Un-desperate housewife; I dabble in Real Estate. I love quilting, reading, sewing, gardening, and of course cooking. I've become a serious foodie since I lost 25 lbs - it's got to be really worth eating to spend the calories on in my book.

  • Website
  • Location: Caesarea, Israel
  • Favorite foods: Bittersweet chocolate, dim sum, red curry with brown rice, filet mignon Oscar, sushi, crab macaroni & cheese, hummus made in Israel, chicken piccata, I could go on...
  • Last bite on earth: flourless chocolate cake with raspberry Grand Marnier sauce, washed down with Dom

Anthropomorphizing my new Mixer: am I alone?

My mother's GPS is Samantha and mine is Valerie. We switched my sister's to the British male voice and his name is now Jeeves.

I've never had an appliance react badly to a name, but our parrot is Kerberos, after a computer security protocol. Unfortunately it's also the 3 headed dog that guards the entrance to the underworld, and she has TOTALLY taken that personality and run with it...

Fish & Red Wine????

We don't drink very much white wine (more than a glass gives me a headache and hubby prefers red), so we have a sliding scale of reds that we move within instead of red/white. I had a light, fruity Pinot Noir that paired perfectly with a shrimp and scallop dish over the weekend; at home in Seattle, I always served Portteus (disclaimer: family bias) Cabernet Franc with fish.

Quick bread tweak?

We actually made it with regular ol' lemon yogurt, undrained, and no lemon zest - I'm in Israel, though and couldn't find lemon yogurt; but the Greek stuff abounds! I'll try the soda trick, I got more ingredients to try it again this weekend.

The bloggerette is actually on here, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone :-)

Parve Choc. Cupcakes w/o margarine?

@producestories - I'm not sure if she would, but I'm actually in Israel - not sure if that's available here?

Thanks all for the ideas! I will send her andshewas and hiimlauren's recipes and let her pick :-)

Parve Choc. Cupcakes w/o margarine?

@GOM, not if you're having a big 'ol meat BBQ. If we were having just salads and cheese and hummus and pita it would be fine :-)

Instant Potatoes & Other Embarrassing Food Stuff

@mollytee - I get the ramen craving too! I like mine with Costco canned chicken and snap peas (used to have them in my garden almost all summer - sniff!)

what is the first thing you grab?

unfortunately, chicken nuggets (the oven kind, not McD's, at least..)

Instant Potatoes & Other Embarrassing Food Stuff

I like to add a handful of potato flakes to my "real" mashed potatoes, it seems to improve the texture. They're also good comfort food - I will peel and mash if I'm cooking for two or more; but for just me I'd rather use the flakes and make a simple gravy to go over top with the extra time :-)

Microwaving Artichokes

My sister does the above, except she puts them in for 15 for four artichokes. It really varies, though - we tried doing it at my other sister's and we could have steamed them faster. It took 1/2 hour in her microwave - must be lower wattage...

Grown Up Treats

Cambozola and fig jam; I usually give in to that or whatever urge, because if I don't I will go home and eat a bunch of worthless junk instead...

Easter 2009: What are Your Plans?

Not sure this year - I found out a couple of weeks ago that I'm going to be in the country, so my mom and aunts are throwing something together. I'll probably ask what I can bring and then pick it up from Whole Foods; the kitchens in those "extended stay" hotels don't exactly lend themselves to goumet cooking :-(

Usually, we'd start with breakfast of hard-boiled eggs and hot cross buns; then have a late lunch/dinner with the whole famdamnily of ham, green bean casserole, yams, etc, etc, etc... Last year it was right before the movers were coming to pack up the house, so I got the whole meal from the Honeybaked store - the ham rocked but the rest was so disappointing!

Pizza Delivery Hack: How to Get Drivers to Ring the Right Buzzer

Now can you invent something that will keep them from pulling up the driveway when the delivery instructions say "DO NOT PULL UP DRIVEWAY "?

I'm tired of having drivers get pissed at me because they didn't bother to read and scraped their bumper/oil pan/ground effects on my insanely steep driveway...

