I grew up on a small, traditional family farm, so I'm fiercely defensive of small businesses, local produce and quality vegetables, though I love frozen peas, and use them in everything.

  • Location: MA
  • Favorite foods: Tomatoes, cheese (really sharp cheddars and most Italian cheeses,) basil, raspberries, peanut butter, garlic, eggplant, cucumbers, brussels sprout, peas, curly fries, bacon, chocolate mousse, mustard greens.
  • Last bite on earth: Hagen Daaz Dulce de Leche ice cream, or a really good bite of pasta.

Fluffernutter: Massachusetts' State Sandwich?

Wait, fluffernutters are regional? What did your mom give you as a "special treat" version of PBJ when you were a kid? I feel very sad for the rest of the country, suddenly.

Franks 'n' beans

I second the canned corn, and I also use a little molasses. Not that exciting, I guess, but oh so delicious. OH! Sometimes, I make rice pilaf as well, and then mix it in when they're both done cooking.

Not digging the ad redirects

@lemonfair - Nope, I use Mozilla and I started getting them a lot more, too. They are super annoying.

Best summer dish?

Every summer, for as long as I can remember, my sister and I have what we call "tomato nights" where each of us makes a dish, the main component of which is tomatoes (obvi.) We then proceed to wear trash bag bibs and watch lots and lots of bad TV, and eat. A lot. It's fantastic. I could live for good tomato salad every day of my life.

Anyone crazy for chocolate and red wine?

Milka wafer bars and shiraz. Holy criz, am I in the chocolate and wine group.

In Season: Cucumbers

Cucumbers are my absolute favorite vegetable. My dad grew an Italian melon that's very similar to a cuke this year, it's green and fuzzy, I can't remember the name...

Local Holidays

I grew up in Lexington, MA, so Patriot's Day is a pretty big deal. Unfortunately, I don't remember eating anything traditional for it, unless you count fried dough and cotton candy. Hot dogs? Hm. No I know at some of the historical houses they have things like apple pie and corn bread ("maize cake") but mostly we celebrate being the birthplace of America by drinking beer and blowing up those helium balloons that don't deflate for months. Still, I'm totally proud.

zuke dinner ideas?

Also, if you add some fresh basil, you're golden.

zuke dinner ideas?

I love making "zucchini fettuccine" -- peel the zucchini into long strips with a veggie peeler. Saute some tomatoes, garlic, and/or chick peas in oil and s+p, then add the zucchini, just until it's crisp/tender. Delicious, filling, cheap, and on the plus side, low in calories!

Market Scene: Brookline Farmers Market in Brookline, Mass.

@Junie - There are a lot of "fish brokers" making the rounds in the Boston markets. She doesn't buy her fish from other farmer's markets, she buys it wholesale from the docks downtown. I agree that there should be some sort of rule about middle men selling produce, but it would be tough to enforce. Unfortunately there are a lot of farmers selling produce that isn't their own - site visits are rarely enforced, to the detriment of honest vendors. The fish thing does bother me, because it gives people the impression they are supporting local fishermen. It's good fish, but anyone could go down to the docks in Boston and get it.

Expresso vs Espresso: A pro-Expresso Rant

It's espresso. It just is. Go to Italy.

Video: Sandra Lee 'Delicious, Delicious, Delicious' Montage

@papagena665 - RIGHT?!?! The blue-themed episode was particularly creepy.

The Bottom of the Bag: Stale junk/snack foods remnant uses?

My father will eat anything, as long as he doesn't have to cook it and it has salt and/or chocolate in it.

Aioli! - What now?

Honestly, I hate mayo, and I use aioli in its place. Sandwiches!

South Beach Diet questions

I've done South Beach...and I liked the Michael Thurman diet way more. It is less about restricting carbs and sugars (you can't eat fruit for the first few weeks of SB, which doesn't seem healthy to me). I think it's okay for a quick fix, but to lose a lot of weight I'd do something that's more balanced. I had a lot of cravings on SB, and not so much on Michael Thurman's, which focuses more on balanced meals.

