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Posts posted by dianalane

  1. I grow up eating sheep head., sold as lamb head. As a kid I used to call it "alligator head". That's what it looked like to me. You need to get them cut in half lengthwise or it's hard to get the inside stuff out. The brains, tongue, cheek are delicious and my favorite parts. Mom used to roast them with salt and garlic, them shred the meat. We ate them with corn torilla as little tacos.

    She used to get them at a butcher on 16th street in Sac. I think possibly a hispanic butcher- they were always frozen and pre cut.

  2. I have a friend who cooks all the time, and I've never eaten at his house, but I saw his kitchen once.  The stove was covered (not an exaggeration) with streaks of running brown-black grease.  The sort of thing you think you'll see on the six o'clock news when they're exposing the home of a serial killer.

    There, I feel better.

    :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: !!

  3. I have always had sucess with Great Cookies by Walter. I have made the Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal (with different addons of my on choosing such as dried cranberries, another with unsalted peanuts and chopped up mini reese's peanut butter cups), Peanut Butter balls, Peanut Jumbles, and my favorite: Walnut Orange Merinque Mounds

    Another good book is Got Milk Cookie Book By Cullen. I have enjoyed the many variation of Chocolate chip cookies. Probably written for the begininng baker but I found the book useful.

    Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies is out of print but a definite favorite. Using her recipe I finally made a White Chocolate Macadamia nut cookie I liked. My version was always greasy. tThe recipe in the book used pulverized oatmeal which took care of the greasiness problem. I also liked the Espresso swirl brownies, Robert's Chocolate chip cookies and New Classic Brownies using a technique called Steve's ritual. I made Oatmeal cookies out of the book and was in a hurry. So I accidently combined the Oatmeal cookie recipe and the Cashew Cookie recipe on the previous page. I made the best Oatmeal cookie I ever made. The cookies were crisp and caramelly with a yummy saltiness. They were ugly though. I took them to work and people fought over them! One coworker told me the next day she dreamed about them. I tried many times but could never duplicate them again.... :sad:

  4. White Satin brand is beet sugar. I know this because last year when cane sugar prices went through the roof after Katrina, I had to switch to beet sugar. One thing I notice is that raw beet sugar stinks. Not sure what it smells like, but it's a little "feety". However, for most uses, I haven't noticed a performance change from the cane sugar, just the putrid smell when I'm measuring the raw sugar, a smell I've grown to dislike.

    I did notice on a recent trip to Paris that the sugar had a little bigger crystals than that in the states (I use reg. granulated). I thought that the slightly bigger crystals would add a nice texture to certain cookies, much like kosher salt is good because it doesn't always dissolve all the way, leaving little salt pockets which are really nice in a sweet treat.

    Organic sugar (and evaporated cane juice as well) seem to have nice uneven crystals which seem like they'd cut through butter very rustically. Also, organic sugar doesn't smell like feet, so I'm trying everything possible to replace beet sugar with organic sugar.

    I find it interesting how many subtle differences there are in such a simple ingredient. Flour is even more complex.

    Finally someone else smells it too. Beet sugar smells earthy to me like dirt.

    Not everyone can smell it. I have asked friends to smell the beet sugar and they smell nothing. I thought it was my imagination.

  5. I too have searched for a chewy, not hard after a few hours Oatmeal cookies. I finally found the Oatmeal Cookie recipe in the Martha Stewart Baking Book published last year (can't remember the exact title).

    What makes this cookie different is that it contains a small amount (I think 1/4 cup) of maple syrup. The maple syrup really makes a difference in the chew factor. I have also used corn syrup and one time Lyle's syrup and they turned out great.

    They do however contain coconut and raisins. But you could leave them out and throw in a little extra oatmeal.

  6. Do you have children?

    Three teenagers still living at home who have no  interest in cooking but urge me to make sure  " to write down all your recipes before you die."  

    That is too funny! :laugh:

    They can't cook but they can write can't they?? :rolleyes:

    Guppies have the right idea.

    My oldest daughter (20) is already on her own. She always hung out in the kitchen when I cooked or baked but never wanted to help. I found out recently that she is an excellent cook! She doesn't want any of my recipes; she wants to find her own way.

    The exchange went like this:

    Mom(tasting food): Ohmigod Britt, you can cook!

    Britt: Yes, Mom, I can.

    Mom: Why didn't you tell me, I would have...

