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Everything posted by KarenSherwood

  1. Our first dinner together was sushi, which we both knew we loved. He convinced me to try uni for the first time. (I've been hooked ever since.) The first meal I made for him was baked chicken with a spiced apricot glaze, couscous with pistachios and blackcurrants, and roasted asparagus. I figured if he didn't like seasoned food, the relationship was doomed. He loved every bit of it, and now that's our "special" meal. He's a keeper!
  2. Two of my favorites for tasty recipes, insight into the how's & why's of a recipe or technique, and just fun reading are Kitchen Conversations by Joyce Goldstein, and Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread by Crescent Dragonwagon. Crescent's accounts of running a B&B are entertaining and the recipes are terrific.
  3. Our 2 YO house is on a slab. All I have in the kitchen is ugly linoleum glued to said slab. (We did it on the cheap because we knew it was short-term.) We have a 'room' that's a continuous kitchen/dining/family room area. The dining area has a sliding door to the back porch/yard, so I want something that's easy to clean in that area. After much debate, I seem to have won my DH over to considering cork for the kitchen area and saltillo tile or a porcelain knockoff for the dining/family rooms. I have a bad knee, so something comfortable for standing is imperative. I've used some industrial matting (UGly!) and some foam tiles for my work areas, but I'm not happy with either solution. Our house is Southwestern in design so I want something that will be in keeping with that theme. I'd love to hear reports about clean-up, durability, comfort, etc. Thanks!
  4. Rice cookers have always made me nuts. The stuff comes out either dry, near-burnt, or soupy. Gimme a simple saucepan any day.
  5. I'm crying over the blue cheese thing. Love the stuff! My fave is Spanish Cabrales...I don't detect any mold taste at all, just an almost-citrusy brightness. My no-no is oysters. They're slimy and disgusting in any form, IMO. I like a lot of other seafoods that are definitely stronger in taste, so maybe it's a 'slippery' issue.
  6. I guess it works for long grain white rice, but I think that's the nastiest, blandest stuff on the planet. I prefer a 2:1 ratio of water to Calrose rice (minus 1 tablespoon). I learned from my DH, who learned from his Japanese ex-wife's MIL. Funny, his ex burned rice on a regular basis, but mine has always come out perfect. Hehe Oh, I'm assuming this is for plain cooked rice, like for stir fry. My favorite rice is risotto (which really isn't that different, just more goodies).
  7. The most incredible crabcakes I've ever had were at La Paloma in Philly. Barb Cohan-Saavedra posts here but I'm not sure if she can give away her DH/chef's secrets, but she told me they're ALL crab (crab mousse or some such used as binder). I'm still hyperventilating over this concept, but the proof was in my mouth. The less 'filler', the better, IMO.
  8. My kids are interested in different things. My daughter (almost 18) likes to make homemade sushi, various dim sum fillings, brownie variations, and lovely fruit tarts. My son (14) makes heavenly omeletes, perfect fried eggs, bunches of drop cookies, and great chicken/veal parmigiana. They've both helped me out in the kitchen with various meals for many years. My daughter is currently collecting favorite recipes (and getting exasperated with my 'chronic lack of measuring anything') for her summer away in NYC. Her dorm has a kitchen with 2 microwaves and a 6-burner stovetop, and she's planning accordingly.
  9. Just gotta chuckle at the wine snobs. I'm perfectly happy to drink Two Buck Chuck (Three Buck in AZ) as a regular dinner wine, so I don't see what the problem is at all. I always thought the 'myth' was aimed at 'cooking wines' with added salt, anyway.
  10. My DD was reading over my shoulder...she recommends gingerbread people decorated to look like anime characters. (cosplay cookies!) That'll give your decorating abilities a workout.
  11. I'm wondering about the Mormon factor. I can certainly see how that argument could work, but there seem to be a fair number of restaurants around here (I live less than a mile from Dual) that do serve alcohol and do succeed. (I'm not Mormon and definitely not a teetotaler.) Baci has a lovely little wine list, and I see wine on many dinner tables. The parking lot at the Applebees in the same shopping center as Dual is pretty full during the Happy Hour times, and the few times we've been there the bar area is reasonably busy. And there are better-end restaurants in Mesa that seem to do quite well, too, despite a heavy Mormon contingent. Then again, maybe that explains the dearth of higher-end restaurants around here. <shrug> Lord knows Gilbert isn't lacking in money.
  12. Interesting questions and answers! At the risk of starting a socio-political fight, my OPINION is that I never much cared for some feminist doctrine particularly because of that 'looking out for #1' stuff. I do what I do the way I wish to do it because it gives me pleasure, not because I'm being measured by some 'cause.' And it gives me immense pleasure to cook for my family...husband AND kids! I'm blessed with reasonably adventurous eaters in my home (thanks be to the kitchen goddess!) We try new things on a regular basis...some stick around, some disappear, as do some tried & true dishes. It's all an adventure. Some days I'll try something for me, sometimes for one kid or the other, sometimes for my husband. He's great at getting me out of culinary ruts, and a fantastic co-cook, as well. Ultimately I guess I cook for me, purely because I enjoy it. (But it's a treat when my son makes me breakfast in bed, for the same reason. <G>) Just a side note about a man hanging up his tool belt....My uncle was always Mr Fixit for my aunt, and built her many beautiful and useful things. When she died, his shop gathered dust in a matter of months. When DH and I expressed concern about this, he told me he tried, but he just didn't know what to make without her suggestions/requests. She was his motivation. I suspect many couple-cooks are the same way.
