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Special K

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Everything posted by Special K

  1. I just finished "To Eat," by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd, in one sitting. Cried like a baby after the last chapter. Eck finished the book, which he and Winterrowd were working on when Winterrowd died. He uses "we" throughout. Wonderful, wonderful book. I do hope Eck continues to write.
  2. d arch, I usually just take the dish outside and set the flies free near the compost bin, but I think I might try your zap 'em method. It really takes one or two minutes?
  3. Today's post about pantry moths reminded me of this homemade trap for fruit flies I recently learned about. No fancy storebought traps needed - just put a few tasty scraps in a small bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap, and poke a few small holes in the wrap. The flies can get in, but they can't get out. Works better than anything else I've tried. As to where they come from, I'm wondering if they can actually get through my window screens?
  4. I shop almost every day - it's a good excuse to get in a nice walk. On weekends my DH and I shop together for big/heavy items I can't carry (he drives, I don't). I like shopping alone, because I'm the one who plans and cooks our meals, mostly, and because I like to take my time and look around at things that might not actually be on my list (although I'm sure I'm not as slow as Darienne's DH ), and he likes to see how fast he can get it over with. Sometimes I literally have to run to keep up with him! "Canned curried octopus from North Korea" gave me a laugh - that was my Dad. He loved to shop but only ever bought exotic items no one else would touch. Mom rarely let him go with her and hated it when he went alone. Granted, she came home with boxes, cans, and the like, but at least we could eat that stuff!
  5. I like to use grated cheese - melts nicely and you can really pile it on . I'll have to try the mayo on the outside trick! Also, I don't believe anyone has mentioned this, but my grilled cheese sandwich MUST be accompanied by tomato soup. K
  6. Some wild guesses: Did you use larger (or smaller) eggs? Or, maybe this time you used low fat vs full fat milk or vice versa? Salted vs unsalted butter? K edited to move a misplaced parenthesis
  7. Not in the pantry exactly, but there's almost always some kind of chicken salad in the fridge. I try to make chicken stock every weekend, and I always toss in a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts to poach while I'm at it. Sometimes it's Mom's generic recipe, sometimes it's jazzed up in different ways, but there's always some kind of chix salad in the chill chest. During the growing season, there's always various kinds of lettuces, etc., in the garden ready to be fresh-picked. Nice, yummy chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, ready in a flash. Was this what you had in mind? K eta: What nice friends you have!
  8. I think the reason for the odd tasting cilantro might be that you planted it in the same pot as your parsley. Apparently they just don't like each other. They're in the same family (carrot), and they compete for nutrients and exude substances to stunt each other. (This is from an hub article by "The Herb Lady," which for some reason I can't paste in here.) So, if you want to try again, you might try separate pots. Hope this helps. K
  9. I vote for "mini-cake." There are all kinds of discussions out there on the differences - the consensus seems to be that cupcakes are cakes, whereas muffins are breads, so it's the difference between batter and dough - but if the muffins we're talking about are sweet, with or without frosting, I think we can call them cakes → small cakes → mini-cakes. As Melissa Clark once wrote (2008 NYT), a pastry chef friend of hers, when asked the difference, said, "Nothing. Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast." His theory was that Americans are just puritannical about their breakfast choices, and "muffin" sounds healthier.
  10. I'm still enjoying the report, but I just wanted to mention two things: Florida chicken - think oranges, orange juice, orange rind (also onion, celery, pepper, zucchini, and baby corn). And I'm pretty sure that was a field of mustard, not rapeseed. Just my two cents worth. Now back to your wonderful report! I'm loving it!
  11. Thank you so much for bringing back some wonderful memories. "Mary Tyler Moore moment" is just the perfect description! I always thought I loved England more than any place on earth, but walking along, turning a corner and suddenly seeing the Tour Eiffel - well! I rarely burst into tears (of joy) in public, but I sure did then. If I'd been wearing a hat it would've gone flying! Now I'm going straight to your England report, and thanks in advance for that!
  12. I always poach chicken legs and thighs in a pot of stock I've started a half-hour or so earlier. When it's done, I pull it out and let it cool, then strip the meat off and toss the bones right back into the stockpot. It's a two-fer!
  13. If your brother is not a super coffee snob aficionado, you might consider a Keurig and a selection of K-cups. We got one as a gift a couple of years ago and have grown to love it. We've since given several to family and friends (the former "Mr. Coffee" set). There is a wide selection of coffees and teas, each cup is always fresh, it's simple to use and very quick (priceless for that first cup), and if your brother is more of a do-it-yourselfer you can still get him a grinder and beans and he can use the resusable K-cup thingy that comes with the machine. You're a good sister.
  14. You need a really sunny spot, at least six hours a day, maybe one of those greenhouse windows, southern exposure if possible, or a grow light. Be sure your soil isn't too rich - herbs like poor soil. Pots will need good drainage, and remember to turn them regularly. I have a really dark, small kitchen, so I was looking at this: http://www.amazon.com/AeroGarden-2101-00B-Classic-Garden-Gourmet/dp/B000FI4O90/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1348240935&sr=8-5&keywords=indoor+herb+garden , but $150 was a bit too steep for me. Good luck and happy snipping!
