Profile

mepolo

Cubicle dweller who is obsessed with food.....married to a man who could care less about food, but loves & tolerates me anyway. Luckily I trained my daughter right! ;-)

  • Location: Angola, NY (near Buffalo)
  • Favorite foods: See my last bite on earth.... :-)
  • Last bite on earth: Delmonico steak - grilled rare with just a touch of salt & pepper. Garlic roasted russet potatoes - nice & crispy on the outside, soft & creamy on the inside! The best vanilla ice cream in the world to finish.

Buffalo Chicken Sausages

Very nice! I add a bit of chopped celery & crumbled blue cheese to my wing sausages...you could also serve the sausages w/a celery relish & blue cheese dressing to get the whole experience :)

Keep butter melted...without heat...

Are you talking about a wing sauce? I'd experiment with mixing the butter with your other ingredients to see if it did indeed react the way you wanted it to. If not, there are liquid 'butters' you can buy but the taste is not the same. You could also experiment with mixing the butter with mild oils as others have suggested to keep it liquid. Grab a bottle of wing sauce currently sold on the shelf & check out their ingredients

A Pizza My Mind: In Defense of Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Been awhile since I've commented, ironically when I checked my account, the last comment I made last April was about chicken wing pizza. I'm from the Buffalo area, we don't call it Buffalo wing pizza around here. The formula is simple...base of blue cheese (in lieu of sauce), chicken (around here most places use chicken fingers), chopped celery (can't have chicken wing pizza without the celery!), mozz cheese to hold it all together. Additional blue cheese on the side for dipping always welcome! :)

Chain Reaction: Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Papa John's

I'm w/D....the chicken has to be dripping Franks...then all you need is a blue cheese base, the chicken, some chopped celery & mozz cheese to finish. I always laugh when I read 'Buffalo Chicken'....I'm from B-Lo....we just call them wings here. The pizza places around here have had Chicken Wing pizza for years.

Cook the Book: 'Guy Fieri Food'

stuffed hot banana peppers with italian sausage & lots of gooey cheese!

Sugar Rush: Custard and Pumpkin Yogurt by White Cow Dairy

Yay! White Cow dairy is one of my favorite indulgences! I love their custard & Patrick always makes some great seasonal flavors of yogurt. Im fortunate enough to live in WNY...so it's easy to find up here. :-)

Poll: How Picky Are You About Coffee?

I buy beans from a local roaster as well...I love their dark Guatamalan. I grind them myself in a standard grinder right now...I prefer a coarse grind to a fine grind for my press. I make my own coffee at home in the am too...drinking it w/Splenda & 1/2 & 1/2.
On the road my coffee of choice is Tim Hortons.

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: The Best Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I tried the recipe too...the par boiling step wasn't a big deal since you just put the pot aside & let it sit til you were ready for it. I guess I'll have to try doing them without par boiling too so I can compare for myself.
they were wonderful though...perfectly roasted & very sweet!
I also did a candied yam dish...2 parts apple cider to 1 part maple syrup heated in a pan w/1/2 stick butter, cloves & cinnamon. Pour that over cut & boiled yams, top with those lovely marshmallows & bake til everything is gooey & bubbling. My family won't let me get away w/not making those! lol

Happy Thanksgiving, Serious Eaters

Happy Thanksgiving to you all....hope it was wonderful!

Storing knives...What's your preference and why?

I have a block that came with my Cutco knives. I currently have it hanging to free up counter space.

Spice Hunting: Dill Seed

My mother has been making dill potatoes as long as I can remember....she peels & cubes potatoes then tosses them w/dill seeds & tops them w/butter. They are baked in a covered casserole dish @ 375 for about 45 minutes. When I make these I add some garlic & remove the cover for the last 15 minutes to allow the potatoes to brown.
Love dill seed...it is a versatile and overlooked spice.

Win a Free Organic D'Artagnan Turkey

brussel sprouts & sweet potatoes..just not mixed together!

Win a Free Organic D'Artagnan Turkey

roasted sweet potatoes...I"m making those & par boiling this year too...thanks!

