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Virgin Food Experiences

Tell me yours... every last detail!

I just, for the first time, ate a pierogi. I made them myself. Potato, cheese and chive sauteed in lemon sage brown butter with bacon and onions. Crispy little half moon heavens... where have they been all my life?

I was just casting about the house avoiding vacuuming and appreciating the long awaited rain when my dusty Gourmet book called my name and demanded attention. I thought - I am going to open the book and if I have the goods (for the most part), I am going to make it. I prayed it would not land on this salmon in a puff pastry, held my breath and... pierogis!

I wish there were leftovers.

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  1. I like this topic - I'm surprised you haven'y gotten any responses.

    Anyhow - thanks to a different post discussing the Rueben sandwich I plan to lose my Ruben virginity tonight!!
    Whoohoo!
    I'll let you know how it goes! (and if has mustard or Thousand Island!)

    4 Replies
    1. re: NellyNel

      I saw you went for Turkish! Do not forget to reschedule that rueben! I hope you are going to pan fry it! I like 1000 Island. Then you will have to go for a Rachel which is made with pastrami instead of corned beef.

      What made the chix kebab sand so good?

      1. re: Sal Vanilla

        Hi Sal -
        Gosh - I wasn't going to make a homemade one - so I don't know if it will be pan fried!!
        I was going to order one from a diner. I was going into Brooklyn last night, so I figured it would be a good place to find a good one.
        However, I passed by a little falafel/ shish-ka-bob place, and it caught my eye.

        I grew up in Brooklyn, and I took for granted all the amazing food possiblites!
        I now live in Jersey city, which isn't too far from Bklyn. but a world away culinarily speaking.
        Anyhow, I've really missed good Greek/Turkish food, so I had to grab the ring and try one.
        The first thing that impressed me was that he had a ref. case with only a few pre-set up ka-bobs and in a seperate case, and in another one, he had trays of fresh delicious lookings salads and such. He put my chicken on the grill when I ordered it.
        He took out pita bread which was obviously HOMEMADE. I have never in all my life seen homemade pita at one of thses places.
        THEN he asked me to point out whatever I wanted in the sandwich.
        Anything - he said "Don't be shy"
        So I choose Baba, lettuce, fried eggplant and tahini.
        The fried egplant was fresh and thick and incredible, and the man did not charge me a penny for any of the additions.
        When I got it home - it was still warm, the bread was so incredible - it was thick - at least an inch thick - and just soaked enough with the tahini and baba ghanosh. But the chicken itself was the star - it was fresh, and tasty and juicy and simply the most delicious chicken.

        My grandma is in the hospital, nearby so I will be passing by this place again - I can't wait either!

        I'll also have to search out a good place to have my first Ruben - I want the experience to be just as chowworthy!

        1. re: NellyNel

          Oh my god that made my mouth water reading that. You were not shy indeed! I cannot believe you made it home with it!

          Hope grannie is recovering well.

          1. re: Sal Vanilla

            he hee! I was really tempted to dig in on the train!

            Thank you so much for your kind thoughts!

            Cheers!

    2. Just had frogs legs for the first time the other night. A friend ordered them at a Vietnamese restaurant and I had to try. I really enjoyed them. There's definitely some truth to the "tastes like chicken" cliche, but somewhat firmer and easier to get off the bone. Plus the sauce was great.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Emmmily

        That is a good one! What was the sauce? If you get a chance try them fried and with a garlic green olive and wine sauce. My dad used to frog gig in the everglades when I was a kid. He always fried them in a mix of flour and cornmeal after giving them a milk bath.. When they are raw and ready to cook they look like a fat butted bow legged woman. we used to serve them occasionally in our restaurant. I was always surprised when they sold out.

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          My friend ordered them so I wasn't really paying attention at the time, but according to menupages.com they were "frog legs with chili & lemon grass" (transliterated by MP from the Vietnamese as "Ech Xao Sa Ot," for what it's worth). There was definitely more to it than that; I remember basil, scallions, onions, and bell peppers as well. The legs weren't breaded or fried, just sauteed (I think?), with each leg separated out individually. Mmm, so good though. The restaurant was Nha Trang on Baxter, for NYC hounds. I was always a little wierded out by frogs legs, but having enjoyed these so much I'm anxious to try a French version like the one you suggested. Anybody know a good frog joint in NYC?

