Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by thecuriousone

  1. Hi There- One really inexpensive way to get luxe on a budget is to find an auction house that works with family estates. You would be surprised at the level of china that goes for a song because no one wants it. Often its a complete set with accessories that you just dont see anymore. Hope this helps.
  2. Hi All-Does anyone have any tea-based punch recipes they would like to share? I'm looking for a savory beverage to serve the children and elders who do not want anything alcoholic with the turkey. That said, I remember a "Red Zinger Tea" punch that was served at a friends wedding. I remember thinking that this would be able to stand up to a, "Real meal" as an alternative to alcohol or water. Thanks for any help, or any books you can refer me to.
  3. I've learned more from, Madeline Kamman's, "The Making of a Cook" than I have from any other.
  4. I think about this question a lot. Often I want to create theatre on the plate and to reproduce things that I have seen in my travels for my guests. I’m still a failure at getting that vertical salad presentation from Alfred Portale’s Gotham City Cookbook to work. But there are other times when the most direct and intense method to offer comfort is to cook for those I care about. When the pain is great and nothing can be fixed, I instinctively reach for the “homey” foods in my repertoire to express this. Cakes, pies, pot pies, braised short ribs, macaroni and cheese and biscuits appear on my table. What is even more amazing is that the mechanics of these dishes just seem to come together. My sauces come together the first time; the seasoning is where it should be. When I am cooking from that space, there is no fear that it won’t be right on the first pass. The desire to convey comfort on the plate seems to be so strong that it overtakes any doubts I have about my abilities to convey what needs to be conveyed. In reading, “Heat”, it appears that cooking professionally is about being devoid of emotion. It’s about reproducing a specific end point in the exact same way, 300 times an evening. While I have the utmost respect for that effort, what drives what I put on the plate is emotion. The urge to convey wonderment, comfort, history, whimsy, flirtation, seduction……………….
  5. Hi there- I made the decision this year to feed myself and my husband on a budget of 200.00 per month. I will admit it took a little planning, but we live quite comfortably within that price range. The 200 per month includes most staples, all meat, vegetables, dairy, beer/wine to accompany dinner. My tricks are the following: Plan for every protein to serve two meals. Buy head on shrimp and fish, use the bodies for risotto, the heads will make wonderful stock/ soup for another meal. Roast meats for one meal, thin the leftovers and serve as a sauce over pasts for another meal. Chicken can be roasted for one night’s dinner; the scraps are salad for another meal. I find that I end up purchase a small group of proteins for each of the 4 weeks of the month and it helps keep the costs down. Find a vegetable market with a really fast turnover and benefit from the boxed lots they sell at a reduced price. This step really turns the phrase, “Eat by the seasons” into reality. You will find that your cooking skills will sharpen as you work to create delicious meals from veggies you may not have encountered before. Cook slow A lot of the cheaper more flavorful cuts are from working muscles. Plan to cook slow and extract the flavor using time instead of money as your medium. Have a plan- Know what is in your freezer and fridge. Have an idea on how they will fit together. Slow down your meal-You would be surprised how slowing down your meal allows you to be full on a smaller portion (not to mention the pleasure of good conversation). Cook from Scratch- It makes all the difference in the world. It doesn’t take that much longer, and its tastes a leap better. Target Certain Cookbooks- Pick up a copy of Jacques Pepin’s, Cuisine Economique or Madeline Kamman’s , When French women cook”. One of the first things that you notice is that ingredients are used frugally, very frugally. It gives you a different slant on what you are cooking.
  6. Hi All- Just a note to let you know what I did. I had blanched green beans carrots and leeks, I put those in a really hot skillet and cooked them for a few minutes, added the left over chuck roast I was using as base and poured in a 1/2 cup of red wine and my chopped the rosemary. I then put the base in the baking pan. I seasoned the potato mixtrure with a blend of romano, parmesean and thyme, and covered the base. I Popped it in the oven for 40 minutes at 390 and it was dinner. My husband says its on the money.
