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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Spent.

The last week has been...interesting. I might have mentioned that already. Depending on the events of the next few hours, I could soon be running around the city chatting up top crock-jockeys, trying to wangle recipes and quotable soundbites from them. The prospect is inordinately exciting to a foodie and word-whore. It's also absolutely nerve-wracking to a culinary dilettante who happens to be an ersatz foodie and word-whore. A common gruel-slurper in gastronome's clothing, if you will. (That would be me.) I love food. Anyone who's talked to me for more than five minutes can tell you that. And I love to prepare it, to feed my loved ones, whenever I can (usually to greedily appreciative results). I can make lots of passable, tasty, everyman chow, and frankly, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that mean I can go a little haute when I have to. I may very well know more about the politics and methods of foie gras production, scotch producing regions, slow food, and tomato varieties than the average American bear. That means sweet fuck-all when you're trying to get a recipe out of, say, Tom Colicchio, and you can't tell your ear from your aresehole--or your confit from your cassoulet. I'm a quick study. I've already got a few cooking bibles at home, and there are certainly some on the way. By this time tomorrow, I'll be able to produce a lemongrass foam that would make your mama weep with joy. Okay, maybe by the end of the week. My point is, there's a loop, and I'm kicking dirt at the edge of it, rather than being in it. God help me. Yesterday, I decided to expand my horizons a bit. The technique will come in time, of course, but in order to have that, you really need to have the best materials. Thus far, I've limited my procurement missions to Fairway, Citarella, and Zabars. All great places, but this is a big, food-worshipping town. There are others. And given my maybe-new-post, along with test kitchen, is way down on the East Side, in the everloving teens, for godssake, I need to find those others down there. Enter Chelsea Market. One big foodie emporium of sexay. Let's see, what's down there, eh? Three--or is it four?--bakeries, a boucherie, two produce markets, a wine shop, a flower shop, several restaurants (including Buddakan and Morimoto), some gourmet shops for domestic and imported delights, and a Food Network studio. At least, that's what I toured on the ground floor, an hour before closing. And there's a restaurant/kitchen supply shop just around the corner. Like a little gourmet Mecca. Hm, hyperbole, but still. I went, you see, late, as I am in all things. I also went short-funded, with only $49 in my pocket, to see what I could make off with. My haul, I have to say, was not bad at all. Except for the purchase of an extra bottle of wine, which put me over budget, driving my total cost up to $60, and had me reaching for the plastic, I think I did very, very well. (If you are alarmed by what $60 buys me, you should be aware that I probably spend $200-300 per month on groceries. And that doesn't include takeout grub. I believe in spending money on good food, good friends, and good times. Roasted asparagus, Bombay or Junipero martinis, braised short ribs? Good times. Canned veggies, Gordon's Gin and cube steak? Not usually good times.) Onward. Eh, urm, uh, that's it, really. I got a bunch of produce from the Manhattan Fruit exchange, with which to make tomato and pesto sauces, guacamole, and a home-made vat of limoncello. Two desserts--darling little purse-shaped cookies from Eleni's and some Leonidas chocolates and ginger beer from Chelsea Market basket, some yummy lamb sausages from Italian import shop Buonitalia, and two bottles of hooch. I don't know that I'd go regularly. The savings aren't that steep, though the produce selection, at least, goes well beyond what can be found at my local; still, it does have its charms. After payday, I'm certainly going back to load up on freshly-butchered, premium meats from Frank's, flowers from the Wholesale Flower shop, and knives from the kitchen supply warehouse. Big, light, shiny, hair-splitting knives. *demented grin* Sigh. Tomorrow's topic (or, more likely, the day after)--Knives: The acquisition, care and feeding of your premium sharps.

2 Comments:

At 6/07/2006 10:28:00 AM, Blogger QuietlyGoingMad said...

My god, I could so hear me saying these things! I get a virtual hard-on by good food and cooking utensils. Knives make me down right giddy and wet (which is a little scary, even I admit). I'm pretty sure I would've passed out from joy and happiness at Chelsea Market!

And, if you're looking for some inexpensive, yet well-made, stand the test of time knives, check out this website(it's not a well made website, but it doesn't matter when you see the prices)...http://www.jmcutlery.com/rada.htm

I have a drawerful of these things and couldn't be happier, especially for the price when I can't as yet afford a set of Henkels or other such things!

 
At 6/07/2006 01:24:00 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

Rada eh... I think your problem starts here "Hancrafted in USA using USA materials", and finishes here: http://www.radacutlery.com/BigPict.asp?img=Onion-1&prods=r101 with someone using the wrong knife the wrong way and about to slice part of their finger off.

I would suggest some nice Global knives (well really just a 8 - 10inch cooks knife) the GS3 Globals are rated at 59HRC on the Rockwell Scale (a measure of hardness in steel, which means they stay sharp for a long time), or perhaps the Shun Kershaw scalloped santoku (ala: http://www.chefsresource.com/dm0718.html).

Then if you really want to impress someone... go buy some custom made knives from Thomas Hallinger like these ones: http://www3.telus.net/public/theknive/Silver_Series.html

Custom made from super high grade stainless steel, and so sharp you can shave with them... If you were so inclined... Now thats hot :)

 

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