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Everything posted by eJulia

  1. My mother used to make a "Cranberry Platter" for Thanksgiving... two cans of Ocean Spray whole cranberry sauce, two cans of jellied cranberry sauce - sliced, arranged down the middle. Brother and I would take a slice of said cranberry "jello", then meet eyes across the table.... First player would section off as large a piece as they thought they could handle - usually a quarter slice (first round) - then he'd swallow it whole. No chewing, no mouth manipulation, no smooshing. Whole, one gulp. Opposing gamester would then take an even bigger "chunk", and show their ability by swallowing WHOLE an even larger chunk. Game would continue until either Mom caught on and kicked our butts, or one of us chocked or puked. (The one that did... they lost.) I still try it when I'm alone.... Now I win every time!
  2. I love to cook, eat out, dine well...... but SOMETIMES, I love to be able to "fire up" a frozen dinner... Will you confess? I love my own mac 'n cheese, adore it, really... but in a pinch, Stouffer's will do. I recently had a crippling craving for cheese enchiliadas, and without close proximity to a mex food restaurant, and no energy for cooking.... I found Amy's Organic Cheese Enchiliadas... with an addition of extra cheese, sour cream, diced avos... it was an eating treat! I also love Stouffer's Swedish Meatballs (GASP!) with extra sour cream. Pretend I'm your food "priest" and CONFESS! What frozen food do you have in stock, and eat when the spirit moves you? (You will be forgiven!)
  3. I very rarely find over-salted food in good restaurants, but it drives me crazy if I need salt to add at the table, and no "interesting" salt is to be had... please, kosher salt on the table at least! Some decent sea salt or gray's salt is even better. My dishes at home are likely oversalted for some because I LOVE the texture of coarse salts... have you ever had coarse (I mean really coarse!) salt on fresh, summer ripe watermelon? And what is a caprese salad without the crunchy texture of a good salt! (And really chunky fresh ground quality peppercorns, of course!) Julia <--ankles usually swollen at least a day a week!
  4. I am so bad at haggling - I'd never consider trying at a Farmer's market. I make one pass (without buying), then pass back with dollars in hand. I love our (Portland's) market but did the Vancouver, WA market last Saturday, and was blown away! Flowers like I used to buy in the open air markets in Germany, veggies, fruits, nuts, prepared items... OMG! Even if it costlier than grocery store produce, I'll pay. I'll pay and I'll pay. There is something about fresh produce, grown locally, from "friends you get to chat up" that makes it so worthwhile! => FM Geek! eJulia
  5. Did anyone ever find it? My favorite knife is my Henckels Santuko... I am just so upset at your missing treasure!
  6. I cringe to even remember this - it was over 10 years ago, afterall. I was hosting a dinner for two business contacts (both male) at a very nice Kansas City restaurant... Plaza III for those of you who know KC. We were going for an early dinner and left straight from the office... turns out this was a blessing because instead of carrying a tiny little purse, I'd shoved my wallet into my briefcase and carried it instead - it was a business dinner, after all. I was wearing a dress (no waist band - I think they called it a "slip" dress) and a jacket. For some stupid reason, I didn't wear a full slip underneath, but a half-slip. (Sorry guys, this may seem like Greek to you, ask your wives for explanations...) I had recently lost weight, and the slip was probably past it's prime. Following the hostess through the restaurant, me in front, natch, I got this weird sensation under my dress. You guessed, the slip had slipped past my hips and became a puddle around my ankles! I didn't think I could hoist it back in place without being a bigger spectacle - but EVERYONE could see what had happened, including my clients. I couldn't walk with the damned thing encircling my ankles.... so I quickly stepped out of it, scooped it up and stuffed into my briefcase as with as much "dignity" as possible. I know I was six shades of red, and mumbled something about "how embarrasing!". I was so shook up, I know I was totally off my game all night. The men were polite enough to ignore the incident, but can only imagine their laughter after I dropped them off at their hotel that night. I used to still run into these guys at conventions and meetings.... I can only imagine how many collegues have been treated to that story!
  7. eJulia