Win a Free Organic D'Artagnan Turkey

I'm loving the brussel sprouts recipe too!

Who else hates how holidays take over food websites/magazines?

@BerkelMan - regarding the library...I often grab new cookbooks from the library to 'test' them out & decide if I want to buy them....it's a great way to add to the recipe collection without spending a lot of $$.

Simply Cornbread

As noted in a couple of the comments, cornbread is not a strictly southern thing...it's been eaten up north for as long as the Pilgrams met the Indians...lol!
We do like it sweeter in the North...maple syrup is a favorite sweetener up here. Personally I'm going to try this recipe for Thanksgiving as well.

What is Serious Eats?

@dbcurrie - 'like'

Cook the Book: 'Bobby Flay's Throwdown!'

I second the sausage...in casing...smoked!

Boston Market Gets A Fast Casual Makeover

Sometimes I wish there was a 'like' button for comments in here, because @seriousb I would do that for your comment.
Instead of feeling sorry for the older people eating alone, why not ask them if they would like company? They would probably welcome the chance to have a meal with another person!
For some they may not know how to cook or have the energy to cook for themselves. A trip to BM for some fairly nourishing food is probably better than Mickey D's or for that matter some of the frozen dinners that are out there.

Low to No Sugar Desserts

I don't know about all parts of the Mediterranean, but my grandfather came over from Sicily & he often ate cheese for dessert w/a piece of fruit. Sorry...didn't know it was a touristy thing where you are.
I'd also agree w/AnnieNT...perhaps just a small piece of a dessert, bite size or mini desserts would work?

Low to No Sugar Desserts

Stevia isn't an artificial sweetener...it's natural.
I agree w/sheri1970 - go Mediterranean & serve fruit & cheese for dessert.
I've found some success w/Splenda if you are open to artificial sweeteners...they have blends that are 1/2 sugar & 1/2 Splenda. I have to watch my sugar too, but I focus on counting carbs & try to stay within certain carb restraints rather than use artificial sweeteners.

Thanksgiving side dish talk

@k_d - my older brother had a melt down one Thanksgiving because I didn't serve him the 'traditional' Thanksgiving dinner that he's been eating every year of his entire life....I made au gratin sweet potatoes instead of the candied yam casserole w/marshmallows. To this day we don't let him live it down!
I'm not cooking Thanksgiving this year. I'll be making whatever my sister requests I bring to her house.
All these ideas are making me hungry though...they all sound great!

Gadgets: Martha Stewart's Pie Gate

@marztec - after you cut the pie you put the pie gate down in front of the cut slices so the filling stays in place. It also helps to keep the filling 'fresh'. When you're not using it, it folds in half & takes up very little storage room. I use it when I make pies because there are only 2 of us in the house so we don't finish the pie right away. As @bobcatsteph3 pointed out, it also keeps the plastic wrap from sticking to the pie.

Electric stove cooking

@seriousb - you are right...I love the pull out cooktop! I don't know why it never caught on either. Obviously we couldn't have that feature in our gas stoves...but I've never seen it before on another electric stove.
I can't wait to get back to the house & try out some of the tips you all have given me. For the most part the pans I'll be taking up there are pans that are in our camping gear...old pans that have since been upgraded at home...so I have all different sizes & thicknesses. I'm sure I'll be carting up a few pans from home depending on what I'm planning different times we're up there, I think I'll always bring a cast iron to test that out too though.

Gadgets: Martha Stewart's Pie Gate

Pie gates have been around forever...isn't something Martha Stewart invented. I have a Pampered Chef one that I've been using for years, and I remember my mom having one many years ago as well.
True...another gadget...but if you bake pies a lot & they don't get eaten in one sitting they are handy to have!

Electric stove cooking

@BananaMonkey's question about cooking w/gas stoves reminded me of the question I needed to ask for all of your help with.
We're going to be staying at a country home quite a bit that has an electric stove. I've always cooked with gas. Those electric stove cookers...what tips do you have? Is there a 'learning curve' when cooking on an electric stove? (The one thing we did learn the hard way was the amount of residual heat from the electric burner.)

