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Everything posted by dumplin

  1. I hope you don't mind me raising this thread, but I've been away this past week. I live outside of Chicago, but I'm right on the edge of the cornfields. There is a new restaurant here called Monterros. It is upscale and has an impressive array of dishes that are not found at most other local restaurants. The meat dishes aren't grilled and served with your choice of potato. One dish--I can't remember if it was chicken or beef--had fresh sauteed spinach with fresh crab and shrimp and grated parmesan-asiago cheese on top. This fact was put in small writing under the name of the dish so patrons would know what to expect. My husband was more than delighted when his appetiser, a smaller version of the above dish appeared with the above items, but a lot of men would be less than pleased. My BIL doesn't like things on his meat. He likes plain meat and potatoes, although he will ask for cheese on broccoli at a restaurant. Hmm...cheese, spit and broccoli, yum. If the server had to explain every item on the menu, it would take two hours to order. Most of the time we try to find a restaurant that serves simple food for the masses. Every once in a while someone ropes us into having to go to an expensive place with a neanderthal. It's embarrasing enough to be seen in public with someone who has no taste, make it easier on us, please. Also, a few adjectives may get someone to order something they normally wouldn't. I LOVE French Onion soup if it is done right. This restaurant, Moterros, served theirs in a huge roasted onion with fried onion strips. I would have passed right over that since I don't normally eat soup at dinner, but I had to try it. It is in the top 3 French Onion Soups I've had. I'm planning on taking my mom there for lunch to have the soup with salad. I have heard at countless upscale restaurants comments like this, " They put what on their chicken? Why can't they just do it like __fill__in__chain___here. I don't know why people spend good money to eat this crap." I've heard this more than once. Some people just don't get good food.
  2. I love seafood bisque. I had a lobster bisque at a very nice restaurant that gave me food poisoning. I didn't eat bisque for a while, but I can't say that it is ruined forever. Sweet and Sour chicken is. My mom made it from a box mix which was bad enough. I didn't feel good anyway, and she made me eat it. I'm sure you can guess what happened next. I'll never ever eat sweet and sour chicken again.
  3. I want to pick a meal when I am handed a menu; If I wanted to read a novel, I would go to Barnes and Noble. An adjective or two is necessary--I'm not really interested in a boiled filet mignon. I also want to know if some sadistic chef is going to drown some lovely meat in reduction sauce because he hasn't figured we're out of the 90s yet. I now like the little paragraphs that tell what supporting ingredients are included in my selection. I have a few food allergies, and I want to know if I will still be breathing through my nose by the time my dessert menu arrives.I ask the servers, but since I live a little far out from the metropolis area, good servers are in short supply. My observation has been that the restaurants that include the most descriptive adjectives on the menu are the restaurants in transitional areas from urban to suburban. People that are not used to upscale dining will need to know exactly what they are getting themselves into...a lot go back to TGI Fridays, etc.
  4. I love okra pan fried in a cast iron skillet. My grandmother used to make it and I love it. The small pods are the best because they aren't tough. You cut the pods across very thin-- 1/8 slices. Discard the stem ends. Cut up a good mess of okra and dump into a bowl. Dump a tablespoon or so of flour or cornmeal on top of the okra and stir to combine. You want to coat the okra. Fry in a hot skillet greased with oil or bacon grease (if you want the calories and saturated fat). I dump the okra in a mesh sieve first to shake out the extra coating...it can burn in the pan. Stir occaisionally for 20 minutes or so. You want the okra golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and drain on a paper towel. Serve hot. This dish has no okra slime. It's very crunchy. edit: punctuation
  5. Jason tries to do that too. "You can't use that milk! It expired a week ago!" Me: "Smell it. Does it smell sour?" Him: "No." Me: "Is it chunky?" Him: "No." Me: "Hand it over, I'm using it." ← My husband can't tell if something is bad or not. Him: "The milk is expired." Me: "Smell it...is it sour?" Him, in a whiney voice: "I can't tell, YOU smell it" Me, having to stop doing whatever I'm doing and come in the kitchen. Sniff, Sniff: "Its fine." Him: "Are you sure?" Me: "When I kill you, it won't be that way." It doesn't help for him to smell bad chicken or milk...he can't tell the difference. Of course this was the same man who was 23 before he could tell cabbage from iceburg lettuce. My grocery list. Think of something we need. Go to write it down. Forget what it was before I write it down. Repeat at least 10 times. Right before I go shopping, I make a list, racking my brain to remember what I need and looking through the pantry and fridge. I'll ask my husband what he needs that he has not told me about. A lot of times he goes with me on Saturday. He's a lifesaver, because my short term memory is about 10 minutes. When I shop by myself, we make about 5 grocery trips a week. For the record, before my stroke I had the memory of an elephant...except I wasn't any better at remembering the list. Then I really didn't need it because I could remember what was on it.
  6. Rosemary Thyme Lemon Bay leaves Tarragon (fresh only) salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic are givens. for sweeter foods, I like Vanilla Fresh ground cinnamon Fresh ground nutmeg Cloves Cardamon
  7. Ovaltine. Why would someone think ground up vitamins in chocolate milk would taste GOOD? Yams...especially those preformed patties you see in some groceries stores. Blech. Contrast dye for CT scans...they make you drink it in juice...like that helps. That taste lingers forever.
