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Special K

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  1. Emily, it might turn out that you cook them differently depending on when you want them - a bit longer to eat right now, and a bit shorter if you want to refrigerate them for later. It will be interesting to see what you discover!
  2. This also makes them much easier to peel. As for the yolk turning green, yes, you are overcooking them; it just takes the ferrous sulfide reaction a little time to manifest itself. Follow Anna N's advice and you should have no problem with the yolks turning green.
  3. Chicken, and eggs - or should that be Eggs, and chicken?
  4. I think I am a deliberate, even meditative cook. I can and often do turn out a good, quick meal for the two of us, sure, but I'd much rather take the time to plan a feast for a crowd; shopping, measuring, chopping, slicing, dicing, and then cooking low and slow, filling the house with good aromas. I like to set the table with the best china, and carefully match the wine to the food, and it's nice if there are (unscented) candles and flowers . . . The whole time I'm playing in the kitchen I'm thinking not just of how good everything is going to taste, but also of how pleased and relaxed the people at my table are going to be. This is why I love putting together holiday meals - everyone expects the cook to pull out all the stops, and I love pulling out all the stops! If I had the time (and OK, the money) I would do this every day. I welcome every chance to cook this way. If there's no holiday, or no guests, I'll do it for just we two, and freeze the leftovers. Or I'll make stock. Same thing - the same motions and good smells and time, and all along I'm thinking of all the good meals that the stock will be a part of one day. My Mom, who has zero interest in cooking (or in eating, really, except to survive), recently tried to give a nod to my love of cooking by sending me several different kinds of scone mixes - "just add water!" Ah, Mom. She really means well; she just doesn't understand what I mean by "cooking." To her, cooking is the work someone has to do in order to feed hungry mouths. To me it is much, much more. It is love.
  5. Nope. The potato trick doesn't work. You will have to add more liquid as well as more lentils, etc. The salt has to be diluted out. Edited for clarity.
  6. Oh, yes it is, cteavin! You are a genius! For next time, you might try individual meatloaves - they'd have to be pretty bland, probably, but kids love food that's scaled down to their size. Serve with the usual mashed potatoes, etc., on small plates with the smallest cutlery you have, and they'll love it. My niece and nephew used to love having this, anyway, and it certainly changed the way I make meatloaf - the smaller ones (just bake on a sheet pan, freeform) are really, really good - lots more "extra good nibbly bits," as my husband (a big kid himself) likes to say. Be sure to save one or two for yourself! Of course, what they'll probably want every time they come over is your pizzas, tortillas, and REAL graham crackers!
  7. Aww, that's great! Lucky Devan! (Wow, a polite, well-spoken 18 year old boy!) He'll probably remember that dinner for the rest of his life. You have done a very good thing, my friend. This is absolutely what Thanksgiving should be all about. I think my husband had the same experience his first Christmas with my family (we were about 16 years old then). First, we had a sedate little dinner party with his parents; very sweet. Then we went over to my folks' once-a-year blow-out party, with all the lights, the non-stop Christmas music, the huge tree with more gifts under it than anyone would believe (my mom has been known to wrap boxes of Kleenex "to fill in"), the huge commotion in the tiny kitchen with about five cooks (mom, aunts, neighbors, people I've never laid eyes on before or since), everyone trying to work at once, the game on - loud! - in the den adjacent to the kitchen, that room crowded with rowdy fans, the sugared-up kids and the dogs underfoot, somebody at the main table wrapping last-minute presents (or "fill ins") so it can't be set yet . . . oh, the poor guy didn't know what hit him, but I must say, he soon fit right in! Christmas was the only time of the year we felt like a real family (because of the visiting relatives). I miss it. These days, 40 years later, all the family is scattered or gone, and my husband and I are back to sedate little dinner parties; very sweet, but . . . (edited to fix typo)
