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    Charlottesville, VA
  1. I originally read this topic a few years ago, and have finally gotten around to making some homemade preserved cherries. I used the red ones that arrived at the Supermarket a few months ago (can't remember the variety, but they were from the west coast.) I washed them in water, put them in a Ball jar with stems and seeds, and covered them with bourbon. They've been in the fridge since then. I have eaten a few, alone and in a Manhattan. While still very crisp, the don't taste much like cherries at all - just booze. I think next year I will add some sugar syrup (I may just add some this year.) I also find the bourbon taste to be a bit harsh, but that's cause I'm cheap, and used Evan Williams Black Lable instead of something better. Oh well. Still beats the neon red ones I suppose!
  2. I've got a few things that have been given to me that are special. From my great grandmother, I have one of those Club aluminum saucepans. I think she got it from a supermarket promotion. I don't use it for much, as it gives off a metallic taste, particularly when I touch it with a metal utensil. But it reminds me of my great grandmother, who was a great cook, and the source of my bad cooking habits. (We use to tease her that she was "up to her elbows" in whatever she was cooking/tasting.) My mom has given me some of her Griswold cast iron pans, but I haven't figured out how to use them properly yet. The best has to be a spaetzel maker, which mom gave me. I don't know where she got it, but it didn't get much use. I use it occasionally for spaetzels, but more often for mashed potatoes, which it excels at! I guess these aren't too unusual, but they are a treasure to me!
  3. Well, after watching the two shows last night, my money is on Brad and Melissa. As for a third person (can't remember if its final two or three) I'll take a shot with Julia. As many people said here earlier, she KNOWS how to move food. I think she'll keep her chin up under Ramsey's criticism - my guess is she broke down due to the utter frustration with the lunacy of the situation (perhaps even as a calculation to gets things moving). Yeah, high end food may be different, but they must be given some instruction - it seems like the regular menu is the same as last year - spaghetti, rissotto, scallops, wellington, etc. All in all, this early on Melissa seems to know her shit and leads without being a bitch. I'll bet on her. As far as the customers, let's be real. Nobody is going to Hell's Kitchen for the food. Its all to be seen, possibly even on television. Maybe some are there to watch Ramsey yell and scream, but I highly doubt anyone is there for the food. What they're cooking doesn't even sound like anything special. Of course, if its expertly prepared, fine, but I'm not sure how "expertly" prepared anything is, even towards the end of the show. It does make me wonder how well the restaurant would do in a more food-centric city (as opposed to the image-first thing).
  4. I am a big fan of brown herbal liquors. Think Jagermeister, but not sicky sweet and syrupy, I enjoy Jagertee, Echt Stondorfer, Schierker Feuerstein, etc. I saw this dusty bottle of Pimms at the liquor store, and had to try it. I think I like it, although not as much as the German variants. It seems to have a more molasses-like taste than those, but I agree that it doesn't have as much fire. Definitely tasty though, and I've grown to like it. I will have to apologize to those Brits (or anyone really) who like the whole setup of the punch/cocktail/etc. As this poor Yank didn't grow up with those traditions, I tend to sip it neat from a shot glass. I will have to make a proper cup one of these days.
  5. I am particular in the order of building things. A burger, for instance, can only be built in the following order: meat>cheese>condiments(ketchup, little mustard, sometimes sour cream)> veggies (all in between the bun) If it is in any other order, I will deconstruct it, and reassemble it properly, thank you. Some places are good though, and build it EXACTLY opposite, so I just flip it over and eat it upside-down. I guess I also eat tacos this way (well, build them that way. I don't flip them upside down.) For deli sandwiches, the cheese goes on the bottom. everything else is the same. Don't know why. Ohhh, and waffles must have butter in every little hole, but then should be topped with powdered sugar. I am also a food sniffer. Usually because it smells good!
  6. My wife bought me this game for the Nintendo DS (little handheld game system that can use a stylus as an input.) Its definitely a cutesy game, but it is quite a bit of fun. I don't know you'd learn anything about cooking by playing it, but it may be a source of inspiration. It definitely is useful to show off the unique inputs in the DS (you make all the flipping, cutting motions with the stylus, and blow into the microphone to "cool off" hot foods!) I imagine it would be just as fun on the wii.
  7. Yeah, this 2111 code is on old jars as well as new. I had just bought a new jar of peter pan, as the old one was almost gone. Checked both - both had the number. I don't recall feeling ill at all from eating the entire old jar - I must have been lucky.
  8. Hey, if its in the name of charity - I have no problem with that. However, I was interested to see the line at the bottom of the quoted article: So, were the charity beneficiaries really the 25 invited guests? If they payed as well, than no problem. Otherwise....
