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Posts posted by MissAmy

  1. In the begining, I thought Betty was going to be a cool person. Boy, was I ever wrong. What a shrill, insane harpy.

    I don't get why everyone hates Marcel so much, either. His food is weird (not in a good way) but at least he's not patently offensive like so many of the other contestants. I think his technique is really killer, but I don't think he really has much of an understanding of flavor combinations. I would love to see him to something wacky and out-there that actually looked, sounded, and tasted good.

    I am convinced that all this show is about is throwing some idiots into a room and watching the drama that insues, and whether or not Padma can get her skirts any shorter or tighter with each passing week.

  2. I made Paula's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake for Thanksgiving a few years ago and now I'm stuck with it.  If I tried to go back to pumpkin pie I think my family would divorce me.

    I made this a couple days ago to give to share in class. I had expected people to exclaim that it was too sweet or that it was weird but everyone loved it. Even my pumpkin pie hating boyfriend loved it. Must be that combination of way too much butter and sugar. :biggrin:

    I made the double chocolate version for a party once, and now that's all any of my friends request! I'm like, "Dudes! I have a culinary degree! Don't ya'll want a cake or a tart or something fancy?!" And they're like, "NO! We want double chocolate gooey butter cakes!" -shrug- What can you do?

    When people excessively bash Paula Deen, I get a little offended even though I probably shouldn't. She cooks a lot like my grandmother did, and my great aunts did. Their food wasn't five star gourmet, but it sure was good. When people talk about how horrible her food is, it's like saying the cuisine of an entire region and people is horrible, which is really, really not fair.

  3. My vegetarian lunch: falafel gyro, babaganoush, tabouli, dolmas, and spanikopita. Yes, it was all shared among three people! No, I DID NOT eat all that on my own. :P But I'm still full! It was great!

    I've decided that due to the environmental factors tied to the meat industry and the fact that I highly disagree with mainstream commercial meat processing, I will be incorporating more vegetarian meals into my diet. I could never be a vegan long-term, and seriously doubt that I will be a vegetarian ALL the time, but I think that if I am going to live according to my basic belief sturcture and philosophy of protecting the planet and respecting all creatures, I should seriously limit my meat intake. So I'm going to.

    I sincerely hope this thread continues and thrives as I'm sure I'll get just as much inspiration here as I do from the "Dinner" thread.

  4. Wow. It calls for butter AND shortening. I dunno about the foil. I would go with parchment paper filled with pie weights (or rice if you don't have weights). If it STILL falls (as was the case with my tart crust disaster), I have a theory that if there is too much fat in the dough when the fat melts the whole thing just crumbles. I sat and watched through the oven door as the very last attempted shell (that had been allowed to rest, chilled, lined with parchment, and weighted) stubbornly sank into itself. I think I started screaming at that point and my sweet auntie made me a gin fizz. Then I broke down and used a Pilsbury crust because I just couldn't take it anymore.

    Anyway, moral of the story - even highly reputable recipe sources can have typos and can screw up sometimes, if it still doesn't work just use a different crust, and sometimes pastry is controlled by the devil himself.

  5. We're having:

    Pecan Pie,

    Vanila Pound Cake with Cranberry and Apple compote, and

    Brown Butter Pear Tart.

    I am really excited about the pear tart.

    jsmeeker, how much butter is going into that crust? The reason I ask is that I had the same issues with a tart crust a while back. The tart filling itself was absolutely heavenly, but I COULD NOT get that pastry to hold, no matter what I did. Finally, I just decided that the recipe was bad and there was too much butter - I found a different pastry recipe and haven't had a problem since.

  6. Claudia..thanks for the story, and that TIP, bitch shirt is insanely cool.  You could make a mint selling those things.

    Thanks, Joisey - I only had two made (I don't even own one), because I don't own the picture . . . and I don't need to get into a legal fight over licensing and copyrights!

    What if you had them made with an RR charicature? Because seriously? We, the people of this great land, NEED those shirts.

  7. I think you see a lot more deep fried foods in resaurants in the South than you do in people's homes. I can't remember the last time my mother deep fried anything. My father fries twice a year - once at Thanksgiving for the turkey, and again when he gets a deer and they make chicken fried venison.

    Growing up, my mother made fried chicken as a rare treat. My grandmother fried more often, but it was always more of a shallow fry, maybe an inch or so of oil. I didn't know anybody who deep-fat fried. One poster mentioned breaded okra - we never had breaded okra, either. It was always just dusted with cornmeal and pan fried.

