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wasliche

Can you polish off a pint of ice cream in a sitting?

I totally can. I shouldn't, but I can.
How? Ummm, with a spoon. I have a specific pint-eating technique involving spooning off the melting/softer edges, evenually leaving a rotating hunk o' goodness in the center. At that point, why stop?
I really, really try NOT to do this!

One-handed cooking

BTDT OP, this phase will pass (but then starts the phase where you can't cook anything because they are throwing food at the wall and eating the remote). Depending on the age of your baby:
-I lived, LIVED on hummus and pitas. Precut veg if possible. You can drip hummus on baby's head and nobody will get hurt.
-a bjorn, sling, or carrier of some sort will at least get you two hands and keep baby happy. At 13 weeks I would go with a woven wrap or soft structured carrier (fave: Boba 3G). Of course, front carried baby = no knives and no heat, but older babies are happy to ride on your back and peek over your shoulder! I does this often b/c "Mommy just needs FIVE SECONDS to chop this stuff up, arrgggh!"
-if it's only when baby's not feeling well... takeout and/or delivery, granola bars (I lived on Luna 100 calorie bars), whole fruit.
-if you can set him down for five seconds, long enough to open a can of soup, you can do the rest one-handed. Just place something over top baby's head to avoid dropped-soup-burning

Best Coffee Travel Mug?

I should add, I also put some hot soapy water in the mug portion (maybe 1/3 of the way), screw the top on, and SHAKE!

Best Coffee Travel Mug?

@elleamerie I have the same contigo mug with the same issue. I think that you aren't smelling the plastic from the lid, but the old stuff that's not getting cleaned out of the lid. They are so darn hard to clean!
Therefore I only use mine for coffee, and hot chocolate on occasion (no tea). When it gets funky I soak the lid in some hot soapy water for a few hours, and then go at it with the bottle brush and scrubby dish brush. Get a few bristles actually IN the drinking hole, between the outside of the top and the screw threads, all around the seal mechanism... then I put it upside-down in the sink and use the hand sprayer, very close up. Water goes all over but it loosens up all that nasty gunk. Voila, a much better smelling cup of coffee!

Overworked and undernourished

I utilize whatever standing-in-front-of-the-stove time I have (very little) as efficiently as possible.
Dinner's in the oven? I throw a pan of oatmeal bars (very good for bfast on the run) and/or a couple russet potatoes in at the same time.
Whenever I roast/grill chicken (parts or whole birds) I do another batch at the same time... ie family size pack of thighs, a second bird, etc. Extras are 1, leftovers for a couple nights down the road and 2, frozen in meal-sized portions for quick mix-ins for pasta, stirfry, soup, etc.
You could roast a chicken, make rice and a veg, Night 1. Night 2, chicken sandwiches. Night 3, pasta salad with chicken and leftover veg. Etc.

What to do with a Ham Bone? (From a real ham, not the cute dog)

mixed bean soup
crab soup (this would ideally require saving the bones until crab season, and assuming you have easy access to live crabs. I cheat and used steamed crabs).

How far ahead can I make summer rolls?

Update: I simply assembled/prepped the ingredients the night before, leaving the rice noodle cooking and avocado slicing til the last possible moment (tossed the noodles with some sesame oil for transit). Transported, dumped - err, I mean artfully arranged - all ingredients on a big tray, added a stack of dry wrappers, plate of hot water, and tupperware bin full of clean butter lettuce leaves. And three sauces (ginger/soy, peanut, and gochujang).
There were two general reactions: COOL!, or, what on EARTH is this and how do I eat it? Made for a good conversation piece, added a much-needed bit of lightness and fresh veg to Xmas Day, and didn't kill anyone with gluten (the gochujang was the only part not GF - it got a big ol' sticker on the dish). Mission accomplished, thanks SE'ers for the suggestions.

How far ahead can I make summer rolls?

Thanks all, I knew I could count on SE'ers for some good advice. I think I'm going to prep the night before, take along some lettuce leaves and rice paper wrappers, and make the family assemble their own (possibly do a few to start them off). They are a fun bunch, and now that I think about it will not object to the DIY approach.
No low-carbers but a number of gluten-free folks - who will appreciate the total lack of gluten and therefore total lack of food-related accidents, ie, let's try not to kill the host :-)

The Food Lab: How to Make All-Belly Porchetta, the Ultimate Holiday Roast

I would add a comment, but can't, because I just drooled on my keyboard...
That just looks like the true meaning of Christmas, thank you Kenji!

