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Posts posted by KarenDW

  1. Has the food shop had fresh ravioli in the past? How long did it keep?

    What about the pasta sheets themselves; if you keep them for a few days, wrapped the same way as the ravioli, how do the sheets look?

  2. could you try an adaptation w/ pasturized egg whites?

    If the book is intended for mainstream home cooks, then the liquid egg whites (ie, comes in a milk-carton style box, not in a shell) which are available in the dairy case of some shops might be appropriate.

    A disclaimer in the recipe re: the use of uncooked egg whites in the original form, plus a suggestion of an alternative, might just do the trick.

  3. Hey Randi.

    Take heart. Some seniors really do complain about everything (my MIL is a prime example). At my program I am lucky that only about half of the 100 guests are "old people" LOL. And they certainly DO complain; too spicy, too bland, too much sauce ("don't you know we can't eat *that*, Karen), not enough dessert, too many sweets, etc. Sometimes the same person will make two conflicting complaints about the same dish. Sheesh. And it does become a bit tiresome to be looking for "real" food that we can make for less than $3 per person. It's a lot of work, and I understand how that can be tiring, and perhaps even take energy away from your other, more creative, work.

    FWIW, I think that the guests at our programs actually do appreciate the food and the care that we put into cooking for them. After all, do we still see people with take-home boxes? Yes! Even the ones who complain take something home. (obviously for further testing).

    For me, there are many collateral benefits to working for the church program that I do: networking opportunities for private catering, networking opportunities for developing supplier relationships, developing friendships with some of the volunteers, renting the kitchen for my own use, developing different skill sets (i.e., teaching, large scale planning, budget development), etc. Only you can know whether it's important to continue your current contract.

    Best to you. I really do enjoy your thread here. Sorry I haven't been able to provide more support.

  4. for "car shopping" trips, I have begun keeping a rubbermaid tote/milk crate/reinforced wicker basket or such in the car. The tote goes right into the grocery cart and then along to the checkstand. Yes, I tell the checker RIGHT AWAY that I have a box.

    No one has ever complained about the 8 or 10 loose apples on the conveyer belt, nor the request to have the detergent in a bag but nothing else.

    The only problem is when I need to purchase many "heavy" goods... then it would be better to have several smaller boxes.

    For "walking shopping" trips, I have a few cloth bags which fold into their own pouch. The fit into a good-sized handbag or backpack. No, I don't concern myself with whose logo is on which bag. It really doesn't matter.

  5. I actually like the casual feel of the "frat boy antics". Guess it depends on whether you're looking for walk-in casual, or something more upscale. But a late afternoon mid-week visit to R's was quiet enough for a business meeting last fall (we asked for upstairs).

    If I have a bigger budget, Fortes has the edge, due to patio, wine list, service. Or, if you're into leaving the downtown core... Monk's, at Stamps Landing, usually has 3 or 4 kinds of oysters, for under $3.

  6. at boiling temperatures, the proteins in the meat tend to coagulate, which yields a tougher texture. If the temperature is lower (simmer means that the bubbles are tiny, just around the edges of the vessel), the proteins do not coagulate, and the connective tissue softens. This takes time. Personally, I like to brown the meat, remove from the pan, bring the liquid to a boil, add the meat, and then bring the liquid just to boiling before placing in the 300 degree oven for a couple of hours. No fussing w/ stove temperatures, or relighting the pilot, etc. And I'm much more comfortable leaving the house with something in the oven than on the stovetop.

  7. I am looking into canning my own stocks.  I like to make large batches of my own stocks, for personal use.  However this takes up a lot of freezer space that I don't really have. 

    I'm wondering what sort of containers you have used for freezing. A ziplock baggie filled w/ 1/2 quart of stock is pretty flat, and I can stack a great many in my small fridge-top freezer. If you are concerned about freezer burn, then make sure that the air is pressed out of the bag, and that the bag is heavy, rather than thin. I rather prefer this method of storing some of my stocks/sauces, because it allows the use of a small amount - just break off a corner, rather than open an entire jar...

  8. if one never experimented on guests, then the statistical sampling size would be much smaller.

    I'm all for trying one or two "new" items on the full menu. Especially if I am also accommodating someone's dietary preferences.

    Besides, if things don't work out the way you planned, at least you are not stuck w/ a lot of leftovers. But definitely have a full enough menu that if the wombat milk sorbet is not a hit... there is another offering.

