• Location: California
  • Favorite foods: Pasta, seafood, chocolate, fresh seasonal fruit
  • Last bite on earth: Chocolate souffle

Point/Counterpoint: What's the Queen of Christmas Breads?

Team Yulekake here. For Christmas morning breakfast, toasted.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Holy crap on a cracker. I saw this recipe this afternoon, made it for dinner tonight, and I'm hooked. Easy and delicious. @Shurlburt: the liquid does thicken up quite nicely, and pretty quickly too. I'm glad I put in the full cup.

Summer Drinks Around the World: 12 Regional Specialties You Might Not Know

Years ago, when I was working in home health and pregnant in the middle of summer, one of my patients' wives made me a huge glass of canteloupe agua fresca. She hardly spoke any English but she must have looked at my flushed face and decided I needed it. It was one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. The occasional treats and generosity from people who often had very little--I miss that about the job.

why are food scenes important to the film industry?

This movie got terrible reviews, but I loved it: "Simply Irresistible" with Sarah Michelle Gellar (this should surprise nobody, what with my having a moniker like "buffy"). It was similar to "Like Water For Chocolate" in that the main character infused the food she created with whatever emotions she was feeling. I thought the imagery was beautiful. Also, I wanted to make caramel eclairs afterward.

Open Thread: White Chocolate, Yay or Nay?

@lewyintheuk--Thank you!! It's a big YAY for me. My favorite See's candy is the white chocolate and key lime truffle. And white chocolate chip and macadamia cookies don't suck either.

Paleo Diet Craze- Love it or leave it?

@cycorider I have experienced the same thing! I notice an immediate difference in my energy level during my morning run if I have skimped on carbs the previous day. Very few of them are refined, but I need my carbs, dammit. The paleo thing is too extreme. And I find it humorous that the paleo/crossfit crowd conveniently ignores the fact that our paleolithic ancestors got a lot of their protein from insects. I have yet to see a recipe for grubs or grasshoppers on any paleo-themed Pinterest boards...

Substituting yogurt for sour cream in dips?

It's the only way I make ranch or french onion dip. Ditto on the tip for using Greek yogurt, 1:1 ratio. It's better with full-fat or lowfat yogurt than nonfat, but nonfat is still pretty darn tasty.

Crispy Vegan Smoked Mushroom "Bacon"

Would something like this work with, say, eggplant? I have a deep-seated hatred of mushrooms.

Fear of Spicy Chili

New Mexico chiles are ever so slightly spicier than anchos, and have a nice flavor. When I make chili I use some of each of those, and those who want it spicier can put some Tapatio sauce on their serving.

Where Did Belgian Endive Disappear To?

Back to hell where it came from?

What's on the menu for the Big Game?

Possibly the most boring game in the history of football, but the food didn't disappoint. I made spring rolls with shrimp, avocado, and other veggies; pear coffee cake from joythebaker's blog (excellent); a kale salad with chickpeas, quinoa, and kalamata olives; and some bangin' honey-sriracha wings. Good stuff.

Healthier substitutions for potato recipes?

Cauliflower puree IS amazing, especially if you get it silky-smooth in a food processor after you steam it. I add a little Greek yogurt, salt, and roasted garlic. Cauliflower already has its own sweet flavor, so that's about all I need in it. It's a nice addition to my repertoire of cauliflower recipes.

What's the Weirdest Ice Cream Flavor You've Ever Tried?

I live a few hours away from Gilroy, CA, the garlic capital. Every summer they have their garlic festival during which they serve garlic ice cream. I've never been brave enough to try it, but that's definitely the weirdest ice cream flavor I've heard of.

Boiling water

I'm not sure, but this is a great resource for tips on how to boil water.

Serious Entertaining: Game Day Finger Food

I have a freezer full of uncooked lumpia earmarked for Super Bowl Sunday. They will be excellent with beer. I think I'll get myself a growler of Black Oak Porter from Sequoia Brewing in Fresno, and maybe do tater tot nachos too... I've been waiting for a good excuse to make that.

Participate in Food Preference Study!

Best Cardamom Substitute

With cardamom, a little goes a very long way, so the cost doesn't end up being that crazy. It really does have a great flavor and it's very unique. If you have an Indian store nearby, look for the spice in its whole form. It can be quite a bit cheaper that way. Then you can grind it yourself as you need it.

Suggestions for leftover jams?

I use my jams and jellies in a lot of the ways already suggested (orange marmalade makes an excellent filling in a chocolate cake or a yellow cake with chocolate frosting), and I also like to use them in a vinaigrette, with a little dijon mustard, olive oil, and whatever variety of vinegar strikes my fancy.

Talk About over-Engineering

It's like making pancakes with a rube goldberg machine. I've seen them at Holiday Inns, and they take FOR. EVER. They should just stick with the waffles. I'm pretty sure they use exactly the same batter.

My twist on a Cuban classic

"Go take a swim in a deep fryer..."
I'm dying. DYING, I tell you. Saving that one for when I need it later.

Seriously, though, we've had a rash of posts lately from newbs whose first foray into "Talk" is an attempt to educate everyone with their recipes, often written with very poor English, and usually accompanied by a link to their blog. With this in mind, you might understand how folks here can be a bit touchy about a multiple posting of a recipe by a newcomer.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This looks very similar to America's Test Kitchen's recipe, and I know those are the bomb, so I'm sure these will be too. Screw the salt-haters. I've got some merlot sea salt that would be great on these bad boys!

