I'd like to make a cake for my son's 2nd birthday (tomorrow! where does the time go???). He didn't eat any of his cake at his first birthday, and we don't really have cake in the house very often so I don't think he has any preferences. He does have a fondness for blueberry muffins, though. The only ingredient exclusions are things that are chewy or stick-in-the-teeth, because he doesn't have enough! I wanted to avoid chocolate cake but it's not completely out of the question if someone has a great tried-and-true recipe that's kid friendly.
What do you all think? Too good to be true, or great invention?
Last night we had some friends over, and I tried to make a Blackberry Port reduction to pour over our pork chops. It was very tasty, although nothing like I was hoping for (I imagine the quality of the port has a lot to do with that, and I'll be experimenting!). It seemed like something that would be right up my FIL's alley, and it got me thinking that maybe I could make up a batch to give him as a gift this year for the holidays. Does anyone else make sauces/condiments as presents? I've never home-preserved food before, other than in the freezer of course, so I don't know if I could try canning this or if it would have to be frozen. I'd prefer to make this kind of thing now, before there stops being fresh produce in the markets, so I'm not breaking the bank on ingredients. Any thoughts or suggestions welcome! Here's the recipe I used, found in several different places online so I have no idea whose it actually is:
Beef Tenderloin with Blackberry Port Wine Sauce
4 beef tenderloin steaks, 4-6 ounces each, 1-inch thick
1 large shallot or small onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries, divided
2 cups port wine
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
In a saucepan bring diced shallot, 3/4-cup blackberries, wine and sugar to a boil. Boil gently to reduce wine to 1/2-cup. Strain and set liquid aside. Boil beef stock in a separate pan to reduce by half. This will take approximately 15 minutes. Grill steaks or pan broil in skillet 6 minutes per side. Whisk blackberry and port wine reduction into reduced beef stock. If sauce is too thin, dissolve 1 tsp. cornstarch in water, then stir into sauce and bring to a boil.
Whisk in 1 Tbsp. softened butter. Serve steaks with sauce and garnish with remaining blackberries.
I'm trying to limit my daily caffeine intake, but I love drinking iced tea. Obviously if I'm making it at home I can control the strength of the tea and thereby have an idea what the caffeine content is, but I have no control when I'm eating out. I'm talking run of the mill restaurant black iced tea (most likely Lipton or Nestea or Luzianne or generic) brewed fresh, not bottled or from a soda fountain. Does anyone know of a way of judging tea strength by color or some other method? I know that darker=stronger and lighter=weaker, but some sort of scale would be nice since tea can apparently be anywhere between 40-120 mg per 8 oz serving.
Long before I was aware of the factory-farming reality of most supermarket meats and poultry, I read an article about how veal was produced. The article in question painted a very grim picture, and as I was still in elementary school it made an impact on me. Fast forward 20 years, and I still won't eat veal because of it. This recently came up with my brother, who questioned whether I eat lamb, because the same treatment issues would theoretically apply. I had never made the connection, so I've been looking into it. Wikipedia was helpful in finding out more about veal, but the lamb entry did not shed much light on the treatment aspect, so I'm left unsure. I know there are worse practices out there (foie gras comes to mind as a vivid example), and that even the chicken and beef and pork that we take for granted is raised in outrageous conditions...but how do you know where to draw the line? Where can you find the information you need to make these decisions? And what do you do when your situation doesn't really allow you to "vote with your wallet?"
So looking back through old Talk threads (and adding some of my own) I've come up with a list of recommended restaurants in good ol' Richmond, VA. Most of these I've never been to, some of them I have, and some of them I've never even heard of. Can anyone add to this list, and/or let me know if a restaurant has ceased to be? I know there's been casualties lately. We like to go to new places with our friends and lately have been running out of ideas. We're looking for sit-down places, and any Asian cuisine has probably already been discovered and devoured. ;)
The Hard Shell
The Hill Cafe
1 North Belmont
Buzz & Ned's
Strawberry Street Cafe
I can't stand coconuts. Not at all. Can't stand the flavor, can't stand the smell, none of it. This makes me very sad, because I keep seeing all these delicious looking recipes that call for coconut milk, and I just know I'd end up throwing it away if I tried to make it. So tell me, am I justified in thinking I wouldn't like things that include coconut milk? Or does it not actually taste like coconut? And if my hopes are in vain, could I substitute cream (or something else) in these recipes and have a (obviously inferior) version that's more to my taste?
I cannot for the life of me figure out how to store potatoes. My mom used to store them in the fridge, but somewhere along the line I heard that that was too cold, so it causes some sort of change in the texture/starch/sugars/whatever. But no matter where I put them, my potatoes go bad within a week. Either they turn to mush (which smells really, really bad) or they turn into trees. Is it just that my kitchen isn't cool enough? Isn't dark enough? Needs a magic potato charm?
I have a similar problem with onions and garlic...onions get soft spots and go bad, garlic sends up sprouts and gets all rubbery.
I'd really like to be able to keep these staples on hand...any advice?
They rolled out a new feature for posting recipes in Talk here, and yet I haven't seen many recipes posted. Going back through posts I only found 2 recipe postings, one of which was CJ McD testing it out. Is that a reflection of the fact that people come here to ask questions more than to share recipes, or is there a bug in the new system? I know that hotnpopin tried to post a recipe for me and it hasn't shown up yet.
