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Everything posted by MollyB

  1. MollyB

    My Leather Fetish

    Are there any fruit combinations that you have particularly liked? The best I've tried has been persimmon and pineapple, made with really ripe persimmons. My go-to combination when I there isn't really fresh fruit around is very ripe bananas and applesauce. (This last is very popular with both my 1-yr-old and my dog.)
  2. MollyB

    Baby Food?

    My 6-mo. old son is just starting solid food (so far we've done apples, sweet potato, and avocado), and I'm planning to make his food at home. I'm wondering if it's worth getting one of the baby food mills that are out there. I have a Blendtec blender, food processor, and full-size food mill in my kitchen, but none of them work very well for small batches of food. Many people seem to like the baby food mills for grinding up some of whatever we're eating, but the consensus seems to be that those mills were much better when they had all-metal grinding mechanisms, which you don't seem to be able to buy anymore. Any thoughts on whether it's worth getting a baby food mill? If so, are there particular brands that you like? All brands get mixed reviews online. Also, I really like the idea of just feeding him some of the meals we're making for ourselves, but I worry about all the warnings to space out introduction of new foods in case there are allergic reactions. If you've given your baby ground-up versions of your food, when did you start doing that?
  3. KitchenAid mixers really do not seem to be designed to handle a lot of kneading. In my house, we bake bread and bagels regularly, and we ended up with stripped gears on 4 KitchenAid mixers over a number of years, the last 3 of which were the Professional 600 model. (2 of those were warranty-covered replacements.) The stripping for the last 2 times happened at the recommended low speed that KA recommends, kneading bagels. I can't remember what was being mixed on the other 2. We gave up on KitchenAid and gave away our attachments after the last mixer died, and purchased the Electrolux Assistent mixer, largely due to the good recommendations we found here on eGullet. It's a great mixer, and works beautifully for kneading any kind of bread dough, no matter how stiff. The mixer is pretty quiet, it doesn't creep across the counter like the KitchenAid, and is a real pleasure to use. The timer setting plus the lack of creep means that you can set it to knead for x number of minutes, and can then safely go off to do other tasks while it kneads. It's also really nice that the bowl comes with a lid, so you can use the lid to cover your dough in the bowl while you let it rest or rise.
  4. MollyB

    Hard Boiled Egg 101

    Also remember that altitude can make a difference, with a lower boiling point as you go higher. I use the same method as Shel_B - bring the eggs in water to a boil, then covering for a certain amount of time. It took me a while to figure out how to get my eggs right when I moved from sea level to Reno at 5,000 ft. The 10 min. that worked at sea level no longer were enough - I'm now at 12 min. Different stoves that bring water to a boil at different speeds also can affect the timing.
  5. I'd have to go with a candy specialty from Avila in Spain, yemas de Santa Teresa. They're pretty much candied egg yolks, and in taste and texture they are sort of like a raw egg yolk saturated with sugar. I was in Avila and felt I had to try one, and I regretted it. I couldn't even get one bite down. There's a picture here.
  6. I have an Excalibur dehydrator (which is great), and I have recently started making fruit leathers. I've done it with plastic wrap on the standard sheets, but this isn't ideal, as the fan can blow the edges up and over the surface of the fruit. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to use, apart from the manufacturer's $10/each Paraflexx non-stick sheets designed specifically for fruit leathers? I don't especially want to spend $50 to buy these sheets for occasional use. Or does anyone have these outrageously expensive sheets and think they are worth it? -Molly
  7. Be very careful with the 600 and stiff doughs. My husband and I bake a lot, and we have had stripped gears on 4 KitchenAid mixers over about 5 years; the last 2 mixers were the 600 model. After the last burnout, we replaced it with an Electrolux Magic Mill DLX (also known as the Electrolux Assistent). After about a month of use, we are very happy with it and it handles large batches of bagel dough with no problem whatsoever. The manual actually instructs you to turn the mixer to high speed while kneading, which is a wonderful change from KitchenAid, who instructs you to never knead above speed 2, a speed so slow it barely kneads.
  8. In response to ElsieD's questions: >a) How scalable are the recipes? There are only two of us and I find a full recipe to be way too much. Can I make as little as 1/4 recipe? It's a sin, I know, but I invariably end up throwing ice cream out. I'd say the scalability of the recipes depend on what your ice cream maker can handle. I tried cutting one of the sorbet recipes in half, and there just wasn't enough in my ice cream maker for the churning to work right, and I never got the right consistency. I made the same recipe later in full and it worked perfectly. (I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker, model ICE-20.) >b) If I were to use all cream in a recipe instead of a combination of milk and cream, how would that affect mouth feel, taste and the consistency of the frozen product? Not sure about this. I have successfully adapted the other way, upping the milk amount and reducing the cream, and still had great results. I just made the chocolate ice cream that way this part weekend, along with the marshmallows to mix in for rocky road ice cream, and it was fabulous.
  9. My favorite quick pickle is the Tangy Mixed Vegetable Pickle from Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. (I was actually eating some of it when I came across this thread!) It's cauliflower, red bell pepper, and carrots, cut into small florets and slices. You soak them in a simple salt/water brine for 4-6 hrs., drain them, then pour over a half water/half white vinegar brine that has some sugar. I think the brine was 2 c. vinegar, 2 c. water, and 3/4 c. sugar.) It makes wonderfully crisp, tangy pickles that are great to snack on or have as a side with grilled meats. Incidentally, I discovered with this last batch I made that red carrots bleed into a brine and turn everything pink. I got a mixed bunch of orange, red, and yellow carrots from the farmers market that I thought would make a really pretty pickle, but now I have a very pink pickle. It still tastes great, but it's a little strange to eat pastel pink cauliflower. -Molly
  10. This Green Chile and Chorizo Breakfast Strata from Epicurious is great if you want to serve something hearty and spicy. It's supposed to be assembled the night before and put in the oven in the morning, so it would work beautifully in your time frame. You could use breakfast sausage if you wanted to keep it mild, and you could also use Soyrizo if you have any vegetarians in the group.
  11. MollyB

