MPJ's Profile

Title Last Reply

Whole Foods tomato basil risotto soup - recipe?

No luck. I've made tomato soup, creamy tomato soup, etc., but nothing tastes like that. I have a feeling it's the salt...the sodium in that soup is sky-high! But oh so tasty.

Jun 12, 2010
MPJ in Home Cooking

Low sodium brands/substitutions - help! [moved from Home Cooking board]

Since I've discovered the Whole Foods beans with no added sodium, I've just been using those - 10mg sodium per serving isn't bad, and the convenience factor is fantastic. But those are the ONLY brand of beans I've found! Luckily they also have pinto, kidney, and garbanzo beans without added salt, they're all around 10mg of sodium per serving. I make black bean burgers, bean enchiladas, hummus, etc.

Thanks for the Triscuits tip - my husband loves Triscuits, but I didn't realize they had a low salt version. He eats hummus every day for a snack, and those would be great with the hummus.

Jun 11, 2010
MPJ in General Topics

Low sodium brands/substitutions - help! [moved from Home Cooking board]

I attempt to keep my cooking low in sodium, because even though I make almost everything from scratch I'm blown away by the amount of sodium in EVERYTHING. I was wondering if you guys had any favorite brands or substitutions for high-sodium items.

At the moment, I'm loving the 365 Whole Foods brand canned black beans - 10mg of sodium per serving (as opposed to over 500mg in some other brands). They are the only beans I've been able to find without a ton of sodium - and at $.89 per can, they're dirt cheap. So instead of buying frozen veggie burgers which are usually high in sodium, I make my own black bean burgers, which are waaaay cheaper and have very little sodium.

What are your favorite brands or items? I'm talking mostly about canned or jarred items such as beans and salsas, frozen items such as frozen bagged shrimp, and pita/bread/tortillas without lots of weird ingredients and salt (I make my own bread but not every week). And if you have suggestions for a substitution for low sodium tamari (someone mentioned Bragg's Liquid Aminos), that would be awesome. I like to marinate tofu in a tamari/scallion/honey marinade but I'd like a lower-sodium alternative to the tamari.

And I have a question regarding shrimp that I'm hoping someone can answer - what's with all the sodium? I bought a bag of frozen raw shrimp from Whole Foods and didn't notice until I was about to use them that the ingredients included "shrimp, salt". The sodium count is around 300mg for one serving. I bought frozen cooked shrimp from Trader Joe's and had the same issue. I prefer buying 1 lb bags of frozen shrimp (both raw and cooked) because it's cheaper than buying fresh and I like having them on hand in the freezer. Are shrimp just high in sodium, or are there brands out there that sell bags of frozen shrimp without any salt?

I shop mostly at Trader Joe's (for basic stuff like flour, nuts, pasta, frozen fish, etc.), Whole Foods (canned low-sodium items, organic dairy, some produce), and our farmers market (pastured eggs, produce, cheese), so if anyone has store-specific suggestions for TJ's or WF that would be awesome!

Jun 11, 2010
MPJ in General Topics

I miss my mom's______dish!

I know this is an old thread, but something happened last night that reminded me of it.

I made a beautiful vanilla bean rice pudding - it's seriously divine - and I thought my husband would be really excited because he reminisces now and then about how much he enjoyed rice pudding growing up. So I serve him a little ramekin full of pudding, and he looks at it - sniffs it - and takes a tiny bite.

Me: Well?
DH: It's good! It's really good - it's just - different.
Me: Different.....how?
DH: It's not like my mom's.
Me: What's your mom's recipe like?
DH: It's the one on the can of evaporated milk.

I've been devouring bowlfuls of my pudding all morning, and while I think he enjoyed it, I know he likes his mom's better. I'm thinking about buying a can of evaporated milk next week and just making that for him - everything tastes better when it's made like mom's!

Nov 15, 2009
MPJ in General Topics

Whole Foods tomato basil risotto soup - recipe?

I can't stop eating the tomato basil risotto soup from Whole Foods, and I'd like to make something similar at home. Does anyone have a recipe for something like this? Thanks!

Nov 12, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Bethesda Central Farm Market - good? Farmers markets further north?

small fry - I had no idea - it's 5 miles from my house! We'll go check that out, thank you so much for the info/link.

