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Everything posted by Katherine

  1. The acid you add to homemade mayonnaise does not kill pathogenic bacteria, though it will retard their growth somewhat. Don't count on it to save you from contaminated eggs. I keep homemade mayonnaise in the refrigerator until it spoils, then I chuck it. In the winter it lasts two weeks, and in the summer for one. Then it gets moldy, on the surface and throughout. Ick. Eat it fresh.
  2. You use the water from that 180F spigot for making a cup of coffee in your little one cup melitta that sits on top of your mug.
  3. Most people in America do want their children to be served healthy foods at school, and they have a pretty good idea of what's healthy and what's not. The problem is that this is all theoretical to them. In reality, most people eat not only eat lots of fast food, sugary drinks, and snack/junk foods themselves, but they consider these foods to be the appropriate foods to serve children. So many children rarely eat fresh foods at all. Given a choice, they will choose to buy fries or corn chips with cheese at school over the somewhat more nutritious meal which is served. (Yes, I see this at the schools I work at, table after table of chips and fries.) So on the one hand, you have a "movement" (pitiful though it is) to serve quality foods in schools, talked up by people who rarely eat this way themselves, and never feed their own kids this way. On the other hand, you have school kids who can't be forced to eat anything they don't want to, and won't eat good stuff, even if their parents pack it for them. But when it comes down to it, nobody's going to be willing to pay what it would cost to serve good, fresh food anyway, so this is all moot. A woman I have worked with, who takes all kinds of weird supplements and lectures me on sustainable agriculture, and how we should all be eating organic all the time - eats mostly junk food herself, and got upset when the cafeteria wouldn't give her (diabetic) son two starchy entrees, when he wouldn't take the vegetable or fruit. She just saw it as interfering with his freedom of choice. For most people, balanced diets are good in theory, just so long as they never interfere with anybody's freedom to choose to eat whatever they please. So it'll never work here. I packed my own daughter lunch every day she was at my house, and she got what she wanted, so I know she always ate it. Peanut butter for four years? No problem. When she got older, she got attractive plates of leftovers. She's since thanked me for it. All around her kids were bringing in lunchables or discarding "healthy meals" packed by a well-meaning parent, who decided to give their child variety, and ended up making the meal seem just weird.
  4. My own ex-FIL, a traditional Mainer, would do the two-sink wash. He was proud of being what he considered to be the fastest dishwasher in the state, a title I guess he earned while washing dishes at a frat house while he was in college. Of course, the glasses never got scrubbed out, so they all had an opaque, waxy coating on the inside, ick! His own sister would clean all the glasses when she came to visit. One year I was having friends to visit in the summer place. I took down all the dishes from the open shelves in the pantry and scrubbed them clean before replacing them. My MIL came in, looked, and was dumbfounded. She'd never seen the glasses gleam before... So it's definitely not just the British.
  5. You are right. Fresh pasta on the brain.
  6. Recipe? Boil fresh pasta in salted water. Drain. Dump in bowl. Pour over EVOO. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
  7. Katherine


