I cook stuff. And I photograph the stuff I cook. And I write silly stories about the stuff I cook and photograph. Maybe one day I'll get a better camera...


Oh no! We ate all the Twinkies after they stopped making them!

Small Christmas dinner

I'm hesitant to link to my site in the talk forum, but I've spent this whole month working on small roasts intended for four people, because we are also a small family and we live far from our relatives. I started off with Standing Rib Roast ( 4-ish lbs, only two ribs. Last week I post a polenta stuffed game hen recipe with dates ( and just today I posted a roast duck with fig stuffing (

Anyway, sorry for the self promotion. This thread was just too relevant to my little December theme to not share. The duck was my favorite, by the way.

Prime rib-help

I agree with @AnnieNT that it shouldn't make a difference. I trim the top of my rib roasts pretty well. I prefer it that way so that the exterior gets good sear on the meat itself and not on a layer of fat. Just my preference though.

How do y'all stay thin?

Another thing I didn't think to mention - we only dine off of salad plates (as opposed to dinner plates) so that portions don't get out of hand.

How do y'all stay thin?

I run and I've become accustomed to keeping track of everything I eat and drink over the course of the day.

Weekend Cook and Tell: 'Tis the Season for Soup

@Ken G - Aw. I love the story of stone soup.

I'm probably too late for the cook and tell round up this week, but I recently made this Kale soup: Fennel Scented Kale Soup.

Other soups from my blog that I like to make when it's chilly outside:
Beef Stew with Dumplings (we call them dumplings, but I think they're also called drop biscuits.)
Potato Celeriac Soup
Sausage Kale Soup
Lamb Adszuki Bean Chili

How did you do up your Thanksgiving leftovers?

We had standard plates of reheated dark meat, stuffing and veggies on Friday. Then today I made turkey salad melts, which consisted of chopped white meat mixed with mayo and dill, then grilled on bread with cheddar like a tuna melt. That finished off the turkey for us.

Weekend Cook and Tell: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I've been making this Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy for ages. Here's the link: It can easily be made vegan too with a vegan margarine or shortening in place of the butter.

Texas State Fair: 15 Crazy Fried Foods We're Still Digesting

What was in the fried bubble gum? It looks like pink donuts topped with blue icing (or toothpaste) and garniture of chiclets. It's very pretty in an ironic, post-modernist kind of way!

Dinner tonight? Nov. 1, 2012

I roasted freshly picked carrots, turnips, parsnips and celeriac along with a barley/apple stuffed pork loin that turned out to be rather meh. Not super-much looking forward to the leftovers, but at least it's nutritious.

Halloween Traditions?

Each Halloween night we carve a pumpkin for the front steps and make spiced pumpkin seeds to snack on over the course of the evening. (I posted my recipe here a couple of years ago).

Also, I made bowl in a ceramics class a few years ago that came out to be kind of hideous - gray and pea green in the shape of a splatter. I always use that bowl to serve the Halloween candy. It's really a lovely ceramic bowl, but it does look like a gob of goo.

We always, always serve Reese's peanut butter cups and KitKats.

Which activities slow you down in the kitchen?

When we belonged to a local fish share we'd get multiple gutted, but not cleaned fish. Sometimes up to a dozen flat fish like sole, which was fantastic because it was so fresh, but very time consuming. I became more proficient with fish as a result though.

Also, trying to wash utensils and pans as I go slows things down.

Cilantro: Yea or Nay?

I've flip-flopped on the cilantro issue. When I first tried it I thought it tasted like soap, but now I love it. Reminds me of fresh cut grass.

Soda: Inca Kola, Peru's National Soda

I'm so happy to see Inca Kola on SE!

Wendy's New Contemporary Logo: Yea or Nay?

I agree with @GardenStater. They might as well have gone with comic sans. My impression of Wendy's is that they are the fresher, better quality option of the big 3. I would have gone with a more modern, rounder, sans-serif font as opposed to a bold, handwritten font. Also, if they're trying to modernize Wendy, I'd change the collar altogether and get rid of the brooch to coincide with ditching the 19th century font. And this may be too much, but I could see making the apostrophe a leaf to emphasize freshness.

@ambienttra, totally. The Arby's logo needs to stop looking like a fish.

