Cooking and fitness are my passions, along with family and friends. I take every opportunity to pimp cooking real food because boxed, canned and bagged stuff will do a body no good at all. If you love your family, see to it they eat good food.

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  • Location: Florida
  • Favorite foods: All of 'em. (Except rabbit...I had one as a pet for four years. He had the run of the house. If I were to eat rabbit, it would be the equivalent of anyone else eating Fido.)
  • Last bite on earth: Cake.

Latest Comments

stock pot size

Here are my criteria for cookware:

* Stainless Steel or Porcelain-Covered Cast Iron
* Riveted Handles (or one piece construction)
* Sandwich construction that includes copper, heavy bottomed for even heat distribution.
* Pourable lip. I don't think any of the All-Clads have this and it drives me crazy to have a saucepan that dribbles food down the side whenever you try to pour out the contents.

I'm not a pan snob nor a knife snob. The Wolfgang Puck set now available in Sam's Club served me very well at my little restaurant and I beat the crap out of it. It does include a somewhat large stockpot.

Budget cuts: Pork Leg instead of Pork Loin

Jerz - Costco? OMG. They have really good meat considering the "bulk" nature of what they sell. Or did you get it at a retail grocery?

Recipe Testing

Wow - this is certainly an esoteric field. I can only suggest you apply at cooking magazines, cookbook publishers and/or any magazine that might include recipes as part of each issue (i.e. Woman's Day - but the food will be a LOT better if you work for Saveur or Gourmet).

Birthday Food: What's your must have item(s)?

It varies from year to year but cavatelli with Sunday gravy is a favorite. And there must be cake.

Local butcher shops beat supermarkets

This doesn't surprise me in the least and I'm very envious of cooks who have relationships with different purveyors (a la my mother). However, in this multi-tasking, one-stop-shopping world, you sometimes need a pound of butter AND a basin wrench - and that's how stores like Wal Mart stay in business.

Possible to Bake Poblano Peppers without Scorching First?

Sorry but I have to vote for charring. I recently moved to a place with gas burners and wouldn't dream of making chile rellenos without the charring step. They will be a whole other animal if you simply fill and bake them. Yield: A stuffed naked pepper that might be soft but will lack some flavor and still have its skin.

Pepsi to Use Real Sugar?

As everyone knows I call bullshit on HFCS.

Jerz - I don't think HFCS is dangerous in and of itself. The problem is that it permeates everything from jarred tomato sauce (which is bleah anyway) to soda to canned soups to you-name-it. There's no way to get "moderate" amounts of it because it shows up in everything.

Pepsi is in enough trouble because of GMA's expose on the Appalachian kids' rotten teeth. The condition is so closely linked to Mountain Dew, they call it "Mountain Dew Mouth."

need help with old dessert

It sounds like you're looking for socca. Here's a recipe. Not sure if this link will work as it's a cached copy but this sounds a lot like what you describe.

Savory Socca - not what you asked about but might be interesting...

Can you use any other descriptors for this dessert - or have pictures you can point to??

Stickiness that won't come off

Have you ever stored them in a top cabinet near the stove? A nasty film usually forms because even if you have a vent hood, grease still rises and attaches itself to pans and dishware in those high cabinets.

For LeCreuset - I spray with EZ Off oven cleaner OUTDOORS and lay the pans on newspaper. An hour or two later, take an gently abrasive scrubber i.e. Dobie (that doesn't scratch), hose off the pans and scrub them. If you do this on the INSIDE of the pan, you need to wash liberally with soapy water multiple times to eliminate traces of EZ Off.

For Glasses, and Dishes - I use straight ammonia on a sponge. I kid you not. The grease comes off instantly. I then run the dishes and/or glasses through an entire dishwasher cycle to remove any and all traces of ammonia. OR hand wash them all. I know this sounds extreme but it works like a charm and if you are very careful to wash everything THOROUGHLY when you're done, there is no danger. WARNING: If using on plates that might have a "stamped" pattern on them, test in an inconspicuous place on the plate to make sure the design is very sound. (i.e. possibly a cup saucer.)

Jello Salad: a regional thing?

Calling any gelatinous mass that happens to suspend morsels of one type or another a "salad" is laughable to me. Call it what it is. Stuff Held In Suspended Animation Within A Blob Of Jell-O.

A friend of mine used to bring this thing to my BBQs and everyone seemed to like it. When I told her my friends enjoyed her "Green Jell-O Thing" she said it was called "Summer Salad." To quote the real men of genius ad for Giant Taco Salad Inventor - I don't see no lettuce.

We crave Italian 'Speck'. Do you?

You can totally find speck in Costco or Sam's - I always have a hard time remembering in which one I found what. I remember it being right near the prosciutto.

What's So Weird About That?

