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ecca31

Chocolate Chocolate Teacake From 'Huckleberry'

I'm in charge of deserts for SIL's baby shower, and she LOVES chocolate and coffee. Except she's GF due to celiacs, so I switched out to King Arthur's GF all purpose for a test drive. Tastes great, but the thing overflowed like crazy while baking (might have been related to letting a 3 year old help with the baking powder) I only had semi-sweet chocolate on hand, and it's still chocolaty, but I will make it again with the "good" stuff.

What Cookbook Would You Buy For a First-Time Cook?

Help My Apartment has a kitchen!

Butter and Sage Gnudi From 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

Do you think a basil and thyme combo would work instead of the sage? Sage and I just don't agree. . . which is a bummer

Tangy and Sweet Tomato-Bacon Jam With Onions and Garlic

Yum! Almost a BBQ sauce flavor I wasn't expecting, but SOOO good. Left out the brown sugar for a more tangy sauce, and didn't bother with the blender as I was worried my vitamin might over process. Topping for burgers tomorrow's dinner for sure!

Win a Copy of 'The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook'

Roasted radishes. My kiddo would eat a pound if I would let her.

Giveaway: Win a Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer

Smoke a turkey breast, monitoring my temps with a british racing Green thermapen.

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Basil?

@kathleen: I like greek basil in grain salads. It's not as overwhelming a flavor as "regular" basil can be. I have a plant every year just for that purpose.

Win a Copy of 'Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes'

Fresh picked raspberries

Does Refrigeration Really Ruin Bread?

Space permitting, I try to keep the sandwich bread in the freezer so Mr Ecca can pull out the 2 slices he needs and the rest stays fine. Defrosts by lunch and the rest of the loaf lasts longer.

I was making most of our bread from scratch, but then the kiddo happened, we moved (new place just not good for kneading) and he has more lunch meetings out/catered, so we aren't going through bread as fast. It's cheaper to have a freezer loaf which doesn't spoil than tossing half a loaf of homemade every week.

The Easiest Way to Store Grains is a Cheap Plastic Pitcher

The easiest way to store cut up watermelon/cantaloupe/pineapple is a cheap plastic pitcher. A 2 quart holds a pineapple or a cantaloupe and a 3 will hold about 2/3 of a standard seedless watermelon.

Knife Skills: How to Cut a Pineapple Like a Badass

I use the core pieces to infuse vodka. I don't like to eat it, so now there's less waste and more beverages

Mojalisco

As it's hard to find here, I have to ration my Crabbies. This might be worth the splurge

Our Guide to the Friday Fish Fry in Wisconsin

Most VFWs have a Friday fish fry in WI. The night before my Grandma's funeral (Lomira, WI) we were at the VWF, where my parents' wedding reception had been almost 40 years ago, having their friday fish. It was like coming home. I'm sure there are better ones out there, but it was about being together with friends/family over good (fried) food and a great way to remember her. Also neat to teach my English aunt about fish fries. My now very urban uncle is still a farm kid at heart

Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken With Green Sauce

I used the marinade/rub on boneless skinless chicken breasts, and we have a Winner! Going to try it with pork chops too, at some point.

The sauce, my fault as I did a lot of substitutions, it was just a bit not our tastes. Going to try it as a spread for burgers tomorrow. Mr Ecca liked the chicken so much he didn't want to add the sauce.

An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

Add another vote against social media replacing talk. Not on social media, and SE isn't going to convince me to give it a go

Utensil Pot Clips Are a Great Alternative to Spoon Rests

Bought one before this review came out and it's really handy, especially when trying to keep gluten free utensils away from cross contamination (my SIL has celiacs, I want her to want to eat my food. . .)

Ask a Cicerone: The Best Beers for People Who Don't Like Beer

Water. If we are at a beer place, I'm the DD. I've tasted, smelled, so many, I've found it's not worth the calories. I'll make up a cocktail at home later

Ask a Sommelier: Are Wines By the Glass a Good Deal?

If you are the evening's DD, married to a beer drinker, I appreciate a good by the glass. Since I'm only having one glass, it's portion control

The 7 Best Budget Tequilas

Costco's Kirkland tequila is my go to for casual weekday mixing. Around 25 for a 1.75L and 100% agave, it's hard to beat.

El Jimador was my go to before Costco started carrying their own brand.

TV cooking shows, food contamination

Since I doubt anyone actually eats the food, probably not an issue. But every time I handle ribs in my kitchen I hear Alton Brown's voice "now wash those porky fingers!"

I don't have a....

I would love to give you my ice cream machine if the internets worked that way. Wedding gift. Also have a set of 12 "ice cream bowls" because apparently its a "family thing" to make our own ice cream. I used it once.

As for the others, I have many of them, but they are tools that make my cooking faster, but not necessarily better.

