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Gripe of the Day: Reservations Are a Two-Way Street

Aack! I find the restaurant at fault here- maybe a little blame on the server for disappearing post-advice/order, too. I've been in the restaurant business ( front and back of the house) for 30 years and this is an example of a poorly run spot. I had one very bad reservation disaster at Greens (SF) several years ago-- made a lunch res for 2; requested a window table and was told one would be available, arrived 10 minutes early, was seated at a most inferior table 40 minutes after reservation time. No apology/explanation/comp goodies-- nothing. Looking back on the experience, I think we were mistreated due to a snotty hostess who was quite obviously seating the most attractively attired folks first... Not that we were homeless in appearance, mind you. Oh well. I never ever went back to Greens. I personally agree with the practice of securing a cc number when taking a res; I have never actually charged a "no-show" fee; we simply did not accept the next time the same named party tried to secure a table-- the caller was told that we were on a "first-come" basis. Gently and politely. Its all about the communication when it comes to customer service and I think you got the short end of the stick.

What’s Your Favorite Weird Snack Combo?

a couple here for ya- first one is tuna salad (the old fashoined Mom made kind) with canned sliced pears and Lay's potato chips. You take a sturdy lookin chip, put a slice of canned pear and then a spoonful of tuna salad on top of it. Awesome. the other is a "pickle-sickle"- take dill pickle juice and pour it into ice cube trays and stick some kind of short skewer in it and freeze.

Simple, exotic, healthy Valentine's meal

I'm in with pjracz10-- something simple sexy and finger-friendly--maybe some marinated shrimp( pickled? maybe remoulade?) some oysters on the half shell with a cocktail or mignonette sauce-- fresh berries- don't forget the whipped cream, steamed asparagus with a come back dressing or remoulade sauce or maybe baby crab cakes with a garlic dressing/dip? seafood is usually fairly light if steamed or broiled-- you can compose the sauce or dip way ahead of time-- maybe, when he/she arrives, open the door in a sweet apron and nothing else-- as long as your neighbors aren't too close! then let your creativity and imagination get the best of both of ya'll!

Tofu: Way or No Way?

WAY!!! tofu just rocks my world in all its many shapes and forms-- i have been making "seaside cakes" (vegan version of fish stix) since the 80's as well as enjoying grilled superfirm tofu with veggies; tofu salad ( Westbrae Natural used to make a "tofu dressing" that made an awesome tofu and steamed veggie salad); miso soup; vegan cheesecake--- the list goes on. Love me some tofu!!

Cowboy candy-- help!

Hobcat here--again-- I expected the stuff to be a bit more homogenous than crunchy-cristally. I suppose i thought that the candy would be like a spread you could use on tacos, sandwiches, cream cheese-- you know, just kinda dippable or spreadable and not crispy/crunchy. Maybe i was incorrect in my expectations??

I do have a candy thermometer but did not use it as the recipe didn't call for any specific temps...

Cowboy candy-- help!

OK. here goes:
1 1/4 cups fresh sliced jalapenos. just sliced. not seeded or anything else.
1/2 cup plain white sugar
1/4 cup water.
mix water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. add the sliced jalapenos and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and jar up-- keep in the frig.
Now--when i did this, maybe i cooked everything a little too long. After i put the "candy" up in a jar, the next day i noticed that the sugar had sort of re-crystallized, especiallyu around the top of the jar.

Store-Bought Chicken Stocks, Reviewed: Which Are the Best?

oh geez-- back in my much younger years when i was apprenticing for Chef Paul Prudhomme-(what an awesome chef/mentor/boss) i spent the first 3 months of my employment doing nothing but learning how to make and then making stocks. Every last one of our sauces were done with at least two of the stocks that were made every other day-- we had a chicken, beef, veal, and vegetable stock going most every day. Now that i am older and more tired and more arthritic, i still try to make my own stocks--complete with roasting the bones and vegetables and then simmering the mixture and then clarifying everything-- BUT in a pinch, Better Than Bouillion helps this old kitchen fanatic out wa-a-a-y better than any of the aforementioned canned or boxed stock or broth concoctions--eeech to Swanson's and Emeril; kinda sorta a pass for the Kitchen Basics, ALWAYS a Grade A for the Better Than Brand. And they have organics, too!

popcorn help?

