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Everything posted by laurenmilan

  1. Tell me about it... I made the mistake of deciding to go shopping at the Asian Food Center the day before Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese New Year, and although it was very crowded, everyone was extremely polite and it was cool to see entire families collectively shopping & hauling multiple carts groaning with good stuff up to the checkout (great time to take advantage of sales, esp. on cookware/servingware).
  2. I love to check out what other people have in their grocery carts... but I do find that I am often the object of other people's scrutiny. I've heard some great reactions: "What the hell ARE you making and can I get invited?" (6-7 lbs of chocolate, 4 qts heavy cream, 3 lbs butter, 3 dozen eggs - making Death by Chocolate to serve 30.) "Do you know what to do with that?" (several cans of mango puree for lassi, as the sole Caucasian in an Indian shop. Yep, I pretty much did.) "Oh my god, somebody bought that!" (spoken by the cashier, regarding a jar of Muffaletta topping at Trader Joes - sadly this item was indeed discontinued since, as apparently I was practically the only one buying it) "Are you a hippie?" (directed towards my cart including some fruits, vegetables, veggie burgers, and whole grain hot cereal, plus some regular/unhealthy foods that apparently don't count, by a kinda large woman with a cart full of frozen/convenience foods & sodas) My favorite: "Don't you want the big white people limes?" (regarding a big bag of lil Mexican, aka Key limes, at a bodega in New Brunswick. At Whole Foods they'd be $6-8 for a 1/2 dozen, call them Mexican and they're about 5/$1. I love that. Oh, and compared to "big white people" persian limes, I'll admit they ARE a pain in the rear to juice!)
  3. yeah, that's the recipe I use - and it does say to refrigerate the brownies afterwards... and yes, it IS impossible to not sneak in a few hours afterwards and cut away a little rectangle from the corner
  4. Good point... I've used Longevity brand a lot for this recipe, usually because it's in the market on the shelf near the Cafe Du Monde French Roast coffee I pick up for the recipe. That's a brand I usually see being used in the restaurants too. Haven't actually tried it with Borden yet myself...
  5. Yeppers, it's the same thing in Malaysian restaurants, only the "Cafe" is swapped out with "Kopi" (I remember "Kopi Lewak" - cat poop coffee - to help me keep it all straight!)
  6. Hey I guess there are a lotta folks out there that fall asleep watching the Food Network & wake up to this insanity! Can't help but think of Veggie Boy juice that Woody was hawking on "Cheers" - "You can really taste the Kale!" "Middle America" I guess, anywhere else where alcohol is wicked, a tablespoon of liquer in your dessert will make you a wino, and the general population basically turns into such sweet-tooths that they are driven to believe Hershey's & Cream=chocolate mousse
  7. I use a brownie recipe that specifies you take it out of the oven when it's baked on the edges, & slumpy in the middle.. and then let it cool to room temp before you cover it in foil & toss it in the fridge overnight to set. Mind you, this may be the longest night of your life... Comes out beautifully... the center ones are a bit fudgier than the outside, but they're all solid, and none are overbaked. Maybe that's a solution here?
  8. 1 gallon of pho base (beef stock simmered with herbs and the usual stuff)
  9. I go to the Penang in Edison whenever I can, and I love taking friends there... not to mention the Kopi Sua Da gives such a first-class buzz that I've since learned to make it at home.
  10. Good for me: <UL> <LI>Old Wessex 5 Grain hot cereal - I eat it for dinner some nights too. Fills me up right, esp. with cinnamon, maple syrup, dates and/or raisins. I call it Tribble Kibble because of the triticale in the blend (please refer to "Trouble w/Tribbles" - it's a Trekkie thing) </UL> I tell myself it's good for me: <UL> <LI>Blueberry Morning. Mmmmm blueberry milk... <LI>Trader Joe's Ginger Granola. Gives ya ginger-milk goodness afterwards. Sometimes with a sprinkling of ground ginger. <LI>Cracklin' Oat Bran. It's a brown sugar & cinnamon thing. </UL> Not in the least bit good for me... <UL> <LI>Rice Krispies TREATS cereal. As bad as it sounds. Equivalent to a Fribble & Burger combo at Friendly's </UL>
  11. It does have that Willy Wonka over-the-top feeling about it... Mmmmm... cheese fondue fountain... Edited because the <homer> tag didn't work as well as I thought it would...
  12. Non-cooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet. - Julia Child
  13. How did you create those beautiful subtly shaded patterns on the top of the raspberry cake?
  14. Let's face it... for women, food really is the new sex. Like sex, there is a connotation of virtuousness to partake in no more than is absolutely necessary. There are some that have a fairly comfortable existence with it, and accept it as an integral part of life. Unfortunately, there are plenty that are positively anxiety ridden about enjoyment of food, and make a big public show of how little they can eat. This is just another example, and it's pretty clear that this woman places a lot of value of social interaction, spending a lot of time out of the house, regularly scheduling meals with freinds, and especiallu going to restaurants where she is known. It does feel like making a big SHOW out of not eating, as if to exhibit some great act of self-restraint. It's fun to bring in baked goods to the office... the relaxed people dig in and enjoy the hell outta them, and the foodphobics start fussing and fretting as if there were a rat in the office kitchen (don't let that stuff near me!) I'm sorry, it's cruel, but it's a hoot.
