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Everything posted by EllenC

  1. Thank you so much! I will let her know. Ellen
  2. Thanks for the reply. She knows how to make it, because we use homemade here all the time. But she doesn't want to wait months for it to develop flavor. I was hoping there was just some local difference in shopping she wasn't picking up on... Ellen
  3. My daughter is working as a nanny in Bonn and can't seem to find vanilla extract in the stores. I hesitate to ship alcohol via mail (especially internationally), so I am wondering if she is missing it or there is some trick to finding it? Please help, she's whining... Thanks! Ellen
  4. Stuartlikesstrudel - (mmmm strudel!) This is the one time I actually use my microwave. I throw a potato or two - depending on how many I am serving - into the microwave until almost cooked and then peel and grate them on the biggest grater I have. Toss with butter, salt and pepper and lightly press them into the pan. Put in the fillings and eggs like usual and bake. I don't know about healthier, but it tastes good and saves me from making a pastry crust. And I always have potatoes on hand.
  5. The people in my life are always happy to have Breakfast for dinner. Quiche made with a grated potato crust and some spinach and cheese is good with a salad. But waffles or pancakes and bacon or sausage are always a hit. The ingredients are always around and easy to throw together at a moments notice. And it's an easy one to let people help make. That makes them feel special and you get more time to talk.
  6. Yajna Patni, thank you. That's how I feel about it. I don't want "kiddie" drinks and I want to learn to make drinks that taste good. I am starting some syrups. Thanks for the ideas. Where do I find Elder Flower?
  7. Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that. I will have to look more carefully.
  8. I can get bitters. That LLB sounds good. Thank you Shalmanese! And I already have pineapple juice so that's two new drinks. Thanks jrshaul. I will have to look at some of the infused syrups. I may have to experiment on an orange syrup. Any more?
  9. I know this forum is for spirits and cocktails, so I hope this topic won't be amiss. I don't drink alcohol. Believe me, the world is a better place because I don't drink. Not just for me but for anyone who comes in contact with me. You're just gonna have to trust me on that. Lately, I have been looking at techniques bartenders use to improve the taste of my drinks. I have seen a couple of topics where non-alcohol drinks have been discussed. What I'm looking for now are ideas to make my drinks taste better without adding any form of liquor. For example, today I bought myself a cocktail shaker. I pounded a few ice cubes with my handy (clean!) meat mallet. Then I squeezed a half lemon into the shaker, poured in some simple syrup and shook vigorously for a bit. Strained that into a martini glass and twisted a bit of lemon zest over it. It's the best lemonade I've ever made. What are some other ideas for improving my drinks? Thanks, Ellen
  10. I don't think the texture will be compromised byyour cream cheese. My recipe uses cream cheese and cottage cheese. I run it through the blender and don't bother to strain because it's oh soo smooth. I use a spring form pan and no water bath. The center finishes cooking after I take it out of the oven. I haven't seen organic cream cheese here. Perhaps a new excuse to shop? Ellen
  11. I grow tomatoes and I never seem to have enough. When I am thinking about sharing, I usually ask first how much the person likes tomatoes. If they love them, I share with no strings. I figure they will use them in a way that makes them most happy and that makes me happy. If they are so-so or don't care for tomatoes, I find another way to bless them with something from my home. Then I stop worrying about it. If they tell me what they did with them, I ask how much they enjoyed it. Then I join in their happiness with them. If they say they let them rot, I find something else to give them next time.
  12. I pray at home before meals. I expect that others will respect that it's my home and be respectful during the prayer. It's brief and free form - I like to hope that means inspired. I don't ask someone else to pray at my table unless I know they are very comfortable with it. I don't pray in restaurants - I guess because I don't feel comfortable pushing my beliefs on others - or maybe because I'm am not the host usually. When at someone else's home, I follow thier custom because I care for them and respect them. I have occasionally seen other pray at a restuarant. It bothers me when they seem to be making a production of it.
  13. Tupperware parties still happen. At least in this part of the country. They are fewer and farther between, and have to compete with Mary Kay, Stampin Up, jewelry and candles, but I get a couple of invites a year. Here is the official site: http://order.tupperware.com/coe/app/home
  14. Eel sauce? sounds quite interesting. Brand name or source? I buy eel sauce at the Asian Market down the street. It's on the right hand side of the third aisle on the right. <grin> Since that may no be helpful to you, let's see if I can post a picture...
  15. I buy dried wild mushrooms from Costco. Then I grind them in the coffee grinder I use for spices. I throw them in a LOT of stuff - homemade hamburgers, meat loaf, gravies, sauces, pretty much anything that needs that extra flavor.
  16. Ground Dried Mushrooms. I also use garlic powder and onion powder. And I use eel sauce anytime someone else would use steak sauce or bbq sauce - say in homemade hamburgers or meatloaf. Don't tell my daughter. The idea of eating eel sauce makes her want to hurl.
  17. EllenC

