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Everything posted by JSD

  1. JSD

    Here come the tomatoes

    We had a cool spring so we haven't had any ripe tomatoes yet. The plants are as tall as me and have set quite a few fruit, so hopefully it'll be soon. My favorites: 1. Sandwich consisting of toasted sourdough, mayo, thick slices of peeled Brandywine tomatoes, salt and pepper. 2. Eggs poached in stewed peeled tomatoes, with garlic, butter, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. 3. Tomato Salad with chunks of peeled tomatoes, ripped basil leaves, feta cheese, and vinagrette with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. 4. Deborah Madison's Fresh Tomato Soup, consisting of peeled tomatoes, butter, garlic, and salt and pepper. I serve this with grilled cheese sandwiches, with sourdough bread and Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. 5. Uncooked pasta sauce of chunks of peeled tomatoes, feta, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and torn basil leaves. Toss hot cooked pasta with uncooked sauce. The theme of these "recipes" is simplicity. More is not better. Let the tomato shine.
  2. I like mine to be very brown and crunchy. Most people would think they are too browned. Whatever. I use a hot oven, 400 to 450, depending if I'm using it for anything else. I cut russets into long wedges with the skin left on. I mix some olive oil, salt and a good amount of cayenne, and pour this on the potatoes which I've put on a lipped baking sheet. Make sure the potato wedges are well coated. Then I arrange the wedges so the skin side is down, and the cut sides are up. Now I wait until they are well browned and somewhat crunchy. I serve them with ketchup.
  3. My mother had one installed about the same height as an over the range one and one time was severely burned on her arm when the saran wrap on a dish came loose and the steam escaped. She regretted having it installed so high. We have one on a shelf under the counter. It's convenient to use, and if it dies, it's easy to replace.
  4. Thanks - I think this is exactly what I'm looking for - very basic recipes. I looked at Starting Out on Amazon and it looks very promising.
  5. My son is going to be in an apartment for the first time and doesn't really know how to cook. He likes my cooking, but I can't see him making anything too involved. Can anyone recommend something basic?
  6. We have one of the GE toasters shown here (1946-1949) Cyber Toaster Museum and it makes really great toast. GE made zillions of these and if you can find one in a thrift store or garage sale, I highly recommend it. We had gone through several mediocre toasters until I acquired this one (for $5!)
  7. I notice a lot more fat people than I used to. I never used to see people so fat that they need a mobility scooters. When I was a kid, there was maybe one fat kid at school. When I see high school kids now, there are so many really fat kids it's scary. I was involved with high school band kids the past couple years. We were fitting the kids into vintage uniforms from the 60s. In number we had plenty of jackets. But in size we had way too many small jackets, and not enough huge jackets. And I do mean huge. The entire population shifted, with the average increasing by two or three sizes. When I was a kid we didn't drink sodas. We didn't go to fast food restaurants. We ate ordinary home cooked meals.
  8. JSD

    Solar cooking

    I have a solar oven. There's a picture of it here http://www.sunoven.com/usa.asp We have very hot summers and I don't like to pay to heat the house with the oven and then pay to cool the house too. I've made coffee type cakes in it. They turn out great. I don't see any reason to cook meat in it. I'd rather barbeque it. It takes longer than in a regular oven and you have to pay attention, and turn the oven so it's always facing the sun optimally. My husband wanted to make one, but the fold out reflective panels which concentrate the sunlight would have been hard to make. I don't use it in the winter. The sun is too low, and the oven heats the house which I would be doing anyway.
  9. JSD

    Hot weather cooking

    July was hellish around here. We had 23 days over 95, and 7 of those were over 100 (we topped out at 108). Not only that, but we had many days that were smoky, from the wildfires. Our solution? We barbequed a lot. We had watermelon. I made lots of cool salads. We drank beer.
  10. I have a Meyer lemon in a pot. I live in USDA zone 5, I think. I've had the lemon for two or three years. At the time I regretted not buying a lime too. But now, it's just as well. The lemon is outside now, but I bring it in for the winter. I bought it at a nursery for $20. It's now in a bigger pot and it has grown a lot. It doesn't do that great in the winter, but it hangs on. I had visions of a steady supply of lemons. This has not transpired. I have had one lemon, so far. Inside I think it doesn't get enough sunlight. I put it next to an east facing window. A horticulture expert told me that lemons main growing season is winter. Also, I don't have any bees in my house to pollinate the flowers. I tried to pollinate them using a Q tip, but it wasn't very succesful. I hate to be a killjoy, but my experiment is not really a success. Also, I think the Williams-Sonoma lemon, at $69, seems too high, even if that includes shipping. I grew up with Meyer lemons growing in our garden (in another climate) so I know how nice they are, but I have not found growing them in a pot that great.
  11. I start my tomatoes from seed. I haven't planted them yet, but will in the next couple of weeks. We have room for about 20-25 plants, and in the fall I cook and freeze a lot. One that we love is Lemon Boy. I cook them separately, and then we have fresh tomato soup in the winter, that's yellow! The tomatoes are really beautiful. I also love Brandywine (I think I have about 4 or 5 different kinds). We've tried many different types in the past, and I don't like ruffled ones (too hard to peel) and found it hard to tell when the green ones were ripe. I would suggest one early type. Even if they're not the best, they're better than the store.
  12. JSD

