Profile

MerMei

Grew up on Minnesota church basement potlucks, then moved out East to various places in the Mid-Atlantic, then waaaaaay east to China and back. My cooking is a sort of Sino-Minnesotan with a dash of Old Bay, but largely meat and dairy free.

  • Location: Baltimore

The Serious Eats Field Guide to Asian Greens

Oh, I had no idea kongxincai was water spinach. That's going to make it a lot easier to find!

Anxiously awaiting the Asian pickles.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

On the bright side, "that's not very Julia of you" is my new, go-to insult. I intend to use it well. Think it'll play outside of cooking?

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

I'd like to vote in favor of continuing to be superficial on patisserie, boulangerie, and the other two "eries" I've never even heard of (don't speak French), and leave the details to magical "french french pastry blogosphere" to tackle. You know, different blogs, different goals.

In search of: Popcorn Popper

I use one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Microwaver-Popcorn-Popper/dp/B00004W4UP/ref=pd_sim_k_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0YTPZZPQX4EW498YBG4G

Little known fact: you can put oil in, you just don't have to. I like the fact that it nests with my mixing bowls for storage, too.

Why I Love Hotel Bars

I agree by and large, but this makes me sad: "In hotel bars, cocktail trends are moot and bartenders never judge." Life is short. Order what you want everywhere, judgmental bartenders be damned.

Chipotle Introduces New Vegan Burritos and Tacos Across the Country

I tried it in Baltimore and thought it was only so-so. The flavor got lost int he rest of the ingredients and so it was just a slightly mushy section (and this is from someone who normally loves tofu). And it does count as a main protein so you do pay for the guac.

5 Issues Craft Beer Drinkers Should Be Talking About

We have to empower women to like/brew craft beer? Can't we just drink what we want to (whether or not that's beer), and if it's good, it doesn't matter so much the gender of the person that brewed it?

The Vegan Experience: Crispy Kung Pao Tofu

I've had kung pao tofu in Nanjing before; I've even seen it on menus in Chengdu. General Tso's not so much!

Anyone else over the love affair with all things Asian-inspired?

Well, it is 60% of the world's population, so if you're talking about any kind of "ethnic" cuisine, you're going to get a lot of Asia in there....

If it's just adding ginger to something that contains avocado and calling it "Asian-inspired" I could do without more of that. But more Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Maylaysian, Filipino, etc. recipes and reviews? I'm all for them.

Cook the Book: 'Nom Nom Paleo' by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong

Acorns, since I recently read that paleo-anthropology study that said at least some of the original paleo eaters had a sweet tooth.

The Vegan Experience: The Three Types of Servers

I've had that third type of server before - in a similar sense as Steve H. I have a dairy allergy, and I often get servers terrified to serve me anything with mayo (I'm not sure if its just associated with dairy, a common allergy combo, looks white and creamy....). Very well intentioned, but not quite right.

The Vegan Experience: How to Deal With Airports

I don't eat much meat but I do have a dairy allergy, so I order vegan meals on planes. Even when it's the officially approved VGML, there's often dairy that has sneaked in, so you have to be super careful (the greatest offender is the non-dairy spread - I've never had earth balance on a plane. It's usually country crock or something else that contains casein or whey). I've gotten served yogurt as part of a "vegan" meal too.

The regular vegetarian meals can certainly contain dairy, which was reinforced recently when they mixed up the meals and gave my vegan meal to someone else and tried to give me the vegetarian meal filled with cheese. On that flight, they also "scrounged" up a meal for me: three fruit cups and two bananas. So there's no guarantee they'll go looking in first class for edible food.

That said, the vegan meals on Delta are getting better all the time, those on United seem to be getting worse, on BA they're good leaving London (not leaving the US), Korean Air and Asiana are pretty good, neither China Air nor Air China are anything to get excited about, and Singapore Air remains the gold standard for me.

Mozzarella Madness, Nut Theft, and More in Food Policy This Week

The top two states for subsidies are Iowa and Illinois, which are actually blue states (though thanks in large part to Chicago in the latter case). I suspect though that even in those bright red rural regions people have a complex and nuanced view of government policy that makes them find some actions more acceptable than others. You know, the way that people in bright blue urban areas do.

How to Pair Wine With Super Bowl Snacks

I had an ex who came over to watch football once when we were dating with a bottle of wine. 49ers fan. I should have known then it would never last.

Serious Entertaining: A Chinese New Year Feast

Interesting. Gibberish here, but when I clink on my name, the comment shows the characters there. No clue if that's just for me, though.