  8. I'm still young, but my husband works extremely long hard hours at his job. I would pack his golf clubs and take him to Bermuda for a week. Golf courses for him, spa and beach with a book for me. ...and all the fresh seafood we can possibly eat.
  9. I like the Williams-Sonoma cotton bar towels for kitchen towels. I've had lots of different ones, but these have lasted the longest--going on 5 years and they still look new. You can bleach them, and they're very absorbent. I hate it when you only dry one or two pans before you towel is soaking wet. I had friends that were good cooks. When I got married, and they asked what I wanted I told them to surprise me. They knew what cooks needed in the kitchen. I got some great things from them. Great mixing bowls, a board scraper, a roasting pan... more things than I would have thought of. My mom gave me this hard black plastic spatula for cooking that has little holes in it. Things don't stick and it doesn't warp from high heat. I have used it from everything from eggs to stirring pie filling on the stove. We use it so much that its always dirty, and I've wished I had more than one because I don't like having to use another spatula. I got my mom to go the specialty store that carries them and get me another one. I also got her to buy me 4 more to give as Christmas gifts. ( I tried to find this spatula on the internet, but I didn't see it.)
  10. You could take the door to the stairway off, but store the door if you have room. Then you could put the door back when you have kids. (Your final kitchen remodel will allow for the door clearance. Removing it now could give you more room.) You could put up cheap open shelving to have extra storage space instead of more cabinets. It would not be permanent, but it could be a good temporary solution. I like Arne's floorplan. It really makes the space look a lot bigger. I would check the flooring to make sure the subflooring is stable. If you can get up under it to check it out, that would be great. That old subflooring rots easily and you can fall through the floor if it rots enough. Hopefully you'll luck out and it's Douglas Fir under there. (I had a house that had original cypress floors. ) edit: spelling error
  11. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's passing. That was such a touching tribute. Congratulations on your new ventures.
  12. I buy natural chickens that are hormone and antibiotic free. If they're organic and free-range, or semi-free range, that's even better. My doctor said that eating antibiotics is bad for your immune system, especially if its already weak. I can tell a difference in Tyson or Butterball chicken and a natural or free range chicken. The natural chicken doesn't taste processed. Tyson and Butterball treat their meat with a "broth solution" to plump the meat and give it more flavor. I prefer that the meat already have its flavor. When my grandmother would go to the grocery store, she would complain that the chicken was frozen although they said it was fresh. She said it didn't taste right. This was in the 80's and early 90's before the organic and free range chicken boom hit. I realized later what it was. She was used to her "free range" chickens that she would go out in the yard and catch. I'm sure after that, the supermarket just doesn't measure up.
  13. That Dorito Salad sounds similar to my MIL's "Taco Salad" except her's had bottled thousand island dressing. I went through college on antacids. Candy Corn--brach's is the best fried okra--my husband gives me a hard time about eating this. I fix him another vegetable and I don't give him any. Sometimes he eats it anyway, which is just a waste of good okra! I don't give him a hard time about his "pickled weiners"....well, maybe I do. but they're weird! I do make them for him. Crispy poultry skin. So its got a little fat. Its the best part! At least I'm in the company of people that understand. Peeps
  14. Bad: Whatever the hell my neighbors across the hall make about three times a week. Vile, vile and nasty. Smells like rotting fish plus farts plus rancid lard or something. Smells even worse than that. I don't know how to describe it. It smells like pure evil. I have to breathe through my mouth while I'm letting myself into my apartment. Their relatives must be my neighbors! Every night it smells awful. Some nights it smells like fried diapers. Other nights it smells like what would happen if you lit one of those nasty supermarket fish counters on fire. Other awful food smells (to me anyway) are: liver cooking that stale fast food greasy odor kim chee (looks good, but I can't get past the smell) rotten potatoes food smells I love: bacon country ham frying bread baking something cinnamony baking coffee brewing--I love going into coffee houses just to smell (I buy, of course) the smell of a grill outside--especially when you can smell the steak on it barbeque fresh cotton candy
  15. I would pick Paris. I loved it there. I would eat pastries and cafe au lait for breakfast and find great restaurants for lunch and dinner. I would have to stop in a few times for hot chocolate at Cafe Angelique. Since this is hypothetical the calories don't count! The only bad thing about the great food in France, is having to adjust to life in the States again. Talk about culture shock!
  16. Thanks for the boiled peanut link, alacarte! I think I found my NC mom's Christmas present...a 5lb tub of boiled peanuts.
