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Katie Meadow

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Everything posted by Katie Meadow

  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.
  16. Cooking with Madhur Jaffrey's Vegetarian India

    I've made two simple dishes from the book so far. One is the orange and radish salad; hard to go wrong there, although I can easily see making this as a side for a Southwestern or Mexican meal, given the main flavors are cumin and cilantro. The mint gives it a twist, and I added just a little splash of olive oil. Today I made the tomato rice. Delicious! And seriously easy. We had it with some mango pickle, not home made. I used canned tomato but I can see using fresh ones in summer. The suggestion to make the tomato sauce component ahead of time makes this a slam-dunk. Again, it would be hard not to like this, since I can be happy throwing salt on a juicy chopped heirloom tomato, adding olive oil or butter, and then just dumping it on hot basmati rice. I know it has been touched on up thread, but to me it is really amazing how many recipes have neither onion or garlic. The use of asafetida is a revelation for me, especially since I'm not eating onions these days. Perfect. The other thing about this book is the almost routine use of oil instead of butter, as I always associate ghee (and lots of it) with most Indian food. Again, excellent for me since I try to limit my butter intake as well. I've marked so many recipes in the book that I can't possibly try them all before it is due back at the library, so if several more dishes are big hits I may have to go ahead and buy myself a copy.
  17. Modest or meduim or average size fries. Not too teeny or too fat. Good quality potatoes to start with. Fried in tallow. Golden brown and crispy on the outside, creamy, not mealy on the inside. Served with a choice of aioli or home-made ketchup. Or a dip made with smoked paprika... What exactly is meant by steak fries / frites? Is there a fry-size implied? I don't typically order steak frites but I do like moules frites. Those fries are often small to medium size, but not like shoe string.
  18. Dopey fact, only relevant because pork chops have been mentioned twice: I have eaten a pork chop exactly once in 70 years, or more correctly been served one once. I don't believe I ate it. When I was young my mother made a memorably awful meal with pork chops and never repeated the recipe or the chops. I'm pretty sure her parents never ate pork, so her experience may have been limited, although in all fairness she was a lousy cook generally. And it's not that I don't eat pork; I've just never ordered a chop or cooked one myself.
  19. It makes no sense to me to choose "one of" vs "repeat." My goal for trying new recipes is to find ones that are keepers and worth repeating. If something new turns out to be great I will def make it again. If it is just as good as I remembered (like a week ago!) it will be in frequent rotation until we get tired of it or improve on it or find something better that replaces it. Most keepers that pass the test of time do morph a bit over the years. The only dish that seems to get made the exact same way every time is Coq au Vin, but that's because my husband makes it and he simply follows the recipe with no changes. And I stay out of his way.
  20. Yes, especially since we don't go out very often. Certain restaurants I know have desserts that I like. Others not so much. I like to encourage my husband to have something even if I don't want anything; he needs the calories and we don't generally eat dessert at home other than a piece of chocolate and an evening whisky. He's very frugal and denies himself when there's no good reason to do so. I will usually have a couple nibbles of whatever he gets if it looks good. I often like to wait after a meal to have a dessert, especially if it is something like cake or pie, so typically at a restaurant a few of bites of something will be all I really want. I don't eat much dairy and very little cheese now, but I've never liked cheese after a meal. As an app with drinks or as a small meal along with some fruit, but not as a dessert. My dad, however, did. He liked to follow a nice steak dinner with a wedge of camembert. He wasn't a healthy eater, needless to say.
  21. In-flight food refueling

    To suggest that a pill or bar-sized meal that would provide a sense of fullness, satisfy all nutritional needs of a well-balanced meal and possibly not taste dreadful is not a future that is very realistic. It isn't going to happen. Eating cat food or, god forbid, Soylent Green, is more realistic. @timotb, it appears that rather than thinking out of the box you have boxed yourself into a corner. Your choices are many, but none of them are magic. It sounds like you don't enjoy cooking or don't have time to make food that you would like to eat. Of course you are not alone; you share desperation and crankiness with many of us on a bad day. Chain fast food is generally awful. That elusive mom and pop dive that can make you a fabulous quick meal for cheap is a very special place and we all wish there were more of them. For good food at a restaurant you need time or money or both. In my experience over the years with eG I would venture to say that by far the greater percentage of members cook most of their meals themselves, and if you look at enough posts you will see that most pictures are of home-cooked food, not restaurant meals. The simplest solution to your problem has already been invented. It's called a sandwich that you make yourself in the morning. You can make it exactly the way you like it and it can be very cost effective and doesn't really take very long to do once you are in practice. Ask anyone with kids; I've done it sleep deprived and blindfolded in under thirty seconds. If all the solutions to your food quandaries are making you depressed there ARE pills for that. Bon appetit, indeed!
  22. In-flight food refueling

    I fear I am guilty of said rudeness and apologize. In general I must say that eG members are a very friendly and fair-minded bunch, and in this case it does appear that poster got ambushed.
  23. In-flight food refueling

    timotb: That's your idea of a revolution? Sign me up for La Resistance!
  24. 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.
  25. 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.