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Everything posted by dividend

  1. Thanks for this recommendation! I've made this twice - once for DBF and myself under the broiler, with coconut rice and sliced cucumbers in rice vinegar, and once yesterday, for Mother's Day, on the grill. Mom wanted to grill chicken, and she was planning on tossing boneless skinless chicken breasts on the grill. I told her I had something better. The family loved it, even though I used skin on, bone in chicken thighs and they claim to only like white meat. The sauce is seriously awesome. My brother and his girlfriend both separately called and asked me for the recipe. It's going into the permanent summer grilling rotation.
  2. I can't tell if Whole Foods from processed, pre-packaged anything. I have a meat and egg share from a is massively more expensive, because I started shopping there more as my diet/buying habits shifted further and further away local farm, and I buy my seafood frozen at Costco, so I'm immune to the high priced meat counter. (I also think the grocery prices across the board having been rising for years.) In the summer I have a CSA, so WF is really only my primary grocery store in the winter. I don't find it to be outrageously expensive, doing an apples to apples comparison, so to speak. Produce costs a little more, but it's definitely higher quality, and can be controlled by thinking seasonally. Bulk items are a pretty good price, as are canned things like beans, tomatoes, and coconut milk. Frozen veggies and berries are definitely comparable, as is bakery bread,not-from-concentrate orange juice, and local milk. I think where people get into trouble is with all the "value-added" stuff like cut fruit or diced mirepoix, or the takeout counter, or the prepackaged stuff in the middle aisles. But "organic" "natural" junk food is expensive anywhere you shop. And don't even get me started on the crazy prices on all the vitamins, supplements, and cleaning products. My cat definitely gets food/litter from the grungier grocery store, too. It's funny though. I took DBF shopping with me because he wanted to buy stuff to make a pot of chili (he doesn't cook normally). He was standing in the produce department, holding a small head of iceberg lettuce, and complaining, "can I get a head of lettuce that's grown to NORMAL size. You know, using CHEMICALS?" Then he asked the cashier if the AA batteries were organic. The boy knows how to guarantee he won't have to grocery shop with me again for a while.
  3. I had this Asian Tuna Salad for lunch today, and it was delicious. I think next time I'm going to add toasted sesame seeds, and maybe add some grated ginger to the dressing. We ate this for second-lunch. First lunch was my version of white chicken chili - it's got roasted poblanos and fire roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika, among other things, and it's broth based. I cheat a little and add a dollop of greek yogurt.
  4. dividend

    Salad (2011 - 2015)

    This recipe for Peach and Roasted Beet Salad is awesome. I love the pairing of beets with peaches. I ate it a lot last year in the late summer. It's a great side dish to roasted salmon. I think this combination would be great with a dressing of honey, ginger, and rice vinegar, but I'm a sucker for honey/ginger with fruit salads. *It would help to spell BEET right, huh?
  5. I used this bahn mi recipe to make lettuce wraps, and they're awesome. I made the pork mixture almost exactly as directed (I like the crunch of adding diced water chestnuts), and then wrapped it up in iceberg lettuce leaves with shredded red cabbage, carrrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, and chopped peanuts. These are seriously delicious. It's been 2 weeks on this stupid fad diet. DBF has been very strict, and has lost 5-6 pounds so far. I have been less strict, but I have still lost 3 pounds. So it might actually work.
  6. Back in college, circa 2002, when I was a punk and embraced the idea of scratch cooking and whole foods, I was back in my hometown for an appointment on afternoon, and looking for a place to buy a pack of cigarettes beforehand. I found myself on a stretch of road with no gas stations, but there was a Whole Foods. I had no idea what it was - I just assumed it was a normal grocery store, and would have cigarettes behind customer service. So I went in, and asked a register clerk for a pack of Marlboro lights. She looked at me with this mixture of disdain and incredulousness, and said, "We don't sell cigarettes. This is a HEALTH FOOD STORE." For some reason, the only thing I could think of to say to her was, "But all the hippies I know smoke. Don't you have like American Spirits?" I shop at this Whole Foods regularly now, and remembering this makes me laugh.
  7. I left the brown sugar out, actually. I make the slaw all the time, and it's seriously awesome. The lack of sugar was barely noticeable. (The only sugar I'm not going to worry about is what's in sriracha, or the tiny amount in the chipotle adobo.) The steak fajita salad was so good, DBF messaged me this afternoon to say, "This is delicious; I want to eat this every day." Now if I could only come up with awesome breakfast ideas that don't involve dairy, fruit, or grains.