      2. This russian Jewboy is plotzing over the fact that you (Sal & Nelly) have never tried either of these wonders of the Polish/ Jewish world before!! Ooh, I so want to make some pierogi's! Have you never tried a Knish? They are a bit of potato and pastry heaven, too!
        I want to hear what you thought of the reuben, Nelly, report back. Here's my virgin food experience (VFE for future posts...) I finally tried an olive that I didn't HATE. It didn't make my tongue seize up, didn't want to spit it out NOW, didn't have that vile, bile, briny, bitter, nasty olive-ness. I'm pretty sure it was a Castelvetrano (sp?), large green, vaguely buttery. Now, I'm not gonna run to TJ's and stock up on these, but, at last I've found an olive I could tolerate if I had to. Isn't that sad? I have tried; REALLY tried to like olives, but I just don't "get" them. Will try to think of more VFE's.... adam

        3 Replies
        1. re: adamshoe

          Hi Adam!

          So sorry to disappoint you but I changed my mind last night and went for Turkish food. (I'm kind of glad I did too because I had the best chicken shish-ka-bob sandwich I have ever had in my entire life - nothing else will-ever compare good)
          ANYWAY - I promise I will try the Rueben soon (maybe tonight??)
          As for Pierogis - oh - these I grew up with yup love 'em
          And Knish - well I am from Brooklyn so yup - love those too....NO mustard!
          I haven't had a good doughy one in years though......mmmmmmm

          1. re: adamshoe

            I have had a knish. I used to beg my mom to get me them when we went to Fedco when I was a little kid. Have you ever had a Jamaican Beef patty? It is like a spicy, crispy knish. So good.

            I wonder if you like pickles or pepperoncini. I have seen other people posting about their hate for olives. Complete bummer really. We plow through those giant costco kalamata jars at a rate of maybe 4 a year. That may explain (partially) the extra layer of human parka I am carrying around.

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              I like most pickled veggies, i.e. green beans carrots, kimchee, but not pickles. (it's a cuke thing....) I like pickle relish on Hotdogs, in tuna or potato salad, just not whole sour pickles. I love finely chopped peperoncini on pizza! Will have to research those jamaican beef patties; they sound really good. adam

          2. We just got back from Seoul; raw sea cucumbers, raw sea slugs, tiny sea shells, silk worm larvae and lady's slipper shell meat. Giant clam too.

             
             
             
             
            11 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Oh my GOD! Thank you for those visuals. I am eating something gooey with crunchies in it and it sort of turned my stomach! ~laughs. I hate to do this to you, but can you tell us what was what on that plate and bowl and what each tasted like and felt like in your mouth? Were any alive? I am especially interested in the bowl. Was that silk worm larvae? it looked similar to my grits with sausage! What in the world is Lady's Slipper?

              Ya know this reminds me of another thread going right now on Chow. About amazement that people have not tried certain foods (OP - Kiwi and Scallops). I wonder if Koreans eat this food often... I wonder if we eat anything that they find curious and maybe slightly revolting (not that revolting would ever stop me... sadly-ish). Great post!

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                In the third photo, top to bottom are (to the best of my memory): sea urchin roe, sea cucumber, lady slipper, sea slug and squirming squid tenticles. The fourth photo is small sea shells where one sucks out the meat. Let me see if I can down load the silk worm larvae. Sorry about the quality of the photos, it was the strange camera or the so ju
                Also a giant clam on a shell fish bake.

                 
                 
                 
                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  I think that was bottom to top yes? Once I took a closer look I was able to identify the urchin. Pretty presentation. I tried to LU lady Slipper. What is that? What does it taste like? I am having trouble fathoming raw sea cucumber. Don't they turn their insides out? How did you manage eating them and what did it look like when you cut into it and what did it taste like? Sorry I am so inquisitive, but well... I am rapt. Lastly, is the first pic on the post to which I am replying - is that shells or larvae?

                  So very Indiana Jones what with all the squirming slippery whatnots! LOVE IT! So brave.

