Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Jujubee

  1. Has anyone checked out Grange Kitchen and Bar in the old Bella Ciao space in Ann Arbor? They're having a 53 Mile Dinner this Wednesday that looks pretty interesting, but I've been so sorely disappointed by higher end dining in Ann Arbor that I figured I would ask around first.
  2. I know this has been mentioned a few times already, but it's remarkable enough that it bears repeating. I finally got around to trying the Slow-Roasted Beef from Jan 2008, and wow, that is some remarkable chemistry going on there. I am never going to look down on an eye of round roast again.
  3. I am always trying new peanut sauce recipes, but I think I may have finally found the one that has just the balance I'm looking for. It is from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet by Didi Emmons (the Peanut Dressing, not the All Purpose Peanut Sauce, which I haven't tried. yet.) The ingredients list looks pretty standard except that it contains a full cup of flavorless oil, which is drizzled in at the end using a food processor, much like making mayonnaise. I tried it before the oil was added, and it tasted like a lot of other peanut sauces I've made: that is, fine, but not *quite* what I was looking for. But adding the oil rounds out the flavor, gives a lot of body to the sauce (the volume actually increases more than a cup; again, like making mayo), and somehow makes everything come together. Strangely, despite the large quantity, it doesn't dilute the flavor at all.
  4. I also wanted to add that I feel like situations like the dog food recall and peanut recall are slightly different. In those cases I think that the problem was more that the existing rules weren't being enforced, rather than the rule itself wasn't good enough. In the peanut situation, the plant itself was highly unsanitary and had many code violations. The rules for sanitary peanut processing were already in place; one company wasn't following them. In the dog food situation, the food was contaminated with aflatoxin, something that wasn't suppose to be in it in the first place. In my mind, there is a difference between toxins that you wouldn't expect to find in a particular food (and aren't allowed anyway, though enforcement may be lax) versus something like salmonella in chicken/egg products or e coli in ground beef. In the latter case, I don't care if the company can trace every single chicken or cow in the food chain, you still need to cook that stuff through.
  5. I feel there has to be some sort of reasonableness test. (I know, that's impossible.) I remember buying a frozen meal at some point that had raw, as opposed to precooked, shrimp in it. The instructions specifically said the product had to be heated until x degrees and until the shrimp were pink. In that case the shrimp were intentionally frozen raw so they wouldn't be rubbery after heating. Similarly, things like breaded chicken strips vary by brand. The more "processed" nuggets usually say Fully Cooked on the package and give microwave and regular oven instructions, while the higher end "strips of breast meat" tenderloins don't say Fully Cooked on them, and instead say to cook to a certain internal temperature and only give regular oven instructions. Again, I'm assuming the less processed chicken tenders are frozen undercooked for quality purposes, so the won't be dry upon reheating. So with something like chicken pot pies, as long as the package doesn't say Fully Cooked on it and gives instructions to heat to a certain temperature, that would make me assume there was something uncooked in there that needed to be heated to a certain temp. I know in the real world people don't always read the instructions, etc, but really, if a package says Chicken Pot Pie on it and the instructions say to cook until 160 to make sure the chicken is fully cooked through (even if the true intention is to kill salmonella that may be lurking in, say, the crust), I don't think the manufacturer is to blame there. Of course there should be regulations, and maybe they need to be stricter than they are now. I don't know enough about the facts right now. But I don't think the manufacturer is to blame if consumers don't follow the instructions, as long as the package clearly states the products needs to be cooked through. For example, in this recent case with the Nestle Toll House raw cookie dough, while I understand why Nestle is issuing the recall, I don't really think they should be to blame. Cookie dough contains raw eggs, and that can make you sick. Even as a kid I knew that. When we swiped homemade raw cookie dough out of the mixing bowl, we weren't going to sue the egg farmers if it made us sick. We made that decision to take our chances.
