"semi-retired" teacher

  • Favorite foods: most seafood, anything grilled.
  • Last bite on earth: Surf & turf - medium rare filet mignon and BIG lobster tail... with plenty of butter for dipping.

Two Pounds of Ground Beef- What to make?

Two POUNDS would make a LOT of meals for me... cooking for one. In a perfect world, with a giant freezer (with ROOM for storage), I'd have enough stuff ready to heat/cook/eat for MONTHS!?! A few small meatloaves... ready to thaw/bake/eat. Some 1-2 serving containers of chili and meatballs in sauce. Some sloppy joes.

How do you avoid overspending?

Not so much on food, but kitchen stuff. I'm a yard sale, thrift store, and flea market JUNKIE!! Have made several GREAT buys on GOOD cast iron stuff for a song. Square LeCreuset grill pan, blue enamle exterior in great shape, minor schmutz in ridges... $5!

Home gardening?

It KILLS me cuz I haven't been able to have an in-ground garden in several years... CRITTERS! Last time I had veggies in ground was like putting up a big, NEON sign... FREE SALAD BAR for rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and GROUNDHOGS.

Live in NJ and reminded of a line Shirley McClain had in "Steel Magnolias"... something to the effect that she's "old and supposed to grow tomatoes"?!? Have a spot that would be PERFECT for a few tomato and pepper plants,ut would be an exercise in futility.

Tried container tomatoes on my low deck... only to discover pots tipped over or even pulled off onto grass. Had several healthy/happy pots of herbs in pots suspended from railing... nice crop of cilantro in am... GONE when I got home from work.

Gas vs charcoal grilling in a gas grill

I few years ago, TREE RATS (squirrels) destroyed hose from propane tank to grill. Grill was NOT a high-end model, about $100 at end of season. Thought I found replacement part in home store, but holes that posts that hold knobs didn't match up!?! Checked out manufacturer's site and could have ordered part from them, but it was something like $60 + S&H. Not worth spending that much on a cheap grill that had given me plenty of good cooking.

Since a NEW grill wasn't in budget at the time, I made a "red-neck" grill. I took out all the gas guts and put a few bricks pavers in bottom to mostly but not entirely block the air intake slots. Bought a chimney starter and used this make-shift rig for a few summers before returning to gas.

I like cooking over charcoal, but like the convenience of pretty much instant grilling with gas.

Did have a brilliant idea... or so I thought. Why do a whole grill full of charcoal for 1-2 burgers, dogs, or pieces of chicken... why not cook ON the chimney. Like trying to cook on a JET ENGINE!! Food started to INCINERATE within a minute of being on grilll set on top!

What will you make for Easter?

My sister-OUT-law (divorced her brother but not rest of family) will be doing a dance for NICE weather for next Sunday. She serves "honey baked ham" that she buys OFF the bone. Some may poo-poo this product but I LOVE it and it's ALWAYS good. Asked her to pick up some for ME to take home, since closest store to me is a trek. I'll be taking sweet potatoes. Kinda ham-stringer HER MIL back at Christmas by jumping on them to bring... (bragging) I KNEW mine were better & everyone agreed!?! Kinda roasted in ample butter and maple syrup... dash of hot sauce and a little garlic/onion powder added.

Deviled eggs

Nephew wants to know how anything that smells that bad (sorta like farts)can taste SO GOOD!!

I use little mayo... mostly mustard... dijon, grainy, even plain yellow. A SMALL dab of wasabi paste (from tube) and generous sprinkly of smoked paprika.

My sister showed me a great tip for filling eggs, especially if you're taking them somewhere. Take whites and yolk-mix separately in zip bags. Snip corner off yolk stuff and just squeeze into white at final destination. I serving plate starts to run short, just a few squeezes fills it back up.

Culinary land mines

I love chicken salad but ONLY trust my Beautiful Aunt Peggy and sister-OUTlaw (divorced from her brother but not rest of family) with this. I KNOW I'll never find anything I don;t want in my mouth with their recipes.

O LOVE crab dishes but rarely prder them when eating out. ONE bit of shell or cartlidge and I'm GONE!

What To Do With Leftover Pork Roast

My Dad's favorite for left-over pork (and possible roasted veggies... carrots, potatoes, etc and gravy) was a pot pie. Left-overs ito bakiing sheet, topped with even tube biscuits... tho puff pastry is divine.

horseradish root??