  15. I agree! Since I decided to buy everything I could at second-hand stores several years ago I have saved a bunch of money, and I now find it almost impossible to buy anything at retail. I had to shell out real money for a silpat the other day (somebody used the one I had as a cutting board - again) and it nearly kilt me! I find wonderfully seasoned cast iron pans, as well as all the pricy brand name stuff, good as new. I have a very small kitchen, so I only buy to upgrade; then the replaced item gets donated.
  16. Sorry if someone has already said this. You can probably buy San Francisco sourdough starter at gift shops in SF (heck, you can buy it online), but be aware that once you get it home, it will soon turn into Singapore sourdough starter, because your flour, yeasts and bacteria are not the same as SF's.
  17. I recommend Amy Pennington's The Urban Pantry and anything Nigel Slater has ever written. They are not cookbooks per se (although there are recipes), but rather books about cooking.
  18. I would say get a stand mixer if you can afford it and if you have room to leave it out on your kitchen counter. If it's right there, handy to use, you probably will use it and you'll be glad you have it. But if you don't have room to - or don't want to - leave it out, it'll be such a "pita," as you say, that you won't bother with it. In that case, get a good hand mixer. As with the stand mixer, if you have it and it's easy to get to, you'll use it. Also, if you do decide to get a stand mixer, do yourself a favor and get at least one extra bowl for it, and switch to one of the new sideswipe or flex edge mixer blades.
  19. We always do hoppin' John, not really for luck but just to keep the tradition alive. We do have cornbread, but we skip the traditional collard greens (DH doesn't like). Instead we have our favorite salad - mixed baby greens from the garden, sliced pear, crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts, with a dressing of light oil and tarragon vinegar shaken with a splort of mustard. I'm not sure any of my family back home (Tennesee & Georgia) bother any more with hoppin' John, but I love it, and I love the tradition. I always make far too much - can't seem to help it!
  20. My wonderful sister scours used book stores and finds all kinds of interesting books for me, because she knows I can never have too many, on any subject. Last year she really scored - she found a 1983 Escoffier and a 1961 Larousse, both in really great shape! The funny thing is that she doesn't cook, and had no idea who they were - but she knew I'd like these "cool old books." I've given classic cookbooks to newlyweds, usually as part of a package deal - if they've asked for a KitchenAid mixer, for example, they get that plus a bunch of other goodies, including a cookbook or two that I think they'll like and use. (I do like to go all out for weddings!) For less extravagant gift occasions, I love giving a cookbook and maybe a set of wooden spoons or measuring cups, whatever goes with the book, to people who have either asked for a specific title or who want me to choose something for them. For example, my friend Ken, who is newly single and showing an interest in cooking, is getting one of those little hedgehog cheese graters that I love, and Steven Jenkins' Cheese Primer (and some cheese!) this year.
  21. Oh, of course! My freezer is always full of stocks of all kinds, and bags of frozen bones and odds and ends for the next batch - but you were asking what to buy at the grocery store, right? I suppose you should pick some of the commercial stuff up, just to have handy until you can make your own. But you won't need to freeze that. I did think of something else I keep (guilty pleasure - Snadra reminded me): potato cakes! A fragrant, crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-creamy-on-the-inside potato cake, topped with some melted cheese, topped with an egg - now that's a breakfast for a queen! Not too often, mind you, but when I want it, I want it. And there's always extra bacon, too, as others have mentioned. Some things you just don't ever want to be without!
  22. What Darienne said, and I always keep Trader Joe's frozen turkey meatballs on hand. A package of those with some jazzed-up jarred sauce over some kind of dried pasta (both always in the pantry), some freshly grated Parmesan (always in the refrigerator), some fresh-baked garlic bread (no knead dough always in the refrigerator, too), and a salad from the garden - that's our go-to "we forgot to plan anything for dinner" dinner, or when we come home late and are just too tired to really cook. It all goes together easily and it's good old comfort food in a jiffy. It's actually great for drop-in dinner guests, since I usually plan our dinners for just the two of us, and this goes a lot further; and if guests don't eat meat the meatballs can be cooked separately. I do hope you had the repairman check your refrigerator out to make sure it won't die on you again.
  23. Found another nice stocking stuffer, thanks to Heartsurgeon, here: Sklips! Who knew I needed them? They're $42 plus shipping for a box of 24 - at six to a person, that works out to 3 gifts for under $15 each, and a set for yourself! http://www.amazon.com/Sklip-Sheet-Stacking-Rack-System/dp/B004KTYPDU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1323454964&sr=8-2
  24. What a great gift idea! Thanks so much.
  25. Funny. I bought the first issue at B&N, and ordered the second one from Amazon as soon as I read (here) that it was out. Got it in two days. I haven't had a chance to sit down with it, but if it's anything like the first issue, I will devour it in one sitting. It's fun to leave it out on the coffee table and watch people's reactions when they pick it up and start to leaf through it.
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