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Cleaning Coffee Grinders

I heard that raw rice will work, also.

Banana Oatmeal Muffin/Bread recipe needed

Banana-Oatmeal Bread

2 c ap flour
3 rounded t bp
1 t salt
1/2 t bs
1/2-3/4 c sugar (personal pref)
1 c rolled oats
2 eggs
1/4 c canola oil (or melted butter)
1/2 c milk
1 c mashed bananas
1 t vanilla
1/2 c walnuts (if desired)
additional oats or streusel for topping

Mix dry ingred together. Make a well in center and stir in combined wet ingred. Pour into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan. Bake @ 350 F for about an hour.

I have made this recipe for more years than I can remember and have done many, many variations on it. It works very well for muffins also. Raise the temp to about 400 F and bake for about 20 min.

What to do with nonfat yogurt

I completely agree with you on the taste. I do buy nonfat flavored yogurt, which I find to be very palatable. I buy the giant size nonfat plain, however, to give my dogs - great for their digestive tracts. Inevitably, I have had to find other uses for some of the rest of it. I tried it for a dip - yuck... on baked potatoes - had to scrape it off and replace it with sour cream - sigh... One of the best successes so far is to use it in a Tandoori style marinade for chicken. I also use quite a bit in baking. I have a Lemon-Poppy-Yogurt muffin and a Whole Earth Wheat Germ muffin recipe; they are both great. It is a healthful way to add dairy to baked goods with less fat and I've found the flavor differential is negligible. I also make homemade dog treats for my spoiled hounds. No complaints so far. lol...

I am very interested in future responses to this topic. It is difficult to find nonfat plain yogurt in smaller sizes so it looks like I'll always have an excess of the stuff. I'd like a recipe that makes it taste like sour cream, please...

Ice Cream Maker

@AuntJone - shhhhhhh.... what hubs doesn't know won't hurt him:-)

Ice Cream Maker

I have the Cuisinart version from Costco also and when we purchased it there was a special that gave you a second canister free. So watch for precial promotions. I had it before I got my KA, or I would have tried that first. I've noticed that Ina uses the same inexpensive Cuisinart model. It's very reliable and sturdy for the price. You don't have to store both of the empty canisters in the freezer at one time - that is purely optional. If you are short on freezer space, just freeze the canister the night before you intend to use it - that is quite sufficient.
The Williams-Sonoma Ice Cream book has awesome recipes, as well as The Ultimate Ice Cream Book by Bruce Weinstein.

Homemade liqueurs

@KarynMC- You know, I was told the same thing, but I could tell the difference in my finished product. I guess it's sort of like when chefs tell you to cook with wine you would like to drink. If you use swill, you won't be fooling anybody. If you use Absolut, you should be fine though. I love Absolut! I've made blackberry brandy for my SO and used inexpensive vodka and grain alcohol. It turned out great. Maybe you could do an eau de vie for sipping rather than an infusion to be used for cocktails. But don't discount infusions for cooking purposes either! Use them for marinades and dressings... I used the hot chile vodka for a Bloody Mary steak marinade that was the bomb.

Difference between various types of cream

@iz - you are deliciously naughty :-)

Ronnybrook may be a regional brand ?- I've never seen it in my area (MI).

@MeganCochran - What exactly is the difference between pasturized and ultra-pasturized? And how does the differently processed cream affect the finished product? As I mentioned, many of my ice cream recipes specify using cream that has not been ultra-pasturized, but they don't say why.

Homemade liqueurs

Check your local bookstore or Amazon for a cookbook by John Rose called The Vodka Cookbook. I've made a good many of his recipes for infusions and food, all good.

I have to be honest though - when you use really cheap vodka (it can be a bit harsh), your results can be iffy. I just don't want to invest a lot of time or ingredients on a process that could produce something that is only OK. I guess if I had a jug of the stuff, I would use something to infuse that would be very flavorful. I've done a whole variety of hot peppers for a Chile Vodka and it works just great in Bloody Marys where you've got a lot of other flavors going on.

