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serious1

French in a Flash: Chaussons aux Pommes with Cinnamon Crème Fraîche

Kerry: Thank you for such wonderful glimpses into so many worlds (food, language, people, etc.). I hope that you become a regular writer for SE and beyond; you are really good!

@Not American: Why is it fair or kind to judge what this family needed to do to help their child speak? Tiger Woods had a terrible stutter when he was a child. When the doctor advised his parents to speak one language to him, his stutter disappeared.

The doctors' advice in both cases was obviously correct, as Tiger and Kerry have grown up to be healthly, happy individuals making wonderful contributions to our world.

Desperately Seeking Culinary Externship Advice

@ Ginger Cookie - totally agree!

Job seeker is a CHEF, not an accountant. Also - and with all due respect to The Grumpy One - this is not 1955. It's not a big deal for applicants - especially in edgier artistic fields like cooking, art, design, etc. - to have moderate piercings and tats, much less some cool clothes.

If your clothes are boring, it says your cooking is boring, and no one has ever hired a boring chef (unless you want to cook breakfast at Cocos).

Finally, also agree about the travel. Friend was willing to relocate anywhere, and it paid off very nicely. He started at a country club in the midwest, then on to Vegas. Relocation will also give you an opportunity to see regional cuisines, farmers markets, local farms, etc.

Don't worry, don't despair and don't give up. You will be on this journey whether you think positively or negatively, so might as well give yourself every opportunity by thinking positively and keeping a great attitude.

Keep up updated!
Your Serious Eats Foodie Family

Need a new espresso maker.....

My husband bought his new machine from Whole Latte Love, in part because they had a 30 no questions asked return policy in case he didn't love the machine (he did, and you might want to check if they still offer this).

They have a fairly extensive Refurbished section (link below). You can Google some of the models listed on this page to see if people who bought them liked them.

However, be wary, because a lot of people love or hate a machine, but have no idea what a really good espresso tastes like, so their opinion of the machine will be very skewed.

Hint: If they used the machine with Starbucks coffee, they have never had a really good espresso! Go with the reviewers who have owned several types of machines, had espressos in many different cities or countries, and/or who are ardent bean people; these drinkers will have a much broader knowledge base to share with you, and thus have a much more relevent machine review.

Best of luck, and enjoy your new machine!

http://www.wholelattelove.com/outlet.cfm?cid=1

Bad Kitchen Habits

Suck excess from whipped cream nozzle after every use; it's too good to rinse off!

Guilty on the paper towel thing; they seem so much cleaner than cloth towels!

Wiping down the counters means wiping everything onto the floor; my displacement theory of cleaning = move the dirt to another location.

Feed the cat grated reggiano parmigiano whenever we have it; kinda gross, but I do make her eat off her own plate.

July 4th - What are Your Plans?

San Diego County Fair at Del Mar Racetrack.

Live 5 minutes away, but have never been. Looking forward to horse races, livestock showings, and fair food!

Favorite Brand of Salad Dressing

Joey D's for chinese chicken salad.

Otherwise, I hate most salad dressings. They use poor quality olive oil and vinegar(s), they add a ton of salt, and they think that using a ton of garlic makes it "Italian."

I AM Italian, and just the opposite is true, so I make my own!

What did you eat tonight?

Have rediscovered Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon, so had it with wilted spinach, fresh tomatoes and lemon zest on perfectly baked potatoes.

Dessert was chocolate pudding from Trader Joe's and espresso made from Toscana beans from Counter Culture (the beans are so good, I have them shipped to me).

Both dessert and lattes were topped with a big spritz of whipped cream from our ISI whipped cream dispenser. Love that thing!

chocolate chip cookies: the best

Check out the Neiman Marcus CC cookie recipe.

It became famous as an internet hoax (people claimed a lady was charged $250 for it, but, of course that wasn't true). Here it is:

http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/service/nm_cookie_recipe.jhtml

Good luck. Let us know what you decide is the best!

Post Wisdom Teeth Extraction Food?

My husband just came home from a 2 hour oral surgery for one tooth - ouch! - so we are facing the same situation.