Is it REALLY that bad!?!

Asparagus stems revisited.

I take the extra time to use vegetable peeler on stems of FAT asparagus. All the "tough" stuff that you snap off is only tough at the skin level.

Cast Iron question.

If you think you can just season cast iron and it'll be good forever... you're a bit mistaken. A WELL seasoned pan, used for something like eggs, can prove to be cleanable with just a wipe of a paper towel for a LONG time. If you introduce LIQUID... if only things like onions & pepper... it'll need some cleaning.

If I end up with some crud in CI pan, I scrub out with CHEAP salt and lots of hot water. Then back on burner till fairly hot and a new dab of bacon grease... like my grandmother always did.

I think it's REALLY important to USE cast iron cookware as often as possible. When I first got back into it, would store pieces in oven. They'd live there even when I was using oven for other things. Eventually got some rust spots... moisture/steam for whatever was cooking in oven with it?? A good scrub with salt, a warm up on stove top and more bacon grease... fixes things.

In search of: Popcorn Popper

Made "real" popcorn in a pop on stove top for niece when she was about 13 or so. Was able to find a GLASS lids to fit pot so she could WATCH something she had NEVER seen before. She was totally mesmerized! A little oil and enough kernels to make a single layer in bottomo and ended up with full pot with very few un-popped kernels.

I'm a teaching assistant who works with special needs kids... and LOVE it. They are in a self-contained classroom setting most of the day. They sometimes have a "snack". I brought in a bag of kernels and a big pile of brown lunch bags from the $ store. The students had to MEASURE kernels into bag & set time on microwave. Maybe 2-3 T of kernels, bag folded over tight (only at top) 2-3 LITTLE times. No oil needed, so even with a sprinkle of salt, a healthy snack that reinforces some life skills the kids will need as adults. And a CHEAP treat.

What do I need from the Korean grocery store?

Just comment on Asian markets in general. Have a small Asian store in my area and I LOVE it! First time I stopped in, knew I would need soy sauce soon. Must be 6-8 different brands and I was LOT since none had any English on lable. I just aske WHAT should I try first. Store owners are REALLY nice, friendly people who have NOT steered me wrong on ANY purchase. Just ASK!!

What are the measuring rules for recipes in Serious Eats

Not much into baking, other than holiday goodies. When I bake I definitely measure. Decided some recipes were a bit off cuz I was using JUMBO eggs when most recipes call for large.

If it's "cooking"... like soup, meat/poultry/fish... amounts and sometimes even ingredients are only a suggestion to me?!? I like onions/garlic, so will just decided when I have enough. NOT a big fan of thyme or sage, so might use just a touch or leave out all together and sub maybe oregano or marjoram.

Best Bottled Products not made by a Name Brand Co.?

Have a small Asian market nearby that I LOVE to go into. First time there, knew I would be needing soy sauce not to far into future. Besides supermarket variety (K brand), there must have been 8-10 OTHER brands... all with NO English on labels. I just asked which one I should try first and was NOT steered wrong.

Hot Pockets vs. Calzone dough question

A bit OT, but still a bit hot pockety!?! Last year worked with 2 Autistic girls who were mainstreamed into a Foods & Nutrition class. One girl was pretty much game to try ANYTHING and other "hated" stuff without even being willing to take a single bite.

Not much "junk" food to cook with at all. One day made chicken skewers... breast meat, peppers, mushrooms, onions and into oven. Another time, class got a demo from a sushi chef. No raw fish... seaweed sheets, sticky rice, veggies and Krab inside. One girl just YUCKED and EWED the whole time. Other brave soul tried it. None of other 3 people in our group (me included) was crazy about the seaweed, so just ate the insides.

Back to your hot pockets!?! Teacher gave kids tubes of bisquit dough and all kinds of stuff to put with them... diced ham/turkey, cheese, salsa, pizza sauce, condiments, etc. Kids flattened dough to about twice diameter, added a little of whatever filling they wanted, folded over, and cooked in one of those little sandwich maker things.

What is YOUR kryptonite?

Cheese of all kinds and everything salty... my downfall.