  6. I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware. Clearly, that's where this argument should have ended. I'm not surprised that some lovers of All-Clad are taking it hard that others have said it's a "waste of money." After all, the reason we have the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings is almost entirely attributable to what has been called the "greatest promotional campaign of all time" by De Beers. On that basis, All-Clad is a horrible value on the specifications, and on that basis it's not unreasonable to say that it's a "waste of money." "Taking it hard" about one's cookware is one of life's great pleasures. Clearly, when one has to bring out arguments about De Beers diamonds vs. a saucepan that might have cost $29 15 years ago...and one which is still in perfect condition today...I grow suspect about the anti All-Clad contingent. Prices must have really gone up between 1994 and 1999, because my records indicate that a 3 quart All-Clad saucepan was selling for as much as $145 ten years ago. Today it retails for $160 and deep discount for an irregular will run you about about $108 for a one-third discount. Applying that discount to the 1999 price would make the best price you were likely to find on that pan at around 97 bucks -- a far cry from 29 dollars. You would be hard-pressed to find any piece of All-Clad that can be bought for less than about 50 bucks today (for the very smallest pieces) except for the rare loss-leader super-discount on amazon.com or someplace like that -- and it would be impossible to build a battery of cookware at those prices. All of which is to say that, even though you may have bought yours 15 years ago, I have serious doubts as to where it averaged any 29 dollars a piece. An average price of more like a hundred bucks a piece would be more like it. Or maybe yours fell off a truck? ← Well, I'm sure some people do pay retail (or almost retail) for All Clad. But if you look around, there are a lot of deals to be found. I bought mine in about 2002: I found a set at Macy's that they were discontinuing (by which I mean they were discontinuing that particular configuration of the set and replacing it with a different configuration, not discontinuing the All Clad line itself) and after bonus pieces, store sales, friends and family coupons, and whatnot, I paid $350 for 3 nonstick fry pans (8/10/12), 3 saucepans (1.5/3/4 qt), 1 stockpot (8 qt), matching lids, a bonus large steamer insert for the stockpot, a bonus 1 qt saucepan, and bonus utensils (and maybe something else from Macy's? they're always doing some sort of rewards). These were regular quality, not factory/outlet seconds. And that wasn't the only deal I found; I only bought that set because it had a lot of the particular sizes that I was looking for (8 qt stockpot instead of 6; nonstick skillets but regular stainless saucepans/pots; etc). I also own other pieces of All Clad and Le Creuset that were wedding gifts. I think a lot of people get their "nice" kitchen stuff as wedding gifts, and All Clad is readily available at the major department stores and Williams-Sonoma. Plus, guests like giving it to you because it has such a good reputation. It's just not realistic to register for high quality but lesser known brands that aren't widely distributed, especially since people are scattered so far and wide these days. We had one registry that was online only (well, they had one physical store, but none of our guests were from that area) because they offered a really substantial discount on the china we wanted, but seriously, one person bought off that registry. Everyone else bought from the department stores they had heard of, even if it was more expensive. So in that sense, it's free to me. Hard to beat that price/quality combination. And yes, I actually use all my cookware.
  7. Jujubee

    Dinner! 2009

    That's me for ya...always keeping them wanting more. Here it is.... Ingredients: 7-up 4-5 lbs korean style short ribs (aka Flanken I think) 3 cups lite soy sauce 1/3 cup of honey 10 cloves garlic crushed 2 Tbls grated ginger (pulp and juice) 6 green onions loosely chopped 1/4 cup sesame oil 1/4 cup sesame seeds 1 large brown Asian pear, smashed 2 Kiwi's, skinned and crushed First, marinate the meat submerged in the 7-up over night. This is to tenderize the meat. Second, combine rest of the ingredients and marinate the meat again over night. Squish fruit in your hands to get the pulp and juice into the concoction. Third, cook quickly over VERY hot coals or gas grill. Eat with slivered green onions, soy bean paste, ball of rice inside a lettuce leaf like a lettuce wrap. I got tired of making the lettuce wraps and just started mackin down on the meat by itself. ← Thanks for the recipe, Octaveman! I had a question though: Is the lite soy sauce called for in the recipe asian light soy souce (regular soy sauce, as opposed to dark soy sauce which is thicker and sweeter) or american lite soy sauce (as in less sodium soy sauce)?
  8. Jujubee


    The stuff that Costco carries varies by region. For example, when I lived in Boston they carried King Arthur AP flour, which I liked a lot. They carried other brands in Michigan and Washington, but I haven't tried any of those. Where are you/what brand do they carry there?
  9. I make a lot of breakfast burritos. It enables me to use up small bits of leftovers quickly, i.e. the next morning, and I also try to vary it a bit with condiments and herbs (usually also leftover from another recipe).