  9. Back in July of last year the NYTimes had an interesting article about high fructose corn syrup. It seemed to be a fact based article, and although there are more than a few PR quotes along the lines of "its perfectly fine, nothing to see here", I think it is a balanced article. article link The article points out that the fructose:glucose concentration of sugar is 50:50, whereas HFCS in beverages is 55:45, and in other products 42:58. The "high-fructose" bit is compared to normal corn syrup, which I think was 100% glucose. The article concludes that the syrup itself isn't convincingly less healthy than cane sugar, but that perhaps the increased consumption of calories in general may be responsible for the observed weight increases. The article does point out that soda consumption increased when the syrup was used. As for me, I do wish most foods I buy in the grocery store didn't have so much sugars of any kind in them. I still don't think bread needs that much sugar (or HFCS.) Additionally, I have often thought Coke outside the US tastes better, and think it might be due to cane sugar vs. corn syrup, but I haven't done a blind taste test to know for sure. Also, I remember reading at one point that cane sugar would be cheaper if it weren't for tariffs on imported sugar to protect US sugar growers.
  10. Yep! I have our beagle well trained. When I yell "Clean up!", she comes runnning. It amuses the relatives. I definitely like Land o' lakes white American. Good on cold sandwiches, good for melted cheese sandiwiches, good for cheesesteaks etc. The additional processesing required for American really does let it melt better. Interestingly, I prefer the land o lakes to the fancy brands I sometimes see at the deli. Maybe because I can't taste the price difference. Sliced cheddar I have mixed luck with. I feel like the more deli cheddar is aged, the weirder it tastes (more "American-ness"), which is very different from the little blocks of cheddar you buy in the cheese section. Perhaps its the brand of deli cheddar our supermarket stocks...
  11. If I remember, Utz barbecue potatoe chips may not have MSG. However, I don't know if they have other glutamate sources, like the hydrolized vegetable protein, etc. Interestingly, they are quite tasty, but don't have that "intensity" that MSG barbecue chips have.
  12. I actually can't think of too many things my wife does that annoy me. The biggest one has to do with eating healthy. We are both trying to eat better, which is fine. However, if you want to make something "bad", just make it right and don't eat a lot! She makes pies once a year (Thanksgiving), and this year had to use Splenda. Ditto with the Christmas cookies. She considers holiday baking her turf, but I may just have to invade to make a really bad-for-you pie. I was also amused when she tried to make french toast with Smart Balance. It was a sight to see. I probably irritate her more when I am cooking - I make a total mess (although I am the kitchen cleaner, so it should really bother me more!) I know I also stick my fingers in everything I'm cooking (bad habit learned from the great-grandmother), but I do wash my hands a lot! When guests are over, I am more mindful of this, and just dirty lots of spoons to do the tasting. I think she likes it when I cook, and so doesn't care how I go about doing it. Although she likes her meat cooked medium well and I usually like it rare, it doesn't bother me for some reason. Her grandfather also orders everything "well-well-done. Burn it. Yes, filet, WELL WELL DONE!!!" I figure if I wouldn't want to eat it that way, they wouldn't want to eat it my way. As long as its enjoyed! I would also like to wholeheartedly agree with the comment about examining the kitchen/food habits of potential mates. Because lets face it - you'll have to cook and eat every day, and will usually do it together. If its always going to be a fight...
  13. Glad to hear that the pasta portions are most likely for multicourse meals. I'm still probably overeating, but its REALLY good! Anyway, the square shaped pasta we made is tonarelli (which is apparently the Roman name for spaghettini.) It was good - I would like to make it again, and realizing that such a shape can be made has opened up the possibility of home-made lo mein! Mmmmm...
  14. Slkinsey, my guess is that "manual" means a hand-crank one. In any case, a while ago I stumbled on a company that offers all kinds of interesting kitchen stuff called Lehman's, and they have a whole section of meat grinders. Here is a link to the page. I honestly don't know anything about the company, or the grinders, but they look good. I'm sure others with actually hands-on knowledge will chime in.
  15. I just got this for Christmas, and also love it! I am still learning how to cook properly, so I started simple with the Tomato with Porcini sauce and homemade pasta (I can't remember the name, but I used a thicker sheet of pasta on the small cutter to make a square shaped strands.) Her pasta-making techinque was very straightforward, and easier than other techniques I've used. (Well, expect the whole "Use the flour to hold in the eggs" thing. That has NEVER worked for me, but I suppose practice makes perfect!) Delicious! I can't wait to cook from it again. I'm glad to hear that the green lasagna is good - that may be next for me! One question; did anyone else find the pasta portions to be small? I doubled the pasta and the sauce recipe to save for leftovers/freezer, but my wife and I ate all the pasta and 3/4 of the sauce (which should have been 6-8 servings!) I know from time to time I will over eat, but I would've guessed we each ate two servings. Are these portions for course sizes, assuming one will be eating several other courses, or am I just a hog? At any rate, it speaks to the good taste of the recipe!
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