Thought "kryptonite" meant stuff you just CANNOT do?? For me, it's liver (unless a nice pate) and oysters. Have tried both every which way... NOPE, not for me.

Old Pizza Memories

When I was a kid, there was an Italian restaurant in Springfield, PA called Marra's (spelling?). Dad would take us there on occasion and we'd HOPE for a table near the area where pizzas were being made. Guys inside a big glass booth TOSSIthe dough was very entertaining... and the pizza was great. One of those places that's not there anymore.

Avocado's Can Be Heaven

They make a tasty "toad in the hole"... egg in hole and baked till just right... runny for me. Can be topped with all sorts of stuff... bacon, salsa, CHEESE,

Roasted cherry tomatoes

Not cherry peppers and not exactly "roasted", but these turn out like CANDY. Saw Martha S do a sorta dried plum tomatoe recipe. She sliced tomatoes length-wise and squeezed out most of seeds. Tossed in nice olive oil, liberal S&P, and nice pinch of SUGAR on inside of each half. Then into low oven (on a rack over a sheet pan)... for a few HOURS... till kinda leathery. I probably go for about 275-300 degrees and still takes at least an hour. I usually start cut-side up and turn at some point to let accumulated "water" run off. Usually end up eatiing them ALL right off the rack!?!

one ripe avocado??

Had a second ripe one today! Making chili so just cut/diced and added to the mix. Knew it woud be a fail and seems kinda interesting.

Suggestions for leftover jams?

Once tried my hand at making pepper jelly. It just didn't set though I followed directions on pectin pack to the tee?? Ended up as a LOOSE jam, bordering on a THICK syrup?!? I had canned it in small jars (maybe half pints or less). Ended up using it to add to a glaze for almost anything that I cooked on grill... chicken, pork, veggies.

New Year's Menus

Can't remember a New years Day meal that didn't include pork and sauerkraut.

Back in 1999 (Y2K), when civilization as we knew it was threatening to come to an end, SIL threw a NYE "slumber party". My BIL HAD to work... he's in the tech business. Niece was only about 2-3... so they weren't planning to PARTAY anyway.

She had a few "rules"... NO ordinary party food! If you were bringing cheese/crackers... better not be Ritz and a block of Cracker Barrel. If bringing dip... not pre-made or just an envelope of onion soup mix in sour cream.

And if you were crashing at her house, you hadda show up in PJs! I had a gift certificate that turned into a platter of crab claws. Teenaged niece was MORTIFIED that I actually walked into the place in PJs and slippers!!

Perfect ham

I'm also a fan of "honey baked" hams. SIL buys packages of SLICES for Easter dinner. Costs more than bone-in, pretty much NO waste, could even be cheaper (lb for lb) once you factor in how much the bone can weigh.

Desperate for cookware advice

I like Calphalon non-stick for a few reasons. It's not terribly expensive, not flimsy, and they have a fabuloueturn/replace policy. Had heard they would repair/replace for free so took them up on that a year or so ago. Didn't need receipts. Did cost a few $ to ship off 2 skillets and my favorite sauce pan. Pieces had to be at LEAST 10 years old. Skillets just weren't as non-stick as had been... on RARE occasions where I used metal tools, was very gentle. Sauce pan was showing wear in bottom, tho only used wooden tools and whisks for non-stick.

Got brand new replacements in a little more than a week.

horseradish root??

So bought a hunka horseradish root a day or 2 back... and CLUELESS!?! It's literally DIRTY... like just pulled outta the ground. SHould I wash it? How to store? Fridge? Or freezer to grate as I go like ginger? Peel first or just end??

one ripe avocado??

Gonna eat it in some form today, but can't decide how?

Maybe BAKED? Found a recipe where you put an egg in the hole, top with cheese & dash of hot sauce, and then into oven until cooked... I like runny yolks, so didn't take long.

Any other suggestions?

Are you cooking the turkey??

I'm not... taking 2 sides to T-Day dinner. Will come home with some left-overs, but there are never enough for me... takes a long time for me to get bored with them.

I'm cooking for 1, so a whole bird (even smallest) is not a good option. Hoping whole breasts will be reasonable on Black Friday... ONLY reason I'll be leaving house that day. Will get guys behind the glass to cut in half... vac seal half for some other time & make a mini-feast for ME with other half.

