• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Smithy

Foodblog: Smithy - Notes from the land of Cheap Refrigeration

164 posts in this topic

I posted about the silicone covers back in January 2012 when I took this photo.

I don't use the ones in the upper left corner for microwave or oven, just on the counter or in the fridge for short periods.

The big rectangular one on the right is 10 x 14 so covers a 9 x 13 baking dish with ease - made by Lekue.

It's not as pretty as the banana leaf.

attachicon.gifSilicone lids.png

I didn't see the red poppy lids but am Jonesing for the Hibiscus lids. Not that I need any more.

When I prepare squash or pumpkin for filling pasta or pastry, I spread it on a sheet pan, about 1/2 an inch thick and put it in a very low oven (175°F.) for 30 to 50 minutes. I find it deepens the flavor a bit, as well as drying out some of the moisture.

Those silicone lids in the upper left are some I looked at before deciding on the lily pads. I was trying to remember whether they were contraindicated for microwave, regular oven, or both. Apparently it's both?

...and since when did "need" come into the picture? ;-)

Since I had to drain my squash puree, it sounds as though I should have roasted the squash uncovered in the first place. Is that what you do? The cookbook was silent on the issue, and I feared the squash would be too dry.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm using these silicone lids so much I may just put all my metal lids in the basement. The silicone ones store so easily.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So glad you are blogging. Will you feel comfortable showing us your kitchen?

Glad to do it, Anna, and thanks for the welcome! I'll have to show the photos in a couple of stages, but here's a start. The "overview" photo that shows the entire kitchen didn't come out - I must remember to take the sunshade off when I'm using a flash. Basically, the kitchen island provides the main counter space, holds the dishwasher, and more or less divides the work area from the eating area. We don't have a dining room, and probably never will.

Island aisle.jpg

The working triangle (stove, sink, refrigerator) are all on the work side of the island.

Work corner.jpg

Many of the skillets are stored in easy reach and easy view. My darling wanted an overhead pot rack above the island when we remodeled, and I drew the line at that. There used to be a china hutch where the pots are hanging now, and it had to move around the corner into the living room when we remodeled. It's still in easy reach, just doesn't show from the kitchen.

Pot wall.jpg

We remodeled a few years ago. Remodeling was quite the operation: "Don't ask me dear," said my darling, "it's your kitchen and your tastes, so you do it as you wish." Well, that didn't seem quite right, since he has to live here too, but it turned out we had very different ideas about what the final project should look like. (We did, however, agree on working to keep the maple leaf wallpaper that you and some others spotted in the teaser photos. We couldn't find anything we liked nearly as well.) All in all we're very happy with the outcome, but we aren't eager to go through the process again. :laugh:

5 people like this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

everything looks spectacular.

I like the nice tall windows. sometimes those are forgotten.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my dream kitchen, I've always wanted one of the overhead pot/skillet hangers….however, after I realized how much grease, dirt and gunk accumulates on my overhead lights, I nixed the idea. Very smart and pretty where you hang yours! I love it.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned earlier that lunch is usually as predictable as breakfast. This is because one of our strategies for keeping weight down (and allowing us to do most of our splurging in the evening) is to have a container of green salad ready to go. If one of us is very hungry (as I was after shoveling and chopping ice today) and there isn't a salad ready, then it's likely to be chunks of cheese or leftovers or some other more fattening food. Today, in fact, I settled for rosemary bread smeared with cheese while I was preparing the salad.

Here are the fixings, before being rinsed, drained, chopped and so on:

Salad fixings.jpg

And here's the container of salad, ready for several days' meals:

Salad for the week.jpg

We add cherry tomatoes, olives and croutons as we see fit, and have our own preferred salad dressings. The tub-worth stays crisp thanks to having been washed, well-drained, and sealed. (My darling was worried that I'm showing the seamy underside of our food habits: salad for several days at once! Oh, the horror!)

5 people like this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, we have the exact same counter top, fridge, and cabinets! I called my husband over to see and he asked if you lived here in Kansas :)

Side question: How do you keep the tops of your cabinets clean? I am at a loss. Ours are are unsanded plywood on the top ( yeah, sigh) Cleaning is impossible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my dream kitchen, I've always wanted one of the overhead pot/skillet hangers….however, after I realized how much grease, dirt and gunk accumulates on my overhead lights, I nixed the idea. Very smart and pretty where you hang yours! I love it.

