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Good, basic brandy

I've always had a fondness for Korbel brandy.

Worst thing you ever ate?

I once dated a lady who had a Japanese ex-husband and who was well-versed about Asian food. She took me to one of the best sushi restaurants in LA to acquaint me with that. We tried a multitude of sushi, most of which I really liked. Finally we came to the giant clam, which the chef demonstrated was fresh by slamming it on the cutting board and watching it move. I was sick for three days after that meal and have always associated it with the clam, which might not have been the culprit. To this day, I won't touch sushi except for an occasional California roll.

How Do You Like Your Mac n' Cheese?

For years I PO'd ladies who wanted me to try their mac and cheese by saying (unwisely) "It's terrific, but I still prefer the blue box>" Then I picked up this recipe somewhere. It's the best I ever had, albeit somewhat lengthy.

Mac and Cheese with Chiles
Yield: 8 Servings

4 poblano chile peppers
1 lb uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 c butter
1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 c whipping cream
1 c milk
3 c (12 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled
1 t salt
1/4 c Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 c (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

Broil chile peppers on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet 5 inches from heat about 5 minutes on each side or until chiles look blistered. Place chiles in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skins. Peel chiles; remove and discard seeds, and cut chiles into strips. Set aside. Prepare macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in cream and milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture
is thickened and bubbly. Stir in 2 3/4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, crumbled goat cheese, and salt until smooth. Stir in roasted chiles and
macaroni. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top evenly with Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375° for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Broil 5 inches from heat about 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

I suck at making...

Crab cakes. A favorite at restaurants but when I try to make them, no matter what I do, the damn things fall part.

What's your mushroom of choice?

When I worked in downtown LA, my favorite lunch was some oysters and the mushroom salad at the old Hungry Tiger restaurant there. I've searched for many years without success to find that recipe. In the meantime I've found that creminis are becoming readily availabe at a reaonable price, so those have become my favorite.

Sandwiched: Monte Cristo

I had my first Monte Cristo at a restaurant on Olympic Blvd in LA and was immediately hooked. (Can't remember the name of the place, but it had curtained booths that you could use for privacy!) Have looked for the sandwich everywhere since then. Bennigan's also makes a fine Monte Cristo if you can find one still open. I've just discovered a restaurant here in southeast GA that has them on the menu and can't wait to give them a try. BTW, the sandwich to me always has both ham and turkey along with mint or red currant jelly.

Pizza without Paraphernalia

Although I rarely make pizza, I've found a pizza stone is good for evening out the ups and downs temperature in our electric oven.

Traditional British cakes and tarts, anyone, anywhere? lists several online sources for British sweets. Don't know anything about the quality, though.

Murray Lender dead at 81

I was never a fan of Lender's bagels (never had those from the bakery), but it's sad to lose a legend.

Healthy Restaurant Options

When I lived in Sacramento, CA, I often went to "Eat Your Vegetables". (I'm not vegetarian.) Their black bean chili is so good it's almost like the real thing.

What are your favorite crackers with soup?


Interesting. Growing up in western North Carolina, my family also called saltines "soda crackers". A few of them "Artisanally hand-crushed" in tomato soup.

Dear Kenji, you've ruined everything!

Kenji, if you know anything like this about bacon, please keep it to yourself!

11 Bay Area Breakfast Pastries We Love

In line with Pintchow's comment, could someone ask about their cinnamon roll recipe and post it here if available?

Teary Taco Talk

Great story. Her friend Ryan is a helluva guy.

Grilling: Mexican Chorizo

My favorite use is in huevos rancheros. Take the chorizo out of the casing, fry, put on corn tortilla with refried beans and one or two eggs over easy or sunny-side up.

Reconstruct this!

You might ask the restaurant for the recipe. I've found that most are willing to share their recipe if asked nicely. Otherwise, sounds like a job for Kenji.

In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites

Another unwarranted swipe at HFCS. Doesn't the study also support avoiding lots of sugar-sweetened foods?

Weekend Cook and Tell: Lovin' Liver

@ CandiRisk

Many thanks Got to try it.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Lovin' Liver

Growing up in western North Carolina, we had a breakfast dish called "livermush" that I've never found anywhere else. Sliced and pan fried, it is something that I still miss. Other places I've heard of "liver pudding", but it's not the same.

In praise of habenero and scotch bonnet chilis


Donald Link's My Hot Sauce recipe is available many places on the web, including msn home's "Living - Food" site. I've made it with different chiles and it has always turned out well.