I second and third the vote on meds. Foodwise:

-- Soft boiled eggs (old lady like, but high in protein)
-- Baked pototoes (insides only) with lots of soft toppings
-- Fresh fruit smoothies with protein powder added for, well, protein (Jamba Juice is good for this - lots of varieties).
-- Soft flaky foods like croissants and puff pastry
-- Creamed spinach with lemon zest & parmesan (chop really well)
-- Peanut butter and banana on chocolate ice cream
-- Lots of cold soothing lattes - no hot liquid for a few days!

Hope you feel better soon!

Shopping for spices online

I used to use Penzey's, but got so tired of their completely crappy website and customer service. They invested zero $$ in their website or backend technology, no one at the company was computer literate, and trying to get them to enter the 21st century was a losing battle.

I've also tried the Spice House in Chicago, run by Bill Penzey's daughter and son-in-law. Gail Gand (True and Food Network) gets her spices there. Good, but not great. Don't like that they take bulk Neilson Massey (spelling?) vanilla, and pour it into smaller, no label containers. Seems kinda cheesy, to me.

Still looking for the perfect online spice house. Have tried growing my own, but if you have any semblence of a life, the time and upkeep requirements for all types of spices, fresh and dried, are impossible!

However, if you are retired, this might be an excellent home based business, as you can supplement any online selling with a farmers market booth.

Espresso machine lacking instructions

Do you have a model number you can post here? I have had good luck when doing searches with both made and model number.

I can also email Whole Lotta Love, where my husband bought a lot of his espresso equipment. For all the money we spent there, they owe us at least a free emailed answer!

Apple Pie: Way or No Way?

Definitely my favorite to make, because you can customize it to the eater (type of apples, raisins, craisins, sour cream, amount of cinnamon, etc.).

I will eat restaurant apple pie if it is (1) served hot (2) with cheddar cheese (3) in a crust with butter only, no shortning!

I know the butter vs shortening statement is controversial (I have had very heated arguments about this!), but my grandparents were dairy farmers, and it was 100% butter for pie crusts, so that's the only way I can or will eat them!

I Caved In and Ate Grocery Store Fried Chicken - Yuck!

I have been tempted by the color and texture of store-made fried chicken, and barely lived to regret it. I hope to never go there again. It was absolutely disgusting, as was everything in their so called "prepared food" section.

I know it sounds weird, but I now collect "craving places." I find a really good chinese restaurant, or deli (for knish and potato pancake cravings) or BBQ or southern food (see aforementioned fried chicken needs).

It doesn't matter how far away it is. My deal is that if I'm craving something that badly, I have to go to the place where I know it will be excellent. Otherwise, I have to substitute my craving with something else, which isn't always such a bad thing!

Weeknight Staples

Second the fish ideas. Grilled swordfish will be ready in about 6-8 minutes, and only needs lemon and butter for garnish. Bag-o-lettuce with good quality olive oil and balsalmic, plus baguette from local French bakery, and meal is complete.

Baked potatoes topped with broccoli or any leftover and reheated meat or veggie are also quick and easy.

Patsy's Basil Marinara sauce - expensive but worth it - on fusilli, with a real good quality parmesan (none of that pre-grated stuff!).

If you choose really good ingredients, you only need a few of them to have a quick, easy, fresh and healthy dinner. PS - I think there is a cookbook entitled 5-Ingredient Dinners or something like that. You may want to check Amazon. Hope this helps!

Costco and Big Box stores for food: way or no way?

I get totally and completely creeped out by Costco, so I don't buy anything edible there. However, their pharmacy is very low priced, and you don't need a membership to use it.

I Caved In and Ate Grocery Store Fried Chicken - Yuck!

I bet if Thomas Keller opened a fried chicken truck - like the taco trucks - in LA, NY or SF, people would go nuts for it!

I would definitely drive many miles to stand in that long line!

I won!

Awesome!
Congratulations!
You rock!

Agree that there is now one real good reason to watch FN!

EMILIA BRAND GNOCCHI

@ Adam Kuban is correct, Delicious.