Least favorite Thanksgiving dish?

turkey (hence Mr W's request, every year, that we contribute a ham)
store bought rolls. Now, I love my aunt-in-law's homemade (as in, get out some yeast and 23 lbs of butter) dinner rolls, but only get them every couple years. Otherwise it's whatever "rolls person" picked up at the store on wed.

Cook the Book: Molto Batali

My husband - who sincerely appreciates my ability to cook good food, fast, and introduce him to new foods
...and my 9-mo old, who makes everything, including a liverwurst sandwich, look adorable, and loves everything I give her (except for spaghetti noodles).

Lasagna To Freeze - Tips & Tricks?

@mcwolfe is right, don't cook the noodles before freezing - actually i've pretty much stopped cooking the noodles first, regardless. Regular (not labeled "no boil") noodles work just fine.
If you're sending these to smaller households, get some disposable foil loaf pans. They are perfectly sized to hold one noodle, and create two nice servings each (assuming some salad, and neither person is a football player).

easy, dairy-free anniversary dessert?

LOL @bruisedbuddha, you may have a good point!
Grilled pineapple would be perfect - we love grilled pineapple but I was never gonna remember that for dessert. I think with some d/s-free ice cream for me, and REAL ice cream for him :-) And maybe some kind of cookie crumb or something on top. Thanks SE!

22 year old cooking Christmas dinner alone...

I agree with the PP who called for some familiar comfort foods, aka "Mom always made this." If you and your brother are missing your parents, stuff like that can make you feel better - and maybe it's more holiday-ish to have whatever you consider to be traditional.
My only solid piece of advice would be to test out new recipes ahead of time. If you've never made enchiladas, prime rib, etc before it might help to have one under your belt before the big day.

Decided on Ham for Christmas, need new ideas for sides

Ham isn't boring! If you are worried about boredom, maybe try a nice glaze (not the kind that comes in a packet with the ham, but a real homemade one)?
Baked apples (sliced, not the whole-baked-apple-with stuff-inside) are a great side that go nicely with ham (also easy).
Make sure to have really good bread/rolls with the ham, for the inevitable ham sandwiches that will result. We had ham for Thanksgiving and my in-laws brought some yummy pretzel rolls that made great sandwiches!

Holiday work party ideas!

Also, what is your commuting arrangement? Own car, walking, multiple transfers on the city bus, etc? This can make a big difference.

SE South Beach Diet Recommendations

I did SB for a while - it does NOT mean that you are stuck eating sugar free jello and cheese sticks for life :-) Although that might be the impression you get from reading the book.
Pretty much any veggie recipe is going to be okay, or maybe require minimal tweaking. Same thing for meat and egg dishes. The only place where I got into trouble was bbq sauce... most contain some form of sugar which is kind of essential and I'm not a big fan of subbing Splenda, agave, etc for the real stuff. My advice: just avoid stuff like that until "Phase 2" and make really great SE bbq sauce occasionally.
Get creative with salads and egg dishes. Try out meats and veggies you don't normally cook/eat. Try new spices... believe it or not, steak + veg gets old pretty quickly without something to mix it up a little.
Good cheese. Really, really good cheese. Take all the money you would normally spend on bread and pasta and put it toward your cheese budget!

I think the most important thing is to eat REAL food, which can be hard when SB advocates sugar-free this and low-fat that. My thought is that it's better to eat a little tiny bit of something REAL, rather than load up on fake stuff. If you eat a lot of "low carb pasta" or "such-and-such made with splenda" you're really not changing your eating habits, just your shopping habits.

Good luck! SB really does work (I had the insulin resistance issue too) as long as you figure out how to take "the rules" and make them apply to your life and eating habits.

Thanksgiving ... So, how'd it go? Success? Hilarious failures?

