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Everything posted by ElaineK

  1. TL;DR version: I have to drink most of my meals for the foreseeable future, and I'm running out of creativity. Please help! My gastroenterologist has put me on a mostly liquid diet, supplemented by soft, easy to eat foods. I'm also very fiber-limited (no more than 15g/day, and 10g/day would be better). It's supposed to be a high calorie diet, but I either haven't figured out how to cram enough calories in, or I'm not eating enough of it. The bulk of my calories are considered "full liquid". That's a texture somewhere between water and panna cotta. I can have 1-2 cups of food a day with more substance. Tuna salad, pasta with a smooth, slippery sauce, braised meats chopped small, fruit and vegetables cooked very soft, cooked rice, saltine crackers, etc. Fats that are a liquid at body temperature are fine (oil, mayo, etc). Fats that don't liquify at body temp (hard cheeses, hard meat fat, liquid fats cooked into a substrate like buttery crackers) don't seem to be well tolerated. The in betweens like peanut butter and soft cheeses are ok in small quantities. I'm really tired of milkshakes, puddings and yogurt. Smoothies are less sweet, and make up the bulk of my meals right now. I'm eating a lot of braised chicken thigh, water injected deli turkey with dressings or dips and thinned mashed potatoes. I could really use more creative suggestions. Small batches are a big plus. Blender/chopper advice wouldn't go amiss either. I got a magic bullet and it does an ok job on the fairly simple smoothies I make. We're considering a vitamix or blendtec for smoother purees/soups, but most of my usage is in the 8-12 oz range. Is that too small of a batch for the more powerful blenders?
  2. I'm not Shel_B, but when I bake on the spur of the moment, I sometimes forget that my eggs are supposed to be at room temp. I take them out of the fridge, crack them into a bowl, then go "Oh shoot - those are -cold- eggs!" At which point "Is it safe to let these sit out until they're warm, or do I have to warm other eggs and turn these into breakfast?" becomes relevant.
  3. The restaurant couple gets more service, and the tip is about the quantity and quality of the service. I went out to lunch today with a friend and my daughter. -Somebody has to take the order, -give it to the kitchen, -pick it up from the kitchen, -gather all the things like napkins, disposables, sauces, condiments, etc. -package it, -give it to the customer, -take the customer's money or card, -give her/him back a reciept, and smile. Someone did all that. Plus: - 3 or 4 check-ins as we waited for our table - A round of drink orders - 5 trips to the table to refill drinks - A trip to get additional condiments that we decided we needed - At least twice as much hands-on time ordering as I'd have gotten if I called the order in - A stop by the table to bring my kid an extra pack of wiki sticks - 3 passes to bus the table - clearing/wiping the table and resetting The service was divided between the hostess, our waiter and some runners, but what I'm tipping for isn't "preparing the food I ordered and delivering it to me" - I'm tipping for waitstaff that makes me feel welcomed, like they want me to have a good experience. I'm tipping for feeling taken care of. When I'm being a royal pain (allergies, special requests, indecisive, etc), I tip more, especially if they manage to make me not feel like an inconvenience. Sometimes I tip for takeout, and sometimes I don't. When the bartender hands me my bag and says "We were out of the little packets of soy sauce, so I put some in one of these containers" or takes a minute to chat about the food, she gets a tip. When I order eight different coffees for the office and the barista labels them so I can tell them apart, puts the little stopper in, offers me cup holders, is cheerful about separate receipts and spends 30 seconds making friendly conversation? I tip. And that tip comes from me, not the people asking for coffee, because it was -my- life she improved.
  4. ElaineK

    Cooking for One

    I just attempted to make chocolate mousse for one. I had a recipe that claimed to make four servings, and used two egg yolks. Two servings was an acceptable compromise to me and trying to whip half an egg yolk with teaspoon of sugar to ribbons was a loosing proposition, so I just cut it in half. I now have about eight times as much chocolate mousse as I wanted to eat, and while it's delicious - I'm annoyed about feeling like I need to either eat too much sweet junk or waste the rest. In retrospect, I should have taken the mousse base (yolk, sugar, booze) and dumped two thirds or three quarters of it in the trash, then cut the rest of the recipe down accordingly. Better to waste a small amount of inexpensive ingredients than all the good chocolate and cream too.