'Tis The Season... For SMOOTHIES

Lately I've been loving homemade kefir with a big handful of baby greens, couple cucumber chunks, and frozen berries. Blend. Put in Contego coffee mug, stainless, so people don't think I'm strange for drinking maroon beverages.

What to Drink This Weekend: Lime-Free Tequila Cocktails

At costco 2 weeks ago, limes cost more than meyer lemons (which also make a great marg too!)

What's for breakfast these days?

On work days (3x/week) it's a power smoothie with home cultured kefir blended with baby leafy greens, frozen berries, and 2 inches of cucumber. Cucumber makes the whole thing less bitter from the leafy greens.

Home with kiddo, usually cheerios and milk. Weekends are kinda whatever

What's For Dinner- Sunday Edition

The snow has finally receded enough that I can get back to my Weber kettle grill smoker set up, with some ribs working away right now. I love Spring!

Sides to be determined, but probably involving some form of potato

Serious eats crashes my iPad!

I have one of the "original" iPads updated as much as we can to IOS 5. Everytime I try to load something from SE except from the home page the whole browser crashes! I love having my mobile recipe guide with me in the kitchen, but I've tried multiple browsers and things aren't working. Any hints (besides buy a new iPad. . . I just bought a new All Clad skillet, on a budget here:)) And I only have this problem with serious eats, which is the bummer.

best mint for mojitos?

Trying to grow some herbs in planters again here in MN. My basils are looking like lost causes, but my peppermint, sweet mint, and lemon balm are going crazy, and all in the same planter.

Wondering what SE'ers prefer for the mint in their mojitos or other minty drinks. Last year I grew spearmint, which was a bit assertive (and not authentic but I don't care that much). the sweet mint is a bit weak, and peppermint doesn't seem right.

Any hints on what I should plant, or search for, for next year

Tahini Recall. . . check your pantry

My little public service announcement. . . only found out about this after reading about 2 toddlers getting sick from tahini. No hummus tonight in our house.

Krinos brand tahini is being recalled. The one pretty easy to find in most regular grocery stores. Only certain dates are included, but if you bought yours around the super bowl you are probably involved. For more details:

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm351630.htm

mother's day lunch, I get to bring desert

The in-laws are having a mother's day "brunch" with a potluck style lunch (grilled chicken) menu. I was assigned desert. No problem, but I'm just stumped on what to make. I made a lemon cake for this crowd last time.

The catch is, it has to be gluten free/celiac friendly and nut free. And easy on the dairy for the lactose intolerant branch of the family. Serving 18-20 adults and 2-3 kids. I would prefer to just make one thing cause otherwise everyone wants a little bit of both.

The restrictions aren't the problem, just my creativity and inspiration are just not there!

Welcome Spring!

So earlier this week I posted/lamented about the inches of snow we were having (please dear God do not make this a jinx!) and now it seems spring has remembered us! We celebrated with strip steaks on the grill, smashed garlic potatoes, and lightly steamed pea pods. I had a rhubarb gin drink thing and mr Ecca had a St Lupilin. Spring was here! What did you have?

Oh Spring, Where are you food woes

I live in MN where it's currently snowing, and 4-6 more inches are expected tonight. I'm reading SE and the grocery flyers and other food blogs and everyone all about Spring Recipes and foods! And it looks like Christmas here. All Mr Ecca wants is something on the grill which is currently being buried again. I'm sick of the wintery type foods, but it's hard to get motivated for light and fresh with 5 inches of fresh snow on the ground.

Our CSA is due to start deliveries in a month. . . It seems so far away. What's a Minnesota girl to do to help with this never ending winter, in a culinary sense?

knives and honing steels

So Mr Ecca can take a hint and bought me the lovely, swoonworthy Shun chef's knife I've been coveting for Christmas. He said there wasn't anything in the jewelry store that he liked (but how hard are diamond solitaire earrings, but I digress) I'm beyond thrilled and sporting my first flesh wound from it too from trying to keep the kid out of the garbage and follow a football game while chopping happily.

Here's my question: He also gave me the Shun honing steel, cause he was told my existing (wustof though he didn't know the brand) steel wouldn't work with this knife due to the different metals, etc. My question is: is this true, do I need a separate type of honing steel for this knife or was he taken for a ride by the sales person? Google was very vague, so I'm hoping someone might have some inside info. This is a big ticket knife (but cheaper than those diamonds;)) so I really don't want to ruin it. But otherwise I have the gift receipt and some store credit potential that I don't want to go to waste either.

Serious Eaters, Please help me with my dream knife problem! (for the record, I also have the same brand slicing/carving knife I found on killer clearance from Williams somoma a while back so it wouldn't be my only Shun knife using said steel)

The Thanksgiving dish you are looking forwards too?

