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Passover Side Dish

@littauer Steal and adapt away! Didn't mention S&P in recipe, but you'd know that.

@eliselaurel Just a last minute thought. Three peas. Frozen (or fresh if you can find them) petit pois, fresh hericot vert, fresh snow peas (sugar snaps may be too tough). Thaw petit pois and pat dry. Tip the hericot vert but leave the adorable curly tail. String the snow peas, if necessary, and slice into long slivers.

Saute the green beans and snow peas in oil of choice until tender crisp (adding a bit of water to steam-saute them, covered). Add petit pois. Warm through. Season with S&P and your Kosher of choice margarine. Top with sauteed mushrooms and/or toasted almonds.

Passover Side Dish

If it's asparagus season where you are, nothing says spring to me like asparagus. Simply roasted with oil of your choice, salt and pepper. Good at room temperature or slightly warmed at dinner site.

Or soup. Not exactly a side, but might be fun in shot glasses, which can be purchased at kitchen supply stores, Target, or on line very reasonably.

Imagine brand No-Chicken Broth is very tasty. Simmer peels (if you peel asparagus) and tough ends in broth 10 or so minutes to extract flavor. Scoop or strain out the peels. Cut the flower tips off the asparagus and simmer in the broth until just tender. Scoop out and set aside. Rough chop the remaining stems, simmer in the broth until very tender. Use a blender to make a very smooth soup (or strain if necessary). Take to your dinner in a thermos or rewarm there. Serve in shot glasses with an asparagus tip or two floating on top. Demitasse spoons can be useful.

Work Pot Luck

I love lentil soup year-round. No tomatoes is my preference, but lots of carrots, celery, and onions. Saute the vegetables in oil of your choice until they're a bit soft, otherwise I find they taste boiled and watery. Add chickpeas and/or spinach for more protein and to make it heartier. If you can find halal chicken stock, that would cover all your bases, but plain water works fine (and yet another reason to saute the vegetables -- better flavor).

Baking with cheezies?!

Pineapple: can't tell from the picture how hard or soft these are. Are they like pretzels or more airy and puffy?

The Best Cookie for an Ice Cream Sandwich

Sorry, pesky parenthesis misdirected the link to the chewy coconut cookie.
Trying again.

http://sweettreatsmore.com/2013/12/chewy-coconut-cookies/

The Best Cookie for an Ice Cream Sandwich

Traveller:

Are you making your own ice cream? That opens up a lot of possibilities. I'm suggesting store-bought below.

Soft ginger cookies with Butter Pecan ice cream
Lemon cookies with Ben & Jerry's Liz Lemon frozen yoghurt (it's lemon with blueberry-lavender swirl)
Carrot Cake cookies with Rum Raisin ice cream
Coconut cookies with Dulce de Leche ice cream (link for a coconut cookie here http://sweettreatsmore.com/2013/12/chewy-coconut-cookies/)
Plain soft chocolate cookies with Ben & Jerry Pistachio Pistachio ice cream

Like sadiepix, I think a softer cookie works best.

Suggestions for leftover jams?

I think you could make a pretty decent Asian-inspired glaze by mixing with soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, maybe some rice wine vinegar, a little oil to thin. Or turn it into a dipping sauce for egg rolls, spring rolls, won tons. Add chopped scallions to the dipping sauce. They might burn in a glaze.

Nice problem to have!

Food gift baskets for a sick friend?

Wolfermans has English muffins and tea breads, as well as gift towers.

American Spoon Fruits has wonderful preserves and relishes.

Frontier Soups offers packages of dried ingredients. Recipient has to add meats when necessary, so it's not totally hands-off, but you may want to look at their Web site.

Rossi Pasta sells dried pasta and has gift baskets.

Entertaining - Mysterious Dinner for a Group

emsey: This is such a crazy fun post!

Just wanted to give credit to Cyberoo for suggesting the Italian dinner. Totally great idea. Kristin314 mentioned the salted ham. I'm guessing the owners wanted their patrons to become thirsty and drink more! Call it the Bartender's Friend Freebie or Speakeasy Moneymaker." Paired along with the equally salty nuts and olives, could be tasty, relatively cheap, and on theme.

I'm sorry if I steered folks into an Italian/Chicago direction. Although Prohibition has been stereotyped with the Italian "mob," wasn't Prohibition nation-wide? And Gatsby -- he had the money to pay for everything and avoid the gangster connection. Haven't read the book in a long time, so feel free to correct me.

