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Ask the Profussor – Falling Down

October 5, 2011
tags: ,

It’s time for another mega marathon session of Ask the Profussor. Once again I have pushed off the task of answering your questions until the pile of queries has become impossibly large.

The past few weeks have been madness. If you haven’t heard, I’m judging All Over Albany’s Tournament of Pizza for the third year in a row, and am thrilled to be a part of the judging panel. There was also the opening of the new ShopRite in Niskayuna which I covered for AOA in addition to my most recent (and unexpected) Eat This!

Still, I’m committed to making sure everyone gets the answers they seek. Just remember if you want ensure a response, your comment must contain a question mark.

Okay. Here we go.

Ellen Whitby really wanted to get my attention:
Huddled naked in a closet hoarding bread? Food coloring in challot? Yikes…what is this world coming to? I have an amazing recipe for challah…If you’d like, I can invite you to join me the next time and that would be a great incentive to bake. Or I can just give you a few of them. Let me know?
PS Did you notice the 4 question marks?

I totally noticed the question marks. There is food coloring in almost everything. You know what oddly doesn’t have food coloring? Danimals. Those would be the Dannon yogurts marketed to kids, and their parents. Good for them. Maybe others will follow their lead.

And if you ever want to give me some home baked challah, you don’t have to ask.

Separately Ellen Whitby also wondered:
Is there no limit to what you can do?

Oh, I have limits. I’m just very good at making sure to avoid going anywhere near them. For example, I have no patience for baking with young children. It seems like a recipe for disaster. So I won’t even bake with children nearby. You can never be too careful.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness was suitably amused with a post title:
Y’know, you made my day just with the entry title. Bacon flambé will turn your brain around?

But Jenh718 must not have clicked on the link to launch the music:
I’m far too lazy and lack the equipment to make my own bacon but it sounds delicious. Add sugar and flambe? Even better, I am sure. Now where does the gold lame come in? The picture in my head is most scandalous…

For those who missed the joke on the original bacon flambé post, here’s the link again to the They Might be Giants song. Now whenever John sings “Purple toupee” substitute that with bacon flambé. Then smile.

Sandra Foyt has $100 burning a hole in her pocket:
So where can I find this pound cake of the stars? I’m headed back to LA this Fall, and I’m curious.

The word from my special lady friend in Los Angeles is that the baker has left California. SJ writes, “She moved years ago to NC to marry some dude she met on match.com.” Bummer dude.

BradenRussom must think I get out to wine festivals all the time:
Ever make it to Festa Vino at Siena?

No. Actually it is quite difficult to get me out at all. I know my recent level of activity suggests otherwise. But unless I’m working an event, I am loath to deal with the sea of humanity.

Mike Sullivan hates Dunkin’ Donuts too:
Damn it, it’s a donut!! How can you so badly screw up deep fried dough with sugar on it?!!!!?

Brother! Now all you need to do is bring in a box of donuts from Bella Napoli or The Cookie Factory and start spreading the gospel of better breakfast treats.

North Country Rambler seemed a bit surprised by something I do with XV Olive Oil:
Not sure I agree with all of your comments about choosing EVOO though. Drink it? It’s meant to be used with food, and different styles go better with different foods.

To be clear, I only drink it when I’m evaluating the oil. I don’t drink it for pleasure at home. From there, I consider the oil’s flavor profile and how it will work with different foods and preparations. And I do the same for balsamic vinegar too. The best balsamic I ever had was dropped on the meaty part of the back of my hand, in-between the thumb and forefinger, for me to lick off. It was amazing.

Separately channeling Jerry Seinfeld the North Country Rambler wrote:
Anybody else noticed how many of Daniel’s posts have “rant” in the tag? #Whassupwitdat?

I have, and I’ll tell you why that’s the case. It’s because I have a lot of very strong opinions on a lot of subjects surrounding food. And there are a lot of shenanigans happening with food producers that get me really hot under the collar. Really, I need to learn how to let things go. But this isn’t a new problem. Hopefully, at the very least, it’s occasionally mildly entertaining.

Ellen Whitby had a suggestion for a kids birthday party:
How about a taking the kids to a bowling alley?