So there are lots of dishes out there made by well intentioned family and friends we will politely choke down in the coming days in the spirit of Thanksgiving. In my case, turkey cooked to 180 and greasy stuffing. It's kinda fun to vent about the bad, but how about the good and better?

What's something that you are looking forward too that you aren't making? (Obviously us SEers would have the perfect meal every time;)) That the host just always gets right? Me: MIL makes a good gravy (thank God!) and these amazing pumpkin cranberry muffins. Her pie isn't bad either. And my mom's mashed potatoes. . .

Baby proofing the kitchen

Baby Ecca is a spunky one year old gal who likes to figure things out, including how to get into places she doesn't belong. Mommy Ecca likes to cook and has lots of "toys" not appropriate for baby who will suck on everything she finds. (seriously, fresh CSA peas, icky, peas somehow found on floor a week later, YUM!)

Right now I have a 24 pack of diet coke blocking access to the pots/pans that are too heavy for her. She has free access to the rubbermaid cabinet. I have some looping handle latches on the other cabinets, but it seems like only time before she figures them out. The knobs for the gas range are all in a cabinet (plus side my MIL can't reach them either:) stay our of my kitchen!) but the kid is still trying to open the oven door. I'm pretty careful about watching her, but I want to know about other's solutions, cause sometimes mommy just has to pee and the kid roams free

To convect or not, this is the question

So my new range has a convection feature, which came standard with the 5 burners that I really wanted. I figured hey, that's neat and I'll figure out how/when to use it eventually. So I tried it out and after a few colorful metaphors I got it to work. I know read the stupid instruction book and my cookies came out awesome. And fast. I knew to lower the temp 25 degrees, but wow! The whole double batch of peanut butter cookies in 40 minutes! Yippee!

So do you convect for everything, or just somethings like cookies? What about pizza? I can't see how a low and slow braise would be enhanced by it, but I look to you, the serious eaters with the nice ovens for advice. Or those who have done more research on the topic as they dream of convection capabilities:)

New stove learning curve - the griddle

My kitchen mini-face lift is almost done, yippie. I am generally loving the new floors and new appliances, but I'm having some technical difficulties with the griddle insert thing for my new 5 burner stove.

I washed the thing up, switched it in instead of the regular burner grate, lubed it up well, and proceeded to watch all my pancakes stick or under cook and GAAAAH! We wound up having blueberry pancake scramble. Is there a trick to using those types of griddles? It's not really cast iron, not really enameled, definitely not non-stick, and not dishwasher friendly. The temp was right cause the little drops of water acted correctly, so I know it wasnt that. Or do I just use my regular pan. . .

Refrigerator Styles- preferences

Long story short, dishwasher died this weekend, fridge is older and making funny clunking noises after every motor run, and I just hate the range in the house that is probably older than I am.

So we are getting new appliances, and while I know what I want for the dishwasher and range, I'm torn on the fridge. I have a standard top freezer bottom fridge right now, which is what I grew up with, so it's familiar to me. I also have a full size upright freezer and a mini beer fridge in the basement. I really miss the french doors with lower freezer drawer we bought at our previous house, but we have limited space so it would be a smaller model. I'm not really a fan of side by sides, so I'm leaning towards a top fridge, bottom drawer freezer. I'm hoping for around a 20 cubic foot option. What do you serious eaters have for fridges, and what would you buy next time if given a $1500 or so budget ?

Favorite Sangria

I know the Serious Eats drinks team has posted some Amazing looking sangria recipes. So what are your favorites? I'm having a social summer gathering this weekend and thinking of offering one white and one red sangria. It will be held after a local beer fest so I'm guessing most will be done with beer for the day.

I usually do rum and triple sec with berry flavored juice and fruit with a red wine, but I don't have a really good white option. Any recommendations? (I have a chardonnay and merlot in mind to mix with)

Egg Pie

So I'm not a fan of baked egg dishes, so quiche, frittata, "the brunch recipe" (an in-law fav) are not my thing. Mr Ecca tolerates these items, partially cause he travels for work and has to eat them for business breakfasts. Somethings are more palatable when properly paid I guess.

My question is: Do people really like egg pie/quiche etc? or is it one of those foods that everyone pretends to like but really wouldn't miss if they never had to eat again?

cleaning a grill pan

So I have a le creuset grill pan that I Love, except for the clean up. I have a few other grill pans that I tolerate, including the clean up. How do you get rid of the funky build up that happens when a something should be grilled outside but a severe weather warning suggests otherwise?

Baby's First meals

We are getting ready to teach Baby Ecca about the joys of solid food. What did people feed their kids first? I'm reluctant to have her first foods be processed rice cereal since I'm trying to decrease the processed stuff in my diet (aside from coke zero and triscuits, every mom has her vices) and it just doesn't seem right. I have some frozen squash from last summer that I'm leaning towards, but I'm curious to read what other serious eating parents have done.

