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Everything posted by chickenlady

  1. "The Delightful Delicious Daylily" by Peter Gail. Includes soon-to-be-classic recipes*, such as Daylily Stuffed Tomatoes, Daylily Blueberry Pancakes, Aspic-Filled Daylily Blossoms. Unfortunately, after reading about the swollen testicles suffered by one Daylily gourmand, my husband has lost some enthusiasm for this cookbook. *Yes, I know Daylilies are widely consumed in Asian Cuisine. An Asian cookbook about Daylilies would not be strange. Daylily Blueberry Pancakes? Strange!
  2. Andrea, I'd like to thank you for such a wonderful book. My husband is half Vietnamese, born in Thailand and moved to Orange County around the time that your family did. We browsed through the book together last night, and he was so excited to see recipes that his mother used to frequently prepare. Plus, his mother did not talk to him about Vietnam, wishing him to grow up a "typical American boy", so it was a very moving glimpse into what her life must have been like. We can't wait to get started cooking from it!
  3. chickenlady

    Curing olives

    Thanks for the info--I'm not sure how I got their web address saved wrong in my favorites. Anyway, they're opening their site for ordering tomorrow, so just in time. I'll also check out the other resources too.
  4. chickenlady

    Curing olives

    I set a reminder in my calendar to try to purchase raw, uncured olives around this time, but the Penna website seems to be down. Anyone know what's going on with them or know of any alternate sources? Thanks, Julie - who sincerely regrets not taking advantage of all those olive trees when she lived in Southern California instead of Upstate NY!!
  5. As one who is fascinated with all things Russian (I was briefly a Russian Studies/Language major in college, but gave up that idea after only learning how to say "Hello. How are you? I am six." after 3 semesters of study. Although, it's possible that too much partying got in the way of my studies. ), I have to say fascinating blog so far, Alina. Thanks! One question about your kitchen: Your cabinets look very much like the ones I saw in Germany. It seems that in the area I visited, it was common to supply your own kitchen cabinets, counters, and appliances, along with closets and even, in some cases, interior walls, when renting an apartment. Is this the case there? (As a completely off-topic aside, the upstairs landlady absolutely forbade any additional people from taking showers each day, particularly not water-hogging Americans, so my boyfriend and I had to go to the Base gymnasium to bathe each morning!!) Thanks again! Your photos and the food look fabulous!
  6. Is it a rosette iron? I have to admit that I've picked up several at antique stores because they're so beautiful and they bring back memories of making them with my German grandmother. I've also got some that you can use to make little shells for filling. I keep thinking that some day I'll use them, but even if I don't I still love them. Brilliant! My husband gave me a fish poacher for Christmas 4 years ago and I have yet to use it. I feel guilty everytime I see it, but it is next to impossible to get whole fish here, or even long fillets. The pork loin is brilliant, and I happen to have just purchased a whole one. I love my mezzaluna, too. I can get the same effect with a knife, but there's something so satisfying about using the mezzaluna. Other than the rosette irons and fish poacher, I use most of my gadgets, although not as often as I should. A few that I haven't used yet (mini muffin tins, mini bundt tins, mini cheesecake tins, mini tart molds... Sensing a theme?), I fully intend to use. I just need the right occasion. Oh, I've never used the "Slice-a-Slice" that I searched all over the Western Slope of Colorado for on my last vacation. But how can you not love it?
  7. Thanks for the tips, everyone. I haven't tackled the beast yet, but am planning on cutting it into roasts for maximum flexibility. I haven't taken it out of the plastic yet, but it looks the same on both ends. Several of you mentioned irregular or fatty ends. Will these become apparant when I unwrap it? Also, thanks for the great cooking ideas. One question: can I use loin interchangeably with tenderloin? I know there would be significant differences in cooking times for roasts, but what about recipes that call for it sliced into bite size pieces? I have never even heard of such a thing, but clearly you've made a study. I guess we'll have to try it out.