    Kitchen mats

    Is this to keep the house cleaner or protect the floors? You might find water getting trapped under the mats, ruining your floors anyway. Sorry I don't have a solution. Maybe if the shoes you wear when you're outside the house are really supportive, then when you're cooking barefoot it won't bother you as much. Is it possible you might have plantar fasciitis?
  13. These are my favorite, too. An added bonus is my teenage son doesn't like them, so he leaves them alone. I buy them at Raley's. Don't know about S Carolina.
  14. I have a waffle iron with reversible plates (from waffley to flat). Couldn't I use this to make panini sandwiches. We've used it to make grilled cheese sandwiches.
  15. I have two ovens. They are not double ovens, they are two single ovens, both under the counter. One is in the island. My only regret is that the ovens are different widths - one is 27 inches and the other is 30 inches. I wish they were both 30 inch, but the configuration just didn't work. If they were the same width, I could use the racks from one in the other. The ovens are well insulated, and I haven't noticed any warmth on the counter (granite). At Christmas I was using a wall oven at my brother's house and I couldn't see the top of what I was cooking the oven was so tall! I really like having two ovens at Thanksgiving. The turkey took one, and I put the dressing in the other one.
  16. JSD

    Kitchen design

    We did a remodel about 5 years ago. The designer was part our contractor's staff. We paid $45 an hour for the design. Because it was an addition as well as a complete new kitchen, it took awhile to figure out what we wanted and what we could afford. I wanted a larger addition than we ended up with, but it would have been about 30% more than our budget. We met with the designer several times before it was finally the way we liked it. With each design, or refinements of the design, the contractor was able to give us an estimate of the cost. With a flat rate, what do you do if you don't like it? What options do you have?
  17. JSD

    Whistling Kettle

    I, too, have a Revere whistling kettle. I used it for 20+ years. I stopped using it when I got a hot water dispenser. I kept it on the stove for awhile but then I realized I never used it anymore. I love the dispenser.
  18. We just got home today after flying Southwest this week across the country and back. On longer flights they give you a whole can of something to drink and of course peanuts, and also some crackers, and fruit and nut mix. Before we left home, I went to the grocery store and had sandwiches made. Because of the liquid ban, I also bought apples which I cut up and mini carrots. We didn't have problems with any of the food. I didn't bother with trying to keep them cool, and it wasn't a problem.
  19. JSD

    Solar Cooking

    If you are solar baking, and it's a beautiful sunny day, DO NOT GO TAKE A SHOWER while your cake is baking. It will be overcooked by the time you check on it. Today was quite a contrast with Sunday when my cake never finished cooking. My gingerbread is a little scorched. I think it cooked faster because it's dark (think of the perfect black body in physics). The top is a little tough, but the rest tastes very good, and the crystalized ginger gives it an extra punch of flavor.
  20. JSD

    Solar Cooking

    May I recommend mail ordering from Penzey's? Figure out all the spices you need and do a big order, it's more cost effective that way. ← Trader Joes has two kinds (cheap too). I eat a bag a week. Totally addicting. ← Thank you both - I found crystalized ginger, and am going to make gingerbread today. Sunday I had my first failure with solar cooking. I had a power outage, so to speak. I was baking another apple cake when it started to get cloudy! My area enjoys 300 days of sun, so I was not expecting this. What has taken 1 1/4 hours normally, wasn't finished in 3 hours. I finally put it in the conventional oven, but it wasn't the same and tasted like raw flour. I have two solar cookbooks, and one of them said if you have 20 minutes of sun per hour you can cook. I think that might not be true with baking. I'm still learning. Phoenix? You have even more days of sun than us. I thought we might receive more solar radiation due to our elevation, approx 4500 feet, but apparently not.
  21. JSD

    Solar Cooking

    I made apple cake, sort of a coffee cake several times. The recipe is not solar, but works great, in a normal 9 x 9 pan. However, because we were eating a lot of it, I tried to make it a little more healthy, reducing the sugar and substituting whole wheat for all purpose flour. It wasn't great any more. Next time I might make the flour 50/50. The sugar reduction wasn't a problem. I want to make ginger bread but I haven't found crystalized ginger yet. I like the solar oven because if I bake inside, I use energy when I turn the oven on, and then use energy again, cooling the house back down. Because of that, I don't bake in summer at all. What is your latitude?
  22. JSD

    Solar Cooking

    I bought a global sun oven a month ago. I'm still learning how to use it. During the heat wave I baked several cakes in it. As far as I can see the only drawback is that you have to cook during the prime sunlight, and you have to be home to keep turning the oven toward the sun. Other than that, it's great. It's funny, people think it's survivalist or something, but when California is having warnings of energy shortages, such as earlier this week, you can cook without contributing to the problem. I cooked dried beans in it, but I heated the liquid before putting it in the oven, to hurry it up. I never had to stir it.
  23. It was 104 yesterday, yet another record. I recently got a solar cooker and started experimenting with it. I made a cake yesterday!
  24. JSD

    Mulling About Mulberries

    We used to pick them along the river in the Texas Hill Country, and put them on ice cream. I just found out the sapling I've been trying to kill for several years is a mulberry. It's in a bad spot in my yard, and just today I picked leaves for my friend who has silk worms, but no mulberry tree.
  25. We planted tomatoes, squash, peppers on Mother's Day as we normally do (our climate is high desert). Since it was unseasonably warm, we skipped the Walls o Water. Saturday afternoon we put up Walls o Water as it snowed - it wasn't accumulating, but it was cold and blustery. I still haven't planted beans, and my basil is about an inch tall under a grow light inside.
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