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About MelissaH

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    Central New York via NEO, CO, Pittsburgh

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  1. Kitchen Sink and Faucet

    And I love our Grohe where the faucet part pulls out to become the sprayer (buttons change between stream and spray; can use either mode whether the faucet is in or out. To each their own!
  2. Did you offer your services to them? (Please?)
  3. Sounds like a definition of dinner theatre to me. Apart from the theatre aspect, was the food satisfying as a meal?
  4. Thanks, all, for your help. I wound up making batches of broccoli puree (either to use as a pasta sauce or to thin and eat as soup), tomato bisque sans mushrooms, red lentil coconut dal, and corn soup with the available corn augmented with a bit of frozen. My husband also made a batch of his Belgian beef stew. And for lunch, I did lentil salad, which we ate with bread. Everything was well and gratefully received. Now, we just need soup weather to return!
  5. It looks as though I'm going to be repeating my brief personal chef gig for my friends in Rochester, NY. They're a couple about my parents' age, and both are mostly omnivores. She likes to eat but is allergic to eggplant and shellfish and isn't fond of the texture of mushrooms; he is the main cook in the house but is once again too injured to do so. If possible, it's best to keep the salt content down. They both love soups, which are easy for a non-cook to reheat and can be easily made into a complete meal with things you can buy at the supermarket such as crackers or bread and salad or fruit or cheese. This spring has been cool and wet (enough that many of the area beaches on Lake Ontario are under water and possibly destroyed, although we won't know for sure until the water recedes) so soup is actually a pretty good option. They love (and have requested) my corn chowder (which is really the Serious Eats corn chowder) but it's about two months away from corn season here, and this soup isn't worth making without good local corn. I really hope he isn't incapacitated that long, but I fear that may be the case. And if it happens, come late July or August, I'll be making at least a triple batch to parcel and freeze for them. If there's still an issue then, I'll also bring a batch of gazpacho because when there's local corn, there's local tomatoes. Thus, I'm looking for other soup ideas that might be good. Specifically, I'd like things that I can prep at home, and then cool, vacuum seal into single- or double-serving bags, and freeze. That way, I can spend my time with them being useful in other ways (I've been known to shuttle stuff in and out of the attic, scoop cat litter boxes that are up three flights of stairs, scrub floors, and shovel snow), rather than cooking. Anything that uses seasonal produce (right now we're getting local asparagus!) is good, but I'm open to other options. Anything that resembles the days-ago-overcooked vegetable mush he was served for a week in a Florence hospital need not apply. I have an Instant Pot, a Vitamix, two Anovas, and a chamber sealer, if that makes any difference. My plan is to try to cook and package something each day, and deliver it all on Sunday along with something that isn't soup and is meant to be eaten that day. (That something else may be something like a curry chicken salad or a white gazpacho, since it's actually supposed to warm up a bit by then, or maybe I'll bring the sandwich grill and we'll do panini-style sandwiches). I'm thinking that one possiblity is the pressure cooker broccoli soup from Modernist Cuisine (the one that's basically broccoli and water with a touch of baking soda), since that is easy, can be done well ahead of time and frozen (although its color fades in the reheating), and is really easy to garnish (I like cheddar goldfish crackers) but also works served with grilled cheese sandwiches (which they can currently manage to make). Chicken soup is also a no-brainer, and my favorite starch kludges on that are to buy a container of rice from your local Asian restaurant and add it to the soup as you reheat it, or to put a package worth of cheap ramen noodles (no seasoning pack) in your soup bowl, pour over boiling water to cover, wait 3 minutes, drain them, and add your soup to the prewarmed bowl with noodles. Food52 also has a coconut red lentil dal that freezes and reheats well, and goes well with rice (either home-cooked or from a restaurant). I've done Rick Bayless's butternut squash soup in the past, but that feels distinctly autumnal to me. Ordinarily I'd do a batch of tomato-mushroom bisque (our recipe comes from the cookbook CooperSmith's brewpub in Ft. Collins, CO put out several years ago to mark their 10th anniversary, and makes a gallon!) but the mushrooms make that a no-go and the soup really doesn't work as well without them. Suggestions, please!
  6. Stella Parks did an article about the differences between organic and conventional confectioner's sugar not long ago. If you haven't seen it already, there may be some new information for you, although it's probably not going to solve your problem.
  7. Caper Spoons and Capers

    I've started to decant those ridiculous skinny jars of capers into a regular mason jar, the tiny size that holds about half a cup (I think). Much easier to scoop out what you need, if it's less than a whole jar!
  8. A Paean to Pears

    We were in Alsace last week, and picked up a jar of Christine Ferber's pear william and cardamom confiture. Admittedly, this is hardly a run-of-the-mill commercial pear jam, but I'm really looking forward to opening it (and am debating what the best way to use it will be).
  9. Help with spreading cookies

    Nothing to add other than is it still sold in cans? (And you're brave for venturing into a TJ's on a Saturday!)
  10. <nothing to see here.>
  11. I cracked open my box of Mocha Joe-Joe's yesterday. Those things are dangerously good, possibly enough to take over first place in my personal sandwich cookie ratings. (I was a Hydrox girl way back when they were a Sunshine brand cookie. The new things they're selling under the Hydrox name aren't worth bothering with. Regular Oreos are so-so; the two flavors of Oreo I liked best—golden cookie with chocolate creme and the Key Lime special edition from two summers back—both seem to be out of production. Something about the normal Joe-Joe's doesn't really work for me, but the mocha version is one I'll need to ration cautiously.
  12. Help with spreading cookies

    On this side of the border, I'd say that if you had an empty can, you'd used baking POWDER and not baking SODA. I think I've only ever seen baking soda come in a box here. Baking powder typically comes in a can.
  13. I'm back home after a couple of weeks out of the country, and went to our local market last night. It started up for the season last week (while we were away), and I'm told that it was pretty bare because it rained cats and dogs and the wind howled. Yesterday, we saw some lettuce and other salad greens, the stand where we typically get asparagus was there with rhubarb and salt-size potatoes also, a few places had overwintered apples, and many stands had flowers. I'm looking forward to asparagus tonight, our first of the season.
  14. Cooking for 100+...ideas anyone?

    The first.
  15. Cooking for 100+...ideas anyone?

    @MetsFan5 nailed our usual solution for serving large numbers of people: pulled pork. (Admittedly, our large group is usually only about 30 people, but this is easy to scale up.) Because we usually do this in winter, we cook our pork shoulders in the oven, a couple or three days ahead of time so we can do them low and slow till they're done. You may need to do a few batches to get enough. We also prepare a large pot of black beans, a rice cooker full, and a couple of different kinds of sauce (for us, a mole colorado and the famous =Mark's South Carolina bbq sauce), and have lots of taco-sized flour tortillas as well as all the other things people like to put on tacos or roll into burritos. If your crew would be more into sandwiches than tacos/burritos, there's no reason why you couldn't get loaves of squishy white bread of the sort that's often served under bbq, or go for slider buns if your crew is a little more trendy or refined. For a summer meal, I'd serve with cole slaw, potato or macaroni salad, and other picnic trimmings.