Update from "pregnant lady caters Thanksgiving dinner"-land (some of you may remember that thread...
Thanks to some intense, OCD planning and SE help the meal was successful and low-stress. Ham with mustard and brown sugar glaze (we are not turkey people), twice baked potatoes with cheddar and bacon, green beans with bacon and shallots (enough bacon for ya?), baked apples, cornbread casserole, and cranberry sauce.
I discovered that I am the only one of my inlaws who likes cranberry sauce... and that I am the only person in the whole world who likes this particular cornbread casserole. The whole meal a little tune kept playing in my head, "they told you one starch was enough, they told you and you didn't listen!"
However... I did everything ahead that I possibly could, so Thanksgiving morning consisted of watching the parade with DH and his parents. Very low-key, minimal last- minute preparation, and the pumpkin ice cream was a great way to cap off the evening (with pie, of course).
I think the best moment was after dinner, when I pushed my chair back, picked up my infant nephew, and announced that I was not doing dishes :-)
I think the best compliment I got was the fact that we were not permitted to take leftovers home. I know there had to be 5+ lbs of leftover ham, and we were parceled out enough for 2 sandwiches. Sides were given rather grudgingly as well, with the exception of the cranberry sauce. So all in all, a success... but the next time I cook the entire meal, I'm serving it in my kitchen!

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

@cookbook junkie... the opposite also causes your pyrex to explode. I put a ham in the oven (on a rack in a large pyrex dish) and maybe 30 mins later I realized the fat was rendering off, and I got worried that it would burn in the bottom of the dry dish. So I poured in (cold, tap) water and shrieked in horror as the pyrex exploded, shattering pyrex pieces and ham grease all over my oven... whenever combining hot and cold I always stand as far away as possible now.
My grandmother, though, scared the @#$%@#$ out of me when I was a teenager. She lived with us for a little while (folks were mostly not home, we were supposed to "keep an eye on each other") and she was a stellar, first class baker but getting on in years, you know? I came home from school one day to find a suspicious odor in the air and a PILE of ASHES in the kitchen trash can! Turns out she had found a new apple pie recipe, which advocated preheating the oven, putting the unbaked pie in a paper bag, putting it in the oven, and then turning the heat very low... practically off. Please note that this recipe only works, apparently, if you actually remember to turn the heat down - otherwise you wind up with a pile of smoking apple pie ashes and a hysterical granddaughter who will forbid you to bake without supervision!

Why do you like to make food?

1) My work involves creativity, but in much longer timespans... I have spent years working on something only to have it put quietly in a drawer at the last minute. Quite often I spend weeks or months, with the same (non) result. So it's nice to think creatively and then eat the creativity in the same day. Or at least the same week.
2) I like to eat, and I do not like to do the dishes, but I am always concerned about exactly what's in the restaurant food. As in, where did that lettuce come from, exactly? Was this burger from a "happy cow?" Etc. If I shop for, and prep/cook the ingredients myself, I know there's nothing premade frozen, no hydrogenated whatevers, minimal pesticides, antibiotics, etc.
3) I like to eat, but I am cheap. Many times it is cheaper to make your own - with the added bonus of getting exactly what you wanted. This is also why DH and I remodeled our kitchen and bathroom ourselves.
4) Many PP's have mentioned this as well, but I see cooking and sharing a meal (or snack or whatever) as a way of saying "You are important to me." You can take someone out to eat, or buy them something, but it just doesn't have the same level of commitment. Cooking shows that you were thinking about them.
5) If I cook, DH does the dishes and cleans up the kitchen. I hate cleaning up. I would much rather plan, shop for, and cook a meal that I don't even want to eat, rather than touch the dishes afterwards!

The Annual Thanksgiving Holiday Hullabaloo

@mini - It seems intimidating but really it's no biggie. Between now and TG, practice by roasting whole chickens (although I would mix up the spices, accompaniments, etc to avoid boredom by turkey day). It's essentially the same process, and it will give you a comfort level by making you familiar with the process... "does that look done?" "is the skin browning too much?" gravy making, etc.
Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time for preheating and roasting on the actual day of. More time than you think you need.
Or, depending on the size of the crowd you're feeding... start with a turkey breast instead. Or a ham. The uber-traditionalists will flame you but a great glazed ham is yummy, less intimidating imho, and people that really must have turkey can invite you to their house next year!

