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Katie Meadow

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    Bay Area / East Bay

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  1. Chili

    I find that Chipotle Chile powder works well if I don't have a little can. And since I end up throwing out 97 percent of every can I open it makes more sense. If I need extra smokiness I might add just a touch of smoked paprika when using the Chipotle powder but only a touch, so as not to interfere with the flavor of the Chipotle. As for hot sauce I don't typically add it to chile/ chili but I am now a convert to Crystal for a variety of other things. I went on a field trip to Smart & Final with my husband, who buys all his King Arthur flours there and they sell it, so I tried it. Love the vinegar style of hot sauce, but some I've tried are too hot. Crystal is relatively mild (I like that, too) and with only three ingredients the flavor is very pure.
  2. Worst Halloween candy

    One thing remains clear about Halloween candy: the goal for those stocking up for the big night is to buy candy that is cheap and cheaper. Which bags of candy provide the most bulk for the least money? Is there any wonder almost all of it is bad? After having given out candy for a zillion year and having a child who gathered it eagerly there is one thing I learned: kids, with some exceptions of course, like most of us, want chocolate and value those mini Baby Ruth,, Butterfingers, Mars Bars, Reese PB cups, etc. above and beyond most candies. They love volume, and they appreciate the CONCEPT of a mountain of candy, but they are no more enamored of candy corn, lifesavers, etc or most of the worst candies mentioned above than we are. In other words, whatever stuff you covet for yourself when your kids display their haul is the stuff you should be buying if you want to make anyone happy. Unfortunately many of us try to buy awful candy not only because it is cheaper, mainly because we know we are less likely to eat it up ourselves before the 31st. That's why I never buy m&m's. It's the only mini-packaged candy I actually like. No one in their right mind gives apples or boxes of raisins or home-made anything. Those days are long gone. All candy needs to be commercially wrapped in safe packaging to save parents the extra anxiety. Sewing a costume and sending your kids out into the dark of night is more than enough stress.
  3. My whole life I've been using Hellman's or, on the west coast, Best Foods. I tried Duke's recently and admit it's very good. The overall taste is a bit sharper and saltier and it is a little less stiff, but I like it. Surprisingly when I checked the sodium levels Duke's has a bit less. So with Hellmans/Best Foods, you are getting added sugar and more salt to up the flavor. I'm not too keen on soybean oil or canola oil, but it seems you can't get commercial mayo without it. Using better quality oil would mean raising the prices, and Americans guzzle up so much mayo that would be a deal breaker. Am I too lazy to make my own? Yep.
  4. Hard boiled eggs in salad

    My guess as to why deviled eggs move quickly is that they are kind of a bore to cook and peel, so if someone presents them already fixed up, well, that's an opportunity. It's like having someone else open your oysters for you. And filling the eggs is tedious if you want them to look appealing. So nice when someone pipes the filling in an artistic flourish. Also mayonnaise hides a multitude of sins, such as overcooked yolks. Plus people really like getting a mouthful of mayo--it's about the most popular condiment in America, not to mention that eggs are a pretty cheap date. They look extra nice in one of those retro dedicated serving platters with the cute depressions. And then there's this: once in a while someone actually makes them really well. Not too often, though. I can get behind them if the mix contains a bit of creme fraiche with a dollop of black caviar on top. If you want to knock yourself out, they look dazzling with a deep pink ring around the white edge after they've take a bath in beet juice.
  5. Cooking with Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard

    Today I made Vivian's Crispy Ginger Rice with Leeks. I think I got it on line somewhere, but assume it is in the book. It's totally delicious. I used a bit more leeks than suggested (because I had some huge leeks and didn't read the ingredients list very carefully) and added Shitake mushrooms, which were also a suggested add-in. Love the crispy crunchy rice parts. Highly recommend, especially for rice junkies like myself.
  6. pressure cooker vs low n' slow

    Wow, I'm beginning to think I should just keep doing whatever it is I'm doing. An awful lot of good cooking can be had with a Viking range and one Le Creuset pot. I'll just have to cling to my remorse over the broken Crock Pot like Ahab and his missing leg. Truthfully the "relic" aspect and the mysterious provenance were a big part of the draw. Damn! However, the induction cooktop has given me a great idea. For years I've been complaining about the crappy teeny-flame stove at my in-laws' beach house. It's so slow to heat up a pot of water that I long ago abandoned the idea of having spaghetti when we go out there. At Thanksgiving I have to remind my nephew to start water boiling for his mashed potatoes about an hour before actually cooking them (yes, we're talking a lot of potatoes.) None of the many family members want to spend the bucks on a new range/oven, so this might just be a solution.
  7. pressure cooker vs low n' slow