Serious Entertaining: A Chinese New Year Feast

年糕 (nian gao) is the rice cakes
餃子 (jiaozi) are dumplings
八寶飯 (ba bao fan) eight treasure rice

Those are the ones I noticed that you might buy (fish are easy to spot in any language, right?) - but were there others?

(I can't wait to see if the characters show up as characters - they do in the preview - or gibberish. I've had 50/50 luck with it on this site!)

Check Out Our Map of 50 States, 50 Beers We Love

@AndoidUser - of course, Troegenator. I thought it went without saying, so I ignored the obvious typo in the first comment about Perpetual (also a fine beer, but not Troegenator).

Check Out Our Map of 50 States, 50 Beers We Love

I'm kinda with diamonds on Troegs over Victory - I'd pick about three Troegs beers over the Pils, but that's more about all the good beer in PA than anything against Victory.

Cream Potato Lefse From 'The New Midwestern Table'

We make lefse every year - I'm prepping potatoes tonight. My lefse sticks were hand carved by my late (100% Norwegian) grandfather. With apologies to Amy Thielen, though, I'll be using my family recipe (which can't be that ancient, since it calls for Crisco. Somewhere along the line, my relatives started experimenting…).

Classic Chicken and Wild Rice Hotdish From 'The New Midwestern Table'

Hotdish is a casserole with a more *descriptive* name, though it has always involved cream of something soup, whereas I think it's possible to make a casserole without such things. I'm from Minnesota - I grew up on hotdish, jello salads (mmm, cherry jello with shredded carrots in it; sometimes celery), and bars. I'm not sure you're even allowed to serve anything else in a church basement potluck.

21 Vegetarian Mains for Thanksgiving

I've never understood suggestions for a pasta main for vegetarians on Thanksgiving. Who eats pasta with a side of mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and rolls?

Which Milk Is Best for Coffee?

The question for us unfortunate dairy allergic: which milk substitute blends best with coffee? I can't stand how coffee shops use presweetened soy milk, it makes everything too sweet, so even a basic latte feels like a dessert. Unheated, soy milk separates from coffee like, well, oil and water. I've never lined up all the alternatives and tested them under various circumstances, though.

Open Thread: What Do You Want to Know this Thanksgiving?

I'd love the vegetarian/vegan main dish ideas if they aren't just more starch. Our challenge is how to serve something that allows them to still pair it with a little mashed potatoes and stuffing, and so many of the suggestions (pumpkin risotto! Pasta back! Rice pilaf!) just pile on carbs. On the other hand, our vegetarians usually just load up on sides and don't miss having a main dish anyway, so maybe it's less important than it seems in a mixed crowd.

Also: I third rolls.

Hi-Res Photo of the Day: A Gummy Candy Ark

Gummy candy is actually the primary reason I could never be vegan.

Introducing a Burger Made With the Entire McDonald's Dollar Menu

Well. I guess I win the lowbrow award, because I don't even eat burgers (or really meat) and I still clicked to marvel at the weirdness. All of the above PLUS deeply random food links is what *I* come here to see.

Vegan, oil-free and still at least sort of a treat?

I believe in my heart it is not possible to make cake or cookies taste really, really good without both eggs and oil. I just do. But in a case of exceptionally bad timing, I'm doing a (doctor-supervised) elimination diet that has me off eggs, spices, oil, and dairy just in time for my birthday. Normally I wouldn't worry about it (this diet is definitely temporary, just to try to isolate a food allergy or sensitivity), but there's a standing tradition to bring in treats on your birthday at work. Is there anything, anything at all, that I could make that wouldn't be breathtakingly awful for everyone else but that I could still eat? (If I can't come up with anything, I'll make them cookies and just not eat them myself. But that might be slightly pathetic if anyone notices....)

Thanks for any ideas at all!

Dairy-free sides for Christmas

We're making baked salmon and pork loin for Christmas, and have potatoes planned, but we're running out of ideas for good veggie sides that are not the standard casseroles filled with cheese. (This is totally self serving - my relatives will eat any bag of frozen veggies if there is enough cheese added, but I'm allergic to dairy and would like not to have all separate food).

A few other parameters:
- We roasted brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving and would like not to repeat.
- Oven space will be at a premium, so are there any good stove-top ideas?
- We are - as all good Minnesotans are at holiday feasts - already swimming in starches. So potatoes/sweet potatoes and the like are not really needed.

Any ideas (I hope, I hope)? We're fresh out.