    My First Duck

    Thanks everybody. Definitely having duck for dinner tomorrow. I am excited to try some of these ideas. Ellen
  18. EllenC

    My First Duck

    I've had smoked duck once - it was good but I don't have a smoker. I have never cooked duck before. I was in the store the other night and they had frozen ducks. So I figured, "what the heck?" I bought one. Would anyone like to give me some tips? I don't have a mass of fat, so confit probably isn't an option, but maybe... I was thinking of seared breast, but how do I flavor that? Skin on or off? What about the legs/thighs? Is roasting good? I make this butter with mustard and thyme - could I smear them with that and roast? I live by myself so I want to experiment with a couple of things in case I decide to do this for company, but I would like some ideas. Thanks, Ellen
  19. For the last couple of years I have been a volunteer cooking instructor for a women's group at my church. Knowing the abilities of your students is crucial. I am adament that the class should take about an hour and never more than an hour and a half. Because most of the women who have been coming are relatively ... uhm ... shall we say "tentative" in the kitchen, I focused on teaching skills and basic knowledge. I also try to introduce them to new tastes and products. We did an entire class on condiments and sauces. They tried ponzu, sirracha, etc. but the one they liked best was equal parts mustard and grape jelly. You never know. I try to make sure there are two to three things on the "menu" that demonstrate related techniques or flavors. And I practice to make sure they fit the equipment and time I have. I hope that helps. Good luck! Ellen
  20. I hand out full sized candy bars. Kids should know they are special. Tonight is a church party and Sunday I will hand out more.
  21. Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I was thinking the extra chocolate for the flavor and hopefully to get them to sink less. The cupcakes will be normal size. Maybe I will just put a thin layer of ganache on top before I frost with whipped cream. I am baking tonight!
  22. Sorry! I should be more clear. I would freeze the cherries and then dip them in chocolate. Freeze again before setting them in the cupcakes. That would give a gooey chocolate layer to the inside. (I hope!) Cherries dropping to the bottom of the cupcake is a problem I agree. I am hoping that if I set them on top of the batter they will drop slowly enough and the batter will rise up around them so they end up in the middle. I thought I had seen a recipe - of course I can't find it now - that had you set Hershey Kisses on top of unbaked cupcakes to make a kind of poor man's molten lava cake? I was hoping for that type of effect...
  23. A friend from work is putting together a birthday party for his wife and I agreed to do some cupcakes for the party. One of the things I want to do is Black Forest cupcakes. I have a terrific devil's food cake recipe and some amazing sour cherries in the freezer (right next to the Amaretto). I was thinking that I would thicken the cherries a bit with a taste of Amaretto and then encase globs of them in chocolate. Drop those filled balls into the middle of the cupcake and bake. Then frost with a stabilized whipped cream. Does anyone see a problem with this plan? Thanks for the help! Ellen
  24. Quiche. I make mine with shredded baked potatoes instead of crust. With some sausage, green onion and cheese. Real men eat that. I just use baked potatoes and shred them in the grater. Brust the pan and the potatoes with butter and salt and pepper them. Then pour whipped eggs with some cream on top and add sausage, green onion and your cheese of choice. Or spinach and feta. Or bacon and cheddar. I usually make a couple of varieties and I never have leftovers. Have fun!
  25. I agree that's a hugh amount of gelatin. I would bloom a tsp of gelatin in a Tbsp of water. Then heat it just until the gelatin dissolves. As you whip your cream, add the gelatin just before the cream is as whipped as you want. The rest of the recipe is fine. Adding the gelatin to the cream will keep it from siezing the chocolate and still allow it to help with the structure of the mousse. I would pipe it into the serving cups and store it in the refrigerator. People ooh and aah over chocolate bowls in this application. Just my thoughts. Ellen
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