  13. I think they've all come to AZ to visit my hummingbird feeders. Crazy but true, the poor hummers can't get a sip because the ends are COVERED with bees for most of every afternoon. It started a few days ago, when we hit 80 again. Happens every spring and fall. We also have a very confused sparrow (I think it's a sparrow) who keeps trying to feed from one feeder but can't hover long enough for anything more than a hit & run. I've seen the hummers come up and chirp at the sparrow. "Dude, who do you think you are???" LOL
  14. The Mexican crop just hit our stores too! 10 lbs for $10 at one store, $.77/lb at another. I just blanched/froze 12 lbs. yesterday. Mmmmmmmm (I underblanch spears so they cook without going mushy...30 second plunge in boiling water, 1 minute in icewater... pat dry, lay out on cookie sheets covered with parchment, then into the chest freezer for 24 hours. Next day they go into baggies for summer delight.)
  15. My kids won't eat fast food chicken anymore, they like mine better. I use fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cut it into strips, and dip it in buttermilk or a beaten egg (buttermilk is tough to find around here), then a mix of panko, dried parsley, dried basil, powdered garlic and fresh-grated parmesan cheese. Lay the strips on a cookie sheet (I use parchment for fast cleanup), and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. They come out nice & crunchy!
  16. I like KK's (much to my waistline's chagrin) when they're Hot N Now, but I prefer the variety at Dunkin's (not that I get many LOL). However, KK has become moot here in AZ...the entire state franchise went belly-up several months ago, and nobody has stepped in to recover them. It's so sad, seeing the empty store and the dark sign. As a kid, I loved watching the conveyor belt and all the cooking steps. (But then, my secret fantasy is to be a grain of cocoa and go on all the 'rides' in the Hershey factory....guess I have to learn Spanish to do that soon. )
  17. Utz' Crab Chips!!!! They're sooooo spicy and crunchy! They're one of the things I get stupidly homesick for. Once in a while my Mom sends me a bag from home.
  18. I'm another Mint Milano fan (the orange ones are tasty, too), but my favorite are the coconut ones...Zanzibar? I haven't seen them in years but they were soooo good. All my favorite cookies seem to be disappearing. I used to love Archway Ruth's Oatmeal cookies. Can't find 'em anywhere in AZ.
  19. As a little kid, I drank milk because I was supposed to. I had a weird bad experience at summer camp....(sour milk, made me spit it was so nasty, I hit a boy by accident, camp counselor wailed on me cuz she thought I'd done it on purpose) and swore off milk for years because of it. In 10th grade I broke my arm, ended up in an 'airplane cast'...LOTS of plaster. The doc told me if I drank milk I would heal faster. I reduced a 6-8 week 'sentence' to 4 weeks and 5 days. Now, I don't know for a fact that milk helped, but I'm willing to believe. I kind of slacked off in my 20's, but since then I've had at least 1 glass a day. I prefer 4% but my waistline knows better...for years I drank 2% but now that I'm working on weight loss I've gotten tough and gone down to 1%. I will NOT drink that pale nasty swill known as skim milk. It has no taste whatsoever. My indulgence these days is 2%, but once in a while I swear I'd do bodily harm to others for a glass of the real, creamy stuff. Isn't that what cookies were invented for?
  20. I'm all agreeable today. I'm with K, hate microwave popcorn. My kids love popcorn of all kinds and I've been mean for years, refusing to buy it. I really DO like popcorn, but only the real kind. Finally came to my senses this Xmas and bought a hot air popper. It's so much FUN watching the kernels fly around til they pop...kids think it's great. And it smells so good!
  21. I just want B&J to bring back Rainforest Crunch.
  22. What Viva said! Thin Mints are terrific, crumbled up and served over ice cream (love 'em on cherry vanilla). I kinda like Trefoils, too, though they aren't as good as they used to be. I like to dunk them in hot tea OR spread them with a little Nutella for an afternoon snack. I was a Cookie Mom for my daughter's troop for 3 years. I've recovered well, thank you. (My 2nd year we sold the most in our Council. The 3rd year our leader bailed in the middle. )
  23. One of our favorite family meals is risotto milanese served with baked salmon (baked with sprigs of dill under thin slices of lemon all over), and roasted asparagus with garlic and dill. Another goodie is a mushroom risotto served with roasted pork tenderloin (I like the pork with a dry rub of Hatch chili powder, garlic, black pepper, salt and cumin) and a tossed salad. And save those leftovers! You can make little balls of chilled risotto, slip in a piece of mozzarella, roll them in panko and pan fry them. The mozzarella is so melty and good and the outside gets cripsy. Or you can shape it into thin cakes and saute them in a little butter for the base of an eggs benedict variation
  24. I haven't seen it yet but DD is working on convincing me. We'll probably rent it one of these weekends. She's a costuming maven, and pointed out to me that many of the key outfits were styled after food, especially desserts. THAT is worth looking for.
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