Thanks for the Crepes

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    Cary, North Carolina

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  1. Using a serrated knife: technique question

    I have Rada Cutlery's tomato slicer. It was given to me as a stocking stuffer many Christmases ago. I have trotted it out once at a dinner party where the donor was present. I don't like it. It remains in a drawer in its cardboard and plastic sleeves. I do keep a couple of long serrated knifes for slicing bread, and was very glad I had them after attempting to slice some crusty, rustic bread I bought the other day with a straight-edged knife. I have very little use for serrated knives otherwise, but whatever works best for you is the way forward.
  2. Recipe Question ?

    I don't know. As a long-time (27 years) renter of the residence I have come to consider my home, I think your landlord is in a position of power over you. I can certainly understand the angst in @pjm333's situation. It is unfair that they are exploiting that position, but it is also human nature. I have no magic answer, but I would not be cocky about however you decide to handle it. If you can easily move to another space you will like as well, then no problem. If you like it there, I would tread carefully and be tactful, whether you decide to move or not. You will need this landlord as a reference, probably, if you do decide to move. That said, it is very offensive to me that they are trying to rob you of your intellectual property, and I hope you can work out a successful resolution to this. It all boils down to how much you want to continue in that space. I have put up with so many indignities over the years to stay here, it would be comical if I wasn't living it. I have been fined for repeatedly asking for the broken air conditioner to be fixed. They finally replaced it ten years after it broke, and I had installed (illegal, unpermitted, and against the lease) ceiling fans to survive. I have been fined for repeatedly asking for the broken elderly furnace to be fixed. It's been on its very last legs for ten years and now it's totally non-functional. I figure I can make it though until warm weather hits on the two 110V electric fireplaces that cost a fortune to run that I bought to supplement the broken furnace. The oven is broken because I was using the cheaper to run 220V electric heating element to supplement the broken furnace. The elderly plumbing is a nightmare, and the unlicensed jacks of no trades they send out make it worse every time they touch it. I could go on, but I'll shut up about it now. The point is, I'm a military brat who attended an average of two schools a year until I was eight, and then continued to move frequently. I decided I was a nester and not a nomad, and the thought of moving horrifies me. You have to decide for yourself whether it's worth it to stay where you are before you confront your landlord, because the law is on their side and they hold all the cards. Most leases are written where it is literally impossible for the tenant to comply with all the provisions. If you want to occupy their property, you sign the lease they wrote up or you can't move in. The landlord can legally kick you to the curb at any time. Mine also makes me responsible for all rent under the lease if they decide to do so, as well as paying for utilities for the term of the lease. I literally cried when I signed the first lease over a clause where I had to agree to accept all deliveries at the rear entrance. That clause has been written out. There was also a clause for one year that made me responsible for mold damage and I had to agree to wash all the window frames with a bleach solution. Apparently their risk management and lawyers on retainer had them write that one out the next year. Renting sucks, so buy if you possibly can. I am giving myself a headache and an ulcer, so I am really going to shut up now.
  3. Dinner 2017 (Part 3)

    I had a pastrami and provolone sandwich on purchased but very good bread and a Caesar salad. I was having a craving for strawberry shortcake, but had no working oven and no milk, cream or whipped cream. While my strawberries were macerating in sugar, I preheated a heavy aluminum skillet and the heavy aluminum lid to my Dutch oven (which also fits the skillet perfectly) and mixed up enough slightly sweetened biscuit dough for a single shortcake with store brand coffee creamer powder and water. I cooked the shortcake in the skillet in butter for about five minutes per side. In spite of my lack of proper ingredients and a working oven, I was able to pull off a respectable shortcake. Whipped cream would have been nice, but this was good anyway. This was the first time I have tried biscuits or shortcake on the stove top, and it works!
  4. I have such a crawl space under the stairs and behind the coat closet at the front door in the foyer. I call it the black hole. Enter at your own risk. Beautiful chocolates, as usual!
  5. Dinner 2017 (Part 3)

    It got to nearly 70 degrees F/21 C today, and the gusty winds we've been having lately had died down somewhat, so I planned to cook outdoors over charcoal. I am also loving the extra three hours of daylight we are experiencing in the evenings compared to just a few months ago, and only one of those hours is attributable to the time change. It was sunny and perfect for a grill out. I grilled almost the whole dinner. The star of the show was a nice thick and fatty rib eye steak with a supporting cast of corn on the cob, asparagus, and good bread toasted, and roasted on the grill. This was preceded with a Greek salad with fig vinaigrette dressing. This was one of those meals where I had to stop myself from eating so I didn't hurt myself. So good! Marshmallows toasted over the embers for dessert.
  6. Hot Pot For Home Use

    I can't speak for @weinoo, but he, probably like me, is just fed up with the lack of durability in what should be durable goods lately. It is very hard to argue with the logic in @Shalmanese's post above though. He makes a very succinct and good case for less is more in the case of a hot pot.
  7. The Bread Topic (2016-)

