I frequently refer to myself as a "One Trick Pony," that trick being cooking. I also love Alternative Rock and hanging with my dog and BF.

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  • Location: HOTlanta! (Or CHILLAnta lately!)
  • Favorite foods: Depends on the day, the season, the mood.
  • Last bite on earth: Italian Sunday Gravy, just like my mom made it, preferably a meatball.

Latest Comments

The 10 Worst Food Trends? Really?

emu48 - whenever I am served "foam" it looks like someone spat in my food. I hate all that molecular gastronomy stuff. I like my lamb to look like lamb and not a popsicle.

The 10 Worst Food Trends? Really?

emu48 - whenever I am served "foam" it looks like someone spat in my food. I hate all that molecular gastronomy stuff. I like my lamb to look like lamb and not a popsicle.

Seriously Italian: Pastiera (Ricotta and Cooked Grains Cake)

This year's Pizza Grano.

Pies baked in one day - I baked off another 4 cups of prepared grain a couple of days later.

Pie served on Easter Sunday. The cookies are leftover pasta frolla (pie crust) with lemon glaze.

I only started making these a few years ago. Every year, I learn the "habits of the batter" more and I finally understand why my mother said her hands were "too hot to handle the dough." It's got such a high sugar content, it will melt in your hands.

In Defense of Eating Alone

I began eating in restaurants alone in my early 20's. I used to go to the bank on Saturdays (remember that?) and afterward walk across the street to our neighborhood "diner" called Richelieu (18th Avenue & 65th Street, Brooklyn). I'd take a magazine with me to have something to do while I waited for my food. I felt very comfortable and at ease doing this. I have frequently eaten dinner alone in restaurants and in this day and age of smart phones connecting one with the internet, or e-readers like Kindles, etc., there is plenty of entertainment while you wait for your entree to be served.

On another note, I have a friend who will NOT cook for himself. He will only cook if he has company and I think this is nonsense. When I lived alone in the west Village, the entire available standing floor space measured 9 floor tiles. I cooked pretty much every night I lived there but I will admit there was a Mexican restaurant across the street from me called Viva Pancho or something like that and I occasionally gave into the craving - you guessed it - sometimes by myself! I'll cook for myself as quickly as I'll go out by myself but I also enjoy going out with friends and don't mind cooking for them either.

Fresh Peach Scones

No, that's definitely a mistake. There should be 1/3 cup sugar in the recipe. If you like a sweeter scone, up the sugar to half a cup. Good catch! (And I can't believe it took this long to be spotted!)

Swiffering Spam

Hey Paul - whoever is posting spam on this (and possibly other) threads is still at it. In the past it was customary to block spammers by IP address. Is this still being done?

Check out the latest by our spammer:

Swiffering Spam

I'm fully aware of the age of the post. The spammer posted three separate times over a period of weeks and I reported it after the first post. It took 3 e-mails to get the spam removed and my point is that spam used to be removed a lot quicker in the past.

Boston Cream Pie

I don't care if you call it Boston Cream Rhinoceros. To this I say "God Bless America" (it's from Boston, after all) and "Pass me a fork."

Farewell, Serious Eaters!

Sweet sweet Alaina - the best of luck to you in whatever you do next. It was an e-mail from you way back when that caused me to discover SE when you investigated some errant posts by an impostor. Be well and please keep in touch!

Individual Thread Opt Out

@matamua - I agree, this is pretty basic stuff. There have been several updates to this site since first coming here years ago but this is one feature they never have quite gotten right. Part of my decision making process before posting an original thread or replying to one is "Do I want to receive notifications on this thread for the rest of my natural life?" I think I'd participate a lot more (at least on the actual cooking threads and they have dwindled) if notifications could be turned off on individual threads. I'm probably not the only poster who feels this way and if individual thread opt out were possible, I imagine traffic on the site would increase.

Question directed at the SE admin who reads this - are you aware that when a notification e-mail is received, the only link that is NOT live is the link to the thread? The links to poster URL, quit notifications, subscribe to the newsletter and SE elsewhere work (and are blue) but the thread link is black and not live. In order to navigate to the thread, I must copy and paste it into a new tab or window. (I'm using explorer.)

New York Style Pizza Sauce

Sugar in tomato sauce is, was and ever shall be considered an abomination to Italians. I'm as Italian as I have to be to know this. Cracked in the head? And what exactly makes you an authority? The SOLE purpose of sugar in tomato sauce is to mask the undeveloped flavor of underripe tomatoes or shitty tomatoes. There is NO OTHER REASON anyone with a functioning tastebud would ever perpetrate such a crime. If for some reason tomatoes turn out to be less than stellar and a significant amount of time has been invested in a particular pot of sauce, it can be rescued with sauteed and pureed carrots or additional onion. I know all about "different ways" people make things, this does NOT fall into that category. There are certain things that are just WRONG and sugar in tomato sauce is one of them.