    Bare Minimum

    For the minimalist kitchen, I don't think you can beat this pan: Calphalon "Everyday Pan" It's made of heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum, I got mine on sale for $25-$26 US. It's hard to tell from this pic, but it's 4" deep, 15" across. It rocks! Saute, stir fry, fry eggs, cook bacon, shallow fry, brown meat, sweat veggies and because it's technically NOT coated with non-stick, it's great to cook meat and makes a mean pan sauce from the drippings. Since it's oven safe to 450 degrees, I have finished thicker cuts of meat in the oven, and used it for small oven-braised meals. It makes a super frittata. I did a jambalaya in it, and can't wait to see how it will do with paella - the size and shape looks just right. The only thing I haven't done in it is soup or stock, but for small quantities, I don't know why it wouldn't work!
  8. So I've developed my "standard" greeting... "What's your story?" I think people want to tell their story... what went wrong, what they failed to do, how they fell on tough times and why they have been unable to have been to recover. Imagine my surprise when a wizened, dirty, disheveled man asked me for "my story"? I am a chemotherapy patient, terminally ill, hair is gone and camouflaged by a number of head caps (wigs, God NOOO!)... He really cared about my answer, including my prognosis.... What a sweet soul. Go out and befriend someone less fortunate than you.... you will reap so much more than you will sow.
  9. Re: Crock pot recipe to Dutch Oven.... any guidelines for converting time? i.e. 4-6 hours on high to ?? in the oven? 8 to 10 hours on low to ?? in the oven? I'm assuming 300 or 275 degrees with a good, solid dutch oven, and following Molly's advice, a sheet of parchment paper laid on top of the contents of said dutch oven... I'm not afraid to experiment, but your collective wisdom(s) would help me out!!
  10. Has anyone had luck translating a "crock pot" recipe to one suited for braising? I accidentally bought a recipe magazine for crock pots (It was titled "Slow Cooking" - I thought it was referring to the "movement")..... I'm most interested in.... TIME: Do you have a formula for converting time in a crock pot (low or high) to an oven-based braise? LIQUID: Other than the eye-watch method of braising liquid (1/2 to 3/4 of the solids submerged), do the liquids of a crock pot recipe need to be adjusted? No, I don't have a crock pot with me... but I do have a great dutch oven! Thanks in advance for for help...
  11. It's probably off topic, but you make a good point. Business travelers can help by stashing all the "freebies", letting housekeeping restock every day and donating their "proceeds"... to shelters catering to abuse victims, rape victims, homeless, etc. Those silly soaps, shampoos, coffee packs can mean a bunch to a newly displaced woman or family.
  12. I had "my first woman" this week. Get it out of the gutter! Seriously, I ran into the first female homeless soul looking for support since I started this odyssey. She had been kicked out of her apartment for having too many "roommates". How, she asked, do you get a job with no address, no phone, and no clean clothes? I get it. I've worked closely with families trying to get re-established, and have been frustrated with them on the seemingly impossible task of climbing out of homelessness. I did what little I could. I gave her a bag of soda (her request), beef jerky, feminine hygiene products, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, fruit, cleansing cloths. I hope I don't see her aqain.
  13. Okay,okay... I split my yolk and exposed my hash... please don't tell my family!!!! I just don't know how they'll take it ! Late in replying, but it was an awesome event to a new Portlander, and a treat to meet other eGulletters. Thanks to all. eJulia
  14. You want "off the beaten path"? Try talking to a chemotherapy patient about her life, and how life with food has changed with treatment and it's consequences! Julia (<--- chemo patient/foodie with ideas!)
  15. Kim: Get your blood sugar checked. My first sign of diabetes was foot discomfort - a feeling like I had socks bunched up under my feet. I'm sure it's nothing, but you need to be sure!
  16. Daniel... Eloquence. I'm speechless. J.
  17. I'm working on some "anyday" food bags to have in the car.. Even on warm Oregon days, water stored in the car is uncomfortably hot and "less-than-tasty". Freezing them will defintely expand that "car-life".... Beef jerky is a contender for sure. Breakfast or granola bars are a good choice, but I hate their reliance on "fake" ingredients... Friut is always an ingredient of choice, but just doesn't age well in a hot car... What about dried fruits? I will accept any suggestions.. don't have a sign, but if I did, it would read "Cancer Sucker looking for Hope" Julia
  18. Okay, I think my breathing is a little more regular now! I have a can of coconut milk, red chili sauce, thai fish sauce, thai red hot sauce (probably not too authentic), tamari (as opposed to traditional soy sauce), and other hot sauces... I love pad Thai, and so have rice noodles. I have yet to explore the wonderful asian markets in the Portland area... I've instead been a regular at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods on occasion. Snowangel, all and any advice you can offer will be gratefully accepted... just be gentle!
  19. HAHAAAA! Bon Appeshit is now a permanent part of my culinary vocabulary - Bravo!
  20. The first bite of a charcoal-grilled hamburger patty, cheddar cheese melted while still on the grill, bun toasted over the hot fire, yet still soft and warm in the center, nothing but sour pickle slices to adorn... The meat is so rare and fresh, the fat and juice try to escape, only to be captured by your tongue and mouth... The bun gets soaked with beefy meat juices and the cheese pulls from the hamburger in strings... Ah, summertime in the 'burbs!
  21. Okay, folks, I need some help... I just bought (no, invested in ) Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet. I am overwhelmed. The recipes seem so complex, the ingredients so foreign, I just don't know where to start, or if I should just give up and return the book. I do good veggies, good Italian, respectable Mediterranean, getting good at braising.... but maybe I'm not ready for this! Can you recommend a growth path into Asian cooking? A recommended pantry list? Alternatives to specialized cooking vessels? I should mention that my food processer, blender and other cool cooking tools are in storage 2500 miles away. I have a hand-held blender, a few decent knives and desire. And, of course, a $45 cookbook who wants me to have much more! Should I chuck it in? Return the cookbook? Or, are there recipes and/or ingredients you can recommend for an Asian food neophyte?
  22. Wow, I'd forgetten about Hostess Pies - blueberry was the best.... now I've got to get me one!
  23. Thanks for all your thoughts on my hot pot/wood cutting board conundrum.. I think it was probably a handed-down "rule" from a time when things were different... Like my dear-departed mother's advice on unrefrigerated mayonnaise, I think this is one I'll continue to honor - whether grounded in science or not - but I'll cut some slack when it comes to others who didn't grow up with this particular "wives tale" On another front... how many CUT their lettuce with knives as opposed to tearing by hand?
  24. I don't have a caption, but how can anyone view a sleeping kitty without uttering an "Awwww". Those closed eyes, the obvious total physical relaxation, the chin so tenderly rested on the "forearm".. just delicious. This guy has now brought tears to my eyes twice while remembering feline friends past...
  25. Thats the thing, I can't remember! Back then we only had wood - no plastic. Would heat "activate" beasties in the wood? I have no idea. Do you use your wood board as a parking spot for hot pans?
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