  8. We are fortunate in Seattle to have a very good recycling/yard & food waste program. Under the kitchen sink I have a recycling bin, a food waste bin (which includes paper towels, bones, and scraps), and a very small trash bag (all I need), which hangs on the inside of the cabinet door. When I begin a meal, the dishwasher is always empty (I run a load at bedtime and empty it out in the morning while the coffeemaker is doing its thing) and the doors to those bins are open. I chuck items into the appropriate bin or bag as I go (no garbage bowl middle step). I also put away things as I "meese" them or as I measure ingredients right into the bowl or pot (very little counter space), and I keep a bowl of soapy water in the big single sink for tools I will reuse (otherwise they go straight into the dishwasher). A while back I started searching in thrift stores and bought a bunch of loose 1 cup and 1/2 cup measuring cups. Each staple, be it rice, flour, sugar, etc., has its own dedicated measuring cup, kept right in there with the goods. Saves time and water. The canisters are arranged on the bottom shelf of one of those round lazy-susan things in the lower corner cabinet next to the sink. Handy, but out of the way. I don't have a dog, and I try to keep the cats out of the kitchen when I'm cooking, because they have a habit of either begging or plopping themselves down in the middle of the small room and getting stepped on (I drag their tower to a spot just outside the work area so they can sit there and supervise), so no crumb-snachers for between sweeping/moppings. This is probably bad form, but I often brush fine crumbs right into the dishwasher - it seems to be able to handle them just fine so far. I just make sure I clean the trap every every load. My folks had an even smaller kitchen than I have now, with even less counter space (and they fed a family of six), so "clean as you go" has always been the family mantra.
  9. Oh, yeah. Condiments galore here, too! Our local QFC closed a couple of weeks ago, and by the time I got to the sale, the only things left were spices and condiments - the rest of the place was stripped bare within hours - prices were rock-bottom). I loaded up on these things (well, as much as I could considering I was on foot), and now I have to figure out what to do with it all.
  10. Can't do it, because I'm using up all the fresh vegetables this week, and I do want a turkey (although I did order it last week, so maybe that would count as pre-challenge shopping? Hmm, we could have turkey and . . . potatoes six ways). But I'm really happy about the timing of this no-shopping challenge, because the fridge will be practically empty, ready to receive the turkey when I do pick it up on Wednesday, and then there will be room for all the T-day leftovers!
  11. Well, we were going to start this on Monday, with Sunday night's leftovers, but old friends were in town, so we went out with them. Just had snacks (Palisade's wonderful calamari strips), but it was enough for us to skip dinner and just keep snacking when we got home (corn ships and salsa). Then last night Doc had a meeting where they supplied dinner, so I just had a roast beef/cheddar sandwich on sourdough and a bit of salad. Tonight we'll have the Sunday roast chicken and butternut squash risotto, finally. For Thursday, I found a package of frozen meatballs in the freezer, but of course I'm out of spaghetti sauce. I do, however, have cream and beef stock and some egg noodles, so Swedish meatballs it is. Friday night has become pizza night again after a long hiatus; it'll be a long, busy day so I'll pull the Trader Joe's wild mushroom and black truffle flatbread with mozzarella cheese from the freezer and we'll have that with a nice salad and some of the good wine. Saturday we'll have fire-roasted tomato soup (I buy the boxed soup but jazz it up with whatever's handy - nuthin' fancy but we like it - this time I saved a bit of the salsa to add to it) topped with goldfish crackers if I can keep Doc and the cats from eating them all before then, and another salad (we ended up with two large containers of salad, not used on a field trip - I did what Fat Guy did, washed it all up and portioned it out - thanks for the idea!, and I've been piling it on the lunch sandwiches). Sunday will be a challenge, since I usually like to make a big dinner. Hmm, I think I have everything I need for a nice big meatloaf, and there's a ton of small yellow potatoes. That, with something from the frozen veggie bin, along with the weekly no-knead bread, should do nicely! I'll save a couple of the apples and make a tart for dessert. Breakfasts all week are scones or waffles from the freezer, or eggs (I learned from the last challenge to buy my eggs in the 18-pack!), and lunches are sandwiches (from the cold cuts we overbought for the field trip (don't worry, we paid for all this food ourselves!)or the rest of the chicken, and apples. Since Monday and Tuesday probably shouldn't count, I think I'll keep this up thru next Mon. and Tues., and then Wednesday's the start of the Thanksgiving sides and dessert prep (Tuesday will be the big shopping day for that). I think that Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which I always take off work to cook up a storm so the day itself is not rushed, is just about my favorite day of the year. This year it will be just the two of us, but I'm doin' it all anyway!