Does Anybody Else Put Potato Chips in Sandwiches?

I'm a ripple chip gal, myself. I find they hold up better than the un-rippled variety. Preferably Utz. Come to think of it, I have the same hairstyle as the Utz girl. That's devotion, right there.

What Are You Cooking On?

Thanks, @Becka K-S. I wouldn't have known otherwise. It does look cute in a "place for everything" kind of way, with the varying oven sizes, but the burners especially sound less than efficient, for sure.

In response to your original post, @Burger356, we're cooking on a Jenn-Air, which is alright. The downdraft fan is pretty powerful - so much that it gives our backyard the aroma of whatever we're cooking when it's running.

What Are You Cooking On?

Just out of curiosity, what are the drawbacks the AGA? All I can think of is how Minty seems to love hers on Posh Nosh. :) I'm not in the market for a new stove, so I wouldn't know.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Cooking on the Quick

I don't really plan a menu for the whole week, but I do like to hit the farmers markets at the beginning of the week and then plan three or four meals based on what I find.

A quick one I like to make is just a simple bowl of ravioli or tortellini tossed with sauteed veggies, fresh herbs and some olive oil. It's a good way to showcase seasonal veggies. But I'm picky about my pasta. It has to be fresh and good quality.

Last night we had a dish of local handmade ravioli and padrone peppers, both of which I got at our farmers' market. It was lovely and took about 15 minutes to make:

Grilling: Banana Boats

Aw. I forgot about banana boats! We used to make them at camp.

One kitchen item you hate to wash?

The blender, food processor and meat grinder, for sure! Anything that has to be disassembled and put back together again. Also, our paella pan because it's a working souvenir and I'd be so sad if it rusted. Made the mistake of leaving that in the sink on top of a wooden cutting board one night last winter and woke to find a big ring on the cutting board.... I need new cutting boards.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Cooking on Vacation

Summer vacation for me is always all about beach, barbecue and fried clams. I love going to clam shacks, but where we live year round we also have access to freshly shucked whole belly clams straight from the flats. So, this is my recipe for Fried Clams.

I've made them on vacation in place of going out, probably because I just love to cook and I'd sometimes rather hang out with friends in the kitchen.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Remembering Julia

I made a compound butter out of basil and buffalo butter:

It didn't occur to me until after I started that it might be relevant for this week's Cook and Tell. Yay, Julia!


Yay! I'm so glad it worked out and that you now have a go to dish!

cast iron

We have a cast iron dutch oven, which is now pretty well seasoned. I'd like to pick up a skillet at some point, since we have bacon and eggs a couple of times a week and I'm kinda getting tired of scrubbing egg off of our stainless pans.

I have to admit though, not washing the dutch oven with soap took a little getting used to....

Ideas for a children's cooking class

I am looking for healthy ideas for a children's cooking class. I'd like to introduce the students to the very basics of cooking (i.e., measuring) and nutrition.

For equipment, we are limited to a toaster oven, an electric skillet, an ice cream maker, a blender and a microwave.

Ideas so far: skillet cornbread, vegetarian maki (rice made in advance), possibly sorbet (final day celebration).

Any ideas or input is greatly appreciated!

Tuna tartare or seared steaks?

I had the good fortune yesterday to be given freshly caught bluefin tuna steaks by a tuna fisherman we know up the road. I'm not sure if I should sear them or make tartare. They have such a perfect, buttery-smooth texture, would it be wasteful to make tartare or the perfect opportunity?

What would be the best application? I know I could make sushi too...

Pescatarian pot luck ideas...

I'm hosting a casual buffet-style potluck tomorrow for 7 people.

We've got guests on board who are bringing an appetizer, a salad and a dessert, and I'm taking care of the entrees. I plan to serve roasted pork loin, but there is also a pescatarian in the group, so I'd like to offer a seafood dish as well.

We are members of a fish share and this week's catch was flounder. Is that possible for a potluck buffet? Normally I try to serve fish as soon as it's finished cooking, but that wouldn't be possible in this case.

Any thoughts? Should I just stick to shrimp or crab and save the flounder for another day?

Why did the lentils sprout in my soup?