In fact, grease and gunk do accumulate atop the overhead cabinets. but not as badly as I think they'd accumulate on low-hanging skillets. One thing I'd do over if I could would be to install an exhaust vent that vents OUTSIDE. I figured out how to do it about halfway through the remodeling project, when it was too late. It can still be done without too much time and expense, but we'll have to line up the contractor again and have time home to make it happen. The second choice would be to have the range hood (it's built into the microwave) vent FORWARD instead of UP. Everyone assured me that it made no difference which way it vented. They were wrong.

2 people like this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, we have the exact same counter top, fridge, and cabinets! I called my husband over to see and he asked if you lived here in Kansas :)

Side question: How do you keep the tops of your cabinets clean? I am at a loss. Ours are are unsanded plywood on the top ( yeah, sigh) Cleaning is impossible.

Shelby and Smithy, could you line the tops with drawer liner? It's smooth, so wipes clean.


Edited by Plantes Vertes (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, we have the exact same counter top, fridge, and cabinets! I called my husband over to see and he asked if you lived here in Kansas :)

Side question: How do you keep the tops of your cabinets clean? I am at a loss. Ours are are unsanded plywood on the top ( yeah, sigh) Cleaning is impossible.

Shelby and Smithy, could you line the tops with drawer liner? It's smooth, so wipes clean.

That's a great idea, but there are more obstacles. My contractor installed lights and electrical outlets on the top of my cabinets, so it's not a smooth, plain surface.

Believe me, if I could have a do-over, I'd do a lot different.

Sorry to hijack you, Nancy!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Blether, thanks for the suggestion. I don't usually get whole fish but it sounds like a good idea. Would you use aromatics in that stock? If so, which?

Well, as you are already doing, of course you can adapt as you like, so as to get close to that Egyptian original, or according to your mood. Given that you're using water as it is, I expect you'll find a simple fish stock alone will make quite a difference. Generally if I'm doing one I'll think about black pepper, bay, white wine. Maybe some zest from those lemons ? Of course you can go the extra mile and add onion/celery/carrot.

Typically the fishmonger will charge you for the filleting, and you might find you can get the whole fish for less than the two sides. But if your seafood options are limited, maybe you can get clam juice ?

2 people like this

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only time I had cabinets with a free space at the top, I also had a huge Garland range and although I had an industrial-grade exhaust hoot, there was still plenty of grease floating around.

Our painter recommended that he coat the cabinets, especially the tops (which were out of sight) with clear, high-gloss epoxy finish, putting on two coats, with a final polish with steel wool and a paste like jewelers rouge.

The result was a finish that didn't exactly repel grease, but it wiped off with just a damp cloth, no soap.

That was back in the early '70s and I am sure there have been great improvements in paint technology since then. It might save some grief to at least look into it.

3 people like this

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, we have the exact same counter top, fridge, and cabinets! I called my husband over to see and he asked if you lived here in Kansas :)

Side question: How do you keep the tops of your cabinets clean? I am at a loss. Ours are are unsanded plywood on the top ( yeah, sigh) Cleaning is impossible.

I think that's very cool that we picked the same granite! Did you buy it under the name of "Cosmic" or "Cosmic Blue" (I heard both) or is that a local vendor name?

More on the cabinet tops below.

Also, we have the exact same counter top, fridge, and cabinets! I called my husband over to see and he asked if you lived here in Kansas :)

Side question: How do you keep the tops of your cabinets clean? I am at a loss. Ours are are unsanded plywood on the top ( yeah, sigh) Cleaning is impossible.

Shelby and Smithy, could you line the tops with drawer liner? It's smooth, so wipes clean.

That's a great idea. As it happens, the tops of my cabinets have a smooth finish - basically the same as the faces and sides - so they clean easily with something like Pledge, once I get up there and take everything down (rolls eyes). Then I have to thoroughly wash everything that was sitting atop the cabinets, because of course those things are just as greasy.

The only time I had cabinets with a free space at the top, I also had a huge Garland range and although I had an industrial-grade exhaust hoot, there was still plenty of grease floating around.

Our painter recommended that he coat the cabinets, especially the tops (which were out of sight) with clear, high-gloss epoxy finish, putting on two coats, with a final polish with steel wool and a paste like jewelers rouge.

The result was a finish that didn't exactly repel grease, but it wiped off with just a damp cloth, no soap.

That was back in the early '70s and I am sure there have been great improvements in paint technology since then. It might save some grief to at least look into it.

