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Cook the Book: 'Cooking Light The Complete Quick Cook'

Prepackaged gnocchi + thawed frozen uncooked shrimp + jarred pesto = FAST dinner

Boil a pan of salted water, throw in the gnocchi. When the pot comes back to the boil, throw in the shrimp and cook both until the shrimp is pink.

Drain and toss with the pesto. Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. EAT.

Minneapolis: Surprise Winner in the Battle of Juicy Lucys Between 5-8 Club and Matt's Bar

Putting the horrible attempt to put a MN accent into words aside, there's no way in hell a fan of Matt's would agree that the 5-8's Lucy is "pretty good," and vice versa.

That would be like a Vikings fan admitting to a Packers fan that the Packers are "a pretty good team."

Damn, now I want a burger.

Goodbye, Dumpling

I'm in tears reading your lovely tribute. My condolences for your loss.

Should Restaurants Allow Substitutions?

Since salads aren't dressed until right before they're served, it shouldn't be rocket science to put the dressing on the side.

Methinks the restaurant was being obstinate for some free publicity since I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have thrown a hissy fit if I (someone decidedly not famous) asked for dressing on the side.

Cook the Book: Edamame Hummus

Or for the lazy, go to Trader Joe's and buy their edamame hummus:

1. open container
2. eat

Taste Test: Root Beer, the Regional Brands

Bummed that 1919 Root Beer didn't make the list. Best I've ever had!

Subway Fiery Footlongs: Hot Stuff?

When I go to Subway, I always order a ham and cheddar sub with lettuce, tomato and double jalapeños. Been doing it for years. I'm a trendsetter!

Poll: Should Coffee Shops Ban Laptops?

There's a local, independent coffee shop that requires you to buy a beverage/food item every hour you're there. It's not tiny, but as @bessfour said, a table meant for 2-4 people can be monopolized by one oblivious person on their computer. If it's peak hours and that one person is taking up seating that four paying customers can utilize, I wouldn't have any qualms (if I were the owner of said shop) limiting the one person's stay. If it's not busy, I wouldn't have that big of an issue.

An enterprising shop owner could just have their wi-fi password protected and one would have to buy something to get the password. Outstay your welcome and the password is changed?

Tell us your worse kitchen disaster?

All my kitchen disasters have been food-related and none of them have been life-threatening! Had a pizza stone shatter once...but it was preheating and didn't cause any damage to the oven...just a "ka-thunk" and my stone was in 3 pieces (ended up being defective!).

But oh, boy have I screwed up food in my time. Pizza so bad the farm dog and hogs (grew up on a farm...and those pigs would eat ANYTHING) wouldn't touch it.

White Chocolate Cashew Krispies

Trader Joe's has "Crispy Rice" cereal. Haven't checked the ingredients list, but their products don't seem to have HFCS.

Then there's the marshmallow conundrum.

Pine Nuts: Going Beyond Pesto

Am I the only one who hates pine nuts? I can stand them in pesto, but on their own, *gag*.

Dinner Tonight: Summer Succotash with Bacon

I had her recipe bookmarked to try this week with my overabundance of cherry tomatoes in my CSA share. Drooling just thinking about it!

Regarding the sherry vinegar, I found that one could substitute red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Having never tried sherry vinegar before, I'm not sure which one would be a better substitute in this dish. Ideas?

Poll: How Would You Deal With Restaurant Error?

Hah! Just saw italianyc84's comment about "Crapplebees" (we usually call it "Grizzlebees" - a Sea Lab 2021 reference).

If a crappy chain restaurant can get it right, why can't the small places?

Poll: How Would You Deal With Restaurant Error?

Once I was at a restaurant while on a road trip and had just taken a big bite of my hamburger (on a sesame seed roll) when I noticed the tell-tale signs of bread mold around each sesame seed. I swallowed, and was staring at it when our waitress came up and cheerily asked how everything was and I said "there's a little mold on my bun" in a calm voice (because I wasn't grossed out, just that it was there). The waitress gasped, took my plate away and said "I'll take care of this right away". Less than 5 minutes later, I had a fresh, new burger on a mold-free bun. I didn't ask for anything else and both our meals were good. However, the waitress not only comped the entire meal (food and drinks for both of us) and apologized profusely, the manager came over and also apologized for the problem and hoped we'd come back again. She also gave us a gift card for our next visit.

That's how I expect restaurants to handle problems like that. Go overboard with making it right without me having to cause a scene. Funny enough, this was at an Applebee's! Not that it's my first choice, but I don't recoil in horror when some of my less-than-sophisticated family members want to go there for a meal.

Also, I don't send stuff back (or complain about it) when something's not made to my exact specifications. Maybe I'm not picky, but I'll eat a burger made any temp (I prefer medium well). The only exception is if someone puts mayo on something that I said "no mayo" to...because I hate mayo. :)

Poll: How Long Would You Wait In Line?

I'd like to see a poll about how long you would wait for free food/beverage/etc.

I've seen lines when Starbucks gives out a free small coffee or when Subway gave out free breakfast sandwiches. My time is worth more than that $2 item. Same goes for waiting for a restaurant. If it's something that I've been planning on, I'll wait up to 30 min, otherwise I hightail it elsewhere.

Taste Test: Hot Dogs

I'm with sailordave, slideshows for forced page views = LAME.

Back on topic, I love the Hebrew National Fat Free dogs. Damn, now I have to go pick some up for supper tonight!

Poll: Do You Toast Your Pop-Tarts?

I second the Toaster Strudel...8 bazillion times better than a Pop Tart (which always gave me rot gut the few times I ate them...which is why I don't eat them).

Cook the Book: Watermelon Margaritas

I think I would skip the liqueur too. Get a good enough watermelon, you won't need it.