OH HEY -- NO way soy sauce!!!! Thanks greatly for calling the nutritional yeast popcorn "hippie food"-- my 21 yr old son went nuts! " See Mom, I told you so! You are such an old hippie!" Well, yeah, yeah and groovy, dude! I might add that popcorn and lime just sounds gross but tortilla chips and lime are great-- and for the uninitiated, nut. yeast on popcorn is very, very good! Thanks to all! hobcat

popcorn help?

hobcat here- i use a whirly-gig popper that is several years old, therefore fairly well seasones so i don't have to add much oil to the popper- i usually use canola or corn oil. I tried the pam-type spray last night and it seemed to work ok-- i suppose i need to use a finer ground salt; i really don't care for those "popcorn" designated products like yellow popcorn salt, etc. I am seriously hungry for good popcorn with nut. yeast and maybe some gumbo file on it-- reminds me off Jazz Fest one year when a local popcorn vender had about 10 different kinds of flavored corn-- Tabasco, gumbo, roasted pepper... Lime? Have yet to see lime around these parts- don't care for the "kettle corn" sweet-salty thing, either. Guess I'm just a savory popcorn lover. (well, there is that once a year Cracker Jack binge...)

The other kind of leftovers: Ingredient Orphans

ABSOLUTELY against my religion to throw out food. that said (sigh) it does happen occasionally. We, too, have a well fed cat but he refuses to eat leftovers of any kind... Sour cream, milk, buttermilk all go into one container and end up in sunday morning biscuits or salad dressing or perhaps even a leftover veggie casserole of some kind. We grow alot of veggies and i refuse to throw out any of them; at worst i make a clean the frig stir fry or soup. BTW, i make come-back dressing with some of my leftover chipotles and it is really great!

Iron Chef America : Exposed

@carolrsf, etc AMEN!! Alton's on it, it IS fun to watch (face it) and there is always that kitschy judging! I loved the recent one with Jamie Oliver!

Fabrication classes

what about Jacques Pepin's La Methode/ La Technique? they are both on my shelves and i think that there are photos and explanation for fabrication... I love the use of that term, think i'll tease my husband (master carpenter and wooden boat builder) when he gets home...

has anyone ever used ALMOND FLOUR?

i've used it along with garbanzo flour in cookies for the gluten free friends; sounds like it might be good to use as a dredge for seafood--like maybe soft shell crabs that you pan fry and make an amaretto, butter and toasted almond sauce for-- kinda like a newfangled amandine.

2 missing recipes

Wow-- the 7up cake recipe is spot on-- i am in the deep south and this is a very familiar cake-- many recipes for it in all sorts of school and church cookbooks and the above mentioned one is seriously spot-on. Here's a banana bundt cake that stops my husband and son (as well as friends) from eating anything else that happens to be in my kitchen...
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups softened butter--i use unsalted
approx 4 1/2 cups mashed superripe bananas (about 9 bananas)
6 eggs, well beaten
2 tsp mexican vanilla
3 3/4 cups cake flour
3 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt.
preheat oven to 350*
cream the butter and sugars, then add the bananas and the eggs and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients together, blend with the banana mixture but don't overmix. Pour into a large bundt pan that you have greased and floured and bake for about an hour and 15-20 minutes- the top will be springy and the edges will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. This freezes really well, too.

Chef Paul Prudhomme. What do you know about him?

@dbcurrie- yeah- the very first cookbook is the best, in my opinion--K-Paul's Louisiana Louisiana Kitchen. The bible. I was there, watching Chef Paul and his able assistant, Paulette (no kidding) work through every single recipe and scale them down for the home kitchens--he built a "test kitchen" on the street level of the restaurant and they worked together for quite a while on each and every recipe. I still refer to that book for my chicken and sausage gumbo, rabbit in sauce piquant and Lori Taylor's cookies. The sweet potato-pecan pie is a much requested item from my clients during the holidays, too. The lightened up book, I think it is called A Fork in the Road was a little disappointing to me for the use of artificial sweeteners but it was a stab at the diet craze of the 80's. Go with the first one, i assure you that you won't be disappionted!

Chef Paul Prudhomme. What do you know about him?

Hey! I can honestly say that Chef Paul was/is the best boss anyone could ever have. A truly remarkable man; I had the pleasure of working with and for him during my years in nola. I started as a shy hostess at Mr. B's Bistro exactly at the opening of the restaurant and ended up doing a kitchen apprenticeship with him (and quite a fantastic crew) at K-Paul's. Kind, exacting, honest, true Cajun--the accent is real-a clever businessman; I cannot say enough about the man. I am a personal chef today and have worked in several excellent kitchens in France as well as in the States and I truly owe a great homage to Chef paul for teaching me, with love and patience, the basics of being a chef, not just a cook.

In Videos: Dog Eats Bean Burrito in 1 Second

we had a golden lab, evangeline, who downed an entire side of smoked salmon in about the same amount of time... and managed to ruin a cocktail party buffet i was catering :( she was an awesome critter, tho

Help! My quince jelly hasn't jelled! What to do?

quince ice cream--ooh, yum. quince syrup over brie--double yum. actually, it appears as though i was a tad hasty in my question because said jelly appears to have now "jelled". yea! @ kgibson, thanks for the referral site! i will keep it as a reference. I am now off to try a recipe for jam cake using another batch of the quince that i made into "conserve". i'm considering starting a quince fan club--they are definitely my new favorite fruit!