The SB book and recipe book are pretty good though, they explain the science of it. Still, I'd rather eat nectarines and brown rice...

Eating Alone (In Restaurants)

Only in airports.

Photo of the Day: Portrait of Bill Cosby Made of Jell-O Shots

This really brightened my day. I'm sure it brightened Bill's, too!

What to eat 1st time in Paris

It is completely possible to survive on nothing but wine, crepes, baguettes and pastries for four days. I've proved it.

So jealous!

I eat ______ out of the tin/jar/bottle...

Mustard. It horrifies my mother.

I used to have a roommate who ate canned peas straight from the can - complete with that greyish water they sit in. Shudder.

Say it ain't so!

If this is true, I've got a LOT of football field walking ahead of me. A LOT.

Zucchini side dish suggestions?

Mm I love zucchini!! Thanks for all the suggestions, I will try them all this summer, I'm sure! I ended up going with a variation on @NYCeater's suggestion, using cheese.

Eating with Dieters

I am at the lowest end of the "healthy weight" for my height. I eat much less than I used to for a couple of reasons: my digestive system really can't handle a lot of fatty food anymore, and even though I'm comfortable with my weight, I feel I need to "diet" to maintain that weight.

For some reason, people feel like it's okay to make comments if you eat small amounts and are a normal weight, but not if you're eating "fatty" foods and are overweight. I think if she's not saying anything directly, and it doesn't sound like she is, you shouldn't let it it get to you. She may feel just as judged by you as you do by her. If she does make one of those snide comments (I'm sure we've all gotten them!) or even rolls her eyes at you, I would definitely say something: she's opening the door.

Cooking hard boiled eggs

I do the same as @Alm25 except for 10 minutes instead of 12. I find that turning off the heat after the water boil makes them a lot creamier.

"dinner" vs "supper"

Boston - supper. But on Sundays we ate "dinner" as the big meal after church.

How to Pour Beer

Ha! I am vindicated! I learned this on a brewery tour a few years ago and people REFUSE to believe me. They think I just don't know how to pour beer. I'm copy/pasting this link as we speak, thanks!

Zucchini side dish suggestions?

So I'm making supper for three ravenous mid-20s boys on Thursday. I'm going to make my nonna's recipe for arancine (deep fried, meat filled risotto balls) and to start I'm going to make the most recent Sunday Brunch watermelon, arugula and feta salad (which I'm now addicted to, by the way). I want another vegetable side, and I was thinking zucchini, since my dad's are just ready to pick this week.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a relatively light zucchini side dish that would compliment a heavy fried rice ball? I remember having a sort of zucchini tomato gratin at a friend's aunt's house a few years ago (sans beschamel, if that's still a gratin,) It was basically thin sliced zucchini, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, herbs, etc. I could improvise, but I'm not really sure how to go about it, and if anyone had any recipes or other suggestions that would be great.

I'm also making either a banana rum cream pie or chocolate molten cakes, and if I get REALLY ambitious, I'll whip up some of Martha's Mac N' Cheese (always a crowd pleaser!)

Thanks in advance for suggestions!

Eating Cracked Eggs

I bought a carton of eggs about 5 days ago. One of them had a small dent (no seeping) but I didn't notice it until a few days ago, so I'm not sure if it was there when I bought them.

I figured it would be okay to bake with, so I made some cookies, but then, like an idiot, forgetting about the cracked egg, I took a little taste of the batter. At this point, if I'm going to get salmonella, it's probably too late to do anything (oh man do I hope I'm okay, especially since I have to fly across the Atlantic tomorrow!) but for future reference, what's the rule on cracked eggs? Are they okay if they're not seeping liquid, or should I toss them at any sign of a hairline crack?

