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AJ12754

Cook's Illustrated: Yea or Nay?

I am completely meh on CI. I may be shallow but I find the aesthetics of the magazine off-putting and only pick it up if a headline grabs me --maybe once a year or less. I think the last one I bought had an article on adding flavor to the no-knead bread (Jim Lahey) recipe the NYT printed.

I like a magazine that makes me want to cook and eat, not one that offers to help me conduct an experiment to solve a problem I'v never had.

What's Your Favorite Food Novel?

Not entirely a "food novelist" but I love the way food reveals aspects of character in every one of Laurie Colwin's novels. Especially Happy All the Time.

And of course, the wonderful scene in a A Little Princess when tired and lonely little Sara Crewe opens the door to her now warm and cozy attic room and discovers a warm meal waiting for her.

The importance of a good knife.

Wishing you a long and happy life together!

Nothing -- no cookbook, no cooking tip from a buddy, no cooking show I ever watched -- ever made me enjoy cooking more than the first time I used a really good sharp knife. It's a wonderful thing.

I love my magnetic knife strip almost as much.

Whatcha cookin' today ??

Well --we (my cooking buddy and I) were going to make dandelion jelly today. It took about 2 minute to realize we had no patience for the prep involved.

So we switched to spice beer jelly. Lovely aroma while cooking, beautiful color in the jars, subtle spicy sweetness. Yummy.

Why do people think Whole Foods is so expensive?

I am definitely a Whole Foods girl ... mostly because I love shopping in a clean, well-lighted place, but also because it is the most convenient store for me -- there are two of them within about a mile of my house.

I really enjoy the produce section and the cheeses and breads. I usually have a nice butter from there for slathering on bread. I love the grain and bean bins. I'll pay more for good eggs. It is the only place I buy chicken and I am often very happy with what's behind the fish counter.

On the other hand, I much prefer the beef and lamb at Costco. If I am at Costco, I also pick up whatever produce looks good there -- they have recently been carrying these "artisanal" lettuces that are both beautiful and really flavorful. I always pick up a big bag of spinach there, onions, citrus, coffee, and maybe some bread. Costco is also my go to store for chicken stock and frozen fish (usually just the tilapia and tuna) for weeknight meals. On the other hand, I don't care for the olive oil or butter at Costco.

I am completely uninterested in the beauty products and prepared or convenience foods in either store. Other than the breads, I am underwhelmed by the quality of the baked goods at both Costco and WF.

I generally dislike TJs although I will run in for a selection of olive oils if I am driving by (it's not really close by); otherwise I pick up a large bottle of Colavita at my local A & P where I also buy my Land o' Lakes butter for baking, other dairy, and staples like flour and sugar.

Ume Plum Vinegar

I did exactly the same thing and I haven't mine yet either so I'll be interested in ideas as well.

Foods everyone seems to like but you just can't get into....

Bacon. Fried. On a plate. With o rwithout eggs.

I am fine with bacon chopped up and tossed in a pan and used to add flavor to a sauce or a braise. Even on a BLT. Fine.

But plain old bacon on a plate. Nope.

Easy Fast Dinner Recipe.

Spaghetti, butter, parmesan, dried basil, S&P.
OR
Spaghetti, butter, EVOO, romano, lots of pepper.
Side salad and a glass of a nice white wine.

America's Next Great Restaurant: anyone still watching?

I watched it once -- not my cup of tea.

Haven't Had It, But Want To Try It!

@traveller -- Lucky you -- we recently got back from our first trip. We had a very pleasant experience with every aspect of our trip. We were a little worried about the "friendliness" question, but we needn't have been. I was worried about making reservations by phone in my recently refreshed high school french, but everyone was very kind and we ate very well.

One of our favorites -- for both the friendliness of the service and the quality of the meal was a place near the Luxembourg Gardens called La Ferrandaise. It was our first night in Paris and the friendly reception and warm atmosphere alleviated any worries we'd had about French rudeness.

