta dough recipes ever since getting the KitchenAid attachment, and each time the pasta ends up having the texture of spaetzle – thick, gummy, and bland. What was surprising was that one of the pasta recipes was the same dough that I used for rolled and cut pasta, which has always turned out fantastic. Hopes were high this week when I found a recipe that uses cake flour, which supposedly would deliver a more delicate result. And yet, whether I’m using semolina, all purpose flour, cake flour, or some combination of all three, the results are still disappointing. I’ve cooked the pasta for short, medium, and long periods of time, with no change in the outcome. Calls for advice to the Twitterverse yielded nothing but cricket chirps, reinforcing my suspicion that Twitter is worth every penny of the subscription fee.
There’s a rumor flying around Philadelphia that a big-name chef is going to bring a “large, Italian market” to the area, with the most optimistic of sources thinking that Mario Batali himself is going to open an Eataly in Center City, although that seems unlikely. Having gotten lost in the New York City version of same, I can say that having something like that would signal a tectonic shift in the Philadelphia food scene. Still, even if it turns out to be based on the same concept, with a devotion to the highest quality Italian-sourced pasta, meats, and cheeses, and with on-site dining, I really don’t care who’s behind it, as long as their heart’s in it. I think Craig LaBan may be getting the exclusive next week, or even this weekend. If Marc Vetri is the name behind it, it gets my stamp of approval right out of the gate.
September 14, 2012 Comments
In an effort to post content more regularly, I’ve decided to post a weekly summary of food-related happenings. Check back every Friday for a look at some quick hits and links out to noteworthy news items that I’ve come across. Format is ever-evolving, so don’t get used to anything.
On The Home Front
Last Monday was Labor Day, although the weather wasn’t conducive to doing anything that one normally would associate with the holiday. Confined to the house, watching the rain from scattered showers pelt the deck on and off, I decided to try my hand at making bao, which are steamed buns filled with meat and other fillings, and quite a common nostalgic comfort food if you grew up in a Chinese household. I went with this dough recipe from the Los Angeles Times, but instead of using either of their filling recipes, I used some leftover barbecued pulled pork that I had tossed with some barbecue sauce. The combination worked, and the texture of the dough as I bit into it was exactly as I remembered. Now, my bao journey splits into two sub-quests – first, to experiment with traditional and new fillings, and second, to find an equally good recipe for the baked version. Suggestions are welcome. Hit me up on Twitter at @BestFoodBlogEVR.
Congratulations to Craig Laban, the food critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, on being selected as the winner of the Best Newspaper Restaurant Criticism award by the Association of Food Journalists. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Craig on Twitter on a few occasions, and he’s always full of wit and wisdom concerning the PHL.
The big diversionary piece this week is a Stanford University study showing that organic produce is no more nutritious than conventional produce. Although the study does mention the higher occurrence of pesticides in conventional produce, while noting that these levels are within allowable limits, the mass media has glommed onto the obvious baiting headline suggesting that organic does not necessarily translate to healthier.
September 7, 2012 Comments