I made a lovely lunch today of kielbasa and cabbage soup. We had about 1/3 cup of red lentils in the cabinet and so I thought I'd toss them into the soup, just for added protein and fiber.

I sliced and browned the kielbasa, added stock, lentils and cabbage and simmered it, covered, for about 30 minutes. When I served the soup though, I noticed that the lentils had sprouted. I hadn't soaked them beforehand, so I'm not sure why this happened.

Does anyone know why they would have sprouted while the soup cooked?

Accidentally peeled an unripe avocado...

I bought a bag of avocados the other day. They were not quite ripe, so I kept the bag on the counter for them to soften up a bit. Well, I got a little antsy today. One of them seemed ripe compared to the others, so I cut it in half and peeled it, but it's definitely not ripe.

Can it be salvaged?

Post-Thanksgiving Report

It was a merry day of happy guests, great conversation and a very successful feast - which, by the way would not have been anywhere near as successful without the help and advice of this community!

Now the guests have gone, the dishwasher is running and I'm feeling a little sad that it's over. How did yours turn out?

Lactose-free Thanksgiving etiquette tips/dessert ideas please!

I have a 3 yr old, lactose intolerant, picky eater coming to Thanksgiving this year.

My etiquette question is this: The adults involved were not thrilled with the idea of everything being made with lactose-free spread in place of butter. So instead I plan to make separate sides (the same as the rest of the menu - mashed potatoes, squash, stuffing, brussels sprouts and beets) for the little one without butter. Maybe just a half cup of each put out on the table in ramekins as his own little serving dishes. Does that sound like a good idea or a bad idea? On the one hand, he'll definitely be able to eat everything like everyone else and I'm sure his parents will appreciate the extra effort, but on the other hand I don't want to alienate the little guy! What do you think?

My dessert question is: What dessert can one make for a lactose intolerant three year old who hates fruit, doesn't like cake (but will eat the frosting off the top - if it's lactose free) and only wants to eat candy??? I plan to do a pecan pie, but that will have butter, so I need an alternative.

Uses for dried Chipotle pepper

I was in my local grocery store the other day and I came across whole dried Chipotle peppers. I've never used them before an so I bought two thinking it would be really fun try it. Excuse my ignorance, but I have no idea now how to use them. Any recommendations?

Good heat-up-the-house ideas

Any suggestions for dishes that will take hours in the oven?

It's gotten chilly where I live, but since this is nothing compared to what we're in for in the winter, we've decided to wait until November to turn on the heat in our house. So, I'd like to kill two birds, so to speak and make something delicious while making it toasty in here.

What say you, dear SE-ers?

Friday's chicken. Okay or toss?

I roasted that chicken on Friday for dinner. Kept in the fridge all weekend, boned it on Monday and had it in baked sandwiches on Monday and Tuesday. Do you think it's still okay? I was thinking of baking it into empanadas today. It looks and smells fine, but according to a cookbook I have, cooked poultry should last up to 4 days in the fridge.

What say you, dear SE-ers?

Lactose-free entertaining help!

I'm having friends over for lunch tomorrow afternoon and their toddler is lactose intolerant. I have no idea what to serve.

To complicate things further, they are a processed-food, non-adventurous-eater kind of family, and they're not into vegetables. As much as I'd love to make a delicious butternut squash soup, I don't want them to think I'm trying to turn an otherwise fun afternoon into a nutrition lesson. They know I love to cook and they're expecting something homemade, so I can't really just raid the prepared food section of the supermarket or order in.

Please help, dear SEers!

Five Guys. Not so much.

No jazz hands here. Just tried it today for the first time and it was disappointing. Let me first state that I love a thick handmade, almost crumbly burger. I'm not at all into fast food, so I'm not comparing to that.

The fries were dry and although they were fried, they reminded me of baked (burnt) fries. The burger patty was thin and falling apart. And I got several pieces of bone in my meat.

Has anyone else tried this place? According to the dude behind the counter they have 500 locations and they're growing, which I found astonishing.

Celery Greens

I bought two bunches of local celery this week at my farmer's market. It's almost like a baby celery in that the stocks much smaller, thinner and are far more flavorful and fragrant that grocery store celery.

Anyway, this stuff is mostly leaves. Any ideas for what to do with lots of beautiful, green celery leaves?

