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Posts posted by ninetofive

  1. I ended up doing an okay job of it, although I suspect I'd flunk on the loin section cuts. The meat was very tasty, but there wasn't much of it. It was either a slender rabbit, or we need to cook two (or more) for dinner next time.

  2. I have a whole rabbit in my fridge that needs to be cut up for a recipe tonight. I thought one of my Time-Life Good Cook books had a butchering diagram, but alas, no.

    Any cutting tips or a cookbook you could recommend that has good pictures?

  3. Great ideas here. At times in my life I've had limited funds for food. Here are some hints, many of which I still use today:

    1. Make your own staples. Bread, for example, is ridiculously easy and cheap to make, and whatever comes out of your kitchen tastes far better than most of what you can buy at the supermarket. On the weekends, we make a few batches of pizza dough around here, portion them into freezer bags, and stick them in the freezer for quick weeknight meals. I make pizza sauce from on-sale canned tomatoes in the winter, which is then frozen in 1-cup containers. During the summer, I can tomato sauce from tomatoes I get from my small garden, as well as from friends and family. This canned sauce usually gets us through the early part of winter. Our pizza is so good we never get takeout anymore. Today, with a bigger budget, I still make my own yogurt, using nothing more than a Mason jar wrapped in a dishtowel (along with organic milk) because I can't stand spending $1 for an itty-bitty carton of yogurt.

    2. Buy spices at ethnic markets. Those little itty bottles of spice you get at the supermarket are a ripoff. For example, a jar of 10 or 12 cinnamon sticks might run me $5, but I can go across the street to the indian market and get a bag of 50 sticks for $2.99. (And it tends to be fresher.)

    3. Forage. OK, it's a little offbeat but I started doing it when I noticed Whole Foods was selling organic dandelion greens for something like $2.99/pound. Hey, we've got a huge lawn and we don't use chemicals -- free dandelions, as well as lamb's quarters, purslane, and a bunch of other yummy greens, not to mention raspberries and elderberries growing nearby (jam!). There are lots of books, Internet resources, and classes with experts to teach you more. (I just joined a mycological society to learn about mushrooms, yikes!)

    4. Do your own canning/preserving. I admit, this takes time, but if you get a free or cheap bushel of tomatoes or cukes, knowing how to put them up will save you some money. Also, the equipment is pretty cheap -- try tag sales or eBay -- you can even jerryrig a stockpot for water bath canning.

    5. I agree with the crock pot/pressure cooker recommendations. If you are in a place where there are yard/tag sales, you will always find crock pots for sale. But even if you have to pay retail, they're pretty cheap. I prefer pressure cooking -- I have a Kuhn Rikon and love it, but it was expensive. However, I can with it, save energy with it, make cheap beans with it, and cook inexpensive cuts of meat with it, so I'm sure it has paid for itself. Perhaps put it on your birthday list?

    6. Use everything. For example, if I'm cutting veggies up for a dish, any scraps, bits and pieces go into a freezer bag for stock -- onion skins, carrot tops, etc. (Thomas Keller would barf, oh well.) Same with chicken. No piece goes to waste. Shrimp shells get saved for stock.

    7. Scan the front page of the sale fliers. That's where supermarkets advertise their loss leaders, the stuff they price so cheap just to draw you into the store. They also put this stuff on the endcaps (5 boxes of Barilla pasta for $1, for example.) I used to use coupons, but they seem so geared toward overprocessed food, I now skip them.

    8. Garden or make friends with a gardener. I'd add join a CSA, but a season's share can run from $300 to $800 and up.

    That's all I can think of now ... good luck!

  4. Our CSA in the northwest suburbs sells them. You could try searching Localharvest.com for farms/CSAs near you and give them a call.

    We were at the farmer's market in Cambridge's Central Square last week and one of the vendors was selling them.

    The good news is once you locate a source, you will start seeing farm-fresh eggs for sale everywhere. The bad news: it's impossible to go back to store-bought eggs, especially for omelets, scrambles, etc. :raz:

  5. I hate okra.  There, I said it.  I can't stand the sight of it. When I hear the word okra, I think Slimy.  I couldn't even imagine or remember the taste (which was at least 40 yrs ago), all i think is yuk, slimy, no thank you.

