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  1. I have a couple of other ideas to throw out on this topic. I’m in my mid 40s, and I believe that part of the too-busy-to-cook lifestyle started with cultural changes in the role of women in the 1960s. While most of us were raised in families with stay-at-home mothers who cooked dinner every night, who even had us help prepare dinner, we were also being told in our other ear that we could and should do anything we wanted and that we should educate ourselves and become successful, high-powered, high-salaried business women. For many that followed this path, the idea of showing any sign of domestic capabilities was seen as a big step backwards and, perhaps, a career killer. So, “I can’t cook a thing” became a badge of honor because it showed that you were successful and important – you could afford to have someone else do your cooking for you. I've worked in this environment for 25 years now, and the "stigma" of the home cooked meal still prevails (interestingly, men now wear a badge of honor that THEY are the great cook in the family). I think our generation’s children have only known this attitude – that being constantly busy equals success, and that stopping for chicken nuggets at the drive thru is part of that lifestyle. In many cases, the only time the whole family eats together is when they go OUT for dinner, because eating at home tends to mean tv shows and phone calls and various family members having to run early or come late. In this scenario, family time is equated with NOT cooking at home, family time means having someone else cook for you. So, I’m putting forward the idea that doing the home-cooked family meal ritual for a big segment of the population has been successfully marketed as showing lack of success and being "lazy," oddly enough. We should all be too busy doing everything else BUT cooking, according to the marketers, and popular culture has soaked that up. For the record, I have no children and only cook for myself. I do, however, cook, even though it is just for me. It always tastes better when I make it! ;o)
  2. I’m actually going through the exact same thing myself. Close to 2 months ago my heart was also broken. A big part of our relationship was my role as the cook. I loved it, too. At first, I didn’t want to eat at all and dropped 20 lbs. (I’ve NEVER lost weight in my life before this). But it finally struck me that I was depriving myself of one of my favorite things to do – cook. So the last couple of weeks I’ve visited the local farmers’ market on Saturday and set aside Sunday as “my” day and I cook again (along with enjoying a bubble bath and a long read of the newspaper). I still rarely feel like cooking for one during the week, so on Sunday I cook a couple of things that will help take me through the upcoming week. I’ve been firing up the grill and cooking a little pork roast, chicken kebabs or wings, corn on the cob, peppers, even tomatoes – then eating the foods that are good as leftovers during the week. During the cold weather, I’ll probably braise something or roast a little chicken – things like that. It has actually helped to cheer me up – this little creative outlet distracts me from my broken heart, at least for an afternoon. Best of luck to you.
  3. Terrie