  8. So DBF and I are doing the "slow carb" / 4 hour body diet. He wants to lose 20-30 pounds, and his co-workers have been having good success with this. I don't really need to lose weight, but I do all the cooking, and it doesn't seem like an unhealthy plan, so I committed to 4 weeks on this diet. The rules are basically : - Don't eat anything white (or brown rice/whole wheat pasta), or dairy - Don't eat fruit / juice - Don't drink calories - Eat 4-5 meals per day - Take 1 day a week as a cheat day and eat whatever you want I took it as a fun challenge. Albeit, an expensive one since all the cheap carb staples are out. We started today. I made a breakfast casserole from sweat potatoes, mushrooms, black beans, and eggs. It got the job done, but it was really hard to eat. I just ate a steak fajita salad - several cups of spinach, cooked steak strips, sauteed fajita veggies, tomato salsa, chopped avocado, and a dressing made from pureed chipotle in adobo with EVOO and apple cider vinegar. As I was warming up the steak/veggies in the breakroom, several people commented on how delicious it looked. Nobody believed that it was diet food. Second lunch (very hobbit-like ) will be this asian slaw with a few ounces of cooked chicken, and a cucumber salad. He tells me that his coworkers eat a lot of canned beans and chili. I'm taking a more volumetrics oriented approach - lots of bulky greens and veggies, mostly whole foods. I can already tell that next week, I'm putting back orange juice, fruit and yogurt for breakfast, at least for me. I like that I don't have to count calories. DBF is worried that he won't get enough calories, so I'll probably have to think about compatible snacks. Anyone tried this diet?
  9. I saw a recipe today for seared tuna and avocado salad that I think would be really cool served in avocado "shells". Also, my favorite thing to do with bacon is an awesome appetizer. Basically, take a bunch of jalapenos, cut them in half lengthwise and remove the ribs/seeds. Put a teaspoon or so of Boursin in each one, and then wrap thinly sliced raw bacon around them. Bake at 400 degrees until the bacon is cooked. If you have access to a toaster oven these reheat ok.
  10. As opposed to the fact that they have a job? That's quite a rationalization. LOL. I more meant that this company has to try very hard to be a hip, awesome place to work, because sooner or later, all the programmer types are going to end up working stretches of 90+ hour weeks. Most of those guys could easily move to khaki and tie, 9 to 5 suburban tech job for about the same pay - but they'd rather put up with the death marches and have the cool culture, which includes having a beer on tap on the rooftop patio at 1pm if they want. I guess that was my cynical way of pointing out that, while it looks likes a perk, it is most certainly a carrot.
  11. The boyfriend works for a digital ad shop with a very hip office in a trendy location. Everyone there fancy's themselves to be hipsters, and there's a culture of, we're better than you because we work for ____. He owns too many coffee mugs, jackets, tee shirts, messenger bags, and gizmos with his company branding on them to even count. So of course, in their trendy office that looks like a Chipotle with the exposed ductwork, intentionally raw brick, and cavernously high ceilings, they're going to have beer on tap. And a rooftop patio for drinking said beer. And Jagermeister machines, for ice cold Jager shots at any time, strategically placed among the half height cubicles. And bloody mary breakfasts every payday. And company sponsored drunken outings. ElaineK has it about right. They do play hard. But they also work hard. The boyfriend has disappeared into that job for several months at a time during what is known as a "death march", where I see him only when he crawls into bed at 2am to sleep 4 hours and go right back. I have no doubt that the free availability of alcohol and a culture that seemingly encourages having a beer while you puzzle over how best to implement a piece of code is a necessity, to keep people coming back for more punishment.
  12. Chicken and dumplings are the cheapest great thing meal I can think of. I can make a pot of this from what's left after four people eat off a small roasted chicken, so I think of it as like a "free" bonus. A 10-serving bonus. Chickpea and tomato curry is great too. I always have canned chickpeas and canned tomatoes around. And of course, ham bean soup. I was excited to discover that the Honeybaked Ham store sells ham bones, for ~$3/lb. I picked one up for ~$10 that not only made a giant pot of soup with mixed beans and canned tomatoes (10+ servings), but it also had enough meat on it to make many dinner portions. Beat the heck out of buying a $70 half ham when the bone is the best part anyway.
  13. I think there are 3 categories of Things To Do With Tomatoes : 1. Cooked applications - salsas, sauces, soups, stews, etc. Canned tomatoes work better for most of these than fresh, imho. 2. Tomatoes as a supporting player - in green salads, chopped for a sprinkle on a pasta dish, that sort of thing. I agree with others in this thread that my preference is good quality cherry tomatoes, or compari tomatoes from Costco. The good cherry tomatoes smell like, or at least remind me of tomatoes ripening on the vine in the summer sun. 3. Tomatoes as the star - BLTs (or sliced into any sandwich), caprese salad, sliced with sea salt, etc. I don't do these out of season. It's not worth it. This works for me. I'm not a purist, except where I think it really counts.