One year, when Dad was incharge of the family get-together, he did a "deconstructed" turkey... WAY before that term started popping up. HE preferred white meat (bought 2 whole breasts), knew a few liked dark (2 legs/thighs), and shis MOTHER and some others loved wings (bought 4).

Cost more, but pretty much NO waste or picking the carcass. Got plenty of nice brown stuff for great gravy. Cooking time was less.

yard sales, thrift stores & flea markets...

... = some great kitchen finds!

Got back to using good old cast iron after finding 3 kinda cruddy skillets... Griswold, Wagner & Lodge that cleaned up GREAT... $1 each.

Found a "vintage", crank up/down, Kitchenaid stand mixer at a thrift store... $19.99. Found a spare bowl a few weeks later.

Earlier this week found a Cuisinartfood processor with a HUGE messa extra slicing/shredding disks for $8!! First thought was extra bowl for FP I already HAD... but this one ended up larger capacity.

Bought a bread machine at a yard sale... cuz looked like never even used?!? Worked great but didn't really get into using it, so cleaned it up really well and donated to another thrift store.

Found HUGE lot of Fiestaware dishes at a yard sale... $50. That's WAY more than I'm usually willing to spend. But came home with 12+ place settings (dinner plate, salad/sandwich plates, bowls, mugs, and a few extra things.

Always on lookout for things I'd like to try but unwilling to spend REAL $$ on.

Anybody else in the "club" with me?

"kid" food??

May get slammed for this, but here goes?!? If you were at a gathering/bbq of friend/family, and there were PLENTY of "kid" stuff (hot dogs, burgers, chicken fingers, etc.), would you have a problem with 4-5 yo kids decimating a big bowl of "grown up food"... like shrimp??

Just put my body armor on... I WOULD have a problem with that and would direct LITTLE kids else where. I think it's WONDERFUL when young children try different foods, but frankly don't thiink their taste buds can discern hot dogs from lobster?

EW! I HATE that!!

Major peeve for me is someone who "hates" something they've never even tasted?? My SIL is a VERY sweet woman & I love her... be she "hates" beets and sweet potatoes tho has NEVER even tasted. IMNSHO... that's just WRONG!

When nephew was about 3 (he's 30+ now), we were at Dad's house for T-Day or Christmas. I made sweet potatoes... just bragging a bit when I say they're GOOD... like candy. SIL tells 3 yo... yu won't like them... DOUBLE wrong, IMO. I was able to coax him to try one little bite... bet his poop was orange after the amount he ate. Now he jokes that I can't come to T-Day dinner without them.

People who "hate" asparagus, mushrooms, peas, and a bunch of other veggies... bet it's cuz they've only had them canned and never fresh (or at least frozen)?!?

Is there something you used to "hate" until you tasted the REAL DEAL?

growing herbs... I'm torn!?!

Not about growing them, but how to start!?!

Last spring/summer grew from seeds in pots hanging off deck railing. Part was out of frugality... seeds are DIRT cheap at big box home stores. BUT think critters were drawn to pots full of tender babies... whole pot of chives and cilantro DISAPPEARED one day?

"They" say that critters (rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, GROUNDHOGS) aren't fans of herbs... UNLESS they're hungry??

Have a place where I'll be able to et herbs in pots... more $$ but nice plants.

cook fast... or long and slow??

Have eaten, but never cooked squid/calamari. Whenever it's featured on a cooking show, chefs often comment that you either have to cook it really quickly OR long and slow... anything in between will be tough.

Would same hold true with shrimp? If cooked more than just a few minutes can be pretty tough and chewy. If over-cooked, could they be salvaged with some LONG cook application?

what do you have too many of in the kitchen?

I keep all my utensils in 3 big crocks on big rolling cart right off edge of counter. One is jam packed with wooden spoons and spatulas/scrapers. ANother is jam packed with large plastic tool that are safe on non-stick and whisks. Third crock hold odd things that I only have 1-2 of... zester/microplane, steel, metal spatulas, etc.

Have a small rack over sink that holds at least 4 sifters, growing collection of restaurant-style ladles and a few other things.

Have 2 sets of Pyrex nesting bowls... one 3 pc and another 4 pc, with a HUGE bowl.