We selected most of our restaurants from Alex Lobrano's Hungry in Paris, which I read cover to cover before leaving and really enjoyed. He definitely covers things like the kind of service to expect.

My husband's favorite place was Aux Lyonnaise -- he will be talking about the pike quenelles in crayfish sauce for the rest of our lives.

Now -- what have I not tried that I want to try? Among other things, sorrel (I want to make Julia's sorrel soup).

Rant: Enough With The Truffle Oil Already

You lost me with the opening analogy. Tired of raunch whether it's here at SE, in a thirty minute "sit-com" (always some variation of the same "sit" with next to no "com"), between the covers of the New Yorker (in an article describing the new female raunch films -- "yes ladies, men will want to see you drunk, slutty and stupid"), or coming out of Snooki's mouth.

Watching Mildred Pierce?

The LA Times had a pretty good article on how the food and food prep scenes were done.

http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2011/03/pies_chicken_tom_colicchio_why_1.php

Even though I am not watching this, I am starting to badly want a peach pie.

Dandelion Jelly/Wine

I don't know if it is good since this will be my maiden voyage into dandelion land. But the way it was described it is supposed to be sweet -- here is the link to the recipe I'll be using.
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/17/urban-forager-dandelion-wine-no-jelly/?scp=1&sq=dandelion%20jelly&st=cse

Dandelion Jelly/Wine

I am using a dandelion jelly recipe from the NY Times of about a year ago -- someone in the comments section gave directions on making the wine. Apparently it makes a really nice delicate dessert wine.

Dandelion Jelly/Wine

Different strokes I guess -- I loved it and read probably six other books by Bradbury. On the other hand -- hated every page of the Vonnegut I was assigned. But now I am far afield.

Watching Mildred Pierce?

Joan Crawford won an Oscar fot it. When Joan Crawford was good, she was very very good indeed. Unfortunately, she got miscast a lot.

I don't have HBO but even if I did I can only do one big miniseries at a time and I am committed to The Killing on AMC.

Should Your Restaurant Take Reservations?

I understand the restaurant's point of view, but I find that I don't have much tolerance for waiting at the bar much beyond 15-20 minutes. But what I am looking for in a night out is, I suppose, a little different from what the majority of restaurant patrons (other than Serious Eaters perhaps) are looking for.

I prefer cooking at home and we only eat out once a month or less. When we do, I pick a place we've been wanting to try and it is generally at a higher rather than lower price point which is more affordable since we go out so seldom. We are there for the food and wine not the scene (we stopped being cool aeons ago), and look to order things (both food and wine) we want to try at home.

At that price point, I expect to be able to make a reservation and to be seated within 15-20 minutes of that time. I am not interested in spending more than that length of time at the bar as I don't want my palate dulled by alcohol beforehand. I'm not much of a drinker anyway beyond a glass or two of wine with dinner.

Do we miss out on some things? Yes -- e.g. I'd love to try April Bloomfield's new place but it's not going to happen unless and until they take reservations.

Learning to cook

http://college.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/

I am on a mailing list for PW and they just sent me an announcement about this forthcoming book -- by two authors of the above college cooking website. Might be of interest.

What do you look for in a food blog?

I think I've seen this post before. Not a post similar to it. This EXACT post -- same title, same wording, even the same poster maybe? I'm not sure butI think so.

Chipotle's Chelsea Location: Best Quality-Per-Dollar Ratio In The City

Where Nate goes I will follow -- his cooking demo (and the food he prepared) at Macy's was stellar.

New Easter side dishes?

This salad -- posted here at SE last year -- tastes like spring to me. Really good and seasonal.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/06/dinner-tonight-shaved-asparagus-pea-and-prosciutto-salad-recipe.html

What food/wine pairings have you really enjoyed?

We were in Paris in November and ate at a tiny bistro in the 6th, Le Timbre. We had not planned to have the cheese to finish but the elderly French couple seated next to us seemed so happy with their choice (Montgomery Cheddar and a sweet golden brown sherry) that we made a snap decision ... and couldn't have been happier. Since returning home, I have not been able to get Montgomery cheddar but have paired the sherry with other "home-grown" aged cheddars and been happy.

