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Katie Meadow

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  1. Pimento Cheese

    There are many thrills to be had with southern cooking. I grew up in NY and now live in CA but am a devotee of Duke's mayo, stoneground grits, shrimp n grits, jambalaya, greens cooked in ham stock, fried green tomatoes, pan fried apples and red beans and rice. But spare me Paula Deen and spare me pimento cheese. I've eaten it a few times when traveling in the south and can't for the life of me understand the appeal. It could be lowbrow or artisanal and it wouldn't make any difference to me--it's a horrid concept. If I want to spread cheese on a cracker or a baguette, please let it be soft ripened brie or chèvre or Le Tur, or brebis..... There, I'm sorry. Ignore me and have a great day!
  2. I don't watch the Food Network, nor do I jump into "challenges" readily. I'm challenged enough, thank you! But I can see how some challenges could be fun, if you like that sort of thing, and as pointed out, clicking on a thread is a choice. However, there was something very basically wrong with the $5 challenge, and it speaks to the points above about whether a meal for $5 is a useful topic. Yes, plenty of people don't have the luxury of buying whatever strikes their fancy, or are on a tight budget. If we wish to serve that need it can't be a game. Buying all the ingredients for one $5 dinner is in no way a practical solution to eating as well as possible on $15 a day (or something like that.) No one wants to eat badly for $5 a meal. Some people can use help figuring out how to make a week's worth of decent meals for an average of $5 per meal: in other words, how to plan and shop for real value, learning how to cook large amounts at a time, learning to re-purpose leftovers, learning to cook less expensive cuts of meat, etc. Really, like other aspects of cooking, these are skills that go far beyond looking at the price on a package. So, on the topic of what makes a good challenge, it helps to think it through.
  3. Meeting-friendly snacks to bake

    Right before I do the cross-hatch thing with a fork I always wonder...what if I didn't? But then I do, because I think...what if I don't?
  4. Best non-stick cookware?

    Hilarious translation of the "omeletzpn" and despite what appears to be the high price, clearly you are not just getting any nonstick omelet pan. You are getting the viagra of cooking utensils. Read all the way to the end.
  5. Omelet - Pale and Blond, or Browned

    Seems to me it is difficult to get even a bit of browning without toughening the eggs. I go for blond or golden, and only a little runny inside. I wish I knew where my mother got her taste for jelly or jam omelets; it is hard to imagine my grandmother making such a thing, but who knows. She wasn't much of a cook though she did make mean gribenes! I must have liked those jelly omelets when I was a kid, but later they seemed rather strange. And the kind my mother made were filled with run-of-the-mill supermarket jelly or jam. I suspect I may have eaten Welch's grape jelly omelet at some point. The great French American fusion breakfast! If someone put a gun to my head and made me chose between a jelly omelet and a nutella omelet I would go for the jelly. I know, no one asked.
  6. How much of an effect do stocks really have?

    The original post seemed to be addressing only vegetable broth vs. water. I can't think of any soups that involve meat or chicken or fish that don't depend on or benefit from broth made from the same critter. Most of the "vegetable" soups I make, such as tomato or blended greens use chicken broth or stock, so they won't work for my husband's family, many of whom are strict vegetarians. The only exception is a recipe that has been a staple in family dinners which is really more like a stew or main dish, and that is a black bean and corn chile with a load of fixings and a tomato/red chile base. The nostalgia factor is big, and mine has morphed over many years. It's pretty good made with dried beans and fresh corn. A truly good vegetarian soup is one of the most challenging things to make, in my opinion, and a vegetable stock is very helpful if it is flavorful and well balanced. Most all the commercial veg broths seem awful to me, so I find it necessary to make a broth. Thomas Keller has one that is pretty good. I admit that I am lazy, and when faced with cooking for vegetarians I rarely make soup a part of the meal. Another issue, and I don't know if anyone besides me feels this way, but vegetable broth does not freeze particularly well. I make lots of chicken stock to keep on hand in the freezer, but find that vegetable stock is better when fresh. So that adds one more chore in making vegetarian soups.
  7. Favorite Homemade Sauces for Pasta

    For a basic winter red sauce I like Mario "vilified" Batali's sauce. Just onion, garlic, a bit of shredded carrot and fresh thyme. Sometimes I add red pepper flakes. For an easy pizza sauce I simply cook it down further and maybe add a pinch or oregano if I am feeling New Yorky. And no, I'm not throwing out my only MB cookbook, Molto Italiano, as someone in another thread has suggested. Also no about his restaurants; they just aren't in my routine when I visit NY. I also like Marcella's tomato and butter sauce. Favorite addition to a simple vegetarian red sauce: fresh artichokes heart quarters sautéed until crispy, thrown on at the last minute. Sautéed garlicky cauliflower works well too. When great fresh tomatoes are available in season I always go for an uncooked sauce. Chop up the tomato, add salt, let sit half an hour. Add olive oil. Or a knob of butter. Then warm in the microwave just until the butter is melted and tomato and juice is warmed. Plain, so plain, and perfect. I've been know to eat it on white rice, and happily.
  8. Mario Batali

    http://www.everywhereist.com/i-made-the-pizza-cinnamon-rolls-from-mario-batalis-sexual-misconduct-apology-letter/ In case you have not seen this yet, I think it is hilarious. It was referred to as a "hate bake." Just one woman's take on the cinnamon roll apology.
  9. Best non-stick cookware?

    Follow up even though I said I wouldn't. This morning I crisped up my grits cakes in my new Cuisinart nonstick pan. It is so nonstick that they practically leapt out of the pan on their own.
  10. Best non-stick cookware?

