Thanks for the Crepes

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    Cary, North Carolina

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  1. Do You ALWAYS Clean Your Kitchen As You Go?

    I do clean up as I go. I grew up in much bigger kitchens than I have now, although most people would think I have a lot of counter and cabinet space. I tend to use it all and can't stand to be cramped. I try to keep the counters clear of all but what I'm currently working on and I need nothing in both stainless sinks to feel comfortable cooking. Perhaps this is the reason I always come in over the estimated times if a recipe offers them. I guess they don't account for clearing up, so it apparently makes me a slow cook, but a happier one. I'm another one that never leaves the kitchen dirty for any longer than it takes to eat the meal and have guests, if any, leave. With this climate, anyone who keeps a dirty kitchen will soon be infested with a number of uninvited insect guests. The dishwasher is either empty or empty enough that it will accommodate all the dishes I'll use before I start cooking. I can't put out food that I'm confident will be safe and where I'll be comfortable cooking in the environment if the kitchen isn't clean before I start and while I'm cooking. I leave cooking pans until the meal has been served and eaten but then get up and immediately clean everything unless I have guests, and still I can't completely relax until everything is pristine again. Once it is, my work is done here, and I can enjoy my life again.
  2. Baking by instinct

    I usually cut sugar in sweet baking with good results to my taste. I can sometimes tell if a baking recipe is not going to turn out well from just reading it, but was surprised by one with no leavening recently that a few members swear works fine as written. I did however get some agreement that the web photo of the recipe could not have resulted from the formula. Apparently it's delicious anyway. I never estimate/eyeball a cup of flour in baking. Flour does vary in is liquid absorbing capabilities, so I do eyeball that on some recipes, once I've measured everything and mixed and only then, I make minor adjustments. For instance, I adapted my favorite cornbread recipe by making it as written and then thinning the batter with extra milk to make it the proper consistency for skillet cooked pancakes. I don't measure the extra milk, just add and gently mix in a little at time until I get it where it needs to be. Oh, and since I've recently started cooking only for myself, I have started winging very small batches of shortcake or biscuits to be cooked in a small but heavy aluminum Dutch oven. I do start out doing math to reduce the ingredients to produce a single shortcake or a couple of biscuits. I think baking has been done for millennia before we had digital scales, thermostat controlled ovens, Kitchen Aid mixers, therma pens, Modernist Cuisine type additives and on and on. It is doable without a lot a expensive or dedicated equipment. I make great corn tortillas by pressing them out between sheets of heavy plastic and pressing down on them with my 10" Wagner Ware cast iron skillet. No tortilla press necessary. My paternal grandma always made great biscuits and she never measured anything. I guess that's where I get my approach to it. It's not magic, but it takes a lot of experience if you start messing with tested and successful recipes.
  3. I don't think I will be nuking my mushrooms, not even as an experiment. Okay, maybe one to see what it's like. On the other hand, I'd fried up some bacon the other day to go with homemade blueberry pancakes from the freezer and some fruit. At the last minute, I was looking at the bacon grease left in the pan and remembered the mushrooms I needed to use. English breakfast component, right? I gave them a quick wash and brush with the the mushroom brush and tossed into the still hot pan whole. I was getting sick of mushrooms by the end of my one pound package for just one person, but these were some of the best mushrooms I've had. It was astonishing how different they were from my usual way of cooking slices in butter. I had a big raw spinach salad tonight and last night, as well as some salmon. I figure I will be okay.
  4. Yikes! An avocado for $1.69?

