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Katie Meadow

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  1. Refrigerator Magnets

    I confess. My daughter just turned 30 and there are still a couple of pix of her as a kindergartener on the fridge. We did buy a new fridge about eight years ago and I must have transferred items and their magnets from the old fridge, but I am at a loss to remember the actual act of transfer. That act, like the one weinoo is contemplating, has been blocked from memory in service to sentiment. One thing I know: I haven't added anything new since then. I do have some very nice magnets, too: a wonderful Frida Kahlo, a holographic magnet from the Tate in London, an ancient one from New Mexico that has a tiny recipe on it for biscochitos, some lovely translucent colored ones my mother bought at the MOMA store and a very detailed hand-painted one on wood of a saguaro cactus that was acquired when we eloped to Bisbee Arizona oh so many years ago.
  2. Cooking with Madhur Jaffrey's Vegetarian India

    I'm following along here with interest. The book is on my library queue. I'm on a very annoying restricted diet right now in which most legumes and all wheat is off the table, so Asian food rules. Mysteriously chickpeas seem to be allowed, so those chickpea tomato pancakes have extra appeal. I love the marriage of curry or turmeric and dill. I've seen recipes for chana dal that often use dill. And sometimes I put both curry and dill in chicken salad; at first I thought it was like opposite ends of the earth, but I really like it. One of the most dramatic and delicious uses of turmeric and dill is in the Viet dish Cha Ca La Vong, a fish dish with rice noodles, heavy on both flavors.
  3. Emmey, before going to costly extremes or wasted ingredients it might be a good idea to do some reading. There are plenty of good sources for Pho recipes, no two the same. You can see how different cooks achieve the umami you strive for as well as get an idea for the ratio of meat and bones to water. Check out who has written well regarded Viet cookbooks so you aren't flying blind. It sounds like some basics are in order. Andrea Nguyen and Mai Pham are two good names, but there are plenty more. Perhaps some people who are following this thread can suggest other authors and titles they trust.
  4. I have never been to China or Vietnam, so my experience of these soups comes primarily from restaurants in NY and the Bay Area. I wish I had friends who grew up in Asian households and who had a deep tradition of homemade soups, but I don't have that either. I do agree that my home made stocks and broths are not replications of restaurant soups. However, I've grow to prefer them, since they are clean and unadulterated. Emmey you may be overthinking this. As Heidi says, these are rustic soups and if you make them at home without a lot of additives they will taste like the meats they are made from. One mistake many people make (and I do it too) is to use too little meat and too few bones. Making home made stock isn't exactly cheap, contrary to our intuition about "broth from scraps," especially when we are talking about a rich pho base. Trying to bump up the umami with bonito flakes and other ingredients more often used for Japanese broth is an interesting experiment, but I would be surprised if that ended up tasting more like the Viet restaurant soups you are aspiring to. A squirt of Red Boat is a lot easier and a lot more traditional. But variety is, at least, one of the spices of life, if not always the most "authentic.". If you make it from scratch it can't be Faux Pho.
  5. A broth for wonton soup and a broth for pho are two very different animals. Literally. Pho is mainly beef. A good place to start for that might be Andrea Nguyen. She has a recipe in her first basic book "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" and she has written a whole book devoted to pho, I think. It's a very rich deep broth made from various cuts of beef, bones, etc. I have made it, and it's a labor of love. As noted above, it can vary a lot, depending on who your Viet granny is. My one objection to some restaurant pho is that it is too sweet. Wonton soup is typically chicken-based, in my experience. Chinese chicken stock often involves a bit of pork, such as cooking pork neck bones along with your chicken backs, feet, carcass, whatever. You can add ginger, lemongrass, star anise to taste. I like to make a simple chicken stock with a couple of pork neck bones and no Asian flavorings to freeze for a variety of soups. Then if I want an Asian or wonton broth I just simmer the broth for 15 minutes or so with those flavorings. It works, and I don't have to have quarts of Asian broth overwhelming my freezer. In a pinch, if I have a stock made with only chicken parts, I sometimes add a bit of ham broth to give it a little kick when I add my lemongrass, ginger, etc. Restaurant wonton soups and pho also suffer a common problem, at least for me, and that's too much salt. Nothing beats home-made broth.
  6. Trader Joe's Products (2017–)

    I get this flyer maybe quarterly, I don't keep track. Seems awfully silly. If everything sold at TJ's was as bizarre as most of the "new" stuff they highlight in the flyer I wouldn't ever shop there. We buy the same old six or seven things regularly from TJ's and rarely anything else.
  7. What time do you eat Dinner?