  14. My super awesome co-worker has loaned me her Vitamix for a week or so, because I've been curious about them, and on the fence about whether I want to spend the money for one of my own. She's given me some of her favorite recipes to try, but I thought I'd ask here for suggestions as well. What should I try with this thing that will show off it's awesomeness? I'm thinking mayonnaise, peanut butter (or maybe try homemade nutella), green smoothies, grinding various things into flour...? I tried some of her vegan "pepperoni," will definitely make a variation of that.
  15. I made another winner from Real Simple magazine last night : Spinach Salad With Salmon, Barley, and Oranges This is a seriously wonderful salad. I futzed with the proportions for 2, with a small bag of a spinach, 1 whole avocado, 2 blood oranges, 1/2 cup of barley, and one piece of salmon (those frozen vac sealed wild salmon from Costco). Wow, this was great. DBF raved about it all night, demanding to know when I'd make it again. He said, "Everything about this salad is delicious." I swear, I've probably gotten at least 5 really great, easy, healthy salmon recipes from this magazine.
  16. I have an accordion file with 26 tabs labeled with categories (poulty, grains, Italian, soups, desserts, etc.) Paper recipes go in there. I generally don't print or clip (from a magazine) or photocopy (from a cookbook) a recipe until the week I plan to use it (they get flagged ad hoc, though). Each week's recipes get clipped to the front of the accordion file with a binder clip. If I like a new recipe and think I will make it again, it gets filed. If not, it gets tossed. Recipes online get bookmarked in a folder labeled "TO TRY". They're printed as needed, and deleted from the bookmarks at that point. I'm to the point where 90% of the recipes I cook from are in the accordion.
  17. dividend

    Pasta serving sizes

    I weigh out 2 oz per person. If it's being served with chunks of meat sausage, meatballs, or lots of "stuff", then it's 6oz for 4 servings. Took some getting used to after many years of having no idea what a reasonable portion of pasta looked like. (I'll confess, though, that sometimes when it's just me, I cook 8 oz of pasta, toss it with olive oil and an obscene amount of garlic and a whole can of roasted chickpeas, and eat it directly from a serving bowl.)
  18. Especially when you cook them at 500 degrees!
  19. I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner, for 10, including my mom, my boyfriend's mom, and my brother's girlfriend's mom. With 3 moms in attendance, I wanted it to be impressive, delicious, and also stuff I was comfortable cooking. The turkey was supposed to be my no-brainer. I've made Alton Brown's brined roasted turkey recipe for 5 years, and it's always delicious. This year, I thought I was doing good. Got up at 5:30 to put the 18 lb turkey in the brine bucket, took it out at 11:45, got it rinsed and rubbed down and stuffed with steamed aromatics. Put it into 500 degree oven. Took it out after 30 minutes, stuck the thermometer probe in, applied the foil "turkey triangle" to the breast, set the temp alert for 161 degrees, and put it back into the oven. (Careful readers of this paragraph will see what I forgot already.) The ventilation above my oven is non-existent, and this recipe always creates some smoke, so I wasn't concerned about having to open some doors in our small house to vent smoke. I was concerned, however, when the temperature alarm went off a little before 2:00. I turned to my boyfriend's mom and said, "Is there any way that an 18 lb turkey is done in under 2 hours?" Well, turns out that I never turned the oven down. I cook it for 2 hours at 500 degrees, instead of turning it down to 350 after the half hour. I'm standing in the kitchen in front of the oven, looking at the charcoal black wing tips, and I just burst into tears. At that point, as if on cue, all the rest of my guests show up wanting hugs and attention. So, lessons learned for this Thansgiving : 1. Brine hides a multitude of sins. High heat roasting can produce crispy skin on a brined bird. A houseful of guests used to non-brined, overcooked white meat will not criticize a turkey cooked this way. I was the only one who thought it was overcooked. 2. When in doubt - use bacon. The most requested recipe from the entire dinner was the brussel sprouts. Blanched, shocked, and cooked over high heat with bacon, onions, and garlic. That's it. The 50 bacon wrapped boursin stuffed jalapenos were also a huge hit. 3. Don't make it yourself if you can buy a much better version. I left the french apple pie, cranberry walnut bread, and ice cream to local artisan shops (and the stuffing to my mother). 4. Nobody cares about salad. I put out a lovely salad with goat cheese, cranberries, pecans, chopped granny smith apples on greens, and an apple cider vinaigrette, that the boyfriend and I eat a lot, but nobody wanted to try it. 5. Boursin is my new secret ingredient in mashed potatoes. 1 oz boursin + 1 oz butter for each potato. So easy and everyone raved. 6. Don't stress about an appetizer spread and also about dessert. Everyone was stuffed from hanging out and nibbling on spinach dip, hummus, spicy nuts, those jalapenos, and a nice cheese board before dinner, that no one stayed for dessert. I've still got half of 3 pies in my fridge a week later. 7. I'm not a failure because I couldn't do everything myself. I wanted to be all perfect Betty Crocker dress/pearls/heels/apron. I managed the dress/pearls, but I don't think Betty Crocker was ever caught crying over a (potentially) ruined turkey in front of guests. Next year I will lighten up, let people help, and try to enjoy it more. (And start drinking much earlier in the day.)
