Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Jujubee

  1. I just made the Strawberry Cream Cake for a friend's birthday today and Oh My Goodness that was delicious. Wonderful fresh berry flavor, a great balance of fruit/cake/cream, and structurally sound. One of the problems they wanted to address in making the recipe was some way of strengthing the whipped cream so it could support multiple layers, and the amount of cream cheese added did just that without adding a noticeable cream cheese flavor. I also made the Flourless Chocolate Cake, which was delicious, rich, yet still melting and light on the tongue. Be sure to serve in VERY thin slices, as it is extremely rich. (The recipe says it serves 12-16. I cut it into 16 slices and I still thought it was a generous serving.) Both got many, many compliments.
  2. I made the Chicken Satay wth Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce and we practically inhaled it. It was that good. However, and this is true with a lot of CI's international recipes, it wasn't authentic. Like I said before, this really bothers me with chinese recipes since I have a strong sense of what is "right" in that cuisine, but for other cuisines, including other asian cuisines, I don't mind as long as it tastes good. And this was definitely delicious.
  3. Hey Jujubee -- I made the baked fish with potatoes tonight, and it was both easy and delicious! I gave the fish a squeeze of lemon which is always must for me... I used cod as I didn't have halibut, and the more of it I ate the more I wanted! Not to mention it made the house smell divine... Thanks for posting -- its a keeper for me! Emily ← I'm so glad you liked it! I find it mysteriously addictive too...
  4. I tried a couple of recipes off a blog that turned out surprisingly well. I say surprisingly because the recipes look pretty plain, like they wouldn't be anything special, but are actually quite delicious. http://julia.typepad.com/julia/files/baked...th_potatoes.htm It's basically baked fish and potatoes and it looks like it would be quite bland, but the potatoes get a nice, crispy, top with a moist interior (probably due to the healthy glug of olive oil) and have a pleasant bit of heat and flavor from the red pepper flakes and wine. I make extra of the initial oil mixture and just use that to drizzle over the fish. http://julia.typepad.com/julia/files/spicy_shrimp_pasta.htm I'm telling you, that full cup of olive oil makes it taste good. I've tried making it with less, and while it was certainly good enough to eat, it is better as written. The oil becomes nicely infused with the flavor of the tomatoes, onions, and chili powder and the pasta is a beautiful golden color. This doesn't quite count because I actually tried these two recipes in the past, but the Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes and Wheatberry Salad on that site are both very good too.
  5. Oooh yes, I agree. I made this for a dinner party once, and I had guests following me back to the kitchen to fight over any bits of potato I had left in the baking pan.
  6. Oh, I forgot to list favorites. I have more, but off the top of my head: Butternut Squash Soup (the version where you saute the squash "innards") Smothered Pork Chops Tomato Salad with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan Mexican Rice Chicken Marsala Roasted Potatoes and all their variations (all that fussiness with foil, and then flipping really does make for creamy interiors and super crisp exteriors) Pork Loin Braised in Milk Wild Mushroom Tart Pan Seared Shrimp (their technique using the tiniest pinch of sugar to encourage browning, then cooking in a hot skillet on one side, flipping, and the resting off heat, makes for caramelized and juicy shrimp that is almost crisp when you bite into it, without the slightest hint of overcooking. But seriously, I pull out the stop watch and flip like crazy.) Lemon Bars Gumbo Blueberry Muffins (the Cinnamon Sugar Dipped variation is my favorite) Scrambled Eggs (yes, I could scramble an egg before CI. But if I measure out the recommended milk, s&p ratios, and cook for exactly as long as they recommend, it comes out just right.) Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (the only thing I don't understand about this recipe is ripping them in half and then squishing them back together again. My siblings and I call them "butt cookies" because that's what they look like if you follow those directions) Fallen (aka Molten) Chocolate Cake Apple Pie I have tried things that I thought were just good, but not exceptional, but I'm fine with that. The only total failure that I can remember (I'm sure there are more, but I have to think for a bit) was the Pecan Bars. These were way too salty and barely had any goo. I sort of think it was a typo because 1 full teaspoon of salt in the crust just seems excessive. By contrast, their raspberry bars have 1/4 t salt in the crust and the lemon bars have 1/2 t.