Ricotta and Jelly (Dad worked for Polly-O for 38 years)
Cottage Cheese and Jelly (Mom was perpetually on a diet and we actually liked cottage cheese)
And honestly, Cream Cheese and Jelly is not such a stretch :D

Mackerel & Onions with Vinegar (got a lot of WTF looks for that one)
Canned Salmon Salad (think tunafish) Sandwiches
Broccoli Stems (Bro and I favored the stems v. the florets and mom used to say she felt like Morticia Adams who'd buy roses for the thorns.)
Romaine lettuce in salads - before it was chic. The rest of my friends' moms were serving iceberg.

In the "it doesn't sound nasty now but did as a kid" department, bro and I looooved mom's Liver & Onions. She was the only one in the neighborhood who would cook the onions to within an inch of their lives but only briefly saute the liver. It was delicious and to this day, I love it that way.

Possible to make thick crust pizza at home?

When I make thick pizza, I bake it almost all the way without the mozzie. I really despise burned mozzie and those conveyor ovens are the worst thing to happen to pizza since the opening of Dominoes.

Here's my recipe for Spinach Pizza and the dynamic behind par-cooking it before adding mozzie.

Gourmet Style Chocolate Chip Cookies anyone?

My SIL and I made these last night. Neiman Marcus Urban Legend Cookies. I think they very closely resemble the type of thick-ish rich cooky you need. I will say they're a little closer to crunchy than chewy but slightly underbaking them might give you chewier results. It's a strange recipe as they are baked for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Outstanding flavor.

I heart stuffed ________

Crap! My answer didn't post! :(

I love stuffed anything.

Help! Cookie Dough in check-in luggage?

The main concern would be (as said above) customs. Not so much trying to get it through security. I've brought food through security - notably a Pizza Grano at Easter time. The security guard threatened to tell everyone I had it unless I agreed to share it with him. It was nice to see a security officer with a sense of humor during a hellacious travel day.

Your most surprising cookbook?

Woman's Day Encyclopaedia of Cookery. But I have a good excuse.

Growing up, in my teen, culinary-formative years, it was my mother's main source of "cooking reference." Whatever she didn't know from her head, she grabbed from WD.

I now have my mother's WD collection and, every now and again, I'll whip something together from it.

Another one that would surprise people is the Friends cookbook (you know, after the show). It's got stuff in it like Cheesecake ("Could this dessert HAVE more calories??"). I don't remember buying it so I must have gotten it as a gift.

A fun, sort of "fluffy" cookbook I have is by Vogue. Sometimes like, food through the ages... or something like that. What I like about it is that the recipes are in chrono order - like what was popular in the 30's, 40's, etc. It's fun to thumb through, if only for the culinary history lesson.

Hand-held foods?

I will eat a doorknob wrapped in a tortilla.

In the absence of a doorknob...

* Gyro. It's a party wrapped in a pita. A messy party.
* Burrito. And it doesn't have to be a belly buster to be great.
* Summer rolls. It's the only really "light" food I can think of that's surrounded by a wrapper.

As for stuff like BBQ chix and ribs, I really have to be in the mood to get messy.

LOVE the Crabs Cantonese at Hop Kee (21 Mott Street). Friggin' black bean sauce down to my elbows!

Movies on Food

Yes!!! Sorry, Remy...Didn't mean to omit you - add Ratatouille to my list!

The 20 Dishes you need to know

Ragu (long-simmered gravy with meatballs, sausage, et al)
Roast Chicken
Chicken Soup
Bread Stuffing
Good Vinaigrette
Mac & Cheese
Chocolate Cake
Pound Cake
Chocolate Pudding
Apple Crisp
Roast Beef
Shrimp Scampi
Properly Cooked Rice (this is the one I don't know)
Eggs O/E
Some form of Eggs Benedict
Some decent lunch sandwich, i.e. Roast turkey breast, sliced brie, roasted peppers on crusty semolina bread
As for muscles, I like mine sweated and pumped... (Sorry couldn't resist.) Mussels - marinara, fra diavolo or Thai with coconut milk or French with shallots, wine and chopped parsley.

Cooking for your Valentine?

I don't do restaurants on Mother's Day or Val Day. The first Val Day I spent with my present BF, he insisted we go out. I relented. Favorite restaurant. Entree served not-so-piping-hot. He admitted that less-than-perfect entree at a generally top notch restaurant proved my point. At least I know I won't get any arguments!!

Unfortunately, we will not be in the same place on Val Day this year :( :( :(. I'm in Clearwater continuing to pack and he's in ATL working like a demon. He did send me this beautiful bouquet yesterday. Pardon the makeshift "display" it's a quilt thrown over a humongous roll of bubble wrap.

Slivering almonds

Slivered almonds are one of those things I let the nut manufacturers do.

Movies on Food

I have a long list and am always on the lookout for more.

American Cuisine
Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe
Big Night
Babette's Feast
Eat Drink Man Woman
Pieces of April
Like Water For Chocolate
Mostly Martha/No Reservations

Never saw/heard of The Cook/Thief/Wife/Lover - but now I'll BOLO. I have a feeling I need to join Netflix...

Salsa Verde Potato Salad

Chorizo is going to make it a meat dish so you might want to think about that.

I think a dice of red onion, maybe some diced poblano or red bell (or both) but not much more than that :D.


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