Thanks for the Crepes

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    Cary, North Carolina

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  1. I picked up 3-1.75 ml bottles of J.W. Dant vodka a couple days ago, as I have been doing for years, at the Cary state liquor monopoly. J.W. Dant is a lower priced vodka, $12.95, but has always been the best choice in that price range until today. I opened the first one tonight, and it immediately tasted and smelled like it was tainted with something. It smells like isopropyl rubbing alcohol. That is quite poisonous, and I'm sure that they did not deliberately taint my liquor with a poison. Maybe cleaning chemicals in a vat that were insufficiently cleaned out? The worst part is that I pounded on the web site trying to contact them, which they make impossible, with Captcha after Captcha challenges, but guess what? These unethical people run a website that does not allow you to contact them, but then subscribes you to their feed, and the Unsubscribe button is as ineffective as is their Contact button. I have enjoyed their vodka for years, but at this point, I am really steamed. Perhaps they really are stupid enough to poison customers in probably the most litigious society in the world? I will definitely be rethinking my regular vodka purchases, and probably deleting a lot of unwanted spam. For anyone this may affect, the only thing different on these horrible tasting, possibly poisonous bottles is in the lower left hand corner of the label. The last batch, which was fine, had 240-4672 and the way, way off batch has 240-6011 on all three bottles. I opened a second one to smell it after tasting the first one, and sure enough, chemical isopropyl alcohol smell. To top it off, the state monopoly does not allow refunds for any reason. Can anyone recommend an alternative brand of vodka in this same price range that tastes okay?
  2. Challenge: cook your way through your freezer (part 2)

    I did not know about the ERB group either, but I devoured a lot of his fantasy novels from the library in the late 80's to the early nineties. Have you seen the estimated $250 million dollar budget "John Carter"? I think it's overestimated, but not out of line of how much it takes to bring his stories to the screen. I've grown out of my interest in his writing, but as a younger person, it was very entertaining. I also devoured Piers Anthony novels at that time and have grown away from them too. These days, I am putting stuff in the freezer as much as pulling it out. I waste more than I would like to, but a lot of it goes to my wildlife. I recently put a portion of vegetable curry and two portions of chicken cacciatore into the freezer. These will get eaten in the next couple of months, because my fridge freezers really do not do a good job of preserving food quality. I'm still occasionally cooking something for the wildlife that has outlived its usefulness for human consumption to clear the freezer out. It would be a lot easier to just put it all in the garbage bin on the day the city comes to haul it away, but that would just be wrong, in my mind. I'm learning not to freeze anything I'm not sure I will eat in a couple of months, because that is all my freezers will do any justice to. I'm very sensitive to "freezer taste". I did surprise myself with some bacon I cooked after I cooked the bacon I had intended to eat for the wildlife. It had been stored for a year! but at the bottom of the freezer, so I cooked it after I cooked my eating bacon for the wildlife. I tasted a little piece after cooking, and it was just fine. That went into a BLT. Sorry, raccoons. They did get the grease over some stale bread.
  3. Citrus disease again active in SoCal

    @andiesenji, I "liked" your post because it's informative, and I had not heard of this before, but this is terrible news for the affected growers and ultimately for all of us.
  4. Hospital Time

    @liuzhou, So sorry to hear you are under the weather. I'm sending you good wishes for a speedy recovery and hopefully you can get out of there before the bad food can have much effect. I'm glad to hear the nursing staff is kind and competent. Hospital food mostly sucks around here too. At least you found the microwave. I am nearly obsessive about my hot foods being served steaming hot. @David Ross, Ouch! I hope you get better soon too.
  5. Dinner 2017 (Part 5)

    Ground chuck "steak", mashed potatoes with sour cream, chives and beef gravy, corn on the cob. Then I made a chocolate mug cake for dessert and served it with whipped cream. Her cook time of 90 seconds was a bit too long for my microwave, so my cake was a tad dry. This was probably also due to me cutting the oil back to only 1TBSP. I saw that as an excellent excuse to break out my can of whipped cream. Tomorrow will be leftover chicken cacciatore, one of my favorite meals.
  6. Salad 2016 –

    I made it just for me the other day reducing all the ingredients and assembling it in a 5 cup plastic lidded container, planning to eat half the first day and save the second half for the next day. I put a layer of torn iceberg on the bottom, added a layer of about 3 chopped small Campari tomatoes, sprinkled a layer of sliced green onion from the deck supplemented by some fine diced white onion, then a layer of thawed frozen petite peas, a layer of two chopped hard boiled eggs, and I added a layer of about 2-1/2 oz. grated cheddar. I'd store the cheddar separately next time, though and add it when I was ready to mix up the planned overs. It absorbed too much moisture from the veggies. I did store the crisp fried bacon separately, and that was good, because it provides a texture contrast when crumbled in at the last minute before mixing up the salad with the mayo dressing. I used about a TBSP of dressing for each of the two servings of salad and that was plenty for me. Oh, also I only add salt and pepper at the last minute before mixing as well to keep the salt from drawing moisture out of the veggies by osmosis. I love this salad too and will be making it more often now that I've figured out how to make a reasonable amount for just me.
  7. Another North Carolinian!