  15. I'm getting a real kick outta this thread... Whoooboy... my parents went from making fairly good coffee (ground the beans, used a good machine, etc) just straight downhill. Went from a cone filter to basket, went from Krups to Mr. Coffee (or Sunbeam,) went from grinding their own to using Chock Full O'Nuts. And not enough for the amount of coffee they brew, I might add. It's all the same to them. Just as my taste in coffee was improving, theirs was declining. Where did I go wrong as a foodie child?
  16. That's strong enough to knock your customers on their ear! I like it! Too bad Borden doesn't still have their old label-collecting incentives for their sweetened condensed milk, or every Vietnamese restauranteur would be walking around in a fur coat.
  17. I am so there... Sorry, looks like "Lard Shack" has already been copyrighted by The Cheesecake Factory for use in their new fast-casual dining concept.
  18. The only blessing I really have is friends and family who seem to be pretty darn easy to impress, from a culinary standpoint. I'm still very much a student, but they can't seem to stop raving about how good my cooking is, no matter how simple a meal may be - even if I'm kinda unhappy with the way it turned out. Perhaps the reason is because there's just so many folks accustomed to a culture of takeout, chain restaurants and frozen/convenience foods that a little home cooking can knock folks on their ears. Things made from scratch like hot mulled cider (gallon of cider, handful of spices, heat, & a few hours) amaze them: "You MADE this? From scratch?" Recipes that are very simple, but that no one knows CAN be made from scratch without years at the CIA (like strawberry shortcake, it's just a big ol' biscuit with fresh whipped cream & strawberries) seem like sorcery. But hey, I'm thrilled that they love it... and that they're learning that real home cooking is not a myth, nor is cooking from scratch the exclusive domain of the culinary professional. Some even are trying out recipes on their own that I hand over... if I can just convince a few scared would-be cooks that it's not magic... hey maybe they'll invite me over for dinner someday. In other words, my only blessing is being surrounded by people who are just waiting for genuine food to come into their lives (even if it usually IS burnt on the edges.)
  19. Hey, I didn't see South Plainfield's Saigon here: Saigon 2239 S Clinton Ave South Plainfield, NJ 07080 Between Baldwin St and New Era Dr I've been going there for about a year now, and I love their pho, following by a cup of cafe sua da, maybe I should change my order once in a while "They see me comin' "
  20. So true, so true... the guy lives at Yale Mon-Fri every week (Dean of the Biz School) and drives to the Hamptons each weekend. So yeah, the guy's got a whole other LIFE going on there, and the wifey just covers her eyes with $100 bills. I can't even begin to imagine how many Hamptons "couples" live a similar livestyle. I dunno, could I ever get rich enough to make putting up w/that (& televising it) worthwhile? Is there enough French porcelain dinnerware in the world to make that bearable?
  21. It's my first Hannukah, had a really great dinner (latkes, kugel, blintzes, etc) but here's a recipe I found in Gourmet that I'd like to try once the holidays are over (and the pressure's off!) HAZELNUT AND OLIVE RUGELACH A savory take on the good stuff...
  22. Barefoot Contessa is by far my favorite show on TVFN, even though she isn't a professional chef, Ina Garten is an experienced professional caterer and businesswoman, with 2 decades in what must be a very punishing business - catering in the Hamptons. Not a whole lot of folks bothering to cook for themselves, but nevertheless they KNOW quality and will expect it. I participate in one of her fan-run bulletin boards (now that TVFN boards are no more) and I can see the positive effect she's having on her viewers. They take note not only of the quality equipment she's using, but the quality ingredients she's using. If you start out with good ingredients, no skimping, it's hard to go wrong. (And if you're like Sandra Lee and start out with a bagful of Krap Foods, there's not much you can do with it!) Whether it's vanilla extract, wedge of cheese, a cut of beef, tomatoes, chocolate or liquer, she's raising the bar on what is good enough to use in a recipe, and raising awareness in independent specialty shops and food vendors, local produce and excellent cooking equipment. And her fans notice the difference.
  23. I'm doing my first batch next week, my fear is making a nice batch of rock-hard nuggets ;-)
  24. I'm determined to learn rugelah this year. I love them, and I'd love to be able to offer some fresh homemade ones for a change. The cream cheese pastry looks tricky.
  25. Isn't it obvious...partially hydrogenated oils in a tub, or the cream in a can that tastes like propellants and is too fluffy. We always used to do fresh whipped cream for Thanksgiving pies, or St. Pat's Irish coffee, and as ridiculousy simple as that is, that kind of spoils you for the other options. I'm a whipped-cream evangelist. It's fun to see the look on people's faces when they taste a dollop of something that looks like CoolWhip, but tastes incredible. Yes, it's freaky.
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