Found a back-up bowl for "vintage" KA stand mixer... crank-up type.

ALL of my surplus tools came in very hand the past few days as I started preparing doughs for Holiday cookies. Did batch for molasses and peanut butter yesterday and just finished up chocolate chip and oatmeal a short time ago.

Was able to get all wet stuff set up for TWO batches of cookies in mixer bowls... and their dry ingredients all measured/sifted and ready to go.

Actually KNOW someone who has ONE baking/cookie sheet... and they make holiday cookies?!?

What do you have MULTIPLES of in your kitchen?

florentine cookies??

Absolutely my favorite on a tray of Italian cookies... and not ashamed that I'll eat quite a few.

So decided to make them as part of holiday goodie baskets. Had no recipe so did a little googling... Giada's recipe was recommended.

Dry stuff... finely ground almonds and zest of an orange, 3 TABLESPOONS of flour... amybe something else.

In sauce pan, sugar, 2 T each light corn syrup and heavy cream. Simmered for a minute or so to make sure sugar is dissolved... then some vanilla.. and sits till it can be "handled"??

Mixed into dry stuff and let cook. Recipe says scoop and "shape" into balls... unless something miraculous happens, this stuff is NOT gonna be shaped??

So went looking to see if I had a bad recipe and everything I found was pretty similar?? I know they'll spread out when baked... just hoping they're not a total FAIL??

Have ya ever made these cookies?

dried herbs/spices??

I'm one who doesn't believe what "they" say about them... keeping no longer than 6 months?!? As long as they still smell good and give off nice aroma when rubbed in palm... no way I'm tossing them.

Made herb/spice blends/rubs for holiday gifts TWO years ago. Bought BIG containers of stuff at farmer's market... it's still fine.

BUT have to say something for fresh-er dried stuff. My grandmother always said you HAD to put a few bay leaves into things like soup or stew. Wasn't until I actually bought bay leaves for myself that I even knew they even did ANYTHING for flavor??

canned hominy??

Friend gave me 2 cans of hominy... why, NO idea?? Can says... open, drain and heat? Did a little googling for recipes and most seem to be soups and/or stews. What would you do with a can of hominy that's NOT a soup/stew?

Italian cookies??

Would LOVE to find a recipe for those dark, crispy, thin, lacey cookies with dark chocolate sandwiched in between. Will TOTALLY admit that I will pick them out of a cookie tray of cookies from REAL Italian bakery.

Anyone have a recipe to share?

kitchen collections?

I have a LOT of PIG-related stuff in mine... 6 cookie jars that live on top of fridge (empty), lots of pig "linens" (towels, pot holders, etc.), probably easily 25 pig things.

Have growing collection of "vintage" tea balls and don't even drink tea that often?!? If I see one (yard sale or thrift store), they're usually pennies. Best one I have is an acorn shaped on that a spent a "fortune" on... $5 at flea market, but STERLING silver.

Have several molds hanging on wall.. like fish theme, some copper and NOT ones purely meant for decor. A few German-made bundt pans... that are more non-stick than non-stick ones.

Collection os cast iron is always open for additions! Every piece was a yard sale or thrift store find... pretty much dirt cheap. Would LOVE to find pop-over and loaf pans.

What's in your kitchen collections?

food ya just do NOT like??

As a kid, Dad, AUnt and her neighbor would periodically buy half a steer to stock freezers for household with 3 kids each. Everything was portioned, wrapped and labelled. Ya go half of about EVERYTHIN in a steer. My grandmother liked liver but luckily only subjected us to it 2-3 times a year... she was the boss! Luckily Dad didn't like it either, so only hadda take 1-2 bites more than he did... his mother WAS the boss.

Have tried oysters every which way but loose?? IN oyster stew, fried, etc. Just don't like the taste??

What do you just don't like??

do you have "good" china, silver, glasses??

Not me! Niece has MASSIVE set of the china, silver, glassware that was on her bridal registry that never sees the light of day??

I never had any desire for BIG $$ china or glasses. Would probably never use them if I knew would cost more big $$ to replace after eventual accident.

Sister has "silver" (probably plate?) from Dad's house that ONLY came out on T-Day and Christmas... and only if meal was at our house, since it roataed between 3-4 locations.

multi-taskers... alternative uses??

