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What's not-to-miss in Italy?

Thanks everyone! This is great. Keep them coming!

Cocktail vs. Mixed Drinks

It's entirely possible that I'm wrong about this, but I've always considered a cocktail to be a manhattan or martini--strong combinations of all (or almost all) booze served (traditionally) in a smaller rocks glass or straight up. Booze with a mixer (rum and coke, gin and tonic, etc.) is a highball.

Interesting Lobster Recipe?

We made a lobster curry with caribbean lobster (cheaper, a little bit less succulent than Maine lobster) the last time we were in the bahamas. Coconut milk and curry spices, cauliflower, some other veggies...yum. It was totally wonderful.

Where are the best Indian Recipes for a home cook?

The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuna Devi, is very good, but obviously won't give you recipes for meat dishes. Another that I like is Six Spices: A Simple Concept for Indian Cooking.

What to do with extra leeks?

I use leeks as an alternative to onions in any sautee--the flavor is rounder, less sharp, lovely really...and they cook faster, so don't throw them in as soon.

Know of any pets with food names?

My brother and his wife have a dog named "Bacon." She wanted a dog, and he agreed on the condition that he got to name it. He loves bacon.

a very veggie thanksgiving

I just got done posting on the stuffed mushroom thread about the stuffed portabellas in the Cooks Illustrated October issue (I modified the recipe a bit). I'm making them for Thanksgiving! Hearty, autumn flavors, a good dose of non-soy protein (cheese, nuts), and totally delicious.

Cocktail party stuffed mushrooms

I made a modified version of the Cook's Illustrated stuffed portabellas. My version had cashews, almonds, parsley, thyme, goat cheese, onion, white wine, milk, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. It was great! Scoring and pre-baking the portabella caps (per the CI recipe) was key. I'm making them again for the vegetarian & gluten free folks at Thanksgiving.

Ordering at Your Table Via Your Table

I think this would be great, if it works. If it breaks down all the time, then obviously not...but I imagine that if you have a specific request or can't figure something out then a staff member is just a click away.

Also it's a pet peeve of mine when servers try to "read" my table and behave in a way that they think I want them to. Just keep it real, I say!

Does anyone make their own yogurt?

It's important not to use too much starter yogurt in each batch--I use 1 level tablespoon for each quart of milk. More than that crowds the bacillus and produces yogurt that's sour and watery.

Margarita Mix

Yikes. Jose Cuervo---no, no, no. This is bad stuff. Expect a gnarly hangover.

A good easy alternative to squeezing a bunch of limes is to use frozen limeade concentrate. Reconstitute it with half the water that the instructions call for, and you're good to go. And if there's any way you can swing it, get some tequila that's 100% blue agave. You can usually find a cheap one if you must, and it will be so, so worth it. Cuervo is only 51% agave, which is the minimum legal requirement, and the rest is the cheapest sugars available along with some artificial "gold) coloring.

Funny remarks you can re-use

@kerosena, did you used to work at a certain yoga center in Mass? Because I did, and I used to say that sometimes...

Favorite methods to learn daily home cooking?

Yes, yes, yes. I'm thirding the recommendation for How to Cook Everything by NY Times food dude Mark Bittman. Includes techniques and basic information about each major ingredient. Totally readable, a great introduction, and a great ongoing reference.

Any thoughts: Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone?

intheyearofthepig, are you my brother? What's Mom's middle name? What's the name of the street where we grew up?

My brother gave my girlfriend and me Mark Bittman's HTCE Veggie and I love it, as I love the original How to Cook Everything. Basic but not always common recipes that are accessible and adaptable.

How about "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon? Totally different than the Bittman--filled with scores of well-researched "alternative" health info. And not just for Veggies.

I would advise a beginner cook to _____

Eat slowly and taste. Try to identify layers and flavors. Don't be shy about discussing what you taste.


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