  8. Due to a great deal through my co-op, I am now the proud owner of a really big big piece of pork. I knew I was buying 8.5 pounds of pork loin, but for some reason I thought I would know what to do with it once I got it. Well, I am clueless! Right now it's packaged as one large piece in plastic. I would like to portion it into manageable servings and freeze those. I have a vacuum sealer. My question is how should I cut it up? Chops? Roasts? How big? How thick? I really have no inkling on this. Anyone have any suggestions or advice? Please be explicit--I am a recovering vegetarian and have never before purchased or prepared pork loin. Thanks! Edited to add that we are a family of four: 2 adults & 2 toddlers, if that makes any difference.
  9. I know I've seen it at several of the shops around Marché Jean-Talon.
  10. We've also been loving the blackcaps this year. The extra dose of rain has made them much plumper and juicier than usual. We're picking about a quart every three days. They're naturalizing like crazy along the edges of our neighbor's "back 40", an area they only use to dispose of rusty autos, old fireplaces, and tires. Earlier this year the wild strawberries were also fabulous. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of showing the neighbor kids where they were and they would eat them all every morning before catching the school bus. We went up for blueberries last weekend, but they're still at least another week off. Blackberries are usually ready around the same time. I know there are tons more wild foods to be had in the area (including fiddleheads, morels, chanterelles, and ramps). I'd really like to learn more about the possibilities. Hhmmm... I have a bookstore coupon. Maybe I'll go check out some books this morning.
  11. My most embarrassing restaurant moment was on a blind date. My best friend set me up with her boyfriend's roommate, a UCLA law student. He must be intellegent and a hard worker, right? Well, the second we showed up at his door it was immediately obvious that he had been partying for a while already. This is where I should have gone home. Instead, we all squeezed into her boyfriend's miniature sports car and off to the restaurant. Now it wasn't a fancy place, more of a touristy seafood restaurant in one of those marina malls overlooking the harbor, but still... First, as we walk in, he charges through the door, releasing it just in time for it to swing shut and hit me squarely in the face. Next, he tries to order more drinks, repeatedly and loudly. He's only 20 and the waitress is having none of it, but he won't let it go. More follows with rude comments about fish, hitting on the same (by now, very annoyed) waitress, and general juvenile behavior; I just wanted to crawl under the table. Finally, the check comes and he informs us that he doesn't have any money and goes to the bathroom. Presumably to vomit. My friend and I had to dig through the bottoms of our purses and even went out to the car to scrounge through the ashtrays for extra money to cover the check. (Even her boyfriend didn't have any money!! ) I was so afraid I was going to have to call my mom to come pay our bill!! We managed to just cover it, but I know we left a really shoddy tip for the poor abused waitress. I was so embarrassed, I don't think I ever even set foot in that mall again. Friend apologized profusely afterwards. Some things are unforgiveable.
  12. Gilroy Garlic Festival is always a classic, and it's coming up soon. Where else can you taste garlic ice cream (surprisingly refreshing served in half a cantaloupe) and garlic wine (as bad as it sounds). Plus it's a gorgeous stretch of California to visit. (Tip: if you're camping the night after attending, be sure to leave your rainfly unzipped! ) Saveur Magazine also publishes a list of events, food festivals and other dates of notes in the "Fare" section in the beginning of each magazine. I'd tend to view those as reliably quality events. Maybe you could check out back issues. You can also find quite a few sites with fairly extensive listings by Googling "Food Festivals". I know websites don't help you much with the quality issue. If only you knew of a website where you could bounce your ideas around with a lot of dedicated and knowledgeable food-obsessed people from all over the world...
  13. Yeah, I had this in Barcelona and have been whipping it up ever since. Super tasty and simple. ← We make this all the time with the overabundant Swiss chard from our garden. It's also delicious stuffed into chicken breasts. While I do enjoy raisins in things, particularly savory-type dishes, I absolutely refuse to eat them out of hand. Last year my toddler learned how to raid the cupboard for raisins, her favorite snack. Let's just say that she can't keep her misdeeds a secret for very long...
  14. So did you take the mulberries? What did you do with them? Last weekend we were visiting some friends and they were talking about this strange tree in their yard. Looks like Cousin It, but they had no idea what it was. My husband was practically beside himself with joy--its a mulberry!!! Four adults and four toddlers hovered around the tree for nearly 30 minutes snatching the ripe berries and jamming them in our mouths as fast as possible. Unfortunately, these friends are moving downstate this weekend, so the joy with our find has been short-lived. I am now obsessed with growing my own mulberry tree.