  7. Hi All- When does a cook choose to infuse flavor? I am defining infusion of flavor as introducing a flavor to water or oil in order to have the flavor permeate the wholedish. In the cook books I read by professional cooks, there is always an importance in finding things to intensify flavor in things that most home cooks toss. Madeline Kamman speaks of re-using butter that things were previously sauteed in. I've read other books that speak of using water that veggies were boiled in as the base for soups. I am makinga shepards pie using sweet potato rather than white potato. I would like to flavor the sweet potato with savory indregients and lighten them with eggs, to pipe them in a design over the meat. If I take a cup of potato water, add chopped fresh rosemary and reduce by 1/2 to add to the pulp, will I end up with a bitter rosemary flavor? Woud I be better served just chopping the rosemary into the pulp and putting the whole thing in the oven? Thanks, also, if there is a discussion on this topic that someone has seen on this site, can you let me know? My cooking is beginning to expand my ideas of food presentation. I am beginning to look at presentation as a cascade of nose, eyes, stomach. I critique my dishes on how each of the above sets the stage for the next. I know, its only shepards pie, but any ideas or observations would be appreciated.
  8. HI Nancy- No, not harvesting, purchasing. The bunches were on a reduced table from the place I get veggies. They were a little wilted, and I'm sure that I embarrassed myself as I snatched them up. But where else can you find fresh basil for a nickel a bunch now? You dont blanch your basil before you freeze it? Does it turn dark when you use it?
  9. Hi All- I have a glut of basil in my fredge. 17-18 bunches that are a little wilted and bruised but otherwise fine. I've dipped them in water and they have perked up a bit. My question is what should I do with them? I would like to preserve all but 1-2 of the bunches and my thought was to blanch the leaves for 10 sec., puree with a little olive oil and freeze in tablespoon amounts to see me through the winter. Any other ideas? I also thought about Pesto, but I made a bunch of that just before the first frost. I thought about salsa verde by am not sure it uses basil. Any other suggestions?? Thanks in advance for all the great ideas I know that I'll get.
  10. Melissa- (lol) you have certainly lifted my spirits this eve. pancakes sprayed with fabric protector? I may never look at a photo in quite the same way again!
  11. Hi All- I am a passionate home cook. I want my food to look gorgeous as much as the next person, probably more so. My question however is whether its realistic to expect my food to look like the pages of the cooking magazines. I raise this question because in the November 06 Gourmet, Ruth Reichl speaks to what is involved in creating the yearly thanksgiving article. She speaks of the "several" turkeys that "auditioned" for the final picture. There were several references made to the "food stylists". I look at my copy and wonder, "Darn, why cant I get my turkey to look like that" never thinking that it took them 15 turkeys to get there. There is a picture of a chestnut parsnip puree that does not look appetizing at all in the picture, but I have to admit I wondered, "Gee, how did some real food sneak through?" Should I view the the pages of cooking magazines as the "Runway couture" that is never meant to be copied to everyday use as shown? Another example is the salad created by Alfred Portale and highlighted in the Gotham City cookbook. I've never gotten it to work at home. I continually strive to hone my skills, stocks and braises come out pretty well, if not as shiny as what I see in the mags. And my food tastes good. Should that be enough? Am I just chasing a dream that no home cook catches or should I just book myself in the next cooking school slot?
  12. Would you be so kind to print the recipe for shrimp stew that resulted in the above wonderful picture?
  13. Hello All- What purpose did pickles serve in a meal? I can remember my grand mother never considering her table properly set when guests were coming unless there were some pickles on the table. What purpose did pickles play and when were they most important? Were offering pickled vegetables on the table a southern thing that made its way north? I can understand from a food preservation standpoint the purpose of pickling, but did pickles serve to counterpoint the blandness of other food? Were pickles precursors to hot sauces? Did pickles help dress up left overs or mask food which was nearing the end of its freshness? I'd appreciate any info you can offer. The table routines of the early 1900's seem like such a mystery to me.
