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Katie Meadow

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    Bay Area / East Bay

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  1. I would get it just to look at it. It's beautiful. Looking forward to reviews from anyone who springs for it.
  2. My Viking stove is also early nineties vintage. It's a little cranky but keeps chugging along and has not had any major problems. My intention was to get high BTUs for wok cooking, and indeed this Viking delivers. I don't know if Viking still sells a heavy duty wok burner that is easily switched for the regular ones, but if you are into stir-fry it is worth finding out if the range you like has such a thing. Our dishwasher is an Asko, and the main reason we got it was because it was one of the few that would actually fit the space. However, it works well and best of all is designed for maximum dishes. I can't say enough about the idea of taking some bowls and plates with you when you look at various models. Some are simple badly designed, others just coincidentally work well or poorly for your dishware. Despite being a slightly small dishwasher, this Asko fits way more that the dishwasher in the family beach house, which is a large model American brand with the most limiting and frustrating interior design. And our home dishes are the exact same ones as the ones at the beach house. I can literally get twice as many plates and bowls in the Asko at home. Good luck with your remodel. We've been in our house since 1986 and have replaced and remodeled our kitchen piecemeal, which is a headache of a different kind.
  3. I too love Mexican crema. Since Mi Puebla grocery in the East Bay closed I've been missing many of my favorite items. They used to sell crema in bulk, and you could get it with salt or without. I will look out for the above product. I often approximate a traditional crema by mixing creme fraiche with a little mayo or some Greek yogurt to tart it up a bit.
  4. Fresh ginger is always in my fridge. I use it several times a week, typically in stir fry. The first order of business before every stir fry is to make an oil flavored with ginger, garlic and chile, enough for whatever needs a turn in the wok. Yesterday we had one of my favorite splurge meals: Ahi tuna burgers. They have fresh ginger in them, among a few other things, and get cooked so the middle is barely warm. Pricey, if you buy the best quality sushi tuna, but then local wild caught fresh fish isn't exactly cheap around here. For coughs I find lemon ginger tea with honey is just the ticket. Fresh grated ginger, generous amount of lemon, add boiling water and stir. Add honey to taste. I like it pretty tart and never measure the juice, so the amount of honey varies as needed. Honestly I have no idea which does the heavy lifting--the honey, the ginger or the lemon. I do like gingerbread cake, but with some caveats. Many recipes just aren't very good and I'm often disappointed when served it. One issue is that I'm not too fond of molasses. I prefer using Steen's syrup. My favorite gingerbread however is Laurie Colwin's classic Damp Gingerbread, which uses Golden Syrup instead of molasses. It does not use fresh ginger, and I've learned that stale ginger powder is worthless. It's one of those shelf spices that needs to be refreshed frequently, and damp gingerbread really needs very fresh powder. It is a terrific recipe, and lends itself to all kinds of go-withs. Lemon sauce, ice cream (vanilla, salted caramel, coffee, peppermint, green tea or buttermilk ice cream!) and very yummy: creme fraiche with some fresh lemon zest, aged for a few hours. And yes, I have a recipe floating around somewhere for ginger bread cookies make with bacon fat. Haven't tried it, since I don't often have bacon fat sitting around, but now I'm thinking.....soon!
  5. My mother used to do sour cream and brown sugar with grapes. I do it when I get nostalgic, but I prefer creme fraiche to sour cream. Always surprises me how good it is!
  6. A great strawberry is not an everyday thing. Even in summer at the farmers' markets they are not guaranteed to be tasty. When we visit relatives in Davis we sometimes stop at the strawberry stand; they are often quite good, but unfortunately not organic. And since strawbs are one the most sprayed fruits it is a good policy to buy organic, so I'm torn every time we buy them there. I've never understood the combo of chocolate and strawberry. It just never appealed to me, whether dipped or paired with cake. Strawberries with creme fraiche or whipped cream? Yum. Now that I think about it, really I prefer most all fruits to be eaten separately from chocolate. Although I will allow that poached pears in white wine are pretty good with a chocolate biscotti on the side.
  7. Frankly I've never understood the Kale commotion. Lacinato kale I like in some soups, but generally I find Chard to be the best tasting and most versatile of all the greens. It holds up in soups better than spinach, and tastes good. It can be subbed for collards in a saute and flavored with bacon or ham stock, etc. like collards, but takes way less time to cook. Parboiled and then squeezed out it makes a more substantial and flavorful lasagne layer than spinach. I know there are folks that eat kale raw in salads, but it doesn't appeal to me that way in either texture or flavor. And if the marketing has convinced you that kale is a super food, you should check out kale vs all the other dark leafy greens. Most of them are very similar in nutrients or antioxidents or whatever; kale isn't any better or worse if you look at all the vitamin and mineral contents in comparison. If you are not wild about kale you should consider yourself guilt free.
