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Everything posted by gulfporter

  1. DH went with the Black & Decker Rapid Toaster....the name says it all. Has good reviews at Amazon.
  2. We have what was once rated as a fast toaster (T-Fal Avanti), but it's 15 years old and has slowed down with age. Is there a minimum wattage I should look for when purchasing a fast toaster....all we need is a 2 slicer that will handle bagels and English muffins and comes in either stainless or black. PS: We do not like toaster ovens.
  3. We've lived in eight homes in the past 40+ years and we've had (and have) all the bells and whistles. But it's this kitchen with the 1927 Garland stove, painted wood floor and metal ceiling tiles for the counter, that always brings a smile to my face.
  4. Tomorrow Feb. 19 begins the Chinese New Year of the Sheep. Anyone know of a Chinese lamb recipe that would suit this holiday??
  5. Tri2Cook: Consistent hours....OK, that's a good and understandable answer in most markets. But....WHY is it always Monday Seriously. I just reviewed the hours for a dozen restaurants in my beach town. They are all within walking distance of each other (and my house). Here's the story: Of the 12: 6 Closed All Day Monday 1 Closes for lunch Monday, but opens for dinner 1 Closes Tuesday in season (Tues. and Wed. in off season) 4 Are Open 7 days (1 serves breakfast and lunch; the other 3 serve lunch and dinner) Because it's a beach town most of these places close for a week or two solid in the off season (though often this is for updating/maintenance and the owner is still around overseeing the work). PS: We walked over to get lunch this afternoon, ha! Lines at every place that was open! Will be the same tonight. Even when Monday is NOT a holiday, in high season it's difficult to get a table on Monday here. You'd think a few more of the Closed Monday places would pick another day as their closing day??? Just sayin'
  6. The question was: would you consider opening on the Monday holiday and closing on the next day, not opening more. Same length of work week, just different days. It won't make sense for every eatery (those who count on business lunchers), but we've lived in 3 different tourist towns and I am amazed that owners aren't more flexible when 3 day holiday weekends occur. And some of these owners are the same ones who have complained to us that 'times are tough' and business is 'bad.' FYI: during my career in finance my work weeks during various times (certain days every month, certain months every year) were never standard 8 to 5 days. Worked late nights, weekends to keep our clients happy. We adjusted our hours to both satisfy our clientele and to maximize our profits.
  7. gfron1: Here, even in 'high' season, Tuesdays are typically slow (compared to Thursdays through Sundays). Would you consider opening on every Monday holiday, and closing on that same (usually slow) followoing Tuesday instead? I'd venture most of the tourists have little idea of what's typically open or not open here. There are 5 Monday holidays a year...not a huge number, but in tight times why not make the adjustment (these holiday dates are set years in advance). You could put up signs in your window a week or two in advance. Based on past weeks with Monday holidays, every open eatery in our town will be mobbed today; tomorrow will be slow. BTW....when I bought this up to several waiters and waitresses the past week, they ALL said they'd rather be working on a busy Monday holiday crowd than stick with the 'closed every Monday' schedule. I talked to two owners about this and both said changing opening days once in awhile would throw the Earth off its axis and out of its orbit. Different perspectives for employers/owners v. employees v. patrons, I guess.
  8. Tri2Cook: At least your restaurant is responding/reacting to today being a Monday holiday, by closing, which makes perfect sense if the eatery depends on the business lunch crowd, many of whom may be at home today. It's the restaurants that do not pay attention to Monday holidays at all that I don't understand. But it seems to be the norm as it occurred in the other two tourist towns we lived. As a retired financial analyst, it just drives me batty to see businesses miss out on business!
  9. We eat out a lot, usually one meal per day. We are lucky to have a dozen+ non-chain restaurants within walking distance of our home. We live in a small beach town which is a restaurant destination for the greater Tampa area. Prior to our move here, we lived in a small lakefront village in Mexico which was a weekend destination for the greater Guadalajara area. Prior to that we lived in a small mountain town in AZ that was a weekend destination for the greater Tucson area. Today is a Monday, but it's also a Monday holiday (Presidents Weekend). However, the restaurants that usually close on Monday, remain closed today. This is HIGH season (winter....and today it will be 75 degrees) and there are plenty of tourists afoot. But 5 of the best eateries will be closed today! I understand re: scheduling, etc., but in a FL tourist town that is pretty dead from May until October, why don't restaurant owners that normally close on Mondays, open up on "holiday" Mondays?? It's not like these holidays appear out of the blue....they are (usually) Federal/State holidays that are designated a few years in advance.
  10. Thanks to all! I dried them well following rane008's advice. Seared in a very hot pan with olive oil, very quickly. I used the rather powerful side burner on my outdoor gas grill to avoid splatter indoors. They seared up wonderfully.
  11. We splurged and bought some dry-pack scallops today. Have never cooked before (have attempted to sear 'cheaper' scallops, with little luck, understandably). My preference (as always) is to use my gas grill, on which I have a very good grill rack which gets very very hot. Or, I can cook indoors, if I must. I'd appreciate advice on getting the quickest best sear without overcooking the scallop which (for us) needs to be barely warmed inside). Oil the grill pan, oil the scallops??? Any dusting of flour??? TIA for any hints you have found effective.
  12. FWIW: My 91 y/o FIL is no longer mobile enough to go out to eat, so I now have to cook/bake at his house when we visit. After I burnt a few things in the upper oven, I switched to the lower oven and had other disastrous results, all on tried-and-true recipes. Bought an oven thermometer and discovered the upper wall oven runs 25 degrees hotter than its digital readout, while the lower wall oven runs 20 degrees cooler than its digital readout. The ovens are top of the line, but almost 20 years old.