    Hi @blbst36and welcome to eGullet! Nice to see someone from my neck of the woods join the forums. I'm learning to cook for one as well, and it certainly is challenging. You'll find helpful, knowledgeable and nice folks here with a common interest in creating and eating good food of all kinds. I have learned so much from this site.
  8. Dinner 2017 (Part 5)

    I made Chicken Cacciatore for dinner and served it over thin spaghetti.
  9. Ripening an Avocado

    Usually, I preserve half a Hass avocado in the fridge with the pit still in, because that provides a natural airtight seal at least in the under the pit. This last time, after I had made guacamole out of one half, the pit came loose from both halves, so I discarded it. Lacking a vacuum sealer, I just wrapped in plastic wrap still in the peel, but gently pressed the wrap into the well the pit left to expel air and tightly wrapped the avocado half up and stored in the fridge for two days. This worked better than pit in because the plastic wrap was better able to make contact with all of the cut surfaces, so that is how I will go forward with storing avocado halves. My stored half was very good in the guac I made with it, and stayed green.
  10. Trader Joe's Products (2017–)

    Thanks for taking one for the team @blue_dolphin. Especially at $3.99 for only the cauliflower crust, the TJ's pizzas imported from Italy with toppings and seem like a much better deal. TJ's frozen pizzas are the only ones I like, although I do sometimes freeze my own or good delivery pizza now that I'm a single person household.
  11. Aluminum and Other Metals in the Dishwasher

    I used to throw everything in the dishwasher including my high carbon steel kitchen knives and aluminum cookware when I was young and inexperienced. That was a big mistake and I learned from my errors. Bare aluminum will come out of the dishwasher coated with a white powdery substance that will come off on your hands sometimes. Cooking spaghetti sauce or anything else acidic will clean up aluminum but after reading about a possible link between Alzheimer lesions and aluminum I no longer cook anything acidic in aluminum. The reason the cream of tarter in the above post works is that it's acidic. I have an old heavy (in thickness not weight) oversized aluminum roasting pan that is so covered with polymerized oil, though, that I can safely throw that in the dishwasher and still do. I have a lot of roughly 9x13" roasting/brownie pans, and this aluminum one is on the bottom of the nested stack, but I always dig it out for roasting chicken or prime rib or something. It's not pretty, but it sure is useful to me. So aluminum can be seasoned like cast iron, and at least when you only use it for roasting fatty meat like I do, won't suffer from a trip through the dishwasher.
  12. Lunch! What'd ya have? (2017)

    I know! Food Lion is a low end grocer down here, and I shop there for the low prices, which even beat out WalMart (yuck) on market basket comparisons. They have a few things that are better than anything else I can find in town. The one that pops to mind are the petite frozen peas. They also carry regular peas like everyone else in town. I'm spoiled to the petite ones only they carry. Nice looking turkey sandwich. Is the brand "Taste of Inspirations"? I love that brand of roast beef better than Boarhead, but haven't tried the peppered turkey.
  13. Dinner 2017 (Part 5)

    @Norm Matthews, I had a BLT too! The bacon was cooked for making a seven-layer salad the other day. Mine was much like yours expect I used a couple of small Campari tomatoes and this was a juicy, messy sandwich, but oh so good. Do you toast your bread, Norm? I don't for a BLT or a plain mater sammich. I also had cottage cheese (full fat, of course) with cherries, local blueberries, local peaches, and an apricot. @BeeZee, mine wasn't mealy, but rather underripe, not juicy and not good either. I have put the second one I bought out on a plate on the counter with the tomatoes and garlic to "ripen". I am certain that it will be mealy or rotten by the time I get to it. I don't know why I keep insisting on recreating the experience of a fresh apricot ripe off the tree from my childhood in San Diego. It is always a disappointment over here on the east coast. I guess it is the seduction of the memory of the fragrance and the juice running down my chin. I fall for it every couple of years. I'm probably too old to learn and accept at this point that ripe apricots will not hold up to shipping across the country and will not ripen on the counter. The peach, blueberries and cherries were my consolation prizes. They were all perfect.
  14. Sushi Mistake - Near Tasteless

    You might be interested in this thread. I believe you can find just about anything you desire in NYC if you look for it.
  15. The Paradox of American Restaurants

    I think it boils down to this quote from last paragraph in the article: "The price gap between grocery bills and restaurant checks has never been higher." As much as I love eating at restaurants, I often find myself thinking, "I could have made this meal myself at home for a tenth of the price." Sometimes I'm also thinking I could have made it better or the food would have been served hotter. Sometimes the price gap is even more. I never order pasta marinara out. $10 or $15 for something I can practically guarantee will not be served on a preheated plate or pasta bowl and costs me pennies to make? No thanks. Plus when you ordered this kind of pasta in the past, it would come with garlic bread and salad included in the meal. Everything is a la carte now. Also even years ago, I could prepare steak dinners at a fraction of the cost the restaurants want, so the food costs seem to not be a big factor. And yes, @pastrygirl! about grocers upping their game. The only salad bars I know still left in this town are at the higher end grocers and you pay by the pound. My local Harris Teeter has a nice one, as well as an "Asian bar" and cooked pizza by the slice, as well as offering fried and rotisserie chicken with several different seasoning options and sides you can take home and nuke, like mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. The deli also has some very good and affordable sliced and assembled to order subs.