    I only buy the Hass now after trying the Florida rounder and larger version years ago. They are two very different vegetables with Hass being so far up my food chain as to obscure the FL type to permanent oblivion. Hass had been running for 99 cents for a long time at the low end grocer and double that at the high end (what isn't?). The last one I bought was $1.49 at the low end grocer. I just hope the farmers are getting some of the windfall, because they deserve it. They are probably selling them for 20 cents now instead of the 10 they were getting. I'm very envious of you that can buy them so cheaply and that is probably a function of being closer to the source. So many more people do not have to wet their beaks in the process of distribution.
  5. Hi @yentakaren! Welcome to eG. I really dislike chicken cacciatore dishes I get in restaurants that have taken the chicken off the bone or otherwise messed with the simple Italian rendition of hunter's chicken. It's a peasant dish and very delicious when it's done as the peasant creators whose hunter husbands missed getting rabbit that day, so the wife cooked chicken instead. IMO the dish is not improved by deboning, pounding, rolling or any other fiddly technique. Others disagree, but may not have experienced the original. The skin, bones, fat and broken down cartilage from the joints add richness, flavor and body to the sauce. Marcella Hazan's recipe is similar to the one I grew up making, but Marcella's does not include mushrooms. The one I use does. I know you asked for the restaurant's version, but if you would like to hear about the delicious original they riffed off of, I have a killer recipe for it. It does require the eaters to cut the chicken into pieces off the bone, and it includes the skin and fat, which is not a bad thing in my view. This version is sensuous and primal. Umami is its name, and it's one of the best dishes I make. The chix pieces with their skin are coated with flour and then browned on all sides first and the long cook in the tomato/veg mixture softens it and renders the fat into the sauce. The bits of skin are actually one of the loveliest things about this dish, but it takes time to render the fat and bring out that quality. (I also hate flabby, tough chicken skin, but you won't encounter that here.) This recipe also includes whole canned tomatoes and their juice which break down over the long slow cook. It is a chunky, rustic dish, but I guarantee you will like it. @Lisa Shock's advice, if you insist on doing the rolls is excellent as usual. I would never brown anything, give it a simmer with moisture and then broil it. That's a recipe for drying it out. I hate to burst a bubble, but do you really think you were getting a real recipe? A lot of the instructions sound misleading at best. They want you to come back and buy it there again, without just saying NO to a customer, I suspect. Restaurants don't have the time to make the dish right or do it justice, IMO. It's not hard, it just takes time and they have a dearth of that.
  6. Charcoal in food - new trend?

    The only time I've tasted charcoal ash was when I unknowingly touched the skewer of marshmallows I was roasting in the dark. I knew immediately upon tasting something was wrong, and went to check it out under the porch light. So I don't like it. @gfron1uses ashes of various types in the cuisine at his former restaurant to great effect, it seems, and I've heard of other upscale places doing it. People seem to enjoy it, but I don't think it is for me.
  7. Burger King

    Also at McD's you can tell the whole burger is kept in the warming cabinet already wrapped. The cheese was slightly melted at one point, but has now congealed and seals the lukewarm double patties together and to one of the buns so it is very difficult to open the double cheeseburger to rearrange the slapdash placement of the ingredients and add pepper. I SAW them pull a breakfast biscuit out of a warming cabinet at about 5 AM when I was the only customer in the store. During a reno when the restaurant was closed, they moved the warming cabinets out of customer sight. They may add lettuce and tomato at the time of ordering if the sandwich comes with those? As for the Whopper Jr.s' that turned me off to BK, they had definitely been held too long. Believe me @Shel_B, I do know the difference between an old, sad beef patty and a freshly cooked one. It sounds like your BK has a good manager. Mine doesn't, but you can hit paydirt sometimes with the right staff working. I used to see smoke rising from BK at the Cary Village shopping center when I'd go there for anything, but no more. The smell was always appetizing. Things have changed over the years. Maybe air scrubbers, or most likely changes in procedure. This BK has been there 30 years and should have been grandfathered. A City Barbeque that went in on Kildaire Farm Road a few years ago has huge and very prominent air scrubbers and you can't smell any of the delicious aroma from the surrounding area. A Pollo Loco that was located in the space Los Tres Magueyes now occupies used to cook grilled chicken on huge gas grills, and that perfume wafted all over Kildaire Farm Road. I'm pretty sure air scrubbers are legislated now, but I haven't seen the regs myself. I may give that "off the broiler" request a try. That would be so good, if they make it happen. I dislike hassling people, but hopefully it won't hurt to ask. I know the time I got fresh fries from remarking to my husband how good they'd be certainly paid off there. It will depend on who is working that shift. I might just give them another go, since I walk by them about once a week on supply runs. Yes, I think while I have all these killer coupons, I'll ask for a fresh burger next time. Fingers crossed I get the right staff.
  8. Burger King