  14. I have one of those 4 shelf Ikea bookcases that are broken into 3 sections per shelf along my long kitchen wall. The top shelf center are my workhorses, i.e. those books that I go to when I want to know how a dish was done by a particular cook. The book has to earn its spot there, it has to be something I refer to regularly. This shelf also includes the recipes I've clipped over the years in addition to my deceased grandmothers handwritten recipe for rolls. Everything else is grouped loosely by cuisine or theme (Foods of the World and The good cook). Magazines are on the bottom shelf grouped by season. Then there are the 5 banana boxes of cookbooks upstairs that I might need if my interests go in a different direction.................
  15. when you allow an extra 24 hours in the research of whatever recipe you plan to try this weekend, because you want to make sure you get a good number of posts from others who have tried it on egullet.
  16. Hi All- i have 24 bunches of green onions that have no tops. Any suggestions on how I can use them? My first thoughts were tabbouleh or I remember a jerk seasoning recipe in Fine cooking that used lots of green onions. I would appreciate any suggestions, because they will probably end up chopped and frozen in a plastic bag. Thanks for any suggestions!!
  17. My two favorites are the Green Goddess that came from Saveur and the remoulade dressing from Time-Life foods of the world, Lousiana cookbook. I've never tasted anything like it.
  18. HI All- Often these are really good buys and I find that they make me utilize all the skills that I've read about but not yet put to use. For example, one week, it was 5 lbs of peaches, 3 lbs of plums, 3 heads of iceberg, 6 red peppers, 5 lbs of bananas, a bunch of celery a bunch of carrots and 6 onions, for a 2 bucks. I canned the plums, canned most of the peaches and tried a peach barbeque sauce that I had seen, made stock with the celery, carrots and onions and still had the bananas some fo the plums to eat for a couple of days. Additionally, since I never know what I'm coming home with, it forces me to look at my bounty from the standpoint of, "how can i get the most out of this?" Its forcing me to use different cooking muscles. I must admit I'm looking at the whole food creation and preservation concept a little differently as I try these different processes. Freezing, drying and preserving arent usually what I think of when I think of oooking, but I've developed skills for all of these as I preserve the bounty and feed my family economically. Thanks or the input.
  19. Hi All- I buy it like that because the fruit market I frequent has such a turnover that they bundle these fruits in a sampler box and I can get most of the fruits and veggies I need for my family for the week at a really good price. It has taught me some things. First, my idea of over the hill has been really lengthened. Secondly, Often there is a sweetness I never knew a fruit could have the day before its no longer usable. I have canned and frozen much of the fruit, but from a taste experience alone, I've learned a lot.
  20. I'm speaking about fruit that is pretty far along the continuum between unripe and really ripe. A prefect example would be plums that would almost be unusable in 48 hours vs. being able to sit for a week and ripen. That is what I am referring to
  21. Hello All- I want to try a classic pot au feu. What cut should I look for at the market? Should I plan to tie it myself? I also want something that will leave me enough for sandiwches for the rest of the week. What internal temp should I strive for? I'd like it barely pink in the center. Thanks for any help.
  22. HI All- I buy a lot of dead ripe fruit. Are there ways that the professionals keep ripe fruit from going past the point of no return. I find that things last a lot longer if I was and dry them before they are put in the fridge. It allows me to take out anything that may mold the rest of the box, are there any other tricks that may give me an extra day or two? Thanks for any help
  23. HI All- I'm looking for a recipe for the rice stuffed tomatoes I ate all over Italy. I have a batch of tomatoes that are huge and perfectly ripe. I remember those tomatoes as the best things on the planet. Thanks for any help.
  24. Thanks to all! what is the difference between prickly pears and nopales? I know that one is green and thin, and one is fat and pink are there other differences? Are they treated the same for cooking purposes? I always thought nopales went into savory dishes, not sweet. How do I know if they are ripe? some of these are green and some area rose color. Also, should I refrigerate them? are they eaten cold?
  • Create New...