For dessert, what about lemon cake. Gatsby ordered 12 lemon cakes to sweet-talk Daisy. Or if you go with the Chicago/Italian Mob theme, maybe a tiramisu? And to combine the two thoughts, maybe a lemon tiramisu. It could be a "Pick-Me-Up-And-Then-Shoot-Me-Down dessert.

I'm not so crazy about this salad, but check it out.
http://food52.com/recipes/21872-gatsby-s-harlequin-salad

Entertaining - Mysterious Dinner for a Group

Bobby Flay on Food Network's "Bobby's Dinner Battle" recently did a Chicago speakeasy show. Here's a link. I don't know if you can view the episode at this link, but you might be able to find some recipes, table decorations, and other ideas.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/bobbys-dinner-battle/battle-chicago/index.html

Are you using a boxed murder mystery kit? If so, that would be your name. Otherwise, are you making up the murder story yourself? Knowing who is murdered and how would help with a name.

Here's a link to the Food Timeline for the twenties.
http://www.foodtimeline.org/fooddecades.html#1920s

What a fun idea! Can't wait to see what others come up with. All I can think of right now is "dead duck," but duck for 15 is pricey. Maybe rillette would be reasonable for an hors d'oeuvres.

Food souvenirs from San Francisco?

Not a food, yet food related, and not to share with your office, but you should look into these vegetable cutters for yourself (and maybe to use to make something for the office as a reminiscence of the trip). Get to China Town.

http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/town-food-equipment/37603/p375192.aspx

I have a dragon (not quite this detailed) and a fish. I use the dragon on red bell pepper (several) to top a salad, and I use the fish (3) on thinly slice carrots, poached ahead of time, floating in soup.

Use a toothpick to punch out the tiny pieces.

I've yet to try cut-outs of puff pastry. Don't know if they'll get too bloated.
Maybe just pie crust dough. Maybe raw tortillas, then fried.


Make-ahead Father's Day Brunch?

What about a muffalett-type sandwich? It actually needs to be done the day before, weighted, and refrigerated. Leave it out of the fridge while you take your bike spin so it comes to room temp. I don't care for the olive salad that is traditional, so I use a black olive spread on one half of the loaf and basil pesto on the other.

Use whatever deli meats your dad likes. Everything thinly sliced -- turkey or chicken, capicola, the mortadella with pistachios, proscuitto. Cheese, too. Provolone works well. Roasted red peppers slide around a bit, so tuck them in randomly, but definitely include them.

My recommendation is a round loaf with some top and bottom bread pulled out (save for crumbs or stuffing). Long loaves don't slice as well as a round cut into wedges.

After all that indulgence (aka salt and nitrates, but it's only once in a while), fresh fruit for dessert.

Best Frozen Spinach Brand?

If Birds Eye, as merstar suggests, is the one in the foil-covered box, that's the one we use.

Please! Don't Hate your Asparagus

We only buy locally, in season, and peel. But we certainly buy mass quantities to get our springtime fix!

Simmer the peels lightly in a little water or stock. Get all the flavor and nutrients you can. Strain. Freeze or use immediately for asparagus soup or any vegetable soup base. Do NOT put the peels or trimmed bottoms down a sink disposal. Too fibrous. Learned the hard way on that one. And we have a heavy-duty disposal. Just don't take the chance. Toss or compost.

Ideas for frozen roasted pepper sauce?

Thin it out with stock and make soup. Add sauteed onions, shredded chicken, cooked chick peas. Dunk grilled cheese sandwiches or just plain toasted bread.

Multi-Grain Muffins

Would beating the egg whites separately and then folding into the rested batter help at all?

Vegan Superbowl desserts/snacks?

This might be too late because a nice, ripe avocado usually needs time on your kitchen counter, but you might find some that are ready to go.

Chocolate-Avocado Pudding. My brother calls it Chocacado Pudding. There are lots of recipes on line, but it's basically ripe avocado, cocoa powder, vegan sweetener if you want, and either water or coconut or almond milk. Whiz in a blender until smooth. Add more liquid until you get pudding.

You can serve plain or top with fresh fruit, granola, or slivered nuts. You'll be surprised that you can't really pick out the avocado flavor. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder. The first recipe I used called for a banana, but I think that was a flavor distraction so left it out after that.

Maybe just make a small batch as a taste taste for your hostess and make something else as your main contribution.