Transplanted Texan and wasliche - I'll give the Kentlands another try. We're considering moving down there anyway, it would supremely convenient (and I do my shopping at WF anyway).

Kind of in the same vein - does anyone know of any good co-ops or little markets in the Germantown or Gaithersburg area? My friends that live in Takoma Park always rave about their co-op, and I've been to the one in Silver Spring, but I haven't seen anything similar up here. I like MOM in Rockville, but it's a bit of a drive.

Thanks again for all the great info!

And OT, but thank you for the reminder - I forget about the "seasons" thing here - in CA our farmers market was year-round. This whole seasons thing is still new to me! :)

Sep 24, 2009
MPJ in Washington DC & Baltimore

Bethesda Central Farm Market - good? Farmers markets further north?

Has anyone been to the Bethesda Central Farm Market?

http://www.bethesdacentralfarmmarket....

I keep meaning to go but as I live in Germantown, I never end up actually going. I was wondering if it was worth the drive once in a while.

On that note, does anyone know of any farmers markets close to Germantown? I went to one in the Kentlands last year and maybe I went on an off day, but I was really underwhelmed - I think there were 5 vendors there. Sometimes I go to Butlers Orchard, but I prefer organic produce and they don't seem to have much of it.

I searched the boards but didn't find anything so apologies if this is redundant. Any help is appreciated. :)

Sep 23, 2009
MPJ in Washington DC & Baltimore

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

TampaAurora - Thank you for the tips. A friend of ours in Boston makes the most amazing breads, and she's coming to visit next month so I'm hoping for some tasty demonstrations or lessons of some kind. I know she's big on beer breads - I'll ask her to bring some of her recipes. Even better - she and her husband make their own beer!

Sep 23, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

pizza stone?

This is coming from a complete pizza newbie, so I apologize in advance if this has already been covered - but where do I leave my stone in an electric oven? On the bottom rack? And if I need to use the rack for say, a baking sheet, do I just put the baking sheet on top of the stone or should I take the stone out before I turn the oven on?

Thanks in advance for help on this.

Sep 23, 2009
MPJ in Cookware

a lot of zucchini from garden - good recipes?

This is kind of similar to the couscous recipe cosmopolita just posted. This only calls for 6 oz of zucchini, but I didn't have squash on hand so I just used a LOT of zucchini. It was so delicious - the feta really made the dish, we used Greek feta in brine.

from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/09/cou...

She also has a recipe for a pizza with squash/zucchini and goat cheese which looks heavenly.

Sep 23, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

Uh oh - what kind of things happen when you poke holes in the bread? I need to know so I won't be horribly surprised next time. Does thumping work on other breads, too? I was going to attempt another loaf of bread (hadn't decided what yet) this weekend.

I really enjoyed making the challah, once I got over the initial fear. My husband has video of me laughing hysterically as I attempt my first 6-strand braid. :)

Sep 23, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

TampaAurora - You may already know this, and I'm a COMPLETELY novice bread baker (this was my first loaf), but I was told by a friend (who bakes amazing bread quite frequently) to insert an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the loaf and it should read about 190 degrees. That's how I knew the challah was ready - I tried the "thump it on the bottom it should sound hollow" trick, but the instant read thermometer kept telling me it wasn't quite to temp yet, so I just let it keep going. It turned out great, so I suppose it's a trick I'll use again.

This is probably common knowledge for bread bakers but it was definitely helpful for me as a newbie.

Sep 23, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

My mom did the same thing - her pan was too small and she said it exploded all over her oven. She made another one today, but I don't think she's tasted it yet.

Your DIL has to learn the chunk trick! ;)

And I want to thank goodhealthgourmet - the Dave Lieberman chicken was DELICIOUS! I went with skinless/boneless breasts and thighs, and did half prunes/half apricots, and then sprinkled a little extra garlic powder before baking, and it was probably one of the tastiest chicken dishes I've ever made. My husband was skeptical because of the fruit but he loved it. My cats even liked it - I caught one of them trying to sneak some chicken off the platter when I turned away for a second. Thanks for posting that recipe!

Sep 19, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

I miss my mom's______dish!

