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Everything posted by kisnow

  1. kisnow

    Hideous Recipes

    I was on vacation with my family in North Carolina last week and happened to find a gem of a cookbook in our condo. It was from the Food Lion Procurement Department-- a la The Company Cookbook referenced above. Vast quantities of ground beef and Velveeta. But one of the recipes just sent us over the edge. I remembered this thread from long ago and thought I'd share. Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup 2 boxes frozen broccoli 1 small jar of Cheez Whiz 2 cans of Cream of Celery Soup (because everyone begins to make soup with a couple of cans of soup!) 10 ounces of half & half Cook all in a crock pot for 6 hours. Stir occasionally. Just the thought of broccoli cooking for 6 hours is making me nauseous.
  2. I was launched into the world knowing few if any cooking techniques except how to make a grilled cheese sandwich using aluminum foil and an iron. Now, as a parent, I am determined to give my kids some basic knowledge about cooking beyond what they get in their health science class--which, for some reason, focuses on how to make smoothies. This summer, I ruined my children's vacation by forcing each of them to cook dinner once a week. They had to decide what to make, find out if we had the supplies, go shopping with me to get what we needed, and then suffer through listening to me give them "helpful hints" from across the kitchen. We ended up having everything from beef stir fry to chicken schnitzel to gnocchi with tomato and butter sauce. My kids now know how to chop onions, how to turn on the grill, and how to check if a piece of meat is done just by touching it. Sure people are busy, and I remember well the days when my kids were little and Nugget Night (chicken, tater tots, and spinach puffs--for something green) was in my repertoire. But I agree with Bittman that eating out has become so easy that people forget that cooking simple, nutritious meals does not have to be that hard. And so many products at the grocery store are ready to be thrown together-- how hard is it to open a bag of salad or steam some frozen broccoli? My mega-mart has kebabs ready for the grill or broiler, veggies cut up in perfect dice ready for the saute pan. As a good friend of mine reassured me when I was a recent graduate and moaning about my lack of culinary prowess, "Kim, if you can read, you can cook. Get a book." She was right. It did take time to learn, but now cooking is second nature to me, and I love to try complicated recipes. But on busy nights, if I have pasta, canned tomatoes, onions and tuna in my pantry, I've got dinner in 20-25 minutes, all for about $5 for a family of four. That's the type of knowledge and comfort in the kitchen that I hope to give to my kids so they won't be tempted to fall into the fast food routine.
  3. I will never again follow a recipe that instructs me to puree cooked cranberries in a potato ricer. My white ceiling became a nice interpretation of a Jackson Pollock in crimson.
  4. Thanks-- I have read about some of Dr. Wood's research via the Food Allergy & Anaphalaxis Network. I've never contacted a doc out of the blue with a research question, but perhaps I'll give it a try. And I also think the structure of the protein changes via heat to something that isn't recognized as an invader. It's also interesting that some cheeses, especially hard cheeses seem to be less problematic for my son. We had been humming right along on a dairy-free diet for him for years until last summer when we discovered that he had actually eaten some sundried tomato pesto that had parmesan in it, and he didn't have a reaction. That got us wondering if had outgrown his allergy over the years. We had him tested-- both skin-prick and blood tests-- which indicated he was still wildly allergic. I pressed the issue with our allergist and she finally allowed us to do an oral challenge in her office (as opposed to the ER with an IV all set up.) And lo, and behold, he was able to eat two muffins made with milk. I know cheese making involves heating the milk to various temperatures, but I'm also wondering if the aging process of hard cheeses also helps to break the protein down. I wish there was some specific answer to these qustions, but I have a feeling that it will all depend on the milk and what it's mixed with as well as whatever is happening in my son's body at the time. As an aside, he had his first slice of cheese pizza tonight and had no ill effects-- which led to another slice, and then another, and then another! For a 13 year old boy, the ability to go out to pizza with his friends is worthy of doing a huge happy dance in our family!
  5. Here's a question for any food chemists out there. Background: My son, who has been allergic to milk for all of his 13 years, has just recently discovered (under medical supervision) that he can tolerate and enjoy milk that has been cooked. He has eaten cheese that has been melted on top of chicken parm under the broiler, ice cream that has been made custard-style with milk that has simmered at 206 degrees, and lots of baked goods including butter cookies. But, he had a mild reaction in his throat to a biscotti that had a white chocolate icing. I've tried to find info on the temperature that changes the milk proteins casein and whey, but all I have found so far tends to relate to the pasteurization process. Question: Does anyone know the specific temperature that changes the milk proteins--I think the term is "denaturing"? Based on our experience, I would think it would have to be above 100 degrees (to account for the white chocolate reaction). But what is the minimum temperature that it would need to be held at. Obviously, I'd rather investigate this issue from the comfort of my computer than from the inside of an ER-- don't really want to turn the boy into a guinea pig in my kitchen. As we adjust to our new dining possibilities, I'm just trying to figure out how "cooked" is "cooked"?
  6. In my quest for the best fish taco in Portland, ME, I have settled on El Rayo Taqueria-- went there for lunch with the hubby today and had one fish taco and one carne asada. The fish was definitely better than the carne-- though the latter wasn't bad, just not as good. The fish had a nice spice on it and the sauce was excellent. Definitely going there again!
  7. kisnow

