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Vinya

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Korin Knife

I have a couple of "nice" knives that I use regularly and adore, but my absolute favorite is a no-name serrated knife that my husband and I have been using for years. I'm not even sure whose it was originally, since it showed up when we unpacked after moving in together and neither of us thought it was ours previously, but it's a great knife.

Spice Hunting: New Things to Do With Rosemary

@BeerWeezil - I think it's the fact that rosemary is an evergreen that makes it a favorite cold weather herb. So many popular herbs aren't - basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano - that during the summer when the annuals are available, the evergreens are relatively ignored. Once everything else dies off, herbs like rosemary get the chance to shine.

I'm Knocked Up and I NEED Knockwurst

@smsingram - Congratulations to you too! I've gone through a couple of those Costco bags of spinach myself. Soup can be so comforting too - I've been really into French Onion the last couple of days.

@JerzeeTomato - Delicious! Want to come over and make some sandwiches with me?

I'm Knocked Up and I NEED Knockwurst

@Otterroot - I think it's so interesting how chemical reactions can trigger cravings. I wonder if root beer/sarsaparilla has any sort of natural antihistamines in it that would have helped with the allergic reaction?

@moibec - Thanks for your kind wishes! In terms of the aversions, food/cooking smells were a big, weird issue for me in the first trimester too... the smell of *anything* on someone's breath (even mints) was an immediate nausea-producer.

I'm Knocked Up and I NEED Knockwurst

@Janke - Strange that the lemons wound up causing trouble for your daughter... Can she eat citrus now? I've been on a bit of a sour kick myself, though with limes.

@stratusgd - Your wife's affection for the smell of beer *might* be related to wanting more vitamin B in her diet; one of my friends craved beer while pregnant and her OB said it was because her body was low in vitamin B.

Midnight Munchies...Sleep or Eat?

@gargupie - Thanks for your congrats! My husband's been very supportive, so it's not so much that he complains about my midnight snacks as that he's just not yet used to waking up next to someone crunching and slurping in the middle of the night. So far, my cravings have been powerful but pretty short-lived... I'm wondering if there's a related thread somewhere already, since I'd love to know what other serious eaters eat when eating for two.

@pyrovitae - Congrats! I'll admit I spent a few moments trying to think about whether I could combine pickles, olives and popcorn without the popcorn getting soggy after reading your snack list, though popcorn's probably too ambitious for me during the night anyway. It's also nice to know someone else doesn't shy away from the spicy while pregnant!

@jeffzelli - String cheese alone doesn't really satisfy much hunger for me; neither would milk alone. But, if I pair the cheese with some Triscuts (which add a little bulk to the snack and some fiber) or the milk with toast, or something like that, I find it does hold me over much better. You might also consider looking for some low-sugar high-protein (easier said than found, I'll admit) granola bars, or nuts, which you can keep in your bag and snack on whenever.

Midnight Munchies...Sleep or Eat?

My husband is laughing at me as I write... I'm pregnant right now, I feel like I'm *always* hungry, and almost every other night he wakes up to me sitting in bed, eating. I'm tired all the time too, so my midnight snacks are never elaborate. I like a piece of string cheese and a few Triscuits, or yogurt with granola, or a piece of cold pizza, or a granola bar and a half glass of milk... yeah, okay, I'm officially hungry again.

Cook the Book: 'Home Made'

It's lasted for a couple of summers now, but I've still got the canning bug.

Blueberry Lavender Jam

I asked this question over on your cantaloupe conserve recipe, and I guess I'll ask here too, since you have the same instructions. What's the reason for leaving the jars in the hot water for five minutes after boiling? I'm wondering if it affects texture, if it's just a technique you use out of habit, or if there's some benefit I just haven't figured out to the method.

Chain Reaction: California Pizza Kitchen

The "excellent sarcastic twist" fell flat for me too. Californians clearly don't make or eat pizza. No, they're running around with surfboards... and turtlenecks? Yep, that's the exact information I need included in a pizza review.

Cantaloupe Conserve

I've never heard of leaving jars in the water in the canner for five minutes after boiling. Is there a specific reason this recipe requires the in-water rest before removing them? Or is it just a different canning technique?

White Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

@ therealchiffonade - That must be a common saying! My grandparents, living in CA's Central Valley, used to tell us when we came to visit, "Don't leave your car unlocked or there'll be bags of zucchini left in your backseat!"

Help! Picky Boyfriend Challenge!

A couple of tips from the wife of another picky (though no-longer-as-picky) eater:

Consider trying to plan meals where there's something "safe" (that the picky eater knows he likes). With your current plan, noodles are probably your backup safety - even if the broccoli doesn't go over well, there's still something to eat (making dinner officially "Not a Disaster").

