• Location: California

Gadgets: Colorful, Disposable Paper Bakeware That Works Like a Charm

I've been buying the paper pans they sell at Sur La Table for close to twenty years(the brown and gold type you see Pannetone sold in) and these are at least as well priced as those, and a lot more fun in terms of the colors. I hate foil pans and giving people a real pan as a gift is out of my budget, so I really like these.

Have a milkshake today for Jakey. She will be missed

I added the photo to my twitter page. Here is the link.

Have a milkshake today for Jakey. She will be missed

Donna's tribute to her was the first thing I saw on facebook this morning and my heart just sank. She had told a just small group of people how sick she was, so for the rest of us who saw her post recipes, photos and smart-ass comments just as she always had, we never could have guessed. I think that says something about her spirit and her strength that she could live life as usual despite having cancer.

That attitude, and one especially memorable dessert of hers (an over-the-top carrot cake with candied carrot ribbons as a garnish) will always serve as inspiration to me.

In Our Community Corner: Meet Kimberly Pope (aka: 'PoorOldMama')

Poor Old Mama, I am never, ever here anymore. Please come visit me at facebook. My life is total chaos and I need your humor.

Should I brine a Butterball turkey?

@Zinnia, shove a pumpkin pie up your ass.

New Year's Eve eating?

Hey, Mama. I'm having people over for lunch and will be cooking a chicken in the pot with leeks, parsnips and potatoes, serving that with a few sauces. I'll round things out with cheese, fruit, breads, and then a pear tart for dessert.

In the evening, it's just me and the various foster cats, so I'm not doing anything in particular.

American Classics: Mrs. Wakefield's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another version of the story has it that one of Mrs. Wakefield's kitchen staff was actually the person to make the error that resulted in the cookies and that that person was later fired for trying to get some credit for the recipe. I don't know if it's true but I think one of her children (or other relative) spent years trying to get their version of the story out there.

Thanksgiving leftovers: what's your favorite?

Cranberry sauce out of a canning jar, pie out of the pan. I do use a spoon.

Thanksgiving Dinner: No Substitutions Allowed?

My family doesn't even buy Van de Kaamp, that's a brand name, and I come from a long line of people who brag about how cheap they got something. I will be at a table that will boast rolls that cost $1.29 and a turkey they got for free by buying over a $100 in groceries. I am taking three kinds of cranberry sauce, pie and bourbon and will mostly stick to that.

There's also that canned fruit with whipped cream (I use the term loosely) which everyone calls ambrosia even if it's not.

In a Pickle: Pickled Cranberries

For future reference, in case someone gifts a bushel of them to you, I will never, ever tire of cranberries.

Have Holiday Help Hotlines Outlived Their Usefulness?

The best advice I have heard on cooking a turkey was in a recent video (available on youtube) put out by the owner of Taint Marie cooking school. She said "Just put the f@#%ing turkey in the oven" because no matter what you do it's still going to taste like a turkey, and that's why you serve cranberry sauce and plenty of wine.

What's on Your Menu?

The usual crap. I'm making a couple kinds of cranberry sauce, bringing a bottle of Wild Turkey (much better than the one that comes from the oven) and pie.

Cooking with Gin

Oh, and my favorite Ginger Rogers cocktail. It's on here somewhere if you do a search.

Cooking with Gin

I love it in braised pinto beans, and there is an amazing recipe by Maida Haetter (I spelled that wrong) for chocolate cookies with gin-soaked raisins). I have not tried it myself but have seen recipes for pork or boar that use gin in the marinade.

Dishes for someone that doesn't like Thanksgiving food

If it were me, I'd most likely make substantial side dishes that would go with the turkey but be filling enough to please those who don't want turkey, rather than make an additional main course. Perhaps a pilaf using wild rice, toasted hazelnuts, dried cherries or cranberries, etc. A salad of citrus, fennel, persimmons, dressed with a vinaigrette, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Maybe a vegetable tart, something quiche-like, with kale or chard.

If you really do want a main course, I'd go with a baked pasta. I have had one in particular (I think it's from the Il Forno cookbook)--rigatoni cooked with plum tomatoes and a good deal of cream, that is quite good.

Vegetarian French onion soup recipe anyone?

dbcurrie posted a recipe on her blog (cookistry) recently that uses plain water. I have done this myself quite a few times and it makes for a remarkably good soup.

The Serious Eats Pot Luck Club

There was a thread on this subject last year, but a lot of the people who post regularly have changed so the menu will probably be different by now.

I'm sticking with what I think I said last time: cornmeal almond cookies, rosemary breadsticks, and the makings for Ginger Rogers cocktails (it's a summer drink so schedule accordingly).

