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What's YOUR favorite Easter candy?

So glad there are plenty of distractions (eggs, jelly beans, peeps, etc) so that those of us who are traditionalists can have access to the Big Chocolate Bunnies (and first bite is always on one of those big ears! :>)

Your last meal

Hunh? what happened to my post? I know it was after pea meal bacon. And it was such a gooooood post. I shall try again. My last meal before whatever the **** happened: a fabulous steak grilled over charcoal with potatoes baked in those fires with a topping of real butter & chives; a great tossed salad with vinaigrette dressing; (oops...raw oysters on the half shell as an app; & hopefully they're safe...but then, who cares?); a bottle or two of very good red and very good white wines at European room temperature; and now, I can't remember what I originally posted for my last dessert but maybe something like pavlova w/ fresh fruit or... the Best Chocolate Cake (with lovely white chocolate whipped cream filling and frosting).

Your last meal

An excellent steak grilled over a charcoal fire along with potatoes baked in that fire, a bottle of wine (red or white at European room temperature, please), tossed salad with vinaigrette dressing...oh...raw oysters as an app (won't have to worry about getting sick in case they're not the best sourced), the old style of Biscuit Tortoni (in the little white paper pleated cup with toasted coconut on top) for dessert with a cup of coffee - the rich, old fashioned style served in grand hotels.

What kitchen tools have you barely used?

I have yet to use my pizza stone (must be intimidated re: the thought of getting the dough onto the stone); ice maker in fridge (ice cubes smelled awful thanks to unlovely tap water...I now use trays filled with filtered water :>) Crockpot gets used once every few years (should give it away). The potato ricer is too hard to use - hurts my hands. Foodmill...meh. George Foreman Grill (it stinks up the house terribly!).

However, I do love to cook and try new recipes so I use our immersion blender, mandoline, FP, juicer (love it!!!!), grillpan, toaster oven (to crisp up leftover pizza among other things), blender, and I love using a handheld OXO can opener (got rid of the electric can opener--too much of a drag using it & it takes up counterspace).

Help me restock my mustard stash!

I switched to Maille (from Poupon when it got way too bite-y) and love the plain Maille Dijon and their Whole-Grain. I also keep a jar of Zatarain's Creole Mustard in the fridge along with a small jar of honey mustard. Oh - and my husband must have Gulden's (the brown mustard) and French's Yellow. He also prefers Poupon (harrumph!) but I never go near it ;>) Geez, that's 7 mustards in our fridge. Have fun stocking up.

Dear Kenji, you've ruined everything!

I just *knew* there was a good reason I've never been much of a fish eater!

Happy Birthday, Oreos!

Reading about Oreos celebrating 100 years made me think of that "other" cream-filled chocolate cookie, Hydrox. I did a search on Wikipedia and learned that Hydrox was created in 1908 (4 years before Oreos debut) but due to the powerful marketing of Nabisco, Hydrox was always (incorrectly) considered a copycat (that's how I had always looked at Hydrox...just an Oreo wannabe). I haven't had a Hydrox since I was a kid but I do remember the chocolate being not as sweet as Oreo chocolate. The Sunshine company that created Hydrox was bought out by Keebler which was bought out by Kelloggs and the Hydrox is no more ;>( But...Happy Birthday, though, to Oreos!

Giving eggplant a chance

When I was a kid, my mom would slice eggplant, dip the slices first in a beaten egg, then into seasoned breadcrumbs and fry them. We'd put ketchup on our plates and dip the eggplant into the ketchup which is why to this day I still think of eggplant as meat (but I haven't used ketchup with eggplant since childhood ;>) Today I do something similar: dip eggplant slices into an eggwash, then breadcrumbs (sometimes with freshly grated parmesan mixed in) and saute in light olive oil. Drain on paper towels and serve with lemon wedges. Or, after I've flipped the slices, I place fresh mozzarella on each slice and let it melt as the second side cooks. It's a nice vegetarian meal (but I never think of it as vegetarian).

Lipton Tea Bags tasting sweet to anyone?

I quit buying Lipton a few years ago as the tea just didn't taste very good, iced or hot, and I'd been drinking Lipton tea for many years. Good to hear that he plans to try some other brands.

How do you pronounce vegan?

I have a young cousin who is a vee-gen and that's how she pronounces it so I do as well. Anthony Bourdain's calling vegans the hezbollah cousins of vegetarians is hilarious (but I must say my cousin doesn't lecture/preach & quietly prepares/consumes her foods at gatherings :>)

Cleaning out the Kitchen

It's also a good idea to go through your spice cabinet and toss out the old stuff (and the stuff you never did get around to using). I think that's what I'll do this weekend!

Omaha Steaks

I've always wondered if Omaha steaks, burgers, etc., are worth the price. We receive mailings frequently but I've never ordered anything. There's a store not far from our neighborhood. Hmmm...

February blues!! What did you cook tonight?

I'm rather late...gosh that shrimp tossed w/ angel hair pasta sounds verrrrry good...may have to make that over the weekend. Back to last night: I made Dave Lieberman's Bubby's Meat Loaf which is quite good, along with boiled tiny creamy potatoes tossed w/ butter and Italian parsley, and leftover nuked green peas. need to buy some pots of hyacinths in various colors, maybe some pots of daffodils, and pretend it's Easter! (I grew up in the Hudson Valley so I devised all kinds of tricks to pretend winter was over ;>)

Here's 50 bucks....