Hosting a late season BBQ - What to make for dessert?

We're having some folks over for a barbecue tomorrow around 1. The guests are bringing quite a few items for the grill (chicken, shrimp and steak), so I plan to provide burgers and dogs and make a potato salad, green salad and a couple of desserts.

And that is where I have a mental block. I have a two day old unfrosted chocolate cake sitting in the fridge, so I could try to do something with that, like a trifle?

They have two young kids. What do little ones like for dessert?

Jam - What does it mean if the top doesn't pop in when it cools?

I just made jam (again) and some of the tops haven't popped in despite being mostly cooled. I made jam earlier in the week and the same thing happened, though I accidentally popped one top in when I touched it. Should that one be discarded? and what do you think about the others that haven't popped in at all?

Making Plum Jam...

I am setting out to make plum jam from some edible wild plums growing in our backyard. I found one recipe that calls for pectin and 7 cups of sugar, which seems like a lot of sugar. I've also found several recipes that call for half the sugar and no pectin.

Would it be bad (i.e. will someone get poisoned) if I use less sugar? If I reduce the sugar, will it not need the pectin?

Julia Child's House

Does this article upset anyone else but me?

Cooking Gadgets: Favorite vs. Forgotten

While packing up my kitchen for an upcoming move, I've come a across a lot of little gadgets. Some I purchased and some were gifts. There were items that I never use and have been sitting in my gadget drawer for eons (an herb infuser, for example) and items that I use almost every day.

The same is true for small appliances. Pasta machine? Sure. Spice grinder? Absolutely. Juicer? Not so much. And I was so proud of it when I got it!

What are the kitchen gadgets you love and use all the time.

Which ones did you think you'd love and then set aside? (not be nosy)

Zuccini in Chili

I have all of the ingredients for chili, except I only have half of one green bell pepper. I do, however have three enormous fresh local zucchini.

What if I use the bell pepper half and also add one of the zucchini? How do you think this would this affect the flavor and texture?

What to do with paneer

I bought a package of paneer the other day at an Indian grocery store, thinking I'd go home and make something fabulous, but now I'm at a loss.

Any suggestions?

Help! Have I been Lamboozled?

I bought some locally raised, grass-fed, organic lamb at my farmer's market this week. The chops we really expensive at $18 a lb, so I decided to try the stew meat for $5 per lb. It was frozen and pre-wrapped in white paper, so I didn't see the cuts they handed me, but being a local farm, I trusted them.

I got it home and opened it only to find a plastic bag of fat, cartilage, connective tissue and BONE! Actual rib fragments. Like the stuff you'd scrape off to make frenched ribs, only with the bone still in there. Seriously. The bag had maybe 5% actual meat in there, but only veins of it - whatever happened to run through the other garbage. I had pictured cubes of stew meat. Not the best cuts of course, but meat nonetheless.

Isn't this the stuff they should have ground into sausage? I did end up cooking it into a stew, hoping for a miracle, which was poor judgment on my part because we ended up picking around it.

Have I been Lamboozled? What should I do?

Key Lime Pie: Part Deux: The Transport Issue...

Thank your for all of your suggestions on key lime pie safety!

I used Ina's recipe except I baked it on 350 for 15 minutes rather than freezing it. I had a little taste from the center and it's just as fabulous as a frozen pie.

Rather than whipped cream, I decided to make a meringue topping from all of the leftover egg whites. So to do that, I whipped the whites with cream of tartar and sugar, arranged the topping and then baked it for another 5 minutes. I'm going to ask the hostess to put it in the fridge until she serves desert so it's not sitting out.

That leaves the question of how to transport it. In the cabin of the car so it's cool in the AC, but how do I cover it? Toothpicks/ plastic wrap tent to keep it from sticking?

Key lime pie safety question

I'm thinking of making key lime pie to bring to a barbecue this weekend and I'm seeing a lot of recipes that call for a few egg yolks, lime juice, sugar and sweetened condensed milk to be mixed, poured into the crust and frozen. But the yolks aren't getting cooked, just frozen.

How is this different from eating raw yolks? Does the sugar and lime kill off any bacteria?

