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Everything posted by SMW

  1. Oh no! Now I am going to be too scared to do this. Maybe it's time to move to a dish with a heavy lid, although the paper was great because if it did get hot, it cooled off quickly. I did a google search, and apparently the U.S.D.A. does not approve of this practice. However, they seem to be talking about grocery store bags, as opposed to brown paper lunch bags, which seem designed to have food in them!
  2. I do this all the time and have never had a problem. I don't add butter til after it's popped. I thought brown paper bags were just paper - growing up we always put our chocolate cookies on paper bags laid flat. Should I be worried?
  3. I agree with Chufi that cooking straight from recipes gets really expensive. If you go to the store, and see what vegetables are cheapest, they will generally be the most in season, and the freshest. You may not have known which ones they were before you got there, and they wouldn't be on your list. If you plan out only a couple of meal ideas before shopping, you can base more of your meals around things that are fresh and on sale, which will save you money. The other thing is that some things are just generally inexpensive - dried beans and cabbage come to mind. The more you buy and cook these things, the better you'll be able to cook them, and you'll save money there as well. If you buy meat for every meal, that's probably what you're generally good at cooking, if you start planning your meals around less expensive ingredients (like Carrot Top mentioned), you'll get better at cooking them, and find them more satisfying.
  4. I'm really loving the modern feel to this blog - people all over the world reading about a Malaysian take on Dutch food and living. Only in the 21st century! Thanks for sharing!
  5. Does it encourage anything else? I've been having gas of late... ← The soluble fiber in oatmeal does tend to promote gas in some people--ironically, it's that same soluble fiber that is supposed to be responsible for its cholesterol-lowering qualities. If you've just recently added it to your routine, your system may just need a few weeks to adjust to the change. ← A little late, but one way to make this mixture a bit easier to digest (and a more pleasant texture in my opinion) is to mix the oatmeal and the yogurt the night before and let it sit in the fridge (you may want to add a bit of water as well, it depends how runny your yogurt is) it's basically a Swiss Birchermuesli only with yogurt instead of cream. I eat this for breakfast all summer, and love it!
  6. Yum. You're certainly hitting many of the top spots in Chicago! I can almost taste it! Was that chicken liver mouse with your sausage? How did you like it?
  7. The Green City Market is pretty incredible but it is relatively new (I think maybe five years old), and was not anywhere close to where I was living (the South Side - Hyde Park). Chicago has always had some small neighborhood farmer's markets, but I grew up in a farming town and always found them dissappointing. I guess I was probably spoiled by the Madison, WI farmer's market and always wondered why Chicago didn't have anything as incredible, or why so many of the products there are not available in Chicago. Maybe it's the Wegman's advantage, but here in Rochester we have found local produce clearly marked at the grocery store (which is one place I rarely saw it in Chicago) as well as a much higher density of farmer's markets, open on all different days of the week! Chicago, does however, have loads of great local producers of all kinds of foodstuffs - I really miss El Milagro tortillas!!!! - and if you know where to go, you can also get plenty of local produce, I just think that it's easier here (but then again, in some ways, everything is!).
  8. We were also members of Angelic Organics (Farmer John) for four years and absolutely loved it. They have drop-offs all over Chicago, so there's probably one near you. The produce is great, and they do a good job of keeping you up-to-date on the farm. We never made it to the farm, actually, but I am sure that would be fun with kids, they usually have at least two picnics a year.
  9. It's going to be hard to read this blog, I've just left Chicago for Rochester, NY and the restaurant/food scene here is not nearly as good. However, the local products here are incredible, and way easier to find than in Chicago, where we were in a CSA but otherwise had to really go out of our way to get local produce and other products. I think the recommendations you've been getting are spot on. I'll add my two cents - a couple of places that are a bit below the radar, in my opinion. If you like Mexican food a great, very kid-friendly Mexican restaurant is Fernando's on Lincoln Avenue. They don't bat an eye at kids there, the food is quite respectable, and the margarita's are good. The pink flourescent lighting on the outside is a bit intimidating, but not representative, and you're probably pretty close! You're close to a lot of good Thai food, but one place that is often overlooked is Sweet Tamarind on Diversey and Southport. The portions are small, but the food is excellent.
  10. Really impressive! I wish I would have gotten to taste the dishes, they of course look like things I am quite accustomed to eating, but I am sure I would have enjoyed experiencing some new (or I guess old) flavor combinations. What was your favorite dish?
  11. Time Life Foods of the World and the Good Cook have their own shelf. They are approximately the same size. They are roughly organized by thematic clump. The rest are organized by size with a few thematic clumps. And, the large stack beside my bed has no order at all, except for what is necessary for balance!
  12. SMW

