Okay, so I'll be having a small crowd in the house a few nights after Christmas, but before New Year. I've got to please a variety of palates, dietary needs/preferences (pescetarians, no pork, vegetarians, no dairy, no carbs, etc.), and I have an extreme shortage of hands-on kitchen time at my disposal. A slow-cooked dish is definitely appealing.
I'm thinking of doing "Chili In Two Parts". One will be a pot of vegetarian chili beans, the other will be a pot of pure chili con carne (no frijoles). Both would be made with the identical chili powder blend and the same quantities of other ingredients (garlic, onions, peppers, etc.). Basically, I'd be making my usual beef chili with beans, except I'd be cooking the beef and the beans separately.
The idea would be that those who want only vegetarian chili or only chili con carne would obviously choose one or the other. Those wanting beef chili with beans would be able to mix the two in whatever ratio they prefer.
All would be accompanied by the usual fixins -- corn bread, shredded cheese, minced onions, etc.
What do you think? Is this craziness or am I on to something here?
Please rescue me... I'm drawing a complete blank. I need two or three "plant-based" appetizers. Something that's somewhat nutritious and relatively low-cal to balance out a bunch of rich, fat-laden, protein-based snacks that are already on the menu.
Everything vegetable-like that pops into my head is too, too rich (spanokopita, mini quiches, etc.). Or else it's the totally boring stuff that nobody *really* wants to eat (crudités, fruit skewers, etc.).
I'm not feeding vegetarians, so that's not an issue. I'm just trying to balance that fatty salty protein overload factor.
It's a case of major menu-writer's block...
Does anybody have any pieces in the SATIN BLACK finish? It looks very cool, but I'm wondering if it's harder to clean, etc.
Just curious, before I add one to my wishlist.
Although I do love the colorful stuff, especially the cobalt, which is till pretty classic. But I'm tend to be wary about the colors getting tiresome after a few years (my first LC pieces were flame hand-me-downs from the 60s, which I despised in the 80s!).
Does anybody know what's become of chiff0nade? The website in her profile is not up and running and haven't seen her posting here lately. I hope "that man" didn't finally silence her... :-(
Actually, it may just be my own sporadic presence of late, but there are other names I've gotten used to seeing over the past year or two that don't seem to be showing up recently...
> Colorado Jim
I can think of several others. Some have their own (active) blogs, so that's easy. Others? Poof! I know it's the nature of virtual communities, but my curiosity is always piqued when regular posters just suddenly go quiet.
Is there an SE Talker whose absence have you noticed? Or am I just weird? (ok, nevermind that last bit)
I stumbled across a Reuters news item about stupid.com's list of Top 10 Stupid Gifts for 2008 and couldn't help being intrigued by the Wasabi Gumballs, which were evidently chosen from a wide variety of other stupid candies (a surprising number of which are bacon-flavored).
If you're looking to please (or insult) your fellow foodies with utterly pointless and stupid food-related "gifts" there are several other options, such as the Bacon vs. Tofu bendy toys, the totally gross Peter Petrie Egg Separator, or the Digestive System Puzzle (which incredibly appears on the site's list of worst selling items).
Anyway. It truly is a stupid website, but I found it amusing, so I thought I'd share (yes, I'm in one of those moods).
Although I am prone to overweight, mine has remained relatively stable throughout my adult life, something I attribute to moderation, and the belief that there are no bad foods, only badly managed foods. Years ago, I made a conscious decision to embrace those philosophies, eat whatever makes me happy, and carry an extra 10 pounds, rather than be subject to food nazism.
That's probably why I found the NYT article Health Halo Can Hide the Calories really interesting.
I've observed this syndrome firsthand for a very long time. My own family has many weight-battlers, some of whom are morbidly obese. And I've watched those of them who are most obsessed with food *evils* pack on the most pounds over the years. When I say obsessed, I mean extreme fixation bordering on paranoia.
But there's a disconnect. They think I have terrible eating habits (you use REAL butter?!), and hint at how unhealthy my diet is (you eat fried food more than twice a year?!), and chide me for ordering a grilled filet mignon and steamed veggies, while they are "being good" and ordered "just" a salad (cobb, extra dressing).
