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Everything posted by thock

  1. I didn't used to wear aprons, but I'm trying to develop the habit. I don't care so much when I have "dirty-work" clothes on, but invariably, if I'm wearing something that I consider "good-for-work," I'll end up with something all over myself. I have an off-white canvas apron with a loop that goes around my neck. I tied a knot in the loop so that it starts further up toward my chin than it would otherwise, but still has enough room for my head to fit through. I added length, with shoelaces, to the tie-in-back ties so that they wrap around the front. I did discover, last night, that I would like a longer apron, though. I am short, and have to climb up on a little step-stool to reach the top shelf of my cabinets. When I did that last night, the hem of my apron dragged over the cutting board I'd just been using to cut up a ham shank. :-( Darienne, I find that Dawn gets oil/grease out of cotton, although you may need to attack it twice. I've never had any luck getting it out of synthetics, on the other hand. What's your secret? blue_dolphin, I had seen one of those in some e-mail ad or another, and really liked the idea, and thought of trying to make one for myself, but I haven't yet gotten around to it. Hopefully soon, as like lingag, I do not like having something so skinny on the back of my neck.
  2. thock

    Storing honey

    Yeah, crystallization is one of the ways you can tell it's REAL honey. I don't like heating stuff in plastic, so I typically transfer liquid honey to a jar after I buy it. That way, I can pop it in a bain-marie to reliquify or stick it in the microwave like you did. I prefer bain-marie, as I don't have the knack of heating things just so much in the microwave. Creamed honey is crystallized, too, just with fine-grained crystals.
  3. I have stainless mixing bowls of many sizes and shapes. I also have some glass. I like one particular Pyrex bowl for making bread dough. I have and use glass baking dishes, even the newer ones, that I bought before I knew there were issues with them breaking, but I am not going to buy any new ones. I will buy older ones, if they're in decent shape and I need them. I have some glass pie plates that I like, but mostly my bakeware is aluminum. I use glass (Anchor Hocking or Pyrex) with the plastic lids for storage, as well as GlassLock, but I would much prefer glass lids. I have Pyrex and Anchor Hocking liquid measures, too. I never got comfortable with using glass on a cooktop. It just seemed too dangerous to me, even though I know people have used glass on cooktops for ages. I relegated my plastic mixing bowl to non-food duty and while I do reuse some store-bought food containers for storage once I've eaten the contents, I don't use them for FOOD storage.
  4. Turns out there's a shortage, right now. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/vanilla-bean-shortage-madagascar-drives-up-us-prices/ http://www.vanillaqueen.com/expensive-vanilla/ Hopefully, the situation will improve, eventually.
  5. Based on my personal experience, if you dilute it too much, you're not going to be thrilled with the results. Yes, it will be vanilla-y, but it won't be very strong. I'd leave what you have steeping alone until you can find more vanilla beans. My first attempt at vanilla extract was ok, but I didn't use enough beans, so it was not even up to grocery store vanilla strength. I was much happier when I made a stronger extract. Looks like vanilla beans have really gone up in price, but you can still get them from vanillaproducts on eBay (http://stores.ebay.com/Vanilla-Products-USA). It doesn't look like they have them by the pound, right now, which I found to be the cheapest way to buy beans.
  6. Like Anna, I have not found the plastic Ball lids to be leakproof. Even with dry goods, I've found that the dry goods will go stale after a certain amount of time.
  7. I second this, and I'm not petless. I just put it in a place the pets can't get to, but the ants can. Or borax and honey. The little ants line up like boats moored along a shoreline. Only takes a few days to get rid of them this way.
  8. To properly hard anodize aluminum (so that it works), you need to know what type of aluminum it's made from, and I doubt that you will be able to easily find out. Enamel would be a better option, but it might be hard to find someone who could do that. I think replacing it is your best bet.
  9. I've always found mangoes to be sticky, whether they were raw, frozen, or dried.
  10. I use an older (read not-for-good-dishes) green scrubby with Dawn and baking soda for stuff like that. Takes a bit of elbow grease and patience, but it works. I dampen the scrubby, put a bit of Dawn Ultra or Platinum on the scrubby, dump a little baking soda (1/8 - 1/4 c, depending on the job) in a small dish, dip the scrubby in the dish, and then start scrubbing on the polymerized grease. I do this with cooked-on grease on the cooktop, too. Works rather well.
  11. Don't know if this will help, or not, as I usually dump from bag to container, too, but a gallon pickle jar holds 5 pounds of flour. (Source: my mother did this, so I do, too.)
  12. thock