    I am paying close attention to this thread. I don't own a pressure cooker or a slow cooker or an IP, but I am toying with the idea of getting SOMETHING. I'm leaning toward a simple slow cooker such as the Hamilton Beach Set n Forget. One thing I always find surprising is the number of comments from users who tout the fact that they can't smell what's cooking in any of these machines. I like the smell of the foods I cook permeating the kitchen and beyond. Cooking things quickly is not a priority for me; I'm home a lot during the day. I don't intend to make yogurt in my lifetime. I'm very happy with the rice I cook in a pan. I am not fond of oven braising, not that the food doesn't turn out wonderfully, but I find my Le Creuset takes a beating when it spends hours in the oven. Plus I find it a pain to check on the progress. One concern I have is temperature control. I have pretty good control with my Viking range and can get a very small flame for maintaining a low simmer to make stocks or cook beans. I most likely would not use a slow-cooker for stocks anyway, since I have a stock pot that is bigger than any slow cooker I would buy. Are most slow cookers able to do a very low simmer? Are there any that can be controlled with more precision that just "low, medium, high"? It is possible that my real reason for getting a slow cooker is absurd. Several years ago I discovered a never-used in original box Crock Pot. You know those old brown and yellow colored objects that everyone in the sixties had? During the late sixties and early seventies I lived in New Mexico and every family seemed to have one of those for beans or pozole. The fact that I came across this pristine artifact in my own basement and had no idea where it came from was enchanting and made me so nostalgic. I brought it up to the kitchen and took it out of the box and promptly dropped it on the tile floor! So much for ceramic. On the one hand the whole episode was hilarious. How could such an accident NOT happen? On the other it just sort of irritated me for all the years since that I never got a chance to try it. Hence suddenly I have a strong yen to see what a slow-cooker does.
  8. Fresh Sardines

    How sad that the last post about fresh sardines was in 2009. It's been a horrendous week here in Northern CA. We have relatives in Napa and in Santa Rosa. All are safe, so far, but many have not been so lucky. The air is foul all over the bay area. The only bright spot has been the re-appearance of fresh sardines. For several years there was a ban on sardine fishing due to a drastic drop in their population, but all of a sudden they are back, and beautiful. We grilled them today and it was heaven. Of course, not everyone loves fresh sardines, but those of us who do here on the CA coast, they are a treat not to be missed. The prices are wacky. At one upscale fish market they are selling for $10 per pound, cleaned. At Berkeley Bowl they won't clean them for you but they are selling them for under $3 per pound. Sort of exciting, given that fresh wild King salmon is scarce along the CA coast this year and Alaskan salmon is selling for close to $30 per pound at most places. Black cod is up too, above $20 for the first time in memory here. So, sardines! Sustainable, super healthy, delicious!
  9. Homemade Broth/Stock lasts how long?

    @kayb Sounds like a good solution. I have no IP. My latest possible solution to making room in the freezer is to dump all the cylindrical mismatched containers I have collected and invest in some good quality square/rectangular ones.
  10. Well, two martinis, or maybe three. The problem is after two I tend to lose count, if not consciousness. Well, my husband is the martini tender in our house, so if there's a fourth Dorothy will be his problem. I'll be watching from under the table.
  11. Oh my god I love this quote! I know a lot of Dorothy Parker quotes but never heard this one. If you read the NYT book review you know the feature profiling the reading habits of various public figures who are asked what literati they would invite to a dinner party. No one ever mentions her, but she would be at the top of my list.
  12. Pumpkin

    The only reason I would ever participate in this thread is this: to thank you all for keeping everything pumpkin in one place and giving the thread a clear and simple title so I know to avoid it. The only good pumpkin is a jack-o-lantern with a candle inside. And the only edible part of a pumpkin are the seeds, buttered, salted and roasted. The rest of that glop goes right in the garbage. And as you would imagine, I don't have any positive thoughts about that stuff that comes in a can. The invention of pumpkin spice is a crime. The concept of a pumpkin spice latte is an insult to coffee. And just for the record, while I can't abide pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, I adore sweet potato pie made from real yams or even sweet potatoes (or a mix!), but it must be totally without the spices that make it try to taste like pumpkin pie. Okay, done. My vote for best breakfast the day after Thanksgiving: leftover sweet potato pie and coffee with chicory.
  13. @shain I made the noodle apple kugel yesterday: excellent! I used dried cherries. Loved the effect of a cake when baked in a springform and cut into wedges to serve. And, surprisingly, it holds together enough so that after carefully separating the cake from the springform bottom with a spatula I was able to slide the cake onto a plate. Question for you: My kugel didn't crisp up on the top as much as yours, and even with an extra 10 minutes in the oven it wasn't as brown. Any suggestions? Oh, one thing noted in your recipe: the ingredients list does not include sugar, but sugar appears in the instructions. I didn't use it and was totally happy without. Also my husband did the shopping and came back with some fabulous Italian broad egg noodles; definitely a treat and I think made this a class upgrade from the kugels of my college potlucks. Loved that it had so much apple. Sadly I have to avoid a lot of rich dairy, so this kugel is deeply gratifying.
  14. Chili

    I'm sort of attached to using Tabasco in a Bloody Mary, but in truth, Crystal, Cholula or other vinegary southern sauces would do well too. Clearly it's just out of habit. Forty years ago there weren't the options there are now and Tabasco must have had brainy marketing, especially in the north.
  15. In the last two years we replaced our Le Creuset 5.5 qt dutch oven. This is the most hardworking object in the kitchen--I use it several times a week. My old one, which was at least 15 or 20 years old, is now routinely being used by my husband to bake round rustic loaves of bread and looks like it came out of Lascaux cave fire-pit. We also replaced our Cuisinart ice cream maker with a newer model that works faster and is way less funky. The old one was about 10 years old. Another purchase (not a replacement!) was a Nutri Ninja Pro, which I find way more effective for smoothies than my funky low-end blender and so simple to clean. Up next and probably soon is a replacement for our Cuisinart food processor. It still works, and it's hard to believe it is at least 30 years old. My husband claims he bought it for me for xmas in 1986-87. The awesomeness of his memory amazes me. Recently it developed an invisible breach and leaks a teeny bit. I can't see a crack, but if it gets stressed suddenly I can imagine I may have a mess to clean up.