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Everything posted by Catew

  1. Ok - this was not very scientific, but I fired mine up just for you. I set it at 350° on the bake setting with convection on. It beeps to let you know that it's reached the target temp. I put my Polder wired remote themometer inside with the tip in the middle of the oven (it wasn't in water or anything, which would probably have been more accurate). When the oven beeped, the thermometer read 347°. After about 8 minutes, it had dropped to 341°, which was the lowest it went. At 10 minutes, it was back to 347°, but I never saw the heating elements light up red, so it must not have needed too much to kick it back up to temp.
  2. We've had this oven for nearly two years now, and love it. We don't have a lot of counter space, and we wanted something that would actually toast bread AND bake things well. The Breville delivers on both counts. I'm really thrilled with the convection baking -- I've baked lots of poultry, fruit pies and cakes in it, and all have been perfect. It is wonderful to use in the summer as well; there's no need to heat the entire house with the regular oven. The oven is also easy to keep clean, inside and out. The only caveat I have is to check what your kitchen electrical can handle -- we've found that the oven has to be the only thing running or else we trip one of our circuit breakers. The Breville is expensive, but this is one purchase that I think was worth it.
  3. I'm so excited about this blog! My family roots are in NC. My dad's side are all from Carteret County (Morehead City); in fact, my great-Aunt was Morehead's "Cake Lady," or one of them, at least, and is featured in this cookbook. My mom's folks are all from Davie County. Will be eagerly reading along. Edited to add: mom was graduated from Meredith, and Daddy from State. Go Pack!
  4. My understanding is that Oxyclean is an oxygen bleach. It gets things whiter and is supposed to be color-safe for most things. I don't think it is a sanitizer like chlorine bleach, however. I also retire towels to the wash after a day's use. During that day, they progress from hand-dryers to counter-wipers as they get damp. If anything gets food on it, I tend to put it into the wash right away so that I won't spread it about. Those are the kitchen towels. My microfiber towels are for house cleaning only, so they don't get tossed in with the food towels. And if I need to use something that won't wash out of those, like polish, I use a rag instead (these are generally old people towels or clothing). I've recently started to use a type of microfiber covered sponge that's machine washable, and those get changed out weekly and washed with the food towels.
  5. I understand that appreciating the aroma of your food is important, and agree that it's a good part of the dining experience. But I hate it when I serve food and the recipient sniffs it -- I'm talking a bend over, twitch the nose, make a noise SNIFF. It feels to me as if there's an implication that I might be serving food that's off somehow. Like perhaps the quality is lacking, or there's a risk of illness. It doesn't read as a positive action to me.
  6. I put the towels in the machine for a hot water wash using liquid dish detergent as the cleaning agent. After the tub fills, I leave them to soak for about an hour. Sometimes I add some Oxyclean. Then I dump "some" white/distilled vinegar in with the rinse water. This seems to get them very clean and leaves them super absorbent. It's the soak that really seems to do the trick.
  7. We sprang for the Breville toaster oven about a year ago, and haven't regretted it once. It makes fast, evenly browned toast. A given darkness setting is consistent from batch to batch and for one slice up to six (the max that will fit on the rack, if using store-bought bread). It is also a marvelous convection oven with a surprisingly large capacity. We use it as a second oven for big feasts and as the main oven in the summertime, since it is faster and much cooler than the oven in our range. Highly recommended.
  8. Catew