    Rochester, NY

    I just moved to Rochester and haven't explored the local food scene much beyond Wegman's, but we did stumble across Seoul Garden and were very happy with our meal and the service. I'm looking forward to trying Korea House, I love Korean food!
  13. SMW

    Beet salads

    Unwrapped, roast and peel after is how I love my beets. As far as I am concerned, there's just no other way !
  14. I've always been very happy at La Petite Folie, I don't have time to check the Metromix reviews, but I'd be interested in what others don't like. I've actually only eaten there for dinner once, and probably about 6 times for lunch, but I think it delivers exactly what's expected. It's not cutting-edge, but it's quite good, and nicely presented.
  15. Recently left Hyde Park for snowy Rochester but the Med now operates an excellent full-service bakery. I miss it already, right next door to their restaurant, the baked goods are excellent althought the coffee is only OK. I'm not sure of any good breakfast places out by Midway, I think it's too early for Bobak's all-you-can-eat Polish buffet, which is what I often like to visit when I would return to town. Maybe next time I'll try the Sandpiper! Seconding the votes of others, in Hyde Park, Valois (pronounced Val - oise) on 53rd Street provides an excellent greasy breakfast, and Salonika's on 57th also does quite well (their coffee always really hits the spot, for some inexplicable reason).
  16. I've really enjoyed this blog all week, thanks for the much needed, and very enjoyable break from moving and unpacking! The contrast in design at La Buona Tavola after El Diablo made me think to myself - I bet Henry likes this place a lot more. A nice surprise to find out he designed it!
  17. When growing up, and still to this day, my mother has been of the opinion that one shouldn't need to add salt, we all get enough of it, and there's plenty of salt built in to the foods we eat. The only time we had salt on the table was for fried eggs and grits for Sunday breakfast and with corn on the cob. I often notice something refreshing about her cooking. The foods she prepares taste excellent, often precisely because she has failed to season them, yet cooked them well. I also think it is because she prepares many foods to stand on their own. I think that many plain vegetables and meats well cooked do not always require seasoning. Standing alone they can be quite enjoyable, and enjoying them with salt (and other seasonings) is a different experience. In contrast, when flavors are being combined, or when the flavors on a plate are intended to be combined, I think that salt is necessary to achieve harmony. Without salt, the separate flavors compete with one another, and I think this is the reason restaurant food generally requires salt. I have rarely found restaurant food to be too salty, except ofr in places where it seems highly unlikely that the food is prepared on site from scratch. Processing foods always requires a lot of salt.
  18. I love them! My relationship with tupperware (actually Lock 'N' Lock) is kind of embarrassing, I love it, and I find great joy in having precisely the appropriate container. In any case, the small containers are great for storing chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - I rarely use an entire can, anchovies (same thing) as well as all the other assorteds that others have mentioned.
  19. All the time - small apartment kitchen. The burners are quite difficult to turn on, so it's unlikely to happen by accident. But not while cooking on other burners, and only as a temporary holding pattern - except for the cast iron skillet, which resides on one burner - and whose insides are also occasionally extra counter space when I'm really stretched. So far I've never had a problem with this, but I've also only had gas stoves.
  20. I enjoyed the Times food writing more before they made it into a separate section (although I agree the first few were well done). I think perhaps they started spreading themselves a bit thin, and then got in the habit of less dense/interesting articles. In my opinion, and what I am looking for is primarily recipes and thoughts on food trends since I don't live in New York, the recipes they have published in the last 4 years are generally of two categories - so simple I don't think that you need a recipe, or so complex that I am very unlikely to make them, perhaps partially because the accompanying articles are not particularly inspiring. The articles on food trends also seem a bit behind the times, rather than cutting edge. I do like the adventures of Matt and Ted (although sometimes a bit long). But those are the only recurring features that I find have a fresh perspective.
  21. SMW