  8. The above sounds good, but you could simplify things if you are lacking fish sauce or tamarind. Just saute the chicken to brown and remove. Add some ginger and garlic to saute briefly, then some chicken broth and the cilantro, minus the stems, chopped.. Add back chicken, braise half an hour or so and add sriracha or whatever hot sauce you have to taste. Serve over rice with a squirt of lime juice, or, if really soupy, maybe with rice noodles. That's what I would probably do if I didn't want to leave the house or think about it too much.
  9. Most people who cook in the nude must have certain requirements. If you don't live in the middle of nowhere or in a designated nudist colony, you must have to pull down shades to avoid rubberneckers. My requirements for cooking include lots of light. In my kitchen that means daylight, which means windows in the kitchen and shades up. Cooking naked would make me a nervous wreck. Hot spatter is not a calming thought. Cooking in a beautiful cashmere sweater would also make me a basket case. When it comes to cooking I need protection; an old flannel shirt works and so does an apron. It's a toss-up as to what is worse: burning the top of your foot or ruining a pair of expensive shoes. My feet are too narrow for crocs, but cheap Keds work very well. If I had an isolated house in a tropical location I would consider making a gin and tonic when wearing nothing. But then, to really enjoy it, I would need to put on a beautiful kimono and fry up some shrimp chips in a hot wok.
  10. What is the black bean that's so lovely that came in the bean club order?
  11. The only reason I can think of to use Skippy or Jiff style pb is if the recipe calls for less sugar than it would if natural pb was used. Is there another reason? I've made pb cookies for years using only natural product and they work out really well. Could an "unnatural" recipe be altered to use natural pb with more sugar to compensate? Several years ago I tried tasting one of those two supermarket brands after decades of using the natural kind. It was really peculiar. Like peanut butter flavored toothpaste. Don't mean to insult any diehard Jiff fans!
  12. Confession: in 72 years I have never watched a football game from start to finish. And no matter how many times my husband explains the basics, it goes right through me like a bullet hitting no organs. For spectator sports I am dedicated to baseball, tennis and ice skating. Football just makes no sense to me and I am at a loss to understand how so many people are so fanatic and energized by it. To me football players might as well be WWI soldiers fumbling around in a fog of mustard gas. The coverage of those partisan football bar events makes me happy to be anywhere else. In the past we have traditionally gone to popular movies during the stupor bowl, but this year we were home. I watched more ads than total game time. But we did have special food. I made the Roast Chinese Pork on Garlic Bread sandwich recently featured by the NYT. The history of this sandwich is quite amazing, a mash up of Italian and Chinese, and for some reason a big hit in the Catskills in days of yore. Or maybe still, I have no idea. Growing up in NY I never heard of it; you went to a deli (no pork to be had) or out for Chinese (lots of pork.) There was a chunk of pork belly in the freezer, so I used that. A really good sandwich, accompanied by a slaw mashup: sort of Asian, sort of pickleback, for a worthy side. Coleman's mustard was used to make a facsimile of the stuff that comes in a little packet, and, as suggested, apricot jam and vinegar was combined to make a pretend duck sauce, It worked.
  13. Is it possible that this is an age issue for the most part? I know no millennials who object to noisy restaurants. I am guessing that most of the people who eat out at popular noisy restaurants eat out often and are used to the often cramped and noisy conditions, are perfectly able to up their own volume in order to be heard, and are indeed having fun. I don't know how old Pete Wells is but if he is eating out every night and getting paid for it he has to be able to maintain his ability to tolerate the commotion. I like to eavesdrop too, although sometimes I just can't help it if the closest diner is practically in my lap. Me? I'm older than that, and my husband and I don't eat out very often. So I'm used to quiet dinners at home. My hearing is fine, but too much ambient noise can be an impediment . I might hear and feel that elbowing and sloshing person adjacent to my table easier than I am able to hear the person just across from me--the person whose sentences I can often finish anyway. Quiet restaurants have great appeal for me, but newer restaurants are not designed for quiet. Some try harder than others to compromise or mitigate a din or an echo, but I don't think many care, and some believe that a din equals a buzz. And indeed, a crowded tight space means not going out of business. Those of us who require a less combustible atmosphere are outnumbered. And if you and your dining partner really want an intimate and unhurried experience, you do have choices. Find a restaurant that serves food all day and go at odd hours. Find a quirky old Italian place that is no longer popular with young people. When they were both alive, my mother and her Italian boyfriend, while in their eighties, used to frequent a lot of those place in midtown Manhattan. He was known and welcomed at all of them, as he spent his entire life living there and never cooked a single meal himself!
  14. I typically use 1 lb of feet to 4 lbs of everything else. I like using a lb of wings along with backs and a carcass if available. If I'm planning on making wonton soup or some other Chinese soup I toss in some pork neck bones. Chicken feet may not be so readily available if you live outside a big city or near an Asian supermarket. Where we shop in Berkeley they are reliably available along with all other parts. Must be a healthy community of people making chicken soup around here.
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