  7. I'm with Chris. I really like CI, and I've had a very high success rate with their recipes. I do quite a bit of entertaining and am always trying recipes from lots of different sources, and CI recipes consistently get the most raves. And contrary to what people are saying here, I do get a better result if I follow the directions exactly (and by exactly, I mean pull out the rulers/ get out the laser thermometer/ use their recommended brands). It maybe be a recipe I've tried a bunch of variations on before, but somehow the CI version pulls it together just so. One thing that tends to happen is that I get inspired by a recipe in another publication, but when I try it, it's not perfect in technical ways. Like say, the cooking time is off, or the browning is subpar, or the technique is somewhat sloppy, or something like that. But the idea, the twist on flavors, or whatever is good. So I apply that to an existing CI recipe and figure out the techniques that worked for them (time, temp, order of operations), and then the end result is both technically perfect and creative (well, not my creativity, but borrowed from some other source). I was browsing through my cookbooks from them (I buy The Best Recipe Series - the best solution I found for minimizing the repeats was to stick with one series, so I don't buy the ATK companion series, for example. There are still repeats, but in a way that makes sense, usually a more basic recipe that applies to a different categories/cuisines), and I think they do have flavor variations that are very up-to-date. You can definitely trace the progression from the original The Best Recipe through the more recent books. However, I think they are presented in a way that makes their food seem very uninspired. Basically, the main recipe is almost like the "blank slate" basic version, and the variations just look like a short afterthought. But that's where you see the progression of how they are adapting to changing tastes and trends. And some of those variations are really good! For me, I like that they always walk you through a "blank slate" version, because then I know what they considered necessary, and it makes it much easier to superimpose other flavor variations. I don't like their attempts at Chinese cooking, but that's because I'm Chinese and it tastes inauthentic to me. My white husband loves it though; it's like the best version of Americanized Chinese. But I like their attempts at other cuisines, because in those cases I do have American taste buds.
  8. This isn't a food gift, but if you want to give her baby items that are actually useful, try http://www.wowbabybaskets.com/ When I lived in the Boston area, I used to go to their retail store, Magic Beans, all the time. They sold all the hard-to-find really clever, useful, tested baby items, made by small companies that were fed up by the existing mass market stuff that was cheap and didn't work that well. If you don't feel like getting a basket, they also have a website for their regular store: www.mbeans.com
  9. My husband, daughter, and I will be living in Seattle for the summer, about 2 blocks from Pike Place Market. For the most part, we won't have a car, though we could borrow one occassionally or get a Zipcar. I would like to do most of my grocery shopping at places that are walkable, but I've heard that there aren't really grocery stores in that area. Thus, that leaves Pike Place Market. But what I'm wondering is, do locals actually shop there for food on a regular basis? Or is it mostly completely overpriced for tourists? Is the stuff actually better (i.e. organic and/or locally grown)? What vendors offer the best value and/or quality? Are there any alternative nearby, such as a weekly farmers' market that doesn't cater to tourists? I have this idyllic vision of browsing the market every morning (ok, maybe not every morning, but you know, often) with my young daughter, picking out still warm from the sunshine produce and glistening fresh fish for dinner. Is this possible, or should I plan on scrounging up a car every week or so to do some grocery shopping?
  10. I think my goal for the next month and a half (before we leave for the summer) is to work through the freezer and refridgerator. Theoretically, a lot of the stuff in there should still be good when we come back in the fall, but since we won't be around, I will have no way of knowing if, for example, the power goes out. Better safe than sorry. As I mentioned before though, I have way too many condiments in there, and frankly, there is no way we will ever finish them all before May. But we can try! Some of the more recent stuff I've cooked from the larder: -Chicken braised in tomatoes and olives (whole chicken, anchovies, canned tomatoes, kalamata olives from a huge Costco jar) -Miso-Sake Marinated Salmon -Bean Soup with Leeks, Carrots, and Cabbage, which used up a good bit of ham broth base I have in the fridge, as well as the rest of the bean soup mix -Split Pea Soup, which also used up ham broth base (and split peas, of course). Since we didn't cook our annual Easter ham this year, this had to do. And actually, that ham broth base did a respectable job. I had planned on freezing some, but this turned out to be very popular with both the husband and toddler, so it is all gone. The beef chuck is defrosting for a Beef Goulash. I'm really trying to figure out what to do with a bunch of sun-dried tomatoes I have in the fridge. So far, my ideas are all sort of pasta-y, and I'd like to branch out.
