Category Archives: General Rantings

Happy Halloween!

from Brooklyn Plated.  We’re going on a culinary adventure through Ipswich and Salem MA this weekend.  We plan to take part in the witch trial reenactments – I can hardly contain my excitement.

How great is that platter?? My friend Emily sent it to us for an anniversary gift, which falls around the same time as Plated’s anniversary too!

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Filed under Food Anecdotes, General Rantings, Kitchen Things

Happy Birthday!

Today Brooklyn Plated is one year old! I’m so happy to celebrate this (and as with most celebrations, we’ll likely go out to dinner – oh the irony!).

Thank you so much for following along this year. It means a lot to us.  Now that the holidays are approaching, we’ll have tons of new and delicious meals, reviews and desserts to share.

Thanks again!

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Homemade Beer – Guest Blogger Bill Kiernan

Music: The Yardbirds – I’m Not Talking (if you only understood the irony here!)

Oh boy do we have a special treat today! Good pal and guest blogger, Bill Kiernan, has decided to share some of his secrets for homemade brewing.  He’s been doing this for a few years now out of his home in LI and recently, he made a batch to celebrate James’ birthday (We called it Jamesonian IPA).  Please enjoy his musings on home brewing and feel free to comment!

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On Long Island, the spring fumbles in this year and I find myself brewing an IPA for James’ birthday. Any excuse to brew is welcomed, and when it’s for a friend, well, insert mush. There are varieties to home brewing, from stove top with a big pot to developing a veritable nano brewery in your garage, I find myself safely wedged into a bracket of the “want to make a good beer” but do not wear my “beeriodic table of Alements” shirt while doing so.  I would prefer to allow you to establish a meaning of the previous analysis.

Here, take a drink: an IPA is a pleasurable beer, especially during the spring and summer. India Pale Ale has unique histories, and one would say histories dependent on whom you speak with: read online and you will learn history of IPA rife with luck of shipwrecks and landlubbers loving the barrels of beer which washed upon shore (I guess I could liken this historical anomaly of human behavior to that first hit from a hypodermic needle that washed ashore on Rockaway); ask your local know it all craft beer distributor “so they made the IPA to survive the voyage from Britain to India?” and he’ll look at your forehead as though a piece of your brain were waving off the comment as an act of the ass rather than his constituents. Regardless, it’s a good beer, which is generally more bitter than a Pale Ale.  The degree of bitterness is measured in IBU’s which is a cute enough acronym for International Bittering Units, which is such a bold and forbooding measurement, it’s best left at IBU.

The bitterness comes from hops, which are  beautiful cone like vine plants, which, forsooth, New York used to be a Mecca of. There are extensive varieties of hops and even more variety to what they can do to your beer. Depending on which hops you use and when you add them to your boil or your beer as you ferment it your beer could be more bitter than flavorful. Add a variety of hops closer to when you end your boil you get more aroma, typically. Let’s just say it can get pretty complicated. Throw in some toasted oats, orange peels, a sprig of lavender from the garden or some st. johns wort, who knows what could happen.  If you are going to do an all grain brew, as opposed to an “extract” set aside a good part of your day, prepare to smell like some hopped up feign, and double check your equipment.  All grain brewing is not as insane as studying neutrinos in Antarctica but it does require a bit of close analysis and attention.

Start with the grain.

For this IPA, we are using 9lbs of Pale 2 Row malt and 1lb of Carafoam malt.

We are using 3.5 oz of Cascade variety hops and 1 oz of Amarillo variety hops.

All your grains are milled together in such a way that the grain gets cracked but not pulverized.

Heat up about five gallons of water to about 175 degrees. In what is called the mash tun, in this case a large cooler, slowly add your grain and scalding hot water from a difficult to manage gigantic six gallon pot of water. Ideally, your water will loose about 10 – 15 degrees in the transfer to the grain. You want your mixture to be apprx 150- 155 degrees.  You really are creating a mash, and at this temperature saccharization, which is a process that converts the starches in grain to fermentable sugars, occurs. Let it rest for an hour to 75 minutes.  The longer the time, the more sugars extracted. Meanwhile heat up another four gallons of water for the sparge. Yes, the sparge.

