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Friday, November 26, 2010

3 Course Meal, Spaghetti, Fettuccine and Veal ( Bri-Bar)

Building Blocks
 








   After securing a victory in the 2nd annual Turkey Bowl I decide to come home and make pasta. I have done this a few times before and learned some valuable lessons along the way. My first attempts were done with out my Imperia Pasta Machine. They involved a lot of time spent with a rolling pin and an overall increase in forearm strength. Unfortunately I am no Lincoln Hawk and the hat on my head is just a hat, not a "switch". Thank heavens for its just a hat abilities which came in handy during the snowfall.
  Another tip for those that have never made pasta at home is use a mixing bowl if employing the "well method". Your counters will thanks you. For the task at hand I turned to two books only. The amount of recipes out there are endless. I only focused on Marc Vetri's and Michael Rhulman's. I made one batch of each and primarily cut only spaghetti and fettuccine. I also played with a few other shapes and made some ravioli for later uses.
Rhulman vs Vetri

  






 
   The most notable difference in the two batches is the richer color in the Vetri batch. This is due to the amount of eggs (yolks only) used in the recipe. Both batches turned out delicious pasta in the past and I am expecting great results as I get ready for my new Black Friday tradition. Stay Tuned

ready to cut









The Skinny Fat Kid

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Triskaidekaphobia Lyrics (Barbuzzo Part 2.)

My second lunch at Barbuzzo brought a nice dish of pasta and the biggest surprise of the year for me dining so far.The legend of  how Strozzapreti pasta got its name has many variations. Stories of gluttonous priest and suspicions of adultery abound.  The "Priest Choker" pasta is simply an elongated Cavatelli. At Barbuzzo it receives a simple toss in olive oil with hen of the woods mushrooms, arugula and a lemon-walnut pesto. It is finished with a dollop of fresh ricotta and is really good.  The play of all the ingredients complimented each other in every bite. The true star of Barbuzzo however was on the dessert menu. I decided to try the Salted Caramel Budino on the recommendation of my server. I have not only developed a new "Fat Kid Food Crush", but found my favorite dessert in Philadelphia I have been hearing whispers of a standout ravioli dish on the dinner menu, so I may need another stop at Barbuzzo.

The Skinny Fat Kid

Barbuzzo
110 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4532
(215) 546-9300
www.barbuzzo.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Veni, Vidi, ITIS...I came, I saw, I need a nap. (Maggiano's Little Italy)

Chicken Pesto Linguini










  I would love to have spent this entire month eating pasta at the 'holy trinity' of Vetri, Osteria , and Amis, but there are a few problems with that. First there is the idea that I would be missing out on some hidden gems and second the average person does not only eat at those restaurants. I ran into a lot of people, a wall of people in fact already on a wait list while just a short half hour into being open at Maggiano's Little Italy.    
    Maggiano's is everything I expected. It is a large restaurant that does what it does well. I quickly see why the lines are large, the large portions are the draw. My Chicken Pesto Linguine was huge even by Skinny Fat Kid standards. Even if it had not been my second pasta for lunch that day, it may have done me in. The biggest problem however was not the size, it was the flavor. Flat is probably the best way to describe it. There is nothing about this dish that tasted as if there was any amount of love put into it. It just served as a reminder of why I first wanted to make my own pasta. I hope I have better luck in South Philly and the Italian Market.

The Skinny Fat Kid

Maggiano's Little Italy
1201 Filbert Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 567-2020

http://www.maggianos.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

Triskaidekaphobia Lyrics (Barbuzzo Part 1.)

Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran love 13th Street. 13th Street should love them back. There are a few restaurateurs in Philadelphia, but few who really try to change a neighborhood. There has been much  talk about the food at Barubuzzo, but in November I am only interested in pasta. Today was a lunch visit for Paccheri. Paccheri is a large tube shaped pasta sometimes stuffed, but also can be served with a slow cooked ragu. Barbuzzo starts a pork ragu with bacon, pork shoulder and trotters. The ragu is slow simmered with tomatoes to present a very rustic comforting dish. this was my first plate of pasta at Barbuzzo and it gave me a clear picture of what they are trying to accomplish. If there was one minor complaint it was a little hearvy on the olive oil for my taste. Can't wait to get back for a few more.

The Skinny Fat Kid

Barbuzzo
110 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4532
(215) 546-9300
www.barbuzzo.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa;
I know we have not always had a positive relationship but is not all my fault. How did you think I would react when someone told me a white guy in a car with no doors or roof would make it in my hood? You must have known I had no chimney. You could not make it past the locks on both doors and my jumpy parents to deliver gifts. If you landed your sleigh you would probably get robbed, maybe even shot if you fought back. The property value in my neighborhood would plummet and the police would spend way too much time harassing innocent hardworking people.
I would not be able to live with myself if you were killed trying to bring me a gift. Thats why I havent written in a long time.
Things are different now. I live in a much safer neighborhood. I still don't have a chimney, but my building is full of idiots who will buzz anyone in. I really only want one thing. I understand that the cost is over $200, but I hear those elves can build just about anything. I of course am speaking of the KitchenAid stand mixer. Think for a second about the wonderful things I can do with it. Think of how much time it would save for my cooking and prep. I eventually want the attachments too, but I will buy those myself. Thanks in advance for any assistance in this matter.