What's your favorite curry recipe?

OMG! i am so happy with all of the recipes from this post-- As i said earlier, we are huge fans of curries and i certainly have had some great new inspirations-- thanks for the new directions... the apple curry soup is awesome. i added a habanero in the veg mix...

Thanksgiving Dessert Contest --- HELP!

three layer pumpkin cheesecake with a praline crust sound good? K-Paul's sweet potato-pecan pie is awesome and i never have any leftovers when i bring that to a dinner. The pumpkin cheesecake is a pumpkin pie layer on top, a pumpkin and creamcheese middle layer and a basic cheesecake batter for the initial layer-- crust is dark brown sugar, ground pecans, melted butter, gingersnap cookies crushed.

In a Yam Jam

ina garten's smashed sweet potatoes are great; i do a curry roasted dish during the fall and winter that is simple, can be as spicy as you like- cut in an attractive fashion a buncha yams, toss with S&P, yellow curry paste, olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven , shaking the pan sometimes to spread everything around-- we add a chopped habanero or two and roast them till they are crispy. There are a couple of chile and lime sweet potato salad recipes on epicurious that are wonderful, too.

The perfect BLT

to huneybumper and nightowl: " My name is Inigo Montoya! You keel my father! Preepare to die!!" My now over 20 year old son and i used to play that scene up and down the hall just before bedtime until, finally he would give in to my "go to bed" pleadings with an " As you wish..."

The perfect BLT

oh, crabcake blt, fried green tomato blt, fakinbacon blt--nah, best ever blt, hands down is the following: any variety of my husband's home grown tomatoes, my homemade sourdough bread, his fresh homemade garlic mayo, my homegrown baby romaine, and last but not least, some of our friend Robbie's home cured slab bacon. wow. i think the love has a LOT to do with it cause i remember a phenomenal blt made by my mom back in the late '50's or very early '60's that was Pepperidge Farm white bread, some grocery store brand of bacon, Blue Plate mayo, iceberg lettuce and a backyard grown tomato... as good as or better than any madeleine, any day.

Hey, anyone have a good old fashioned meat loaf recipe?

My husband, son and several friends swear by my meatloaf which i got off of several years ago. I've done Bobby Flay's, Emeril's and Alton Brown's but this one, hands down, is what gets the rave reviews. My hat's off to Lish Nelson!
350* oven
1 med onion-fine chop
1 1/4 cup of 1/2" cubed firm white bread--i use french or pepperidge farm sandwich bread
1 lg egg
2 lbs ground chuck
1 cup tomato sauce, salt and fresh pepper.
Blend all this gently and form into loaf about 9x5 and place on a sheet pan and pop into oven. Meanwhile, take 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar and finally 1/4 cup yellow mustard--like french's and combine in a pan on top of stove. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and spoon sauce over meatloaf after it has baked for 10 minutes, then continue spooning the sauce over it ever 20 minutes or until the meatloaf has cooked about 1hr20min--internal temp of 160* c. Let the meatloaf stand for about 10 minutes before you slice into it and serve the remaining sauce on the side. Sometimes i add some minced garlic, cumin and dry mustard to the mix, sometimes i add chipotle peppers and hot chile powder; any way you do this it is a great recipe!

Weird parental food preparation

My mom had a Pennsylvania-Dutch Gramma and we had some strange stuff that i still wish i could make as well as mom did-- She watched a lot of Julia Child and Graham Kerr when i was growing up and i remember stealing her Gourmet magazines as soon as they came in the mail--tis was heady stuff for a girl growing up in the 60's in Jackson, Mississippi! The Penn-Dutch stuff ranged from cooked iceberg lettuce "hot lettuce salad", a creamy corn soup called corn soup with rivels- i used to ask for the soup with "rivets", a noodle dish with sliced boiled eggs, a kinda sweet-clove spiced tomato sauce, bacon and these awfully fatty cooked in bacon grease croutons, the best sloppy joes you ever ate! When she got experimental, she went all the way. Beef wellington from scratch.Handmade pasta for fettucine alfredo. Double cut pork chops baked with granny smith apples and calvados. Calvados?!! You think anyone in Mississippi even could pronounce Calvados much less stock it in a liquor store? My father had to bring it back from France via Germany on one of his amny National Guard trips. Anyhow, Mom was a great cook, an adventurous cook, and an inspiring cook. Probably why i pursued the profession myself, just on a different level. There is, however, a part of me that wishes i could have been a stay at home mom and wife who had, as her daily challenge, trying to find ingredients for Julia's Coq au Vin or Graham's Gratin Dauphinois...


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