Nutrition Info for recipes

Since I have to be careful about my carb intake now, I'm finding myself leaning towards recipes I find that have nutrition info already calculated for them....Eating Well & Cooking Light are 2 great magazines & web sites that I've been checking out.
I have some tried & true recipes & even new recipes I've found that I'd love to have the nutrition info on so I can make sure they fall within my meal plan guidelines.
Does anyone know of any websites that offer a user friendly service like this?
Thanks!

Serious efforts - Homemade Mayo

I've been tweaking my diet for a bit now, and after being diagnosed w/type 2 diabetes I'm stepping up my efforts even more. I still plan on using sugar as part of my diet, but controlling what, where & when...so I'm cutting out the extra sugar in it. After reading the mayo labels last week I discovered that even Hellmans has sugar in it. I want to start making my own. Does anyone here do that, and do you have a great recipe without sugar? I'm also thinking about making my own ketchup for the same reason.

Serious eating & diabetes

Well...I went to the dr. for my annual physical last night & found out I have type 2 diabetes. It was a shock, since I cook from scratch, no processed stuff....and I always felt I eat fairly healthy. I do fall off the wagon w/once a week fast food trips, and I do have a soda (sugar not hfcs) every day. I'm a juice fanatic....that's one of my down falls...I could drink 1/2 gallon a day. I do drink water all day at work.
I noticed when I did a search for diabetes here, that there are a few people here that have diabetes. How do you reconcile being a serious eater & diabetes? What are some of your favorite snacks? (I think that's going to be my trickest area!)
I have my diabetes education classes in 2 weeks, but I'd love some tips in the meantime if you're willing to share!
thank you!

I found it where?

The olive oil thread got me to thinking about some of the unusual places I've found good food. Some of my favorite places for seeking food products are Big Lots, Ollies, and The Dollar Tree. I'm not talking fresh stuff....I usually stick to the tried & true stores for that (although Price Rite has 'bulk whole fish' you can buy from a bin frozen for $3.99/lb...not sure if I'm ready for that yet).
I'm talking about condiments, oils, beverages.....non perishables....where is your unusual place to find bargains?

$3.99/lb grass fed beef tenderloin

I picked up 2 of them this week! We have a new supermarket near my work, Price Rite. As part of their grand opening they have whole beef tenderloins on sale. They are grass fed from Australia. I've never cooked grass fed beef before, and I'm afraid of ruining them. I plan on cutting them down into steaks & perhaps a roast from each. Any suggestions on cooking both the roast & the steaks. I'd love to grill them, and I've done alittle online research that said to cook them for less time than grain fed. I'd love to hear from anyone who has cooked grass fed tenderloin before!? Thanks!

Vive San Guiseppe!

Happy St. Joseph's Day!
Anyone doing a table?
I'm not this year...probably going to a church table on Sat., although I did have some sfinge (deep fried pastry) & froccia (egg 'pancake' w/greens) today. Not a fan of pasta con sarde though....what about you?

The Popper Dip - did you alter the recipe too?

As @MaresyDotes noted on the super bowl food thread, the jalapeno popper dip does seem to be the dip of the year!
I'm sure most of us used the recipe from Allrecipes as the base.
I discovered my canned jalapenos didn't look healthy, so I used 8 fresh jalapenos, diced, instead of the canned. I also threw 4 oz of shredded mexican blend cheese, and substituted 1/2 of the mayo w/sour cream. I put a mixture of parmesan cheese & panko on the top before I baked it.
It turned out great, tasted just like a popper, and every bit was eaten.
What about you....how did you make the popper dip your own?

Northerners - ever tap a maple tree?

With this continuous snow....I'm trying to think warm thoughts....spring thoughts. Last fall my husband & I identified
several maple trees in our yard that we're going to tap this spring to try to produce a small amount of maple syrup.
Has anyone here done this before? How did it turn out for you?
I have been doing research online, but any other tips and stories would be helpful!