That's interesting, that even an industrial-grade hood didn't capture everything. Maybe I'll stop whingeing about it. In the meantime, the finish does clean easily...but everything else has to come off to be cleaned as well. On the other hand, it's a good motivation to have parties so that stuff has to come down. Can't put appetizers out on greasy plates, ya know. ;-) That's more or less my housecleaning plan: have company over so I have to clean up.
3 people like this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Assisting Smithy here - post of her before kitchenhttp://forums.egullet.org/topic/72799-eg-foodblog-smithy/page-2#entry993614

Thanks, heidih!


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well! Well, well, well!

Ravioli tonight, to mixed success. The recipe is "Cappellacci di zucca" (Large ravioli with winter squash) from the above-mentioned "Sauces and Shapes" book. I made the egg pasta dough (pasta all'uovo) from the same book, and tossed it with Burro al salvia (melted butter and fresh sage), also from this book.

Ravioli fixings.jpg

As with almost anything worth doing, there's a learning curve, and I've just barely started up the slope called "stuffed pasta". The dough was time-consuming but not difficult; I've worked to make pasta dough enough now that I can feel when it's developing the proper texture, and make adjustments when necessary. I don't have the hang of gauging the amount of filling for the size ravioli I plan. As a result, I ended up slicing the ravioli with a knife instead of using the intended stamp; even then, one split and lost its filling to the water. In fairness, I'll note that the recipe calls for making free-form cappellacci - essentially, making a square, setting some filling into the middle, and folding opposite corners together to make a rough triangle. It sounds simple, but to date my attempts at making free-form stuffed pasta have been too ludicrous for words. I opted to test the recipe and flavor balance and not worry about the ravioli form.

Ravioli in progress.jpgRaviolis.jpg

The biggest, most lovely revelation of the entire night was melted butter with sage. Where have I been all this time? That's a wonderful flavor combination, and one I won't forget. By the time the sage leaves had cooked in the butter they were crisp, to the point that I wouldn't have dreamed of removing them. They added a nice texture to the meal when encountered, and a pleasant color as well.

Ravioli dinner.jpg

I think the consensus of the household is that we prefer things a bit more savory, and the squash/cheese/egg filling was too sweet and, er, not meaty or savory enough. Setting these ravioli up in a sauce containing meat, or perhaps including some meat with the filling (I don't know how) was the suggestion before the evening closed down. I'd call the meal a qualified success, with suggestions for improvement to meet our tastes to come along later. But oh boy, that sage butter! :wub:

Last ravioli closer.jpg

5 people like this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah - fresh sage leaves and butter (or good oil) are magical as you found :)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yummy!! Sausage seems like a perfect idea in the ravioli filling!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your ravioli look fine to me. Plain squash or pumpkin is too sweet for my taste also. Do you every make duxelles? I make a batch every two or three months and freeze it. I mix it with the cooked squash - 2/3 squash, 1/3 duxelles for a savory filling in ravioli and empanadas. You can add a bit of shredded meat before adding the top of the pasta.

With soft, squishy fillings, I use a manual cookie press (because of arthritis in my hand I can't grip a pastry bag) because it it much easier to gauge how much I am applying to the bottom pastry. I also have a ravioli mold or "plate" which makes the task a lot easier. Most of the presses have a large 3/4 inch cone which dispenses just the right-sized dollop of filling.

3 people like this

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you. Love your kitchen because it just seems designed for cooking not merely for admiring. Those readily available skillets and stockpots are an invitation to start cooking. And the big bin salad ----brilliant.

2 people like this

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your ravioli look fine to me. Plain squash or pumpkin is too sweet for my taste also. Do you every make duxelles? I make a batch every two or three months and freeze it. I mix it with the cooked squash - 2/3 squash, 1/3 duxelles for a savory filling in ravioli and empanadas. You can add a bit of shredded meat before adding the top of the pasta.

With soft, squishy fillings, I use a manual cookie press (because of arthritis in my hand I can't grip a pastry bag) because it it much easier to gauge how much I am applying to the bottom pastry. I also have a ravioli mold or "plate" which makes the task a lot easier. Most of the presses have a large 3/4 inch cone which dispenses just the right-sized dollop of filling.

Duxelles are a great idea for this.

