I keep two blogs: Here and There, and Altered Plates. Altered Plates shows how I use agave nectar instead of cane sugar (and other sweeteners) to sweeten recipes. Here and There is about my non-agave cooking, travel, gardening and other adventures.

  • Website
  • Location: Somerset, NJ
  • Favorite foods: shrimp, mac and cheese, Mom's matzo brei, my own version of brownies, pizza
  • Last bite on earth: Mom's matzo brei

11 Great Pizza Road Trips from NYC

I'd also recommend a train ride to New Brunswick for Panico's Brick Oven pizza. Very tasty.

There's also a great local spot in Somerset for a whole wheat pie -- Village Pizza on Easton Avenue.

Taste Test: Crunchy Peanut Butter, Stir

We started grinding our own at Whole Foods and like it a lot better than the rest.

The Pizza Lab: On Flour Types, Foams, and Dough

Well that makes sense. I make my pizza flour with a mixture of all-purpose and bread flour, both King Arthur. I tried with different ratios, and half/half seems to work the best.

Most Beautiful Thing In Your Kitchen

Are you happy to own a Dutch Oven?

Yes! I've used mine from deep frying to no-knead bread and everything in between. It's my go-to pot since everything I make in it always turns out better than dishes I've made in others. Cleans up like a dream. Cannot recommend it highly enough. Worth the $$$.

Favorite Food Joke?

Best thread ever!

Just bought a rice cooker! What's your fav use?

I make quinoa with mine. I rinse the quinoa before and afterward to prevent any bitterness. Then, I usually make tabouli with it.

Homemade Kit Kat Bars

Guess this doesn't fall into the Paula Deen is trying to kill us category because it's only 2 sticks of butter. Can you imagine counting out the 75 club crackers? Is that an entire package?

Winter: What's it good for?

Bread baking, chocolate making, soups, cooking any kind of spicy foods.

Poll: Do You Eat Ice Cream In The Cold?

It's easier to make in the cold, too!

Win a Food-Themed T-Shirt and $50 Gift Certificate from Threadless

Almonds. Lots of almonds.

Best way to ship bagels to keep them fresh

We've sent our share of bagels out to Utah, and have found that individually ziplocking each bagel, then putting all into a much larger ziplock within a box works best. We've tried freezing them first, but they thaw just the same. Good luck!

Cook the Book: 'Street Food of India'

The classic NYC hot pretzel with lots of spicy mustard.

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 140: Can Dried Fruit Be Diet Food?

Hey Ed,
One note on dried fruit -- you might want to brush your teeth more often. A dentist friend of mine said that raisins and other dried fruit cause more cavities than candy. Just a thought.
Rock on, Diet Man.

What IS The Best Tip, Trick, Recipe etc You've Gotten At SE?

My favorite thing is continuing to watch Ed keep his weight down and write about his dieting experiences. He always gives me hope.

Best City for Vegetarian Food

NYC. So many options and many at low prices.

Grilling: Baba Ghanoush

Oh, and I whip up a seasoned oil (salt, pepper, cumin, and some red pepper flakes) to brush onto the eggplant slices prior to grilling.

Grilling: Baba Ghanoush

One thing that always depresses me is that fresh, grilled baba ghanoush doesn't seem to stay well. You have to eat it soon after making it, while it's still warm -- with other folks -- because it's never that great the next day after being refrigerated.

By the way, I slice up my eggplant prior to grilling it. That greatly improved my results and cut the grilling time a lot.

Growing herbs indoors - advice?

I received an aerogarden as a gift and cannot recommend it highly enough for folks who do not have sunny windows near the kitchen (like me). One drawback -- it's always on, so there's a constant draw of low voltage (think small fish tank filter). Otherwise, it's been great!

New Jersey Dispatch: Big Stash Restaurant in Linden

Definitely get the pierogi and coleslaw!

Instead of _______ , I am on SE

Homework for cataloging.

What is the Greatest Compliment You Have Received on Your Food

"When are you going to open a bakery or a cafe?" Retirement?

"Your chocolates are almost too pretty to eat." That didn't stop them.

"John's really missing out!" [My husband doesn't eat most of the vegan dishes I make for parties.]