I've learned that when I visit them it's critical to request a "very small portion" at dinner, because even though the plate I'm served holds only half as much food as theirs, it still holds more than I normally eat in an entire day (literally). And before I've finished even half that "small" plate of food, they're already going back for seconds! It boggles the mind. I want to scream, "Just because it's BROWN rice doesn't mean you should eat two double-size servings!"
So what do you think of this "health halo" syndrom? Have you observed it in others? Caught yourself falling into the trap? Is this the real source of our weight problems?
I’ve known people who insist that they adore everything about cooking and working in their kitchens. They have adamantly denied having a single thing they hated doing in their kitchens. But, a little probing and prompting has never failed to reveal at least one task which, for that person, was a genuine chore. It seems to be a very personal thing, and does not necessarily have any real rhyme or reason.
It might be the stereotypical oven cleaning. Or, the equally cliché scrubbing of crusty pots and pans. I’ve even heard much grumbling and groaning over something as seemingly innocuous as emptying the dishwasher. Every. Single. Day.
Sometimes it even involves food prep. Many, many passionately devoted cooks will admit they despise chopping garlic or onions. A surprising number of people find it revolting to handle raw poultry. Even something as simple as shredding cheese with a box grater is not off limits.
So let’s hear it Serious Eaters. Get it off your chest. Reveal you deep, dark kitchen nightmares here. You may or may not find out others share your secret, but you’re sure to be amused and entertained by the *silly* things other people hate doing.
p.s., here's a shout out to JEP!
I ate grilled cheese and tomato soup at home while I answered the doorbell and chatted on a video call with Mr. LoCo (he liked seeing all the kids' costumes over the webcam).
It just seemed appropriate with all those kids running around. Although, I must admit to also enjoying a glass (or two) of Syrah.
What did YOU eat? And WHERE? And with WHOM?
Candied apples? Popcorn balls? Fudge?
Serious Eaters want to know...
If we were living in the good ol' days, what delectable homemade treats would you have whipped up to hand out to your local trick-or-treaters?
Weekend Halloweens are weird. You might get overrun with kids until late at night (no school tomorrow), or you might get hardly any kids at all (too many parties and coordinated events). Curious to know what happened in other Serious Eaters' hoods...
To answer my own query.... I handed out medium-sized Hershey bars, Whoppers, Kit Kats and Reeses (all chosen because I'm not likely to eat them) to apparoximately 30-40 kids, MAX. That's about 1/3 the number we normally get, i know for a fact that a lot of neighbors had Halloween parties to attend, so no big surprises there.
This hit my radar after I saw a USA Today interview with Jenn Garbee, author of the book Secret Suppers: Rogue Chefs and Underground Restaurants in Warehouses, Townhouses, Open Fields, and Everywhere in Between. According to the Amazon.com product description, here's how it works:
"In attics, garages, living rooms, warehouses, and wine cellars across America, underground chefs are taking the food scene by storm. They’re throwing dinner parties at the drop of a hat, evading the cops, enticing the food-obsessed, and making headlines. Whether it’s sophisticated fare in a funky Des Moines B&B or bacon-wrapped-bacon on a deck in Seattle, chefs and food lovers are circumventing the restaurant altogether, unconstrained by a written menu or a million dollar remodeling budget. In short, they’re reinventing the dining experience...."
I found the concept fascinating, so went on to read this piece in the NY Times
, an older feature in The Monthly
, and an amusingTime
article from way back in 2006.
This was news to me (I guess I'm hopelessly uninformed). I'm not sure how I feel about it yet (still ruminating), but naturally my first thought was to find out what the Serious Eaters had to say...
DISCLAIMER: Each December, my family celebrates its own version of Christmas. If your family celebrates some other mass-commercialist gift-exchange-oriented winter holiday, please rephrase the query to suit your needs, and post accordingly!
Although it’s only October, and most people’s minds are on the election and the trainwreck known as The Economy, my mind has begun drifting to the pressing matter of wish lists. I’ve begun nagging the youngest of our children (teenagers) to get their lists to me ASAP if they hope to have any chance of influencing my purchase decisions. I've asked Mr. LoCo, the man who has everything, to drop me at least a few hints. I adore my family. But since their last-minute shopping crises invariably become mine, and since those crises typically involve gifts for me (which is really not at all cool), I’ve also begun working on my own wish list to help prevent any such unpleasantness.
