Tuesday, March 11, 2014
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.
LFK has been a bellwether to Portland’s ever ascendant restaurant universe. Yet it’s only been two years since they took over the musty bookshop space on Longfellow Square and fit in so cleverly and uniquely with its male version look of Boho chic.
In the well-tread zone of comfort food, chicken pot pie is clearly a favorite. It’s one of the reasons why I generally roast a large chicken (at least 5 pounds) for the benefit of leftovers in such dishes as pot pie. While the filling is fairly standard, the pastry that wraps it all up, so to speak, is an essential ingredient
What I offer here is a unique method of making a savory pastry dough. I came across it many years ago while researching an article on English pastry dough that I wrote for Gourmet Magazine.
I no longer have the issue in which it appeared (sometime in the early 1980s), and even after a daunting internet recipe search, archive accessibility was limited.
Professional bakers and cooks generally weigh their ingredients in pounds, ounces or metrics rather than fumble around with measuring cups and spoons. But the United States is virtually the only country (besides Liberia and Burma) that hasn’t switched to the decimal system of weights and measures.
I thought of this recently while I was preparing a cake. The recipe called for 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour for the batter. After filling the 1 cup measure with flour I had to mess with two other measuring cups, the 1/2 and the 1/4 cup measures respectively, to get the quantity called for. Had the recipe given the equivalents in ounces or grams I could have measured it very easily and quickly using my kitchen scale.
And what if I wanted to divide those measurements in half? Way too complicated beyond my off-the-cuff mathematical abilities. With metrics that are measured on a simple kitchen scale, it’s a snap to figure it out if you knew the gram or ounce equivalents.
Here we go again. Another success story of a new restaurant surging with a voracious following in its first hours of operation.
If you haven’t heard, Central Provisions is up and running—and it’s the proverbial runaway success right out of the gate. I stopped in on Night One (Tuesday) on my way to dinner nearby, and the place was jammed with patrons looking as though they’d been going there all their lives, sporting happy-go-lucky grins with their rears firmly planted on seats at the bar and tables upstairs and down.
When my friend Steve Quattrucci agreed to share his mother Marie’s Sunday sauce recipe to include in this series on red sauce, he did so under one condition: that he be allowed to taste test my version of the sauce to make sure that I captured the essence of this old family recipe.
The Quattrucci family has long held sway in Portland food circles amongst the Italian-American community. Or as Quattrucci relates, “Memories from my childhood are filled with smells and scenes from busy kitchens and tables full of the most delicious food you can imagine."
In the late 1930s, for instance, his grandparents, Tessie (aka Nana Q) and Guy Quattrucci, operated the popular Balboa Café on India Street. The block where the restaurant stood was torn down in the 1950s to make way for Jordan’s Meats—later razed for today’s Hampton Inn.