"If God ate pies, this would be God's favorite pie." Tough act to follow, that one.

What's The Best Sandwich You've Ever Had?

Well, I've always been a cheese sandwich blogger...

Poll: Matzoh Ball Soup - With or Without Noodles?

Never seen noodles in matzo ball soup before. I don't eat chicken any more, so unless it's made with veg broth, it's not for me. That said, big, fluffy balls, a little bit of onion, celery, and carrots, please.

What's Your Favorite Hamantash Filling?

A few years ago, I made them with fillings fashioned from dried fruits that had been steamed, then drained, then mixed with unsweetened fruit spreads and a little water. A very simple filling to make, and you can improvise as much as you like. Dried, fruit-juice sweetened cranberries make an excellent bright red base (not to mention a very good foil for all the butter/margarine).
This is how I did it:

Do you make your own granola?

If so, what do you put in yours?

I recently tried Gaby's Gourmet Granola in the Pine Nut Anise flavor and was truly rocked. If you can get it, you should try it if you like anise.

Cold Cereal Confessions

It's pretty warm out, so that means (for me, at least) dispensing with oatmeal for a while and either eating fresh fruit or cold cereal. My favorite kind is the health food store corn flakes that are sweetened with fruit juice.

What's your favorite cold cereal? And, which would you eat if there were no consequences (e.g. I'd go for Cap'n Crunch if I didn't have such a bad time with sugar and if it didn't scratch the top of my palate.)?

Cookbook Content Question

Hey there, SE'ers. I've been reviewing a LOT of cookbooks lately and find that there are things I like and things I don't. For example, I'm getting tired of books that use the first half to explain cooking techniques and ingredients. While they may be well-written and researched, I'm primarily looking for recipes. What about you? What peeves you and what pleases you about cookbooks (especially the new ones coming out this year)? Thanks a bunch for your input.

Budgeting for a week's worth of meals

How much do you budget for a week's worth of meals? I know it's a tough questions since we all have ingredients in the kitchen in addition to what we'd buy. When I returned from vacation, I spent about $60 replenishing our supplies (it's just two of us, and we had meat in the freezer for my husband, so I didn't buy any). Also, we live in central NJ, so prices might be higher here.

$60 = about 4 bags of groceries.
Two part question, second part: What groceries do you buy for about $60?

Do you know any great places in Maine...

My husband and I are driving up to Acadia National Park this weekend and wanted to know if you kind folks had any good eateries to explore along the way or on Mount Desert Island. We've been there before and look forward to our stay in Southwest Harbor.

Any tips are greatly appreciated! As far as type of food goes, we're open. We're also on a bit of a budget, so expensive places will get a pass.

Pancakes versus French toast — your favorite?

The diner down the street makes great French toast on Sunday mornings (I make the distinction because I've had it on different days at different times, and it's inconsistent). The chef also has a great pancake recipe. So, many times it's tough to choose. Wish they had a plate with both.

What would be your selection? (It's OK to say "oatmeal," too.)

Which oil do you use for deep frying?

Last night, I used a combination of canola and grapeseed oils to fry up some samosas. It tasted better than just canola oil and the house didn't smell as much like fried food. What's yielded the best result for you?

Do you eat in your car?

My husband just bought a new car and set the rule early -- no eating in the car except carrots or things you can pop in your mouth directly without making crumbs or sticky fingers, etc. Do you have a similar rule? (My car is 10 years old and has organic Nectar bars in the glove compartment, so you know where I stand on this.)

What do you do with your pesto?

Tis the season around here to harvest basil and make pesto. I love it so much, I use it as a spread in grilled provolone sandwiches. Other than tossing pasta in yours, what do you do with your pesto? And, do add anything other than basil, olive oil, cheese, and pine nuts? Or use other combinations?

What's Your Best Grilled Shrimp Recipe?

A while back, I made my own version of Emeril's essence, and coated shrimp in it before grilling it on a cast-iron grill pan. It was pretty good. What do you do to your shrimp before grilling it? Also, do you leave the shells on or not? We tend to take them off because by the time we're done, we just want to eat, not peel.

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