My letter to Santa tends to be quite detailed, especially if I’m requesting things for My Kitchen. I tend to specify brands and model numbers. I offer vendor recommendations wherever possible. Sometimes I even include MSRP to help the kiddos be responsible bargain hunters. (yes, I have OCD tendencies.)
So, although I do actually keep up an active wish list pretty much throughout the year, I’m oh so curious to know what will be on the wish lists of Serious Eaters everywhere! I do have an ulterior motive: In the past, you’ve mentioned some things that were on YOUR lists that I later wished I’d thought to put on MINE!
So, what are kitchen contraptions are you coveting this Christmas? HHHhhhmmmm?
Although I do realize that many not true redundancies, because they are used to distinguish the exact type of a thing, they still crack me up. What type of fish? Tuna fish! A few others that come to mind…
• Cheese quesadilla. It's just a quesadilla, a little quesada. Queso=cheese, –ada=–ful, and –illa=small. Obviously it's meant to distinguish a plain (or real) quesadilla (tortilla filled with cheese) from the now ubiquitous gringo-ized versions (e.g., chicken and bean quesadilla), but seeing it on a menu always makes me cringe.
• Shortbread cookies. I know it’s meant to describe the exact type of cookie, but shortbread is shortbread is shortbread. The word cookie isn’t even necessary, okay?
• Chai tea. Chai means tea. I know that many Americans think chai is a specific spiced tea drink (actually masala chai) but do the coffee houses have to perpetuate this error by listing chai tea latte (tea tea milk) on their menu boards?
• With au jus. Since au jus means with juice or in its juices, the word “with” is not needed. I know in the US we actually use the entire term “au jus” as a noun, as in, “Please put the au jus on the side”, but still…
• Real horseradish. Okay. It’s not actually a redundancy. But please. Is there fake horseradish out there? Without fail, when I request plain or pure horseradish (i.e., not creamed), the server responds, “So you want the ‘real’ horseradish, right?” Oh jeez.
Feel free to list the others I missed…
Just finished munching on a slice of cold leftover pizza for my too-lazy-to-cook weird Sunday morning brunch, and this query-a-la-JEP popped into my head...
No cheating! You can only choose ONE topping! But, if you want to trade the cheese or sauce for another topping, go for it!
I take high doses of cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D to control psoriasis symptoms (it’s been very effective). I’m also supposed to take fish oil, but for some reason, I’m not very good about that. About 3-4 weeks ago, I ran out of cod liver, and so did the only nearby store that carries my brand. So, in the interim, I’ve been taking high doses of fish oil (5g or more).
Over the past two weeks, I’ve noticed some unexpected weight loss. My habits are unchanged—still eat a few more calories than I should, still drink wine more often than I should, still don’t get as much exercise as I should. If anything, my calorie intake has been higher than usual (a few extra glasses of wine here, some uncharacteristic ice cream there, topped off by a couple of virtually unheard of non-diet sodas). My activity level has definitely not increased. In fact, I was so sick two weeks ago that I literally spent five straight days on the sofa (still trying to get caught up!).
Yet here I am in jeans that are a little less snug and T-shirts that aren’t emphasizing as much belly pooch. I don’t have a scale, so I can’t say how much I’ve dropped, but it’s not a whole lot. Enough that my clothes fit better, but not a size smaller (damn). I was a bit concerned, so I spent several days analyzing my routine to see if it could be called “unexplained weight loss”. The fish oil regimen is the only difference, which didn’t seem like a logical cause of weight loss. So, I googled “fish oil weight loss” and was VERY surprised to find at least some anecdotal evidence that it might be the source of my slightly slimmer physique.
Now, I happen to read a lot of articles on science, nutrition, health, etc. (pet subjects), so I can’t figure out how this one missed my radar. But I’m very curious to hear what my fellow SEers know about it, and wondering if anybody has had similar experiences.
I was given a Vita-Mix 5000 as a loan repayment. In spite of the over-the-top sideshow-style sales pitch they're famous for, these things are supposed to be fantastic, not only in terms of incredible power, but also because they are virtually indestructible. Supposedly, many chefs swear by them (???).
I must admit, it seems very well-designed, and I'm definitely tempted by the huge 64-ounce jar...