  15. On the other hand, this is a great way to to learn more about that ingredient you might not love. (I'm the type who never completely crosses something off her list; although, I recognize that everyone is not this way.) Or a great excuse to splurge on that special item you would never prepare normally. I used to be a vegetarian, and even though I eat meat now, I still tend to gravitate to vegetarian recipes. But a couple years ago I made a bit of a project of a Julie Sahni book, in the process discovering that I absolutely adore lamb.
  16. Thanks for the recap. When I was attending, I, too, found that most of the products were completely ho-hum--tasteless, tacky, or just boring. But, boy, that 1% or so was truly breathtaking. Searching for the treasures is the fun! The first year I went it seemed like olives were the big thing. By the end, I didn't think I'd ever be able to eat another olive. Two years ago, lots of high-end chocolate. Last year, it seemed like everyone was doing teas. By the way, the stupidest promo I received was a really delicious, unusual tea. We probably would have ordered it for our store, but there wasn't a single identifying mark on the package!!! Are they allowing people to take samples out this year? They've always posted that samples can't be removed, but it seems like they haven't been enforcing it. The first year I went everyone had to turn out their bags and pockets. Last year, late on the final day we were placing an order with Haram-Christianson, I think. I was picking up items off the display to read labels, and one of the reps ran over, snatched a box from my hands and admonished, "These are not free samples, you know." After getting over my shock and explaining who I was, we laughed about it. It seems that people had been completely looting the booth all afternoon and they were supposed to be heading to another show immediately following.
  17. I think before you can pick a book to cook through, you need to decide what your goal is. Do you want to learn a specific cuisine or technique? Basic or all-around cooking skills? What do you want to eat? I did something similar when I was learning to cook bread, systematically working my way through several different bread books. Working with several different books allowed me to compare and better understand techniques. While I'm certainly not an expert bread baker, I am very comfortable and can improvise or even create my own loaves based on the techniques I learned. Also, it was fun and gave me a great sense of purpose in the kitchen.
  18. Boo-hoo! This is the first show I've missed in several years. One thing I learned about pacing: don't eat the bread/crackers. We always just ate the actual sample (jam/spread/cheese/etc.) off and threw away the base. Once we learned that, we were a lot happier. But I know what you mean about going home hungry. There's something vaguely unsatisfying about nibbling on bits of this and that with no rhyme or reason. So what new and interesting products or trends are you seeing this year? Any "wows"? Every year we waded through aisle upon aisle to make a few really spectacular discoveries.
  19. My favorite tea brand is Kusmi-Tea, a company which began in Russia, then relocated to France during the Russian Revolution. I haven't tried one of their blends that I haven't liked. Unfortunately, my husband broke my teapot, so I've been resigned to drinking the few teas I have in bags (Yorkshire Red, mostly) while I plot my next trip to Montreal for a replacement. Before I found Kusmi-Tea, I mostly stocked Taylors of Harrogate and some Republic of Tea, although I find many of their blends too fruity for my taste. The author of that article isn't kidding about the explosion of tea purveyors at the Fancy Food Show. Absolutely huge last year, but it seemed a large number of the tea folks were more focused on packaging vs. quality teas.
  20. Raspberries pretty much look after themselves. And they'll take over anywhere they can--plant them in a dedicated bed. Check with your Extension office to find recommended raspberry varieties. (Here's information for Oregon gardeners: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/html/ec/ec1306/ .) Also, you'll need to know if you have a summer bearing or fall bearing variety. Summer bearing varieties fruit on 2-year-old wood, so you'll want to prune out only the old wood. Fall bearing varieties fruit on new wood, so you prune them to the ground each year (easier, but in a cold climate like mine, there's always the chance the weather will turn before you get fruit.)
  21. chickenlady