A Chinese Food-Themed Birthday Party

Isn't giving money in a red envelope also a tradition? I've given the gold foil wrapped chocolate coins from the bulk bin at my grocery store instead of real money. Add them to your goodie bags, maybe red bags.

Love the clementines idea! Golden portends good luck.

Make a cupcake snake to celebrate the year.

Print off the story of how the animals came to represent the years. You can find several versions on-line.

Happy #1 to the little person.

Smoked Olive Oil

I just visited the La Tienda web site, and the oil is on sale for $14.80. It's 8.45 oz.

Smoked Olive Oil

It's fairly delicate, but you definitely know it's smoked. I cana't describe it, but I'm so happy I stumbled upon it. It's smoked over pine cones. I'm giving everyone a bottle for Christmas. Go to the La Tienda site and read about it under Oils and Vinegars. It would be great for dipping bread in, too.

Smoked Olive Oil

I got some from La Tienda, Spanish import store. It's delicious. The bottle is small and it's $18.50, but they often have free shipping, especially now around the holidays. Use as a finishing oil for chicken or baked sweet potato.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Holiday Food Gifting

@ lemonfair

Since you're partial to those Austrian Peaches you linked to, I thought I'd share this recipe from Ciao Chow Linda. Hers is similar to yours but uses a white creme filling, real peach leaves, and a different approach to the sugar peach "fuzz." Just for comparison's sake.

http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com/2011/06/pesche-con-crema.html

I have not made these, but every once in a while I come across a post like yours and say to myself that I really need to try to make these. I remember ordering a 6-pack for my mother years ago when she was having a special luncheon (I think from Balducci's, but I don't believe they mail order any longer).

Thanks for the reminder!

Weekend Cook and Tell: Holiday Food Gifting

Some of my friends return empty jars to me to fill up for the next year. I hated trying to get the labels off. Now I put the label on the lid since you can't reuse them anyway. Unscrew the ring, put the identification label on, rescrew the ring. I often use blank address labels with holiday artwork or fruit Just the right size for a jelly/jam jar lid. They also work great on mini tea breads that are wrapped for the freezer (because sometimes you just want to save something for February or March after the cookie frenzy dies down).

And I agree with other posters that it's nice to include some ideas for use.

New to Trader Joe's

I believe the brand name is Durot. Frozen food section. Packs of garlic, basil, or coriander puree in perhaps teaspoon portions. Nice to have on hand. Peel back the plastic sheet and pop out however many you need.

Dried blueberries.

Soup Buffet

You could also rent. You'd be surprised how reasonable that is. If you do, ask about their breakage insurance. For a few bucks, it covers you if something is chipped or broken. They also have flatware. We've rented a couple of times. You pick up, and all you have to do is rinse well and repack in the containers they give you. One time we had a chipped plate, and the insurance paid for itself. Check out their patterns online.

When we've done soup parties, we don't worry about them all being matchy-matchy. 8 of this, 6 of this. Also, you could hit up friends and family for a set of 6 or 8 bowls. If you don't have too many people, a quick sink wash will keep the clean pile stocked.

Violet Jelly -- Delicate Flavor or No Flavor?

Here's the recipe I made today, two batches. Netted 8 half-pint jars plus probably another 8 oz leftovers for me. It's a lovely lilac shade, slightly darker than the jars pictured on this blog. But I'm not tasting anything violet about it. It tastes like jellied sugar syrup.

http://www.prairielandherbs.com/violetjelly.htm

I'm so disappointed. This was going to be Easter gifts for a few friends. Are my taste buds shot, or will a day or two allow the subtle, if any, violet flavor to develop?

I used more than enough flowers, allowed one batch to steep overnight, the second to steep until cooled (at least 2 hours), then I mixed the two batches before straining and squeezing.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Cooking project for 14- and 15-year-old boys

My friend is a single mom with 14-and 15-year-old sons. She loves to cook; I love to cook; I know the boys love to eat. I'd like to organize a cooking afternoon for all of us, but I'm not sure what would capture their interest and/or teach them something.

Not knowing their level of kitchen skills, I thought I'd get your thoughts before I approach mom. A pot of soup might be boring, but several dozen pot stickers might be too tedious (although I have a cheap plastic pirogi press that I'm not ashamed to use!)

What might be a couple of things I could suggest to mom? I don't want to deep fry nor make sushi. The kids are heavily into meat, grilled steaks. I would like to introduce them to more vegetables.

Mac and cheese is too predictable. Maybe stir-fry or spring rolls?

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks.

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