  5. I just made the Pichet Ong recipe, and I had the same problem with it being runny. I only managed to add four of the four eggs (not the last yolk), and it still just melted on the tray as I piped it. The tester cooked fine. Into a nice, hollow ball with good shape. Fridged overnight, and I've got the same melty dough. But now it cooks into a flat disk. A tasty disk, but not what I was looking for! I'm wondering if I needed to break up the cooking batter more. I let it roll around in the ball it formed as I cooked it for the five minutes, which might have lead to uneven cooking. I also stopped when the butter started to come out of the batter and sizzle in the pan instead of watching the clock.
  6. Oddly, I have medical necessity, but often cast it as a preference. I'm gluten intolerant, which seems to be better understood as allergic to gluten, even though it's auto-immune instead of an immune reaction. Then I have a whole host of things that I shouldn't eat because it upsets a different digestive disorder. They're all dose-dependent, and none of them are cross-contact concerns, so it's much less confusing for everyone if I say I'm gluten intolerant for medical reasons, and let the rest be interpreted as preference. I'd much rather not eat mashed potatoes that were on my plate than end up with YetAnotherCT because someone thought I was following a fad by asking for a gluten free meal.
  7. Both heat and moisture can "pre-react" your baking powder. Drop some in hot water and see if it fizzes. Lots of bubbles is a good sign. No bubbles means it's toast. Also, is it possible that your milk is getting too hot? Chicken fat melts around 75F/24C, so I'd try it around 80F/27C. Double-acting baking powder will generate gas once when you get it wet, then again when you get it hot, and if you're getting both effects at once, then stirring vigorously to make the mixture smooth - you might be beating the gas right out.
  8. What does she eat? Oh dear, that did sound odd, isn't it? Especially with all those choices. She's a gluten free (celiac disease) vegetarian. If they offered the gluten free pasta with any of the vegetarian sauces, she'd happily eat that, but they only offer it with meat sauce. Last year her only option was vegetarian sushi with no soy sauce, but I think now the cheese enchiladas are gluten free. At one point, their website listed all kinds of gluten free options, and we cheerfully compiled a week's meals to order. Unfortunately, that was a database glitch, and ended with only random chance keeping her from eating a sandwich with wheat bread. (Apparently that glitch is back, because now a different set of foods appear to be erroneously marked as gluten free.) School-year mornings here run on auto-pilot and she is a creature of routine, so Tues/Weds/Fri she takes a sandwich on multi-grain bread and dip for the sandwich because gluten-free bread can get pretty dry in a lunchbox, or just dissolve if you put on too much condiment. Monday it's pasta in a thermos. Thursdays are pot-luck. Hardboiled eggs or egg-salad with crackers is pretty common, or a new sandwich/pasta combo that I'm not sure how it will hold in a lunchbox for five hours.Then I send a serving of fruit or veg (mango, pineapple, strawberry, carrots and cole slaw are the current favorites), a milk, and some sort of "treat" - a little handful of animal crackers, or a yogurt-in-a-tube, etc. Usually she eats about half the entree, all the fruit/veg, and the treat is nibbled on as we walk home from school, or recycled into the next day's morning snack. When my brain doesn't work in the morning and the entree is rendered inedible, she eats the treat at lunchtime.
  9. Our school has "healthy lunches". The way it works is parents pre-order the entree (with as much or as little input from the student as they see fit). Students can pick: a drink (1% milk or water) a snack( Mott's 100% No Sugar Added Natural Applesauce, Froose Fruit Bites, Raisins, Strawberry Fruit Bar, Assorted Fresh Seasonal Vegetables of your child's choice!, Fresh Baked Reduced Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie, Boston's Lite All-Natural Popcorn, Sunflower Seeds, PopChips, Parker's GF Animal Crackers, String Cheese, Whole-Grain Pita Chips, Nut-free Soynutz ) and a seasonal fruit or vegetable (they've mentioned mango and kiwi, but seem to always have bananas/apples/pears/carrot sticks/etc in addition to the "stranger" options). Meal options are: Burgers and roast potatoes (with or without cheese) Pasta: mac and cheese, baked ziti, buttered noodles, pasta with tomato sauce, pesto, meat sauce, chili mac or meat balls (or quinoa pasta with meat sauce), cheese ravioli, meat lasagna Burritos - bean and cheese, beef, chicken, breakfast, fiesta enchilada (cheese, chicken or beef) Salad: Asian chicken, caesar, cheese and crunchy things, pasta salad, southwest bbq, southwest chicken sushi - avocado roll,cucumber roll, chicken teriyaki, or california roll Wraps: Chicken caesar, ham and cheese Soup: chicken noodle, meatball, chili sandwiches (turkey, ham and cheese, italian, bbq chicken, sunbutter and jam, tuna salad, turkey pesto, turkey torpedo) Chicken: gluten free chicken strips, roast bone-in parts, baked chicken tenders, bbq, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala bagel with cream cheese baked potato with chili cheese pizza cheese/cracker/fruit plate chicken/veggie "fried" rice chicken/veggie chow mein teriyaki chicken/veggie bowl tikka paneer bagel dogs pita and hummus Cheese tamale beef or chicken tacos potstickers shepherds pie Chicken taquitos Roast turkey with stuffing/potatoes Any given day has about 10 entree options, with ~3 being hot, and ~7 being cold. Order by 9am the day before. I don't order because my daughter won't eat any of their food, but I wouldn't object to her eating the menu options they offer, and there's a pretty wide range of entrees from vegetable-laden to starch and cheese.
