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Everything posted by Majra

  1. I favor table runners on bare wood. It's the best of both worlds. I have kept my table nicely set for the past 3 months. We use it, then re-set it for the next night. I love it--for the creative outlet, for keeping the table from being a dumping ground, and for impromptu guests. It has been a small, pleasant source of enjoyment!
  2. Majra

    Orlando Gems?

    The restaurant is friendly and lively; I think it could work. I guess it depends on the kids and their ages and the time of day however. My kids have eaten there, but they were 11 and 13 at the time.
  3. Majra

    Orlando Gems?

    Another vote for Ravenous Pig, but here in Winter Park we don't call it "The Rav." It's "The Pig," and we locals are so fortunate to have the Julie and James Petrakis here in town cooking for us! Besides the outstanding food, you can order any wine on their list by the glass. The vibe is always friendly; it's a very comfortable restaurant. You won't be disappointed, unless you can't get a table... In that case, I'd recommend Luma on Park. The food has been more consistently good recently, and the swanky scene can be fun too.
  4. Majra

    Salty? Fluffy?

    I have a nice recipe for a vegetable dip that is rather fluffy...it contains the usual mayo/sour cream, lots of fresh chopped herbs, a taste of garlic, salt, paprika, etc. The last step is to fold in a bunch of (unsweetened) whipped cream. It's a tasty dip that looks lovely served in a hollowed out purple cabbage or red pepper, with crudites to accompany. Let me know if you'd like the recipe.
  5. Great thread here! I am late in joining, but truly appreciate the spirit. I tend to keep a pretty well-managed secondary freezer, which is stocked primarily with proteins. I buy almost all of my meats at Costco (and not much else there besides bagels and cheeses) and have a personal "policy" of not returning to shop there until the freezer is emptied. However, I have recently noticed that my regular freezer is over-stocked with nuts and frozen bananas, and my pantry has too many dals and crackers and GirlScout cookies than any family needs to have on hand. You've all inspired me to use 'em up before buying more. And while I'm here, I'll share a family strategy with an audience that I think will appreciate it. We try to live within a budget, and if I am trying to justify a purchase that I consider extra or extravagant, I'll cook out of the pantry for a week (except for milk and bread) in order to justify it.
  6. Another way to sweeten turnips is with carrots. Mix 50%50%, cut in equal-sized chunks, and boil together until very soft. Mash or puree with a healthy amount of butter, season with s&p, and serve with any roast dinner. This mash reheats beautifully, even in the microwave. I bet your seniors would like it, and your budget would too! Sorry about your US restriction...are your directors looking for ways to make your job more difficult?!
  7. This is a decent and easy recipe for chicken thighs with carrots that the seniors might enjoy. It goes great with mashed potatoes too. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/231790
  8. McCann's quick-cooking oats or Quaker rolled, 1/4 c is enough for me, + 1/2 c water and a spoonful of natural chunky peanut butter, nuked and splashed with milk. Mmmm...
  9. That marinade does sound good; I'll have to give it a try soon. I usually have a flank steak or two on hand, because they are dirt cheap at Costco. I often use it for Chinese style stir-fried dishes. The dense structure of the meat seems to hold up well to the high heat of the wok. My favorite grilled preparation for flank steak is a simple one...grilled med-rare, then topped with a dusting of parmigiana reggiano and a squeeze of lemon.
  10. I like Alton Brown's "The Chewy," and also the Neiman Marcus recipe that contains oatmeal. I do like the recipe from the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag too; it is the flavor of my childhood. I make it with good butter and a little extra salt, and only half of the chocolate chips. Most people find that last alteration strange, but I like the cookie part better than the chocolate part, and this way I no longer find myself searching the batch for the cookies that contain the fewest number of chips!
  11. !!! Torakris !!!, that is so exciting! How did you score this gig?! Does your husband know? Congratulations to Julia, and to you. I can't wait to see and hear the details of this adventure!
  12. Here are two lunches that I've made this week for my daughter to take to school.
  13. Hiroyuki, I am instantly riveted by your blog! It is fantastic. I hope that the time it takes to blog provides you with an interesting diversion to what must be a most stressful time. I will keep your beautiful family in my thoughts, and I send my very best wishes for your wife's rapid recovery to good health. Your children are very lucky that you do such a wonderful job in the kitchen. I know many families who would suffer tremendously at their mealtimes if Mother were ill. Congratulations on your success! Do you eat such an elaborate breakfast daily, or was that a special occasion for the blog? All of the food you have posted looks delicious.
  14. I recommend The Satuit in Scituate harbor. I grew up in Scituate and this is the place I go to for seafood every time that I'm in town for a visit. It's a casual, townie type of restaurant where I always run into someone I went to high school with. The lobster roll is fantastic. You can also order deep fried lobster, which does not appear on the menu. It is chunks of sweet lobster meat fried and served in a grilled hot dog bun like a lobster roll. Have one for me!
  15. I've tried my hand at making onigiri a few times since we returned from our trip to Japan. Actually, that's false. I haven't tried my hand, but I have tried my mold! I've made tasty treats with spicy tuna and mayo, as well as ones with roasted sesame seeds. I cook a lot of Chinese food here at home, however, and our favorite homemade onigiris have been stuffed with leftover stir frys! The best were beef and broccoli, and kung pao chicken. I took a bit of the leftovers, minced them, and briefly reheated in the microwave before stuffing the onigiri. I bought several onigiri at convenience stores in Japan. Without being able to read Japanese characters, it was a crapshoot. Some were good, some...not so much. The strangest one contained what I think was a pat of butter in the center. I love butter, but somehow that was just plain wrong. That ginger flavored pork one sounds good.
  16. Majra