    Tasso recipes

    I want to try making tasso, but there seem to be very different recipes out there and I'm not sure which to try. The two recipes I'm currently looking at are: from Ruhlman & Polcyn's Charcuterie - this recipes uses a dry cure for 4 hrs. and then smokes it with a spice rub with (no paprika is included and it appears to be relatively low on heat) from Donald Link's Real Cajun - this recipe uses a 2-day brine, 1 day of sitting, and smoking spice rub that has a lot of paprika and some red pepper flakes (along with a lot of other spices - I don't have the recipe in front of me to cite it exactly) I've never actually tried tasso before, so I'm not sure which recipe to go for. Does anyone have any recommendations on which of these recipes to try? Or any other recipes to suggest?
  12. There are 2 main Basque family-style restaurants in Reno: The Santa Fe Hotel and Louis' Basque Corner, and they both have their ardent proponents. I've only been to Louis' Basque Corner, and it's a fun place and the food was good and plentiful. If you're going to be in South Lake Tahoe, however, bear in mind that Reno's a 1 1/2-hr. drive away - you might be better off staying in Tahoe and eating somewhere with nice view. If you do venture to Reno, my favorite restaurants are Sezmu and the Beaujolais Bistro; the Basque restaurants are good for atmosphere and Basque-style meat-and-potatoes sorts of dishes, and the picon punch (which you must try if you go to one of the Basque restaurants).
  13. As a former Fulbright scholar (I spent a lovely year in Spain), I would add to the above comments that you have to make a convincing argument for why you need to go abroad to do your specific project: Why do you need to go live in the host country to do what you want to do? And once you're there, how are you doing to do what you say you're going to do? You need to convince the review committees that you have a viable workplan once you are there, and show how you will undertake your proposed research. Affiliation with academic institutions in the host country shows that you have done some homework and have contacts who can help you. I would have had a really tough time if I didn't have the contacts I had. Make sure your proposal is focused and that you really articulate why what you are interested in matters (and it doesn't hurt to toss in a bit of academic jargon here and there). So, instead of "I would like to produce an easily-approachable document or guide to these foods", you might shift to something like "I plan to investigate the preservation of regional foodways in [xx] regions of India in the face of globalization and cultural homogenization." Your end product could still be that "easily approachable document", but you have to explain why you should be given a grant to go produce it. That's my 2 cents ... -Molly
  14. Update: We decided against Duraceramic for the kitchen, as we weren't certain it would hold over time, with the occasional dropped heavy items and spills, and lots of use from people and pets. We would have used it in the bathrooms, but the 8-in tiles are only available in select colors (the standard is a 16-in. tile), and none of the colors worked in our bathrooms. So the vinal verdict was vinyl for the bathrooms, and ceramic tile in the kitchen.
  15. In the wake a household plumbing disaster, I'm going to be redoing the floors in my house. I'm thinking about Duraceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, and I'm wondering if anyone has tried them in the kitchen. Duraceramic, made by Congoleum, is a composite of vinyl mixed with granite (I think), and looks very much like ceramic tile but is warmer and has some give, so you don't get cracks. It sounds great and looks nice, but there are very mixed reviews out there. Some people swear it's the best flooring ever, and some people hate it with a passion, saying it's hard to clean and that the tiles are easily cut or dented, and that the corners can chip. Anyone have first-hand experience?
  16. I thought I'd bump this topic up, as I've been wondering the same thing as MichaelZ. Is the new edition of "How to Cook Everything" worth buying if you already have the original? If you own it, is the binding on the new edition any better than the old? My copy of the first edition started falling apart almost as soon as I opened it. It currently has various chunks of the text block that are totally detached and just stuck in at the right place. And it wasn't just my copy - I've given other copies as gifts that were all just as shoddily bound. If the new one is better, that alone might be a reason to get the new one!