    Yes, @Franci. Thank you so much for responding. I value your knowledge of Italian cuisine very much, but I am still unclear on how one would say the Italian word "pane". pan-E? Is this correct? I think we can all learn something here about the Italian word for bread on the Bread Topic. There are also videos that follow the pane pronunciation one that are very enlightening and pertain to Italian food pronunciations. I found that I have been saying several of them incorrectly. Here is a good one with a very cute little Italian lady as your guide. This video is proof, at least to me, that Italian is not at all easy to native English speakers. Spanish seems much easier to me. Also, Franci and others, what is your opinion of this site on Italian breads. There is one that looks somewhat like the one I am loving so much that they call "pane casareccio" and claim it is from the Lazio region. I cannot believe they get the crust so thick and crunchy and still the insides are so moist, light and tender. I put mine in a plastic bag and seal it up to soften the crust up, as it is quite challenging to bite and chew at first. The second day, the interior gives up some moisture to soften the crackly, tough crust, and each day down the line, the crust becomes softer. The bread has no preservatives, though, so it needs to be eaten in a few days. I love this bread my purveyor calls Pane di Casa!
  8. Snack Ideas Needed

    What about savory pastries? I'm a fan of TJ's spanakopita triangles and little mushroom turnovers with cream cheese pastry. A platter of fresh fruit would also appeal to me. These are all healthier alternatives than sweet pastries.
  9. Black Bean Soup: How do you make yours?

    All legume soups, including black bean, will thicken up noticeably with an overnight rest in the fridge. It's especially apparent with split pea soup, so I make sure to make this a day ahead of when I plan to serve it.
  10. Too-thin porkchops

    Yeah, I bought my ultra thin ones for the the first time ever to avoid leftovers, which I have come to despise. Even with the large footprint of the T-bone center cut, they are under four oz. raw. They broil up fine to me, but they are thinner than @robirdstx's. (She is an excellent photographer, isn't she!) I still have two raw frozen ones left, and I will buy these again, once I get my oven fixed. They work for me with broiling. Crunchity, crispity pork fat! What could be better? Another idea for next time, maybe for others, because I think Jo has sworn off this cut: Debone and cut into smaller pieces for "veal" Marsala. Veal is expensive here now, and this is done a lot. I remember reading a link to an interview here where Marcella Hazan calls out "veal" Marsala as not veal, but declares it superior with pork, at least with the kind of veal lately available in the US. I can't find it now with my best mad search skilz.
  11. Cooking with Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard

    This looks wonderful, and just adds to my sense of awe of your ability to cook up such interesting and varied dishes every day for only one person without falling victim to the monotony of leftovers! I especially love to see your posts about this native daughter of my state, who is now officially a James Beard Award Finalist. And yes, collards can be challenging, can't they? So many love them around these parts, and I have never developed a taste for them. I do wish I could, because they are one of the most beautiful greens I've ever seen.
  12. What ever happened to white grapefruit?

    I remember grapefruit that looked like those in the NYT article with the brown trails of mottling on the skin! I enjoyed these as a kid and don't remember eating pink or red much, if at all. Now, I usually have access to both red and white, but I noticed on Sunday, when I picked up a red one, that there were no white on offer. The white ones I see now have pretty perfect-looking skins with none of the mottling on what might have been the Duncan variety of my childhood. When I've eaten the modern white ones that I can get, they seem to me more bitter, and not as nice as the reds. The reds I get, and they are from supermarkets, taste better to me. When you're buying produce from the supermarket, you are very rarely privy to a name for the type of fruit/veggie you are buying and eating. The reds I get here have plenty of seeds though. I don't mind the large ones that are easy to pop out with a knife or serrated grapefruit spoon, but I really dislike those teeny seedlings which are not only hard to see, but seem sometimes to cling tenaciously in the fruit, and they are myriad. If I could find a grapefruit with a lot of larger seeds that separate easily from the fruit in a good-tasting grapefruit, it wouldn't matter the color or having a lot of large seeds. Not only very insightful, but it brings to mind a line from the movie "Black Swan". Natalie Portman's character is eating a red grapefruit and says, "How pretty and pink." It is the only thing we see her eat in this movie. Ballerinas, like fashion models, have to severely restrict their eating. This really resonates with me. The movie came out three years after the quote here.
  13. The Bread Topic (2016-)

    I too am shocked as some of the food prices from other points across the world. Most of them are enviably much cheaper than here. It's not uncommon to pay $2.99 for name brand squishy-white, commodity supermarket bread here, so the price for artisan loaves is, of course, even higher. Also it's not a mainstream thing. There is artisan bread available but it's like a niche foodie thing instead of an everyday thing around here. I'm lucky to live in an area where I can get a variety of very good breads and other foods. Many areas around here and in the US, generally, are not so lucky.
  14. Dinner 2017 (Part 3)

    I had a salad of red leaf lettuce dressed with soy sauce, honey, white vinegar, olive oil and a little toasted sesame oil. Then followed a king crab leg and asparagus with some of the great Pane di Casa bread. I cooked the asparagus in the same pot with the crab, dropping the crab after the asparagus, and this worked fine. There were melted butter and lemon wedges for both the crab and asparagus.
  15. Dinner 2017 (Part 3)

    I do in my Amana. There isn't one in the Hotpoint (landlord's cheapo). The light is a great design, I think. My second husband was really good at mechanical stuff and rigged up a light in the trunk of my car in the 1980's. I think they are pretty standard now in car trunks and freezers. I hated going back out with a flashlight to search for a missing item from my grocery order in the trunk in the dark. Hee hee, sometimes he would go out while I was stowing groceries instead of listening to me complain about the missing item. I loved that trunk light, and the light in the freezer too. Other than the fact that the duck may have been old, it looks and sounds like a prime time dinner to me. I am sensitive to "freezer taste", though, so that would have put me off. I like the sweet potato accompaniment with the pecans on top and asparagus never goes astray with me.