Welcome back. When you open the cooler you will smell a rather sweet, malty goodness. You want to quckily raise the temperature to about 165 to wash more of the sugars out of the grain. So to do this, you will add that water, which is hopefully around 190 degrees. Check the temp and do your best to get around the strike temp of 165.  Now allow a couple of minutes to pass to allow the grain bed to settle again.

Now take a small Pyrex or other such glass container and drain some of the beer out then pour is slowly and lightly bAck to the cooler. You are trying to create a flow that is free of grains.

Then begin to drain the cooler into a pot which can hold approximately six gallons. You may get as much as 7 -8 gallons from your sparging, depending on how much water you needed to get the temp.

The boil.

If you have considerable amount you might boil it down some before you start your official boil time. But you should  essentially start with about five or so gallons and boil for approximately an hour.  So with this beer our hop schedule (the time we add hops) looks like this;.

60 min add 1 oz of Cascade

30 min add 1 oz of Cascade

15 min add 1.5 oz of Cascade

At burn out 1 oz of Amarillo

You want to adhere to a schedule for the addition of hops because doing so will create the beer that you are aimming for. You can use a calculator to help you determine the all impressive IBU. For an IPA around the mid 70’s of IBUs  good. The hops added earliest are for bittering, whereas the later additions are for flavor and aroma.

After you have boiled for an hour with the addition of your hops at scheduled times, it’s time to cool down. Most home brewers have a chiller which is really a copper coil that cool water runs through. You want to be sure that anything you put in your beer after you stop boiling has been sanitized.

After your beer ha cooled down you want to aerate your beer, usually by pouring it back forth several times using the tub you will ferment in. Now simply add your yeast, sprinkling it on top, close up your fermenter (in this case a five gallon restaurant grade plastic tub with an air lock.  After several weeks the yeasts have eaten all the sugars and pooped out alcohol.

Look, go to these websites for some more specific instructions. You can do this. http://www.homebrewinginstructions.com/

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Filed under Beverage, Drinks, Food Anecdotes, General Rantings, How to..., Recipes

Did you know?

The  General Greene, 229 dekalb ave. brooklyn, ny 11205  tel.(718) 222-1510

Hi all…did you know The General Greene has a grocery?? I went to the restaurant yesterday only to find the back of the space totally revamped. I spoke with Tina, the manager, and she let me know they will be converting the entire stock in this four month old space to feature – get this – only local items. It’s a small space but well stocked. There is a selection of cheeses and meats, local produce, a large selection of Asian ingredients, and some semi-prepared foods (made specifically for small spaces and few eaters – genius!) Stay tuned because it will soon be a CSF stop. It will also serve as a pre-order pick up space for a certain local/sustainable focused butcher shop. 😉

http://fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/the-generals-goodies-to-go/#more-27967

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Grandma’s Wedding Cakes – Sweet Thursday

Music: Famous Blue Raincoat – Leonard Cohen

My grandmother, Rose, is a domestic goddess of mythic proportion in my mind.  She could do everything.  She made dresses for my mother that I am still able to wear.  She hosted dinners for over 50 people on a weekly basis. Everything she created in the kitchen was extraordinary and the best I’ve eaten  – even just spaghetti with meatballs (which was really the only thing I ate as a kid, earning me the nickname “the spaghetti wrangler”).  She hosted pea parties where only dishes with peas were served (and it wasn’t gross!).  She left her Christmas tree up all year long.  She could knit an afghan, read a book and watch “Days of Our Lives” all at the same time. She had a built-in brick oven in her kitchen.  She used to buy me gold lamé bathing suits and took me to the diner with her friends.  Maybe it was her special Grandma touch, but she could do no wrong.