  11. I've got a pot of split pea soup simmering away right now (see thread for Purging the Larder) and it reminded me of a problem I've been wondering about for some time now. When skimming the scum off a pot of simmering soup, how do you keep from scooping stuff up with it? Obviously, bigger chunks of vegetables stay submerged, but I can't help but sweep up some sauteed onion and herbs. Since that stuff has flavor, I'd like to keep it in my soup.
  12. I used up one of the cartons of egg substitute making a chinese-style caramel egg custard/pudding. It's sort of like flan or creme caramel, but not as rich (at least not the versions I've had). Surprisingly the flavor was pretty spot on (though obviously not as eggy, but I think that's true to the style), but the texture was atrocious. It's good enough for family eating, but I wouldn't let anyone else see the things.
  13. I managed to make a good size dent in my stash of wheatberries by making one of my favorite salads today. It is basically a play on a caprese salad: wheatberries, chopped tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes, since they tend to taste the best in winter), cubed fresh mozzarella, and basil, tossed in a balsamic vinagrette. The original recipe I found actually calls for feta cheese, but I'm always looking for an excuse to eat fresh mozzarella. Both ways are delicious.
  14. I made an Orzo with Celery Sauce that I found in Fine Cooking which used up two heads of celery languishing in my fridge, as well as some pasta from the pantry. It was surprisingly good for such uninspiring ingredients. I think I'll keep it in mind for the future, as I'm always buying celery and then only using a stalk or two. I also cooked (not at the same meal) the rest of the fresh asian noodles in the fridge and tossed them with XO Sauce, scallions, soy sauce, and chili oil. I'm telling you, XO Sauce is good stuff (if you're into strong, savory, slightly spicy and somewhat fishy asian sauces, which I am)! Half of a large bucket of fresh tofu got fried up to an extra crispy golden brown, and then dipped into a selection of the many sauces and condiments I always have floating around in my fridge. A pretty good use for it, actually. I've been eating the salmon burgers in the freezer for lunch and trying out different combos with the condiments in my fridge. I found they go pretty well with Trader Joe's India Relish, which is great because I don't really like that stuff with anything else. It's not that it tastes bad or anything, it is just such a strong condiment that I felt it overpowered everything I tried it with. But salmon burgers can take strong flavors. I defrosted one of the chickens and then salt/peppered/baking powdered it according to the recipe in this month's Cooks Illustrated. It's air drying in the fridge right now. I'm excited to taste this one, because in my book there are few things that can beat super crispy chicken skin. Let's hope it lives up to the description.
  15. Tonight I made minestrone, homemade croutons, and chocolate cake for dinner using only ingredients I already had in the house. Yay! That used up: Refridgerator: a bunch of baby carrots leftover from a vegetable tray, a good amount of garlic, half of a really large onion I had saved from before, eggs. Pantry (including the baking pantry I still haven't inventoried): 3 cans of tomatoes, cannelinni beans, vegetable broth concentrate, evoo, bread, chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso powder, flour, brown sugar, veg oil, and vanilla.
  16. This is great; now I have some accountability. We're spending the summer away this year so a few weeks ago I inventoried our freezer and pantry so I could plan meals around the stuff we already have. It's not all or nothing though, obviously most of this stuff will last until we get back in the fall, but we're only going to be here for 8 months after we get back, and at the rate I tend to collect things I had better get started now. What is crazy is that this doesn't include my oil/vinegar/spirits cabinet, my baking cabinet, or my crazy collection of condiments that resides in the refrigerator. What is even more crazy is that we've only been in this apartment since last August and I've already managed to collect so much stuff. (My husband is in a two year grad program with an internship this summer.) BTW, I have a two year old, so please overlook some of the more questionable items. FREEZER: 3 lb Chuck