Have a few items from my crafting stash that have made theire way into the kitchen.

Don't have "pie weights" and know I can use a bag-o beans to get the same result. BUT do have a messa those flat, glass "marbles" that work just fine.

Have something called an embossing "heat" tool. Used to melt embossing power. Resembles a small hair dryer but gets MUCH hotter and doesn't BLOW very hard. Takes a little longer, but will actually BRULEE!?!

What multi-taskers or alternative uses have you come up with?

cooking disasters?

Have only been coming here a few days. Love to cook/eat, but consider myself a bit of a "mad scientist" in kitchen... we don't need no stinking RECIPE!?! Only baking successes I'm able to have is cookie for the holidays.

I like to start at a new site by sharing kitchen FAILS!?!

When I was about 18-19 yo, my Dad decided we'd have Beef Wellington for Sunday dinner. Pretty sure he probably saw it on Julia or Jeff Smith... one of few cooking shows around WAY back then. I was pretty comfortable in kitchen so just got out cookbook. Seemed simple enough... pastry dough wrapped around BIG $$ hunk beef tenderloin... which Dad definitely wanted on the rare side.

It looked great going into oven and like a cookbook illustration when it acme out!

Well, when Dad tired to carve it... the crust would NOT CUT!! We almost hadda chisel it off. Luckily, the beef inside was PERFECT! Still hear about that dinner from my brother.

Any fails you're willing to share?

cast iron... 2nd try!?!

Anyone here a BIG fan of cooking in cast iron? I became reunited with it after finding 3 great, but crusty skillets for $1 each at a yard sale. After serious elbow grease and lots of USE... as close to non-stick as you can get and still be able to use metal tools.

EVERY piece in my growing collection came from a yard sale, thrift store, or flea market... and NOTHING cost over $5.

Have to seriously restrain myself from buying something I KNOW I already have! Always looking for unusual items... like a little, diamond-shaped Lodge skillet, marked "egg" on bottom.

On my "wish list'... muffin/pop-over pan(s), bread/loaf pan(s), and a DEEP "chicken" fryer.

Though I have a Lodge Dutch oven... would love to find one that's enamel in and out... doesn't even have to be perfect.

Are you a CI junkie like me?!?

posting a topic??

I joined here a few days ago. Have been able to leave comments on other people's posts. Have TRIED to start a post 1-2 times?? Thought I did everything right, but they never showed up?

Used kitchen (small) appliances & cookware?!?

I'm a serious yard sale junkie and always on the look out for CLEAN (preferably in box with paperwork), things I'd like to try but not willing to pay REAL money for in a store.

FOund a "vintage" KA stand mixer for $19.99 at Goodwill. CLEAN, ran smooth, crank up/down bowl, whisk/paddle/dough hook. After a minimum of cleaning, taped everything off and spray painted it flat-black.

Found a Cuisinart food processor at a thrift store for $8... bought thinking a spare bowl, but ended up being a step up from what I already had.

A square, blue enamel exterior, LeCreuset cast iron grill pan... $5!

Today went looking for replacement coffee maker. One I have is a Gevalia that I've had for YEARS, but heated base part is just peeling away with every pot of coffee. Found a Cuisinart 12-cup that looked VERY clean. Checked on-line and was able to find manual and that it cost something like $90 new.

BEST "used" stuff is my ever growing collection of old cast iron stuff.

cast iron

Got reunited with cast iron a few years ago when I scored on 3 different size skillets at a yard sale... Lodge and Griswold. They were $1 each and TOTALLY crusted with unknown GUNK. It took a lot of oven cleaner to get them back to usable... and well seasoned.

Since then, I've been a bit of a collector and have to restrain myself when I see a good deal. Everything I have came from a yard sale, flea market or thrift store and never paid more than $5 for any piece.

Bought a 2 burner Lodge grill/griddle for less than $5. Have a large, round griddle that's super slick. Have 3 "cron" pans. A Dutch oven. A cute little diamond shaped pan that makes perfect egg sandwich for square bread.

WOuld LOVE to find a DEEP chicken fryer and muffin pans and bread pans.

Are you a CI fan? My advice is USE IT, USE IT, USE IT... and it can become pretty much as non-stick as non-stick!

klseiverd hasn't favorited a post yet.