I'm missing my mom after reading all of this! She's 3,000 miles away, but she's coming to visit at the end of the month. She's not the most stellar cook, it was my grandma who was incredible in the kitchen. And my great-aunt Ree - she made this ice cream Jello mold for every holiday and it was always my favorite part of the meal. Funny thing is I HATE Jello, but I loved that dessert. I do miss my dad's turkeys, though - they're awesome. He smokes them or something - I've never tasted anything like it. And he's so methodical about it - he has a special apron he wears when he's making them, it's hysterical.

lovessushi - My husband always talks about his mom's taco salad. It sounds vile - ranch dressing and processed cheese of some sort - but he swears it was the best thing ever. He's also obsessed with her rice pudding. I've tried making it, but I think everything tastes better when mom makes it.

I'm really hungry now.

Sep 18, 2009
MPJ in General Topics

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

wolfe - It fell off, I swear! ;) I'd say it happens to pretty much everything I bake. I can't not taste it right away - I just can't handle it. It smelled so good!

lovessushi - I'm cooking tomorrow as well, and thank you for that link. I'm going to decide between the Molly Katzen recipe (which another friend recommended) and the Joan Nathan recipe. I don't know why I'm freaked out by bread - but I am. I had an epic failure before with brioche - EPIC. I'm traumatized.

Sep 18, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

I'm reporting back as well - I made Marcy Goldman's honey cake last night, and it came out beautifully. I had a chance to taste it (a little chunk fell off the bottom when I turned it onto a plate), and it was really good! I only had like, 1/2 a bite, but so far so good. The almonds were delicious - they got all toasty.

Today I went to the store to get the salmon for our spice rubbed fillet, but their fish selection was dismal - sad-looking salmon. I remembered everyone praising Dave Lieberman's chicken, so I picked up the ingredients and I'll be making that instead of the salmon. Oh well! Back-up plan!

Now I just have to tackle the challah. I'm really intimidated, for some reason. I cannot decide what recipe to use - they're coming at me from all sides. Eeek.

Sep 18, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

Do you think today is too early to make the honey cake if we're having it on Saturday evening? I know you can tightly wrap the cake in plastic wrap and keep it at room temp for a few days, but do you think 3 full days is too far ahead?

Sep 16, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Great Vegetarian Recipes for Meat Lovers

Not a veggie chili, but I'm so stoked for lentil soup, I've been craving it for a while. I was going to make Barefoot Contessa's recipe this fall:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/le...

And butternut squash soup topped with creme fraiche and fried sage - I saw that somewhere recently (can't remember where). I think that sounds so good.

I'd actually be interested in a veggie chili recipe, too - but something without faux meat crumbles. Just veggies.

Sep 16, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

rockycat - Thank you for the couscous suggestion, that sounds really good. I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon, either.

And I had no idea about the nuts! Huh. I'm learning a lot in this thread!

Sep 15, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

Oooh, that sounds really good - I think mushrooms and onions would be especially good. I have some frozen wild salmon in the freezer and that would be a good side for next week when I'm trying to use up the leftover couscous.

A friend sent me a recipe with golden raisins, green onions, and pine nuts, and I think I'm going to try that - but substituting sliced almonds for the pine nuts (because I have mass quantities of almonds for some reason). I want to do something sweet-ish to stay kinda traditional, but I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet stuff so I'm hoping the green onions will help there. But I think I'll take your suggestion and steam the couscous in chicken broth instead of water - that sounds delicious.

I bought the yeast for challah today - I'm going to try making it for the first time! Wish me luck.

Sep 15, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

Does anyone have any good couscous recipes? I'm doing a spice-rubbed salmon fillet (cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon) and my husband requested couscous.

I've also decided I'm going to attempt challah for the first time, so if anyone has any tips or foolproof recipes I'd be grateful!

Sep 14, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

If you do make it, let me know how it turns out! I convinced my mom to try the same recipe, and she's making it as well - 3,000 miles away. So we're going to give it an "official" rating after we've both made it and tried it.

Sep 13, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Great Vegetarian Recipes for Meat Lovers

Thank you so much, greygarious! I'll try her that way. :)

Sep 10, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

What is everyone making for the Jewish holidays?

