Profile

CJ McD

Happily married. Young at heart. Slightly food obsessed.

  • Location: Wisconsin
  • Favorite foods: I am slightly partial to Mediterrenean foods. But like children, I love them all.
  • Last bite on earth: Preferably, not pablum.

Cook the Book: 'Yucatán' by David Sterling

My dream culinary tour would be a circle tour throughout Europe. I would love not only to eat, but learn to prepare food with cooks from each country.

Fried Chicken Prep - freezer question

Please report back in another post and let us know if you had success.

Home gardening?

Years ago I had very large vegetable and kitchen gardens, which I loved.

In this home I've have very limited sun exposure for the last 10 years, so grew an array of herbs, an assortment of tomatoes and experimented with flowering kale, potatoes, lettuces, radishes, beans and sugar snap peas trellised in pots. Space in the sun is very limited, so tomatoes and herbs always were a priority.

Last year we took down a massive but dying willow and cleared boulders from the site. It is currently covered with over wintered black plastic to kill off all the remnants of weeds and plant materials. We also pulled out a massive amount of established buckthorn along the fence line and laid down a thick barrier of cardboard, hay, landscape fabric and cedar mulch to prevent any sprouts from resurging. I hope to build raised beds in the future, but this year I want to experiment with hay bale gardening and track the light in the yard for long term planning , including fruit trees and edible landscaping.

Since we also host a CSA pick up site, we already have a very generous amount of fresh produce, but I love gardening. There is no such thing as too many fresh herbs and tomatoes! :)

What do you guys prefer plastic or wooden

We use thin, flexible mats that can go into the dishwasher for almost everything. They take up very little storage space. For bread, I love my wood board. For roasts, I have a wood board with routed drain wells.

Deviled eggs

My basic go-to is with mayo, a little mustard (not too much), dab or horseradish, a pinch of onion powder or minced chives.

I recently had one made with tuna, a hint of anchovy and lemon, parsley and capers. Not your mamma's deviled egg, but it sure was delicious. Another had finely chopped piquillo peppers in it. It was divine.

But really, I don't think I've EVER had a deviled egg I didn't like. Not matter how it was made.

Culinary land mines

Miracle whip is one. I find it to be overly sweet. I can tolerate in. In VERY small quantities.

I don't like gloppy chowders. Creamy, yes. Gloppy, no. I don't want my spoon to stick up in the bowl. No flour paste for me, thank you.

I generally hate the acrid garlic smell and overly MSG'd flavor of frozen entrees like Lean Cusine, et al. So many people bring them to work for lunch and the smell is just nauseating. Thank you for stinking up the work place. blehh! Same goes for butter "flavor" microwave butter popcorn. gahhh!

I do like an occasional bread and butter pickles. Usually home made ones because many commercial brands are overly sweet.

Another is the off flavors and artificial flavor in packaged cookies, cakes, etc. I'll pass.

My biggest culinary landmine is foods that are too salty. I salt foods generously, but find that most commerical preparations and especially restaurant soups are WAY too salty.

On the question of cilantro- I love it. But the first few times I tried it, I really didn't care for it either. Thought it tasted soapy. But as my taste buds acclimated I became a cilantro afficiando. You could almost call it an addiction. :)

Dinner Tonight?

Late to the party. Leftovers tonight to make room in the refrigerator. Leftovers- one pan of braised sausages with potatoes, slice onion, sauerkraut, a little leftover beef vegetable soup, some leftover tamales, leftover chopped salad....a really weird smorgasbord. But tasty!

Work Pot Luck

What to do With a Lot of Whipping Cream

Great suggestions above!

Cream of (fill in the blank) soup.
Potato or vegetable gratins
Scones, shortcakes
Pancakes
Cream biscuits
Creme fraiche, clotted cream
Quiche (make three and freeze two)
Ice cream
Caramels
Creme brule

Vegetarian and Gluten-Free?

We have vegans, lactose free and gluten free folks in our immediate family. For our last get together I made lentil tacos (tiny black lentils seasoned with onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, reg; and ancho chili powder), corn tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, and for those who can tolerate cheese, queso fresco and shredded jack. Served it with cumin scented tomato rice, refried beans and a lime-cilantro slaw. No one missed the meat and no one had to worry about gluten.

Poll: What Do You Like to Drink With Your Burger?

Beer. Iced tea if it's work lunch hour.