  17. I got a GE Profile over-the-range convection oven/microwave combo (Model JVM1790SK) a few months ago, and I love it. (My only complaint would be that the interior is difficult to get clean.) I got a new Frigidaire range at the same time, and the microwave has been a much more satisfying purchase. It's really nice when I don't want to preheat the main oven or when I want it preheated quickly. The oven doesn't brown things quite as well as our full-size oven, but I've still baked bread in it that turned out beautifully. I've also used it for small pizzas quite successfully, as well as for all of the standard microwave functions (defrosting, melting butter & chocolate, etc.). This GE Profile model has a central knob control that I was a bit skeptical about to begin with, but it's really well designed and allows you to quickly and easily adjust temperature or cook time. The "warm" feature works well for heating plates or creating a warm and draft-free environment for bread dough. In all, I highly recommend this oven.
  18. In response to the above question about 1/4 pigs from Heritage Foods. I got a 1/4 pig (Red Wattle) in March, and I was very happy with it. The pork chops (I grilled them) were the best I have ever tasted. It came in great shape, still frozen when it arrived at my door. If I recall correctly, I got several packages of chops, ground pork, pork sausage, bacon, some ribs, and some shoulder. It came packaged in usable sizes, the chops in packages of 2 and the ground pork, sausage, and bacon in 1-lb. packages. I haven't made it through too much of it yet, but everything I've tried has been very good. And it's nice to have such a well-stocked freezer! The Red Wattle bacon wasn't quite as good as the Berkshire bacon I'd previously tried from Heritage Foods, but it was still vastly better than what's available in grocery stores around here. And the Red Wattle chops were truly amazing (as I have already mentioned, but it bears repeating!).
  19. My husband has promised me a quarter-hog for my birthday, probably from Heritage Foods USA. I'm having trouble deciding what kind to get - currently the choices are Berkshire, Duroc, or Red Wattle. I thought I'd bump this up to see if anyone has tried these different breeds. Does anyone have any recommendations?
  20. Marcella Hazan has a wonderful recipe in one of her Classic Italian Cooking books for a gratin made with chard stalks. I can't remember the recipe exactly, but I think it was short pieces of the stalks, topped with grated Parmesan and bits of butter. The stalks might have been blanched first.
  21. My favorite soup cookbook (at the moment) is Soup Makes the Meal , by Ken Haedrich. (Sorry, I can't figure out how to get the Amazon link to work.) It has a variety of different soups, organized by season, and each soup is accompanied by a bread and a salad recipe. The soup recipes aren't really flashy or fancy, just simple and good. The best soup I've tried from it so far is for a cream of chicken soup with dumplings. There's also a great port salad dressing recipe. I haven't tried too many of the breads, but I've really liked all of the soup and salad recipes I've made from it.
  22. A French press coffee maker works beautifully to keep dried mushrooms submerged while rehydrating them.
  23. I've never made this dish, but I was just reading this thread, and was inspired to go check my Arabic dictionary about this word. (This may have been covered already in the Middle East forum, but variations in Arabic transliteration spelling make it really hard to search for.) Interestingly, the word comes from the Arabic root related to having smallpox. So "mujaddarah" (or majaderah, or something like that - the Roman-alphabet spelling depends on the transliteration system--or lack thereof--that is used) essentially means "that which is pock-marked", as from smallpox. Any Arabic words that start with "mu-", "mou-", "mo-" are usually nouns built off a verbal root, and the emphasis is generally on the syllable following the prefix. So your "mahJAHderah" above is closest to the correct pronunciation in terms of which syllable is emphasized. The pronunciation of the vowels is what would probably vary most among different Arabic-speaking countries. Someone up-thread mentioned "foul mudammas", and "mudammas" ("moo-DUM-muss") is the same kind of noun, built off the root meaning "to hide or disguise or to bury". Foul (pronounced "fool") means fava bean, in case you were wondering. Enough etymological rambling ... I think I need to go find a recipe for mujaddarah and try it out!
  24. MollyB


    Kohlrabi is very good roasted. Cut into 1/2-in. cubes, toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast until it starts to brown and get a little crispy. (I can't remember how long it takes to cook.) I also like it sauteed in olive oil with some garlic, then tossed with some fresh cilantro when it's done.
  25. In my experience, the time of day when you pick the blossoms matters almost more than the age of the blossom. If you want to stuff squash blossoms, make sure you pick them in the early morning, not in the heat of the day. The blossoms close when they get hit by the sun, and then it's impossible to part the petals without ripping them (at least for me!). After you pick them, you can store them in a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator until you want to use them. My favorite preparation is to stuff the blossoms with a cube of Monterey Jack and some roasted green chile, and then batter and fry them. Hmmm, I think I may have to go find some squash blossoms ...
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