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About MelissaH

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    Central New York via NEO, CO, Pittsburgh

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  1. Coca-Cola Freestyle

    I, too, have no issue with the anonymous tracking, and I think it's a stroke of brilliance. It's all about sales, so why wouldn't you start to sell something in cans if a lot of people are concocting it from a freestyle machine?
  2. No baguette, or any other kind of bread. I wound up serving the meatballs with green chile cheese cornbread that I also found in the freezer, and my husband used up the last little bit of cabbage from the fridge (along with a carrot and a red pepper) to make a coleslaw. Too bad nothing in BBQ meatballs starts with C!
  3. Ooooh, I love snickerdoodles. They're one cookie I find difficult to make, because I usually do a full batch of dough and immediately scoop it into cookie-size balls. They stay in the fridge overnight, and then get frozen flat on a parchment-lined cookie sheet before getting bagged and baked a few at a time. The problem with snickerdoodles, of course, is that one of the defining features is the cinnamon sugar coating that's applied just before baking. I haven't yet found a way to manage this, because it doesn't stay intact during the freezing process, and it's impractical to make a small amount of cinnamon sugar for coating, say, half a dozen cookies each time I want to bake a few for dessert for the two of us. I like your solution of just baking the whole batch and giving them away to get them out of the house. I think it was Dorie Greenspan that espoused a slight variation of using cardamom sugar instead of cinnamon sugar as the coating. I'm not sure if it would then really be a snickerdoodle, but I bet it would be tasty!
  4. I'm thinking tonight might be, from our freezer, meatballs in BBQ sauce. But I'm drawing a blank on what to serve them with. Any suggestions on how to use them? Bonus points if they'd meet challenge criteria.
  5. Serious Eats did a post about parcooking sweet potatoes a while ago, and my husband used it as the jumping-off point for some student research. Basically, by preheating the sweet potatoes, you're mashing them like brewers do in the beginning stages of all-grain beer production, and allowing the enzymes in the sweet potatoes to start converting the starches into simpler sugars. The sugars then brown more in the roasting process. My husband's student looked into the temperature and time variables of starch conversion.
  6. I need to go back to the SV bacon idea. We had problems with it because after cooking it in the package, we couldn't get the slices to separate. Last time I shopped, I got another package of the same kind of bacon (Wegmans brand center-cut thick sliced), to cook by more traditional methods. And my husband asked if this was the same kind I'd done SV. I replied, "Yes, why?" He said that he was having problems separating the slices uncooked, just like he'd had problems separating the slices cooked. So I might need to redo that experiment, either using a different kind of bacon that WILL separate easily, or by separating the slices ahead of time and then resealing them before SV. Thoughts?
  7. I think that the St. Lawrence Market was the place where, on one of my childhood trips from Pittsburgh to Toronto, I tasted halvah for the first time. I still love halvah, and I adore walking through markets too.
  8. My public radio station discontinued carrying Splendid Table when they made a whole slew of programming changes last July. I asked them about it, and they said that they wanted to shake up their Sunday afternoon lineup because that's when they found they consistently lose a lot of their listeners. I actually didn't often listen on Sunday afternoons myself, but I do enjoy the Splendid Table as a podcast, which has always been available to me. I know two episodes of walking is a full day's worth of "points" on my fitness tracker. I do go through and remove the rerun episodes, though, so I don't have to listen more than once. I also enjoy getting the emails, with a recipe usually from an outside cookbook. I don't think I've actually cooked anything from those recipes yet, but I like reading about them.
  9. Vegetable/Produce Butchers?

    Some of the larger Wegmans stores will do this, for a price. I can see where this might be useful if you're either really pressed for time or if you have physical limitations.
  10. I like a piece of nonskid shelf liner instead of a towel, which reduces the amount of laundry the kitchen generates. (The shelf liner can still get thrown in the washing machine if it gets really gross. I air-dry it, which doesn't take long.)
  11. We, too, use ice year round. But this time of year, it's often easier to head outside to grab some snow if the ice doesn't touch the food. (This time of year, the walk-out is also often a handy blast chiller, albeit not today when it's supposed to get up to about 40 °F and rain.)
  12. We wanted to try it to be sure we weren't missing something. As it turned out, we definitely weren't. My role was complete after the eggplant was prepped and packed. My husband took care of everything from there on out, and he commented that the recipe seemed to have other problems with the way it was written. (This made the professional editor part of me absolutely cringe.) SV eggplant always a bad idea? Or just in this case, and the SV miso eggplant recipe (from a different author) might be OK?
  13. We tried a variation on the Anova recipe for eggplant parmesan yesterday for dinner. We were not impressed. The eggplant was a PITA to cook sous vide, because it's terrifically buoyant. The recipe specified single-layer packing, which I did. I sliced the large eggplant specified in the recipe a quarter-inch thick on our Oxo mandoline, salted and then rinsed and dried the slices, and packed and sealed them. That took four big bags plus a small one. And by the time I did all that, I couldn't fit it all into the larger of the two water bath containers we usually use (a 12-quart square cambro-like container that we got at the restaurant supply store, with one lid that we cut an Anova-shaped hole in and a second lid that we kept intact. I had to hunt down the shallower large rectangle bath that we use with the homemade SV rig constructed by my husband from a PID controller, three immersion heaters, a mechanical stirrer propeller, and an electric motor salvaged from lab. But then that container isn't tall enough to clamp the Anova to; I had to set the cambro-like container right next to it, to use as an Anova stand. Wonder if it would be possible to rig an old-fashioned ring stand and either a clamp or an iron ring to hold an Anova? And there really wasn't much of a savings, because after all that (or even if we hadn't had to go through the rigamarole of changing water baths and sinking the eggplant bags), you STILL needed to coat and fry the eggplant slices, construct the parm (we used some fresh campari tomato halves and some mozzarella sticks, and broil (or, in our case, bake long enough to make the frozen cheese sticks nice and oozy). Next time, we'll just go back to our previous kludge of buying the frozen breaded eggplant slices from Trader Joe's. So much easier and neater!
  14. The Fresh Pasta Topic

    Be my guest. I've tried a few times and never had enough success to make it worth the bother. Furthermore, if I'm going to make ricotta, I'm not going to want to put forth the effort to make the pasta and then put it all together. That's a far better tradeoff for me than using the icky egg roll wrappers that are sometimes available. I'll happily continue to buy the ricotta that's available. If my end product is maybe a little less sublime, so be it. But if it means that (a) I'll actually make something like ravioli, and (b) that I'll make enough of it to freeze some for a later dinner, I'm all in with that.