    Packaged Cookies

    I've seen many of my favorites listed -- Carr's Lemon-Ginger cremes, Pepperidge Farms Brussels, Fig Newtons (really), but I'd like to add Archway's Old Fashioned Molasses to the list. I don't know if they are regional (I'm in the Mid-Atlantic), but these are winners. Trader Joe's also makes a good "triple ginger" snap.
  4. Two more cents here, but it will depend on whether you are planning on planting your herbs in the ground or in pots. Mediterranean types of herbs will do just fine planted right in the ground in well-amended but still slightly sandy soil. You'll be fine planting almost anything in pots, as well. There are a few herbs that don't do well in harsh conditions, but you will probably be able to grow anything you'd usually cook with at the beach. In the DC area, I've always found a great selection of starter veggie and herb plants available at American Plant Food (2 places on River Rd. - one just south of 495 and one close to DC). They've always had starter plants of heirloom tomatoes that are hard to find and a nice selection of herbs. Have a great summer and let us know what you cook with all these herbs!
  5. Here in Maryland, our crabs are probably the most famous local food, but the white corn, oysters, tomatoes, rockfish, bluefish, and something extraordinary but rarely tasted by outsiders or even northern Marylanders -- stuffed corned ham -- are some of the goodies that come to mind.
  6. Cafe Annie Chili From the Chili Thread: This is the best chile I've ever made, bar none. It is the Cafe Annie recipe and worth every bit of effort. Please try it sometime. 1 T cumin seeds 1-1/2 tsp coriander seeds 1 T dried oregano 3 T vegetable oil 3 lb beef chuck, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 8 cloves garlic, chopped 5 fresh red jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, chopped 3 T masa harina 2 T ground pasilla chile powder (Ancho chiles, toasted and ground) 2 lbs tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1 dried chipotle 1 dried new mexico chile 12 oz dark beer, such as Negra Modelo 1 oz unsweetened chocolate 4 c water or chicken/beef stock Toast the cumin and coriander in a small skillet over low heat and grind in a spice grinder. In a large, heavy-based skillet, Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil until very hot. Brown the meat in the oil in batches (add more oil as needed), being careful not to crowd the pan or the meat will stew in its own juices and not brown. Transfer the browned meat from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Don't clean the skillet after browning the meat. To the same skillet, add the onion, garlic, jalapenos, masa harina, pasilla powder, the toasted ground cumin and coriander and dried oregano. Stir over medium-high heat until the onion begins to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Return the meat to the skillet; add the tomatoes, whole dried chiles, beer, chocolate and water or stock. Simmer until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Remove the whole chiles before serving. My notes - I toast and grind the whole dried New Mexican chile and add it with the ancho powder, and use a canned chipotle in adobo instead of the dried (because it's what I have on hand). Makes an outstanding chile. I hope you try this recipe - it is outsanding! Keywords: Main Dish, Barbeque, Intermediate, Tex-Mex, Beef, American ( RG229 )
  7. Ba Le is a great little Vietnamese place with a terrific lemongrass pork bahn mi for $3.50, and plenty of rice dishes (I like the lemongrass pork with rice crepes) and other good food. It is on Rockville Pike just south of Wooten Pkwy. Found a nice little Argentinean place called El Patio, on Twinbrook Pkwy. one short block from Rockville Pk. - inexpensive but wonderful slices of quiche, empanadas, plus sandwiches and other bakery items. Not necessarily wheat free, but worth a visit. The Szechwan food at Joe's Noodle House is authentic, spicy and really tasty. It is on Rockville Pike in a little center just behind the On The Border restaurant (across from Woodmont CC). The lovely women who run this place will kindly ask you if you really want to venture into authentic Szechwan land when you order, and will bring forks to your table if you look like you need them. Otherwise, you are in good hands there - try the Triple Pepper Chicken, and fish filet over vegetables. Yuan Fu Vegetarian Restaurant is another good choice. I am not vegetarian, but have really enjoyed their food. It is on Rockville Pike just north of Wooten Pkwy. (in a tiny strip center next to the Wendy's/Jiffy Lube). I love the people at Vignola, in the shopping center on N. Washington St. with Magruders. They make their own fresh mozzarella, which makes a great sandwich with proscuitto (only about $4). Bombay Bistro is a very good Indian restaurant - better than most in the area. I'm not a fan of the all-you-can-eat buffet in most places, but their luncheon buffet is quite fresh and varied. If you go for dinner, I think you'll also be happy. It is on West Montgomery St., in the center of old Rockville. I am not a fan of modern "diners" (like Silver Diner), but I have found Broadway Diner to be quite good for some of their foods. Get their Greek specials - they are well cooked, homestyle foods that are a good value. Their pastries are actually fabulous! If you want a fabulous piece of the freshest fish, try Mykonos (on Congressional Lane just off Rockville Pike). Not inexpensive, but their simply prepared fresh fish specials are worth it. A nice place. Many things on the menu at Ambrosia (Rockville Pike just north of Twinbrook/Rollins) are so "regular", yet their Greek foods are pretty good and reasonably priced (if you order a turkey sub, you'll be dissapointed, though). The souvlaki is really quite good, and their daily specials are very homey and tasty. It's quite a different scene from the more upscale Mykonos, but you can get a huge plate of simmered lamb or short ribs for under $10. They are open for breakfast, too, and do a good job at it if you like the diner style foods. Other ideas: Get a Cuban sub at Cuban Corner (on Hungerford); if you like fish, ask the guys at Cameron's which fish is freshest and get them to fry you up one of their platters. If I think of other ideas, I'll post them!
  8. Terrie


