• Location: Hudson Valley, NY
  • Last bite on earth: Good bread, good wine, and my family to share it with me.

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Summer is Arriving...What Are You Craving?

Ice cold watermelon.

Sweet corn with butter.

Blueberries, for pie.

Tomato Schenectady, NY!

Hinerwadels' Salt Potatoes.....(may have misspelled it a bit) add a few pieces of fresh corn on the cob, a charcoal-grilled burger and a cold one....oh man.....

As for the tomato pie, I must be living under a rock - never heard of it, and I'm a Syracuse native now living just south of Albany. Will check it out...

Baking Inspiration

Add my voice to the "savory" crowd. How about herb breads or rolls, or even bags of herbed salad croutons? (Tie them up with an herb sprig and ribbon.)

Don't isolate your products from other vendors - try mutual endorsements. Team up with someone selling herbs, cheeses or jams - and offer some samples of herb butters (with their herbs ) as lubricant for your bread samples. They in turn can use your breads to promote their wares, be it jams or whatever.

First Bacon, now Eggs.

The idea of topping things with a fried egg never occurred to me. My fried eggs belong on a clean plate with a side of bacon and some toast. Simplicity itself.

Having said that, what other people want to put under their eggs is their own choice. I prefer to look away (runny yolk oozing all over warm salad greens? gah!..), but it's their choice. You gotta accept and support people's preferences for what makes their tummies happy.

Cookbook for a Wedding Guestbook

Why limit it to one cookbook? Choose two and let guests decide which one to sign. Maybe a dinner one and maybe a baking one featuring desserts. With two options, you have even more space for signatures and well-wishes.

One other suggestion - make sure you provide the guests with a Sharpie or some other waterproof ink pen. The last thing you want is for someone's words to smear or run if the page gets wet.

How Particular Are You About Pasta?

I have no discerning palate when it comes to pasta. I'm usually satisfied with whatever (disclaimer: I grew up in a Polish-Czech household). I am always more interested in the sauce or topping anyway than the pasta itself.

One-handed cooking

You say he won't let you put him down "when he doesn't feel well". Yeah...they get like that, poor things! The key is to do your food prep proactively, when he does feel ok or is otherwise asleep. Don't wait til 4 or 5 pm to start dinner prep - that's guaranteeing you'll both have meltdowns - do it as early in the day as you can.

Try making some sandwiches first thing in the morning for yourself, before he opens his eyes. Cut them in sections and wrap, then during the day when your hands are full all you have to do is grab a section and eat. Slice up some cheese and fruit - apples sprinkled with lemon or lime juice are good, loose grapes are handy- and keep in a container in the fridge. Make up a big ziploc of trail mix for yourself. Grill a few boneless chicken breasts (when your arms are empty), slice them and chill, then dip into dressing with some baby carrots. Especially if you're nursing him, you want to make sure you have some decent meals to keep you going. Keep a jug of water or diluted juice in the fridge so you've got something to refresh and hydrate you.

With a little one, it's critical to rethink the way you may be used to preparing your food. Try to do it at odd times, as early in the day as you can, so your attention can go to that little guy without feeling frustrated. My first baby was colicky, and takes a real toll on you as a new mom. I promise it will get better soon!

Snacking vices!

I am all about virtue in the store, avoiding bringing home obvious snacky foods, but when I get home and start the sugar-salt craving, this is my favorite homemade crack:

1 bag milk chocolate chips (that I was saving for cookies, natch)
1 jar salted peanuts

Pour a blend of both into open palm and pop into mouth. Repeat as needed.

Disappointment in a Wrapper

Actually, yes - this morning I finally had time to read the nutrition side of the Fiber One Cereal box, and about fell over. It's got aspartame in it - who knew? I had started buying it as a quick way grab breakfast and still get the high fiber (which it delivers) but wow....aspartame? In cereal? I am not happy.

Unless it's touted for diabetics... but still, it felt wrong, that's all.

Chowder or Bisque: which do you savor most?

Depends on the weather. Chowder for rainy days, chowder from August to May, chowder when the sun shines, chowder when you're stressed, chowder from June to July, chowder when you're chilled to the bone, chowder whenever it's available...

I suck at making...

Frosting layer cakes. For me it's a patience issue. I just can't seem to get the inner layer of frosting right, and the thickness of the top and sides is never right. And there's the crumbs... it's always a mess, but I eat it anyway.