  9. Tomatoes are easy to grow on one's windowsill, right?

    I live in an apartment with large south-facing windows.

    Tomatoes (and other fruits, like peppers) will need to be pollinated, and so being outside or at an open window, will facilitate that. But once the fruit has appeared, then go ahead and bring the plants inside. During the flowering stage, really all you need to do is open a window, and allow the bees inside.

    I've successfully brough potted tomatoes inside at the end of the summer, and been eating fresh, vine riped toms in November.

    Many gardeners who are handy build them themselves out of Rubbermaid storage bins and some pvc.

    My outside space has enough room for one bbq and 2 chairs (small). We have 2 or 3 pots of herbs. That's about it.

    So, sometimes I have to bite the bullet and buy the $3.99 plastic pack of sage or basil. Or spend $1.99 on parsley.

    But what I WON'T do is spend more than $6/100 gms ($27/lb) on cheese, which I love. Or more than $25/lb on meat.

  10. kids are more likely to stay interested in things that:

    grow quickly

    have interesting colors

    taste good


    Easter Egg Radishes: purple, white, pink & red. Approx. 30 days

    Red lettuce

    Thai basil

    Yellow tomatoes

    Striped zucchini or romanesco

    Of course, it makes life easier if the stuff we grow is also easy to prepare and serve :-)

    and don't forget hardy herbs, like rosemary (although a lot of kids don't like it), parsley, thyme, basil. And sunflowers. Or, edible flowers?

  11. for our Community Meal, I did a riff on pulled pork. Although I used shoulder, you could probably get away w/ using loin.... it just won't be quite so soft.

    Basically, meat in a pan w/ onions, garlic & a tin or two of rootbeer or cola and a small bottle of commercially prepared BBQ sauce. Cover & bake at about 300-325F for 3-4 hours. You can thicken or reduce the sauce. I served w/ rice, coleslaw and corn (frozen). The overall consensus was "good" or "great" Make sure the meat is completely thawed before you start.

  12. I use the "draw" component of AppleWorks. Text and graphics can be moved as independent items, but proportional scaling is not an easy operation. It's a low-budget solution for simple layouts. InDesign is a great pro-tool, and may save you a lot of time (and therefore chargeable hours) in the long run.

  13. matt: where do you live? If you are in Canada or the USA, check out the US Personal Chef websites.

    I got into the food industry at the age of 45, as a personal chef. It's an interesting side of the biz, as it is very customer driven, and also the hours are good. As a private contractor, you set the hours during which you will work, and like-minded customers will find you. In my business I have a few clients who have large functions once or twice a year, a weekly gig at an institution, two regular clients I work for once a month doing cooking demos, and occasional special catering. I also do occasional one-on-one lessons.

    Compared to regular resto kitchens or catering, the PC route is a different world. It requires an amount of flexibility, because you work in the client's kitchen. But it IS a way of having daytime hours, shorter days, no kitchen rent/lease... and a decent hourly rate.

    p.s., I started the bus. when I was a single mom of teenagers, and am now married & still running my business.

  14. Albert Uster makes a good frozen product but sells them in huge cases.  A case comes to about 600 pieces, a few too many for a crowd of 50.

    Check with the distributor as to whether they have a "sampler" pack... or, can you work out an arrangement w/ one of the local caterers to buy half a case of something?

  15. Many cities will have guide-books or other publications (printed and on-line) which review the basics of doing business in the particular city. Keep in mind which side of the city limits you are on; I have a home office in one city, and sometimes do business in neighboring cities, therefore am required to have a business license for each city.

    There will be "business operating" regulations (i.e., getting a business license or having the property zoned for commerce) as well as "food producer" regulations (safe food handling), not to mention "employer" regulations (worker safety & minimum labor laws). Look for a seminar or p/t college course about operating a small business.

    There may also be state or federal grants for people opening new businesses. Check it out. Good luck. :-)

  16. How cool is THAT!
    Has anyone used this item in this application? Are there any concerns besides having feet shavings in your limoncello?

    would that be just a little different than using my woodworking chisels to chip chocolate?

    or one of those TV serrated knives which can cut down a tree and then slice the tomato?

    sharpie marker sounds like a plan

  17. I'd like them to be slightly unique, not just your typical fudge brownies - any ideas?  I'd like at least one option to be nut-free...

    although people generally do LIKE fudge brownies and blondies... :biggrin:

    the gold foil wrap idea is wonderful

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