  10. Well, I think this challenge officially ended for me on Monday. I could have made it another week, especially since I hadn't spent my $15 weekly allowance yet, but I felt I had accomplished enough of what I had hoped to do, namely clear out the pantry in anticipation of our move in May. Before I went shopping on Monday, my freezer contained: 1 bag of potstickers (my standard backup dinner) tomato paste (individual tablespoons) chipotle chiles (individually frozen) yeast 2 parmesan cheese rinds 2 sticks of butter The fridge shelves were also impressively bare, but since I have a huge collection of condiments it looked less so. I did have space in the door though (and heck, all the little bottles actually fit in the door - definitely a first), so the condiment stash is reducing. I had also managed to reduce my pantry stash so much that I have one completely empty cupboard! Now onto my next project: using up all the condiments (such as the 7 types of vinegar I have, or the enormous bottles of oyster sauce and fish sauce)...
  11. I finally used up the last of that pork shoulder in a stir-fry for dinner tonight. Since there was only 1/2 lb, I sliced it to a fine julienne, along with julienned carrots (last 2), celery, napa cabbage (last bit), and the rest of the container of dried mushrooms (about a cup). I also made a sort of egg drop corn (last of a package in the freezer) soup and served everything with rice.
  12. Dinner last night was a Korean-ish pork stew made with spicy bean paste, served with rice, of course. Alongside we had some asian pears. Dinner tonight was some stir-fried pork with scallions, rice, and a subtly sweet and sour sauteed napa cabbage and carrots. And yet, I STILL have 1/2 a lb of pork shoulder left. That was the last major chunk of meat left in my freezer and I thought for sure I would be done with it by now. This challenge never ends.
  13. Change of plans yesterday: I received some good news, so we went out to grab a round of drinks at 2pm and ended up staying out and eating dinner at a place we've been meaning to try. The restaurant was overpriced and mediocre, but the company and the occasion more than made up for it. Breakfast today was my standard oatmeal; lunch was leftovers from dinner last night. For dinner I made sopa seca with chorizo and black beans. It was a CI recipe that I probably never would have tried if not for this challenge because I'm not really into casserole-y things (despite being made in a skillet, it was kind of a mexican-ish noodle casserole thing). But it ended up being quite tasty and even well liked by my 3 year old, which surprised me since it contained two minced chipotle chiles. The only substitution I made was cheddar for the jack, hardly the end of the world. Dinner was rounded out by some plums.
  14. The only company I know of that has these is Davidson's Pasteurized Eggs. You can do a search for retail locations on their web site: http://www.safeeggs.com/
  15. Alrighty, so tonight makes 2 full week's worth of dinners (i.e. 14 days) and approximately 2 1/2 calendar weeks. I'm pretty sure I can do two more weeks, so I'll join you for the month, FG. Right now, my pantry/freezer is down to the stuff that most people immediately think of when they think of no shopping meals, so I'm expecting more of a challenge. I have a goal for the end of the third week: I want my freezer to be empty. The only exceptions I'll make are for things like frozen dollops of tomato paste and yeast. And by the end of the month I want one completely empty cabinet. My husband had class tonight so dinner was quite eclectic. PB&Js in his laptop bag for him (I tried offering him fruit, vegs, crackers, etc - he declined); Kraft Mac & Cheese, a plum, and carrot sticks for my daughter; random odds and ends from the fridge for me. We had a smidge of rice leftover from making ghetto sushi yesterday so I fried that up with an egg and fish sauce for lazy fried rice (we had scallions and a bunch of other things I could have added, but I didn't want to pull out a cutting board) and grazed on some leftovers. I feel sort of like I am cheating with my fruit exemption for my daughter; on one hand we snack on it straight so it is not contributing to coming up with something for dinner, on the other hand we eat a lot of it. But my goal in these few weeks was to clear out the larder before we move. Saving money (which we are doing on the rest of the grocery list) was just a bonus. So I guess this works for my goals. I bought a few more non-milk/fruit things: eggs, a potato, cereal. My daughter didn't throw a tantrum or anything over being out of cereal for breakfast, she just looked really, really sad every morning when I told her we were still out. Somehow forcing her to eat banana bread instead of high-fiber cereal seemed weird, especially since she doesn't really like baked goods, except for cookies. Still, that's well under $15 this past week for non-milk/fruit items.
  16. This morning I picked some of the mushrooms out of the leftover pasta, scrambled that with an egg and rolled it in a tortilla (toasted in a pan until light brown and puffed a bit) with a smear of oyster sauce. Good. I would do it again. This afternoon I had some leftover pasta and snacked on mung bean soup. Good. I would do it again. This evening I defrosted some Japanese vegetable and pork soup and made inari sushi from a package. (When my sister moved, one of the things she gave me from her freezer was a package containing pre-marinated tofu pouches, sushi vinegar, and sesame seeds for making inari sushi.) Not so good. I would not do it again. But whatever, they were still edible enough to have a modest portion. And I felt not a bit of guilt throwing out the rather copious leftovers.