She also used to make the most remarkable wedding cakes.  I was sorting through some old photographs with my mother this weekend and we found these pictures of cakes she made in the late 60’s to the early 80’s.  They aren’t in the greatest condition but you’ll get the picture.  These are the wedding cakes of yore – you’ll be hard pressed to find a baker who still makes them like this (except for maybe in the Bronx?) and, although, it’s not necessarily an aesthetic that’s stood the test of time – you can certainly appreciate the artistry that goes into them.  They have electric fountains and angels and sugar roses for crying out loud!  I don’t know who they belonged to.  I wish I did.  Even though they were promptly eaten on someone’s wedding day I am happy that I can share them with you here.

My Parents' Wedding Cake

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Filed under Dessert, Food Anecdotes, General Rantings, Sweet Thursday

AND we’re back….

Hi there. Been awhile. How’ve you been?

We took a couple days to recover from our eating frenzy in SF but we’re happy to be cooking and back on track.  I don’t have a recipe for you today but I have some lovely food pictures of the weekend we spent in the Hamptons with our great friends.  Happy Birthday Melissa!

About 20 of us rented a mansion for a Big Chill-esque weekend (I’ve never seen this movie but apparently someone dies, hence the get-together…thankfully that wasn’t the case for us but because of the storm, this house was the perfect setting for a horror film so there was the potential for a kinda “big chill” on our hands…).  We had a BBQ/Pot-Luck Thanksgiving Dinner on Friday night. Saturday night  The Clam Man of Southampton came to the house and created a good ol’ fashioned clam bake for us complete with oysters, lobsters, steamers, mussels and baked potatoes.

The best thing to do with a group of late 20 somethings/early 30 somethings (besides totally age yourself in your own blog)? Flip cup, charades, Jenga and Beatles Rock Band.  Man, I’m really setting us up for some gore.

An unreal baked potato cheese thing - who made this??? I can't remember...

Meats

Pork Tenderloin

Pre-Mashed Cauliflower

Sweet Potato Casserole

Baked by Melissa Mini Cupcakes

Clam Bake

Lobsters

Mussles n' Stuff

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Filed under Fish, Food Anecdotes, General Rantings, Pork, Sides, Sunday Dinner, Travel Spot

Emily’s Post

EMBARRASSING DIFFICULTIES

If food is too hot, quickly take a swallow of water. On no account spit it out! If food has been taken into your mouth, no matter how you hate it, you must swallow it.  It is offensive to take anything out of your mouth that hs been put in it, except dry fish bones and fruits pits (think Heathcliff).  If you choke on a fish bone, leave the table quickly (sooo…you’re saying risk health for etiquette? I like!).  To spit anything whatever into the corner of your napkin is too nauseating to comment on. It is horrid to see anyone spit skins on a fork or into the plate, and is excusable only if you get a bad clam or something similar into your mouth.  Even then the best – because least noticeable – method is to take it from your mouth in your fingers – thumb underneath and four other fingers forming a screen over whatever it is, from lips to plate.
Peaches of other very juicy fruits are peeled and then eaten with knife and fork, but dry fruits, such as apples, may be cut and then eaten in the fingers. NEVER wipe hands that have fruit juice on them on a napkin without first using a finger bowl, because fruit juices make injurious stains (This is true, my dry cleaner just told me about “invisible” stains, or what one might call an oxymoron. Unless Emily is in on the dry cleaning prices racket).

I chose this entry because I was reminded of the time that I was dining at Korean restaurant with about 15 friends.  I was sitting across the table from a friend who reached into my plate to grab a piece of shrimp (which I knew she didn’t like from the get go) and stuffed it in her mouth.  A second later she spit the half chewed crustacean onto her plate and proclaimed “YUCK that was DISGUSTING”.  She was, in fact, raised by wolves…but this entry reminds us that, when dining with friends, one should to keep their food opinions to themselves (and also their spit) because I have to say, there is NOTHING ruder than sharing your opinion about a meal a friend is also enjoying. 

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Filed under Emily Post, Etiquette, General Rantings