"Thank You" Meal Ideas Needed

After staying at a family friend's summer house for two months, I thought I'd make her a meal as a thank you. She arrives the night after we leave, so it would have to last in the fridge at LEAST two days, or freeze easily, although the freezable storage is fairly limited.

I was thinking soup, like a corn chowder maybe, but I also want something more substantial to round it out. Anyone have any ideas? Also, is it a good idea to leave soup in the fridge for two days, or should I freeze it?

Thanks in advance!

Brownies: Gooey or Cakey?

Traveller's post about chocolate chip cookies made me think of brownies. Do you like they cakey or gooey? I really hate cakey brownies, I think I'd rather eat cake. I love them gooey, with walnuts and frosting and caramel, oh my!

Can Anyone Help Me Make Bulgolgi?

My roommate in college was Korean, and she made bulgolgi for me at few times a month. I still go out for Korean barbecue whenever I can, but I'd love to make it myself. I have very little experience with Asian food (i.e. I can make stir fried rice, and basic curries. I know, it's sad) so I'm hesitant to just jump in. Does anyone have any tips or recipes for this dish? I don't even know what type of beef works best, or how to slice is so thin. Help!

How Spicy Do You Like Your Food?

I used to loathe Indian food, and anything with any spice in it, really. But lately I find myself putting crushed peppers in things that don't call for them, and I love curry, even if I have to chug a mango lassi to stop my mouth from lighting on fire.

So what about you? Do you like spicy food? Or do you lay low and bland?

Light Butternut Squash Recipes

I love butternut squash. I love it so much, I've written songs about it, in my head. I use it in a variety of dishes at least twice a month. However...this heat is starting to get to me, and so naturally I'm cutting back on soups and risotto and all things creamy, so I'm trying to broaden my butternut squash horizons.

I know, I know, it's really a winter/autumn veggie, but I love it so much, does anyone have any summer-friendly butternut squash recipes or ideas?


Frozen Shrimp Help!!

Wanting to make paella tonight, I bought some shrimp, but the grocery store only had frozen. I'm in Spain, so I didn't think much of it, but after taking it home, I can't tell what to do with it. It is definitely peeled, but not deveined. It's pink, but the entire label is in Spanish, and the only thing I can decipher is "peeled shrimp" (It's also basically the only thing on there, besides the nutrition facts and packaging address.) Since it's pink, I'd think it was pre-cooked, but if it was, it would be deveined, wouldn't it? Also I hate pre-cooked shrimp. Should I risk throwing it in the paella, even if it is? Should I just thaw it and add it separately, not cooking it? Would it be disastrous if I did cook it and it was already pre-cooked? If anybody has any ideas I'd appreciate it...I wouldn't use it, but the package is already open, and it cost a pretty penny. Thanks!!

What Did You Get From the Ice Cream Truck?

Okay okay, I know it's not QUITE summer yet. But I for one can't wait for the sound of that magical musical sugar mobile - even if I don't visit them least not without an unsuspecting niece or nephew as my beard.

So as a kid, what was your favorite treat from the ice cream truck? I myself was a Firecracker girl, but I sometimes opted for a Push-Up Pop, or one of those cookie ice cream sandwiches. How about you?

How Do You Grill Your Cheese?

For me it's Iggy's sliced white or rye bread, sharp white cheddar, and, if available, sliced tomato and basil, all cooked in olive oil.

How about you? Are you a Muenster monster? An American slicer? Ham and swiss?

Defrosting Rice

After mis-interpreting the Spanish directions on a package of rice the other day, I ended up making about three times as much as I wanted. Remembering that my college roommate used to freeze rice, I popped the rest of it into the freezer. Now, however, I realize I have absolutely no clue how she actually defrosted it. Anyone have any clues? Should I put it on the stove? Microwave? Just leave it out? Covered? Uncovered? I'm stuck!


Spanish Cheese Help!