  10. Nope, never have. And I'm a lingerer in those circumstances. I wouldn't particularly dispute their right to do so, and would do one or the other (which depending on exactly how that demand was presented) reasonably cheerfully. My local bookstore does have a sign saying that the restroom is for customers only, but they've assured me that I count as a customer, even if I don't buy anything on that visit. It's not uncommon for us to pop in long enough for my daughter or I to use the restroom and her to play with the train table for a few minutes, then we go on with our errands. It's also not uncommon for me to wander and browse aimlessly for 30 minutes, decide I don't really need any new books today, and go on my way. They are every bit as gracious in both of those circumstances as they are when I walk out with my arms full of books and games. If it happened that they insisted I purchase something for using the restroom, or made a fuss about it being for customers only, I'd buy something small. I would probably also hold an unconscious grudge. Not that they'd done anything wrong, but that I'd be vaguely uncomfortable returning. As it is, book-buying trips usually follow a couple of days after non-buying trips as things from display tables percolate through my head, or the kid starts "Mom, I need new books, I'm tired of all my old ones!"
  11. I have just under 6 feet of counters (70 inches), broken up into three chunks. Keeping them relatively empty is a priority. The smallest one (14 inches, near the stove) has two utensil holders, a salt dish and the pepper mill. The largest one (31 inches) has a paper towel holder, a fish platter that's usually pressed into service to hold fresh fruit/vegetable that shouldn't go into the fridge (currently two bananas and a potato) and a berry bowl that usually holds allium (currently two heads of garlic). The third one is always empty, unless it's accumulated some dishes for the dishwasher underneath it. Fortunately, it's a small kitchen, so tugging things in and out of storage never involves much walking.
  12. Yup! The foil blocks the microwaves, so that the egg doesn't explode, and covering them with water keeps the foil from being an arcing hazard. In sufficient water would be an issue. I grew up without a stove or an oven, but with two microwaves. I've done it more times than I can remember, but as soon as I moved out and had a stove, I started doing them in a pot.
  13. Wrap them in aluminium foil, cover (completely!) with water. Toss 'em in the nuker to your desired doneness. It's just not usually any faster than doing them on the stove.
  14. I think it is about pretense. "Housemade aioli" that's really Hellman's plus garlic. "Chicken nuggets" that are primarily pink slime. Food that is claimed to be handcrafted that's simply assembled off the Sysco truck. Those aren't honest. A "grilled" chicken sandwich with grill-marks painted on with food coloring and artificial smoke added, because it's never seen a grill. I'm not sure how I feel about a grilled chicken sandwich that's par-cooked sous vide then finished on the grill, but it is miles better than a grilled chicken sandwich that was mass-produced with no direct application of heat, then microwaved before service. For me, there's a continuum, with massive shades of grey, and it all comes down to "How closely does this resemble what I believed I was purchasing." If my poptart tastes like a poptart, I'm content with their honesty. If the fruit tart I buy at my local cafe tastes like a poptart, I'm displeased, because it didn't meet the explicit and implicit promises that they make me. I also find it dishonest that Whole Foods won't sell me a chicken that doesn't meet certain standards, but doesn't require those same standards for the prepared chickens in their deli, despite charging a premium for the products based on customer assumptions that the same requirements apply.
  15. I think of scotch as a much more polarizing flavor (and inclined to get people thinking that they'd like it, and being wrong) than bourbon. Then again, that might be because I have a bottle of Bowmore 12 year that's about to go down the drain because I can't find anyone that will drink it...