Thanks!

Would you want to know?

My SIL whom I love dearly was recently diagnosed with celiac, and she has been feeling much better with her new gluten free diet. I've cooked for her a couple of times, and I'm terrified that a stray gluten molecule has jumped into my carefully planned gluten free menus to make her sick. She once told me that she was sick after thanksgiving at her aunt's, but didn't say anything because she knew how hard her aunt had tried to make "safe" food for her. I'm just concerned because I am cooking gluten free 2% of the time, but there isn't any room for error. It makes vegan cooking in my omnivore kitchen seem easy.

My question to y'all is would you want to know if someone was "contaminated" after eating what you prepared? I would be mortified, but I think I would want to know so I could fix the problem. Any advice on dealing with an occasionally gluten free kitchen would be appreciated as well.

kefir vs buttermilk

I have some healthy productive kefir grains, but I'm wondering about their usage. I'm getting almost a quart every other day. Some of what I have read on the great inter web have said that home kefir is interchangeable for commercial buttermilk. Have you SE'ers had good luck with this exchange or should I live dangerously? I hate to waste good food in a not so good exchange. . .

Oven Mice

About a month or so ago I posted about cleaning my pizza stone after I left it out overnight accidentally and a mouse used it for a toilet. Well, that mouse has died via drowning in my rice cooker insert I was soaking, but another mouse has used my pizza stone for a toilet again. With the pizza stone stored in my oven. My question is, do other people have mice getting in their ovens? And is there something I can do to prevent it?

For the record, we have traps out that 5 other mice have used. And my kitchen is usually pretty clean.

pizza stone cleaning

I accidentally left my pizza stone on top of the stove last night and came out to mouse droppings on it and the rest of the kitchen counter tops. I can clorox everything else, but how does one disinfect a pizza stone? I brushed off the droppings, but any sanitation advice would be appreciated. Right now I'm thinking a rinse (no soap) and then a nice hot bake.

Christmas wish list inspiration

Over thanksgiving we exchange gift list ideas with the family during the name draw, and I'm at a blank. What I really want is a Thermapen, or a kitchen renovation, but that slightly exceeds the $50 limit. My kitchen is pretty well supplied, but I'm always looking for ideas. Anything on your Christmas list to help inspire me?

mac and cheese

I'm going to be doing mac and cheese for dinner for us tomorrow, and I'm going to be making individual ramekins. Since my recipe makes about 6 servings, but there are only 2 of us eating, how many do I bake? Do I bake all 6 knowing 4 will be leftovers going to the fridge, or do I just bake 2 and bake the others when we are ready to eat later in the week? Could I freeze 2 for later unbaked?

Thanks for the advice, I'm kind of a rookie with mac and cheese not from a blue box

Beets and Beet Juice

Aside from wearing gloves, does anyone have a good way to not get beet juice all over your hands when working with them? And if you get the beet juice on them, what's a good way for removing the stain?

I'm the operator of a set of fingers with a slight purple tinge and I have a load of white laundry I really don't want to have purple spots on. And I'm out of gloves right now. . .

kitchen helpers?

This is just a little rant/vent with people who might feel similarly. . . or not

I really like to cook (hence I'm posting here) and I'm pretty protective of my kitchen space, even with it's blue laminate counters and vinyl floors. Last week my MIL insisted on bringing over dinner when they were coming to see the baby to "help" me. She brought lasagna, which wasn't bad. We won't comment on desert though.

While I was nursing said baby, my MIL proceeded to empty the dishwasher and clean up and "organize" my kitchen. I was livid. I don't let Mr Ecca do anything more complicated than make cereal or a sandwich cause it's MY kitchen (he doesn't mind, he knows he's spoiled). He does take out the trash:) Just cause I have a newborn does not an invalid make me.

Am I crazy or are there others of you who are rather protective of your turf?

Freezing lump crab?

So I was going through the fridge today and realized the date on the one pound container of lump crab meat from costco has a use by date coming up really soon. And I know this has been in the fridge for at least 7 months, so I'm wondering if I can just pop the whole thing in the freezer.

I know people will say to make something with it, and if I weren't 9 months pregnant with a pregnancy induced seafood aversion I would. I can't have seafood open in the house without major GI distress. (Mr Ecca has been pouting about no grilled fish all summer). I'm also guessing that crab probably won't be the first thing I want to make after having the baby so some longer term storage might be needed.

Advice please!

Cream Potato Lefse From 'The New Midwestern Table'

Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes, cream, and a whole lot of care. Prepared and eaten at holiday gatherings, the tender bread requires finesse, experience, and many hands on deck to make properly. But, much like making homemade tortillas, the time and effort is worth it. Amy Thielen's recipe in The New Midwestern Table is a clear, specific, and helpful guideline for those wanting to dip their toes into lefse cookery. More