    I've found the hams to be good, if overly salty. I buy them when they go on "sale." The bones make wonderful ham stock with lots of gelatin. I use all the trimmings from the meat (fat we don't want to eat, etc.) to make the stock, along with the bone, and if the ham is a spiral-cut, I chunk up what isn't spiral cut to put in beans. Very nummy.
  13. thock


    Looks pretty much like all the Aldis I've been to.
  14. thock


    Good to know. I'll keep an eye out next winter for that blender.
  15. thock


    I'm wondering how long ago it was that those who dislike Aldi visited their local store. About 20 years ago, when I was living in St. Louis near Shaw Garden, I had neighbors from Bosnia. They had no car, so I would drive them to Aldi to shop, and we would pantomime our way through their shopping trip, since their English consisted of a few phrases, and my Bosnian was nonexistent. That Aldi, in that time and that location, was depressing. Currently, I've been to a number of Aldis. None of them have depressed me. They have all been clean, and the employees friendly and helpful.
  16. thock


    I agree. I love my Aldi. It is clean, brightly lit, and their house brands are sometimes better than national brands. Sometimes not, though. Their "Clubhouse" crackers are much better than the Keebler variety, and their raisin bran is jam-packed with raisins. Their milk is not usually cheaper than Costco, but it's more convenient, so I get milk there. You can get awesome deals on potatoes and onions and other produce, and I've never seen any substandard produce there. They carry the Artisan lettuce, like Costco does, but in a smaller container. They are expanding their organic selection, and have gradually eliminated things like trans-fats, etc.,from their house-branded products. A month or so ago, I got some excellent "Japanese" knives there for a really low price. I think a santoku was $7, and a set of paring/utility knives was the same. I got several sets and we are using them as steak/table knives. They're made of good stainless steel and came really sharp out of the package. I can get chicken parts there for cheap when they have their sales (which they don't call sales). And the chicken is good-quality. A couple of months ago, I got a boneless Hormel pork shoulder for I can't remember how much, but it was cheaper than any other grocery store in my area. They have their own "SimplyNature" brand, which is mostly organic. I get their SimplyNature pasta, and their Priano jarred pasta sauce for quick, cheap lunches. In the winter, they have a spreadable cheddar that is a good bargain and is just as tasty as the Black Diamond white spreadable cheddar you can get at Sam's for much more. Their cheeses and lunch meats are good quality, and they have frozen salmon filets for a fairly decent price. They are good quality, too. If you have ANY problems with the stuff you buy at Aldi, you take your receipt back to them, and the product, if any is left, and they will refund your money AND replace the item. I had a pre-seasoned salmon filet from them that was mushy and not fully scaled, and I took it back and got my money back. They offered to replace it, so I was allowed to substitute a different item, since they didn't have the one I hadn't liked, anymore. Just my two dollars' worth...
  17. Sounds good. We have an assortment available.
  18. Cool! I think I'll do the epoxy thing.
  19. I'm with you on this recommendation. I love mine. I have one place where there is a small separation. I'm not sure how it happened, since I keep the board dry of water and oiled, but it did. I have yet to contact him about it. I don't think it will propagate. It's been there for about a year, now, and hasn't gotten any worse.
  20. I should really say I have a Cabela's one. It's not the same, but similar. Either way, replaceable parts is a good thing.
  21. Excellent choice. I've had one for 5 or so years. One of the best things about it is that it's repairable. Plus, I like the wide seal, as opposed to the thin line the Foodsaver brands make. I've never yet had to repair mine, but it's already outlasted the Foodsaver brand ones I used to have.
  22. Anna, I think it's in wonderful condition. I'm with Kerry, I don't like the color, but I'm also with you. It's in too good a shape to pass up. And I have to tell you, I thought my mother made up "sky blue pink with purple polka dots." I've never heard with yellow dots, but it cracked me up!
  23. Very normal. There's something about using the high-proof alcohol that extracts more of the oils from the beans. It will eventually, over time, clear up. Take a look at this post of mine for how mine clouded. ETA link.
  24. thock


    My initial thought is that they were older stock. I've heard that if tapioca gets old enough, it will never soften completely. Is it possible these large pearls were sitting on someone's shelf (Asian market or yours) for a long time?
  25. How long ago did you start it? If you started it the day before, no, it's not ready. I'd give it a good week before using it without "helper" yeast added to the bread (not to the starter). Sourdough starters can look like they're rarin' to go when you first start them, but it is generally not the case. There's a "first flush" of a different microbe than the yeast and bacteria that make up a starter. I can't remember which site, exactly, I read this on, but it bore up to my own experience. I've read stuff on the following: http://sourdough.com/ http://www.sourdo.com/ http://www.sourdoughhome.com/ http://www.wildyeastblog.com/ Those are by no means an exhaustive list of sourdough sites, but they all have good info.
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