                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                    Yes, bottom to top. Lady Slipper is a mollusk. We find the shell on the beach here in Maine. One shell looks like a tiny lady' slipper. The are about 2". Most of it, except the Urchin tasted like salty rubber bands. The last pick are small sea shells; kust pick and suck. In Vietnam, 42 years ago, I lived on c-rations and Spam in the jungle. I swore theat if I got out alive, I'd eat anything, but c-rats and Spam.
                    I have eaten whale in Norway; baby reindeer chops & reindeer liver soup (reindeer pizza too) in Finland; guinea pig, iguana, capybara, pirana, boa, cow's udder and more in Bolivia, nutria, squirrel, rattlesnake, racoon, squirrel, deer liver, moose burgers, lobster liver (tomally), crab & shrimp roe in the US and dog and live octopus in Korea, previous visit.
                    Not brave, drunk & stupid.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      LOL I love that you kept your promise to yourself... and with such gusto.

                      I was just discussing and then seaching on the web whether anyone ate udders. I speculated that they would make fine vessels for makeshift liquor holders. I was wondering whether you could milk a detached udder. Bolivians... Now I wonder... in a stew, stir fried, stuffed?

                      I am going to get my hubby to scan a pic to post here of my him sucking down a conch's sexual organ. We were in the Bahamas camping/fishing on a 21 cuddy Stamas for a couple months. We ate plenty of cracked conch.

                      I love that photo.

                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                        And here it is... (and another of he and his lobby he snatched while snorkling)

                        The conch meat is on the left (his right), she shell in the other hand and the... conch member... sticking out of his mouth.

                         
                         
                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                          That's not a lobster....that's a MONSTER!!!

                        2. re: Sal Vanilla

                          Udder is part of a charasco, BBQ'd.
                          Conch bergers. Thirty five years ago I dove for abalone near St Maria w/ my cousin's husband. Need a tire iron to pry lose and mallet to soften to eat.
                          Grew up on pig's feet and head cheese.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            On a conch you have to break the suction on the foot. OMG I just went to an excellent abalone site : http://www.marinebio.net/marinescienc... I did not know they were structured that way. My mom used to cook abalone a lot when I was a kid. How could I have not known. Complex little critters!

                            The first time we cleaned a conch... it took us like 2 hours to get them open (after watching and getting instruction from the Bahamian women) and we had thousands of conch shards on the boat. They are amazing! It was pitch dark when we ate. PITCH. Lord knows what we fried.

                            I love pigs feet - pickled or deep fried. Head cheese I cannot do. My grandad used to slaughter cows and made head cheese. My mom (her dad) loves it. They ate squirrels, possum, raccoon yer basic roadkill bounty.

                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                              Your Bahamian adventure sounds amazing!!

                        3. re: Passadumkeg

                          "Not brave, drunk & stupid."

                          LOL - I admire your honsety!
                          No actually I do admire your bravery....I could never be so drunk as to suck down those sea slugs.....good grief!!!

                  2. I popped my virginity cherry....with a cherry last night! For the first time in my life I had a true Michigan Cherry! They were delicious! My neighbor is from Michigan and her mother brought some home for her. She added them to a salad and used them in a dessert. They were delicious!

                    1. A few days ago I slow, long braised kale southern style. When I ate it, it was a cherry popper. I've always cooked any leafy greens quickly! It was good; and I'll be trying this out in different ways in the future.!

                      1. A Manhattan CH I often read had posted one too many recommendations for Taqueria y Fonda la Mexicana. I finally had to try it for myself. I wrestled myself out of my Saturday morning bed and straight into the summer heat, feeling the sun on my neck and hunger burning in my belly. The non-descript taqueria sat mid-block, an unassuming destination after a 20-minute bus ride, nonetheless an oasis in my hunger. "Dame una torta de chorizo. Para llevar."

                        The humid air was already redolent with the scent of garlic and cumin. I had a bare expectation of what a torta might be, some sort of Mexican sandwich, right, but hoped for little more than just something to sate me. The cook's spoon glided from bowl to griddle, dropping a generous portion of adobe-colored meat into a geyser of scent and steam, hurling oil and anticipation into the air. A pool of black beans sat squat, gurgling steadily next to the chorizo as a bolillo roll gaped, waiting to be filled. Ironically, my mouth found itself in the same position.