Thanksgiving Sans Oven

@illegal, I think you are living in my old apartment in Florence :-) Do you also have a teeny half-size refrigerator, which will limit you even more?
My advice would be to focus on things that can be made ahead and/or served room temp, and great stuff that you can pick up at a local market (I'm making some assumptions here). Great bread, cheese, veg etc can really make the meal and require little to nothing from your kitchen. As @bowlofjesslove said, it's quality, not quantity.
If you are somewhere with lots of expats or students, the locals may bow to pressure and provide things approximating Thanksgiving favorites (turkey, cranberry sauce, etc). Ask around - there may be a great shop that will help you out.
Are you "required" to have turkey in some form - braising or poaching does seem like a good idea - or could you do something with pork chops, pasta, etc? Would you or your guests revolt? You could still do some of the traditional sides.

Preggo control freak seeks TG menu advice...

Thanks all! Well, the grandparents-in-law just got added to the mix, which is nice (really, I like them). I am now reconsidering the second-starch thing... maybe it's not needed, with some great bread/rolls... So ham, 1 starch (still undecided), bread, 2 veg - it's completely do-able in the time allotted.
As far as "tradition," I'm sure that comments will be made to the effect of "where's the turkey?" and "where's the gravy"? To which I will respond, "At your house. Where you're cooking dinner next year. Thanks."
I'll blame it on hormones.

Preggo control freak seeks TG menu advice...

Well, thank you very much for everyone who provided actual advice regarding the Thanksgiving side dish dilemma. I'm still undecided, but now I have some useful ideas - @guy, thanks for the mention of your post as well - lots of good advice there.
By the way, yes, I am a native English speaker. I just felt that the original post was getting very long and unwieldy, and I wanted to avoid writing a novel. I didn't think it made the post un-readable - no completely obscure abbreviations - but I guess I will spell things out in the future.

Shameful snackage

Cold leftover chinese and cold leftover delivery pizza are the two greatest snacks, and breakfasts, of all time. Points deducted for reheating or using plates :-) I will purposely order "too much" takeout pizza (which I'm actually not too fond of) in order to have more leftovers. Pizza Hut's stuffed crust pizza is, truthfully, disgusting, but I cannot resist once it's cold.
We keep a pretty healthy pantry, but whenever there's ice cream or nutella around, a spoonful finds its way to my mouth at the oddest times...
I also like to make homemade pudding, and then eat it while still hot and runny. Unfortunately i have been doing all these things for years and cannot blame them on currently being pregnant!

birthday cake logistics - recommend frosting

So we are having an aquarium-visit-plus-lunch for little one's first birthday. The restaurant is cool with the brought-in cake, and offered to let us in waaay early to drop the cake off before looking at fish. Cake = red velvet sheet cake (I think). I plan to make the cake one night this week and freeze.
Here's the question: The cake will be transported in a car for approx 1 hour, then stored at room temp for approx 3 hours, before serving.
From other comments it looks like this frosting: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/04/red-velvet-sheet-cake/ won't work unless it's refrigerated the entire time.
Would cream cheese icing be okay for that length of time? I've made cream cheese icing, have no problems there (and no purist issues with "cream cheese doesn't belong on RVC") but I've never had to worry about the transportation/storage issue. What do you think? If I frosted the (frozen) cake at the last possible moment? Would you suggest something totally different? We do want it to be kind of traditional cake-y, for the required smash-and-grab by the birthday girl.

How far ahead can I make summer rolls?

Was planning to bring summer rolls as Christmas Day appetizer, for a family full of celiacs (thus avoiding the "you aren't allowed to eat this" issue). However, with a toddler in the house, it would be much, much easier if I could actually assemble the summer rolls the night before (approx 8pm) and refrigerate (til about noon the next day). Would that be do-able or would the rice paper wrappers get hard/soggy/something else inedible? If I covered with a damp towel?
Or would I be better served by doing "lettuce wraps" instead? I wanted to avoid the whole "make your own" thing...
Any thoughts (or other suggestions for easy, make ahead, GF appetizers)?

easy, dairy-free anniversary dessert?

Hit me with your best shot, SE'ers! Wedding anniversary coming up this weekend... coupled with hubby working until late (7pm), tiny baby (4 mos), not much time, and a dairy-free, soy-free lifestyle (thanks to aforementioned baby).
Dinner-wise, I'm phoning it in, literally - getting sushi delivered. My problem is dessert. I have to avoid dairy and soy, so no butter, cream, silken tofu, nothing. DH does not like chocolate or most nuts, cake generally goes uneaten, and I only have so much free time to bake something. In years past our go-to dessert would be an ice cream cake (yum). I thought about baklava, but then discovered that I would have to start that waaay ahead, and there's butter in there anyway. I'm a little skeptical about butter substitutes.
Right now I'm thinking about a pint of B&J for him, and a pint of dairy/soy-free ice cream for me. Meh. What great ideas do you have? Relatively fast recipes would be great... but I'm not opposed to picking something up at the store...