    Can you make me a non-hater of okra?

    I am a reformed okra hater. Had same issues -- slimy, yukky, disgusting. Then I had fried okra down south. Yum. Then gumbo -- double yum.

    For me, it's all in the preparation. You can see from the pictures Monica knows how to treat her pods, so I'd take her up on her offer. :biggrin:

  6. Monica, you are very naughty pulling me away from work.


    I am here, just not posting a lot. Because, believe me, I'd like nothing better to talk food all day, esp. since I'm trying to finish writing a diet book (boo, hiss).

    Hey, I have a question -- on the first day of your blog, you posted a photo of colorful tidbits that looked like rice puffs, and then you deep-fried them. Pray tell, what are they? I've never seen them in the stores around here.


  7. I am forever grateful to Monica for turning me on to fresh curry leaves. The difference in my Indian cooking is amazing.

    I get a little baggie of them from a local Indian market. A tip I learned from one of my cookbooks is to take them out of the baggie, wipe off all moisture, wrap them in a fresh paper towel and store in a ziplock baggie in my fridge's veggie drawer. They stay fresh for weeks. No watering required. :rolleyes:

    OK, can't wait to see your dinner pics, Monica.

  8. The reason I ask is that I make a lot of fruit leathers for my son, esp. during the summer when we have tons of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. We have a dehydrator that makes things very easy, and I can control the sugar and whatever else goes into the puree. I think last year I did a banana-sweetened strawberry fruit leather that my son loved. When I come down to DC this summer I'll bring some.

  9. Hey, Monica -- look forward to reading your food blog this week! :biggrin:

    What do I put for snacks in my son's lunch box? Well, this a.m. it was Snappea Crisps, which I get at Trader Joe's and homemade apple sauce I made up this weekend. (Super easy -- core and cut up apples, throw in a pot with some apple juice/cider, cinnamon and cloves and cook down for 30 minutes, then run through a food mill -- voila, apple sauce. And the apples were so sweet I didn't need sugar.)

    I also give him a couple of Newman's Own chocolate ABC cookies.

    Love the henna!


  10. OK, the next experiment: veal liver. I had a slice that was about 3/4" thick, so I sliced that in half horizontally. Put lots of butter in the pan, got it nice and hot. Seasoned liver with kosher salt and pepper, and in it went. I did the first side for 3 minutes, but I think that was a little too long, given my slice was less than 1/2" thick, so the next side I did for two minutes.

    Moment of truth. I admit I sat in front of my plate like a recalictrant child for a few minutes, too frightened to take a bite. But I cut a tiny portion, liked the texture and look and popped it in. Oh no, that flavor -- it all came back to me... that metallic primal blood taste. But thirty something years later, I have something I didn't have back then: a palate. The liver was definitely lacking something -- some tartness? Acid? So I cut up a lemon, gave it a liberal squeeze over the liver and tasted again. MUCH better.

    I'm about halfway done with it. Each mouthful is a little easier. I do like the texture. Next time I think I'll cook it a little less -- that may be why the mineral taste is more pronounced?

    With the other half of the liver, still uncooked, I'm thinking of grinding up and mixing it in with some ground beef for a meatloaf mixture.

    Not sure I'll ever order calves liver off a menu, but if I were starving, I know I'd have no trouble getting it down! :wink:

  11. Will do, JohnnyD -- I'll try to post some pictures at some point. Just forgive me my lack of a terrine -- I'm molding it in a smallish metal loaf pan.

    The recipe, if you're interested, is from The Good Cook's volume on Terrines, Pates, and Galantines, pg. 101, Chicken Liver Terrine with Black Peppercorns. I did get brave and take a little taste of the chilled raw liver puree. Had a nice meaty flavor, not the mineral/feral taste I remember from childhood. Another plus: I caught early that it needed more seasoning, so in went some more kosher salt.

    OK, time for its next bath ... this time a 1 1/2 hour bain marie. Ah, the life of a chicken liver!

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