The Skinny Fat Kid

P.S. If you are coming, let me know ahead of time. Parking is a bitch sometimes.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

It'll Change Your Life

   As I begin the month of November and a new adventure in gluttony I wanted to start by talking about my focus. The focus of this month will be pasta. I know that I had originally planned to do ceviche after fried chicken  to give my body a bit of recovery time, but I had to make the change.  First, ceviche is really not something I think I will enjoy as much in the colder months and I also don't feel it will hold much of a challenge. If I was able to eat fried chicken in 3 different places in a little over two hours, I could probably eat ceviche twelve times in a day easily.I will do a ceviche month in the spring though.
   I can remember of course my first times eating pasta, but the more significant were the first times eating fresh pasta. Fresh pasta will change your life. I still have a clear image of the tiny girl who worked in the basement of one of the places I used to work. She had the coolest job in the world if you asked me. Spending her day churning out all of these interesting shapes and sizes. I have clear "flavor memories" of things like butternut squash agnolotti, red wine rissotto with shaved chocolate and bucatini carbonara.
   I can recall the first times I tried making pasta at home. The flavor was good, but the technique needed work. I rolled pasta with a rolling pin until my forearms were sore. I later bought one of my greastes kitchen tools, a pasta machine. That made things much easier. I also remember how much better things got when I got my hands on Marc Vetri's cookbook and later Michael Rhulman's. These two are still  my favorite cookbooks I own.
   This month will follow the typical format for my blog. A minimum of twenty different pasta dishes as well as some home experiments. I hope to talk a little more about technique and different styles and recipes. For those looking for the summary on fried chicken, it will be up this week. I will also be continuing a new part of my blog I call Fat Kid Food Crushes. As a way to break up the monotony of whatever I am focusing on for the month I will talk briefly about things that I discover or have loved for some time. I hope everyone continues to enjoy reading and as always if you have tips about places I should visit for pasta. let me know.

The Skinny Fat Kid

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Can it be that it was oh so simple........(Shiao Lan Kung)



 










   In our current culinary scene in Philadelphia we have some genius, some goofs, and some gems. There are great chefs who change and heighten our expectations as diners.  There are restaurants open that make you wonder how and why they are in business. But the best dining in any city are the gems. The off the beaten path places that are whispered about and become legend. In the modern world whispers become talk, talk becomes tweets, retweets and sometimes blog material. I have never been a huge fan of Facebook and Twitter. I still have reservations, but when I use them it is always on my terms. I will thank social media for two things, food info and football news. While most of us will never be as entertaining as Kanye or as senile as 50 cent, we can share great food experiences. And for one new bit of food info I thank Drew Lazor and the folks at Meal Ticket.
   As I found myself near the end of my fried chicken journey, I was hoping for one more experience that I had not yet heard of. Then I found this. It was just the sort of beacon of new flavor hope I had been longing for. It was everything promised and ended up being so much more. Shiao Lan Kung is in one of the most underappreciated neighborhoods in Philadelphia. To the epicurian culture and droves of drunken restaurant workers looking for a late night bite, Chinatown is Shangri la. But to most of our city it seems just a place to buy items to line our mantles and bookshelves. I have spent many of my hard earned dollars eating salt baked shrimp at Mai Lai Wah. I have enjoyed the company of friends over snails at Tai Lake. I have now remembered the most important part of a chefs arsenal at Shiao Lan Kung, simplicity.
   At Shiao Lan Kung there is no sous vide, no seasoned flour, or special sauce for the house fried chicken. The beautiful tones of the skin are just the skin itself. The only other accompaniments are lemon slices and a side dish of salt. Simple and special at the same time. It is sometimes more important to remember what we are eating than to obsess over the techniques and ingredients that elevate it. I am now craving the simplicity pf a Jersey tomato, a Georgia peach or a cold beer, but first I must finish this duck noodle soup.


The Skinny Fat Kid

Shiao Lan Kung 
930 Race Street Philadelphia, PA
(215) 928-0282

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fat Kid Food Crush..........(Apple Cider Doughnuts)




   Every Saturday morning you can find me at farmers market in The Piazza. Although I could be picking up any number of items, my main draw is always Highlands Orchards for the apple cider doughnuts. I have eaten as many as six, but you can still find happiness with just one.

The Skinny Fat Kid

http://www.highlandorchards.net