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Thanks for the Crepes

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    Cary, North Carolina

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  1. Thanks for the Crepes

    How green is your kitchen?

    Here in Cary, we have regulations against putting recyclables into plastic bags. They do provide us with large rolling bins that some genius designed to be raccoon proof, which is quite a feat. I was never able to buy a raccoon proof garbage can back when we had backyard collection of waste. I always have far more recyclables than I do garbage for the landfill nowadays. They enforce garbage and recycle regs pretty durn effectively by just leaving at the curb anything that does not comply with what they have asked us to do. I wanted to kill the probable landscape crew who threw away their Bojangles chicken boxes on top of a nearly full bin of recyclables that was left at the curb and I had to haul back unemptied and wait two weeks for another pickup. It forced me to put some things I would normally have recycled into the larger and less full trash bin. This happened twice before the homicide fantasies started. I know that sounds extreme, but I actually WASH my trash and meticulously comply with all the rules and then these thoughtless boobs throw chicken bones on top of my recyclables. Fortunately, this crew has lost its taste for BoJangles, found another victim or moved on out of my neighborhood.
  2. Thanks for the Crepes

    KFC's 11 not-so-secret herbs and spices

    Yes! Duplicating at home something wonderful I've eaten at a restaurant is a favorite pastime of mine, and Google helps a lot. Just search for copycat recipes and you can see, that I am far from the first one to think of this concept. I was delighted when @mgaretzcame up with a recipe for a Latino grilled chicken, I used to eat at a Cary restaurant thirty years ago that is now Los Tres Magueyes' location. I've forgotten the name of the restaurant again, but I'm almost sure "Pollo" was part of it. To eat that pretty close chicken again really made me happy. I make the Cheddar Bay biscuits from Red Lobster from a recipe that used to be posted on the restaurant's own website years ago, but has since disappeared. That was probably when they started selling their mix for the biscuits. Duplicating something that was perfect or correcting a dish toward perfection that I had in a restaurant that fell short but had potential is one of my great joys. It is definitely a thing.
  3. Thanks for the Crepes

    McDonald's 2013–

    Whew! I thought when I saw that 16 cents for something that McD's charges about $6 USD for here and thought, okay so it's 38 times more expensive to eat here and they might be using much better chicken over there. So now it's only 4 or 5 times as expensive to eat over here. I feel better, I think? Still I know y'all have access to better mainstream chickens than we do, not to mention the cheap and well raised ducks. I feel better. I really do, I think? I have been seeing a lot of ads for McDonald's Quarter Pounder here. They're saying they cook it up to order now, so it's hot and fresh. What a concept. *eyerolly* That is what they used to do years ago and what made them the behemoth they are. I haven't tried the new ones. The one and only Quarter Pounder I ever ate was borderline inedible. I don't believe I even finished it. This new strategy sounds like a step firmly in the right direction, though, and I hope it works for them and maybe expands into more of their items. Fresh and hot is good. Cold and stale, not so much.
  4. I made some gingerbread yesterday. It was really good with spray whipped cream warm from the CSO. I've found that you really have to watch baked goods in the CSO because they get done quicker than in the regular big oven. I've made this gingerbread for forty years in half a dozen different ovens, but the CSO cooked it up in 10 or 15 minutes less. Most of it went into the freezer for later. My recipe uses boiling water instead of milk. I also reduced the molasses a little and the sugar by almost half. He he, I also subbed veg oil for shortening because I don't eat trans fat and haven't had shortening in the house for decades. Would have used butter but I'm running low on that too. Still came out delicious. I made this because I had a craving, but also because it's one of the few quick baked goods I know that can be made without milk. I do have dry skim milk in the pantry, but you know what? It's expensive and it just doesn't taste good to me even in baked goods with extra butter added. I tried the dry milk with biscuits the other day, and they were pretty disappointing. My kind neighbors brought me a gallon of milk yesterday, but I'd still like to know if anyone knows other quick leavened baked goods that can be made with water instead of milk and are still good?
  5. Thanks for the Crepes

    Frozen mussels, how to best use them

    I can get fresh regular mussels here, but not green lips. I ventured to buy a box of frozen green lips from my local fish monger after reading about @Shelby's landlocked Kansas experience with frozen oysters (which I can also get fresh and alive). I really liked the frozen green lips cooked up with a white wine/butter/herb sauce over some angel hair. What is a circle hook? Something like the circular file (trash can)?
  6. Thanks for the Crepes

    How green is your kitchen?

