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Thanks for the Crepes

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    Cary, North Carolina

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  1. Your Home Appliances are Junk

    Sorry to hear about your nasty experiences with a Frigidaire dishwasher. Here are accounts one, two and three of my experience with the hated machine I nicknamed POSTI. I hope to never have another electronic control panel dishwasher. They are anathema to me. Who knew that hot water, steamy moisture, caustic chemicals and vibration could cause a problem with electronics? Certainly not the over-educated but stupid engineers who designed the POSTI's plaguing us. Edit: Frigidaire used to a solid and trusted brand. USED to be.
  2. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    We had mustard seeds come in some topsoil we bought and they were really hard to eradicate, which we tried to do by pulling them up by the roots, cleaning, cooking and eating them. The topsoil was very good, but I just don't like mustard greens even fresh and lovely like these were. YMMV
  3. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    I had big plans for dinner tonight, but had also promised myself to clean out the stale stuff from my fridge freezers so they could be ready for our garbage pick up tomorrow. Amazingly, I kept that promise and the stale stuff is at the curb waiting to be picked up on schedule. Yah! I went ahead and made the Sichuan/Szechuan (whateves ) dry fried beans with pork dish, but abandoned the shrimp fried rice I was going to make to accompany it. It took longer to do the freezer cleanout than I had anticipated. It wasn't just a dump into the garbage operation, because I was trying to salvage freezer bags, rubber bands used to close bags of freezer burnt and desiccated veggies and even twist ties in some cases. Before you think I'm crazy or spreading disease, I wrap all frozen stuff very carefully and then put it into the thick and expensive freezer bags. This way the bags can be reused after drying/airing out. My long sectional sofa is full of freezer bags airing out. Yes, I am a thrifty (cheap) B. The bags can last for years this way, while also better protecting your food with a double wrap. I'm very careful not to cross contaminate. I wash my hands many time while packaging meats, most especially attentive to chicken. When was doing the freezer cleanout and found the last of the very thin pork chops that I knew I had somewhere in these tombs for dead food, I took it out of the freezer bag and placed it in the fridge to come down from solidly frozen to a point where it could be minced easily. I had bought some beautiful green beans the other day and had been anticipating making this dish that I haven't even experienced in a restaurant until today. I knew I had that chop and it was perfect for the dish once it was minced into tiny pieces. I used both this very helpful eG pictorial from member @hzrt8w and this recipe as guides. I had neither "olive vegetable" nor "preserved vegetable" and have zero chance of finding either within walking distance with the lamented demise of S-Mart. I soldiered on bravely. I liked the idea of ginger in the dish, so grated some of my frozen stash for it and used green onion toward the end instead of shallot. I also deviated with a whole New Mexican Hatch chili that was probably nine inches long instead of the called for peppers in either of my guides. I sliced off a couple of pieces from the tip of mine because I'd never tasted these fresh and while the online experience I've had with them classifies them into mild/medium/hot, there was no indication of heat level at Harris Teeter where I picked these up for $1.29 a pound on sale. Score!! Mine had some heat, but not as much as a typical jalapeno. I figured if I put the whole long pepper in with all of it's seeds and membranes, it would bring plenty of heat to the party, and it did. My husband would have refused to eat this finished dish, but it had a very pleasant heat level to me, and he wasn't here. Chopping this pepper also left my non-knife left and ungloved hand tingling with capsaicin for hours, so mine definitely have some heat to them. That heat is just now calming down in my hand. I used the one very thin pork chop with a nice little rim of fat around the outer edge and a little more fat near the bone. This was very easy to mince while still mostly frozen and yielded, I reckon, about 3 ounces of usable meat and fat. I had .37 pounds green beans, and this proportion was pleasing to me with all the aromatics and seasonings. I did not deep fry the green beans either, but stir fried in only a small amount of oil and drained them on paper when I removed them from the skillet I was cooking in. There was enough oil left to finish cooking the peppers, garlic, ginger and pork. The final dish was not very greasy at all, and I very much liked this. I will be making this again. I have seen yard long beans on both my visits to the Indian grocer, Patel Brothers, and some of the discussion I have read on this dish turns up a lot of people who prefer it prepared with the long instead of green beans. This will happen at Chez TftC. I could easily have nuked a portion of frozen prepared rice I had planned to make the shrimp fried rice with, but chose to use my carbs judiciously and opted for a cute, delicious little individual cherry pie I bought at Food Lion. I heated this until very hot in my Dutch oven. Edit: does anyone here know what the preserved "vegetable" actually is before it is preserved. It seems to be a common nomenclature, but very mysterious?
  4. Splatter screen/guard recommendation!?