I was just thinking of SE talk

Amen to techgirl: I have no idea why people feel the need to post a comment (or often several) to a thread they claim to hate. If you do not comment on sometthing it makes it clear to everyone that you are not interested, so taking the time to tell everyone is at best redundant, and at worst self-indulgent.

The other one is people who do not make any attempt to answer the posed food question but instead tell the originator of the thread that what they should be cooking is . . .

How to Make Swiss Buttercream

I usually do Italian merignue as someone else mentioned, but I'll try this one the next time I have the need for an icing.

Fondant is stupid. I understand it serves a purpose for "figural" cakes, but otherwise it's just plain stupid. A decorative coating that the guests have to scrape off before eating the cake. It's like serving a cheeseburger with the Kraft single still in its wrapper.

(That was just a metaphor, I don't eat Kraft singles.)

What a dumb argument

You wouldn't think cooking an egg was all that hard, but I have almost never had a decent scrambled egg in a restaurant. The same places that would scoul if you ordered steak well-done see nothing wrong with cooking an egg to that point.

Is this really a sucky cooking season?

I like fall weather but I don't much care for the food. What some people call hearty and comforting, I find heavy and overwhelming,

What's the deal w/ pumpkin?

I'm not really a fan of any dessert that uses pumpkin, I think it takes on an odd taste (with a weird sourness at the end) when made into a baked good. They are attractive, though.

@Cookiequiz, I know that pumpkin dish you're talking about it, but I can't remember the name.

Making Something that "Isn't" what "It Is"

I think the problem is that when we are trying to create something that is similar to a well-known dish, the easiest way to get the point across as to what we are going for is to call it by that name.

Some people say that soy-based mayonnaise is not really mayonnaise but if I were trying to make it I would not say I want to make something white and spreadable that could be used on bread in a sandwich, I would say I want to make mayonnaise minus the eggs; it might not be mayonnaise but at least people would know what I was talking about.

Dairy-Free, Tomato-Free, and Nearly Carb-Free Pizza.

I don't know how to achieve a not-too-starchy crust that is also gluten free since most use tapioca, potato or rice as the major component, but I would suggest you check out Bob's Red Mills website and see if they have recipes. Since you mentioned nuts-- and I'm not sure what equipment you have-- but I think that Cafe Gratitude might make a nut-based crust (someone does) but I'm pretty sure it is "cooked" using a dehydrator.

Dietary yeast, sprinkled lightly over a finished dish lends some of the nutty, salty quality of parmesan, and might also work in pesto.

General Info on Thai Cuisine

I do believe you can get a sense of a culture from its food, but I don't think it's something that can be done in short order. It will take eating and/or cooking its food for some time, talking with the people, and noting which foods are eaten in different regions of the country and how those regions differ from one another, what foods they eat on religious or state holidays and what the significance of that that is . . . That paper, unless you cut it down to its bare bones, would take a lot of time to research.

Peanut-less Satay Suggestions Needed

I'm hoping to make something not unlike chicken satay for a party next weekend, but I cannot use peanuts (or cashews) due to a nut allergy. Has anyone made the sauce for satay using soy, sunflower seed or almond butter, and if so, any particular recipe you used or did you just adapt a standard one to exclude the peanuts?


Fried Pie Suggestions

This coming weekend I am making home versions of commercial desserts: Oreos, Hostess cupcakes, and--with some help--fried fruit pies.

I have never made fried pies, period. I am looking for some help with berry pies and/or lemon. The lemon in particular is leaving me confused. Would it be as simple as making the filling for a lemon pie? Does it need a little extra cornstarch to make for better out-of-hand eating? Anyone else foolish enough to have done this?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

This Week @ the Farmers Market

My Sunday morning market (No. California) has suddenly exploded into a profusion of good things. Today I spent my entire weeks food budget (more or less) on strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, two kinds of plums, nectarines, peaches, a crusty seeded bread, Irish brown bread, gorgeous new potatoes, organic eggs, pattypan squash, tiny eggplant, parsley, and some onions with wet dirt still stuck to them. The tomatoes didn't smell like anything so I skipped them for now.

What is everyone else finding at the moment?

Cupcake Recipes

I was asked to make dessert for my cousin's 50th birthday party and have chosen to make cupcakes, along with truffles and salted caramels (some people refuse dessert but will eat just a candy (or five) with coffee. I know the kinds of cupcakes I am making, but I wouldn't mind suggestions for your favorite recipes for my chosen varieties.