Nevertheless, it seems a bit gimmicky, and I can't get past the feeling that it is just one more item to fit into my appliance cabinet. And I've already got two blenders.
So I've decided to sell this one. It's practically brand new, and used ones sell $300-$400 in my area. Even if the ones that are really old and really used seem to go for about $250! I posted it on craigslist yesterday, and I've already received three emails.
Am I crazy to let this go? Will I regret it? Are they really "all that" and more?
I need some Serious Insight... Please share your experience/knowledge!
Okay. So, having been AWOL for several months, I decided I would do some searches and check up on various of my favorite Serious Eater old-timers...
I checked on Robin, but I don't see anything from her since August.
I also see no announcements indicating that she is no longer "Eating for Two" although she most certainly must have delivered her wonderful little bundle of joy by now... Right?
Can anybody give me an update??? I'd like to extend my congratulations, if appropriate...
My family has long enjoyed pieless pumpkin pie. That is to say, I make pumpkin pie filling in a dish instead of a crust, baked in a water bath. As some of you know, Hubby is living without an oven. He's craving pumpkin pie. I know we can adapt the custard to stovetop, but I have no expertise. I'm pretty sure we can adapt it fairly easily to a double boiler, but I'm thinking the texture/consistently might be better if I have him rig up a steamer.
What do you think? I've never done a steamed custard, and have only a rudimentary grasp of rigging up a stovetop steamer. Will it be too difficult for him? (He's somewhat of a beginner.) BTW, we have Skype and webcams, so I can provide nearly "hands on" assistance.
Ideas. Tips. Detailed directions. I'll take what I can get.
Primarily in need of some great spots in Abu Dhabi but Dubai recommendations would be useful as well.
Hotel restaurants are fine, as they frequently offer the best dining options in areas like this, but some lesser known local places would be terrific, too.
Not at all fussy... interested in classy high-end joints and cheap dives alike.
If anybody can help, thanks!
I'm baaa-aaack (again)... this time for real. I've missed all you wonderful Serious Eaters, and I know I've got a two or three months of catching up to do.
I'm starting by trying to pick your brains...
Amanda's post, An Oven-Less Dessert: Steamed Devil's Food Cake, sounded fantastic, and reminded me that I am in serious need of some serious help in this very department. Great timing, Amanda!
I've just returned home after several weeks in Bangkok where Hubby has accepted a long-term work assignment. I went over to help him set up housekeeping in the beautiful new apartment he'll be living in for the next six months or so (until he finds a condo or house).
Upside? It's furnished, has daily maid service, and a great view of the city. Downside? It's very small, and therefore short on one or three things that we take for granted, including a conventional oven/broiler. Not a huge problem, but not exactly ideal, either. Especially when you consider an all-American boy from the South who misses home, family and his favorite foods.
Until he moves or buys a big toaster-oven, I'm trying to come up with traditional oven or broiler recipes adapted to stovetop or microwave. I've set him up with a few ideas, including Salisbury Steaks (to replace meatloaf and gravy), and microwave "baked" apples sprinkled with crumbled shortbread cookies (to replace pie). But I need more!
The only rule:
All dishes must be relatively quick and require only basic kitchen skills. His cooking experience is limited, and he works long hours, so he has very little time to make a meal.
I'm so seriously glad to be back! Thanks in advance for your help and ideas!
Noticed the number of replies listed for posts on the Talk Home page are often wrong (not updating properly?). Not a biggie, but if you use that page to monitor discussions at-a-glance, you may not realize there are actually new posts...
I seem to be obsessed with the idea of a mascarpone custard. Googling turned up some that look interesting, but we all know how difficult it can be to judge an untried recipe...
So, of course I turn to my trusted SE friends! Please post a good one!
I had the incredible good fortune of just happening to catch this show on a local PBS station yesterday. It was sheerly by chance, as I would normally not have the TV on at that time of day (damn... I wish I'd gotten it onto the DVR). In true Jacques fashion, it was absolutely charming. He and Perlman have wonderful chemistry. This is a real not-to-be-missed item IMHO. Watch your local listings, as it does not seem to be one PBS' bigger national items, and appears to be picked up by each local station on a case-by-case basis. I'm going to keep my eyes open in hopes of getting it recorded.
Meanwhile, you can listen to the audio portion of the show at its website.
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