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  1. We have a couple of crowd pleasers at our place, things I fall back on when I want happy guests and quick work. Poor man's pie, one my mom taught me early on. 1 cup each flour, sugar, and milk. Stick of butter, melted. Teaspoon vanilla. Mix, pour into baking dish. Add a can of either pie filling, frozen berries,or drained, tinned fruit (we prefer peaches). Bake at 350/180 until done. I double for a 9x13 and serve with cream/custard/ice cream. Great for when you only have pantry staples Better than [anything] cake. Bake a 9x13 chocolate cake--I prefer the Hershey's black magic or chocolate wacky cake. While hot, pour sweetened condensed milk and caramel ice cream topping over the cake. Sprinkle with crushed candy bars/Oreos/nuts--your preference. Before serving, top with whipped cream and sprinkle more of your candy. The guys adore it and it rescues an over baked or dry cake if necessary. I know there are others, I'll just have to think about it
  2. So, in the midst of Christmas baking, I had a very belated birthday cake to make for a former colleague. I'd all but promised a cake for an August birthday, but this was the first time a group of us could get together since July. Oops . It was 4 layers of chocolate cake with alternating layers of ganache and a whipped Nutella custard-type filling, topped with ganache and liberally dosed with kahlua and baileys. Unfortunately the extreme heat had it sliding around, even with the skewers I used to anchor it and multiple returns to the refrigerator during assembly. It tasted great, though, and it made us all laugh at the leaning tower of cake. My inspiration from here was an attempt at the Nutella star bread. The heat got me again, though, and my dough was difficult to manage. Thus you only get to see the prettier part of the bread. Again, taste carried the day and nobody minded the rather ugly other half
  3. Not in the US, but I've noticed more of these types of foods in Australia recently. Often they are near the bagged salads--you could easily grab a salad pack, vegetables ready to roast (including pats of butter already placed, etc), and then a tray of some sort of oven/microwave ready main dish. The next section is refrigerated cakes (cheesecake, frosted/filled cakes), so "homemade" dinner in one aisle Even saw cauliflower "rice" and zucchini "noodles" last week. This is of course in addition to the prepared deli salads/pizzas/soups, and even sushi bar depending on the store. Haven't noticed breakfast yet, but that's also not my prime shopping time.
  4. Hmm, not sure the official name. See Here --caramel nuts with a spike
  5. Host's note: this tempting topic is split into segments to reduce load on our servers; click here for the previous installment. Mother's birthday was last week and she's tricky to bake for. Ended up making baklava, which I served over lightly spiced pears and caramelized honey. I tried to quenelle the frozen honey mousse, which worked until things got delayed and melted. Went over really well and birthday gal was happy. The little caramel decoration was also my first time playing with that sort of thing. I had thought to do nut spikes, which was working decently well...until a nut crumbled and I stuck the toothpick into my thumb instead. Settled on simpler decorations after that
  6. Everything always looks so amazing on these threads--a bit intimidating! Maybe I'll up my baking and photography on here After reading through an old series of posts, I decided to make a tarte grenobloise, or something inspired by it. I swapped the crust for David Lebovitz' tart crust (so easy!) and used a mix of pecans and walnuts. Only major thing I want to change is to take the caramel a bit darker next time--and according to my taste-testers this recipe needs to be repeated!
  7. Ama

    Hi :)

    Thanks for the welcomes As much as anything, I've learned when it's worthwhile to take shortcuts and use time savers and when I should go all out. I'm not too bad at repurposing things or substituting for the right texture or flavour without spending big on imported ingredients. The travels have taught me to be ok with substitutes and creative workarounds for missing ingredients or nostalgic dishes (most countries don't celebrate Thanksgiving...good luck finding cranberries!). I'm a lot more open to different flavour profiles, including things from the Indo-Chinese side of the extended family, and discovered some aspects of ethnic cuisines that are pleasant surprises. There's no question of my American roots, but my exposure to northern Africa and Asian friends & markets have me playing a lot more than I'd expected. I learn a little bit from a lot of people...and life is more fun that way
  8. Hi guys - I have been enjoying reading through some old (and not-so-old threads and thought I ought to join up. I used to think egullet was a bit beyond me, but hey...nothing ventured, nothing gained! I've lived over three continents and like to "play" in the kitchen when schedules allow. These days, that mainly means celebration meals or assisting with meals for the hungry hoardes we seem to collect at our place. I ran the weekday operation at a low-cost cafe that joined the community and an at-risk population for a while as the only paid staff with a volunteer team, but no formal training. I've developed a series of intolerances, but that doesn't keep me from making things for other people! I love seeing what others are up to and gaining ideas and learning from their experiences. I tend to be a lurker, but look forward to joining in as I can. Thanks for having me
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