    Britt(interrupting): Yeah mom, you would have made me cook all the time! (and starts singing " Cinderelly, Cinderelly

    Night and day it's Cinderelly

    Make the fire, fix the breakfast

    Wash the dishes, do the mopping....")

    So I have no worries about the guppies; they will pick it by OSMOSIS! :raz:

  7. Who does the cooking in your home?

    I do 99% with hubbie bbqing occasionally.

    Do you eat foods from take-out or restaurants or buy ready-made foods often?

    I worry about what the kids eat so fast food only twice a month as a treat(!). We love asian food so we go out once a week to various Chinese or Pho restaurants.

    Do you cook absolutely "from-scratch" using unprocessed ingredients often?

    Like Live It Up I don't cook absolutely from scratch and I don't buy convience foods often. So I don't make butter, ketchup or mayo but I make my own salad dressings, occasionally make bread. I use canned diced tomatoes in sauces but don't use cream of soups.

    Are you single, married or living with other(s)?


    Do you have children?

    Three teenagers still living at home who have no interest in cooking but urge me to make sure " to write down all your recipes before you die."

    What sort of work do you do?

    Civil servant who supervises a small technical staff.

    Do you feel you have enough time to cook the sorts of foods you like to eat?

    I make time to try new recipes (teenagers are fickle). I cook a few main dishes on Sundays to fall back on if I'm rushed during the week. Otherwise, I cook 6 nights a week. Lately I have been on a soup/ stew kick. And I make time on the weekends for my hobby/ reason to live: baking.

    As a question for "extra credit" , is the form of your daily cooking/eating/dining different than it was in your family when you were growing up, and if so, how is it different?

    My mom didn't enjoy cooking like I do, so we ate Hamburger Helper, Manwiche, Kraft MacnCheese, etc. But when I visited my Grandmother, I was in heaven. She enjoyed cooking and enjoyed teaching me. Grandma was Mexican-American who had worked as a domestic in Jewish households in her teens. So along with my favorite beans and torillas, she made mazto ball soup with a bit of chile in the chicken broth and other Jewish cuisine with her little twists. I hated my mom's cooking: I vowed as a child to only eat real butter and cook all the foods I saw in the Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines in the library. I was always interested in trying unfamiliar food. When I was a young stay at home bride (20 plus years ago) and cooked non stop to make up for lost time, my mom visited everyday to eat. :biggrin:

  8. About 6 months ago, I tried a new recipe for oatmeal cookies. The cookies weren't pretty; they came out flat and crisp. I usually do not like crispy cookies and the family didn't want to try them so without tasting them I took them to work for the staff. The staff loves to try my "experiments". Well, everyone went wild for them. I tasted one: they were delicately crisp and brown and tasted of caramel. So good!

    The next day, a staff member told me she dreamt about my cookies last night and would I bake another batch.

    Would you know, I made a mistake in one of the measurements when I baked the first batch. The second batch baked up like normal chewy oatmeal cookies and were okay. I tried different combinations of increasing one ingredient at a time but was never able to duplicate those wonderful cookies.... :laugh:

  9. When I an feeling angry or stressed, I bake. I always bake the tried and true recipes when I am in this state; I would get more stressed if the recipe didn't turn out. There is something about the ritual of put on the apron, tying one's hair up, getting out grandma's bowl and lining up the ingredients that's soothing and meditative. When I bake I get completely lost in the process; hours could pass and it feels like minutes to me.

  10. :raz: I am a member of the Lane family (married into) and I do not enjoy Lane Cake. I object to the raisins and candied cherries. The holiday cake in the John Lane family is Italian Cream Cake or Hummingbird Cake. The John Lanes' are transplanted Southerners :hmmm:

    K8's suggestion of a boozy Lane cake can only be an improvement.

  11. At the California State Fair in Sacramento there is a Krispy Creme Chicken Sandwich with swiss cheese. The Krispy Creme part has no hole but it's Krispy Creme batter. Haven't been to the fair yet, so I haven't seen it with my own eyes. I heard about it on the local news :blink:

  12. There are a lot more experts here than me but I've heard that baking them at a higher temperature actually helps stop them from spreading.  Something about the high temperature helping the outside of the cookie "set up" before it spreads too much... anyone know if this is true?

    edited to add that I just compared your recipe to one I use and it's almost identical but mine doesn't use brown sugar, only granulated, and only a cup.  I wonder if the molasses in the brown sugar would cause spreading?  Also, my recipe has me bake at 400 degrees and they never spread.