Roast 4 Whole Chickens 1.5 lbs Ground Turkey 3 - 6 oz fillets Sockeye Salmon 2 lbs Shrimp 31-40 ct 3 - 16 oz cartons Egg Substitute 23 oz pkg Chicken Meatballs 12 oz pkg Cocktail Franks Chicken Nuggets 8 Salmon Burgers 8 Veggie Burgers 1.5 lbs Vegetarian Dumplings 1 qt bag Turkey Chili 1 Puff Pastry Sheet 1.5 lb loaf White Bread 8 Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns 1 French Bread Roll 5 Whole Wheat Pitas 7 - 1 T chunks Tomato Paste 1+ cup Pumpkin Puree 11 oz Peas 9 oz Corn 4 Bananas 8 oz Pecan Halves 5 oz Pecan Pieces 1.25 pints Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch 1 Chocolate Chip w/ Walnut Cookie Dough Ball 1 Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Ball Coffee Beans 1 qt bag Stir Fried Vegetables and Tofu PANTRY: TOMATOES 5 28 oz cans Whole 2 28 oz cans Crushed 1 35 oz cans Crushed 35 oz 2 28 oz cans Ground 3 28 oz cans Diced 1 28 oz cans Fire Roasted Whole 1 28 oz cans Fire Roasted Crushed 3 14 oz cans Diced BEANS 2 15 oz cans Black 1 15 oz cans Pinto 1 15 oz cans Blackeye Peas 1 15 oz cans Cannellini (White Kidney) SOY MILK 1 qt Unsweetened 12 1 qt Plain PASTA 1.75 lb Spaghetti 2 lb Linguine 1 lb Penne .25 lb Macaroni 1 lb Orzo 3 11 oz Corn Niblets 2 10.4 oz Mandarin Oranges 16 oz Dijon Mustard 6 oz jar Fried Gluten with Peanuts 13 oz jar Chinese Pickled Cucumber 1 jar XO Sauce 6 oz can Salmon 7 oz can Chipotles in Adobo 1 jar Sa-Cha Sauce 2 oz tin Anchovies 4 oz can Diced Green Chiles 1 small can Crisco 18 oz jar Orange Marmalade 18 oz jar Apricot Preserves 1 Better Than Bouillon - Beef 1 Better Than Bouillon - Chicken 2 Better Than Bouillon - Vegetable LEGUMES 9 oz Bean Soup Mix 1 lb 3 oz Black Beans 14 oz Mung Beans 15 oz Green Split Peas 2 oz French Green Lentils 12 oz Brown Lentils 5 oz Red Lentils 10 oz Masoor Dal (Tiny Red Lentils) GRAINS 2 lbs 2 oz Hard Wheat Berries 13 oz Soft Wheat Berries 1 lb 3 oz Long Grain Rice big bag of Kokuho Rose rice 6 oz Coarse Bulgur 48 oz Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter 1/2 jar Nutella 12 Toaster Pastries - Blueberry 13 Toaster Pastries - Strawberry 11 pkts Elmo oatmeal 15 pks Zoe oatmeal 20 2 oz Snacking Nuts Herb Mix for Bean Soup Kashi Heart to Heart 8 oz Dried Mushroom Blend 170 g Dried Shiitakes Goldfish Crackers Ritz Crackers Pretzel Sticks 10 oz Roasted Sliced Almonds 4 oz Whole Pistachios Raisins Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms Dried Porcini Mushrooms Pork Sung Chinese Tea Regarding the tomatoes: we have this one cabinet that is pretty big, but only a small sliver of one end is visible when you open the door. I think I kept buying tomatoes when they went on sale and then shoved them in this cabinet and simply forgot about them. When I finally did my inventory I found about 30 cans hiding back there. So far I've already made tomato soup, tomato sauce, and chili, as well as added tomatoes here and there to my cooking, and I still have 18 cans left. And why do I have so many dried legumes?! And wheat berries?! I love wheat berries, but good lord, how many can we eat? On the plus side, besides the aforementioned tomatoes, I've already gone through (and taken off the above list) 6 frozen bananas, walnuts, several pounds of pasta, lots of yellow split peas, some dried bean soup mix, dried cherries, frozen stews and soups, canned kidney beans, even more wheat berries, frozen shrimp/squid/scallops, more frozen salmon/cod/tilapia, frozen chicken breasts, lots of rice, a jar of strawberry preserves, a jar of raspberry preserves, a big jar of peanut butter, rice noodles, mung bean threads, 1 box of unsweetened soy milk, a couple boxes of shelf stable tofu, a few discs of Ibarra hot chocolate, and lots of coffee.
  17. Oh damn, I wish I had a picture of my old kitchen in a closet! It would handily beat out every kitchen in this thread. It was literally a kitchen in a closet. With the door closed, it looked like a closet with those sliding doors that sort of fold in half. (Sorry, I'm not describing this well, but basically the kind of closet that is not a walk-in.) The refridgerator fit under the counter, so it was just the size of a larger dorm room beer fridge. The stove and oven were tiny and narrow: the stove only had two burners and the oven would barely fit a 9 x 13 pan. There was a tiny patch of counter space where we also kept the cooking utensils. Above were two cabinets. The entire thing couldn't have been bigger than 5 feet wide by 2 feet deep.