    Tokyo with Kids

    These are excellent points. I agree. We would stay someplace cheaper next time too. Cerulean Tower was great, though.
  17. Majra

    Tokyo with Kids

    Thanks for reading! As for Japanese language skills, or lack thereof in our case , it didn't curtail our fun. Of course I'm sure the trip would have been that much more fulfilling had we been able to speak and read the language, but those skills were not a pre-requisite to having a great time.
  18. Congee is easy to make in a crockpot, and I've also had success making avgolemono soup that way. Either one would be nice to come home to.
  19. Majra

    Tokyo with Kids

    Aren't they sweet?!?!?!? We bought a few of them to take on the plane. They helped to put smiles on our faces after we'd been sitting on the tarmac at Narita for those four hours before our plane actually took flight.
  20. Majra

    Tokyo with Kids

    SuzySushi, we ate quite inexpensively in Japan, and it wasn't difficult to do. It's obvious that you can spend a bundle on food if you want to, but we were satisfied with simple and casual meals. I don't remember the prices of the Studio Ghibli Museum, but I do remember that we had to make the reservations many months in advance. So do plan ahead for that one. In general I didn't think that the prices of anything in Japan lived up to the hype we often hear in the US about how expensive it is there. Coffee, sandwiches, bottled water, trinkets and souvenirs, were all priced comparably to the US. We did splurge on our hotel in Tokyo, but even that was comparable to what you would pay for a nice room in Manhattan. Our 1-week JR Line passes were pricey too, but we used the heck out of them and the Shinkansen experience was important to us, so those tickets were a non-negotiable item in our travel budget. The biggest help to our budget, however, was the fact that three out of four of our airline tickets were purchased with my husband's frequent flyer miles. That's a lot of miles that he'd racked up. He travels frequently for business, and we intentionally stockpile the airline miles and plan "big" trips. The next one on the agenda will be Ireland and Scotland. My son plays bagpipes and my daughter swing tenor, so we hope to coincide a trip with a piping event or competition next year. I'll have to do a "Kids in Kilts" thread over in the Europe forums!
  21. This was my daughter's school lunch for today. I made the food; my husband made the love note.
  22. Here's a chef's salad in Totoro bento that I made today.
  23. Here's a bento that I made for my daughter last Saturday. I got this box in Tokyo; I think it came from Loft. It contains apple flowers and red grapes, mini cheese crackers, peanut butter and bacon sandwiches on oatmeal bread, and dried cranberries.
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