There is absolutely no reason to purchase an expensive oyster knife. None. One of the most popular oyster knives is Boston-style 4” Dexter-Russell oyster knife. It’s NSA-certified and can work through a bushel lickety-split. These knives are about $12. It’s also one best-selling oyster knives on the market.
Two major considerations are the length of the blade and comfort level, as Anon answered. Contingent upon the type of oyster you are eating a longer blade may be more appropriate. Likewise, this knife—as you are jabbing it into a shell—should be comfortable. Knife handles are commonly made of wood, horn, plastic, and rubber—the least common. If you’re moderately adventurous, shape the handle to fit your hand although if you’re buying a Dexter Russell a range of handle sizes are blade lengths are available. The knife needs to fit comfortably in your hand lest you stab yourself.
I like to believe that the reason that most people don’t get an expensive oyster knife is because they probably haven’t seen one and probably don’t shuck very often, if at all. Personally, I own a 22 Dexter-Russell, Boston-style with a wooden handle. It was my first oyster knife that I’ve purchased. I own a few others too. Fast forward a few years I’ve discovered the Laguiole and C. Hugo Pott sell oyster knives and range from $80-$210. Is there any reason for me to upgrade? Probably not. Will I? Yes.
It’s true that other knives in my kitchen bring more utility. The sliced, diced, and chopped output of a $10 knife is pretty darn close to that $200 Japanese jobber I own. I’m guessing that most of you spent more than $10 on your 10” chefs knife. Why? Probably because they same reason I’ll be upgrading my oyster knife—it makes me feel good. Truthfully, I’d rather make my own oyster knife. When that day comes, I proudly show it to you.
Grandpa. Please tell me about Farmville.
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One stove. One camera. The sauté station. A few minutes in the Nopa Kitchen.
“Life should be a banquet for all. Pleasure, the only thing to live for.” ~ Oscar Wilde (via @Foodimentary)
Tea arrived in France before England.
Do not add olive oil to the pasta water. It does not prevent pasta sticking. It prevents the sauce sticking to the pasta. Instead, cook your pasta in plenty of water and make it salty. Romans make their pasta water water salty as the ocean. Might you do the same?
Are pasta pots necessary? I say “No,” but one you should at least have a 8-12 quart stock pot on hand. Or, whip out the dutch oven. I love using my Paul Bocuse Staub oven stew pot. For small portions, I employ my two quart cast iron Staub. It works perfectly and it never boils over.
Come and get it: Bacon-Infused Old Fashioneds at PDT in the East Village.
Coffee is one of my favorite drinks. However, when my palette tires I switch it up with tea. One of my current teas of choice is Rooibos aka ‘red bush tea.’ It’s herbal and thus caffeine-free.
It tastes fruity and flowery. Magic ingredients I add are milk, brown sugar, and a touch of cinnamon. These liven it up which make it taste closer to traditional Indian chai (which is made from Assam or Darjeeling) if you needed a kick. I find it at my local market for $10-30 (organic) per pound. I can buy rooibos chai too. The notable French tea house Mariage Fréres’ blends Marco Polo Rouge (discussion) at a nail-biting $22 for 100 grams. They also make Thé Rouge Bourbon (rooibos with vanilla)
Did you know that there’s a market for premium ice? If you’ve been pressed to find Arctic Glacier Premium Ice anywhere in your neighborhood, you can order from Gläce Luxury Ice. It tops out at $40 for a bag. The five objets d’art are “perfectly spherical 2.5” diameterice products” (i.e., rounds ball of ice). Act now.
I’ve love soft-boiled eggs for breakfast. They’re like eggs sunnyside up conveniently packaged. Eggs are one of Mother Nature’s most perfect foods—self-contained, edible with myriad uses.
Typically, I lop the (egg) top off and eat plain. Occasionally, I sprinkle them kosher salt. There are other ways to top them. The French designer Phillipe Starck eats them “luxuriously simple” which I advocate when the ingredients are available—in season.
Take three soft-boiled eggs (or Starck-preferred hard-boiled eggs), cut in half; two spread with the gloopy flesh of a sea urchin (oursin in French), two smeared with black caviar, and two dusted with white truffle shavings.
Ingredients: 3 eggs, sea urchine, black caviar, white truffle.
I purchased a pound of prosciutto today for $4. Everyday goodness.
I’ve never ran a restaurant but if I did and it wasn’t making money, I would watch at least one episode of Kitchen Nightmares on Fox to find out how (elementary rules) to make my restaurant shine. This is Restaurant 101. It’s premise is simple: to help a failing restaurant succeed. Led by Gordon Ramsay he’s his classic self. Straight-forward and abrasive yet sincere. In this particular episode, he was called in to turn-around a restaurant, the Handlebar on Long Island, New York. Good food and cleanliness are not in abundance. And a disgruntled and ambivalent owner contributes to the drama.
To bring success to the restaurant Ramsay does the simple and obvious. Clean. Give patrons the (good) unexpected – free food. Timeliness. Good, hot food. Unfortunately, fixing what’s broke is more difficult than that. It’s revealed that the head chef doesn’t want to cook and is overwhelmed by a unmanageable menu. Furthermore, she doesn’t communicate when things aren’t going well. Like so many of the previous nights, this one ends in disaster.
Next, Ramsay’s crew does a complete interior makeover of the Handlebar and christens it Long Island’s first gastropub. The employees give blank looks until the concept was explained. Good food. Reasonable prices. To reopen the Handlebar, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister is brought in to promote the restaurant. Everybody goes on a motorcycle ride and passes out flyers. For the grand reopening, a reduced and simplified menu is presented to a packed house. Experiencing a few bumps, tims goes by, and everybody’s talking and the restaurant is making money.
What did I observe? A few life lessons in action. Hire people with enthusiasm. Find people that are inspired and passionate. Realize that everyone’s working for themselves and you should appreciate them. When you’re overwhelmed ask for help. Communicate. Learn to delegate. Accept criticism and be willing to change. Listen. Above all else, especially for a restaurant, keep your work areas clean. Pigs are clean it’s just that we don’t allow them to be. Be a proud owner and you’ll attract proud employees.
Note: The producer’s have removed the desire to want to shoot the messenger.
Aged savouries and choice delectables.
Whip & Grind is about sustenance and feeding the senses—dressed liberally with culinary musings.
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