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Posts posted by KarenDW

  1. further on the aspect of meat prep...

    one would think to prep those foods which could possibly be eaten raw (i.e., fruits & veg in a mainstream kitchen) before handling such risky items as uncooked meat or fish. If I run into a major cross-contaminant issue (i.e., seafood or nut allergy), the allergen is the last item handled, after everything else is mised. This is not in a reso kitchen, it's at home. In my 550 sq ft. apartment; apartment, not kitchen :-)

    But anyways,

    I use disposable latex or vinyl (whatever is on sale, I don't have an allergy) gloves, for dipping anything into melted chocolate, putting cookies or shortbread into gift bags, making meatballs, shaping butter, portioning fish, re-packing large orders of meats & poultry, deboning or portioning chicken. Basically, any task during which something can get stuck under my fingernails, or where fingerprints on the final "product" are undesirable. Which are not long.

    Definitely not a matter of hygiene. Merely esthetics.

    Nothing beats proper hand washing.

  2. Have recently been offered an opportunity to "try out a few recipes" to compare various Wolf cooktops and ovens. Electric ovens, wall style, and also gas.

    My personal experience has been limited to the regular old electric coil range (but it works really well for canning), a Whirlpool Gold gas range, and the persnickity commercial ranges at work.

    Any caveats, words of wisdom, etc. are appreciated.

  3. We have been invited out to eat tomorrow night by friends.

    Let's assume your friends are inviting you out for the company, not the food critique. Go. Enjoy the evening. Comment on the food AFTER you get home, unless otherwise asked. Remember to thank your companions for the night out, even if you all pay your own way.

    Things could be much, much worse.

    oh, is a "hint" less than or more than a "touch"

  4. an up-market version of cereal bars or granola bars; handmade, handcut (in advance, of course; and not necessarily by you), and a powerhouse style of cookie (with protein, fiber and a little fruit?) that doesn't fall apart.

    Also, biscotti, of course.

  5. I know that what you're paying for in a chinese restaurant is the food, and the tea is free

    One of my new favorite Chinese resto charges $1 for tea. But their tea is pretty good. Bad tea can influence the dining experience, so even if the food is good, if the tea is really bad... the dining companion is under a lot of pressure to be stellar. LOL.

    I like the "order tea w/o a teabag" idea. But if you choose to bring your own tea, at least put it into a compact, DISCREET container, like one of those "fill your own" gauze teabags. And have the leaves pre-dosed before you arrive.

  6. I really like the Aeropress. It's lightweight and easy to clean. Also, the parts are of "regular" shape and quite compact, so easy to store. It uses a paper filter disk, which can be wrapped in film or foil, tucked into any small space. Oh, and the device is quite inexpensive, less than 40 $CDN

    With portable coffee of any sort outdoors, the key seems to be the water temp. (notice the hot water flask in the handpresso video ad)

    So, pre-heat your thermo-flask before adding the hot water for your hike. :)

  7. pesto w/ garlic, ginger, sesame and sesame oil. I used lots of ginger. If you're not so keen on the sesame oil flavor, then use olive oil or something else you prefer.

    Add to a vinagrette. Very nice on coleslaw made with napa cabbage and carrots.

  8. Our family have discussed this topic several times. 25 servings of anything in a 1960s home kitchen is difficult, not to mention serving turkey dinner w/ 10 side dishes(!). This year we used 2 small (5 qt) round chafing dishes and the mini-sized slow cooker (little dipper?).

    I pre-warm all the serving dishes. Usually there is no room in the oven, so we fill the sink w/ hot water, adding boiling water if the sink gets too cool.

    Standing/resting time for steaks: again, the pre-heated plate makes a huge difference. Also, find a warmer corner of the kitchen, away from drafts. Of course, in my 550 sq ft. apartment, that tends to be tricky. My "secret" spot is on top of the toaster. I suppose we could put the toaster "on" if things were getting cold. LOL

  9. Today was our first meal that we served at Noon.  We changed the time from 5:30 to Noon because of possible bad winter weather.    We were "supposed" to have 45ppl.  Only 32 showed.  Kinda sucks because I planned for 45 and I bought groceries for 45. 

    Hey Randi!

    the same thing happened to me last week at our "first" 2008 meal. 45 ppl out of the usual 100. I definitely had too much food. This week was much better, 95 guests.

    Hope your year goes well.