Mediterranean Flavors: Tzatziki

You only need to follow a recipe once or twice when making tzatziki before the process becomes almost automatic. Thick tangy yogurt; crisp, sweet cucumber; pungent garlic and dill; sunny lemon. The formula, a staging ground for countless dip platters and a condiment for the thousands of gyros dished up daily, is as familiar to us now as salsa and ketchup. And its preparation is about as intuitive—recipes matter less than solid ingredients and a willingness to dip a tasting finger along the way. More

smoking on a weber charcoal grill

i recently bought my first grill, it's a weber 22.5, it's perfect for my apt balcony. my girlfriend is really pushing me to try smoking a brisket in it, and i've been meaning to start trying to smoke in it... More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Baked Sweet Potato 'Fries'

A plain baked sweet potato is incredibly tasty, as far as I'm concerned, but Ina Garten's brown-sugared baked sweet potato fries are out of this world. Although I usually leave the peels on (out of laziness and a longstanding belief that the peels contain good stuff), they are even better peeled. With or without peeling, they come together very quickly and make a nice side for an easy and inexpensive meal of hot dogs or hamburgers. More

Really Good Brisket

Bruce and Eric Bromberg, the brothers behind the now nine-restaurant Blue Ribbon phenomenon, have eaten their fair share of brisket. After many years of it at family holiday meals, they embarked on a personal quest to create an exceptional version that wasn't a dried-out, stringy mess. In this recipe (just in time for Passover) from their soon-to-be-published Blue Ribbon Cookbook, they turn the aromatic vegetables in the pot into a luscious, full-bodied sauce for the brisket (a special touch they learned from their mom). More

Dinner Tonight: Cauliflower-Cheddar Soup

Most of the cauliflower I eat is roasted or sautéed until it's perilously close to looking burnt. It's hard to describe why it tastes so good when it looks so bad, but it really does a number on me and partly explains why it's one of my favorite things to cook. But this recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook retreats back to a time when cauliflower was treated gently and calmly. More

Cook the Book: Pork Shoulder Rillettes

The chapter devoted to all things porcine in My New Orleans by John Besh is called Boucherie, and has several delicious-sounding pork-based charcuterie projects including these Pork Shoulder Rillettes. This version slow cooks pork butt with chicken stock, lard, wine, and a few other aromatics until it's tender enough to shred into a million tasty little pieces. More

i got a meat grinder! now what?

The title pretty much tells it all. My dear boyfriend had thirty bucks off at a kitchen store, so now I have in my possession a meat grinder attachment for my stand mixer! Even better, my dear boyfriend is a... More

How to Make Olive Penguins

Penguin parts. These are probably meant for six-year olds, but they still provide me with gobs of joy. All you need is a black olive (for the penguin head), a bigger one (for the bulbous bod), a little carrot medallion (with a triangle sliced out for the beak), and a mozzarella ball (or cream cheese works). Extra credit if you can make them an edible igloo. It's pretty self-explanatory but check out mathea.tanner's adorable Flickr photos or if you really need step-by-step instructions, here you go. [Flickr: mathea.tanner] Related: Photo of the Day: Penguin Tteok... More

SE'er Food Blogs

Ok, so I already pulled a few of bitchin camero's recipes into my regular rotation, as briefly I mentioned in another thread. I know there have been other threads on what your favorite food blogs are, but I want to... More

Dan Barber Says We Need to Like Organ Meat

Duck parts. [Photograph: Chichi Wang] According to chef and food activist Dan Barber, we don't know a lot of things. We don't know where our meat comes from, we don't know what the animal we're eating ate, and we sure don't know how to get behind the stove and take control of what we put in our mouths. In this article in The Nation, Barber writes about the "protein paradox," or the huge waste of edible animal parts such as liver, kidney, and tripe. Barber really wants us to like, or learn to like, organ meat—the bits and bobs typically saved for hot dogs, sausage links, and yes, dog food. He hopes that people will eat meat modestly, and... More

Video: Alton Brown on How to Carve a Turkey

For a full step-by-step slideshow of the process, check out this post here. If you don't know how to carve a turkey, let Alton Brown show you the way. Start by cutting off the breast, then move on to the drum sticks, wings, and thighs. And then make a sandwich. Watch the video after the jump.... More