I love having the feed reader to put all the posts where I can easily see them all, but if I miss even just a couple days I find myself drowning in posts. Is there any way to limit which columns or post types show up in my feed? For instance, I'll never be interested in the hot dog posts, and restaurant reviews for cities I don't live in aren't useful unless I'm planning to visit there.
Anybody know where i can go for help turning those 'back of convenience food box' recipes (prime example: green bean casserole from the cream of mushroom can) into from-scratch? I have several recipes that call for canned soup, even one using "instant" scalloped potatoes, and while I like the flavor it would be great to make them healthier. Short of posting each recipe here and asking for help, are there any resources online for this kind of thing?
I'm the only one in my house who eats fish, and I've been trying to come up with ways that I can prepare it quickly and easily. One of the easiest ways to cook fish is to wrap it in aluminum with flavorings and bake it. My question is, I have frozen filets, and remembering to take them out in advance to thaw has been the biggest problem I have in ever actually eating them...could I make up some of those packets while the fish is still frozen and cook them from there? Has anyone ever done that? I'd love to eat fish more often, but I am VERY forgetful. :) Other cooking fish from frozen ideas also welcome!
I love quinoa, but I'm really tired of using it for a salad. What are some more creative ways of using it?
Also, I prefer to cook it in my electric steamer. The ratio of quinoa to water has been pretty hit or miss so far. Anybody have a tried and true method for steaming?
I've seen lots of posts about regular quiche here, but I can't seem to find any that use puff pastry instead of a crust. Ruby Tuesdays has a quiche with puff pastry that I thought was just awesome, and I'd love to try making it at home. Anybody out there have something like this?
Note: This cheese sauce is gooey and tangy. For a spicier version, substitute half the cheddar cheese with Pepper Jack and add 2-3 minced pickled jalapeños, or to taste. To reheat the sauce, microwave it on high heat, stopping and...
The stuffed peppers I remember from childhood were green, filled with ground beef, rice, and tomatoes, and a staple at church potlucks. Warm, filling, comforting, and starchy—a classic American dish. But Americans aren't the only ones who saw a bell...
One of the few premade food products I am more than happy to cook with is frozen puff pastry. The stuff is magical. Making puff pastry from scratch is undoubtedly a wonderful experience (one I've never had the pleasure of...
There's been a chill in the air the past few days, so I chose Margarita Salinas' Mexican Potato Soup. Aside from potatoes, it includes fresh, ripe tomatoes at the peak of their season. The potatoes play a strong supporting role in this delicious, tangy soup, perfectly balancing the acidity of the tomatoes.
A food writer at the Austin American-Statesman called this recipe "the most delicious chicken and rice dish in memory." It comes from Roger Ebert's new cookbook The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, a strange departure not only for a film critic but for someone who has lost the ability to eat or speak. No matter, this is the kind of comfort-food dish that everyone should have in their repertoire.
I have made arroz con pollo countless times, but each time it turns out poorly. I try doing it in one big cast iron pot, slow cooking in the oven - but the rice comes out poorly cooked - undercooked...
Classical French tradition is easier when the puff pastry is store-bought. These crisp, light-as-air nests are filled with a creamy wild mushroom and thyme mixture, and are perfect for cocktails.
Most of the time, Greek food is off my radar. Not by any conscious choice—I'm always on the lookout for new dishes and new ideas—but it became especially clear while flipping through the recent Greece issue of Saveur. As usual, their selected recipes were authentic, varied, and uniformly delicious-sounding. Though some were more involved than others, I was drawn in particular to this simple pasta and sausage dish and its intriguing use of blue cheese as the basis for the sauce.
This chili-laced soup from Veracruz uses masa as a chewy dumpling—a Mexican version of chicken and dumplings. The heat from the chile and a squeeze of lime keep it refreshing enough even in summer, but I'm also filing this away for my next winter cold.
If it's somewhat shocking to put an entire package of bacon into a single quiche, it's also, unsurprisingly, over-the-top delicious. I was worried that two eggs wouldn't make enough custard, but I wouldn't change a thing about the filling.
Rick Bayless's raw tomatillo salsa makes a great chip dip or condiment, and is just about the easiest recipe in the world. Fat-free and calorically inconsequential, it possesses quite a heated kick, but can be tailored to your spice preferences. Serve it with a mango and/or tomato and avocado concoction for a highly healthy, highly palatable salsa bar.
I love peanut butter, I love meat, but for some reason if the two were put together, it's not going in my mouth. It came time to crush this peanut sauce aversion into oblivion, and these beef satay skewers did just the trick.
You don't need to serve these highly flavored shrimp bites with a dipping sauce. If you choose to, plain soy sauce makes a perfect compliment....
Note: Serious Eater Michael Natkin of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious recipe to expand our vegetarian repertoire. It seems like everyone wants to eat locally these days. One of my favorite ways to...
©iStockphoto.com/ason Whenever the words "orecchiette" and "broccoli rabe" appear together in a sentence, my mind always races to the inevitable "sausage" addition. There is a reason for this: the bitter greens need some fat for balance and sausage does a...
Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by the book coauthored by the two, Almost Meatless, due out in spring...
Coquilles St. Jacques are a French classic: sea scallops squatting in their own half shell beds, blanketed in a cozy, creamy sauce flavored with shallots and mushrooms and maybe some white wine. For an American version, I make them into pot pies.
As I wrote long ago in another forum, Joy of Cooking has never much appealed to me. A prudish child, I was, I think, put off by the way its title echoed The Joy of Sex (a subject I would...