DIY frozen fish sticks?

So I sent DH to the store for dried salted cod (for codfish cakes). He came home with 3 lbs of fresh cod fillets. Oh well, at least it was the right species... problem is, he doesn't like cod, and I can only eat so much. We are expecting a baby, and I was thinking that some homemade frozen fish sticks would be a welcome freezer item.
So... anyone made these? Can I just three-step-bread the fish sticks, freeze them on a sheet tray, then dump them in a bag? Should I cook the fish sticks first, then freeze? It's been a very long time since I ate a commercially prepared fish stick, so I don't know if they are usually "fully cooked, just heat and eat" or if the cooking process was to actually COOK the fish as opposed to just reheating.
Any assistance would be great - I've already mined SE posts for other freezer meal ideas (thanks for those as well)!!

Preggo control freak seeks TG menu advice...

I will be 7 mos pregnant @ TG, which we are spending with my inlaws (4 adults, 2 kids). However, everyone else in the group has expressed the following:
"I'm not cooking a darn thing."
"Let's just order from Boston Market, or pizza."
Thank you, that is not TG. So I, the preggo, full-time-working youngest adult at the gathering, will be preparing the meal and carting it over to SIL's house (another, separate issue). While I have made TG dinner before, and am completely happy to do so this year, I have limited time (due to that whole working thing). So here's my plan:
Ham with mustard and brown sugar glaze (DH fave and very easy. We don't like turkey)
either cheddar mashed potatoes or baked stuffed potatoes (with cheddar and bacon)
cornbread dressing or sweet potatoes or mac and cheese (undecided)
Green beans sauteed with shallots and bacon
Roasted carrots with butter and thyme
Pumpkin ice cream
MIL can bring rolls and a Whole Foods pumpkin pie.
The ham, vegs, and ice cream are all easy and previous successes. My issues (I think) are the starches. Schedule-wise, I would make the mash the night before OR bake taters Tues, stuff Wed, bake off at SIL on Thurs. And I'm completely undecided on the 2nd starch. So... is it necessary? Advice please... dishes that allow me to do the majority of prep the night before are key. Any thoughts?
And yes, I really do want to do this, have the energy to do it, and am OCD enough to enjoy obsessively planning this like it's a military campaign :-)

Gooey Cake? Anyone ever heard of it?

I'm trying to track down a recipe that belonged to my father's grandmother. She called it "gooey cake" and NO there is no chocolate and no box cake mix.
Father's family is of German descent (lived in Baltimore), if that gives any clue as to what the heck I'm talking about. The recipe, as written down, basically reads, "butter sugar condensed milk 350" or something like that. No amounts, no further direction, obviously just a reminder of the ingredients.
Obviously I have never actually eaten real gooey cake, because we can't decipher the recipe, but I swear my father gets tears in his eyes when he describes eating an entire gooey cake for breakfast as a teenager.
We think it was made in a round cake pan? contains butter, flour, sugar, either sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk (probably SC?).
I would love to surprise my dad with a real gooey cake and don't mind some experimentation (may have to increase gym membership, mental note).
Any ideas? Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Poll: cooking/baking as related to "day job"

Okay, I have discussed this with colleagues but would like to see what others think. Do you find/believe/theorize that others in your "profession" have a tendency to love to cook, or not?
I'm an architect, and there seems to be some general consensus amongst my coworkers that we enjoy the creativity-plus-immediacy thing of cooking. in other words, no recipe is probably going to take four years worth of 18-hour days, and the average person can enjoy a chocolate cake a bit more than, say, a post-modernistic art museum.
I have never had anyone question the implications of the cilantro or its potential "dialogue" with the avocado. Mostly, the reaction I'm going for is YUM! That's all.
So, what do you think? Unless you're a professional chef or something like that, do you perceive that people in your profession tend to enjoy cooking more than the average bear? Why or why not?

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