Serious Efforts: Question for the Caterers - Roasted Potatoes

This summer I'm catering an outdoor wedding with no kitchen. I only live 1/4 mile from the venue, so I'm good w/everything that needs to be kept cold. Our proteins are going to be grilled, and we're doing grilled veggies too. We have a traveling grill that is 4'x4' for the proteins & veggies.

The dilemma I have is the potatoes. The bride and groom want roasted potatoes. It's non-negotiable. The bride's mom loves my roasted potatoes. I'd love to do them ahead of time—just not sure about reheating.

I'd have to put them in my metal steam table pans and reheat on the grill. Anyone have any tips or suggestions for keeping them crispy outside and soft inside without overcooking? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

[Serious Efforts guidelines »]

Photograzing and food blogging

I must admit, until Tastespotting was down, and SE added Photograzing to it's line up, I hadn't looked at much food porn. Now I'm addicted, and find myself adding more and more food blogs to my favorites...nearly every time I log on. Anyone else adding to their online favorites this way?

Using the search feature - spec. Trader Joes

I'm curious how many people use the search feature before starting a thread?
It seems often the same question will be asked again and again. I know there are new people here, and the talk forum is a type of online 'conversation'.....but sometimes it feels like the same questions are asked often.
When I typed in Trader Joes, there were more than 10 pages....and I counted at least 6 times where a variation of 'what is your favorite Trader Joes item' was asked.....in one instance only a month apart from each other last spring.
Am I the only one that this bothers? And I do apologize for this bothering me....perhaps it's a small thing to many....it just seems to happen so often lately for so many topics.

Potluck breakfast recipe needed

Good afternoon all!
We have a coworker leaving on Friday for another position, and we're doing a breakfast instead of luncheon. I'd like to make something other than a coffee cake or muffins, and we have someone bringing fruit. Does anyone have an egg based or other type of recipe that would reheat o.k.? We have a toaster oven and a microwave available for reheating. The skill level could be very advanced, as I am known as the cook in the office.
Thank you in advance!

We're having a pie baking contest!

With summer coming, and all the seasonal fruits coming soon...it's becoming pie baking time. Let's have a pie baking contest! What kind of pie are you bringing to the table? Do you use a traditional recipe, or do you put your own spin on it? Where did your recipe come from? Are you willing to share the recipe? Please do!
I'm not a big pie baker...guess I've always been intimidated by pie crust ever since I watched my sister try to make it when I was a kid, and she spent the entire time cursing at the dough because it kept falling apart on her. Flash forward 30 years or so...and I still don't make pie crust....I often rely on Pillsbury....or ask someone else to bring the pies!
For the contest though, I'll be making the traditional dutch apple pie with a crumb crust....my husband's favorite. I will splurge & make homemade vanilla bean ice cream to go with it though.
What about you?

Top Chef or Hell's Kitchen.....

Which do you prefer?
I'm a Top Chef fan myself...although I do watch Hell's Kitchen too. I like the food porn in Top Chef better! It's great to get inspiration from the chefs on the show.

Help for my bbq brisket!

Good morning all!
On Sunday I smoked a brisket using my gas grill....it was a small one, about 2 1/2lbs, and I had some issues during the process (ran out of propane - grill got too hot at one point). I did cook it using indirect heat for about 3 hrs, and kept the grill about 250 degrees...although at one point it did get up to 400 degrees (right after changing the propane tank).
As I was cutting the brisket Sunday I noticed it was a bit tougher than it should be. The flavor is great though....nice & smokey...with a good crust.
I'm serving it tonight, and was thinking of reheating it in a covered pan in the oven w/some beef broth. Do you think this will slow cook it longer to achieve the tenderness I desire?
I should have known better not to cook a brisket when I couldn't tend to it better...I got busy in the yard and neglected it too much I think!
Thanks!