If the kids get out of hand, you can always go to the bar for a round of Caucasians.

Britin F. had a helpful suggestion about timing my posts about drinking:
Perhaps Friday night, before wine-drinkers are heading out to the stores to stock up for the weekend or going out to dinner, might be better timing for your wine posts?

It might be. But dammit, everyone should have at least six bottles of wine on hand. EVERYONE. Wine isn’t something to run out for when you need it. That’s crazy talk. I’ll need to expand on this soon. Maybe on a Wednesday.

Ellen Whitby had some suggestions for a topic I don’t cover often enough:
Now how about some posts about chocolate?

I really don’t do a lot on chocolate. Here’s the executive summary. Buy good chocolate. Look for Fair Trade labels, because there is a lot of really bad stuff that goes on behind the scenes to get you your chocolate chips and mocha lattes. Seriously, unless you work on Wall Street, it would probably make you cry if you saw it in person.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness has doubts about both HBR and Bill Cosby:
Pepsi is sweeter? Really? I’ve always tasted Pepsi as more purely cola-tasting, while Coke tastes very sugary to me, very sweet. Maybe I have weird taste buds.

They are both very sweet. Both use acid to mask their sweetness, otherwise they would be completely unpalatable. Now the Pepsi Challenge was done before the switch to New Coke. And if you follow the crazies, they say the current (post new-coke) Coke does not taste the same as the stuff made in the past. So perhaps today the facts on the ground are different.

Is it just me, or did Deanna of Silly Goose Farms just offer to make me a cake:
I had to laugh at the carrot cake quip (though I generally agree with everything else you say). Just carrot cake, eh? Guess you haven’t had my carrot cake :-)

It wasn’t so much that it was carrot cake, but rather that it seemed painfully obvious that the carrot cake in question was purchased food-service-grade carrot cake. I love a good carrot cake, and I can’t wait for you to bring me one of yours.

Burnt my Fingers is trying to pin me down:
Nearly a year later, I don’t believe that the Profussor has answered the challenge to name his own favorite Islay. Aar, and ye talk like a pirate day has passed once again. If I pose this is a question will ye answer? Profusser, what is ye favorite Islay?

You have to ask in the form of a question and use correct punctuation. Otherwise it’s not actually a question. It’s more like an open-ended statement. Aren’t you a writer?

In all honesty it’s been a long time since I’ve had a bottle of Islay around the house. If I were to go out and buy one today, I’d probably reach for the Ardberg 10, although the Laphroaig 10 holds a lot of sentimental value. It’s hard for me to say it is a favorite since there are so many scotches from the region I have yet to try.

I’m not entirely sure what Albany Jane was going for with her commentary here:
“Steely Dan”, I’d have never guessed. Fussy from the get-go, eh?

I might have felt better about the nickname if its origin wasn’t the name of a vibrator in the book “Naked Lunch” written by William Burroughs. No joke. Look it up.

Whitefish salad with red onions weighs in on brunch and bagels:
Bagels are not a “brunch”; they are a staple. Or am I too ethnocentric?

I think a lot of people from a lot of ethnicities consider bagels a staple. But while all this refined white flour might be delicious, it’s really more of a treat than an everyday food. Especially in their current jumbo-sized incarnations. Bagles have morphed into monsters.

Alan Ilagan must think I’m some half-cocked looney:
PS – What would you have done if I had ordered it with bacon? [ducks]

Duck bacon? I’ve got no problem with bacon on a bagel. You want to make an open-faced BLT on a good bagel, with everything in proper proportion? It sounds fantastic.

Bill Swallow was dropping beer knowledge left and right:
pumpkin beer – did you know many don’t contain pumpkin at all, rather just pie spices?

I had no idea. This is why I need you in my life. For the most part root beer doesn’t have roots in it anymore either, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

Jon in Albany is tempting me into dangerous waters:
If you really want to make wine more accessible to your followers, why not have Fussy Little Tastings? One possibility would be to work with a restaurant and arrange a tasting. Maybe $15 to $20 a head for a variety of wines and some paired appetizers.

Oh I want to do tastings, but doing anything with booze in the state of New York is like playing with fire. I’m even nervous for the local food swaps where people trade boozy things. The liquor police can be really mean and vindictive.