  17. Dinner tonight was pasta with a mushroom cream sauce. I used the dried gourmet mushroom mix they sell at Costco (about half the container, reconstituted) and sauteed that in some butter, added my next to last shallot, garlic, thyme (bought fresh, but it's been in my fridge so long now that it has effectively dried itself), sherry, the mushroom soaking liquid, and a lot of homemade half and half (i.e. heavy cream plus milk). It was good enough to keep in mind for future pantry meals. I also made banana muffins/cake using the last of a lot of ingredients. I basically took the CI banana bread recipe, scaled up for 4 frozen bananas. Then I subbed out about 1 2/3 c whole wheat flour (all I had left in the freezer) for some of the AP flour, made up the difference with AP flour, subbed brown sugar and honey for the white sugar (2:1 ratio), added some spices (cinnamon and nutmeg), subbed egg substitute for the eggs (because I was out of eggs), subbed double the amount of buttermilk for plain yogurt (double because that was the last of the buttermilk and my goal in making this recipe was to use up some odds and ends), and subbed way fewer pecans for the walnuts. Since I didn't have very many pecans I instead filled the mini-muffin cups with nut-free batter and then placed a pecan half on top. Not only did it look cute, it also saved me the steps of toasting and chopping the nuts. Some of the plain batter also got baked in mini-bundt pans (not enough pecans). Oh, and I remembered a tip I read in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book to let batters made with whole wheat flour rest for 10 minutes or so before baking to let the flour rehydrate a bit better. The end result was fine. The banana flavor was muted, I think because ww flour and brown sugar/honey are much stronger. The texture was much lighter than I expected (maybe because of the buttermilk?) and ever so slightly springy (maybe because of the egg substitute?). I used the remainder of the egg substitute in a frittata for brunch this morning (olives, sun-dried tomatoes, tuna, mozzarella). Since I could not think of anything else that could possibly substitute for eggs I broke down and bought eggs today. I think that wraps up day 5 of my second week and I've already jotted down 5 more meal ideas from my existing stash. It never ends.
  18. We took another impromptu mini-vacation: an overnight stay at a water park, so I'll just add another day to my "week" of pantry meals. Dinner tonight was just leftover asian-esque chicken noodle soup from 2 days ago, plus some steamed buns from the freezer, and a cut-up cantaloupe. I got kind of tired of eating oatmeal for breakfast so I made a sweet mung bean soup. I bought a package of mung beans a looong time ago (maybe a couple of years, I might have even moved these from our last apartment), probably out of childhood nostalgia. But I am reminded that I really like this stuff. If I didn't have a moratorium on grocery shopping I would be stocking up on more right now. =) Slowly but surely...
  19. One thing that I have realized from this exercise is that I usually spend a lot of time grocery shopping! Now, I really enjoy it so it's not a bad thing, but I felt like I had a lot more free time this week. As a result, we had time to cull through some stuff that we've been meaning to cast a critical eye on before our move. I feel less weighted down by stuff, both in the kitchen and out. Surprisingly, doing this exercise has made me more willing to throw stuff out if I'm really not going to use it. Going into this, I threw almost no food out, ever (I think I posted elsewhere about the extensive inventory of my fridge and pantry - since nothing ever got shoved in and forgotten we had very little waste). After a week of mulling over ideas for stuff in my pantry, I realized there were certain things I just didn't want to use, and since I felt I had really given it some good thought I didn't feel bad throwing it out. It was only about 3 things though, but it was still satisfying to finally get rid of them.
  20. I've been pondering a very similar question. I currently have a huge bottle of raspberry dressing (not exactly the same, but probably close enough) in my fridge, and after asking Google it seems like two popular uses for it are: 1) pour some over a block of cream cheese and use as a dip for crackers; 2) use it in a vinaigrette, especially in a salad that has fruit and nuts in it.