    I have one that looks like the first link in @lindag's post. There are no markings on it, so I can't tell you the brand, and can't remember where I bought it (likely someplace like Big Lot's), but it was less than $10.00 and goes through the dishwasher with flying colors and no rust. I bought it specifically for fried grits/polenta because that dish seems to splatter like crazy. I recently realized that because of the metal handle, I can also use it as a pizza screen if I ever work up the courage to brave the home invading maintenance morons the landlord sends out to fix my oven and the other myriads of broken stuff in my home. Hmm, this screen could also work over a charcoal fire in the backyard. I love my splatter screen, and have had it for several years. No, it isn't fool proof, because when you lift it to turn the grits or whatever, some condensed moisture may fall into the pan and cause a grease splatter. What I do is tilt the screen toward me still over the pan allowing any condensation to run off over the side of the pan harmlessly. There is a lip on my stove to keep anything but the most extreme culinary disaster from running down to the floor. The screen is still protecting me from any splatter coming my way in this position. Then I set the screen aside on the SS sink rim after shaking away any remaining condensation, and very quickly extract my grits that have been cooked on the first side to a plate. I turn the grits over on the plate and slip back into the oil from the plate using my left (non-favored) hand to hold the screen as a shield against painful splatters. You sometimes get a few little pops anyway, but it sure beats not having the screen at all in my book. Also I have found that I need much less oil than I initially thought in order to fry grits/polenta successfully. That also helps with keeping the splatters down.
  5. Fruit

    I am enjoying my first muscadine grapes of the year. They are not as tart as they can be, so I'm hoping later ones will be more like the way I like them, but these are very good. I also picked up lychees. This was the first time I've had them, not even the canned ones, and these were fresh and had the red blush like the ones liuzhou has shown here on eG. I was so excited, but unfortunately, lychees did not leap onto my most preferred fruits list. Wiki says that the fresh ones should have a perfume-like flavor and these did not. Wiki also said that the red blush will turn brown under refrigeration, but should not affect the taste. Mine also had some weird brownish fibrous membranes at the stem end of the flesh near where it contacted the seed that could not be separated from the white flesh. These were not part of the seed coat, as the flesh came away cleanly and the seeds were dark brown and so shiny that I can imagine prehistoric peoples stringing them as beads for jewelry. My lychees are very juicy, but had no tart note that I so enjoy in fruits. Many thanks to @liuzhoufor his kind and generous pictorial (I believe on the Dinner thread) on how to peel and eat these fruits. Like all new and exciting experiences this was definitely worth doing. At my age, new and thrilling experiences are slim pickin's, and I am very grateful for every single one. My Lychees came from Patel Brothers and cost $2.99 for a mesh bag of 20 or 21. (I visually counted them twice and figured that was close enough. ) I reckon without weighing that they were between 12 oz. and a pound/.34 to .45 kilo. They were not attached to a branch as in liuzhou's photos, but rather individual fruits with a short and very tenacious stem attached. The only way to get the stem off was to peel the fruit, which was easy once an initial cut was made (though I had to use a knife instead of a fingernail). The stem still clung stubbornly to the separated peel. I also saw beautiful dragon fruit again at Harris Teeter. They are $4.99 a pop! I passed again, since I had plenty of other interesting fruit to eat and that price sure puts me off. I can't deny the exotic beauty of these fruits, though. I also might like the texture too, because while some hate the texture of seeded eggplant, that is one of the attractions to me. I just love the little round Thai eggplants, when I can find them. So dragon fruit is still on the list of things to try. I do hope I run across mangosteens one day, though. The descriptions of the taste as sweet and sour is squarely in my wheelhouse. After looking at: liuzhou's beautiful fruit arrangement with the cape gooseberries, I really regret not getting the ones that I found a couple of times a few months back at Harris Teeter. Those were yellow and round, apparently already stripped of their husks, and I knew nothing about them, so left them in the store. Now looking at them in there little "papery husks" as Rick Bayless loves to say about tart tomatillos, I think these may be right up my alley too, and will be keeping an eye out for them. Does anyone care to comment on Asian pears? They used to have cases and cases in the Korean owned now defunct S-Mart pan-Asian grocer near me, and they seemed very popular. When I tried them they seemed bland and mealy in texture.
  6. Challenge: cook your way through your freezer (part 2)