    The Italians do an absolutely delicious dessert where they make a little stuffing for the halved peaches, with crumbled amaretti and amaretto mashed together and mounded on the peach, then baked with a little wine poured around. I think this is my favorite peach dessert of all time. Grilled peach halves are good accompaniments for grilled meats, especially pork. Glaze them in a little of the sauce you use on the meat. Make a salsa featuring peaches – serve with grilled chicken, fish or pork, especially one with a spicy crust.
  9. When I'm not feeling well, I'll eat junk that I wouldn't even consider at other times. Frozen Stouffer's macaroni and cheese, Campbell's tomato soup (always with grilled cheese), and the boxed kind of chicken noodle soup come to mind. I obviously find the need to o.d. on salt when I get a cold, though I think it's mostly that they don't take any preparation on my part. I'll also have to agree with the hot lemon and brandy drinks - works wonders!
  10. Terrie

    favorite bottled beers

    Tupper's Hop Pocket (Old Dominion). But, I'm a hoppy kind of woman
  11. I had never really tasted Indian cooking until I visited England for the first time. I was instantly hooked, of course. I didn't actually think about cooking it myself until one of those same English friends visited here several years later, and fixed an incredible feast for us, using ingredients from a nearby Indian shop and recipes from a small cookbook - "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking." It was then that I realized that we had Indian grocers in town, and that I could actually make much of this food at home. There are two dishes that these friends made for us from that cookbook for that feast that are an absolute must when I do a small feast. The first is Baigan achari, or "The Lake Palace Hotel's aubergine cooked in the pickling style." I have no authentic standard by which to judge this dish, but I can't imagine it tasting any better in that particular hotel. The other is Khatte chhole, or "sour chickpeas" which is street food as she describes it in the book. I absolutely love this dish, but certainly CAN imagine this tasting even better straight from a street vendor...
  12. Oh, I forgot about 3 Brothers. Back in the 80s they had some of the best pizza that was close to that really thin NY style. That was when they had the one spot near U of M. Now that they have expanded, they've lost it somewhat. I've only eaten at the one in Rockville lately, so I don't know if the original is still its old self, but I know the Rockville location isn't the same. It's still better than any of the delivery places, Olga's, and the franchise locations of Ledo's (yes, different style, and the original location still tastes good), etc.
  13. Terrie

    Piece de resistance

    Even though I tend not to make the same thing over and over, there are a few dishes that I do pull out here and there. Obviously, these don't go on the same menu... An incredibly popular starter I do is a basic duck rillette in individual molds, with garlic, green peppercorns and brandy. I serve it with a little potato and pear salad dressed simply with vinegar, oil and mustard, and a little mesclun with the same dressing. Serve slices of toasted French bread. This is great with a seafood main course. I find that leg of lamb seems to be such a treat and rather impresses lots of people. I use a semi-boneless one, spread a garlicky rosemary and mint pesto inside and out, tie it up, and roast it on a rack overtop mixed potatoes and artichoke slices/quarters tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. For one thing, the scent that your guests get when the walk into the house is heavenly. The last item that I've made a handful of times to raves is a Mario Batali recipe for braised veal breast that is allowed to cook down until no liquid remains and the outside is a rich, dark caramel. The dish is finished with fresh mint and chilies to cut the richness, and cipolini are cooked in the pan drippings until caramalized, as well. Pan is deglazed either with wine or water for the sauce. Most people have no idea what veal breast is and how inexpensive it is, and this incredibly rich dish seems like heaven to them. The tough thing for me is a wine match (any suggestions?) -- when I asked the folks on a wine forum, I was summarily branded an idiot for putting chilies and mint with veal and got no help. They've just never tasted this!! Served with garlic mashed potatoes every time so far. Sorry for the long post - thinking of these dishes makes verbal.
  14. There is a Gepetto's in the Wildwood Shopping Center on Old Georgetown Rd., but I don't know if it's the same business. They specialize in piling their toppings really high on the pie - does that sound like the old place (I never made it to that one)? Another old favorite of mine was Luigi's. They are still on 19th St., NW, but a recent visit proved that it just isn't the same. I remember when they had a place in Bethesda (this was the '70s) and it was my very favorite pizza. Sadly, I live in suburban pizza hell (Rockville), and don't seem to think of pizza when heading in to D.C. I've GOT to try 2 Amy's and Faccia Luna to see if they'll make me happy!
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