Basic intertubes etiquette states that all caps is the equivalent of yelling (and I'm not talking about acronyms). It's telling that both your screen name and your post title are in all caps.

It is you, dear delicious, that needs that chill pill - or two.

Baconaise

Let's put it this way: It's now a running gag on The Dailly Show with Jon Stewart!

Need help picking a US foodie travel destination!

No brainer - San Francisco!

Go to the Chronicle's Food Section (online), and look at articles from the last 1-2 years for restaurants, food markets, diners, ethnic restaurants (amazing chinese food), etc.

The weather is great, and airline and hotel prices are down because of the economy. Plus, in between your meal adventures - you're in San Francisco!

What's for dinner tonight?

It was in the 90s today, so we ate from the Bar Menu at the Four Seasons Aviara (Carlsbad, California).

Sat on the patio with a view of the water; had awesome sirloin burgers with parmesan fries, and a divine apple cobbler for dessert. Nothing fancy, but the FS makes it feel like a special occasion!

Worst Sandwich You've Ever Had

@KarynMC - OMG, my Canadian grandparents served me those sandwiches! Some days it was white sugar, some days brown, but always butter and white bread!

My mom and aunts had a love affair with packaged, sliced ham (Danola, I think). They would serve it on Wonder Bread - double ugh - with either mayo or Squeeze Parkay Margarine.

All the ingredients would stick to one another the moment you took a bite, and then, en masse, they would stick to the roof of your mouth, your teeth, etc. It was like wallpaper glue in a lunchbox. I am gagging at the mouth feel memory of those slimy, chewy creations.

Cookware - which All-Clad set & Le Creuset items should I get?

All-Clad's 8" and 10" LTD skillets are indispensable. I use mine 2-3 times a day (almost every meal), and they are workhorses.

The black exterior is a sleek, sexy finish that looks great in any kitchen, and the non-stick feature makes cooking and cleanup a no brainer.

The handwash thing is a total drag, but I crank up iTunes and try to make it fun!

Incorrect Fast Food Memories

Great question!

In grade school, one of our field trips (no kidding!) was to a McDonalds. It's shocking to me now that this wasn't seen by the adults or by the public school board as an introduction to a lifetime of product loyalty.

What I got out of that trip was that their french fries were the most amazing thing I had ever eaten! Years later, I was told (and I don't know if it's true) that at that time, McD's fries were cooked in beef tallow (which would make anything taste awesome). As time, money, science and healthcare marched on, the beef tallow was replaced by oil, which, of course, completely changed the taste and texture of those amazing fries.

If anybody knows the facts, I'd love to fiind out if what I was told was true!

Favorite Summer Dessert...?

Peach cobbler

Strawberry shortcake
(shortcake part is homemade heavy cream biscuits)

Affagatto
(scoop of gelato dropped in espresso, topped with whipped cream)

Frank Bruni - Soon a Critic No More

In February, there was a passionate post here criticizing the critic (I chimed right in).

Your wishes have been granted. Starting in August, Mr. Bruni will be writiing for the Sunday Magazine. He correctly assumed that you cannot cross-media promote your new book, and remain an anonymous critic. I think all reporters realize that newspaper are dead, so they're in a real big hurry to get their book deals going!

The search is on for a new NYT food critic.
Any suggestions?

Baking in Glass vs Metal

Do you get different results baking in glass vs metal?

I have made Gourmet's Banana Cake with Coconut Frosting several times recently (one layer cake). The recipe calls for a metal pan, but I've always chosen glass. Am I somehow skewing my results by not using metal?

Glass seems and feels more "clean" to me; also, when I (dish)wash my metal pans, rust drips from the corners and edges, which freaks me out (the pans are new).

PS - this isn't a plug for banana cake; it's just a semi-recent recipe that I found easy to make, and hubby loves it!

Thanks so much!

Carrot Cake Recipe

It seems almost all carrot cake recipes call for vegetable oil, which I hate the taste of in baked goods (I always use a high quality unsalted butter, like Lurpak). Can I substitute an equal amount of melted or room temperature softened butter, or does anyone have a recipe that doesn't use oil? Thanks so much!

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