    You made me laugh! Thanks. Yep, steel-belted radials would probably bring down the stoutest wood chipper. It depends on the staff at the Burger King, A LOT. It can be good or it can be dangerous to your health and good sanity. A bad meal can bring me down in a hurry. Ours varies from excellent to inedible. But as far as worse places, my last visit to Subway was horrific. That was only for that location and that particular visit, although I'll never risk another one there. It was especially disappointing because I had been jonesing for months about a great Subway sandwich I got at the food court inside Duke Hospital in Durham. They even had alfalfa sprouts and all the ingredients were fresh and perfect. It just goes to show that everything depends on the staff at your local store, and some of them do not have any motivation to provide a good product. I realize the pay is low, but you know what? You are here so you might as well do the best you can with what you got. That is the way I always looked at it anyway, when I was working as a usually underpaid whatever. Some do and some don't. It's a complete crapshoot, and I am not a gambler.
  9. Food Waste @ Home

    It is very hard adjusting to cooking for just one who doesn't eat that much but enjoys a varied diet. I'm sure it can be done with practice, because I remember having a hard time cooking for two when I was used to cooking for six and sometimes more. One is really challenging because of the way food is sold, though. I had to buy a one pound package of corn tortillas, the smallest one on offer, and I only eat three at a time. I immediately refrigerated them (they were bought off the grocery shelf) and the first time I made enchiladas, I took out my three and then wrapped the rest in plastic wrap in packages of three, put them back in the bag they came in, put that in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. I like a lot of enchilada sauce, but the smallest can I can buy is twice as much as I can use at one sitting, so half that can went into the freezer in an 8 oz sour cream container. I took a Sharpie and labeled it "ENCH". I have others that are labeled "PIZZA", "SPAG", "DUCK FAT" or "CHIX". One thing I do to reduce waste is like tonight when I had some milk and some mushrooms that were needing to be used. I never made homemade cream of mushroom soup before, but faced with this situation I did. It's good and I put two-1 pint recycled dairy containers into the freezer labeled "M. SOUP" after eating a serving. It wasn't what I necessarily would have chosen without considering waste to accompany cheese enchiladas, with frozen tortillas and sauce, but fresh cheese and half a zucchini that needed to be used, but it was good and it helped to keep from wasting anything. I love using recycled dairy containers for freezing stuff. They last a long time, come in smaller sizes than containers usually sold for food storage, seal watertight, and also help reduce waste. They are also well designed to keep external odors out of sensitive dairy foods, but that also helps keep good flavors in your frozen food where they belong. I used to work for a packaging manufacturer in Memphis, and they had some very smart people working on the best ways to preserve food with packaging. We have an excellent municipal recycling program here for plastic bottles and containers, glass, food cans and paper. No one accepts styrofoam that I know of around here, but I walk my plastic grocery bags, toilet paper wrappers, produce bags, frozen veggie bags and so on, cleaned out if necessary of course and pinned up to dry out in the laundry room/pantry, back to the grocery stores who do accept that stuff. There was an article about some scientists who found 38 million pieces of plastic garbage on a remote island between Chile and New Zealand today. Stuff like that, and the garbage swirl in the Pacific, makes me very conscious of throwing any plastic away.
  10. Food Waste @ Home

    Have you ever seen "Fargo"? If I am starting to irritate you in a discussion or something, please remind me not to piss you off! How do you do this? I thought I was pretty green, but you have got me beat.
  11. Burger King

    I have a ton of coupons from BK and I have to walk past one on my supply run. The current flier claims to have $110 dollars in savings and they expire 6/26/17. There are three in that batch for buy a Croissan'wich and get one free. There are also three for 2 Croissan'wiches, 1 small hash brown and 1 small coffee for $4. They can't screw you on ones like that with a set price. I never get up there at breakfast hours, so PM me your address, @rotutsif you want them, and I'll drop them in the mail box to you. There is a disclaimer on the front of the flier that says "participating restaurants only". I've never had a problem with these coupons at my store, but YMMV, especially since you live outside the areas where these promotions are mailed. Can't hurt to try, though. The last time I used one for two Whopper Jr.s with two small fries for $3.99 the food was so bad I haven't been back even with a coupon. Cold fries and the burger was so old I was thankful I didn't get sick from eating it. It varies at my location depending on whose shift you hit. A lovely young lady heard me remark to my husband one night that I hoped the fries were fresh and hot, and damned if she didn't bin the tired ones under the heat lamp and cook us up a fresh batch and deliver them screaming hot from the fryer, just like I like them. I made sure she knew how good they were and how pleased I was as we left with our to go order. She made my day and I even tipped her, and that is the only time I have ever done that at a fast food place. I used to always eat the fries in the car on the way back, because to me only hot fried food is good and it cools off so quickly. Now when I walk to the seafood market for fresh seafood to cook and pick up an order of fried okra, I am the weirdo walking down the sidewalk munching on fried okra as an appetizer as I go back home to cook up my seafood.
  12. Gardening: (2016 - 2017)