I'm going to merstar's for dinner ;>) I was initially pondering what I'd make for dinner with that $50 but when I saw merstar's menu I gave up! One of these days I must work up the courage to make bouillabaisse (or cioppino).

What do I do with yet more Eye of Round Steaks?

I have two suggestions: Beef Stew and Roast Beef. For roasting an eye of round: my marinade is: 2 Tbsps light soy sauce, 6 Tbsps olive oil, and a sprinkle of Montreal Steak seasoning. I marinate it overnight, then take out of the refrigerator one hour before roasting. I broil the beef for 15 minutes per side; then bake at 350 degrees for an additional 15 minutes. The meat will be medium rare (internal temp should be 130 degrees) and it is delicious. I like to put a little beef broth (low sodium) in the roasting pan and put the beef on a rack so it doesn't "boil".

My Favorite Beef Stew

2 lbs beef stew meat, cut in 1”cubes (or 1 lb, but increase carrots & celery)
¼ cup flour
Ground black pepper
Good olive oil for skillet
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Several carrots cut in thirds
2-3 stalks of celery cut in thirds
1 can Del Monte tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp + Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 cups beef broth (or 1.5 tsps Better Than Bouillon in 12 oz boiling water)
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Dried thyme leaves

Pour flour into zip lock bag and add Seasonal and black pepper. Zip and shake to mix. Add cubes of beef and shake. Swirl some olive oil in large nonstick skillet and heat. Saute onions and then add the meat (if crowded, start adding onions to Dutch Oven). Sear the meat and add along with onions to the Dutch Oven. Add carrots, celery and bay leaf.

Make beef broth and add Worcestershire sauce to it. Pour a bit of the broth mixture into the skillet and work up the bits of meat and onion in the skillet. Add this and rest of broth to the stew. Add the can of diced tomatoes (I like to mash them to get more juice out). Sprinkle paprika and dried thyme leaves over the stew and a little Montreal Steak Seasoning and mix it in. Cover pot and cook over low heat for 2.5 hours. Taste for any seasonings needed. Serve over medium or wide noodles.

Where are you posting from in 2012?

Metro DC - in the 'burbs (native of the Hudson Valley, NY)

I would love to know guilty food pleasures!!

My home-made fettucini al fredo (the creamy sauce has an egg yoke & parmigiana-reggiano in it)...can only make it once every few years though as it's a veritable heart-attack-on-a-plate. A more frequent unhealthy splurge is hard salami on a baguette that's thinly spread w/ butter. Oh--and microwave bacon on toast.

Ever Made Anything "Healthier" That Was Actually Good?

I now only eat whole grain (11 g carbs per slice) bread--toasted, and I only buy Dreamfield's pastas.

Julia Child exhibit at the Smithsonian closes...

Hmmm...I'm in the 'burbs and haven't seen it yet (except for what was shown in the movie). Hope they do bring it back since it's one of their most popular exhibits.

What cookie would you have taken to the SE exchange?

Springerle (I think that's how it's spelled). I love eating them...just haven't worked up the courage to try making them (plus, I don't have that special wooden roller with the engraved pictures on it). But the cookies have a wonderful texture: not too soft and not too hard and they have the pillowy-ness to them as well.

What Foods Have Been Ruined?

Boboli pizza crusts! I remember when they first showed up in the supermarkets. I'd buy them and make "pizzas". Then, I got sick of them and I think it was because of a slightly different flavor that I noticed a couple of years after they were first sold. They must have done something to them, have no idea what. Maybe it was something added to prevent mold (that was a problem in the first year...I learned to inspect them carefully before buying, peering through the clear packaging. One other thing that was changed was Hostess cupcakes. A few years ago I finally found the orange ones (that I adored as a child). Blech! Very artificial tasting and the frosting was gummy ;>(

Missing out for a lifetime thanks to one innocent mistake.

When I was 13, my older sister & I cooked spaghetti & meatballs & sausages, using the Aunt Millie's brand. She went out on a date and I was home alone getting sicker & sicker (first time barfing w/o mom nearby since parents were gone for the weekend). To this day I can't handle the odor of Italian sausages...especially the fennel seed. Burp!

Ginger tea is terrific if your stomach is upset. I use Traditional Medicinals Organic Golden Ginger - great stuff.

I Got My Present Early!

Lucky you! What a fabulous Christmas gift (smart kids!). I have a Classic and have enjoyed it (altho' it's beginning to make creaking noises at the age of 7...maybe I need to upgrade? ;>). I've loved whipping potatoes; making whipped cream; also meringue (so easy, so fast). My sister's kids gave her a KA Artisan a few years ago for Xmas and she hasn't stopped baking since...she's having a blast! If you like to make bread, the Artisan is strong enough to knead (I've been leery of using my Classic to knead which makes me want to get the Artisan since I loathe kneading). Merry Christmas & have fun creating good stuff.

Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas

Ina Garten's Sun-dried Tomato Dip is very good (but cut back on the salt!!). It 's great with fresh vegetables, crackers and chips. Add some green and red grapes on the platter and voila! And I second her Roasted Shrimp w/ cocktail sauce. I like the suggestion of bacon-wrapped scallops with cranberry teriyaki glaze...must try that one soon!

Least favorite Thanksgiving dish?

There is an alternative to pumpkin pie and that is squash pie and it's light, tasty and good. I'd never heard of it until I lived in Boston many years ago.


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