    Dinner! 2010

    Striped bass roe aren't for me-- not horrible. Actually very mild and pleasant with the butter and lemon. But my goodness, I didn't need that much! The kids opted out after one bite each describing it as soft sea mud. My pasta frittata quiche was good--on a bed of baby romaine and arugula with a vinaigrette. Hubby ate all the rest of the roe. I'll stick with the chicken eggs for now.
  8. kisnow

    Dinner! 2010

    Well, I was in the midst of preparing an emergency pasta frittata dinner with tomatoes, basil, caramelized onions, etc., and in walks my husband with a container of striped bass roe. Hmm... what to do? Well, that frittata thing can just go into the oven for the entire cooking process--no stove-to-broiler necessary-- we'll just pretend it's quiche. And now hubby has donned his college job dining service apron and is set to cook a la Johnny D and Peter the Eater and poach the truly unappetizing things in butter. I'll let you know how it turned out.
  9. Our experience with milk allergy just got weird. At the doctor's office yesterday, my son was able to eat 2 entire corn muffins made with cow's milk without a reaction. So, theoretically, he can consume milk as long as it has been cooked because cooking breaks down the protein structure enough so that his body doesn't recognize it as an invader-- plain milk, ice cream, yogurt, butter, etc. are still out of bounds. That means he can now be one of those people who will request his port wine reduction not be finished with butter (as it wouldn't be cooked enough), but he will be able to sop up said sauce with a dinner roll that has a bit a milk in it. Note to self--figure out way to explain to waitstaff why we're not quite as crazy as the lady with the list. Tip well.
  10. Thanks Katie! Philadelphia here we come!
  11. Olallieberry pie from Duarte's in Pescadero, CA-- comes the closest to my grandma's-- and trumps cake of any flavor!
  12. That woman gives people with allergies and their families a bad name! My son has been allergic to milk since birth--hives and throat closing. Luckily, over the past 13 years, we have learned how to describe our needs to restaurant staff and chefs and to negotiate our way through menus to find things that he can eat without too much (I hope) stress and strain on the kitchen. Even when the kids were younger, we have tended to go to nicer restaurants that make all their food from scratch rather than from a giant SYSCO can-- though I did have to read a label on a giant can of chili in Yosemite, but our options were limited! But even with all our planning and discussions with staff, we are always on edge until Nick is about 5 minutes into his meal. If he feels okay, then I can relax. We put his life in the hands of the kitchen (of course we carry two epipens and benadryl just in case), and I am always appreciative of the special attention that the staff gives to preparing his food. But the woman with the laundry list of allergens-- or anyone who claims to have a life threatening allergy--who then proceeds to eat off of everyone else's plate may really contribute to a crying wolf situation where restaurant staff don't take allergies seriously and perhaps just wipe off the smudge of peanut sauce from that satay plate that landed on an otherwise peanut free dish or don't bother to check the ingredients in all aspects of a person's meal including the salad dressing and marinade. I'm sure there is a ton of stuff going on in a kitchen that I really don't want to know about, but when I take my son out to eat, I tend to assume that the restaurant staff don't really want to have a bunch of EMTs and a screaming mom in the house during dinner service. Luckily, we have encountered very attentive staff and chefs that have allowed my son to eat some fabulous dairy free food-- I always apologize for being so high-maintenance, especially if it involves repeated trips to the kitchen to ask questions-- and I tip well to show my appreciation. Any meal that doesn't end up with a trip to the ER is a great meal-- and so far, we've had nothing but great meals when we go out!
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