Working with a restaurant or some other place that actually holds a license with the state seems like the only sensible plan. But then you often encounter their significant mark ups. Maybe there is some other creative solution. Or perhaps I can find a restaurant or bar that will really work with me on this. Thanks for the push.

Jennifer must be in cohoots with Alan Ilagan:
Who is going to bring the Box ‘o’ Joe from Dunkin Donuts???? *ducks*

Seriously? What is with all the ducking? I’ll say this now. Bad coffee is better than no coffee.

Tonia has apparently been busy:
Chef Larry is at Jack’s now?

He is. And the guy Larry left to run the Brown Derby has now gone to Price Chopper corporate headquarters to make sandwiches in their cafeteria. No joke. The new Brown Derby guy used to be the chef at Panza’s up by Saratoga. But I tried A.J.’s cooking at Wine and Dine for the Arts, and was far from impressed.

Mr. Dave had fond remembrances of a long ago meal at Jack’s Oyster House:
Went to Jack’s after my High School graduation (among many other times, this one sticks out in my mind). I had London Broil. Do they still have London Broil?

It wasn’t on any of the menus that I saw. So I guess some things do indeed change at Jack’s.

C joins the ranks of those looking for a tour that will never happen:
What about a Tour de Burrito, has that been suggested yet?

There are just too many variables in a burrito. The only choice in cider donuts is sugared or plain. And that’s not a choice at all. Burritos have a variety of meat fillings, choices of beans, and a heap of other options that make it unwieldy even if it came in a more manageable size. Maybe there is another option besides a tour that can tackle the burrito question. But ultimately the burritos here aren’t that good for me to actually want to get out there and eat a bunch of them.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness pondered the difficulties of a Tour de Pizza:
How do you pick only four or five places to get pizza, out of all of the good or potentially good places in the Capital Region?

You do it by giving up on trying to cover the entire Capital Region, or even an entire city. A Tour de Pizza would be neighborhood driven. Downtown Albany might be a fun place to start for all those who have to work there every day. The great thing about a tour like this is that it can be done on foot too. Then we can burn off a few of the calories we put away that day.

If Mr. Dave would promise to come out of his hole, I’d give him anything he wants:
Tour de Beer? Are there enough local places brewing their own?

My idea for a Tour de Beer is a bit different. Part of the tour structure involves holding variables constant. So the trick is to drink the same beer at a variety of places. But I’d change it up if it meant getting your participation. Just let me know when you are ready.

Lydia Kulbida had a two-fer:
1) Anyone remember the Engel’s farm stand across from the Desmond? I always had a soft spot for their cider donuts, especially the minis.
2) We’re making our own applejack for the first time this year. Could we be a stop if you plan a “Tour” for that?

1) It always freaked me out, but I never knew they had cider donuts. I didn’t like the idea of crops growing directly underneath the jet fuel exhaust of landing airplanes. Really, it seems like a very bad idea.
2) Anytime you want me to stop by and taste your applejack, just give me a holler. I’ll be right over.

ericstraus was hurt he wasn’t invited to the Jack’s Oyster House luncheon:
How do I get invited to one of these things?? :)

I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out how not to get invited back.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2011 9:54 am

    I agree on the Engel’s farm / jet fuel issue. I am always drawn to farmstands, but was grossed out by the location. If you ever park in that next-door economy lot you’ll find your car covered in a nasty film after a week of sitting there.

    I also get a little skeeved out by the vineyards I’ve seen along the Thruway (down south and out beyond Buffalo). What must all of the motor exhaust do to those crops?

  2. October 5, 2011 12:00 pm

    To be clear, I only drink it when I’m evaluating the oil. I don’t drink it for pleasure at home. From there, I consider the oil’s flavor profile and how it will work with different foods and preparations.

    Exactly, and I regularly bathe in different types of motor oil to determine which is best for my car.

  3. October 5, 2011 5:38 pm

    Bad coffee is better than no coffee.

    Ha. My thoughts exactly. Caffeine is more a necessity than, say, alcohol. (Bad alcohol is NOT better than no alcohol!)

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