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  1. Peachpie9

    Potato Salad

    Thank you, Jason, but after spending twenty years perfecting my own potato salad (when my place of work published a cookbook, we got at least a dozen calls asking if my potato salad recipe was in the book), it would take a BIG vote of confidence from someone I trust to get me to consider changing anything. Suvir Saran engenders that trust somehow, so I want HIS favorite, made by this mysterious Ed person. I have to tell you, though, Jason...I have tried to get to Recipe Gullet countless times before, all failures. Clicking on YOUR link got me there! First time EVER!!! Thank you! Catherine
  2. Also upthread, I requested pics of some of your wife's art. I know it's off topic and you are busy recovering and documenting, but the thing in life that runs a close second to good food, for me, is good art. Just one little pic? I'd love to see it. Thank you, even if you can't. I'm glad your event went so well. Bunch of lucky people, I say. Around here, big events are held in too-small facilities with icky bathrooms, because the weather is always a threat and the thin population doesn't warrant any nice BIG facilities. I dread going, but I always do. Catherine
  3. I'm with Viva--DON'T mess with my Diet Coke! I'll take mine with LIME! Love that stuff. The aspartame "bitterness" must be part of it, because it's the BITE and the lack of syrupy taste that endear Diet Coke to me. I hate regular Coke, haven't availed myself of the watery syrup in a decade or more. That said, I WILL be trying the new Splenda Coke, just because I have to. Try new things, that is. Have to. We don't have any yet here, but I will get some when we do. It will have to be really good to come close to Diet Coke. And if it indeed tastes like Coke Classic, it will go in the sink. Catherine
  4. All I can say is "Wow. and WOW. And WOW WOW WOW!" What an undertaking. I would never have the courage, although I would absolutely love to be the "helpful and pleasant staff." I wouldn't even require food. Ok, some shrimp. I think you have a wonderful attitude and a lot of hutzpah (sp?) (I'm not Jewish, but I love that word). The most I have ever served is 60, at my daughter's high school graduation barbeque. I had people hovering and snatching chicken and ribs off the grill as soon as they were done. I know nothing about doing large crowds, and some things were less than stellar, but others, like the potato salad, made up for them. Everyone left happy and full. I have really enjoyed your account of this event, Mayhaw Man. One more thing I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see in pictures...some of Robin's art??!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this, MM. Love, Catherine
  5. Peachpie9

    Potato Salad

    It is exactly the same potato salad that made me wonder for years if I would ever eat a tasty mayo based potato salad. And after eating Ed's version, I have become a convert, but also spoiled for life. Few versions stand upto his. I simply get myself invited to his home when I have a craving. He is not a lazy cook. ← Who is this Ed person? Catherine
  6. I confess that, when I had two to four baseball games a week in the summer and was responsible for bringing "snack" to many of them, I made cupcakes from mixes (please God, don't let my German grandma see this from heaven ). However, I too am from the camp that feels scratch cakes are worth the effort. The same flavor and richness just aren't available from a mix. I grew up on my parents' big horse and wheat farm, cooking for work crews and making everything from scratch. I use my Grandma's recipes and, with a little planning, I think scratch cakes can get to the oven pretty quickly, too (except for the Burnt Sugar Cake; that takes more time). I am also a firm believer, however, in doing what works. If time or ingredient availability is an issue and mixes fit the bill, hey. I WOULD also add that, if you have a free afternoon and want to do something special, bake a cake from scratch! The opportunities for embellishment are endless (frosting, filling, pairing with fruit, whipped cream or ice cream, etc.) and a scratch cake with a fine, moist crumb and a handsome profile can be sheer paradise! Catherine
  7. Hello Swiss_Chef, You have many very beautiful things. Obviously you've spent years in the careful accumulation of exquisite pieces. The vignettes I am talking about, and I feel certain you know more about these than I could hope to learn, are the focused, ambitious ones with maybe between 12 and 20 pieces involved. The plates are arranged in a grouping, usually taller than wide, with the key peices at the center and top of the grouping. The rest of the pieces in the grouping are smaller, lesser items designed to showcase the main pieces. Usually they are consisent in color but always are different in pattern and style. The vignette has a balance in that the count is symmetrical, but the ones I like best DON'T have the same pieces to the left and right of the key pieces. The mismatched effect IMO yields more in the way of interest and artistry. Looking at the photos of your beautiful home, I'm not sure this concept would work. You have achieved a very formal, sophisticated classicity in which a vignette would probably ring with incompatibility. Anyway, it was an idea. Your home is stunning. I would love to cup my hand around one of those huge old crystals in that chandelier. Catherine
  8. French toast made with thick slices of dense Italian bread, butter and maple syrup all over; bacon, fresh sliced California strawberries, and fresh orange juice. Catherine
  9. I want to massage those shells! My mother and grandmother used to make cream puffs from scratch for special occasions. They were a hands-down favorite with everyone in the family. The puffs had a flakey, shattery shell with moist, eggy interiors. My mom would uncap a little opening in the shell and introduce a spoonful of blueberry compote, then a spoonful of lemon custard. Then she filled the rest of the interior of the puff with whipped cream (don't leave out the whipped cream!). Sweet nirvana. Certainly I would travel far to relive this memory. Catherine
  10. Peachpie9