We're doing a Saturday dinner and I was thinking of doing salmon, some sort of green vegetable, yams/squash, and a honey cake. The yams/squash recipe I was going to try is called "Sort of Sephardic Sweet Potatoes and Squash" and it sounds really easy (it's geared towards children), so that may be an easy side. The salmon is simple enough in the oven and the honey cake can be made a day or two ahead.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

And I'm making Marcy Goldman's honey cake for the first time, even though I feel guilty not using my mom's recipe!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Sep 10, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Great Vegetarian Recipes for Meat Lovers

kchurchill5 - My mouth is WATERING! Do you have a recipe for the:

asparagus lasagna
stuffed portabellas
zucchini/mushroom/spinach lasagna?

My husband and I eat seafood periodically (and very rarely poultry), but I've been making mostly vegetarian dinners and I'm not very creative.

Sep 08, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Best little ethnic restaurants in Montgomery County?

Rainbow Restaurant in Gaithersburg has delicious food and the owners are so nice:
http://www.rainbowrest.com/

Moti's Falafel Stand inside the Kosher Mart in Rockville (it apparently moved to their Boiling Brook Pkwy location, and I haven't tried it since the move):
http://www.koshermart.com/index.php

Their falafel and condiments are the closest to what I had in Israel.

Sep 08, 2009
MPJ in Washington DC & Baltimore

what to do with grade b tahitian vanilla beans?

Not entirely related, but somewhat - and I can't find a separate thread on this (please direct me to one if I've missed it), but where is the best place to buy vanilla beans? They're a fortune at Whole Foods, so I was hoping to buy some online, but I'm not really sure what kind to buy or who from.

This seems almost too good to be true - 25 beans for $10?
http://www.topvanilla.com/index.html?...

And Beanilla sells theirs on Amazon, are they a good source?
http://www.beanilla.com/vanilla-beans...

I've never cooked with vanilla beans before, but I really want to make my own extract and a few vanilla bean baked items. Thanks!

Sep 05, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Secret to a moist cupcake?

Wow, thank you guys so much for all the info and the links. I don't think I'm overbeating things, and I'm a chronic "underbaker" - even though I have an oven thermometer (and a HORRIBLE oven) I always set my timer for WAY less baking time than indicated, then check frequently. I've only tried one buttermilk recipe - Martha Stewart's - and I'm definitely not a fan. But I'll definitely look into others with buttermilk.

I'm going to attempt some oil recipes. I tend to shy away from them because I love the taste of butter. :) And amy_wong - THANK YOU!

I can make great red velvet, carrot, chocolate, and coconut cupcakes, but I'm going to need to do some experimenting to get this vanilla cupcake just right.

My husband pointed out that I halved the recipe and I could have gotten my ingredient quantities screwy - do you guys ever have issues halving cupcake recipes?

Sep 04, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Secret to a moist cupcake?

What is the secret to a moist cupcake? Oil? Butter? Melted butter? I'm having a hard time finding just the right "basic" cupcake recipe (i.e. vanilla or buttermilk).

I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong, or if I'm choosing bad recipes, but I keep getting dry results. I've had success with other flavors, but for some reason I'm having a hard time with vanilla.

Any suggestions, tips, or recipes would be greatly appreciated. I'm letting everything get to room temperature first, I only use high quality ingredients, and I generally closely follow the recipe instructions. But obviously I'm doing something wrong!

Sep 04, 2009
MPJ in Home Cooking

Best cupcakes in Baltimore?

I'm having a very special birthday party in Baltimore on or around May 5th and I need fantastic cupcakes. I don't live or work in the Baltimore area, so I have no idea where to start - who has the best cupcakes? I've seen ads for Charm City Cupcake and Baltimore Cupcake Company, but not many reviews of their cupcakes. If I can find someone to deliver to Johns Hopkins Hospital, all the better. I'm interested in red velvet, chocolate, vanilla, etc., nothing too exotic.

If there aren't any remarkable cupcakes in the area, I'm open to getting a regular cake - but it would have to be fantastic and red velvet with cream cheese frosting (and delivery if possible).

Thanks VERY MUCH in advance for any suggestions!

Apr 02, 2009
MPJ in Washington DC & Baltimore