  20. I can't remember the last time I took the start to finish time in a recipe seriously. Anymore, I can eyeball a recipe and tell how long it's going to take me to finish, but that time will probably be much longer than the recipe indicates. Some recipes do get faster with time. I have an absolutely fantastic sausage and chard pasta recipe that took a long time when I first made it, because I did all the chopping and prep ahead of time - chopping up greens, toasting pine nuts, grating parmesan, etc. But now, it's pretty quick because I know the timing can handle rolling prep - getting stuff ready just as it's needed. There's a huge difference in time commitment between the 2 approaches. Mostly, I'm resigning myself to being slow and messy. With few exceptions - even 30 minute weeknight meals end up taking me an hour and dirtying an entire sink full of dishes. I used to be frustrated about it, but it just is what it is. We eat well. C'est la vie.
  21. Why can't you do two turkeys? Let her do it in the oven the way she likes, and smoke an additional one outside. My parents have done that for years.
  22. I do this too. Last night I ate 2 day old garlic cheese bread from a weekend pizza delivery (microwaved, no less, as my toaster oven is out of order) to hold me over until the homemade minestrone was done. I regret nothing.
  23. This sounds interesting! Is the entire burger battered and fried, or just the patty? Is it beef? The burger is cooked to order, then battered and deep fried. This burger is a wonderful textural thing - soft medium rare burger, wrapped in a crispy battered crust, crunchy slaw with creamy dressing. Mmmm... It's terrible for you, I'm sure. Although not as bad as the burger my brother ate that was a 1/3# beef patty, fried eggs, cheese, bacon and sliced jalapenos, book-ended by 2 grilled cheese sandwiches.
  24. I'm hosting for the first time. Dinner for 10, including DBF's mother and brother with his GF, and my brother's GF's mother as well. Lots of potential family to impress. My plan is: - Appetizer spread that includes jalapeno poppers (stuffed with boursin, wrapped in bacon) spinach artichoke dip (homemade) hummus (Sabre from Costco ) spicy nut mix goat cheese log w/ pistachios/cranberries tortilla chips / pita / crackers - Salad w/ granny smith apples, greens, goat cheese, pecans, dried cranberries, w/ apple cider vinegar dressing (DBF and I eat a version of this salad a lot, and we both love it) - Brined / roasted turkey (based Alton Brown's recipe, but I'll probably simplify the brine and the aromatics, since I'm getting a high quality fresh turkey) - Brussel sprouts w/ bacon - Boursin mashed potatoes (made ahead) - Turkey gravy (made from turkey stock I'll make this weekend) - Stuffing / cranberry sauce (Mom's making these, from her mom's recipes. The stuffing is the standard, sage flavored, bake-in-the-oven variety.) - Really good sourdough from a local bakery, with some high quality butter and some fun salts - Pumpkin spice cheesecake - Apple crumble - anyone have a good recipe for this, or suggestions for an alternative apple dessert? - My dad may require a key lime pie, but I'll buy that from a little pie shop - Vanilla / cinnamon ice cream from a local artisan shop How does it look?
  25. Chicken fingers from a generic sports bar for lunch. Dipped in ranch dressing, no less. But I kinda figure, there's no point picking something healthy-ish from the menu when trapped at one of these places (had to go there to support my brother's professional soccer team). Most likely, it'll be terrible. Might as well just embrace the fried bar-menu goodness. And then fight the subsequent gross, post-lunch bloated fatigue. *Although I just realized that I promised DBF that I'd take him to his favorite gourmet dive bar for his birthday, so that may not be the worst of my day. I suspect dinner will be a tempura-battered deep-fried burger covered in spicy asian coleslaw, with onion rings and beer.
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