  10. Carve the bird.  Slice it up and place the slices in a pan, covered with either the natural juices or some turkey of chicken stock if there are no juices.  Cover with foil, and warm in a 300-325 oven until hot.  Keeps it nice and moist.

    Would also suggest using a few small pans, rather than one large one. The heating time will be faster, and so therefore less risk of drying out.

    But if the bird was stuffed and stored that way... I wouldn't serve it. The chances of the inside having cooles fast enough, especially in a home fridge, are remote.

  11. (without having to call the restaurant to find out)

    But wouldn't one need to call to make the reso in the first place?

    While Open Table enables us, at any time of day or night, to try and reserve a table, there are times (most) when I would prefer to speak with a human host. A professional host will be knowledgeable about restaurant policies, and would then be able to advise of the cancellation policy.

    Perhaps OT could include something on it's reservation page?

  12. For the record, when and if I have children, I will take them to good restaurants as soon as they will enjoy it. I was taken to restaurants as a child and loved it.

    A child will learn the acceptable behaviors for various situations that he or she experiences. The more experience a child has in restaurants, the more likely that child will be to understand when to use their "restaurant manners". Even as adults, there are certain behaviors expected in a restaurant, which are completely unnecessary at home. More importantly, the child will also learn the appropriate ways in which to interact with someone whose profession is in the providing of service to a diner, including regional customs regarding gratuities. Table manners aside, restaurant behavior is not something learned at the home table.

    I'm happy to be able to say that my children, now 18 and 21, are equipped with the proper skills to dine in almost any dining room. But we started when they were 2.

  13. Another quick chill method involves a roasting pan full of ice/water, and a smaller (9x13?) pan into which you pour the hot food. Or, a bowl, in a bowl of ice & water. I use those re-freezable picnic packs to chill the waterbath whenever I can.

  14. assorted gadgets (microplane, grater, can opener, etc)

    glass or metal casserole/baking pans in a few sizes

    The glass casseroles which can go on the cooktop (Corning?) as well as oven and freezer are multi-purposed, especially if they can be fitted w/ a tight plastic lid for storing food. Larger round ones can be used for mixing bowls, souffle dish, and cake pan.

    The small tool I miss the most when renting furnished apartments is a strainer or colander.

    and am considering:

    an additional smaller frypan

    a straight sided saucepan to replace/supplement the smaller pots

    a proper stockpot (need one of these for brewing anyway :D)

    a smaller frypan for "two eggs", or a deeper saute pan of small diameter can also be used for small quantities of braising, or for quick-cooking vegetables.

    would the stockpot be a duplication of the 12 cup saucepan? or 12 quart pot?

    Depending upon your space and budget situation, I would recommend avoiding appliances such as food processors or stand mixers, unless you already have had a need for such things. Much can be accomplished for 2 or 4 people using a good knife (oh yes, a few lightweight, small 8x6?, cutting boards are handy if you often cook with company). A good quality hand-held mixer takes much less space than a stand mixer, and can look after basic baking needs.

    When heading off to cook in an unfamiliar or unequipped kitchen, I carry my tools and equipment in three medium rubbermaid tote boxes. That's all.

    Go slowly

    Buy tools when you need them for a specific recipe, and only if they can be multi-purposed.

    Look for oven-safe handles on cookware.

    Dishwasher safe, even if you don't have a dishwasher now.

  15. For my last cornish hen party, I used half of a one-pound hen per person. Mine were boneless halves, unstuffed, and they cooked in 20-30 min @ about 425. I left them uncovered in the fridge overnight, so the skin would be a little drier; just a piece of parchment over the dish so that nothing else in the fridge would fall into them. Nice crispy skin; juicy inside. Yum!

    We're having cornish hen for Christmas dinner (20 of us).

  16. when I was working at the university dining rooms, our most popular items included the fresh fruit and salad bars, "ethnic" foods (mostly Asian noodles from a made-to-order bar), sandwiches with NO mayo (!), NO butter. The students were always choosing fresh fruit to take to class, and also looked for portable items to munch on the run between classes.

    Keep the deli trays. Some people will want to have control over how their food is prepared, and so a deli tray service offers the options.

    Lucky girls those sorority sisters. Our chapters in Vancouver don't have chefs, even though the men's frats do. Sigh.

    The girls will be "all over" theme nights. Especially if they get to decorate and dress up. Maybe separate teams could be in charge for one night each month?

    p.s. I'm jealous of your budget. I'm currently cooking for 50 on $3 each.

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