I have a ravioli mold that makes smaller pieces, maybe 2x2 inch instead of the 3x3 I was shooting for. It makes for a more orderly looking product. The raviolini attachment to my pasta maker didn't really get a good seal the time I tried it. Maybe my filling was too sloppy. What about the rollling pins with ridges? They look fun but ineffective to me, but I've never seen one in action.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I now have a beautiful, smooth squash puree thanks to a food mill. It seems a bit moist. The recipe says to use bread crumbs to thicken if necessary, but since I just realized I'm out of Parmesan cheese <scowl> I'm letting it drain prior to being put away for now. Actually it's too late for me to start messing with mixing fresh pasta dough and forming the raviolis tonight, anyway; I'm slow enough at all this that I tend to make the filling one day and use it a day or two later.

I'm reminded of the ladies who make the pierogi at St. Stephen's Church here in Oswego. Every day of the week leading up to their big festival, they make one kind of pierogi, and one filling. First, they make the dough (usually three or four food processors and stand mixers going at a time), set each batch aside to rest for a moment, and pass a batch of rested dough on to someone else to roll it out and cut circles. The circles get placed on parchment-lined sheet pans, and sent on to the tables of fillers. The fillers take the balls of filling that were made yesterday, place each ball onto a dough circle, pinch the edges shut, and put the filled pierogi back onto the sheet pan. The pans then go to a checker, who checks that no filling has crept into the seal (which would result in the pierog opening in the boiling pot) and fixes any potential problems, and then put in the freezer to wait for the festival. When the day's batch is complete (meaning all the dough balls have been sealed into dough), the next day's filling gets mixed and scooped with a disher into individual balls, which are put on parchment lined sheet pans and frozen. The freezing helps to keep the filling in a rounded shape, which in turn keeps it away from the edges when the dough gets pinched shut so the pierogi stay properly sealed in the cooking process. Doing it the day before also helps to expedite the assembly line, because the filling becomes grab-and-go and because the dough makers will know exactly how many batches of dough they need to make that day, for the complete batch. The pierogi stay frozen until the festival, when they get boiled and then fried. They'll also sell them frozen, for people to take home and cook later.

I wonder if a similar methodology of freezing ravioli filling in dollops would help to expedite your process?

6 people like this

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your pasta looks delicious! I haven't made fresh for so long. It's time I did it again. What do you do with your leftovers, or did you make just enough dough to use for one meal?

I made a half-batch of dough, and used about 2/3 of it. The remainder is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator. Sometimes in past batches I've gotten round to using the remainder in the next day or two, with no apparent deterioration in quality. At other times I've had that extra sitting in the fridge for 2 weeks, and finally decided that I had no plans for it, and thrown it away despite misgivings about wasting food.

When I made a half-batch of dough last night, however, I forgot that I'd made a full batch of filling! I think I'll be trying MelissaH's suggestion.

2 people like this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I now have a beautiful, smooth squash puree thanks to a food mill. It seems a bit moist. The recipe says to use bread crumbs to thicken if necessary, but since I just realized I'm out of Parmesan cheese <scowl> I'm letting it drain prior to being put away for now. Actually it's too late for me to start messing with mixing fresh pasta dough and forming the raviolis tonight, anyway; I'm slow enough at all this that I tend to make the filling one day and use it a day or two later.

I'm reminded of the ladies who make the pierogi at St. Stephen's Church here in Oswego. Every day of the week leading up to their big festival, they make one kind of pierogi, and one filling. First, they make the dough (usually three or four food processors and stand mixers going at a time), set each batch aside to rest for a moment, and pass a batch of rested dough on to someone else to roll it out and cut circles. The circles get placed on parchment-lined sheet pans, and sent on to the tables of fillers. The fillers take the balls of filling that were made yesterday, place each ball onto a dough circle, pinch the edges shut, and put the filled pierogi back onto the sheet pan. The pans then go to a checker, who checks that no filling has crept into the seal (which would result in the pierog opening in the boiling pot) and fixes any potential problems, and then put in the freezer to wait for the festival. When the day's batch is complete (meaning all the dough balls have been sealed into dough), the next day's filling gets mixed and scooped with a disher into individual balls, which are put on parchment lined sheet pans and frozen. The freezing helps to keep the filling in a rounded shape, which in turn keeps it away from the edges when the dough gets pinched shut so the pierogi stay properly sealed in the cooking process. Doing it the day before also helps to expedite the assembly line, because the filling becomes grab-and-go and because the dough makers will know exactly how many batches of dough they need to make that day, for the complete batch. The pierogi stay frozen until the festival, when they get boiled and then fried. They'll also sell them frozen, for people to take home and cook later.

I wonder if a similar methodology of freezing ravioli filling in dollops would help to expedite your process?

Great idea, and thanks for the evocative description of the St. Stephens assembly line!


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.