My special hot dog available this month only..

I'll take two please.

horseradish root??

Store in your vegetable crisper. Cut off a chunk and scrub and peel it before grating. I highly recommend that you gate it outdoors and stand up wind of it. The volatile oils released when grating can burn your eyes, irritate your skin and do not breath it.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/01/in-season-horseradish-choosing-storing-recipes-20100131.html

http://forums.finecooking.com/cookstalk/cooking-discussion/how-grate-horseradish

KitchenAid mixer lock latch not working, please help!

Hi Andy, I don't have a fix for your problem. Have you tried contacting Kitchenaid customer service? They should be able to help. http://www.kitchenaid.com/customer-service/

Did you Plan how your kitchen is organized, or did it evolve?.

Great topic.

Our kitchen has a basic set up, but every once in a while I get the urge to purge or reorganize cabinets or areas that just aren't working right for me. I'm about to do another one after I finish painting the kitchen. I guess I would have to call our and ever-evolving kitchen.

How to Top a Torte?

Chocolate Whipped Cream- (Can be made a day ahead)
1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 quart whipping cream
1/2 package of plain gelatin

Combine the cocoa powder, sugar and the whipping cream in a deep bowl. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer until partially whipped. Part way through the process, sprinkle 1/2 of the package of plain gelatin across the surface of the semi-whipped mixture and continue beating until fully whipped. The gelatin helps stabilize and firm the mixture. Cover and chill.

I use this to fill a choclate layer cake. The filled cake freezes well. It would make a perfect topping to a torte.

Or how about simply topping the torte with whipped cream? You can stabilize it using the method above.

Surf & Turf Broth?

As long as the flavors are complimentary, you should be fine.

Taste Test: Dennis Eats All of Cricket's Cat Food

No nip after dinner?

PLEASE HELP ME NAME MY FOOD BLOG!

April?!! Where? It's snowing here. And the ice is just starting to let out.

@Tupper- You are a funny man. lol.

@gb944- Tup Yours! is in the lead here too.

vegan Romanian feta?

I've heard of Romanian feta before. But never vegan feta.

The Best Cookie for an Ice Cream Sandwich

@zucchini- Those are fantastic ideas.

Double chocolate brownie cookie, pizzelles or lemon cookies are three that I would love to try as an ice cream sandwich cookie.

What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

@POM- Ooohhhh that looks so good!

I'm pretty lucky. Mr. McD eats anything I make. More challenging are the vegan and the gluten-free/lactose intolerant ones but they've flown the coop and only come home once in a while.

Falafel Waffles = Wafalafels

When I first read the healine, I thought, "Cooking falafel in a waffle iron?! Brilliant." But when I read the article, it is falafel 'in' a waffle. Not nearly as exciting.

Kenji- What would happen if you cooked the raw falafel in a well oiled waffle iron? That's what I want to know!

Need input on buying a smoker

An additional thought- If you catch and want to smoke fish, go with an electric smoker. The cold smoke won't overcook the fish.

Need input on buying a smoker

Are you interested in a wood fired or electric smoker? What kinds of volume do you plan to smoke? (frequent, infrequent)

We smoke things often, but just use a weber grill for most things. (soaked wood chips) Other times a smoker box on our gas grill. (Sawdust or fine particles, not chips)

Until you decide you love smoking lots of things, that might be a more cost effective way to go.

What's For Dinner- Sunday Edition

March madness is almost over and the Badgers are still in the playoffs!

Tonight's dinner is a pasta-pizza casserole using some left over pasta and then loading it up with sauce, toppings and lots of cheese. Toppings include the usual suspects- onion, green pepper, sliced zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, sausage and pepperoni. Green garden salad on the side and chocolate chip-walnut cookies for dessert.

What are you having for dinner tonight?

Falafel Help- Mostly The Forming of..

Ok. My falafel craving got the best of me. So I followed the Mark Bittman recipe and it was delicious. My problem- forming the darn things so they don't fall apart. Things were going so-so. Tried different ways to get the mixture into the pan. My last batch was fairly successful by squeezing a large tablespoonful of mix, then sliding gently off the spoon into the oil. Not round or elegant but it worked. True- I only used about an inch of oil, shallow, not a super deep fry. Also, I'm thinking they may need to be ground finer before shaping. Please, please, PLEASE share your prep and shaping tips! I would be eternally grateful.

What's For Dinner?