I need to make these STAT.

Cook the Book: 'The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook'

Tacos de Carne Asada with tomatillo salsa and pico de gallo on the side. And refried beans, natch. And a large cerveza.

Now I'm hungry! Curse you, Serious Eats!

Poll: Do You Grill Burgers with Lump Charcoal or Briquettes?

Pineapple Pizza. I Love It. Get Over It.

@resolutejc - I think beersnob was referring to this in the original article:

"Tomatoes are a fruit. Pineapple is a fruit."

Thus the rationale of "it's ok to put fruit on a pizza because tomatoes are fruit" was born. So why just limit it to pineapple?

Yes, technically tomatoes are fruit...but as soon as I see people putting tomato sauce on ice cream, I'll accept pineapple as an acceptable pizza topping.

Quote pizzablogger: "(resolutejc) People that dislike this combination have either 1) Not adventurous and have never tried it 2) tried it with low-quality ingredients like canned pineapple and hated it 3) absolute purists with no imagination."

You left out #4: People that would rather eat dog shit than something as revolting as ham.

1) I've tried it, more than once;
2) With canned AND fresh pineapple (not on the same pie...like I said, tried it more than once);
3) I could comment with a hearty explicative about that closed-minded statement, but I won't; and
4) LOL

Yes, quality of ingredients matters. But I've never liked pineapple + ham together and I most certainly hate pineapple on pizza, and I'm unanimous in this.

To borrow the OP title: I hate pineapple pizza...get over it! ;-)

Easy Grilling Menus for 8-10 people?

Ooo...Sangria is a fantastic idea! I have an old recipe that I haven't used in years...thanks sdnyc!

I'll have to check out doing some skewers....where does one buy the wooden skewers? Whenever I've had them in the past, I've just used the ready-made ones in the supermarket, but obviously that's too expensive for a crowd.

Beer Mojito? Oooo! I wonder if I can use regular tequila in place of the "silver" tequila?

Cook the Book: Pomegranate-Braised Beef Cheeks with Butternut Squash Puree

5 lbs of meat for 4-6 servings? That's 1.25-0.83 lbs of meat per person. Now, never having cooked beef cheek before, I don't know what 5lbs of raw meat reduces to. I love meat...but damn.

Taste Test: 5 Frozen Pepperoni Pizzas

Another vote for Totino's Party Pizza! When I want frozen pizza, that's my go-to.

Meat Lite: Pinto and Pork Tacos

I think that should be "3 pounds boneless pork BUTT"...

Looks good...will definitely try this one!

Easy Grilling Menus for 8-10 people?

We're having a party in a month to celebrate a number of things, and I want to have a great spread for our friends (will have 8-10 people). Past parties have been of the "BYOB/bring a dish to pass" variety, and I want to take care of everything this time around. Here are the caveats:

1. Want to use my (small) gas grill as much as possible.
2. Want it to be budget-friendly.
3. Drinks of beer and wine will be served. (or an easy cocktail...ideas?)
4. Want it to be easy (at least easy when guests are there, don't mind doing a lot of prep work beforehand).

I'm comfortable with more complicated things, but when the guests are there and the grill is hot, I want things to be easy so I can spend time with our friends, and not slaving over the grill futzing around with labor-intensive foods.

It would be different if I had a deck, but as it were, I grill in my driveway. Perhaps a heavy cleaning of the garage may be in order to serve dinner?

Thanks!

Home Alone for Christmas!

I'm not talking about the movie nor am I looking for sympathy. ;-)

I'm going to be home alone* on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day**. My plan is to do little to nothing but be a lazy bum, take bubble baths and drink wine while watching movies/TV that my boyfriend*** doesn't like.

But what I'm struggling with, Serious Eaters, is the food! I don't want to do a lot of cooking, but I also want to have some yummy dishes to enjoy solo. I also DO NOT want to go out to eat - the more time I spend in my pajamas, the better!

I'm thinking of a shrimp pasta dish with some crusty bread for dinner one night and I'll make some fussy stuff for breakfast (I usually just wing it)...but I would love some other ideas! Maybe a "cook once, eat twice" plan? Anything easy and delicious, really.

Thanks!

----
* by choice! Trust me, I've had invites to do other things, but I don't want to run around - just want to relax.
** My family is having our holiday celebration the first weekend in January.
*** he's traveling from MN to Northern NY for Xmas with his family for a week. Work prevents me from doing the same. But I'm quite OK with that!

Best Grilled Cheese?

I have a hankering for a hunk of cheese* grilled cheese sandwich for supper tonight, but I want to try something new.

What is your favorite bread/cheese combination in a grilled cheese? Any special methods of preparation? Any "extras" (meats, condiments, veggies) or are you a purist?

-----
* I hope someone gets this reference ;)

Flattening Chicken Breasts?

I want to try a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu tonight and I discovered a small snag in my cooking adventure: flattening the chicken breasts!

I do not own a meat mallet or a rolling pin. Short of my 12oz carpentry hammer, how should I flatten the chicken without having to go out and buying something I'm not going to use but for one recipe?

(Down with unitaskers!)

The help is appreciated!

Punk Legend Johnny Rotten Credited for Uptick in Sales of British Country Life Butter

Or, 'God Save the Cream' Former Sex Pistol John Lydon (Johnny Rotten), once famous for singing "God Save the Queen," is now credited with saving a brand of British butter. Dairy Crest has hailed an 85 per cent rise in its spreadables business on a leap in its butter sales thanks to John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols.The company said that the jump in sales volumes of its spreadables in the third quarter to December 31, 2008 was helped by its £5 million advertising campaign featuring Mr Lydon's promotion of its Country Life butter. Video, after the jump.... More