Bronx Pizzeria Busted for Dealing Cocaine

I don't see the problem, my local joint throws in free Coke if you get a large or extra large - oh, you're not talking about the beverage... :-)

April Fool's!

I must have gotten there too late, just their regular site...

Martha had some cute ideas on her site:

You live where?

Originally from So Cal; our permanent residence is 30 miles east of Seattle (just east of a large computer company); but we are currently in the middle of a 2-3 year assignment in Israel. We're renting a house in Caesarea (closest major city is Haifa.)

*waves @ dove3579*

dbcurrie - tell me about it, sounds like the first time I got stuck behind a tractor on my way home from work, or the traffic jam on the highway the first day they put the lambs out to pasture in the spring. My favorite is the farmers that drive their tractors to the store for more beer because they're too drunk to drive a car!

What is your "give up" meal?

pasta with jarred sauce, frozen meatballs if I have them

DH won't let me make my mom's "give up" meal, which I consider the best of all time: hard boiled egg, popcorn, and chocolate ice cream. I ate this at least once a month growing up and I think I turned out OK!!!

Do you love to cook or to eat?

Cooking! I'm another one that will have just cereal when alone - or if I'm feeling gourmet, cambozola with fig jam on whole wheat bread and a glass of red wine.

Crawfish Boil Side Dishes

I immediately thought of cheese biscuits, but I'm from the wrong part of the country, so what do I know? I second the coleslaw, too!

Gotta ask - what is comeback dressing?

Has anyone ever lost their kitchen mojo?

I've lost my seasoning mojo - my husband was told to watch the salt by his doctor, and now I am undersalting everything. I used to have a heavy hand with it, but I can't seem to find a middle ground..

Spousal Cooking: Am I a bad person?

@Karencooks - that's exactly the words my husband used when we made the decision for me to stop working 4 years ago! And he took me to pick out a really nice set of pans :-)

He works really, really hard (10-12 hours a day at the office and about 4 more from home) but loves his job. He can cook; in fact he makes better scrambled eggs than I do, and an amazing sauteed chicken thing. I've made it my mission in those 4 years to become as good at cooking as he is at software engineering - I'll probably never make it; but it's what I'm best at so it's my way of thanking him for what he does to support us.

What's your favorite kitchen gadget?

I have to agree with Knitter, except mine's a KitchenAid. I use it for garlic, nuts, anchovies, hard cheese, breadcrumbs - I could go on :-)

Suggested Improvement

@HB - I agree wholeheartedly! I am 9000 miles away from my family and friends; SE is where I come to feel "at home". And the only professional chef I know is my nephew, who is also a video game designer and winemaker, so even he isn't "on topic" and serious all the time :-)

@dhorst - I know I am going to be laughing stuffing my zuchinnis tomorrow and now I'm going to have to try and explain this to my husband...

dinner tomorrow: stuffed globe zuchinnis

figured starting with the chicken raw was best?

they are absolutely the cutest vegetables I have ever seen!


Say That You Had a Year...

Isreal - and we're doing it! Actually 2-3 years, but I'm loving learning Mediterranean cooking. Next on the list would be France, where helpfully, my husband's company also has an office - not sure what my family would say to "losing" me on another foreign assignment, though...

Hoping to find help to make my life and weigh loss somewhat easi

I lost 25 pounds by going off artificial sweeteners (except gum) and doing the "Leave Some" diet. No matter how good it is, some must remain on the plate when you're finished (or in my case some must end up inside the dogs...) Plus the above mentioned water - I'm not a plain water person, so I make really, really weak green or white tea and drink it by the bucketload.

Now that I'm where I want to be, I evaluate after the first bite of something whether it tastes good enough to be worth the calories.

Quick bread tweak?

I just found this yogurt bread recipe on one of my favorite food blogs.

It's the closest I can find to a cherished childhood recipe lost in a move; but I would like to tweak it so it's a little less dense. I never cook exactly to a recipe, but I don't usually fool around with baking - can I safely add more baking powder? Or is there a better option? I split it into two loaves (and baked at 160C with fan for 45 min) because one loaf was for a friend. She loved it, but I want the bread I remember from my childhood!

Parve Choc. Cupcakes w/o margarine?