    I'm retired, my husband is doing consulting work part time out of the house. I don't know how it happened but we shifted to basically two real meals a day, a latish breakfast and then linner, typically at 3-4 pm. We go to bed around midnight, so if we are peckish it is usually a snack and cocktails in the evening, or sometimes my husband is hungrier and just eats a sandwich or leftovers. If we are lucky and I've made some dessert, there might be a late meal of cake or rice pudding or whatever. If I'm being honest, I really like having cocktail hour and watching the news, but I'm a cheap date and after one cocktail I'm unlikely to want to cook much or deal with a full meal. So this works for me. There's almost always lots of good bread in the house since my husband started baking regularly, so that's an easy fix in the evening. He's got a hollow leg and not an ounce of fat on him, so sometimes I worry that three meals a day would be better for him, but he makes up for it by sometimes eating staggering (to me) amounts, matched only by my millennial nephew when he comes for dinner. (And no, we don't subject our guests to our idiosyncratic schedule.) The two-meal thing really works for me; I don't like going to bed feeling full. Back in the day when we both worked out of the house or when our daughter was at home we ate three squarish meals, scraping together a dinner at around 7 or a bit later, whenever we got it together.
  8. Cooking with Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden

    I'm curious why kale would be a good choice to juice--it's so tough and fibrous. Does the fiber break down in a super powerful juicer or blender? Not that I'm about to try it. I prefer my vegetables with a bit of a bite. Mustard greens are really good pickled. My brother grows it just so he can pickle it. Punchy! Nice as a side for Asian foods or alongside grits or mac n cheese.
  9. @Anna N that is truly hilarious. I have ordered the same book from the library at least a couple of times. Once it took me a quarter of the way through to realize I had already read it. But finding your own handwritten note in the copy, well.....how did my note get into that copy of the book? Oh, wait.
  10. Cooking with Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden

    The kale bandwagon leaves me in the dust. I don't find any variety good to eat raw. The somewhat more delicate Tuscan kale is okay in soups, but to my taste it doesn't improve on the always versatile swiss chard, which I like not only for soups but sautéed with garlic, on pizza, etc. And, for those who have been convinced by marketing ploys that kale has superior nutritional value than other greens, go look it up; it's a middling leafy green when it comes to calcium and vitamins, with the exception of high marks when it comes to vitamin C. So if you love the taste of kale go for it. I like spinach for a gratin, baby collards as a vinegary side and chard for most everything else. One vendor at the Berkeley Farmers' Market used to have baby Russian Kale.. When it was tiny it was quite good in a saute of mixed greens, but I haven't seen it recently. As for dark greens right now I'm totally into Choi Sum--sort of a cousin of bok choi, but the leaves are darker and tastier. Great in any stir fry or tossed into Asian soups. That risotto looks lovely.
  11. Cuts and scrapes

    I purchased a "like-new" De Buyer mandoline with beautiful case and everything on eBay for a great price after being convinced by a friend who is a very good cook that I really would love it. I used it twice. I found it so frightening that I gave it away to a friend of my SIL's who was apparently over the moon to get it. I hope that person still has all his fingers. I'm quite talented cutting thin slices of potato with a knife by hand to make Potatoes Anna and take comfort that I am saving my husband a trip to the ER. He's awfully shaky when he sees blood.
  12. Nutella.......mmmm, Nutella

    I haven't bought Nutella in at least five years, so I can't say. Maybe some others can check in their cabinets and let you know.
  13. Nutella.......mmmm, Nutella

    Perhaps some aficionado of Nutella can verify that the recipe has changed, but I tasted it recently and it is pretty much the same as I remember. Some people swear that the Nutella you get in Europe is better, but it has never been a high-end product, and it has always been oily. "Vegetable oil" is listed as a main ingredient and I am guessing that the type of vegetable oil is cottonseed or some other industrial product. Nutella's main virtue is the price. Good if you have kids! Also it seems fairly stable in a peanut butter sandwich on a long hike. There are some delicious Italian chocolate-hazelnut spreads and creams that are made with dark chocolate and premium ingredients and are sold at gourmet markets; they will set you back a pretty sum. I've sworn off the stuff!
  14. The Dish Towel

    I assume the distinction between tea and dish is quality (maybe linen vs cotton) and purpose. I keep a couple of nice linen towels for the rare times I dry glassware or nice tableware that can't be done in the dishwasher. They are stashed on the very bottom of the stack of dish towels and deep enough down so that my husband probably is unaware of their existence. The rest of the towels in the stack are multi-use cotton towels that are used for anything and everything and eventually get stained or tainted with enough grease to become rags. They may start out nice but they don't get treated with love. They are dish towels.
  15. That Serious Eats recipe sounds like it would make a good grilled chicken, but it doesn't include the Aji Amarillo paste. The body copy notes that it didn't quite match up to the expected Peruvian Chicken that inspired the author to make it. Maybe no chili paste is the reason.