    Erm, I reuse produce bags all the time. I thought it was normal, non-wasteful behavior. They are great for mixing up seasoned flour to shake proteins in before frying. Shake n Bake bags are too small. I don't use those even if I've bought SNB. I don't throw the bags out, though. I'm using a SNB bag now to thaw a slice or two of Italian bread from the freezer. With so much plastic ending up in the oceans, I want to at least get some mileage out of it before recycling it. And no, I don't reuse or even try to recycle any plastic packaging that has touched raw or even cooked meat. In this area, while the city garbage collection does not accept plastic bags for recycling, the grocery stores (Food Lion and Harris Teeter for sure, perhaps others) do. And yup, I wash out plastic produce bags, frozen veggie bags, and such and hang them up in the pantry/laundry room to dry and then save them for recycling at the grocery store. I don't think it's a bit crazy, rather smart if you care about the kids down the road having a decent planet to live on.
  7. Thanks for the Crepes

    Bathroom Parade, how to manage it?

    I'm not sure how much sense it makes to respond to this ancient thread, especially when I don't believe that the OP, @Edward J, has been recently participating at eG. Still, since I was lurking way back when the topic was originated and I had strong feelings then and still do, I want to say my piece now. As a person who has been through a life threatening and altering experience that had to be scraped up by paramedics off the floor of my home in a nightgown with my underwear around my neck because I could not manage to put it where it belonged with my broken hip injury, I am not a fan of unduly shaming people. (Oh, and I'd thrown up into my hair and onto the underwear from shock and pain too, *shudder*) I wasn't a fan of it before that experience, but this one sealed it for life. When a person needs to use the bathroom urgently, is not a time for socialization. It is a time to take care of something pressing, and then maybe deal with other things. I can't believe that our Edward J is so focused on his need for fealty that he would shame someone in urgent need of relief, but that is what keeps coming through in his responses. There are plenty of circumstances in this world that bring us all to our knees or lower. Trying to pee just should not be one of them, as I see it. I don't think @Zeemanbhas participated in a while either, so he will probably not clarify what he meant, but yeah, Batali definitely broke in with bad intentions, I think. Sad it took so long for something to be done, but perhaps things may get better now. We can hope, at least.
  8. Thanks for the Crepes

    How to cook aubergine / eggplant?

    Don't forget moussaka.
  9. Thanks for the Crepes

    Favorite diet soft drinks?

    If I recall correctly, Trader Joe's has some very good naturally flavored sparkling water drinks without sweeteners. You have to be careful with these though. I bought some from the Dollar Store one time that are artificially flavored and just undrinkable. I still have them in case the water goes off and I need to flush the toilet. Don't laugh, I actually did that one time with some artificial orange soda after I started reading about brominated vegetable oil. The orange color had completely faded to clear by the time the now flat soda was finally made use of. Our tastes are similar, I love diet Dr. Pepper and have a 2 liter of A & W rootbeer I am hoarding for a treat. If you see diet Yoo-Hoo, or Lite Yoo-Hoo (they are hard to find) you might give them a try and like them. They are chocolate flavored, but I think the "lite" has 70 calories, so not really that lite. Diet sodas are not really offered up in the abundance of flavors the regular versions come in. Another one that is pretty good is diet Cheerwine. This is an NC drink and might be hard to find locally where you are. It has a cherry flavor to it and you may like it. Jarritos is a Mexican soda brand that used to do a lite mandarin and a lite tamarind. They seem not to be available anymore. Jarritos is one of the few naturally flavored sodas I think is actually worth the calories of the full sugar version. Soda licious! Why does Mexico seem to do soda so much better than we do?
  10. Thanks for the Crepes

    Best Carolina BBQ off of I-95

    I ran across this curated list of BBQ joints in NC the other day on Yelp while perusing Ole Time Barbecue on Hillsborough St, technically in Raleigh but walking distance to Cary. It's by Fred B. from Greensboro who appears to be a destination eater, BBQ aficionado, and a good food writer to boot, at least from my viewpoint. He's got 1,525 Yelp reviews to his credit and an amazing 267 of them, as of this writing are for NC BBQ. I dunno, but my guess is the dude knows his BBQ. I also agree with his reviews of the miniscule number I've been to in this area compared to his far ranging experience. Fred B. seems spot on, and if you want other's opinions, just click on the restaurant name.
  11. Thanks for the Crepes