    Surprisingly, I actually followed through and cleaned out the freezers today. There are three boxes of Trader Joe's puff pastry, along with a lot of other stuff that has been in the freezers too long to be edible, down by the curb waiting for tomorrow's scheduled pick up. I did keep some stuff in one freezer that can be fed to the coons after thawing, but doesn't need to be cooked. I'll dole it out to them over the next few weeks. Now I have plenty of room for ice cream and I can actually find my frozen foods now without removing everything in there. Tonight's dinner used the last of the ultra thin pork chops I bought a while back, plus a little of the ginger that had been in the freezer. Now I just have to remember that my low quality fridge freezers only hold most things about three months well, and that if it didn't taste good the first time, freezing it won't make it taste better.
  7. Your Home Appliances are Junk

    My GE oven/range from the 70's when this place was built is still going strong as far as the range top goes. The oven is broken, but you couldn't give me an electronic one. Of course they won't get very hot. That would immediately melt the electronics. They want to wait a year or so for it to fry them and fail so you'll have to buy another one. My Sears washer and dryer that I bought when I moved here in 1989 are still doing me good service. They are made by Whirlpool according to the saleswoman who assisted me with my purchase and the repairman who replaced a drive gear on the washer a few years ago. That repair business is no longer extant, though, so I have no idea where to find help now. Did y'all know there is such a whimsical and amusingly named part in a washing machine called a wig wag? We also had a TV repair business in downtown Cary which has disappeared since the flatscreens came to dominate the market. I guess those are disposable too? *Sigh* Yeah, electronics in heat, moisture, vibration environments just really suck and are not well thought out, except for the profit motive. I avoid these whenever possible. When I heard they were using electronics in cars, I knew it was a really, really bad idea. My brother likes to bring up my reaction to plastic radiators in cars to amuse people, going up into a falsetto voice (my voice is actually a pretty deep alto) but he always gets a laugh. I can get shrill when I am profoundly upset. They actually have these things on cars nowadays, and it is abhorrent to me. I spent a good $120 on a replacement top-of-the line brass radiator for my 1979 Chevy Malibu. I drove that car until 3 years ago. Betcha they charge even more for the plastic ones now. If someone (probably with a lot more money and power than me) doesn't stand up for actually durable "durable" goods, I think we are all doomed.
  8. Which country's tea do you like best?

    I think it might boil down to their superior packaging. You pay for this, of course. Each bag is enclosed in a moisture and air proof pouch, rather than the paper overwraps of practically everything else for bagged tea. Even though I put my tea into glass jars upon opening the box, the Bigelow wrappers seem to preserve freshness and aromas (which is what tea is all about) better. I too, love Bigelow's chamomile but don't have any now.
  9. Which country's tea do you like best?