    My mother put them in beef stew whenever they were available. Yum. I like them steamed and mashed with heavy cream and butter. Aaahh...
  8. My electric pressure cooker uses hardly any water. I can boil a cup of beans in less than two cups of water for an hour, and at that time there is still liquid left. Of course, that's not what the directions in the owner's manual say to do. They want me to boil the beans in four times as much water, with oil floating on it, and then throw away the liquid. But I've found that as long as I don't presoak the beans (which causes foaming), this works fine for me.
  9. Crush them up and add to vanilla ice cream. Pack into a chocolate crumb pie crust. Serve with caramel sauce and whipped cream. Or mix into bavarian cream. Seriously, do you want to make these babies from scratch? Why? Unless you're an experienced candymaker, it's going to be more trouble than it's worth.
  10. I recently started dyeing my hair red (to coordinate with my freckles), and the color I bought at the supermarket doesn't look remotely natural (at least I don't think so). In particular, around the hairline, due to the sequence of application and the amount of gray, the color is somewhere between magenta and burgundy. This would not be too noticeable, except that I wear my hair up most of the time. At a St Patrick's day food schmooze, a woman said to me, "You must be Irish, you have red hair." What I thought was, "You must be colorblind." Everybody I tell this too gets a huge kick out of it, because the hair's a little weird.
  11. They had a Polish festival in the town where I grew up. They called them galumpkis there.
  12. I've got to watch out for you.
  13. Yes. In fact, most of the packages of bacon in the bin is closer to 2/3 fat and I have to hunt for a package with only 50%. I think you should try for the fattier meat. The fat is the component that causes crispness. Think of what would happen if you put a veal cutlet, plain, in the oven on 350º for an hour. It would be tough and dry.
  14. Yes, a "stuffed omelet" is a "filled omelet" in which someone has put more filling than you would like.
  15. Hm. I thought pre-cooked (basically, leftover instead of made for the purpose) potatoes were hashbrowns as well. I thought that was what I was saying, at least it was what I intended to convey, since the word "hash" itself refers to leftovers that are chopped or smashed up and fried together. Homefries would have been pan-fried from raw potatoes, and hashbrowns from precooked. But this definition is probably before any of our times, and now "hash brown" and "home fry" are used interchangeably at many restaurants (in my area) to refer to the potato cubes found on breakfast plates (hopefully hot, hopefully brown, hopefully seasoned, but often none of the above), while the shredded type of potato - patty or loose shreds - is only ever called "hash browns". At my house we do occasionally have leftover mashed potatoes, which we fry in a pan for breakfast, stirring a few times to get plenty of brown crust. These we call "refried mashed potatoes".
  16. Yes, unanticipated dried fruit in a salad was one component of my worst dining experience of all time.
  17. When you're looking at it raw, is it at least 50% fat in appearance? This bacon I'm talking about was sold in a chunk in my Polish market, and was intended to be served as is, without further cooking. It was too tough to eat sliced thinly, or when I later added the rest to soup.
  18. By comparing my experiences with those of coworkers, I know that I can prepare a complete breakfast (juice, tea, eggs, meat, potatoes, toast) in the time that it takes them to make coffee and pour cold cereal. I think it's a matter of priorities and practice. It's more of a challenge, but if you are convinced it's hard to do anything at all in the morning, you're going to be still ricocheting groggily off walls while I'm sitting in front of what I call a "blue plate special" at my home.
  19. I once read that home fries are cooked raw, and hashbrowns are recooked from leftover boiled potatoes. Linguistically this makes sense (think "hash"), but in this case it seems to have completely fallen out of usage. I never preboil for home fries. It takes more time, when you take into account the preboiling operation, and it takes almost as long to brown them anyway. Plus, there are varieties of potatoes that get hard when you chill them and then don't resoften on warming, so the whole dish tastes like a bad leftover. I peel potatoes (except for red ones) and cut them into pieces, from 3/8" to 1-1/4" dice, depending on my mood. I then place them in a nonstick pan with the fat of choice (butter, oil, leftover pork, beef, or chicken fat), and brown on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. The potatoes are already done at this point if they are cut very small. Otherwise I lower the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook until tender. Season with Korean crushed red pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and salt. Blot excess grease from the pan before serving. Good paprika gives them an attractive blush. In a separate pan you may saute half as many onions in fat until they become translucent, then cover and cook until quite soft. Season and serve on top of the potatoes. Or smother the onions with cheese and heat very gently until melted, then slide the whole mess on the plated potatoes and serve. Also add bacon, for the perfect meal. For hashbrowns, I grate raw potatoes on the shredding disk of the food processor, salt, and leave 5 minutes to soften. Then press/squeeze out all the liquid you can, sprinkle with potato starch, distribute in a well-oiled or greased nonstick skillet, and press hard. (You may use a can with the top and bottom cut out to make the potatoes take an attractive shape.) Cook until well-browned, then slide out onto a plate or pan lid. Add more fat if the pan is dry, then invert the pan over your plate or lid. Flip the whole thing, and continue cooking until brown on both sides. Also good with bacon, onions, and cheese.
  20. The test of salt is to add salt until an egg floats in the water. Saltpeter is about 1/4 teaspoon for each zip lock bag. The brisket is put into 2 gal zip lock bags with water. A whole brisket needs to be cut in two to fit in the two gal ziplocks. Spices include a LOT of fresh chopped garlic, coriander, mustard seed, fenugreek, bay leaves, ceyon cinnamin, cardamon and whatever else suits my fancy at the time. When ready to cook, wash in cold water, into the pot with Guinness and cook for 4 hours. At the end add red potatoes and cabbage. Before starting I searched on the Internet and came up with a wide variety of recipes, many including sugar and garlic. Knowing that I wanted a traditional corned beef, I settled on salt and simple spices. I put about 3 gallons of water in a 5 gallon plastic bucket, added enough kosher salt to float an egg, a packer brisket cut in 3 pieces, and a handful of mixed pickling spices (supplemented with black peppercorns). I didn't refrigerate during the process, but my cellar is at about 40º this time of the year. I let it go for 2 weeks, then removed the chunks, cooked one, and froze the rest. This does make a rather salty corned beef, so I either boil in lots of water or refresh by soaking in the refrigerator for a day. But that's what corned beef is, beef preserved with salt. You can cut back the salt if you'd rather, but if you do, you'll be experimenting, producing some other sort of cured meat product, so let us know how it turns out. The chunk I just finished thawing is boiling now, and the house smells wondrous.
  21. Actually, what I was referring to was the lean:fat ratio. Lean protein tends to dry and tough, and some of the superpremium bacons are more hamlike than baconlike in their fat content. Also, I did have a smoked bacon recently that was apparently sliced with the grain, which made for long, chewy fibers. It was not tender at all, though this may have been an issue with the raw materials themselves. Though considering what I paid for it, I expected better.
  22. I'm sure nobody will ever use the folks at Per Se as construction estimators again. But since they're only claiming to be restaurateurs, I think everyone is willing to cut them some slack in this respect but you.
  23. Consider complaining. Some restaurants can turn up lighting individually at tables. Restaurants that don't have this capability ought to be able to come up with some other accommodation when you complain that you are unable to read the menu and thus won't be able to order food. If not, they don't care about your business. If enough people complained, they'd do something about this.
  24. How big are your molds? Ganache sounds good, but if they're much bigger than one or two bites, no one will be able to eat a whole one. I find white chocolate rather sweet. Consider mixing crushed wafers or rice krispies in the filling, to add some crunch and dilute the sweetness a bit. My feeling is that milk chocolate coating would give a more natural appearance. Perhaps you can brush the surface with melted chocolate to give them a furry look. Can you show us pictures when you finish?
  25. Katherine

    Read this and weep

    While in theory wine can be used as a base to make tasty drinks, in practice this only seems to be realized when you make them yourself. The Arbor Mist "pink zinfandel" I was served tasted like sugar syrup with enough concord grape juice to give it a blushy color. I recall looking at the label and seeing it had only about 6% alcohol, so it was not really wine, but already some sort of a "wine beverage". Imagine what the products that don't even pretend to be wine taste like. I don't consider myself a wine snob, and I've enjoyed some pretty downscale stuff. But this was awful. Let us know if you like it.
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