  17. jgm--did Edna have a waffle iron that was stove top? My husband's family is Belgian via West Virginia and they have a very similar cookie...minus the wiskey. They call them gauflets which they pronounce as go-flats instead of gau-flays. The waffle iron is old cast iron and goes on a stove top. The cookies look like thicker stroopwaffels without filling. They make the cookies every Christmas. I think they would be much better with a little wiskey in them. I think a lot of people ask for recipes just as a compliment to your cooking/baking. As in, "ooh, I really liked...can I have the recipe?" If I know the person and the recipe is ultra complicated which they will NOT attempt, I just save us both the time and tell her how long the recipe is. I encourage people to cook, but if I know that the woman only use mixes, she is not going to attempt a cake that has a whole page of ingredients. If she wants the cake, I'll make her one. If she still wants the recipe, I'll give it to her. Writing down recipes takes time! I don't keep recipes to myself. The only recipe that I have ever kept secret is one of my mom's. She's not a great cook. She has one special recipe, and she came up with it herself. She serves it to guests, and if she gave it everyone it wouldn't be special anymore. She did give it to my then future MIL to use for something very specific. My MIL didn't use the recipe like she said she was going to, and my mom learned her lesson. It wouldn't have been a big deal if my mom didn't live in the same town. She's since moved and its not an issue. This isn't an issue to most people, but my mom doesn't cook...so for her to have one good meal to serve to guests was a big deal to her. Then when everyone in their social circle was served that meal by someone else, it was a little disconcerting. My mom is very gracious and didn't make it into a big issue. There are people that have reasons to keep recipes secret, and its not always just selfish hoarding of all the good recipes. It may be the only recipe they have!
  18. My husband thinks he has to tighten jars so tight that they're almost vacuumed sealed. I mean close the jar, but once its tight you can stop twisting it! I fuss at the jar and at him if he's around. He just snickers at me and opens the jar with his huge gorilla- like hands. I'm tempted to do tests to see if banging jars on heads help open them. As for strengthening your hands to help open jars...my hands are very strong, and I do hand exercises. If the joints hurt, hand strength has nothing to do with it. I had one of those rubber openers. Mine was blue. It dissapeared.
  19. Only really good cooks and chefs know that knives don't have to come in sets. Since this is a mother with really awful knives (I have one of those too ) she's going to think she's getting a better deal with a WHOLE set! INCLUDING steak knives. I like the set of Chicago cutlery with the bakelite handles I bought when I was a novice and didn't know how to buy good knives. They keep a good edge and stay sharp even with abuse. The bakelite does better in the dishwasher, too...and we all know that people like to throw knives in the dishwasher. I saw a decent set of Chicago Cutlery at Target, and I think it included steak knives. Although, I have bought sets of steak knives at TJ Maxx. They were Henkels International, but like I said, I was young and naive... Some kind chef in Northville, MI told me the difference in Henkels. Hopefully he reads Egullet. Thank You! I have had the faux henkels for almost 5 years and they're still super sharp...and we all know if MIL cooks the steak, you need a sharp knife.
  20. I was in the ER earlier this week. The doctors thought I had appendicitis. It wasn't. Since then I've had stomach cramps. Yesterday I was craving a steak. I settled for hashbrowns eggs and sausage.Today I figured out why I had such bad cramps. I was craving some chocolate. Birthday cake didn't fit the spot, but I had some M&Ms from school that I had in my book bag. I had dumped the bag over in the pocket and a handful had spilled out. Yes, I just went in there and dug out the handful of M&Ms and ate them. They were good, too.
  21. I love to eat swiss cake rolls by biting off the ends. I then unroll the cake and eat the cream out. I then eat the cake. YUM. I only do this when I'm alone. My mom taught me its bad manners to pick at your food in public. I don't consider my husband to be public. I don't eat swiss cake rolls often because of the preservatives...and the fact that its hard not to eat the whole box. For chocolate or lemon meringue pie I like to eat the meringue first, then the filling, and then the crust...if the crust is good.
  22. I do the knife banging with a butter knife, whack it on the counter, running it under hot water, and then hand it over to my living, breathing jar opener. I have fibromyalgia and my hands hurt. Some days I can't get the jars open by myself. I have even wrapped a towel over the lid to get leverage. Sometimes that will work.
  23. I love fried okra. I could eat my weight in homemade fried okra made in a cast iron skillet. Its ok in soup or gumbo. I don't think it tastes as good as it does fried. Frying the okra brings out the natural sweetness.
  24. If you suspect that the corn is not fresh, and want to peel a little husk back to check, or peel back a little husk of an ear you selected, by all means go right ahead! The thing I can't stand is what I encountered a few weeks ago...a lady halfway shucking all the ears of corn and throwing them back. I'm not sure what she was looking for. A thread about a month ago had a lot of people amazed that people touched eggs. I noticed that people up here don't touch the eggs. They should, but they don't. If the eggs were covered in feather or poo, I'd be touching them, too.
  25. I made the Potted Mushrooms from The New Basics by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins. I made it to go in a Beef Wellington, but the recipe is also an appetiser to be served with toast points. The recipe states that it doesn't keep for more than a day. It did turn a little black the next day, but it was so good cold. My husband and I were eating the leftovers out the fridge with out fingers. I could see this topping a nice piece of roasted eggplant in a phyllo triangle. I could eat my weight in those. oh, wait, add a bit of goat cheese, or boursin, its cheaper. You could do a pasta bar with ususual sauces. People love those.
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