    I'm not sure if she actually drinks this or not, but I have some Twinnings of London Earl Grey tea that is marked "By appointment to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II" on the labels. Sounds impressive, but I am not sure if that is a personal endorsement or exactly what it might mean. Perhaps someone who has lived in England might expand on it? I don't like the Twinnings version of Earl Grey as much as I do Bigelow's version. Bigelow's company address is in Fairfield, CT, USA. I'm not a betting gal, but I'm pretty sure they don't grow any tea in Connecticut. I also have some Ahmad Earl Grey, which suggests Indian origins to me, but the company is actually out of London. I am finding it difficult to ascertain the country of origin of many of my teas.
  10. Tips, hints and interesting things

    I fear smashing garlic with the side of a knife. I use the smooth side of my meat mallet to smash cloves for peeling. Come to think of it, I use it more for that and breaking up frozen veggies which have fused than I use it for actually pounding meat.
  11. Which country's tea do you like best?

    Oh, he's very, very fine and has been promoted several times since this unfortunate incident. I pretty much knew he would be, but mistakes can be made in labs and they never go in favor of the accused. Also if someone in power has a vendetta against a person, and the military is all about power, it can go badly for the accused. I can't imagine who would have ill will toward my nephew, but when I first got the news, I was very apprehensive. I'm so thankful he came out of this stupid thing with flying colors and very proud that he demanded his property of tea be returned.
  12. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    I have been eating well. Recently, a little rack of five pork spare ribs cooked in my Rival Crock Pot with a sweet potato nuked in it's skin. The sweet potato was cut in half and mashed with a fork in its skin and I ate it with just butter and salt. Brussel sprouts accompanied this meal very well. Tonight and last night was pastrami sandwiches with Pane di Casa Bread from Band of Bakers and Boars Head Round Pastrami bought at Harris Teeter. Sometimes with mustard, sometimes with smoked provolone also from HT. Many times, I want mayo and lettuce and tomato on a sandwich. When I have really good pastrami and cheese, not so much, or sometimes not even any condiments. This bread cheese and a little of the very flavorful pastrami is all I want. It is unbelievable to me that there can be this much fat in round. I would put that down the miracles of sou vide. The tender texture and pull-apart grain of the thin slices is also very much appreciated. Pastrami seems to be the meat that grocery delis run out of most often around here. Also I found the Pane di Casa offered in a sliced half loaf this time! Perfect for me on my own, since this delicious, but lean bread doesn't freeze well at all. Also, even with a good serrated knife, this crusty bread is difficult to slice evenly and thinly at home. The sliced bread is much more uniform and thin than I can do justice to. I also found the first offering of purple muscadines from Cottle Farms in Faison, NC, about 70 mile mostly south of here and a bit east. I even found some New Mexican Hatch peppers at Harris Teeter! The muscadines are good, but I don't know yet about the Hatch. They were on sale for $1.29 a pound and it will be the first time for me to taste them fresh. No indication of mild/medium/hot was made, so they are mystery peppers. I did not expect to find the promised Hatch peppers, so that was a pleasant surprise after last week's disappointment. They promised fresh figs in their sale flyer, but when I looked everywhere, and finally engaged an employee, they had none. No apology or promise of them later or give a flip, either. It would have been the first time I'd tasted fresh figs, so this was such a big let down. I had a sliced banana and muscadines for dessert after my pastrami and smoked provolone sandwich. Life is good, and I have enough pastrami left for another sandwich.
  13. Challenge: cook your way through your freezer (part 2)

    The other day I took one of the vegetable stuffed pepper halves I couldn't find for the life of me a month ago out of the freezer and cooked it in the microwave. I added freshly shredded cheddar to the top after defrosting and mostly heating it. It was almost fine, almost. It had a bit of "freezer taste" but was not unpalatable. My fridge freezer only holds stuff at quality for 3 months at most, and this pepper was probably on the verge. I swear I am going to clear out the freezers with the stuff I will never eat and probably never be motivated to cook for the raccoons on Tuesday for garbage pick up on Wednesday. I wanted some $1.97 Breyer's ice cream for a 48 oz. container on sale the other day and had no way to store it, even if I could have carried it two miles on foot in near 95 F/35 C heat. That was a loss leader and less than half the price it usually goes for. I do have a Trader Joe's insulated shopping bag, so ice cream is in my immediate future.
  14. Which country's tea do you like best?