I'm currently living in Spain for a few months (long, long story) and the cooking situation has been a bit of a challenge.The grocery store was a mystery for awhile, but I've pretty much figured out the meats, veggies and most of the canned goods, but the cheese section has me completely stumped. There are about 80 different varieties of cheese in every grocery store, none of them with names. They all look different, but say things like "semi-cured cheese" on them, and quite frankly I'm terrified to just pick one, I have no idea what I'd do with it. I've been sticking mostly to the familiar English deli-counter ones, but I'd love to branch out into the glass cases!

Does anyone know anything about Spanish cheese, and how I'd go about choosing one and preparing it? I know some of you will say "just try one and eat it!" but I know they have a lot of really bitter cheeses, and I heard a rumor that some of the uncured cheeses have bacteria in them that can be harmful to non-natives.

Also - communicating with the staff is not really an option, it's mostly "gracias" and smiling.

Also - if anyone has any insight into Spanish groceries I may have missed, which is very likely, please share!

You can only eat one type of cheese for the rest of your life...

Okay, now I don't know about you, but I always have at LEAST 3-4 different types of cheese in my fridge at all times. The tough question is, if you could only eat one type for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Mine would probably have to be pecorino, because I grate it onto EVERYTHING. I don't think I could survive without it. But then, I do love me some sharp white cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches. And fresh buffalo mozzarella tomato salads, and fondue.......oh geez.

So if you had to choose JUST ONE, what would it be?

What's Your Perfect Omelette?

Usually I'm too lazy to make an actual omelette, and just scramble everything together, but regardless, they're my favorite breakfast ever. My ideal would be: crispy bacon, onion, peas, cherry tomatoes, a blend of sharp cheddar and either gruyere or gouda, and just a hint of fresh thyme. Also once I mixed in some leftover scalloped

So how about you?

Help Me Hollow Out Some Limes, Please!!

For a staff party this summer, I made orange slice jello shots, mentioned in an SE thread, I can't find which one. Basically you hollow out orange halves, use them as jello molds, then when they set, slice the oranges so they look like orange get the idea.

They were a total hit, and I've been asked to make them again for this Friday's holiday party. So I thought I'd make more festive ones: strawberry jello in lime rinds. I've sliced the limes lengthwise, juiced them, and I figured I'd hollow them out with a melon baller. It's not working!! I think the skin is too thin and it's not hollowing as easily as the oranges did.

Any suggestions, please?! I've got to make these tonight as I won't get home til midnight tomorrow...I currently have a dozen juiced lime halves sitting on my counter and no way to effectively hollow them!! I was thinking maybe boiling..would that loosen the skin or just make them soggy?

Where has all the Food Coloring Gone?!?!

After years of using the same box of food coloring (you know the one, little round plastic bottles with pointy tops lined up in a cardboard box?) I FINALLY ran out, and put food coloring on my grocery list. At my regular grocery store, it was nowhere to be found. Thinking they must be out of it, I go to WF; also nowhere to be found. A couple of weeks later I went back to the original grocery store, and find that not only are they out, but they don't carry it anymore! My mom said the same thing happened to her, and she had to order special fondant dyes from a catalogue.

Shouldn't food coloring be a staple in any basic grocery store? At least, I know it used to be! I don't use it often, but does anyone know of any reason it seems to be less popular than it used to be?

It's not worth it to make _______ when I could just buy it

On the flip side of dbcurrie's post, what have you ever attempted to make, and found completely unnecessary for the amount of work you put in? In other words, what short cuts do you justify?

For mind I'd say artichoke hearts, and frozen chopped spinach for MOST recipes - it's not that much effort, I just hate how messy it can be to make it fresh.

Meatball Cook-Off...HELP!

So for our office holiday party (unofficial, since all celebrations were cut off the budget this year...stupid economy) my boss has challenged me to a meatball throw-down. Come on, seriously? I got this.