  12. I read this just after I got back from my midmorning walk, during which I bought a couple of odds and ends (cream for Doc's coffee and a small container of sour cream). When I got back to work, I was putting together sandwiches today using the coldcuts we keep in a little fridge here, but we had no mayo or mustard - so I used a little of the sour cream, and I'll be danged if it wasn't really good! So there's my first substitution already (if using the sour cream is allowed). I usually make a big Sunday supper just for the two of us (but I cook for about six), so tonight I'd already planned to have leftover roast chicken, shredded onto a big salad, and reheated butternut squash risotto (I always make a ton of it because it's sort of labor-intensive but quick to reheat, and anyway I think the reheated leftovers are even better). I had planned to buy some salmon for tomorrow's supper, but instead I will forage in the freezer, where I'm sure there is plenty to put together main dishes for the week. I know I have plenty of lettuces, so there will be lots of salads, and there's also plenty of bread, rice, couscous, tomatoes, frozen veggies, eggs, etc. This is great! Now I won't feel bad blowing some extra grocery money next week for Thanksgiving. The only think I think I will need to buy during the week is tea; I bought a new kind recently and it's not to my liking - I donated it to the school.
  13. I just went to Lowe's (or maybe it was Home Depot) and bought a marble floor tile. Can't remember how much it cost, but it wasn't much. Works perfectly. Mine lives in the fridge unless I'm using it.
  14. Good point, Karen. I guess I was hoping to hear from anyone knowledgeable about these particular turkey brands. Oh, well. My other options are the local grocery store that lost my order last Thanksgiving or the new Whole Foods, which would probably be fine except that they're so new I wonder if the same thing might happen. The QFC I really liked closed recently; they would have been my first choice. Anyway, thanks for your input. I'm sure I'll find something. It turns out the guests I was expecting cancelled, so I don't need a huge bird for the two of us anyway.
  15. LuckyGirl, you don't sound like a S.A. at all; that is a very reasonable question. It's just that I've been thinking of trying Amazonfresh out, and this seemed like a good place to start since they're offering me 20% off on the first order.
  16. I am thinking of ordering a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving from Amazonfresh. The choices are Diestel Free Range hens or toms, Northwest Natural hens or toms, and Heidi's Hens hens. My questions are: What's the difference between hens and toms? (well, I know the difference between a hen and a tom, but you know what I mean ) Are these reliably good brands? Or can you recommend something better? Thanks.
  17. Mmm, mmm! BLT on toasted onion rye bread, with a dab of mayonnaise and plenty of mustard! I don't think I could eat it with one hand, though.
  18. Really? Not to me. Not at all. I would go out much more often if these rules were followed at restaurants.
  19. Was there fruit in it? I wonder if it fermented? Did you give it the sniff test?
  20. This probably isn't really what you're looking for, but if you haven't read Kingsley Amis' On Drink (now included in a re-issue of his writings on drinking called Everyday Drinking, I think), you should.
  21. This is the blog of one of my husband's star high school Chemistry students. She's now a junior at Haverford College, and we are extremely proud of her! Those of you with a scientific bent will find it interesting. http://empiricurean.blogspot.com/
  22. Ohhh, maaaaan, you are so right! Thank you! I think.
  23. Hmm. Never thought to use that whey for baking! Thanks, Andisenji.
  24. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post the link, but Amazon has a list of top Southern Cookbooks that looks pretty good. Edna Lewis is definitely a good starting place, and Pat Conroy's Recipes of My Life is a very good read.
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