    Loose Tea in NYC

    I saw online that Harney & Sons Teas has a new shop in NYC. I haven't been there myself (I wish), but the address is 433 Broome St in Soho (at Broadway & Crosby). The Ten Ren in Chinatown is a lovely place as well. Worth stopping in just to see it!
  9. The first time I had Indian Pudding was at Paul and Elizabeth's, a natural foods restaurant, while attending college in Massachusetts. They still have it on their dessert menu: Indian Pudding! I absolutely adored it. I grew up in upstate NY and had never heard of it before then. The Durgin Park recipe (which I also tried many times during the same college years), seemed much heavier to me. I was there about a year ago and tried to make a meal of the indian pudding like the apocryphal old lady, but found it so rich I could only manage a bite or two. And it was incredibly sweet!! Here in Delaware, I found "New England Pudding" on a local menu and tried it expecting something like Indian Pudding. No go: their version is essentially stewed fruit. Not the same thing at all.
  10. 5 Below always has them. There's one in the Gallery, or you can look for others on their website 5 below.
  11. That's one person's opinion. Personally, I like reading about Randi's thought processes and planning, and then hearing what the results are. I don't find her to be whining at all -- just somewhat amazed by the highly variable outcome she receives. There isn't another thread like this on eGullet, and it's one of my favorites. The posting the month of menus idea is a good one, but I don't know how well it would work. It seems that a couple of folks are going to complain no matter what -- example being the soup temperature. I hope your manager figures that out soon. She's been on the job how long now? Three months or so?
  12. Every Christmas we order kringles -- a circular danish type sweet -- from O&H Bakery in Racine, WI. I'm not from there, nor is my husband, but they were recommended to us by a friend about 10 years ago and we've been ordering them ever since. A kringle is about $14, but with shipping it's worth ordering at least 2 (the shipping is what it is -- might as well get more kringle.) I can personally vouch for the almond, cherry, cherry/cheese, cheese, and pecan varieties, but I'm betting that they all are good. And they freeze well too!
  13. Do you know the story of Stone Soup? With a hotplate/burner, you could make "stone soup" with the kids, and read the story to them too. I'm sure they would love it and remember it. A version of the story Article about a similar project
  14. I forgot to ask -- will I have any hope of finding butter tarts in NS? I have spent a fair amount of time in Ontario, where they seem to be everywhere and I developed my addiction. If I can find them this August, my happiness will be complete. Raisins or not, runny or firm, I haven't yet met a butter tart I didn't like.
  15. Thank you all so much -- this is EXACTLY the sort of information I was hoping for. Our boat tour is the Bird Island one. I was torn between them and Donalda's, but they were so nice on the phone that my decision was made for me. I have never seen a puffin and have always wanted to, so I'm really looking forward to that. We are going to be 12 people ranging in age from 10 to 80, so it's entirely possible that we'll end up splitting into groups for meals. Having lots of choices will be helpful. And I also appreciate the votes for Lunenburg. I didn't realize exactly how touristy Peggy's Cove was, and since I can see it on the webcam whenever I want, maybe that will be enough for the rest of my party too. Or perhaps we'll split up there too! If anyone else has ideas for us, I am grateful to receive them...
  16. We are going to be on a cruise in early August that will stop in Saint John, Halifax, and Sydney. We're probably going to be sick of cruise food by then, and will be in the market for lunch in each of these cities. In Saint John, we're going to be on foot, and we won't be in town for long -- just 8am to 2pm. Any places not to miss? In Halifax, we are renting a car. Right now we are torn between taking a drive to Peggy's Cove or going to Lunenburg. And in Sydney, we are driving up to Big Bras d'Or to go on a bird watching boat tour. I would greatly appreciate any tips or pointers anyone can share. We are not going to be looking for fine dining -- just good, honest, tasty food. Fresh seafood would be a plus. Thank you so much!
  17. I, for one, am totally interested in reading more about your upcoming catering gig. That's a lot of meals and a lot of food to prepare! How are you storing your perishables? And what's your work plan looking like? It seems like you will be cooking or prepping non-stop. I'm tired just thinking about it!
  18. For basic consumer products (what you'd get in the grocery) I've had the best luck calling the 800 number that's generally printed on the packaging. Typically, you'll get a refund for the product along with a few extra coupons for future purchases. Examples: I had a bad box of ziploc bags once, and they made it right for us. We had a Lunchable for the kiddo that was messed up, and they made that right too. And once (I'm ashamed to admit) I bought those tube refrigerator cookies with the holiday inclusions and they totally delaminated when we sliced them. My kids cried, and we got coupons for many holidays in the future. I'm sure there are others, but generally in my experience, you call the 800 number and they want to make sure you're happy.
  19. I have never had the impression that CaliP "hated" cooking for the seniors. On the contrary, it's my impression that she enjoys the challenge of serving them food that they will like, that is reasonably good for them, and comes in on budget. That's quite the trifecta of goals to meet, and I think she does very well and I really like reading about it. Given how much thought and effort she puts into the job, it isn't at all unreasonable to me that she would occasionally be frustrated by the seniors' lack of appreciation. It's hard to try to help people and have them reject your efforts. As far as the tasting or not tasting of food -- I don't think it matters in this case. The things the seniors object to are not badly seasoned food, or off meat or anything that can be detected by the palate, it's more a childish "I don't LIKE that" or a "stuffing -- with CORN in it??". Tasting it will never fix that. So tell us, what's up next? Find any good deals lately? How are the rising food prices affecting you and your shopping and menu plans?
  20. I noticed a couple of months ago that I was using my ears to tell me when to turn down the heat while caramelizing onions. You know how you can start them out on high heat, but then when they start to turn color, you need to turn the heat down? I seem to be able hear that point now!
  21. I watched one episode of this show -- the one where Delia hung out with Sr. Wendy. I watched it because I have long worshiped at the feet of Delia. I have her "Book of Cakes" and the Winter and Summer Collections, which I use often. Her lemon curd cake is a family standard now. But this show? I don't understand how it's useful. She isn't teaching general rules of using "ready foods" -- she's presenting specific uses for specific ready foods. And since most of them aren't available here in the US, there's really no point in my watching. (I must say, those tinned meats, despite Delia's insistence that they are the wave of the future, look like cat food. Yuck). She does know how to cook and I don't understand why she's not. People that don't want to cook aren't going to be interested in this, and people that do want to cook are going to hate it. I don't get it.
  22. We have a Nesco Fryer which has been great for over 4 years now. It's on sale for $50 at the moment, which is hard to beat. It uses 1800 watts and the recovery time isn't too bad. We only use it about 4 times a year, but it's nice to have, and the whole thing comes apart for easy cleaning. In fact, everything but the heater element/thermostat can go in the dishwasher.
  23. We belong to one offered by Calvert Farm that delivers to sites in northern Delaware, Maryland, and one site in Kennett Square, PA. We've been members for quite a few years now -- I think this might be our 5th year. You will get a real sense for your growing season, and you will also see first hand the effect of the weather. A long, cool spring will mean lots of greens to start. LOTS of greens. If you look here, you can see the photos that a member took last year to see what we got. Our CSA is produce only, so we've never gotten meat or eggs with ours. I have found that getting a good veggie cookbook is very helpful. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, or Simply in Season are huge helps when you are faced with something you don't know much about. I love the challenge of cooking up all the good food each week, and I look forward to our "farm box" like I'm looking forward to a present. It's great fun.
  24. No -- they are here in Delaware too. There is one Italian festival here that is known for offering Panzarottis -- the St. Anthony's festival in June. However, our Panzarotti are fried, not baked. Thank you so much for your blog. I and my family are in love with all things Japanese, and any opportunity to learn more is really appreciated.
  25. Will there be a blog next week? This week seemed very long without a blog to read!
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