Get your picky eater into the kitchen! I do almost all of the cooking for my family, but helping my husband gain familiarity and confidence in the kitchen - prepping vegetables, stirring the pot, etc. - made new things seem less "weird" than before.

I think that every relationship has its challenges. It's a very good thing that your boyfriend is open to trying new things - that's far more important than whether he likes any specific dish. Hopefully you'll both be able to expand each other's horizons.

DAMN I cut my finger again!

I'm generally pretty good about not cutting myself badly - so far at least. However, my big weakness, which no one yet has mentioned, is cutting into the nails of my non-knife hand. I guess I don't curl my fingers well enough, or just get too enthusiastic with my blade, but I've cut into the top of my nail multiple times - sometimes shaving off a bit of the nail, sometimes stopping quickly enough to just leave a weird, ragged gouge.

Weekend Book Giveaway: My Milk Toof

Too cute! I didn't know about these guys until seeing them here, but as I work my way through the blog archive, I'm enjoying all their little adventures. So far, their impromptu Titanic-while-abandoning-Monopoly pic is my favorite.

Goodbye, Dumpling

Adding another voice to the chorus of sympathy and condolences. My heart goes out to you.

"Your absence goes through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its colour." - W.S. Merwin

no-knead bread is too flat

I'm fairly new to no-knead bread making, but I'd suggest looking at "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Hertzberg and Francois. The first few chapters are all about playing with and tweaking recipes, with details on what types of changes will produce what results. The authors are probably better known for their "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" book, but since you're talking about whole grain that one wouldn't be of as much use to you. Check your local library; they'll probably have one or be able to request it.

From my own small attempts, I'll contribute that well-shaped whole grain sandwich bread almost never works for me unless I've used a loaf pan to provide structure. I'm excellent at freeform pizza, but it sounds like you're experienced there too! Best of luck!

Ed Levine Celebrates Valentine's Day Eve in New York

@Shayrose - We always celebrate the day after Valentine's Day too. With the half-price V Day chocolates and other treats, we've taken to calling Feb. 15th "Candy Day." Plus, in the off chance you manage to forget that Valentine's Day is coming up (and thereby miss its Eve), you can still celebrate late.

Cook the Book: 'The Just Bento Cookbook'

Chicken salad sandwich on whole grain toast, homemade mixed pickles, roasted pepper salad and two dark chocolate truffles. (We'll pretend the chocolate is only in honor of Valentine's Day.)

Knife Skills: How to Prepare Belgian Endives

Does lemon juice/acidulated water help to prevent browning after the endive is cut, or is it a different reaction that causes the discoloration?

Enter Fleisher's Best Meat T-Shirt Idea Contest

Head, Shoulders, Nose to Tail

Enter Fleisher's Best Meat T-Shirt Idea Contest

Handcut in all the right places.

In Season: Dried Beans

@cg_ups: They did a piece on food myths that addressed salting your beans a while back.

Food Terms that should be banned from the media

Words that bug me the most are ones that have been overused to the point of becoming meaningless, like "rustic" and "artisan" tend to be. Whatever's trendy and popular as a buzzword winds up repeated everywhere and ultimately describes nothing specific.

The Rachel Ray speak (EVOO, sammies, yum-o) doesn't bother me too much. If I saw a tasting menu at an upscale restaurant offering "veggies" or "noms," sure, I'd be put off too, but that's not where you see the dumbed-down food terms used. They're used, very generally speaking, in situations where the audience isn't necessarily confident in the kitchen, and they're part of making cooking less intimidating and more accessible. Someone who might never try making a panini at home could be willing to try a grilled sammy.

Cook the Book: 'Appetite for Reduction'

I'm a sucker for anything with roasted tomatoes.

I'm Knocked Up and I NEED Knockwurst

Actually, that's a lie.

I am pregnant, but knockwurst isn't my craving... that slightly wilted Garlic-Tahini Raw Kale Salad at Whole Foods is, so much so that on a recent mini road trip I bought out all the kale salad on the shelf before we left to make sure I'd have enough.

And I can't stop eating things made with cooked tomatoes - I mean, really, what isn't better with marinara sauce on top of it?

The only thing I can't stand right now is hot meat. (That sounds like it's meant to be a dirty joke, but it isn't.) Burgers, steaks, baked chicken - lots of the lean proteins that I should be eating just won't go down... unless I put them in the fridge and eat them while they're still cold. Hormones, my doctor says.

So, I'm wondering what other people's hormones have them craving and avoiding while pregnant. Or, if you've never been pregnant, have you ever had a medicine or accident alter your taste buds and make you love/hate something strange?

I know I'm not the only one...

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