A Tour of Sahadi's, Brooklyn's Destination Middle Eastern Market

Sahadi's is one of the things I miss most about NY. I loved shopping there. When my mom was alive, Sahadi's was the only place I could find black pinwheel candies (licorice). Red, green, every other color of the rainbow - EASY to find but not the black. While wandering through one day, I asked the clerk if I could taste one of the black candies to make sure they were what I needed. "If they're right, I'll buy all you have!" "Yes, you may taste one," he said. "No, you don't have to buy them all."

Cakespy: Doughnut Pies

I love the idea of rolling filling in pie dough and making a ring out of it but I would not add more than a dusting of powdered sugar or possible a squiggle of white icing.

Share Your Sweets: Figs

Sorry I missed this one! Figs = One of my favorite fruits. I grew up in Brooklyn in a (then) largely Italian neighborhood and everyone had a fig tree. A couple of years ago, a friend with a farm gave us a TON of figs and we centered a whole dinner around them. Here's the Dessert... Honey Cardamom Cheesecake with Figs.

In Which We Eat the Pizzabon from Cinnabon

My take on it having had one in ATL yesterday:

"Ok guys, I took the bullet and had a Pizzabon. Atlanta was the only place to get this thing today. When I found out it was only at ONE Cinnabon, the one in the mall 7 minutes from the house, I had to try it. It's neutral, tender dough - like a cinnamon roll with no cinnamon or sugar, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni woven into the thing. I was prepared to channel Martha Stewart and say "This is utterly wretched," but I've tasted worse things. If you're looking for something with a chewy crust, hand tossed by a guy named Vito and baked in a brick oven, this is not for you. However, if you are with friends who want Cinnabons and you are in the mood for something savory, go ahead and try one."

This is by no means REAL pizza, nor do I think that was its intention. I will not make pizzabons part of my regular diet and will not seek them out for lunch. I tried the thing. It didn't suck.

Can Serious Eats get a like button please?

If you're afraid of copyright infringement (or whatever they call it when a website uses something associated heavily with another site) - you could do a voting system labeled: "Sounds great" and "Not so much."

35 Recipes for Your Summer Picnics

I try to stay away from mayo-based salads for summer picnics. I came up with this recipe a couple of years ago and love it because the dressing is oil and vinegar-based.

If I'm going to a BBQ at a friend's house and know refrigeration is not an issue, I'll do an Antipasto salad.

Mozzarella Fior de Latte (drained of brine)
Roasted Peppers
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes
Pitted Gaeta or Calamata Olives
Whole Roasted Garlic Cloves
Sliced Red Onion
Chunked Ham, Capicola, Prosciutto or Salami (optional)
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Dry oregano and basil (or a dry "Italian Seasoning" that doesn't contain salt)
Salt & Pepper
Bow Tie Pasta boiled slightly longer than al dente (when chilled, pasta firms and al dente would be crunchy)
Big handful of chopped fresh Italian Parsley

* If marinated goodies are purchased from an olive bar and the extra weight is not an issue, spoon some of the different dressings into your container. Use in the final dressing.

Toss all ingredients together and chill. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate leftovers. (There is fresh mozzie in the salad so be aware of how long it sits out.)

Keep salad out of direct sunlight.

Peach Chipotle Jam

Oh my! You've got me stumped. I've made peach jam both ways - with pectin and without. This is something new. Is there a way to take a photo of your jam and possibly e-mail it to me or FB it to me? - Make sure you put Peach Jam in the subject line so I can fish you out of junk mail.

Chiffy's Southern Style Banana Pudding

OMG, Alison! I'm guilty of the same thing... Missing details that would have made a lot of sense were I paying attention. I've made this pudding 2x this summer (so far). Both times it was for large gatherings. That's what made me suggest it for family reunions. I hope you find lots of (lucky) people to share the pudding.

Chiffy's Southern Style Banana Pudding

MMmmmmm Meringue! And putting leftover banana pudding into an ice cream maker... Genius.

Chiffy's Southern Style Banana Pudding

Thanks all. Banana pudding was completely new to me not having grown up in the south. I knew there were certain things that were required. Bananas (duh), vanilla pudding and Nilla Vanilla Wafers. I recently saw an ep of Cook's Country where they made banana pudding and wanted the pudding part to taste of bananas but this is not how I was told it's done by southerners. Did I like the idea? Definitely. If a more "banana-tasting" pudding is desired, bake off some whole UNpeeled bananas in a 325 oven until soft, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree the bananas and add a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Combine the banana puree with the vanilla pudding and mix well.

@Carmason - this won't put you over the edge - it's not too sweet. :D

Chiffy's Southern Style Banana Pudding

Thanks! I brought this to a BBQ and the hostess (a very southern lady) said I had achieved "Southern Status" with this pudding. I considered that a high compliment!

American Flag Cake

Very nice work! Adorn with sparklers for a great photo. Happy ID4!

Cakespy: Hot Dog Cookies

O. M. G. These are too freakin' adorable. I'm not a big fan of food coloring but a couple of times a year I'll throw caution to the wind (like for a good red velvet cake). Seriously, these would be great at a BBQ as a pot luck contribution. This is trompe l'oeil done right.


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