  18. 1100 calories in a regular bubble tea drink? And I guess my prefered flavours like taro and pudding would pack in even more calories! I had no idea. Asian kids drink these all the time and they're still teeny! And I usually eat the thick toast with condensed milk as a snack whenever I have one of these drinks! Oops. ← If you follow the Wikipedia link, they estimate the calories to be closer to 350 a drink. That makes a lot more sense, given that it's just 12-16 oz of sweet, milky tea with about 1/2 cup of starch balls.
  19. This brings back a particularly clear childhood memory from the first grade. (That says something about how much it affected my 6 year old psyche; I don't remember too many distinct moments from that age, just a lot of general ones about my school, home, friends, etc.) Anyway, we were learning about the 4 food groups in class and we were suppose to look through magazines, cut out pictures of foods, and paste them onto paper plates to create a balanced meal. The only requirement was that each meal had to contain something from each food group. My family is Chinese and at that point in my life we ate Chinese food almost exclusively, as my parents had only been in the US for a few years. Breakfasts consisted of rice porridge with various stuff: stir-fried veggies, tofu, eggs, meats, seafood, pickles, whatever. So in my mind there weren't really foods that were okay/not okay for certain meals. The teacher was fine with my plates for lunch and dinner, but she told me my breakfast plate was WRONG. I even heard her commenting to someone that she couldn't believe I had put shrimp on my breakfast plate, who had ever heard of that?! Not only did I feel really stupid and embarrassed, but I also was confused. I really had no idea what I did wrong. I look back on that episode and I actually feel rather incensed. I would hope these days the teacher would be required to go through cultural awareness training or something.
  20. I made the Apple Nut Muffin Cake and I think my husband and I decided that it was okay. A little too rustic for our tastes: very crumbly and rough. To be fair, this is exactly how it was described in the header, so it's not a matter of false advertising. I also made the Applesauce Spice Bars. So very good. Don't skip the glaze; it completely makes the bar.
  21. Jujubee

    Dinner for 40

    Hi Tammy, I've just found this thread and am very much enjoying reading about your experiences. I have a question though: for the Burnished Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips that you cooked about a year ago (from Fine Cooking), what was the ratio of Chicken Thighs/Mustard/Vinegar in the original recipe? Thanks!
  22. That's what I was going to suggest. I've been asked to put them on all the time at Open Houses and such to protect the floors. Regarding flowers, ditto the suggestion to say thank you and then direct the guest to the bathroom to arrange in a vase (which we keep in the cabinet in the guest bathroom). My group of friends is almost always late so I never plan on serving dinner until at least half an hour after I say to arrive. There are always appetizers to munch on and free-flowing wine and cocktails, so no one seems to mind. My husband is in charge of drinks. Anyone who asks to help can 1) take coats and shoes at the door; 2) get drinks; 3) bring empty appetizer dishes back to the kitchen for me; 4) choose mood-setting music. Gifts get a sincere thank you and are put somewhere out of the way, i.e. not in the kitchen. I don't feel obligated to serve any food brought. If your dishwasher is one of those super-quiet models, start a load as soon as you serve dinner. If time permits between courses and you don't find it too stressful, try to empty and load up again. If not, just run a load or two before you go to bed, fill any pots with soapy water, and do it the next day. We usually have leftovers so it's easy to eat off disposable plates (or, more likely, directly out of the container the food is stored in) the next day and take our time cleaning up. I don't like serving off disposable plates, but to reduce the number of dishes to wash I use disposable dishes as prep bowls and storage containers for make-ahead stuff. Things like chopped garlic, herbs, etc get put in those tiny condiment cups that come with takeout. Soups and whatnot are stored in ziploc bags. I also line plates with aluminum foil so all that I have to do to clean up is throw out the foil (much like you would line a sheet pan with foil for easy clean up).
  23. I made the Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake today and both my husband and I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up. It has a remarkably soft texture (from the whipped egg whites, I assume) and a very balanced, appealing flavor of both brown sugar and blueberries. It is also not too sweet, a good thing in my book. It's not a looker, definitely a very homey treat, but it's only been out of the oven a couple hours and my husband and I have already eaten half the pan.
  • Create New...