    I agree with CurlySue. I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe I love that never spreads at 325 degrees. But when I add chopped up Heath bars to the recipe they spread horribly. So I experimented and found that upping the heat to 375 and using the convection feature in my oven helps the spreading problem.

  13. I keep a baking diary. I bake several times a week, trying new recipes, fiddling with baking temperatures, convection vs reg oven temp, ingredients, etc. I use a small (4" x 6") wirebound notebook. My entries are chronological with little post it tags when I am satisfied with the recipe. I keep notes on any adjustments to the recipe, where I got the recipe, who the baked good went to, any feedback I received.... I started this 2 years ago and I am now on my third little book.

    My family jokes about my baking notebook because I carry with me 24/7 in my purse or suitcase. Where ever I go and taste other people's or shop's baked goods, I keep notes on what I liked or didn't like. This is how I developed my own recipe for a chocolate chip cookie with candied orange peel and almond orange flavorings. My hubbie and I stopped in a small bakery in Emeryville, CA and tried a few cookies and loved I the Orange Davinci cookie.

    A dear friend passed away last week and I have been thinking what a shame she never wrote any recipes down. She kept all her recipes in her head. Emily was a great natural cook.

  14. Thanks Ah Leung! I see lots of unfamilar veggies at the farmer's market at Florin Mall and I have no idea how to prepare. Now I know what to do with water spinach. I would like to see other asian vegetable preparations, if you ever have time.   :biggrin:

    Thank you. You may want to take a look at some past pictorial recipes that featured Chinese vegetables and see if there is any of interests:

    Bitter melon:

    Stir-fried Bitter Melons with Foo Yu

    Chinese mustard green:

    Stir-fried Mustard Greens (Gai Choy) with Salted Fish (咸鱼抄芥菜)

    Bok choy:

    Bok Choy with Garlic (蒜容白菜)


    Stir-fried Snowpeas with Oyster Sauce (炒双冬)

    Lotus root:

    Stir-Fried Lotus Roots with Dry Conpoy and Hairy Moss Fungi (連年發財: 瑤柱發菜炒蓮藕)

    Hairy melon:

    Hairy Melon Stir-fried with Mung Bean Threads (蝦米粉絲炒毛瓜)

    Pea shoot:

    Pea Shoots with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimp (蝦米肉碎炒豆苗)

    String bean:

    Sichuan Style Dry-Fried String Beans (四川乾煸四季豆)

    Many of these recipes are just suggestions. You may usually mix and match them (green leave vegetables for green leave vegetables, melons for melons).

    You can also download my "Ah Leung Pictorial Recipe" Windows help file and have all these recipes in one place for easy browsing. The URL is in my signature line.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I can't wait for the Thursday farmers market. I like the taste of salted fish so I will try the mustard greens next.

  15. Thanks Ah Leung! I see lots of unfamilar veggies at the farmer's market at Florin Mall and I have no idea how to prepare. Now I know what to do with water spinach. I would like to see other asian vegetable preparations, if you ever have time. :biggrin:

    BTW your Lemon Chicken and the Lemongrass black bean Chicken dishes were easy and very tasty. Thanks again

  16. When I was in junior hi in the 70's, my home ec teacher made a Tunnel of Fudge cake. I never tasted anything so good! I think this started my love affair with chocolate. Up until then chocolate was a Hershey bar or Grandmother's Mexican hot chocolate. People actually baked with chocolate! :rolleyes: And used store bought mixes! As a child I thought only rich people used Betty Crocker and Pillsbury. :laugh:

  17. I grew up in the central valley of California. I remember bread pudding made with brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and cheddar cheese, rice pudding heavily dusted with cinnamon, churros, fried homemade flour torillas with cinnamon sugar, and little fried pies(also made of flour torilla dough) filled with pureed pumpkin, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter).

    My grandmother would have a treat waiting when I returned home from school. She didn't even have an electric mixer, she used hand rotary beaters.

    My mouth is watering and my eyes are full of tears!

  18. I have taken advantage of sales on sweetened condensed milk and bought 20 cans when it was 1.00 a can. They were stored them in the garage pantry shelves and in Central CA the summer temperatures can get over 100 degrees. So many times I have inadvertently made Dulce de leche. No one in the family ever became sick from consuming the product.

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