Thanks for starting this thread -- I always enjoy hearing about pairings that work.

Mike or Richard ?

I would rather have eaten Mike's food.

I hope Richard is more mentally stable than the show's editing would lead me to believe.

Video: New Skittles Ad, Cute Cat and Weird Man Involved

Ugh. I didn't even like the cat part.

Boxed Convenience foods I have never used.

I never use cake mixes (brownies yes, cakes no), canned soup or vegetables, or boxed mashed potatoes. I stopped using bottled salad dressing a few years ago just because it's fun (and fast) to come up with my own vinaigrettes.

On the other hand, I could have Kraft macaroni and cheese for lunch everyday. And those Madras lentils are a pretty fine lunch as well.

Dandelion Jelly/Wine

I thought it highly probable that someone here at Serious Eats had made jelly or wine from dandelions, so ...

Can the dandelion fans here tell me if it is necessary to do the foraging and cooking on the same day? If they can be gathered a day or so in advance, what's the best way to store them? With stems in water? Or blooms off the stems and placed in a bowl in the fridge? Or some other way?

Last year, the dandelions seemed to be here and gone almost overnight and I missed the window ... I'd hate to miss it again.

For Carla (Top Chef) Fans...

Thought you might be interested in seeing some of her modeling photos from years past. Lovely woman.

http://www.styleite.com/media/carla-hall-modeling-photos/?pid=4911#image

Cookbooks you love ...but don't use?

I love cookbooks -- old or new, pictures or no pictures, huge compendium or single subject. So I have many more than I can really cook from on a regular basis. Still, I am resolved to cook more from these books in 2011 and was poring over a selection yesterday ... when it occurred to me, some of the books I fell in love with in the store, I have almost never cooked from since the day the book came in the front door.

For me, one such book is Dorie Greenspan's latest -- it's beautiful and I love to look at it and read it, but have only actually made two things (although the honey-spiced madeleines are on tap for today finally). Until recently (and thanks to the cook-the-book challenger at the cookbooker site), I often pulled out the Zuni Cafe book to read, but had only made a few soups from that book.

Others have surprised me by becoming a book that I cook from pretty often, e.g, the new NYT cookbook. Another is Melissa's Clark's latest. And a book called The Cheese Course that I pull off the shelf at least once a week.

So my question is:

Are there cookbooks that you fell in love with at the store that you use less than you expected? Are there books that have unexpectedly become "old reliables"?

Another Rookie Mistake I Wish I'd Stop Making

Yet again tonight I made a mistake I must have made 100 times before -- skimming rather than really reading the recipe BEFORE I start cooking. Which got me to thinking about the cooking lessons/tips I really wish I'd taken to heart earlier -- the ones that could have saved me time/expense/frustration ... or, alternatively, the one that could have made my cooking more enjoyable with better results. Lessons like sharpening knives regularly and honing before every use...like how surprisingly satisfying it is to make your own stocks and how great they make your house smell and your dishes taste ... like paying attention to what's in season. So -- kind of following on the recent thread about how people learned to cook, I thought I'd ask what lessons people wish they had learned and/or taken to heart earlier in their cooking education.

This Week in Recipes

  • Banana Bread Muffins: These muffins taste just like the classics—you'd never guess they're also vegan and gluten free.
  • Valentine's Treats, Redux: Want to make something for your valentine but sick of the usual chocolate, heart-shaped fare? Try one of these five non-lame treats.
  • Valentine's Day Cocktails: Whether you're feeling bitter about this holiday or sweet, Maggie Hoffman has a cocktail to suit your taste.
  • Retro Recipe: Have a little fun this weekend by remembering all those green bean casseroles you ate in your youth. Now have even more fun eating this gourmet version.
  • Parents and Kids:You'll eat up this spiced carrot and walnut bread. In fact, your kids might like helping out almost as much as you enjoy eating the results.
More