  13. We had a low-end Danby wine chiller in Mexico (about $300 as I recall). Electricity is very expensive in MX and this chiller was too expensive to run. It was also a bit noisy in our open floor plan. We are back in the US now and I'd consider one for my current kitchen, but I've googled those under $400 range and have to yet to find any that are Energy Star rated (low usage). They do indeed look very nice....many are blue-lighted. In MX, we'd simply plug it in when we entertained since it was a novelty there.
  14. For dinner last night, I grilled about a pound of fresh asparagus tossed with olive oil, crushed garlic and salt and pepper. While they were grilling, I fired up the grill's side burner and lightly fried two eggs in duck fat....sunny side up, basted with the duck fat, no browning. I threw in some diced prosciutto at the very end. Placed the runny eggs and prosciutto over the grilled asparagus and served to an appreciative husband who poured us a very nice pinot grigio. Some fresh sourdough bread from the Farmer's Market to sop up the plate. I like payoffs like this....a 5 minute effort with a very tasty result and very little clean-up.
  15. This is a new show on BBC-America. Here's the setup: A real-life restaurant critic for The Times (of London) flies over the pond to revew restaurants in the US and Canada. His claim is that positive restaurant reviews in The Times can generate up to a million dollars for the restaurant. He visits 5 restaurants in a particular city and gives one of them a positive review (on Huff Post). The critic (Giles Coren) is likable and the show is quite entertaining; he can be a bit snarky about poor food or service, but not in an angry or vulgar way. Interesting to see him experience certain foods (softshell crabs) for the first time.
  16. A very enjoyable and civilized cooking competition show. So far (I've seen 3 episodes), none of the personal drama and histrionics that are seen on most of the competitive cooking shows that are US-based. It's on PBS, so check your local listings.
  17. Is it just us, or does everyone hate much of the hyperbole that accompanies Valentine's Day? You know, the "special" dinner restaurant menu (read: overpriced); the competition at the office for who-gets-the-biggest arrangement of roses; the pressure to buy a heart-shaped gift, never to be seen again after 2/15; the embarrassment at being at the corner drugstore's greeting card 'picked over' display on the way home from work that evening. Not to mention that if you lived in DC-Metro where we did for 30+ years, if you didn't make your VD reservation at an 'in' restaurant, you were SOL. Oh, the shame! At least 2 decades ago (been married for 4 decades), after never having a great meal for VD at a restaurant, we decided that VD is best celebrated at home, cooking a wonderful meal together. And lots of chocolate to follow. For us a much better choice than going out and feeling a bit 'on display' at restaurants where maitre d's hand out a small sad rose as if to compensate for the 30% hike in normal pricing. What do you do for VD??
  18. An advance Heads Up to everyone.... March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day. Two years ago at my former home in Arizona, we hosted a Pi Day Party and invited friends to bring Pi's, savory or sweet. It was a fun foodie event. I was a bit worried that the 'sweet' Pi's would far outnumber the savory Pi's, but it all worked out. The savory Pi's that showed up included: Beef and Guinness Tamale Quiches Mini Pizza Pi's Caramelized Onion and Apple Tart Greek Chicken/Feta/Spinach
  19. It's the best 'restaurant' show on TV... not all that shouting that other shows about restaurants seem to think is entertaining.
  20. White Spinach Lasagna Bechamel sauce 6 cups milk 1 cup butter 1 cup unbleached flour salt and pepper 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg Spinach Filling 1/4 cup olive oil 4 garlic cloves,crushed 2 cups chopped onions 2 boxes frozen spinach wrung DRY 2 tsp. dried oregano 1 tsp. dried basil Ricotta Filling 1 lb ricotta cheese 2 eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, freshly grated ½ small jar green pesto sauce 2 cups Italian blend cheese, grated 1 box no boil lasagna noodles Directions Make bechamel: Melt butter, whisk in flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk, heat over medium until thickened (10 minutes). Remove from heat and add nutmeg and s&p to taste. Make the Spinach filling: Sauté the onions in the until soft and translucent, add garlic cook another minute. Stir in the spinach and spices and s&p to taste. Make Ricotta filling: Mix the ricotta, eggs, pesto sauce and the parmesan cheese together. Assembly: Oil a large deep lasagna pan. I made 4 complete layers, starting with the sauce, then the no-boil noodles, then spinach, then ricotta, then grated cheese. Lather rinse repeat x 4. Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. Uncover the casserole and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is browned. Remove the casserole from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
  21. I did not soak the no-boil noodles and they came out perfectly in the recipe. I will post the recipe under "recipes."
  22. Here's my review of no-boil lasagna noodles. I used Barilla since that was the only brand available where I shopped. I made a spinach lasagna with a bechamel sauce; after removing from oven I let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting and the squares came out beautifully neat and 'clean'...they held together without any slippin' or slidin' on the plates. I used a deep pan and I made four layers of noodles, sauce, cheese and spinach. The no-boil noodles were a real time saver and they had a mouth feel closer to fresh pasta than the standard dry lasagna sheets which always struck me as a bit too thick.
  23. Q: Are you planning to provide lunches for a school, where the staff will heat and serve? Or you planning to make meals for kids to tote to school themselves? If it's the latter, you'll need to develop menus that don't require a lot of reheating or last minute cooking. The grilled cheese sandwich on your sample menu is practically compulsory in school cafeterias, but I don't see how you can achieve a gooey toasty grilled cheese sandwich that's brought from home in a brown bag.
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