Another thing I've done is just infuse it with a bag of frozen (unsweetened) raspberries and let it sit for a week, then strain it. Easy peasy. Makes a wonderful combo with cranberry juice and slice of lime or orange. The other flavors will help cut the bitter or harsh notes of the inexpensive vodka.

@coltsfanchris - What a great idea to filter the vodka! Thanks!

Difference between various types of cream

@Traveller - I feel your pain! I, too, love the cheeses and creams but my tummy sometimes rebels. When I was taking a course of anti-biotics last year my Dr. strongly suggested taking a probiotic called Culturelle, which not only helped with the issues in the digestive tract that come with taking medication, but I found also that it helped my system process lactose. Amazing stuff. Super Acidophilus is also very good.

And where, pray tell, can a person get heavy cream these days that is not "ultra-pasturized"? It is called for in so many recipes, particularly ice cream recipes, and I seriously doubt whether we can even get it in the states, because of FDA regulations. I just can't find it. To my knowledge, double cream, heavy cream and whipping cream are all the same. They are the heaviest in milk fat, approx. 36% - 40%. The term "double cream" is used in Britain and across Europe and refers to what Americans label heavy or whipping cream.

My confusion usually comes in when half & half is called for. You can get 1/2 & 1/2 or table cream (sometimes sold as coffee cream), but I have been known to substitute heavy cream cut with milk to replace it.

I heard someone mention rice cheese last week and have been trying to find it. Is anyone familiar with it? Also, I don't know what the melting factor is with the product or what it can be used to replace.

Twice-Baked Snack Goods

Always! Pretzels are my favorite. Saltines or oyster crackers, rice/corn tortilla chips, potato chips - all 110% better double-toasted! Even graham crackers...and I always oven roast nuts - so much yummier and crispier to snack on.

A lo-cal tip - if you have leftover flour tortillas, cut them into triangles or rectangular pieces and bake off in the oven on cookie sheets to use with salsa. No oil required and they are delicious. Also,they keep really well in a tin.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Blues

@nosillak - That is exactly what I do, also. Why only roast one bird, when you can nestle another one in the pan and have extra chicken for all those other dishes us chicken-lovers want on other nights. It takes the same amount of time and not much more effort. I just usually pop wedges of lemon and shallots, parsley, thyme (or a variety of whatever fresh herbs I have) and lots of sea salt and fresh pepper inside. And I love Thomas Keller's recipe from Bouchon..

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu - For boneless breasts (skin on or off), I make a pocket and stuff some proscuitto or ham and Gruyere cheese inside. Criss-cross some oil-soaked toothpick halves, sealing the pocket together. Drizzle with EVOO, s&p, and grill. Most times, I do a Mornay sauce with some Gruyere & Parmesan, but you certainly could "rough it" and enjoy them bare naked! We like to grill up asparagus to have alongside and it's especially good with the sauce accompaniment.

We stopped eating beef a while back, so we consume chicken about 3x a week. I never get tired of experimenting with new chix recipes. I also made up a Margarita chix marinade for the grill, if you're interested... Grilling time IS coming!


@dmcavanagh - I must say that I don't make it often anymore. I just cook so differently than my parents and grandparents cooked. We try to be much more health conscious than they ever were. I can't remember my mom being concerned about using too much butter or sour cream in anything! In my family repetoire though, it does require homemade dumplings/spaeztle with chicken or veal paprikas - but I only make it about once a year to please the SO. If I were to make spaetzle as a side with a milder tasting protein (maybe like pork?), I might try it with the nutmeg - sounds good!


@dmcavanagh - Our dumpling/spaeztle recipe was from old middle European cooks; grandmothers, great grandmothers - from Czech and Hungarian descent. Nutmeg was a flavor that I'm sure would have been totally lost when serving them with a dish such as Chicken Paprikas. I have to be honest - I've never heard of adding nutmeg, however it could be prevalent in other European cooking origins.


Homemade is really very easy. I am of Hungarian descent, so we had dumplings and spaetzle at our house all the time and we never used milk. Four ingredients only - flour, egg, salt and water. Start with 1 cup of ap flour and about 1/2 t salt. In a measuring cup beat 1 egg and the egg shell half full of water (I would say a scant 1/4 c). Blend the wet mixture into the dry mixture and adjust by adding more water or flour in 1 T increments if necessary until it is the consistancy of thick pancake batter. I hope I didn't make it sound too complicated because it truly only takes 5 minutes.