Except for one problem...I pan-fry my meatballs. There's no getting around it, gotta be pan-fried in a cast iron skillet. I know for a fact he cooks his in a crock pot. The party is right after work at a co-worker's house, so my problem to achieve moist, crunchy, hot, pan-fried meatballs without actually cooking them there? I'd feel bad smoking up her house, especially since two of my co-workers are vegetarians. And reheated meatballs don't have that crispy quality that will assure me a win!

Anyone have any suggestions as to how to keep them crispy and moist and secure my title as Meatball Queen?! I feel like people have been eliminated from Top Chef for stuff like this.

Left over Evaporated Milk...

The now-famous pralines I made this weekend called for a little evaporated milk, and even with the two attempts I made, I still have a TON left over. What can you do with evaporated milk? I seriously don't want this sitting in my fridge staring at me for eternity.

So Apparently You Can't Make Candy Without a Candy Thermometer..

At least not without a fire extinguisher handy.

I decided to spend my Sunday afternoon making pralines, but I don't have a thermometer. The recipe I used said to bring the brown sugar mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until "soft ball consistency." Sure, there was also a temperature next to it, but I figure "soft ball consistency" meant stir until thickened enough to roll into a soft ball, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Fortunately, thanks to a lot of scrubbing, I think my Calphalon is saved. But my question is what the criz is soft ball consistency, and is it possible to reach without a thermometer?! The mixture seemed to go from nice brown bubbling to raging black volcano in a matter of seconds, so how do I judge?

Also, if anyone has any thermometer-less recipes for pralines or other crunchy pecan-ey delicious treats, please share!

Beef Broth vs. Veal Broth

So I made Ina Garten's French onion soup last night, but I could not for the life of me find veal broth ANYWHERE (the recipe calls for 4 cups beef broth and 4 cups veal broth.) SO I substituted all beef broth, thinking hey, veal's baby beef, right? Wrong. It was wayyy too beefy. It overwhelmed all the other flavors, and while it was still edible, definitely didn't taste like traditional french onion soup.

So my questions are, first of all, what is veal broth like? I don't think I've ever had it. Second of all, in the future, should I sub a cup or two of chicken or veggie broth, or even water? What do you think?

Sunday Brunch in Brooklyn OR UWS

Spending a quick weekend with friends in Brooklyn (and/or the Upper West Side, depending on what happens Saturday night). The one meal we don't have planned is Sunday brunch, and I'd love to try somewhere new.

Know of any great, moderately priced places near Crown Heights or 107th and Central Park West? Preferably with champagne?

Sushi - Love it or Hate it?

I really, really, really hate it. Granted, I don't like fish, but I've tried all kinds of sushi (eel, california roll, cucumber roll) and found it completely unappealing.

Is there something wrong with me? All my friends are obsessed. They always want to go out for sushi and I end up with vegetable tempura.

So how about you guys...

Boring, Bland Chicken. Help!

In anticipation of my upcoming high school reunion, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., I am on a pre-holiday diet. This consists of 5 small meals a day, each containing a small amount of protein, complex carbohydrates, and a lot of vegetables. No salt, no dairy, and you can only drink water. I know, you're horrified. But I've already lost 9 pounds, and I'll be darned if I'm going to eat 3 pieces of pecan pie and feel guilty this Thanksgiving!

However, this is the most boring diet in the entire world. I mean how many days in a row can you eat baked chicken breast with garlic and rosemary, brown rice, and asparagus? I am DYING to cook something interesting, or at least have a tastier meal. I have only a few days left of this (thank Christ) but I'd love new ideas on how to prepare chicken with minimal sodium and fat (we're talking boneless, skinless breasts here.)

Any suggestions?


Green Side Dish Suggestions Needed!

So I'm having dinner guests tomorrow, and I'm making roasted pork loin with a mustardy sauce. I'm also probably going to serve a simple leek soup, but I need suggestions for a side, preferably green, that would go well with pork. Any thoughts?

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