    I still have a half pound of Tie Guan Yin that I bought from The Tea Farm. My husband liked it, but I can't develop a taste for it. I gave the opened bag I could find to my nephew who is really into tea the last time he visited and would have given him the remaining bag if I'd known it was in the pantry. Like with a lot of expensive things I didn't grow up with, I don't get it. My favorite is Red Rose Original orange pekoe and pekoe tea blend. It seems to be made of blends from all over the world, including Africa, which I did not realize was a tea producer. It's about one tenth the price of Tie Guan Yin, and my peasant tastes much prefer Red Rose. It did win the 2007 Best Taste award from Chef's Best. I have a bunch of the little figurines made in Wade England that come inside the box. They are pretty much rubbish IMO. Often the seams from the two part mold are still visible, the glaze can be uneven, and I just don't like the designs. The horse, for instance, is one of my favorite animals, but it is the smallest of all the figurines I have. It looks like a throwback to eohippus or perhaps more fairly, this Pleistocene horse. I found better rendered Wade Red Rose Tea images for horse figurines and they have many different offerings. I found two examples of mine, but they are not eG friendly images, so can't link. They are about what you can expect for free in a box of inexpensive tea, but some people are mad for these things and determined to complete their collections of each series. All kinds of activity on Amazon and ebay for these little tea box figurines. Go figure. A sort of aside, but still very much related to tea: My nephew is in the Navy and was living in a barracks after I gave him that big bag of Tie Guan Yin. About a month after I gave it to him he called one night to talk about seemingly nothing to my husband and me. That is his way. If you don't push him, he'll beat around the bush and small talk forever. Quite the opposite of me, who has a reputation for being abrupt, so perhaps I could learn a few things from him, but to me, it can be beyond frustrating. Finally, we arrive at the point of the call. He had had his tea stash confiscated under suspicion of being marijuana! He seemed unperturbed, but I was panicking! This could lead to a dishonorable discharge and legal punishment that would follow this young man for the rest of his life. We found out a month or so later that testing had been negative for controlled substances. My nephew was insistent that his tea be returned from evidence and this took some months longer, but he finally did receive it less testing samples. If it were me, I would have been breathing sighs of relief and laying low, but bravo for him on insisting on the return of his confiscated property. He never said it was the gifted Tie Guan Yin that led to suspicion and he had been purchasing other loose teas. TGY might look a little like seedless weed, and the label had fallen off the bag when the adhesive let go. I remember offering him the separate label, but he was traveling with this wife and pets and declined. It's not in his nature to cause me discomfort by telling me I was causing all his problems by giving him the tea, but I would not be surprised if that was exactly what caused the FUBAR. I was so relieved to hear he was going to be okay. Phew!
  15. The Perfect Burger

    That's interesting DDGF, but I need to be paid a lot of money to read much of that kind of stuff. What I did read seems to support what I said above, and I did have to look up "comminute". It means to break down into small particles like we do at home with a blender, perhaps. It's been interesting to me that some of the Modernist Cuisine enthusiasts have been the most condescending to processed commercial cheeses of all kinds. Admittedly, as with most processed foods, manufacturers will take advantage of processing to extract every penny of profit from their product that they can, and many versions of cheese food product (especially the imitation) are horrible. Thus we need these legalese regulations. Ironically, there is a recipe for a processed cheese in MC that calls for a lot of work, processing, and finding ingredients that cannot usually be found locally by a home cook. I just buy good American cheese that can still be called cheese. It's cheaper and better than the Kraft or Borden brands when I buy Food Lion's house brand from their deli. When it goes on sale, it can be cheaper per pound than "cheese food products" that contain more adulterants. Good American cheese is essential for creamy melting cheese whether it's for burgers, cheese dip or macaroni and cheese. American cheese has a place in the ingredient list for making good food for many of us. Just beware the imitations, which in this country at least, must be labeled.
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