    Make and Take

    I'm always amazed at the things people come up with. For less experienced cooks, people without cooking utensils or area, or people very short on time, this idea seems like it would have merit. It takes care of the planning part of meal preparation. For me, the planning is the crucial part. I, too, want dinner in a flash when I come home (it's the time I'm most susceptible to grazing because I'm HUNGRY!), but I accomplish this by making things ahead. I do desserts and breads on the weekend, along with soups, stews, sauces...anything that benefits by keeping for a day or two. Lots of things, I take to the almost done stage and then store it. I just raise the dough, prep the veg and simmer the sauces in between other weekend chores. I prep salad greens and veg a day or two in advance. Then, when I come home, I just put it together and pop it in the oven or slide it onto the cooktop. While THAT is cooking, I usually do something for the NEXT night's meal. At least as important as good food are flexibility and spontaniety, so I allow for last minute changes in plans, like if we decide to go out for dinner. Also I often have meals ready that I can drop off at the house where my law student son lives with four other young men. I love to cook, but the romance dims when I'm starving, my husband is starving, the light's fading on any outdoor activity, and dinner's still an hour away. This pre-made dinner idea would be a good solution, but I like to use my own recipes and kitchen. Catherine
  11. Tonyy13 et al: This is a wonderful thread. I am considered a good cook among my friends and family, but presentation has never been paramount to me although I love to see it. Now that my kids are grown and I am helping my husband lose weight and control some health issues, I am looking at presentation as well as improvements in flavor, nutritional value and portion size. Instead of just cooking the usual things in the usual ways, I am researching the creation of satisfying textures and flavors, presented in appetizing and stimulating ways, in smaller portion sizes. This seems to me to be much more fun than diet food. I have to tell you, the food on this thread looks wonderful, even that that the critics (usually self) panned. I applaud the efforts and thank you for the ideas. Doctorandchef, your chops look as good as anything I've seen in print or set before me. The color combination, pink and green, is a whirlwind favorite with me (my bedroom sings with it), and you've achieved a serendipitous perfection in this regard. I say serendipitous because even though your plate looks deliciously perfect, it is in no way plotted or proscribed. Very, very nicely done. Behemoth, I think you are so right that white is not universally the perfect foil for food, although it is right MUCH more often than anything else. I agree with you that rustic Latin and Mediterranean food is set off to advantage by rustic, earth-toned framing. Anna N, I have noticed the same things you have with the subtly colored, substantially built dishes in food magazines. I think the point is to keep it interesting. There is no absolute in color of serving dish. It’s art. White fish, for example, looks more appetizing on one of those thick, celadon plates you mentioned than in any other setting. Think how Swiss-Chef’s pasta dish would look on celadon! Swiss_chef, your pasta doesn’t look dead; rather it looks eminently edible. Perhaps you could have accidentally spilled a few more capers in one or two spots around the edge of the pasta to provide delineation from the plate. I loved your family style plating, too. When I serve myself from a plate like that, I know I’m among friends. As to plating with highly colored/patterned dishes, I am going to opine that your food impact will always be (at best) competing with the plate graphics, or (at worst) upstaged by them. The pics you offer from a cookbook of food served on busy plates are obviously designed to feature the PLATES. Some of the food isn’t even edible, like the roses. The antique plates you have are real treasures. Have you considered arranging a wall vignette of them and some complementary ones near where you eat? That way, they are available for you and your people to enjoy, their design won’t get in the way of your food efforts, and they are safe from the breakage that can occur with regular use. Vignettes have been used for years in England to showcase their beautiful blue and white pieces, but I have seen contemporary ones done with stunning effect, using antique pieces. Abadoozy, your plate is brilliant. Hot rich spicy juxtaposed with cool crunchy. Mmmmm. I think I would have tried to curve the flank steak slices around the salad, like a croissant? Nestle the salad in the curve of the steak. Then the food wouldn’t look like it’s trying to emulate the squareness of the plate. But keep the hot from touching the cold. Tonyy13, your food pictures are inspiring, and I love that you did these because you had time to experiment, no other reason. Your “bad” food pictures, were I to come up with something that good, would make me very happy. I know I am going to have a lot of fun trying. You are a really magnificent teacher. Catherine
  12. Peachpie9

    Good fish recipes

    Make your own tartar sauce: 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle 3 tablespoons chopped green onion 1 tablespoon capers, drained 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Chill 1 hour. Keeps for a couple of days. Recipe from Epicurious.com. Lavish. Catherine
  13. Appreciator, Thanks for the info on the pear pic. Found it! Catherine
  14. It's considered bad luck! ... and no whistling allowed. ...and don't paint your hull blue. ...and... ← Thanks, JohnnyD. I read up a little since I posted that, and the literature didn't preclude the idea of female workers per se, but it DID say that there is absolutely no privacy on the boats. The bathroom facilites are out in the open and shared by all. Sounds pretty romantic to me! Catherine
  15. Appreciator, This is an interesting topic. I like transfattyacid's reply because he includes how he feels and what he eats. I would have thought a chef would always want the power of the kitchen, even on his day off, but I see that's not true. It's consistent with how I feel: everyone in my life wants me to do for them what I do professionally--for free. I DON'T want to come home and perpetuate the grind, only for no pay. I want someone to do it for ME (it's not food, though). I also liked it that transfattyacid liked to be "pleased, not impressed" by the food he ate off hours. I worry about people who have to have an event every time they take sustenance. I'd like to hear other Vancouver chefs talk about this aspect of their precious time off. Appreciator, I am interested in getting a better view of the pic you use--the pears. It's lovely. Any chance I could find it on the net, or did you shoot it? Thank you. Catherine
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