  16. Do you have a big enough review pool to make it feasible? That is, if you look at all the websites you want to aggregate from, over a three month period - how many new reviews are there for the top three greek restaurants in your community? And how many of those would be useful to -other- greek restaurants?
  17. I loaded it up and tried it. Chocolate chip cookie, rich, mildly sweet. Scaling was non-intuitive, since the text boxes weren't editable. Also, the drop down menus for the initial unit and the ingredient appear to be pointless. Changing one ingredient's unit to grams doesn't convert the whole recipe to grams, which means that only the core ingredients (flour, butter, eggs) could be scaled. Also, your nutrition information calculates without sugar, which makes it a pretty pointless exercise. I'm also not sure that I want a recipe that has to be refrigerated for 12 hours, which struck me as a surprising instruction.
  18. I don't mind buying from the olive bar. It hasn't made me sick or killed me yet, probably mostly due to all the salt and vinegar. However, I'm not inclined to reach in and snag a sample with my fingers, either. My closest olive bar has toothpicks available if you're inclined to sample, and the other one I partake of has itsy sample cups. I want to say a half ounce, they're the same cups that they use for vinegar and olive oil tastes. Neither seems to be routinely decimated by people who want snacks, but it's nice to be able to compare a couple of different olives and pick the best one(s) for my dish.
  19. ForageSF does wild food walks. I haven't been on one, but they seem to sell out with regularity. They do plants, mushrooms and seafood.
  20. It depends (doesn't it always?). I'm generally avoiding refined grains, but Thai food just isn't the same with brown rice. My husband requested pumpkin (kabocha) curry for dinner tonight. I kicked around brown rice, or serving it as soup, and ended up serving a shrimp and mango salad, swiss chard with ginger and oyster sauce, and pumpkin curry with white rice. I don't make Thai very often, and the salad and chard brought it much more in line with my diet goals. A few weeks ago I was craving cake, and ended up making a lemon and almond polenta cake with olive oil. It was a relatively traditional, not too sweet, Italian recipe. I used real sugar, made a 6" cake instead of a 9" cake, cut myself small (but delightful) slices and just counted it as a sweet treat. I'll gleefully substitute greek yogurt for sour cream, though. And healthier oils for most of the misc-fat when I'm cooking. I've swapped corn tortillas for chips, broccoli or cauliflower or polenta for pasta (or sometimes rice), mushrooms or chickpeas for meat. Sometimes it works well, and I'll do it again, and sometimes I write it off as "tasted very healthy." This attempt at weight loss is much more about fixing my head and my habits than my plate, though. It's not "OMG, chocolate chip cookies are BAD, I must eat broccoli!" It's "Yeah, the chocolate chip cookies smell really good, and they're delicious, but I'm not hungry now. They'll still be here tomorrow when I'm hungry again." So(in general) substitutes are a matter of simplifying. I won't use enough sour cream to justify buying it, but I do use greek yogurt. Chips go stale before I eat them all, and corn tortillas seem more flexible.
  21. Given that it's trivial to get weights instead of measures with the app, I don't see what all the fuss on that front is. However, I find the app disconcerting to use. 1) When I change the settings for richness/sweetness, the batch size changes - sometimes significantly. I don't really have a use for recipes that call for 7 eggs, 8 cups of flour and 50 tablespoons of butter. 2) I don't seem to be able to manually change the batch size - I tend to make new recipes in a 1-egg batch (assuming that everything else scales easily) because I don't want to have to get rid of mediocre cookies or waste ingredients. 3) It doesn't seem repeatable. I can't get the same recipe out again if I've misplaced the copy I made. I can't even get a similar recipe out. I once got a chocolate chip recipe that called for cornmeal and I thought "Oh, that's an interesting idea. I'd like to try that rich, and not so sweet" - as soon as I changed a setting, the recipe was gone, never to be seen again. Being able to look at a list of ingredients and pick a few, and pick an ingredient to standardize the recipe size around would be helpful. So I might like to say "I'd like a medium-rich, very sweet sugar cookie with ground almonds, but I only have 30 grams of almonds to use up." The drop-down boxes make it look like you can do that, but none of the other ingredients seem to change when I make my own adjustments.