    Your garden saga is never boring to me. Many good wishes for a better year this year. Vaya con los dioses del clima (Go with the weather Gods).
  13. Aging and Eating Habits

    My exposure to old folks homes has been to the type where the residents are there because they need 24 hour nursing care and assistance of varying types. I find it hard to imagine wanting to go to one while you are still active and able, and the only person I know of who has done so is @Jaymes. It would be interesting to hear her take on it. When my stepmom got so down with Parkinson's she first went into the very same facility my husband is at now. We did a lot of research before deciding which place would be best, and selected this one because they seemed to be the most willing to cooperate with her lacto-ovo vegetarian dietary preference. I noted that the only dish on the menu @chefmdshared with us above that could be made vegetarian and still supply protein and Vitamin B12 was an omelet, which is available every day. I love a good omelet, but would tire of it quickly if that was the only thing on offer day after day. I ate with my SM one day for lunch. My food was mostly edible, but I can't remember anything except those mushy overcooked veggies. Cabbage was cooked until is smelled sulfurous. Gross. They gave my SM a plate of these overcooked vegetables and she nicely asked for a grilled cheese so she could get a little protein. Her sandwich arrived smashed down deliberately. I mean this poor sandwich looked like it had been subjected to a tortilla press, y'all! I surmised this was the cook's statement that her request had been an inconvenience. I wanted to send it back, but she would't hear of it, and figuring she was the one that had to get along there 24 hours a day, I conceded to her wishes. Long story short, she hated the food there so much that after weeks of begging me to come rescue her, my husband and I did. Her condo had not been sold, since she had IBM insurance and was loaded to boot. She was able to afford part-time nursing and housekeeping help on her good insurance for several months along with one of those alarms that connect you to emergency services that you hang around your neck. She was much happier living in her own home for almost another year. Then ultimately, she went into another home, still hanging onto her condo in hopes she'd improve. The food there was much better she said, and she was better resolved to the necessity of her being there. I've seen the meals my husband is served, and they are pretty bad. They need to be served in his room because of his paralysis. I think they are plated hours before being delivered because they don't appear even warm. Once we came into his room and his meal had been delivered and placed on his rolly bed table and someone has spilled a cup of water all over it. I know it couldn't have been my husband because he was in a wheelchair outside with us. Whoever ruined the meal didn't bother to clean up the mess, replace the meal or even top off the cup of water. This tells you the level of service you are getting for $1,500 a day. *Sigh* We went to the nurses station and requested another meal and something to clean up the mess. There are dietary limitations for many of the residents/patients there. Low salt is probably the most common. Maybe it is just being in the South where many of the older people, but certainly not all of them, prefer vegetables cooked to death. My BIL is older, but still active and able and mushy veggies is his preference, and he's very opinionated about it. I don't serve green beans or beef when he's around, because the twain shall never meet on how we think they should be cooked. My husband is not all that hard to please. He hates the food at the "skilled nursing facility"/nursing home. Usually he can't even remember what it was if I ask him what he had for dinner, but always has a negative comment on the quality. I mentioned I was making enchiladas for my dinner and wished he could be there to join me the other day. He brightened right up and got all excited. He has good memories of my cooking for us, so that is some comfort. It made me smile.
  14. That's very inventive, using the fresh, looks like gold dusted raspberries as the center for the roses. Beautiful! I can't recall seeing that done before, and it is a brilliant idea. You have some very lucky relatives. As for your Greek writing, you are brave to even attempt it. I opened one of my Greek father-in-law's books and closed it after marveling at all of the unfamiliar characters. There is a reason for the old aphorism, "It's Greek to me".
  15. Dinner 2017 (Part 4)

    Please do tell more about this. Which animal's tongue? I've always been led to believe that tongue needed to be cooked and peeled to be edible. Very interesting dinner with many elements that are unfamiliar to me. It's also quite curious to see anyone smoking in a public venue anywhere in at least my small world. Is that common in Japan or anywhere else you know of? It's been legislated away even in tobacco producing states, like mine, in the US.