    Nuts for nuts - suggestions on what to do

    Thanks for the link on the baklava, Heidi. I love baklava and spanakopita, but the air turns blue in my kitchen when I make it from the frustration of trying to separate the paper thin layers without them drying out and tearing while painting each layer with butter. If this method works, I see myself making baklava, spanakopita and tiropita much more frequently.
  12. Thanks for the Crepes

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Great looking dinner, as usual, Ann! I took a look at your recipe for the scalloped potatoes on your blog, but it doesn't say how you did them in the pressure cooker. I love scalloped potatoes and have always made them with a bechamel sauce and baked in the oven. The one thing I don't like is how long they take to make, though, with an hour and a half to bake after prep and assembly. I have an instant pot, and your PC version looks very good. Did you achieve the browning in the PC or have to transfer to the oven to get that?
  13. Thanks for the Crepes

    How green is your kitchen?

    I'm really sad to see this article. I take the time to dry out produce bags and wash out and dry frozen vegetable bags to take back to the grocery store that accepts them along with plastic grocery bags because Cary recycling program prohibits these materials. I take the time to remove staples from catalogs and that plastic glue stuff they use to stick mail together. I take time to open stuff I know is junk mail so it can be more easily processed. I wash out cans and bottles. I have washed a peanut butter jar and a mayonnaise one, but decided that not only was it too much work, but the water waste couldn't be worth it. I have packed the plastic bag and film waste on foot many times to the Food Lion or Harris Teeter that take them for two miles one way. My brother said he talked to a sanitation worker and they put most of the recycling in the landfill. I thought he was being his usual hateful self, but perhaps not?
  14. Yah! @Hallabat, I used to have good trusty toasters and trusted that the next one I bought would be the same instead of trying to fix anything. That was huge mistake. Nowadays, I deal with a toaster that has a lot of plastic and not good quality. The feet have cracked off, the end caps have cracked off to the point that I'm afraid to pick the damned thing up without unplugging it. The innards, including the T-stat still work. It's a shame I should have to take my life in my hands to toast bread, but that is the way it is now. Things used to be made better by less greedy people. People who were willing to make an honest living. I get you, for sure.
  15. Thanks for the Crepes

    Cooking while Primitive Camping

    At least it's supposed to be warm this weekend in this area, so if it rains, it won't be as miserable as it could be. I used to do a lot of tent camping when I was younger, and I have to say that when it rains, the camping experience is for die hards only. I took to taking a big umbrella for the long walk to the restrooms or when I otherwise had to get out from under shelter. Once your clothing or (in my case) long hair gets wet it WILL NOT dry in the 100% humidity of a rain shower or storm. I was camped in a nice dry tent with rain fly at the Burlington, NC Blue Grass Festival many years ago. We had prepaid tickets for the several day event and it rained most of the time we were there. It was still a wet experience, especially before we figured out how to best rig one of those big blue tarps you see on people's roofs after a hurricane. What worked is to tie one side high and one side low for a while, but during really heavy rain, we found we needed a central support post. This is easy to find if you are in a wooded area with deadfall. That worked great for the cooking/gathering area for a while. It was cool to be so popular with our fellow campers because who wants to be stuck in a tent all the time? Then some really violent winds came up and managed to rip the grommets loose from the tarp. Bummer. I recommend taking the tarp down until the wind dies down before any damage occurs. The rain is usually driven under it anyway, and you can put it back up later. So this was not ideal and I remember my finger tips getting all wrinkled like if you soak too long in a bath. We managed to have fun and eat well anyway, but I was a lot younger then and perhaps more tolerant of hardship. One great feature of the Coleman propane stove is the wind wings it comes with to keep the wind from blowing out your cooking flame. Just sayin' because I know you said you did not want a stove. Maybe something to think about though down the road. It sure is nice to be able to brew coffee when you get up and make some toast and eggs and bacon. I think that's the most annoying thing is trying to cook in a high wind. Your paper plates and napkins will blow off the table unless weighted down. One thing I really appreciated for camping was my Tupperware salt and pepper shakers. They have a flip up hinged lid that covers the holey shaker area so no moisture from dew or humidity can get in (or stray teeny bugs). They work well enough that I had no problem if they were out on the picnic table overnight and it rained even. Yeah, I don't care for the fire pits at the state parks much either. The "grills" have the cross members spaced too far apart to support anything besides a pan. Or maybe something like this. I got one similar to grill pizza at Dollar General and it works great for shrimp and small stuff too. This time of year Dollar General stocks all kinds of accessories for the grill at super cheap prices. I got a long handled fish basket there too which is great for more than just fish. I will hope for good weather for you this weekend and that you get to cook some good food on your new grill. Happy camping!