  21. Dinner tonight was an asian-esque chicken noodle soup. I used up all the chicken backs and pork bones from the freezer (almost 4 lbs worth) and threw in some ginger and scallions toward the end of the simmering time. Once strained and defatted, I threw into the simmering broth: one limp daikon radish (perfectly tasty once cooked), the rest of an open package of yu noodles, the last remaining chicken breast from the freezer, leftover chicken meat from the lemon oregano chicken I made last week (from the freezer, I rinsed it off before using), and fresh cilantro at the end. Tasty and healthy. We ran out of cereal a few days ago and have been eating oatmeal instead. I didn't think this would be a problem, but my daughter was sincerely sad about that this morning. Who knew she was so attached to Kashi Heart to Heart?
  22. Reporting in on the first two days of my second week. Dinner last night was breakfast foods: oatmeal-buttermilk pancakes (really delicious, very kid friendly, and pretty healthy as well), the bacon leftover from making clam chowder, fried eggs with soy sauce and chives (usually scallions, but I was out), and fresh fruit. That used up the last of my eggs (2 for the pancake batter, 2 fried). For lunch today I made fried rice with some rice I had stashed in the freezer. I've never actually tried to freeze rice before so I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it is certainly perfectly fine to use in this way. I was missing the two ingredients that I always put in there, eggs and scallions, but it was fine. I used up the rest of the chives (looking pretty sad at this point), 2 chile peppers, a mess of chopped garlic (I had never added garlic, though I know a lot of people do), a random asian seasoning packet from the pantry, and some dried shrimp. It was different, but still pretty tasty. I think it's pretty hard to screw up rice + oil + salty goodness + stir-fried flavor. I then spent a portion of my allowance on ginger, scallions, cilantro, and cauliflower. I never thought of myself as really dependent on fresh herbs because I tend not to buy the expensive plastic cartons, but then I realized that I was feeling pretty deprived without ginger, scallions, and cilantro. Somehow, because they don't come in overpriced plastic containers I don't lump them in with herbs. Anyway, dinner was rajma (indian red kidney bean curry made with onions, garlic, ginger, canned tomatoes, my 2 remaining chile peppers, cilantro, and a bunch of spices), rice, and roasted cauliflower with garlic and capers (the last of them, alas) added during the last few minutes. It was all surprisingly successful. I say surprising because my husband normally balks when beans are the only protein source at dinner, but these were really delicious. He also tends not to like cauliflower, even when roasted, but the addition of capers and garlic remedied that. It was also extremely well liked by my 3 year old. In other exciting news (for me, anyway) my pantry and freezer is starting to look kind of bare! There are actually entirely empty shelves in the pantry now, plenty of space to maneuver in the freezer, and an empty freezer door rack! The few remaining items in the produce drawer actually rattle around in there, they have so much space! Obviously I need to get a life, but just a couple of weeks ago I was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of trying to use up all this stuff before we move in May, but now it seems very doable. Maybe even more surprising is that despite all the space, there is still quite a bit of food in there. I don't anticipate any problems finishing out this week and could probably eek out another week, though our diet would have to become increasingly grain-based. And finally, a question: what can I do with nutritional yeast? I bought some for a recipe I was making for a vegan friend and whole foods only sold it in coffee can sized containers. (I later found out I could have bought a tiny bit at the bulk foods store. Alas.) Anyway, I have no clue what to do with this stuff and I have a lot.
  23. Jujubee

    Easy Tofu recipes

    I know quite a few people who really like this recipe for Smokey Miso Tofu: http://veganyumyum.com/2008/07/smokey-miso-tofu/ I find it a little too tangy for my tastes as written, but I think making it with a little less lemon juice (or maybe subbing it out with a smaller quantity of rice vinegar - less distinctive) would remedy that easily.
  24. Forgot to mention: dinner tonight was clam chowder. Four cans of clams, seafood base, the last of the potatoes, some thyme, bay leaves, garlic, an onion, and a generous glug (actually, more than a glug) of heavy cream. Served with carrot sticks and grapes, both left over from the road trip. That makes a full week of dinners with very little effort. I think this coming week might actually be a challenge since there is actually a lot of empty space in the freezer and the pantry now. Woo-hoo!
  25. Thanks for the wheatberry ideas. I will definitely try them. I hadn't even thought of incorporating them into bread; one of the links also suggested using them as breakfast porridge, which might be nice since I'm getting kind of tired of oatmeal. This was my biggest complaint as well. I tend to freeze cuts of meat that do well in soups, stews, and braises; those types of cooking methods tend to hide tired vegetables better as well. I don't think I would be willing to try this for another week if it wasn't the middle of winter. I'm debating if I should use my $15 allowance this week for quantity (in the form of fresh vegetables) or quality (in the form of a pricey fresh fish dinner).
  • Create New...