    I can't speak for Cantonese cooking, but when I lived in mainland China, I noticed the restaurant/home dichotomy there as well. There were lots of fried things in restaurants, but in homes not so much.

  8. My favorite thing of all is the cornbread dressing my mother makes at Thanksgiving. It's the same dressing her mother and her mother before her made. It is devine. It has just the perfect ratio of cornbread to biscuit, it is moist, and there are absolutely no extraneous ingredients to distract from the deliciousness of the dressing. It's just cornbread, biscuits, onion, celery, sage, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, butter, and copious amounts of chicken stock. It's my favorite, and NO ONE, I mean NO ONE on the freaking planet does a better dressing.

    I also look forward all year to pecan pie, apple cake, my aunt's famous Sweet Potatoes With Pears, and giblet gravy.

  9. In my opinion, Central Market (particularly the original on Lamar and 41st in Austin) is the best grocery store I have ever been to. They have the high-end items and the not so high-end items. I have never, ever gone in there looking for something and not found it. The employees are friendly and knowlegable. It's simply a great store.

  10. I know that people get annoyed when others say, "Anything is fine!" but what if that's true? I am generally very easy-going, especially when someone is so kind as to let me stay in their home. I basically will eat anything, and if they don't have food, I can go out or to the store. If they don't have coffee, what city doesn't have a coffee house every fifteen feet these days?

    Honestly, if I am staying over at someone's place the only thing I ask for is a place to crash and a lamp to read by. I am a fairly simple person, I guess.

    When people visit me, I always ask if they have any restrictions or want anything specific. My mother MUST have skim milk, my aunts MUST have gourmet coffee and LOTS of wine. Other than that, I've never had anyone make any extensive or bizarre requests.

  11. After reading glowing review upon glowing review on our neighborhood email list, my aunt and I tried El Gringo on Friday night.

    One of the reviewers had said, "Four star food at two star prices!" While quite a glowing critique, I doubt this individual has ever had four star food. The food at El Gringo is good, somethings are great, somethings are lacking. The prices really are great, though.

    For appetizer we had the Cracker-crusted Oysters. They were nice and the portion was generous given the price. The oysters had been breaded in a cracker crust and deep fried, then topped with a chipotle aoli and pico de gallo. They were served with a side of pickled vegetables made in house, which provided a nice complement to the rich fried oysters. I had been afraid the oysters might be over-cooked, which is a common complaint of mine about fried oysters, but they were not. They were juicy and briny and the crispy crust was excellent.

    For my entree, I chose the Shrimp and Grits. The shrimp were stuffed with cheese, placed on a peice of jalapeno, wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and served with a tomatillo sauce. If the jalapeno had been roasted first, and if the cheese had been omitted, this would have been a great dish. The raw jalapeno was just too spicy for the shrimp, and the crunch of it was unpleasant. I ended up picking them out. Also, the cheese used was too rich and there was too much of it. I couldn't figure out what it was supposed to add, and to me it distracted from the shrimp and bacon. To be fair, the shrimp was cooked really well, and the tomatillo sauce was quite nice.

    The grits were served in a cake, pan fried, and were crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and flavored nicely. They were the best part of the dish, in my opinion. Also served was some sauteed spinach, which was too greasy and forgettable.

    My aunt had the Roasted Chicken with Chimmichurri Sauce. The chicken was flavored well, and it was tender, if a bit greasy. The sauce was complex and spicy, while not being over-powering, but again, the use of oil was over-the-top. About half the amount of oil, and the sauce would have been perfect. The chicken was served with a sweet potato gratin. It was delicious, but the portion too large. Inexplicably, the chicken came with a quarter of a grilled avocado, which did nothing to enhance the overall effect of the plate. It was just a plain avocado that they threw on the grill - no seasoning, nothing special - we were confused as to why it was there.

    Dessert was a bit of a disaster. We ordered the Peach and Blackberry Crisp. There was nothing "crispy" about this crisp, it was more like a big bowl of cobbler goo. It also tasted strongly of corn syrup, which kind of was disgusting. We ate two bites and left it.

    Despite the definite misses, there were certainly hits at El Gringo. The prices are indeed quite good, and I wager this place will become very popular for that reason alone. I want to give them a while to work out the kinks and go back. I'm hoping that the misses we encountered will be worked out, and this place will rise to its fullest potential.

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