I was lucky to grow up in a family of fabulous cooks in the upper midwest.
A recent move to Texas has caused me to begin a torrid love affair with Tex-Mex, the constant supply of fresh produce, and the area's foodie/ethnic grocery stores

  • Location: Hot & Humid Houston

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Care to introduce yourself?

I originally hail from the windswept prairies of the Dakotas, where I developed a love of cooking and baking from my mother and grandmothers. Went to college, fell in love, got married and moved with DH to hot and humid Houston. I pursue a boring desk job by day and enjoy heating up our apartment kitchen and exploring the city (and it's many fabulous eateries) in my spare time.

Rhubarb Jam recipe needed

If you don't have one already, I'd definitely recommend the Ball Blue Book--it's fairly inexpensive and is widely considered the home food preservation bible.

That said, the Ball website is a good recipe source as well. I haven't tried it, but this Rhubarb Chardonnay Jam sounds pretty darn tasty:

Did you ever eat.....

I had a good friend in high school whose parents were hippies. Compared to my rural ranch family, they had all sorts of interesting things in their house, ranging from stinky incense to organic chlorophyll-based breath drops for their dog, Parsley. We tasted the chlorophyll drops, but they were fairly unremarkable.

Is Müesli Finally Becoming More Popular in the U.S.?

I heart Bob's Red Mill muesli with plain, nonfat Fage and a little honey for breakfast! I've tried a few other brands and definitely prefer Bob's.

Eating in North Dakota

I'm probably too late to the party, but I'll second the suggestion of finding some good homemade knoephla soup! I'd kill for a bowl here in Texas! Also, grab some lefse from refrigerated section of a local grocery store--try it rolled with a little cinnamon sugar, butter, and warmed in the microwave! YUM!

Also, a lot of the upper midwest is beef country! Have your wife hit up a local mom and pop steakhouse. The sides probably won't be fancy, but they'll be sincere and delicious!

Macadamia Nuts in Cocktails and Reality TV

@Lee: Thanks for the suggestions! I might give the cocktail a try later tonight!

Macadamia Nuts in Cocktails and Reality TV

Hmmm, this reminds me that I've still got a bottle of Trader Vic's macadamia nut liqueur at home. Received it as a Christmas gift and haven't come up with many ways to use it...

Regional Chain Restaurants

@joyyy- El Taco Tote has my vote, too! DH and I only recently discovered one close to us here in Houston and we're hooked! It's ten times better than Taco Cabana!

@jlcady- Right now, I would kill for either A.) a Coconut sherbet/chocolate swirl cone from Zesto (dumped upside down in a cup with the cone on the top, or B.) an Avalanche from B & G Milky Way!

What'd you get/give for valentine's?

I mailed chocolates to the fam back home and made dinner for DH. Roast beef tenderloin with shallots and a red wine reduction, steamed white asparagus, creamed spinach, and strawberries dipped in chocolate--it was pretty low-key and delicious.

Dinner tonight? 1/5/11

I've got chipotle pulled pork in the slow cooker for tacos and a nice fresh pineapple sliced for dessert.

Naughty or Nice--Dinner Dec. 20, 2010--HOHOHOHOHO

We had clean-out-everything-that-might-go-bad-while-we're-traveling-for-the-holidays dinner: steak, mushrooms, sauteed spinach, creamed carrots and a few roasted potatoes.

Dairy-free sides for Christmas

I stumbled upon this zucchini saute from smitten kitchen a few weeks ago--so simple, but delicious! You could provide some parm shavings on the side for those who need a little cheese.

Compost Cookies. Have a question....

I think it would take forever to get the dough thawed to a point where you could easily mix anything else into it--can't imagine it would be a time-saver in the long-run.

I'd mix them all up at once and try freezing it with the add-ins already incorporated or just mix and bake immediately.

What are you cooking/baking today?

Threw some quick chicken fajitas together after work. I'm studying for the final of my last master's degree class this week, so DH and I will be eating whatever's fast! I am so looking forward to being done with school, so I can start thinking more about holiday baking!

@Suzzanne: So jealous about the fresh lefse--it always tastes best when made with loved ones!

I know you're all thinking it - CRANBERRIES

I wish I had that problem--instead, I am borderline obsessed with all things cranberry. I finished off our leftover cranberry sauce on Saturday night. I made another batch on Sunday and have almost finished it, too.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Thanksgiving Leftover Derby!

Just whipped up a big pot of potato leek soup with our leftover mashed potatoes.

Any 'that was dumb..." kitchen mishaps?

Hosted a lovely dinner party with friends to showcase what I learned at cooking school in Florence. Spent all afternoon making beautiful pumpkin ravioli, roasting stuffed pork loin, and a decadent chocolate cake.

Picture it: the guests begin to arrive, wine is poured, I brown butter for the pasta sauce and add a little water from the pasta pot (just like I learned in class). My fatal flaw was forgetting to remove the super-hot butter from the burner first. Browned butter bits spattered EVERYWHERE. Luckily (?), I made it through with only some minor spatter burns and one terrifically bruised ego.

Do You Do a Thanksgiving Dress-Rehearsal?

Depending on a health of an elderly dog (it's a long story), we may be hosting our first Thanksgiving this year. I've played sous chef for my mom and grandmothers numerous times, so I'm not worried about the side dishes and the actual event coming together, but I am planning to do a turkey test-run in the very near future. Maybe a pecan pie, too since I've only recently overcome my long-standing fear of pie crusts!

Please, tell us where you're from...

I grew up on the wide-open prairies of South Dakota and nearly one year ago moved with my husband to an apartment situated amidst the high-rises of hot and humid Houston.

What did you have for lunch today?

Mushroom wild rice soup, a nice side salad and some cottage cheese.

Dead Chef's Party

Off topic, but when I read the title of this post, I really thought someone was planning a Dead Chef-themed Halloween party. I immediately pictured a zombie Paula Deen...

Food-Related Halloween Costumes?

Last year, I went as the Morton Salt Girl--bobbed hair, yellow dress, white tights, blue umbrella, and purse made from an empty Morton Salt container.

What's the story behind your SE screen name?

Back in college, I used to throw quarterly food-centric gatherings for friends. It started as a mere pie party in my freshmen dorm; by sophomore year, the cream puff social expanded to the community room in our residence hall. As a senior, my roommate and I rented out a portion of the college's student center to host a Christmas party. For this final soiree, we made ourselves aprons; mine said "The Hostess". Even as an old married lady, I still like to break out my kitschy apron when we have friends over.

Poll: Would You Eat the KFC Double Down Sandwich?

Nope, but not because it's too fatty/caloric/greasy/etc. I hate mayo and mayo-related sauces. Blech.


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