Summer cocktails and jello shots

The introduction post that turned into a party got me thinking about upcoming summer parties, and the drinks that accompany them.
I host an annual chicken bbq on July 3rd....and one of the enduring favorites are jello shots. (So much so that I have to make non-alcohalic jello shots for the non drinkers...they were beginning to feel left out!)
Some of my favorite combinations are:
lime jello & tequila - Margarita jello shot
pineapple jello & rum
strawberry jello & rum - Strawberry Daquiri jello shot
I usually do a berry jello w/vodka too, but found the Pina Colada jello that came out last summer just didn't taste right w/rum as a shot...maybe it was me....
What I am lacking in though, is a really good cocktail that is fruity, but not too sweet. I'm not a fan of cranberry though.
What are your favorite summer time cocktails? Let's get ready for our parties......and happy hour!

What is your cooking level?

An exchange between Perky & I got me to thinking about one bit of information that is sometimes easy to share here, and sometimes difficult. What is your "cooking level"? Are you an advanced cook....a beginner? Do you cook mainly at home or is it your profession as well?
Personally I am a home cook, and consider myself somewhat advanced....
I am willing to try new recipes & ingredients, and usually make something new a couple times a week. I still have some techniques I'd like to try....but I do try to absorb everything my brain comes across. I did cook 'professionally' for about 11 years...starting as a short order cook when I was 14, culminating in a year of restaurant management when I was 25. I'm 43 now...and have spent the past 18 years as a cube dweller!
What about you?

Need help w/sodium in recipe

Good morning everyone!
I need alittle assistance lowering the sodium in one of my favorite recipes passed down from my Nana.
The basic recipe calls for thinly sliced potatoes, onion soup mix, & butter....layering potato, soup mix, then butter into a 2 qt dish until full...then baking. When I make the dish now, I also add some grated cheddar cheese to add some extra gooey,yumminess (yes...I swear yuminess is a word! lol)
I began making the dish Sat. night & discovered I was out of soup mix, so I improvised using beef base in a small amount of water, and dehydrated onions. (I use dehydrated because the flavor is stronger in some dishes).
I thought by using the beef base it would bring down the sodium....but it was still salty.
Any thoughts on how to get that great beefy flavor into my potato dish without all the salt?

What kind of kick are you on?

NuJoi's comment to my transitional cooking question, mentioning a soup & sandwich kick, got me thinking about my own recent ice cream kick...I've been firing up the ice cream maker & making at least a batch a week for the past month...including vanilla bean, chocolate w/reeses chunks, and some killer maple ice cream using some great local grade b syrup. What kind of kick have you been on lately?

Seasonally transitional cooking

Now that spring is just around the corner, I'm losing interest in cooking heavy winter dishes, but it's just alittle too early for spring peas & asparagus in WNY....what are you cooking during this transitional time of year?
btw...tonight for me it's Shepard's Pie...nice warm winter dish...huh? We just had a nice wintery ice storm here...today it's necessary! lol

Melting Pot

I'm not a chain restaurant fan, but my sister wants to go to The Melting Pot this week-end for her b'day.
Has anyone been there, and what are your thoughts?
I tried looking online for reviews, and all I found were newspaper reviews (which I tend not to always trust)....and badly written reviews from people who seem to enjoy the chains.
I just want to know what I'm in for when I get there! lol

I finally got it....the Cook's Illustrated Recipe to test!

Just checked my e-mail, and I finally got my recipe to test from Cook's Illustrated.....it's for No Roll Pizza Bianca. Of course it comes before a week-end I'm going camping....and they want the review by Monday. Guess I'll conquer this tonight....guess what I'm having for dinner! lol
I know some others got their recipe to test....how did it turn out?

Large scale meat purchases

My response to the Aldi question got me thinking about my recent beef purchase. My husband & I just got a 1/4 cow from a local farmer (and subsequently a new freezer...lol). After tasting it, I hope to never go back to supermarket meat. I'm planning a 1/2 pig to compliment what is already in the freezer. Anyone else get their proteins this way? What have your experiences been like?

Cooking by sense of smell....

Recently I made roasted brussel sprouts for dinner with friends. One of my guests asked how I cooked the brussel sprouts, and I was telling her that after I put them in the oven, I waited until I could smell them.....then gave it about 10 minutes until I could smell them stronger, then checked them for doneness. I cook this way often....checking on food in the oven once the smell is prominent. Does anyone else use their nose as a main cooking tool?

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