Having an early dinner tonight so that we can watch the season finale of True Detective. We are having oven baked BBQ ribs (yes, I'm being totally lazy today, no grill or smoke), parsley buttered baby red potatoes and buttered corn. Simple meal, no fancy flourishes. What are you having tonight?

What's For Dinner?

It's ridiculously cold and snowy here so I've been craving soups all month, big, hearty, toe warming soups.

Just started a pot of smoked turkey-lentil soup. That with fresh made seasoned pita chips, salad of baby kale & greens and some good cheese; glass of red wine, maybe three.

What's for dinner?

Pizza- Thick or thin crust?

We all love pizza. Well, at leat the majoirity of us do. I love it in all it's variations, but my true love is a thin crust. I do love a deep dish too, but not with too bready of a crust. What is your preference? What's your outlier?

ISO Gluten-Soy-Dairy Free Soup Base and Other Products

Well, we've been thrown a curve. A family member has been diagnosed with high level gluten-soy-dairy sensitivites. And we live in an area that has limited access to gluten free products in grocery stores.

I know that many of our SE community struggle with these food sensitivities. I'm hoping someone can recommend a high quality, good tasting brand of soup base(s). I can order products online.

Other products I've purchased I would not buy again. I'm hoping for some recommendations for products tried and true rather than my current method, trial and error. Some of the products I've tasted were just so unappetizing or mushy (pasta).

Meanwhile, I'm reading labels, calling manufacturers to find out if their products contain gluten. Not much help with manufacturers, but that will be epic rant for another time.

Any feedback, tips and product referrals would be of greatly appreciated!!

What baked treats are you making for the holidays??

Are you baking this season? Any family specialties? Holiday breads? Your favorite holiday cookies?

I am going the simple route this year. Magic cookie bars, rollo turtles and fool proof fudge on the candy end. Peanut butter, walnut-maple, old fashioned molassess with dates and melting moment butter cookies so far. Still have a couple more cookies to go.

What's on your baking list?

Your favorite use for a meaty ham bone?

I've got a beautiful ham bone and lots of support ingredients. Spicy sausages, dried beans and grains of all sorts, aromatics, fresh herbs, spices, later harvest produce, the works.

Looking for inspiration, an idea I should try, a tried but true favorite, a spark.

What is your favorite, go-to or often made use for a meaty ham bone?

Harvest Moon, What's For Dinner?

Tonight we're having paninis made with ciabatta bread, roast pork, provolone, parmesan, sliced tomatoes, pickled peppers & onions along with a quick end-of-summer vegetable soup and apple slices.

What's on your table tonight?

Aged Cheese- The Oldest You've Sampled.

I was listening to a program on Wisconsin Public Radio earlier this week and the topic was cheese. (of course)

I recall a vacation in southwest portion of our state and stopped at Hook's Cheese Company in Middleton, WI. We purchased several selections, among them a twelve year old cheddar. It was the oldest cheddar I had ever tasted and was a revelation.

The radio program made me think this might be a good topic for Serious Eaters.

What's the most aged cheese you've ever eaten?

Fun With Farro

I've been exploring a number of new grains and this week I made a small amount of farro. I cooked it in lightly salted water and drained it when it was chewy-tender. Love the flavor and texture but always look to the SE community for ideas, suggestions and recipes.

What are some of your favorite ways to use farro?

Pak Choi- Seeking suggestions

I was blessed with an abundance of pak choi (similar to bok choy) in last week's CSA box.

I sliced some and added it to a brothy, tomato based vegetable soup. Made a spicy Asian style stir fry. Used it in place of cabbage in a saute' with sweet onions, green garlic and sliced mushrooms. Cooked some roughly chopped pac choi with chopped bacon and onions, added a splash of brown sugar and vinegar to serve along side grilled pork. I still have three fairly large heads left.

So, two things-
1.) I'm pak choi'd out. Can I blanch and freeze some?
2.) Does anyone have a preparation idea/suggestion/recipe to share or inspire me to make it again this week.

p.s. CSA box comes again on Thursday and since we are still in the very early stages of our growing season, I'm sure we're going to have a lot more of it coming.

I need ideas. Please.

How do you use black vinegar?

I just bought a bottle of black vinegar, a new condiment for me. I tasted it and really liked the depth of flavor. Yet I wonder how folks of the Serious Eats community use it.

How do you use black vinegar?

Tues., 6-7-11, What's For Dinner?