Appetizers: 2 days ahead/last in a cooler for a 400 mile drive?

You could also just volunteer to get flowers instead of food. Order ahead, have them delivered, then you place them where you want them when you get there. Flowers for the table, flowers for a corsage, maybe an arrangement for her to take home. Tell your sister that your SE foodie friends said it was ok!

Appetizers: 2 days ahead/last in a cooler for a 400 mile drive?

Homemade chutney or relish - cook it, pack into canning jars and refrigerate. Add to cream cheese for a spread, or serve alone with crackers.

Spiced or glazed nuts.

Bruschettas...they'd be easy to assemble once you get there. Make or buy some interesting jarred tapenades and you're all set.

What's on the Easter table?

@Amish Berkeleyite, are you for real? Where do you all get together?

We had the requisite ham with wine-and-peach glaze and roasted pineapple, potato salad, buttermilk coleslaw, a layered strawberry gelatin salad, two kinds of babka bread (one with rum), asparagus, a white sangria that made me very happy - and assorted cupcakes for dessert. (lots o' little kids and the adults were happy with boozy coffee and Easter candy).

"not your grandma's cookies"

Ok to the old-fashioned vs. "modern", but also....innocent simplicity vs. decadent indulgence.

Neither of my grandmothers had the money to spend on high-end chocolate or fancy ingredients. Their baked goods were plain, sturdy, and delicious because they were literally baked with love, as kitschy as that sounds. (What money they saved was for us, "for college", as they were fond of reminding us. )

Looking for opinions on lobster being mostly hype

Lobster is wonderful, but honestly, if I had to choose between that and a basket of hot, fried, full-belly clams....

the clams win.

Healthiest (or healthier) bread out there

@gargupie - I think so, especially if it's fresh. Try it with a really good extra sharp cheddar and some fruit; or cold sliced chicken, sprouts and mustard.

Healthiest (or healthier) bread out there

I like the Ezekiel 4:9 line of sprouted grain breads. Only down side is they cost $5000 a loaf, but now and then it's nice to have on hand something well-made and healthy.

When that's not available I like the Heidelberg breads out of Herkimer, NY. The French Peasant bread is especially good, but it lasts about 3.5 hours in my house before it's gone.

Do utensils affect taste?

Plastic cutlery and utensils make me think of institutional foods, plus they depress me, so for home use I avoid them when I can. Even if the extended family's here for a big outdoor picnic meal bash thing, I will hunt and gather all the metal utensils I can find, both for individual use and for serving. Look- you simply cannot cut a pierogi with a plastic fork. Sacrilege!

However...when I'm at the neighborhood DQ I happily lap up a Blizzard with whatever they have available.

Hot Cross Buns

Oh.. I thought the recipe title meant you could make the dough the night before and then get up in the morning and do the last part, cutting down on all the rising time. Is there a way to do that with these? At what point could I leave the dough overnight?

What kitchen tools have you barely used?

I propose a Serious Eats Swap Section. You know, like they have in Yankee Magazine. (or used to...)

"I've got a brand-new circa 1992 vintage tortilla bowl basket maker - what have you?"


"Looking for a (name your dream gadget) - am willing to trade a (name your expensive dust-gatherer)."

Don't Forget to Share Your Sweets!

I'm going to be watching this space. Last year I made a flan and my kids took one look at it, jiggled it with their forks and dismissively called it "Flab." This year they're getting just the usual Easter candy crap from CVS unless I get inspired again.

What's YOUR favorite Easter candy?

Black jellybeans and the malted milk eggs.

Overworked and undernourished

Maybe start with some grilled boneless chicken breasts. Add sliced meat to a salad with some hardboiled eggs and veggies. Tote dressing and croutons on the side.

Another night, add sliced or cubed grilled meat to a pilaf, couscous or kasha, with some steamed asparagus or broccoli and toasted nuts/dried fruit mixed in.

Strombolis are also good; make ahead and reheat with a bring-along salad or fruit. Actually hand pies of any kind are really convenient and you can eat while you drive.

-Wraps of all kinds
-Pasta salads with mix-in proteins like garbanzos and salami and cheese --Chili - either turkey or beef - make a batch of cornmeal muffins to go with and cheese to sprinkle over the chili when you reheat it.
-Cold salmon cakes over a mixed greens salad with cubed boiled potatoes; add ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Sliced Mushroom RAGE!

@Mr Nick: all looks about the same!


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