Substitute for Sunchoke Soup

What about artichoke? It's usually fairly easy to find frozen artichoke hearts.

Hasselback Potato Gratin

Great googly-moogly. I made this last night and there wasn't a bite left in the dish when dinner was over. I used what I had on hand: one cup each of heavy cream and milk rather than the 2 cups of heavy cream, and chevre and parm since I didn't have any gruyere. IMO, chevre is never a bad thing, and that certainly applied in this recipe. This is a keeper!!

Desserts to Deconstruct

Love the lemon meringue idea... what about lemon curd with a meringue cookie?

Looking for a glass lid for my Lodge Dutch Oven

Seems to be a lot more trouble to find a glass lid than it would be to just lift the lid and take a peek once in a while.

Pressure Cooker Problems

Has anyone else noticed how much trouble the cheftestants on shows like Top Chef and Next Iron Chef have with pressure cookers? They can't get the lid on. They can't get the lid off. They stand back and ask, "Is it supposed to be hissing like that?" Is it just me, or does anyone else think that someone who's made it to Top Chef ought to know how to use a flippin' pressure cooker?

Can someone solve this dessert mystery?

The wife of the last patient I went to see (I work for a home care agency and travel around treating people in their homes) fed me a delectable something before I left. The problem is, I don't speak enough Spanish, and they don't speak enough English, to tell me how to make it. It's a flour tortilla, deep fried and then submerged in a sticky, gooey, caramel-y sauce that almost has a maple syrup flavor and is infused with cinnamon and cloves. I asked the patient what was in the sauce and all he could say was "milk". Does anyone know what this is called? And how I can replicate it?

You might be a foodie if....

My friend brought up this topic the other day and I thought it was hilarious. What quirks do you have that identify you as a foodie? His was, "...if you want to make a grilled-cheese sandwich, but you only have three kinds of cheese."

Another dutch oven question

Another post about dutch ovens got me thinking. I'm wanting to ask Hunny for a Le Crueset dutch oven for Mothers' Day. What size seems to be the most useful, in others' experience?

Cream Cheese Frosting Help

I love carrot cake. And carrot cake is just not carrot cake without the requisite cream cheese frosting. But I don't like what my cream cheese frosting does--that is, to drip down the sides of the cake as I'm trying to put it on! Does anyone have a recipe for cream cheese frosting that is stiffer than mine? Otherwise, I'm thinking of going with a whipped white chocolate ganache instead. Somebody please stop me before I make a terrible mistake!

Year-old turkeys--what to do?

My extra freezer contains three frozen turkeys and a turkey breast. The turkey breast and two of the turkeys are from last year. You know how some supermarkets give a free turkey if you purchase so many $ worth of groceries? Anyway, I meant to cook them over the last year but obviously never did, and I'm just wondering, is there anything I can do with them besides ship them off to Mythbusters for a turkey cannon?

Clean bathroom = clean kitchen?

My husband's late grandfather owned his own restaurant supply business before he retired. He learned over the years that you could pretty much tell what a restaurant's kitchen would look like based on how the bathrooms were kept. If the bathrooms were immaculate, you could count on a kitchen with the same level of hygeine. If the bathrooms were dirty, however, you could expect to find the same conditions in the kitchen.

Has anyone else noticed this? Or any other rules of thumb about restaurants?

Cast Iron Heirloom

My grandma just gave me a cast iron skillet that once belonged to my late grand-aunt. It has a little rust on it. What do I do?

What do you put in your couscous?

Couscous is one of my all-time favorite side dishes. It's quick and easy and can be prepared so many different ways. For dinner tonight I fixed it with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. I also like it with soaked dried apricots and nutmeg. What does everyone else like?

Making your own baby food

The adults and baby food topic got me thinking, when my 5-week-old boy hits the 6-month mark and is ready to start on solids, I'd like to try making my own baby food. I hear it's pretty easy, as well as cheaper and tastier than the Gerber jars and whatnot. Does anyone else make their own baby food? Suggestions?

Favorite Turkey Sandwich Toppings

Just curious what all the rest of you like to put in your turkey sandwiches to spice them up. My personal favorite is cranberry relish, shredded lettuce and Monterey Jack cheese. I'd love to hear some new ideas!

Make-Ahead Pea Soup with Shallot, Lemon, and Parmesan

Not to be confused with the thick-as-fog, sits-in-your-stomach-like-a-brick winter-time version, this pea soup is subtle and light, fragrant with lemon and mint. The soup is only simmered long enough to cook through the peas and let the flavors come together; a handful of Parmesan at the end adds salt and a touch of creaminess. More

Homemade Wonton Soup

A classic wonton soup made with Chinese superior stock flavored with chicken, pork, ham, and shrimp. The wontons are stuffed with a mixture of pork and shrimp. The shrimp are brined in a solution of salt and baking soda to make them extra crisp. More

Coca Cola Brownies

In a weird feat of cooking magic, you can actually bake brownies by substituting the wet ingredients (typically eggs and vegetable oil or butter) with a can of cola. The result is a dark, damp brownie with a fudgy yet springy crumb. More

Make-Ahead Peanut Soba Noodles with Tofu and Pickled Bean Sprouts

As something of a seasoned peanut noodle slurper, I wanted my version to be spot on, and up to snuff. The sauce is a balance of salty, sharp, sweet and rich, and just hovering between liquid and paste for the perfect amount of "noodle cling". I threw in some easy pickled bean sprouts for kick (and crunch) and some simply seared tofu to make this a well-rounded lunch box. Just try not to slurp too loudly. More