I REALLY don't want to start a whole cultural/dietary/religious debate; but I need a recipe for parve chocolate cupcakes WITHOUT margerine or any other hydrogenated foodstuff substitutes.

We're having a BBQ on Friday, and one of the families that is coming keeps kosher to the extent that the whole party must be kosher or they won't be able to eat anything; which I respect very much.

A friend has offered to bring something (actually several things, bless her) and one of them is chocolate cupcakes. She does not cook with margarine, Cool Whip, etc.; which I also respect very much.

Maybe someone has a recipe using part applesauce and part oil or something? I am "The Boss' Wife" so this isn't the time for experimentation - I need a tried and true recipe :-)

dinner tomorrow: stuffed globe zuchinnis

OK, the store had the cutest little round zuchinnis, so I got a couple (we never seem to eat leftovers so I'm trying to cook just for two..)

Planning to scoop out the seeds and (over)stuff them with ground chicken, breadcrumbs and parmasean, held together with a bit of egg and some shredded mozarella on top. Thought I'd serve them with spaghetti and dump red sauce over the whole lot.

What do you think? Any time/temperature suggestions for just two of them? (I'm in celcius, but I can convert...)

champagne question

Asked a friend coming through duty free to pick us up a bottle of Veuve Clicquot since it's so expensive here. What he brought back was $35 more that we were expecting, and is called Veuve Clicquot Cuvee Edouard Werle. From reading The Widow Clicquot (an excellent book!) I know that ol' Eddie was the widow's business partner and successor, but what does that mean for my bottle of champagne?

will a touch of oil keep rice water from boiling over?

Thought I remembered a thread before I went on vacation about boil-over being the only reason to add oil to pasta water; which set me wondering if that is the solution to my microwave rice cooker. I absolutely love it (particularly when I have an intestinal bug, like right now - who gets sick AFTER vacation?) but it makes an unholy mess out of my microwave cooking even 1 cup of rice. It boils over out of the steam vents on top - can I add a touch of olive oil (or butter) to the water, rice and salt before I close the lid? I'll be eating the rice with butter anyway...

Are Potato Peels Really Good for You?

As I was making red mashed potatoes with the skins on at Thanksgiving, a 7-year-old guest asked me why there were skins in. I replied that it was added fiber and vitamins, and also looked pretty. She countered with "No they're not - that's what lazy adults say so they don't have to peel them!"

Am I wrong? Are there really no added benefits to leaving the peels on like there are with other fruits/vegetables?

New show names for existing FN chefs (silly!)

OK, so feeling silly this AM...

DH and i have always referred to Giada diLaurentiis as "Cooking with Cleavage", and Mario Battali would have to be something involving shorts and Crocs (I can't stop thinking there's GOTTA be leg hair in his food occasionally!), Paula Deen's would probably be unpublishable on a family site....

Everyone chip in their own ideas!

Crepes (Palacsinta) Hortobagy

While on vacation in Budapest, I loved the Crepes Hortobagy (crepes with chicken in a sour cream/paprika sauce) so much I had it at least once a day. Now I'm back home wanting to make it for myself but not finding much online. Can anyone share their Hungarian grandma's (or grandpa's!) recipe?

Frozen Eggrolls

Grabbed some to tide me over while hubby is out of town. When I had my Hebrew teacher translate the package; I discovered they're supposed to be deep fried for 3 min at 180 degrees Celcius.

My deep-fryer (never-used wedding gift) is in storage in Seattle with the rest of my 110 appliances. My first instinct is to bake them at said 180 for 15-20 min, basting several times with cooking spray. Anyone ever tried this with "supposed to be fried" food? Did you thaw first?

My other thought was about an inch of oil in a pan and just keep turning them, like lumpia (which is usually still frozen, right?)

flour types in spring roll wrappers?

I've finally decided I'm going to have to make my own Dim Sum if I want it here (Israel - not a huge market for it!)

Steamed BBQ pork buns and shu mai are what I'm craving, I found recipies for both. The buns only call for All-Purpose flour, but the wrappers for the shu mai call for 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 All-Purpose. I haven't seen any bread flour here yet - what would happen if I used all All-Purpose?