For spaetzle, have a pot of salted water at the boil. Push tablespoonsful of batter through a colander with a large spoon or spatula. When the spaetzle come up to the top, fish them out with a spider or slotted spoon. Voila - spaetzle!

almond biscotti

I definitely concur with dmcavanagh. Check to make sure you have the pure extract. I might suggest also besides the extract and almonds, to consider adding almond paste, amaretto, or ground almond meal (available at Trader Joe's - just bought some today, in fact!). Experiment!

Perfect Pudding, Please? Rice, that is...

@megannesta - Duh!!! That was the first article I read in the magazine - primarily to check out the recipe. And I intended to make it! Thank you for refreshing my memory. I get way too many food/cooking magazines...:-(

Perfect Pudding, Please? Rice, that is...

@dbcurrie - That's kind of what I gathered it was or something similar. Think it would work in a double boiler as well? I have a gas cook-top and heavy duty All-Clad pans that conduct very well.

Chilli and Chocolate - Love it or hate it?

love, Love, LOVE!!!

I particularly like the combo of dark chocolate/chille or cayenne/cinnamon. It's just got everything going on. It makes an incredible cup of hot chocolate. I got a package of hot chocolate mix from The Cocoa Bar in Park Slope called "I Like It Spicy" that is incredible. Zingerman's also has one with cocoa nibs called Aztc Elixir. POW! You can reconstitute some with a little boiling water and add to brownies or chocolate cake. nummy, nummy...

Oh, look what you did! I had to get my last two squares of Vosges Red Fire Bar out of the back of the cupboard (that I have been hoarding!) melting on my tongue right now...mmmmmm

Rachel Ray dog food? WTF ... now I've seen it all!

@Pavlov - Right on! lol...

If RR is cooking up dog chow these days, what do you suppose Sandra Lee is making? Weasel kibble?

On the Hunt for Cocoa Peeps

Torching a Peep sounds a bit like animal cruelty. Where's a PETA rep when you need one?

Top Chef Result: What Do You Think? (Spoilers Ahead)

@brooke - Sorry! I guess I didn't have my cockeyed optimist glasses on last night! lol... My husband and I just looked at each other and went - "oh, give me a break!" Neither Stefan or Hosea seem like really genuine little sweethearts, though... All in the heat of the competition, I guess.
And I think Carla would have done much better by herself, rather than with Casey's "help". We can console ourselves with the fact that Top Chef didn't hurt her catering business.:)

Top Chef Result: What Do You Think? (Spoilers Ahead)

I feel quite badly for Carla - I was definitely rooting for her because she was so passionate about her food. Maybe if she had meditated longer before the competition, she would have felt stronger and more centered. Enough that she could have gone with her heart on preparing her dish, rather than letting Casey derail her with the sous vide preparation. What a shame...

I think she also was overwhelmed and a bit confused when they threw in another course. She seemed very scattered and somewhat lost her focus. When Casey suggested the sous vide, it just took a big decision off her shoulders. Even if the tarts had turned out perfectly, I don't think it would have overcome the sous vide fiasco with the judges.

Stefan and Hosea? Don't care...I'm still mad about Carla. And what was with the overatures from Stefan to hug and console Carla? Not only arrogant, but phony, too.

What is your foolproof, fallback dessert?

@buffy - Oooooh, those chocolate cherry brownies are speaking to me!

I forgot, sometimes I add a handful of dried cherries (sometimes soaked in kirsch or cherry brandy!) and chocolate chunks to my basic brownie recipe. I always do cappucino brownies to have on hand over the holidays for quick desserts. Add some espresso powder and cinnamon to the batter; walnuts and choc chunks, if you dare. Just heat one in the micro, top with ice cream and a splash of Kahlua. A consistantly reliable and impressive "quick dessert".

I love this topic! Thank you!!! (now I have to go eat something chocolate...)

Paula Deen is pantsless

@jikuu - Maybe that's the 13th step in the phobia recovery process! :) Drunk and disorderly!!!


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