Who Makes the Best Vanilla Ice Cream?

I like Breyer's French vanilla. It's a little creamier than the natural vanilla. I love that they don't put corn syrup in it.

Post Wisdom Teeth Extraction Food?

I am so sorry, I remember that. I lived on several variations of creamed potatoes (hot sauce, sour cream and chives, etc.), but maybe mashed avocado (skip lime juice) would give you some good fat? I think I pureed a meaty chili at some point, too. A good curried lentil soup might be nice, as well. Hope you heal quickly.

Light Butternut Squash Recipes

Oops I meant to say if you get hot, above, not that it has anything to do with how you would actually use the squash.

Light Butternut Squash Recipes

Make sure to keep some frozen butternut squash puree in your freezer at all times. If nothing else, you can take it out and put it on your forehead when you get cold. It's pretty self-explanatory, but cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds, put both halves flesh-side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until it's done (that means a fork goes into all parts easily...don't worry, really hard to overcook...usually takes me a half hour or a little more). Let it cool for about 10 minutes (not too long--then it gets hard to work with) and scoop the flesh out from the skin with a spoon, so that all you waste is the little bit of skin. Put the flesh into a blender, puree, then let it sit in a collander lined with wet coffee filters for a few hours to get the excess water out. It sounds like a lot more work than it really is, and the final product is so velvety and beautiful that I usually just want to eat it right away. Stick it in the freezer and take it out when you want to make muffins, stir it into oatmeal, pancake batter, anything that calls for pumpkin, etc. I really love the beautiful orange tint it gives baked goods. Also, straight-up this is great wholesome baby food.

Recipe Request: Portable Food Recipes for Inauguration Day

Hey great suggestions! I am not going to be in the ticketed area or along the parade route, but some of my coworkers will, and it appears thermoses are not allowed there! On a 34-degree day! I am still not clear on what size bag I can take with me, and I definitely don't want to have to ditch my only bag (with all my tools in it!) for security purposes. I think that is what is making this so hard to plan for.

Have you calculated the costs of 'home-made'?

I did some of this for one of my food columns:

Time is a big factor, but if you enjoy time in the kitchen, then it's probably less of a "cost" than if cooking is not fun for you. I feel like taste is much better on homemade. There are a lot of things to balance, but on many items it's a personal choice.

Cook the Book: 'Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics'

A pasta salad I make with lemon, olive oil, garlic, red chili flakes, feta, tomatoes and basil.

Old-Time Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce

@Raiders757....OK OK I was being sarcastic...but thanks for the warning, that confirms my hunch never to go to Va. BBQ. I heard a rumor that they were shipping pre-cooked meat in from Siler City NC, at least where I am. Not sure if that's true, though. I totally agree with your observation of the use of the word, "barbecue." If you have friends over and fire up a grill to cook hamburgers and hot dogs, that is a "cook out." Not a "barbecue." And grilling chicken and slathering sauce from a bottle that says BBQ on it is not barbecue-ing either.

Blue Pumpkins, A Quest Fulfilled

Queensland Blue is the pumpkin Barbara Kingsolver spent 30 min trying to cut in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She made soup in it.

Old-Time Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce

Also...the photo. The slaw is not the right color. It should be pinkish, not white and greenish. And it should be ON THE SANDWICH, not to the side. Just offering some constructive criticism...;) You need some hush puppies, too.

Old-Time Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce

To the person who wanted tomatoes...that is Western NC 'cue. Head over to Lexington and you'll find what you need. I am a Tar Heel and love them both (I know, you're not supposed to love them both, but I do.). Allen & Son is great...It burned down when I was in college and thankfully they rebuilt. I now live in Virginia and there is a place in my town called "Virginia Barbecue." That is an oxymoron and I refuse to eat there.

Is it OK to make a birthday cake for yourself?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I had a great birthday, and ended up making a Hummingbird Cake, two layers with rich cream cheese frosting. Hummingbird cake is a Southern cake that is so easy---it's basically like making banana bread with pineapple and cinnamon in it and then pouring the batter into cake pans instead of a loaf pan. And since there was fruit involved, it doesn't even count as my birthday indulgence, right?

Is it OK to make a birthday cake for yourself?

Thanks, now I am pumped! The hard part is definitely going to be choosing what to make. I have a chocolate cake-chocolate icing recipe that I LOVE, but have made that a few times for other peoples' birthdays. I am tempted to try a traditional Southern caramel cake with caramel icing, that one's been on my list for a while now. But then I am a sucker for anything with cream cheese icing, and I've never made carrot cake! Oh, decisions...

Is it OK to make a birthday cake for yourself?

I totally agree, JerzeeTomato. Nothing tastes like homemade, not even the most expensive bakeries, in my opinion, though the high-end cakes are definitely good, they seem to be missing something that you only get when you make something in your own home, and you see all that goes into every crumb of it.

Pre-theater dining that won't break the bank?

My husband and I are going to be seeing "Wicked" at the Gershwin Theater (51st and Broadway) on a weeknight. We're looking for a place to grab dinner that isn't overly formal or fine-dining, but that offers something interesting and good. We'll be a little pressed for time, because we're coming off a tour that ends at 6pm and the show is at 8, so something relatively quick would be nice. We just don't want to get stuck in some tourist trap. Any suggestions?

What one food mag should I get?

If you could only subscribe to one food magazine, what would it be? I have been thinking about subscribing to one for a while and want to do it, but am having trouble deciding. I have LOVED recipes from Gourmet, I like Cooking Light's content, I am not overly familiar with Bon Appetit, but have cooked lots of their recipes from Epicurious. I have tons of cookbooks but like the seasonal aspect that the magazines bring. Any suggestions?

Spring Onions

Here in Virginia, the first thing we see at the farmers' markets are spring onions. Some call them green onions, but they are not scallions. They're like baby onions, with fuller bulbs at the bottom than scallions have and green tops. They are a little milder than bigger onions. I usually chop them up for salads or roast them, but I was wondering if there are any good recipes out there that highlight these, because they are in abundance in early spring (granted, it's no longer early spring) and when you go to the first weeks of the farmers market, they are the most commonly seen veggie.

Recipe Request: Portable Food Recipes for Inauguration Day

I am a newspaper reporter who will be covering the inauguration. I also love to bake, especially with whole, healthy ingredients. I would like to make something this weekend that I can pass out on Monday to all of my colleagues who will be covering this with me. We are preparing to survive below-freezing temperatures from 6am until 4pm with no shelter, just the small bags we can carry with us. We'll be doing lots of walking among huge crowds, so we need sustenance! Any suggestions?

Is it OK to make a birthday cake for yourself?

Hmm, OK, I'm not trying to imply that I don't have wonderful people around me who love me, but I love to bake. The thing is, whenever I go to the trouble of baking and icing a cake from scratch, it's always for someone else's birthday, so I am usually making their favorite. My birthday is this week and I am considering making my own birthday cake, just to get to make something I chose for once. It feels kind of strange, though. So, my question: Would you bake your own birthday cake, and what cake would you make? Please be specific on details like icing, number of layers, etc ;)

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