I have to drive 30 minutes to get the shrimp and pork, and it's really expensive here; so I don't want to just blindly experiment :-)

Butterfly a brisket?

As a result of my thread yesterday regarding an excess of orange juice, I am now the proud owner of one kilo of brisket, which I am planning to marinate all day tomorrow in a mixture of aforesaid OJ, smooth mango chutney and Worcestershire. Thanks everyone for helping me brainstorm!!!

I just looked in my copy of "Timing is Everything" by Jack Piccolo (love it!) and he recommends 5-8 hours medium-low heat on the grill. Can I butterfly the brisket and reduce the time? I have a built-in propane BBQ that came with the house, and I don't think the tanks over here hold 5-8 hours worth.

It's 85 degrees farenheit here by 7am, and I'm afraid to look after that, so please don't suggest I use the oven instead :-)

surplus OJ?

We get fresh squeezed OJ delivered every Wednesday. After being on vacation for a week, I still have a full 1/2 gallon, and we get more this afternoon. Because they deliver it right after they squeeze it, by now it's about the quality you would get in a grocery store. I KNOW hubby will want to drink the fresh bottle instead; which leaves me looking for recipes that invole a whole lotta OJ.

Any ideas other than sangria? I'm playing with somehow braising chicken in it...

What to do with sardines?

OK, so my language brain is not connected to my cooking brain. After trying to read the Hebrew labels in the supermarket, I was so happy to find a label in English that I bought sardines instead of anchovies. I know, duh!

I've never had sardines; my dad used to eat them on toast, but that doesn't sound appealing to me. Should I give up and throw them away or does anyone have a creative recipe? I'm heading back to the store of anchovies (or at least what I think are anchovies!) later today, we have a guest coming and I want to make a ceasar salad...

Breakfast brainstorm!

OK, so someone's probably already thought of this; but for me it was a brainstorm!

I LOVE those breakfast scrable things with the potato and egs and meat and cheese; but I hate all the grease you get included in the type of restaurant that serves them. We typically eat pretty low carb at the house, so I never have leftover cooked potatoes to make my own with.

DH is out of town and I've stayed up late a few night in a row, so when I woke up this morning it was clear that a bowl of whole-grain flakes wasn't going to cut it. I had one raw potato and one onion left over from cooking for guests a couple weeks ago, so I diced the potato and threw it in the microwave for 4 minutes, stirring and seasoning halfway through. Eureka!


I love middle eastern style kebabs (the ones made of ground meat NOT on a stick) but the ones I can buy premade in the store have something in them I'm allergic to. I had really good ones at a Druze restaurant 2 weeks ago that had bulgar wheat or something in them that lightened the texture and made them hang onto the sauces really well too.

Does anyone have a recipe? No pork, but I can get my hands on ground beef, and I'm looking for somewhere to find ground lamb.

bamboo steamer time for whole fish ASAP :-)

Hubby just brought home whole fish (head yes, guts no) about the size of a trout for me to cook in my new bamboo steamer. It came without a sheet of cooking times and I can't find anything online. I don't want to keep opening the lid to check the fish and letting all the steam out; can someone give me a minimum estimate?

basic breakfast bread?

I'm looking for a breafast bread recipe that I can mix stuff into without having to tweak too much - my mom had a recipe (lost in a move) growing up that used lemon yogurt and was really moist but better for you than poundcake.

summer soups

Entertaining once per weekend lately, and since I can't vary the main course much (small kitchen, hot weather, cultural diet restrictions) I'm doing a lot of BBQ roasted chicken and trying to vary side dishes. Found a recipe for minted pea soup.

appetizer suggestions?

Sick of pita and hummus, my current obsession, right now. This is Israel, so no pork or shellfish - there go bacon-wrapped scallops or skewered grilled prawns. The sig. other of Friday's dinner guest can't eat cheese (checking on other milk products...) Menu currently consists of Israeli salad, Ina Garten's New Potato Salad with dill and wholegrain mustard, my grilled chicken leg quarters (hubby swears I killed the Colonel for the recipe!) and a cake brought by the guest for dessert.

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