Super humid and hot here in "weird weather" Wisconsin.

Tonight I marinated boneless chicken breasts in a chipotle marinade and set them on the grill. Made a coarse salsa of tomato, red onion, cucumber, cilantro, jalapenos, avocado and lime juice. Grilled some split romaine hearts, topped with the salsa, grilled chicken slices and a couple of generous squeezes of lime. Super spicy and satifying for a hot summer night.

What did you have for dinner?

Ketchup. Me? Or has it become overly sweet in recent years?

Yes. We're talking about the number one brand of ketchup. I even tried the "natural" sugar version and found it even sweeter.

I remember a texture of tomato sauce, but with the spice, sweetness and tang. Now I find ketchup to be not only overly sweet, but the tomoato-ey texture is gone. Is it me? Or has ketchup changed. I'm not a huge fan of ketchup, but it has it's place on the food scene. The overly smooth and overly sweet thing has got me running for a better flavor. It is not the ketchup I remember.

Do you have a new one that you like? If so, please share.

Rice Cooker Assistance, Please

Alright. I was so excited about receiving a rice cooker for my birthday and so dissapointed with the rice every time I make it. I never have problems making rice on the stove top. Never. In the rice cooker, utter failure. I know... It's not supposed to be this way....

I have not branched out to my other rices (basmati, jasmine, etc.) at present due to my lack of success with plain white Riceland brand rice. I have adjusted the water to rice ratio several times, tried rinsing the rice, washed the rice.... you get the idea.

I'd like to blame it on the rice cookers, but I'm afraid that it's probably my water to rice ratio which I have yet to get down pat.
It's never separated grains, just a big bowl of mush. What am I doing wrong?

Please help me before I put the darn cooker in a rummage sale box.

What water to rice ration do you use? Is the brand of rice part of the problem? Do you rinse the rice before cooking? What do you do for perfect rice every time?

Turkey Stockapalooza!, What would you make?

I picked up several packages of meaty turkey back parts for 49 cents a pound and just finished making 4 1/2 quarts of rich turkey stock plus a generous 2 cups of tender, juicy bits of turkey meat.

I plan on making a small pot of turkey noodle soup tomorrow and freezing some of the stock. I also plan to use about a 3/4 cup of turkey meat for turkey salad sandwiches. And maybe some risotto with asparagus this weekend.

But I must ask- What you you make?

Pickapeppa Sauce, How do you use it?

Just picked up a bottle of Pickapeppa sauce. I have never used it before. One quick taste says it would be a great chicken or pork marinade ingredient. But I am a Pickapeppa newbie. So I am looking for suggestions, ideas and your favorite uses for Pickapeppa. How do you use it?

Macadamia Nut "Ricotta" From 'Nom Nom Paleo'

Nut "cheese" is not the first thing I expected to make from a Paleo cookbook. Most nut cheese recipes call for cashews; as someone with a cashew allergy, I have tended to avoid all dairy-free cheeses for the sake of safety. So I was pleasantly surprised when Michelle Tam's recipe for nut "cheese" in her new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo, called for macadamia nuts. Mild-tasting, rich, and sweet, these round nuts not only fit into my diet, but they also seem like an ideal substitute for ricotta. More

From Polish Country House Kitchen's Hunter's Stew (Bigos)

Bigos, or traditional Polish Hunter's Stew, is one of those homey recipes that changes from home to home. In fact, in From A Polish Country House Kitchen, Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden describe the stew as Poland's version of chili—long stewed meat with a suggestion of vegetable served with thick rustic bread. Their take blends pork, venison, beef, veal, and sausage with cabbage, sauerkraut, and mushrooms for a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, hearty meal for the meatiest of meat lovers. In other words, it's an awesome addition to your late winter repertoire. More

17 Bean Recipes To Beat The Cold

So you've made that New Year's resolution to eat more vegetables, but the weather's cold, and you're looking for some more rib-sticking fare. Beans are the best compromise in situations like this. And who are we kidding? Beans are no compromise at all—they're downright awesome on their own merits. Here are 17 easy bean recipes to help beat the cold. More

Bread Baking: Buttery Bread Machine Loaf

Got a bread machine? Tired of the few recipes that came with the book? Want to try something new? This recipe is one of the best that has come from my bread machine. The butter adds its own butteryness and the buttermilk adds the tang that's missing from short-fermented breads. More