Devil's Food or Chocolate (and a frosting to match)

A simple vanilla/yellow cupcake to be made into my grandmother's "butterfly cupcakes" (filled with homemade apricot jam and topped with cream).

Lemon cupcake (I am thinking of filling with lemon curd, so is it overkill; should I just use a vanilla cupcake?)

Carrot cake. I will probably stick with Sheila Lukins' mom's recipe, but if you have one you really like . . .

What is the Greatest Compliment You Have Received on Your Food

Two weeks ago a cousin-in-law sent me a message on facebook to tell me he had finished the last of the plum jam I made for Christmas gifts. Then yesterday when I saw him, he gave me a hug that literally lifted me off the ground and said he wanted to erect a statue of a jam jar with my name on it.

I've received some nice compliments before, but this was exceptional. What have you made that inspired such accolade?

PS. Plums had better be good this summer or my reputation is shot.

I Eat Because It's Tradition

I don't think we have a thread currently that addresses this topic: What do you eat because it is part of your holiday tradition, despite that you would never eat any other time of year?

Mine would be toast smeared with one of those processed port wine cheese balls. It makes me think of spending the night at my grandparents' house and that Grandma did not have any hangups about what constituted breakfast food.

I also sometimes get an urge to make cocktail hotdogs in BBQ sauce and grape jelly. My aunt always had this as an appetizer and served it in her Descoware beanpot; she gave me the beanpot for Christmas a few years ago (I keep my wooden spoons in it), but every once in a while I feel the need to dump out the spoons and fill it with cocktail franks. I never actually eat them, but I get a weird desire to cook and serve them to others.

You Can't Touch Mine, But I Can Do What I Want With Yours

A comment on the main page with regard to The Pioneer Woman's version of Italian cusinine got me thinking about something that really frosts my cookies.

My issue is with cooks (not Pioneer Woman specifically since I have not read her enough to even know if she does this) who speak of the food of their region as being the best, and being a cuisine that noone outside of that region can properly make or understand since it is not part of their history (fair enough), but then have the gall (I changed that word) to butcher the cuisines of other regions.

There's a Southern cook in particular who does this often, saying not to mess with southern food, then commits acts against humanity by adding cream cheese to lasagne, and other such culinary atrocities.

Anybody else bugged by this?

Funeral Food, Update

A few people kindly asked that I update them on the impending death of my aunt. She went yesterday morning, peacefully, some of her family with her. The past two weeks she had never been alone, with dozens of family members and friends coming to see her often.

I appreciated all the contributions to my original thread on this subject including those from people who didn't actually like the thread, those comments gave me a perspective outside of my own, and it's always good to consider differing ideas.

Anyone interested in reading more on this subject can follow the link below.

Funeral Food

I'm sitting here working on a list of things I am making for my aunt's funeral (not sure when, she hasn't died yet, but I have been given permission to plan the menu anyway), and it got me wondering what other people deem funeral-appropriate.

When I first started cooking for funerals fifteen years ago or so, I sort of set guidelines for myself, number one on the list being that if someone has died the least I could do was cook everything from scratch. Then I tried to figure out foods that were comforting, a bit indulgent, but not overly festive.

I change things depending on the season, the person who has died, and my mood, but all the following have been served multiple times (it's a very odd mix):

Pimento cheese with veges and crackers.

Rice salad- it changes with each funeral, sometimes it's Italian, sometimes Asian, sometimes Indian-inspired.
Orzo salad.
A peasant-type salad of tomatoes, roasted peppers, and chunks of cheese with lots of herbs (Aug-Oct only, when tomatoes are good here).

Lasagne Bolognese or baked penne with country-style ragu (The Splendid Table).

Carrot cake (Sheila Lukins), oatmeal cookies, gingersnaps (Fannie Farmer cookbook, but I use half butter, add fresh & candied ginger), fruit pies, pound cake.

So, what do you cook?

Cocktail Suggestions

I am attending a college graduation party in a couple of weeks and the hosts asked me to select and then make three or four cocktails for the party.

I know I am making Ginger Rogers (gin, lime, mint, ginger syrup and ginger ale) since it is my favorite hot weather drink, but I could use a few ideas for others, as I tend to gravitate towards my own favorites.

I know there are some vodka drinkers so I need to do something vodka-based, and I'm thinking maybe something with bourbon as well.

Gluten-Free Tuesday: Easy Pizza Crust

Telling pizza-savvy SE'rs that this crust can be made without yeast makes me a little nervous. But it's the truth: this crust is excellent without yeast. Since restaurants serving safe gluten-free pizza are still hard to find, it's great being able to make this last-minute crust without having to allow it to rise. More