    My 10 inch nonstick skillet was a Sur La Table brand, a gift many years ago. I use it only for scrambled eggs and for pan-frying slabs of cooked grits, so it doesn't get heavy use, but it is crummy looking and at the end of its life. I am good with lids. After a quick read of this thread I made my decision. I am in the camp of folks who really don't like non-stick pans, so I went with inexpensive. I ordered a Cuisinart DSA-22-24 from Amazon for $22. It came yesterday, looks just like a nonstick pan should, is on the heavy side (that's good) and I will give it a test run tomorrow morning. If there is anything dysfunctional or weird about it I will follow up. Otherwise assume I have no complaints and expect to outlive several more of these things.
  11. This is hilarious, frankly. I agree with the posters who think wine is not necessary. I also think that they may feel obliged to open it when they have already chosen the wine and cheese pairing they like. Wine is always a great gift when you are invited for a dinner party, but when the host is clearly highlighting wine, it seems a little redundant, especially since you don't know them well. Home made spiced pecans is a nice gift, but may not go with their wine and cheeses and they might also feel obliged to serve them. If there is a local deli or gourmet store near you, consider getting some of your favorite olives, something not too heavily spiced. You won't outshine their offerings and who wouldn't want some olives with wine and cheese? Like Suzi, I think it is perfectly appropriate to call and ask if there is anything they would like you to contribute if you don't want to just bring something of your choice. Do NOT bring wine and cheese!
  12. Bumping up..... Never having made stuffed vine leaves / domades / dolmadakia, I've read a variety of recipes on line and many have very different methods for treating the leaves and cooking the rice filling. I pretty much know what ingredients I wish to use, and I want them to be vegetarian, but I am looking for suggestions or recommendations on technique. 1) Leaf prep. This time of year we are talking about jarred leaves, and that's what I've got. Some recipes call for rinsing, some call for soaking, and some call for blanching. What do you do to prep jarred grape leaves? Is it about decreasing the brine or about making them more tender? 2) Rice prep. Many recipes call for a surprising amount of oil to cook the onions and rice before adding water or broth. Most stuffed vine leaves that I have eaten do have a pronounced olive oil taste, but why on earth would you use one cup of oil to 1 cup of rice? I will not be using onions. My rice is long grain basmati. The ratio of rice to water or broth seems to vary wildly, as does cooking time. Most recipes suggest half-cooking the rice, since the rolls get steamed for at least 30 minutes after filling, but many use ratios such as 1 rice/ 2 water, which to me means the rice will be fully cooked when the liquid is absorbed, so that doesn't seem right. How cooked should the rice be? I don't want soft gummy rice in the end result. 3) Herbs and spices. Some recipes suggest adding fresh herbs like dill and mint when cooking the rice. Others prefer to mix them in after the rice is cooked, assuming the flavors will have plenty of time to develop while steaming. What do you do? 4) Use of lemon juice. Some recipes add lemon juice to the rice cooking liquid, others don't. Some add the juice to the water used to steam the dolmades. What? Some add oil to the steaming process. Again, what works for you? Thanks! This does not seem like something terribly complicated, but the differences in techniques used are amazing to me. Are the differences geographic or just personal style? Is there a Turkish style and a Greek style?
  13. Spice Storage Ideas

    Best of luck! Six days should give you some nap time when arranging the bottles becomes too stressful. I don't see why white plastic tops should be harder to come by than others, but they are. That's why I am forced to have a second shelf with black tops; it really offends my sense of order, but not enough to shell out any dollars. It's nice to see that you will have pollen and cod liver oil at arms reach.
  14. That Valrhona 71 Le Noir is my go-to snacking bar and definitely my favorite plain bar. Trader Joe's price is unbeatable, especially given the quality of the chocolate. Generally I am not a big snacker when on my laptop, as I am often lounging on a favored couch, and I don't want the responsibility of getting food stains on it.
  15. Spice Storage Ideas

    Here's my solution, but it is the result of saving many spice jars over many years. My spices are on rows of shallow shelves above the countertop. The drawback of open shelving is that the bottles need to be cleaned often. The other unfortunate thing is the location adjacent to the range/hood, which means they are subject to more warmth than other areas of the kitchen, but I am careful to buy small quantities and replace old spices as necessary.The shelves are about two bottles deep and they are organized pretty much by use, although that is variable. All bottles are labeled and re-used, as I pretty much buy my spices in bulk in small envelopes and transfer them to bottles right away. Over the years I have bought enough spices of different brands to result in a good collection of little bottles with various colored tops. So the shelves are color coded. I know where everything is supposed to be, but this really helps my husband with his infrequent forays. Five shelves, from the top down: 1) oversize items and misc less frequently used things (need an assist to reach). 2) Black Tops: aromatics often used in Indian foods: curry, turmeric, coriander, mustard seeds, etc. 3) Blue Tops: loosely associated w/baking: extracts, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, whole nutmegs, etc. 4) Red Tops: anything to do with paprika or pepper or chile, etc. 5) Black Tops again: mostly green things such as oregano, bay leaves, sage, rosemary, etc. plus a couple of exotic salts. On the counter are a few things I use all the time, like some salts, pepper grinder, large jar of small red chile pods. As you can deduce, in fifty years of buying spices the greatest number of products have come with black tops. I do have some white top bottles and mostly those hold salts. The bottles are of various sizes, brands and eras, and the labeling is far from uniform, so I am not embarrassed by being too "matchy matchy." That would be awful.