    Ziploc omelet

    Hmmm... I've never found an extension cord long enough for this when I'm camping! I know, I know. If you're doing it at home. (FoodSaver bags are supposed to be safe for boiling.) But my honest question is how would you keep the the the liquid from being sucked up into the machine? Oh, wait--you would just seal it with out sucking out the air, right? Duh! ilively, great idea about the stick. That would help keep track of how long each bag has been cooking, too.
  22. Wow! An overwhelming number of these retro dishes were our take-out bestsellers I was managing a gourmet food store last year. And we almost always did shrimp cocktail or some variation when catering. People adore it!! I don't know the name of the retro food I most remember (this was during the 70s). Grind ham in a hand crank meat grinder, then mix with mayo, pimentos, pickles(?), and orange cheese. Spread on crackers or use in sandwiches. I remember making this with my mom regularly and we usually had a tub of this meat spread in our fridge. I loved it, although it sounds ghastly now. Guess I better find out from mom what this actually was.
  23. Where is there an IKEA in Long Beach?? There wasn't one when I was there!! We used to buy Hafi Gooseberry and Cloudberry preserves for really cheap when we went to IKEA. It was a couple dollars per vs. the nearly $10 our local gourmet sells it for. Of course that several years ago. Was that in Torrance?? We'd always also stop in for lunch when we shopped, but that was when I was a vegetarian, so I've never had their meatballs. I hear there's an IKEA in Montreal, but, what with crowds, traffic & children, we haven't been there yet. Actually, children may be the best reason to shop there...
  24. The most recent place I ate out, probably the nicest restaurant in our very limited area, the waitress immediately noticed the wobble in the table (it was slight, and I probably wouldn't have said anything, although it probably would have become annoying as the meal progressed) and fixed it in seconds without a big to-do. More than the quite decent lamb and wine, I will remember her quick attention to a small personal comfort detail and willingness to personally fix it. So personal attention, making me feel welcome, getting my order right, cleanliness, GOOD FOOD: all good. Dirty/understocked bathrooms (I recently attended a training at a banquet facility that would still be out of T.P. immediately after restrooms had been cleaned!!!! The follow-up training is being moved to a different facility, in part due to this [also, they knew our daily agenda and the bathrooms were inevitably closed for "cleaning" during every break]), stickiness/greasiness anywhere, rudeness, music too loud, too dim if I'm dining with family (I don't have a problem with my eyes, but I feel bad for my grandmother when I have to read her the menu.). Oh yeah, probably the most frequent gripe I have when dining out is that I'm unsually freezing. I know this is tricky, and maybe I just have the bad luck of always being seated underneath the air conditioner, but I shouldn't have to wear my jacket. Wow, that was a lot of complaining. I guess when it comes down to it, the food has to be good, but even with fabulous food, I won't return unless I felt I was respected and valued as a customer.
  25. chickenlady

    Ziploc omelet

    We do this all the time when we're camping--it's definitely not up to the standards of a "real" omelet, but everything tastes good when you're camping! Actually, they're not at all bad, and lots fun on camping trips where the kids outnumber the adults by a large margin. We always cook up lots of possible toppings in advance--roasted peppers, bacon, cheeses, onions, sausage, herbs, mushrooms, whatever--and set up an omelet station. First, write your name in permanent marker (we've never had problems with the ink washing off), then crack in your eggs, add toppings, and drop in the pot of water. Gives the kids a great sense of ownership and the adults don't have to eat food with smiley faces. It seems like it always takes us longer to cook than we think it should; not sure if this is due to high altitude or simmering vs. boiling water. It's nothing I'd do at home, but, again, great for camping.
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