I can't say I noticed it before, but I think conventional powdered sugar has now been ruined for me. And I just bought a two-pound bag. :( At least now I know how to avoid the chalkiness in the future.
I have a recipe for "Seafood Curry" in the 1972 edition of "A Campbell Cookbook: Cooking With Soup," and it sounds similar but calls for cream of celery soup. No sour cream either. Perhaps your mom's is unique :) I hope you get it figured out.
I've been thinking this is over-complicating making a pot of soup and packing it for lunch... but I bet it would be an excellent choice if I find myself without a working stovetop.
I miss Istanbul so much. Someday I'll have to go back and try some of the things I've apparently missed.
Things that I would have put on a list like this: iskender, lamacun, ekmek, gozleme, mercimek çorbası, and anything that I would get at the bakery across the street from my apartment. I'd just point at something that looked like it might be good and that'd be lunch.
Another thing that impressed me there is how cheap it is to eat there! Maybe it has changed since 2006; I cooked for myself quite a bit, but I was eating well (and feeding my flatmates, frequently) on less than $15/week.
The only thing I wasn't too hot on were most of the desserts. I'm not a fan of soggy anything, so the syrup-soaked everything didn't do much for me. That said, I did enjoy cream-topped baklava, lokum (Turkish delight), and sutlaç (baked rice pudding). Also everything visne (sour cherry is as common a flavor for everything from beverages to jam to candy as strawberry is here). Wash all down with a glass of çay. :)
Chili and/or meatballs.
I don't have a wok, those seem pretty ubiquitous. I have a honing steel, but no real way to sharpen knives either.
Wow, now I may have too many good ideas! I like the one with oranges because I have some sitting in my fruit basket with no other plans. The others look delicious too. Thanks!
Wooden - sort of. My favorites are the Epicurean brand, which are made of a sturdy particulate board. They're easy to clean, easy on my knives, and hold up to the kind of abuse I regularly subject my cutting boards to (letting food dry on, setting hot pans on them, etc), although one has a dark mark from my cast iron pan (when it was REALLY HOT - had been sitting under my broiler for some time), it's none the worse for wear.
I am an apartment-dweller, so my garden is confined to my patio. That hasn't stopped me from growing tomatoes (cherry tomatoes), peppers (jalapenos, birdseye, and now a small sweet one), strawberries (last year - I was dumb and killed them by bringing them in in the winter), herbs (basil, cilantro, chives, sage, mint, parsley, marjoram, and mother-of-thyme), lettuce, carrots, zucchini, and new this year, sugar snap peas. Also decorative and edible flowers such as nasturtiums, violas, and marigolds.
I do like Breezycooking and buy seeds, but store them (in a ziplock bag in the fridge with a silica dessicant sachet).
I eat most everything fresh. I might share tomatoes with coworkers. Jalapenos I've developed a nasty habit of pigging out on stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. I have frozen some of my birdseye peppers. I ought dry my herbs when winter approaches.
Worms! Like the one I found in an artichoke a couple weeks ago (ok, so I prepared that myself). At least it wasn't half a worm I found, eh?
Caraway seeds! Bleh. I usually steer clear of patty melts in restaurants only because of those darn seeds. Sometimes bread or bagels have them baked in and I can't stand the taste.
I for one would be happier to get a bread and butter pickle than a dill in most situations.
Chili might not be ok for your muslim coworkers unless you use halal beef. How about cole slaw or potato salad? (steering clear of ingredients with gluten or lactose)
*edit: that must be semi-sweet chips, because I can't see that tasting good with unsweetened chocolate.
Let's see if the Spanish lessons I got in that fancy education can help - to translate the recipe boobird found:
350g unsweetened chocolate chips
2 Tb instant coffee
5 Tb water
6 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
140g all-purpose flour
powdered sugar to decorate
Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Grease a torte pan(?) and cover the base with greased waxed paper(?).
Place chocolate chips, coffee, and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir and beat until you get a creamy mix. Let cool.
Using a hand beater, beat together the lard and margarine in a large bowl, until you get a creamy consistency. Incorporate a little sugar until you get a light and airy consistency.
Incorporate the egg yolks gradually, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour slowly, beating at a low speed. Add the cooled chocolate and beat again until well integrated.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Incorporate the whites into the previous mixture, folding, a third at a time.
Turn the mixture into the pan. Put in oven and cook for 1 hour. The torta is ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before unmolding. To decorate, dust with powdered sugar.
The "muskrat" in that photo is a nutria... which is a lot like a muskrat in appearance, habits, edibility, and fur use, but much bigger. Also the tail of a muskrat is laterally compressed.
My ideal man enjoys eating (but not to excess) and washing dishes.
As for dealbreakers, allergies and sensitivities are not as bad as I once would have thought. My dad developed severe lactose intolerance later in life (50s) and working around that was only a minor challenge. And it brought to light that even though food sensitivities may not be present when you're dating someone, that doesn't mean you won't ever have to deal with them. Who knows, you could be the one who suddenly can't handle dairy or seafood or whatever.
On the other hand, snobbishness I couldn't handle. I make a lot from scratch and I think I'm a pretty good cook, but if it's a problem that I get fast food once in a while or cook with condensed soup, I'm not going to be happy.
Rudeness to service staff (restaurants or elsewhere) is also a dealbreaker.
Key lime pie?
Easy and delicious... kind of like apple butter but in jelly form. I think I will use some to glaze a ham. One comment though - the recipe says it makes 6 half-pint jars, but I think it could have filled 8. I had quite a bit left over after my six were filled.
I used to dislike avocados but enjoyed guacamole... Then I tried sprinkling a little salt on them. Now sometimes I'll have half of one on a slice of toast with a little salt and pepper... really good!
Easy fudge: melt a bag of chocolate chips and a can of sweetened condensed milk. (vanilla and nuts optional). Spread in a greased baking dish and chill in the fridge.
There is a lady at work who makes peanut butter fudge that's only a jar of peanut butter and a jar of frosting.
Beef stroganoff - I followed my mom's recipe, used less broth, and just added the sour cream at the end. It is amazing in the crock pot, everything gets so rich and wonderful.
I also love it for making anything with beans because I can soak them overnight then throw them in the crock pot to cook while I'm at work (dried beans are so economical!). So, refried beans, chili, soup, etc.
Add macaroni! Chili mac, or as they call it here in Indiana, chili. (everybody adds macaroni)
Also, various toppings can add variety. I had some today topped with avocado. Here are some other ideas:
An egg (if you've never tried chili with a fried egg on top of it... do it now!)
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