    Cutting Boards

    Isn't everything toxic in the right circumstances/quantities? This mixture can also be sprayed on fresh fruits and vegetables, which can be immediately eaten with no ill effect (except for maybe a slight vinegar taste)!
  22. SMW

    Crepes--Cook-Off 23

    For what it's worth, I didn't even use a non-stick pan on mine (just a revereware skillet - I was hoping that I'd be shopping for a new pan when this one didn't work, but I'll have to find a different excuse). I had no problems with sticking (I was shocked!). It wasn't a sweet batter, and I also used cornstarch because my sweetie can't eat wheat flour. I actually think that the cornstarch leads to really tender crepes- you can't overwork the batter because there isn't any gluten. These were much easier to handle than I remember when we used to have crepes at home, and came out wonderfully.
  23. SMW

    Crepes--Cook-Off 23

    We had crepes two ways for dinner last night - the crepe recipe as well as the main dish was actually inspired by a recipe off of the Argo/kingsford cornstarch website that for whatever reason is no longer posted there. In any case, the better was simple - cornstarch, eggs, milk, oil and salt, blended in the blender. I was really happy with how easy this batter was to work with, no problems with sticking, tearing or anything. I did oil the pan between crepes. First version - summer crepe lasagne - layered in a 9" cake pan (they fit perfectly) with fresh/canned tomatoes and fresh mozzerella and parmesan. This was really good, especially for how simple it was, and I think may be my go to way for making lasagne in the future - the crepes make great thin layers, and it's no more trouble to make them than to deal with lasagne noodles draped over every surface in the kitchen. It was also a reasonable amount for two people - leftovers, but we won't be eating it for a week. For dessert, spread with Nutella. Yum!
  24. It may be a bit late for this comment, but the last couple of days have been crazy! In any case, an easy alternative to sun tea is tea brewed in the fridge - I had no idea you could do this but it turns out that you can, and it turns out great. The method is easy - put tea bags and water in a pitcher in the fridge - in 12-24 hours you will have wonderful iced tea. the thing I like is that it doesn't turn bitter at all, I think because you're not fully brewing it you never get to the tannins. In any case, it's easy, and requires absolutley no monitoring!
  25. People vary in their tolerance of the "processed in a facility ..." products. We have chosen to eat these products, and that seems to be what most people do. However, some people have reported reactions to these products and some companies are known to have greater issues with contamination, so it's something to consider - you can always ask the person for whom you are cooking, although I'd bet if they are willing to eat your cooking, they also eat some of these products. I added the white cake recipe to RecipeGullet, Disclaimer: it is not a true white cake in that it contains egg yolks, but I think that they are probably essential for the cake to turn out with a good texture, and it looks like a white cake more than a yellow cake. I don't know how to link it - it's under Gluten Free White Cake. We had this for our wedding cake !!! (I once made this recipe and it was the absolute best cake I ever made, and up there with the best I have ever tasted, unfortunately it was fairly early in my gluten free baking and so I didn't realize that I needed to pay attention to exactly what I did. So, sometimes I play around with the mixing instructions to see if I can recreate that becaue I know that time I did something unusual in the mixing, and I remember worrying that the cake would not turn out.) In any case, it has always turned out well.
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