                        "Una torta. De chorizo? Para llevar!" The torta sat heavily in my hands. I teased back the wax paper, wondering what I would find beneath. It was a submarine, a hoagie, something so familiar and yet that foreign smell rendered it vaguely different. Bite. Flavor. Excitment. The chorizo hit me first, its flavor so fluent, so vibrant on my tongue. Everything before this had been introduction. This was exposition, a fleshing out of flavors and textures. I hurried to chew, excited for my next bite, excited for the next surprise. I saw the cook insulate the torta with a layer of mayo and black beans, better to cement the shredded lettuce in place. But the tomatoes would not long withstand my overeager grasp, squeezing the sandwich like a tube of toothpaste. I rushed to bite in before I lost these rubies of summer and dwelt in ecstasy when I got that perfect bite of avocado, tomato and chorizo. The heat of jalapeƱo pickles hummed on my lips until Oaxaca cheese brought them to their coda.

                        I had grown up for how long amongst Mexicans? I had seen these boring rolls in every panaderia and dull supermercado and yet I had been so ignorant of their potential. I bit and bit, tore into the torta excitedly, through the flurry of lettuce, through every garlicky bite of chorizo and every dancing flavor that enticed my gluttony, not even bothering to chew until hot beans tempered my passion, clinging to my palate, scalding and searing just as the griddle had done to them only minutes earlier.

                        I coughed, the pain biting at the back of my mouth as I vainly tried to blow air to cool the burn. "Huhhhhhh. Huhhhhh. Huhhhh." The sandwich certainly had a little more bite than I expected, but I grasped it ever tightly. Only one of us could emerge from this victorious, and I was determined it was going to be me.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: JungMann

                          Holy - that is readable food porn. I too grew up part of my life in a mexican household and never had a torta (to my knowledge). What is the wrapper? Is it soft and pillowy like a gyro?

                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                            The bread is called bolillo and resembles what would be called on the East Coast a Portuguese roll. They look like miniature baguettes with a fluffy inside and barely crunchy crust.

                            1. My first gustatory epiphany was the smoked oyster I begged from my Grandpa Kuntz, who was enjoying his favorite afternoon snack (I didn't beg for a taste of beer because I already knew I didn't like it). "It's an acquired taste," he observed, while I was rapidly acquiring it. I was about ten at that point, and was now the only other smoked-oyster lover in the family. Being a compulsively fair-minded man, he shared them with me from then on, though of course not equally.

                              Pizza was the next one, though that happened gradually, since the only kind available in that corner of Illinois was a boxed kit from Chef Boy-Ar-Dee. The hammer came down when I had some from Ambrosini's in Terre Haute a year or two later. THEN I finally got it.

                              The last real turning point was sushi, another taste I acquired instantaneously, at Nashville's first sushi bar. It was good enough to draw in the many Japanese tourists, plus the corporate suits from the Nissan plant in Smyrna, and that first bite once again informed me that I'd made the acquaintance of yet another Major Food Group, one I'd been craving and just hadn't known it.

                              I'd be tempted to add dim sum, tripe and other such things to the list, but these are all tastes and flavors and categories of food I grew up with, if not necessarily in that form. I would like to express my appreciation for them, however...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Will Owen

                                How does one snack on smoked oysters? I've always seen them at the market but never knew what to do with them aside from an omelette.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  With crackers or on lightly butter, thinly slced rounds of crusty baguette. or wrapped in fresh lettuce cups. . . I discovered I don't like them warmed (too fishy) when I tried some in a quesadilla.

                              2. Probably the strangest was at a wild game feast.......prarie dog.
                                Stringy, gamey, smelly and not something that I would eat again.
                                Rattle snake breaded and deep fried is wonderful as is Buffalo tenderloin seared in butter.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: wineman3

                                  We had buff tenderloin 2 nights ago, seared in bacon fat, tasty! We used to get excellent Buffalo cheese in Bolivia. Rattlesnake cooked on a stick over a campfire w/ my students in New Mexico.

                                2. Last month, I had chicken hearts at a Brazilian barbecue joint. They were so tiny and chewy, but a real treat.

                                  1. I tried fennel for the first time last night. I know, how could I not have tried fennel before. I like everything and was fully prepared to love it. I really disliked it. It wasn't the anise flavor that did it -- after all, I love licorice and absinthe. I had tossed it with olive oil and S&P and roasted it. Maybe I'll give it another try raw.