  22. I generally have a "no seafood" request, even though there is some seafood I find quite pleasant. Why? Most people who buy fish don't have my standards for it. It's much easier to say "Sorry, I don't care for salmon" than to explain that I find anything other than impeccably fresh, wild-caught (this part may be negotiable)salmon to have an unpleasant coppery/bloody taste that only gets worse as you cook it further. Or that I can't abide preserved salmon (gravlax, lox, smoked salmon). I've had salmon that I ate until I was sure I'd burst. Most salmon I choke down a few bites to be polite, covering it up with as much other flavors as I can. My seafood preferences are irregular, and it's too much to expect anyone to remember. I adore sushi, but need to mix raw-fish sushi with other foods, or I can't keep it down. There are times I crave tuna salad and will eat it several days in a row, but otherwise, I find tuna salad revolting. I like salmon but struggle with steelhead. Rainbow trout is good, but I have problems with the smell of cooked fish skin. I've had good tilapia, but a lot of tilapia has that muddy taste, so I usually avoid it. I have fish bone issues (even with canned anchovies, where the bones are too small and soft for me to choke on). Many people butcher perfectly delicious fish. My husband's grandmother is notorious for this. She'll drizzle fish with olive oil, add a bare sprinkle of 20-year-old paprika and shove it under a non-preheated broiler until it flakes under its own weight. About a year ago, I had some -bad- fish. It was frozen, but I think that the grocer had a problem with their freezer or it was mishandled somewhere along the line. The first few pieces from the bag tasted fine, but made me sick. Then we pulled out a piece that was obviously off. Smelly, wrong texture, wrong color. It was months before I could look at fish again, and I still haven't purchased frozen fish. "Fish" and "seafood" covers an awful lot of ground. I didn't grow up in a house that ate a lot of fish, so I'm still not as familiar with all the varieties of fish as I'd like to be. So "Do you like X?" is often met with "I don't know. Either I've never had it, or I can't place it." I currently live near a very good fishmonger, and I'm taking advantage of that to broaden my horizons. In the meantime though, "Sorry, I don't care for fish" is frequently the best alternative.
  23. Did anyone warn you that after three years on a gluten free diet you're almost certain to have a negative biopsy? Even in people who are eating significant amounts of gluten, the intestinal damage is -usually- patchy. Several small samples are taken, but as a fraction of the total area, it's quite small. That means that a positive biopsy is the gold standard for a positive diagnosis, but a negative biopsy doesn't put you in the clear. After three years of a strict gluten-free diet, I'd be very surprised if you had a positive biopsy, since the vast majority of the damage should be healed. My GI told me I'd need to do a six-week gluten challenge (4 slices of wheat bread per day minimum) in order to have any chance of testing positive, and that he really preferred more like six months.
  24. My perspective here is that of a customer with a decent dose of MBA/small-business background. Go back to your market research and look at it as unemotionally as you can manage. If your market research doesn't answer your questions - you didn't do enough market research and should do more before you commit to space and employees. What are comparable prices at storefronts? How much customer overlap do you anticipate between the farmer's market and the storefront? What are the two target markets, and how do they differ? What is your expected change in purchase distribution? How many additional staffing hours will be needed over minimum staffing? What does the customer and sale distribution look like over the course of a day? How much can the additional staffing be split between the bakery staff and the coffee staff? How many (average) items do you need to sell to cover your nut? How many items can you sell between covering your nut and needing more staff? Is letting the coffee shop have all the drink orders going to be giving away your highest profit items for minimal return? In my market, the overlap between farmer's market and storefront is pretty low, but word-of-mouth is high. It would only take one yelp review saying "Great baked goods, but they're cheaper at the Saturday market" to drive a lot of store-front business to the market. On the other hand "Great baked goods at the market, but the store-front has a lot more variety" drives business the other way. If you always had the chocolate caramel tart at the storefront, but it showed up every six weeks at the market (or by special order) then having it become 4.25 is less of an issue because it's become a special item. You can also sell the tarts in the store at $4.25 each, or any four tarts for $16 (which makes it more likely to be a to-go item). Ideally, you want to leverage your market reputation into store-front business and that means making the store more appealing than the market. More variety, more convenience, better ambiance, more service - whatever your customers respond to. Having the same item, on a plate instead of in a box, for a higher cost sounds like a non-starter unless your storefront has other advantages.
  25. Is that really 6oz of flax seed? The Carrington Flax paks are 2T from what I can tell via google. 6oz of milled flax seed would be about a cup and a half...
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