amymsmom's Profile

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Best Hummus on Long Island?

I'll second that. I make my own hummus, but theirs is smooth & creamy. I can't duplicate the texture.

Aug 15, 2012
amymsmom in New York State (exc. NYC)

Favorite Cookbooks for a college student

My daughter's leaving in 2 days, so I took her for more odds & ends, including her cookbook.

We looked at the newest version of "Joy", or as she called it when she was little, "Joey's Cookbook". I noticed some of the newer (older) grains like spelt, but I think it was too encyclopedic for her. I ended up buying Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything The Basics". It's less overwhelming & the pix guide a less confident cook.

We found an old copy of Joan Nathan's "Jewish Holiday Kitchen" and "The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook" by Gloria Bley Miller, at my mil's house. Also found books from Betty Crocker & Williams Sonoma. Those books surprised me since my mil wouldn't follow recipes.

Thank you for all the suggestions. Though I'm not sure if my daughter realizes it, it was a fun way to celebrate a small milestone!

Aug 15, 2012
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Favorite Cookbooks for a college student

Thank you for all your suggestions!

Just let my daughter know I'm doing this as she sipped a box of yoo-hoo. Oy.

I like Bittman's simplicity; Moosewood would be a nice attempt to eat healthier (ate there a zillion years ago - remember long communal tables); love "Joy's" encyclopedic approach to different food types. May try to find a copy of Marcella Hazan's The Classic Italian Cook Book" i have my mom's copy from 1973, and it's given me some ideas.

Still open to more.

Jul 16, 2012
amymsmom in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? July, 2012 [old]

We have a bumper crop of zucchini in rhe garden, so I shredded one of the bats (giant zuccs). Made 2 zucchini breads, doubling the recipe from my "Silver Palate Cookbook". Used whatever was left over on zucchini fritters with dinner. Thank G-d for ac!

Jul 16, 2012
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Favorite Cookbooks for a college student

My daughter is declaring her independence (well, not from her dad's checkbook), and moving to an off-campus apartment. She's looking forward to cooking some meals with her roommates & friends.

Can anyone suggest cookbooks for a somewhat experienced young adult. I thought of the latest version of "Joy of Cooking", just for basics. She mentioned that she'd like to do some basic Italian dishes. I did tell her she could access recipes on-line, but as a mom with a cookbook collection, I'm partial to the printed word/picture.

Jul 16, 2012
amymsmom in Home Cooking

What's Your Earliest Conscious Food Memory?

My first memory was probably before I was 5 - was in the kitchen in the apartment my family lived in till that age. My younger sister & I would climb on the counters and taste stuff - coffee powder, sacharine tablets, anything we could reach. I remember doing that after we moved to a house, but I changed it up a little. We dared each other to taste bad stuff too - baking soda, etc.

Shortly after moving, I remember my grandma making mychalim (yiddish for delicous treats) - kreplach (meat dumplings cooked in chicken broth), fees (chicken feet in the same pot), and a sour cream coffee cake with layers of chocolate.

That year my grandma introduced us to coffee, the Russian way. We each got a small glass of milk, with a few spoons full of hot instant coffee (Maxwell House or Sanka). We were also given a lump of sugar to drink it thru. Grandma sipped her glezel cafe (glass of coffee) thru the sugar cube held by the few teeth she had left. We just chewed the sugar or plopped it into the glass to sweeten the coffee milk.

My mom made a basic baked chicken quarters over chopped potatoes, celery, onions and carrots. My sister and I would fight over the fat that crystalized on the pan around the vegetables - delicious. I now make a similar dish, and scoop out the fat - but nobody else in my family is interested - their loss.

Nov 16, 2010
amymsmom in General Topics

Suggestions for Inexpensive and Delicious Rests. in Amherst, MA

Thanks for getting us started!
When we visited the first time, we ate at a place I think called "Judie's", that wasn't bad. Ironically, I ate an atypical non-salad veggie meal, and that was one of the last times she ate chicken.

Mar 17, 2010
amymsmom in Southern New England

Suggestions for Inexpensive and Delicious Rests. in Amherst, MA

My daughter will be attending UMass at Amherst, this fall. My family will be visiting several times, starting in a couple of weeks. Can anyone suggest any places we can eat near the campus that we'll enjoy, but won't break the bank?

We're not super chowish, just like to eat and not spend a fortune. My daughter avoids meat, and we try to eat healthy, though other than that, we'll eat almost any type of food.

Mar 16, 2010
amymsmom in Southern New England

Birthday lobster

Try Southside in Lindenhurst. I know it's not Nassau co, but it's great for a less pricey, no-frills lobster feast. My husband and daughter took me there for my last 2 birthdays.

Jun 05, 2009
amymsmom in General Tristate Archive

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

Just printed a copy from another Chow post. However, since I'm using bittersweet chocolate for the dipped fruit, I'll use milk chocolate for the Caramel Matzoh Crunch. I'll use butter, not pareve margarine, so it won't be vegan, but another tasty chocolate dessert!

Apr 06, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

Hmmm... I have both crystalized and non-crystalized candied ginger. And I'm not the only ginger fanatic in my family.

Thanks for the idea Caitlin!

Apr 06, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Another batch of Matzoh Crunch

Got a copy of the recipe with 2 cups of chocolate chips, and oven set at 440 degrees. I suspect that's too hot, but the more chocolate the better!

Apr 06, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

In that case, I don't feel like I'm missing anything!

Actually, I don't even like white chocolate. Not sure if anyone else in my family does either. I just like the way it looks. I'll make the dipped fruit pretty by using dried fruit in addition to the strawbs... have apricots, dried pineapple and dried kiwi (pretty but not as good as fresh). When the chocolate starts to seize up I drop it over nuts - got some pecan halves - yum!

Apr 05, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

This project has been interesting.

Just an FYI, I'm not kosher, so I'm not a stickler for ingredients for the most part. I'm trying to keep traditional - foods that are unique to Passover in a Russian/Jewish/ American home. For instance, I won't serve bread at my seder, so I bought matzoh farfel to use as stuffing. However, my sister asked me to make a flourless chocolate cake, which contains butter - normally verboten at a kosher meat meal.

My biggest restriction has been finding vegan-compatible foods.

The good news is that I found two products I can use for my daughter's friend (and of course everybody else). Bought Green & Black's dark chocolate for the dipped fruit & nuts. Bought Kojel to use instead of Jello for the cranberry/pineapple Jello my sister & I always make. Did find pareve chocolate chips, but I'm set on dark chocolate already.

After shopping in at a multi-ethnic produce stand, an Israeli grocery store, Trader Joe's, a kosher butcher shop, a gourmet produce stand, and Waldbaums (all this morning!), I accept the fact that you can't get pareve white chocolate around my area. Any white chocolate I found, even from explicitly kosher companies were all milchig.

Oh, well. Now I just have to prepare it all!

Apr 05, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

Had an annoying surprise at the grocery store this AM. Ghirardelli (my favorite) and Hershey's chocolates are all dairy - even unsweetened. I thought for sure, all chocolate except milk would be pareve. I bought a hunk of KFP semi-sweet chocolate, don't know the brand or how it tastes.

If she's definitely coming, I'll see if they have some white chocolate at the kosher butcher in my area (I don't have the time to drive to more frum communities nearby). If not (she may have to work that night, since all the Jewish girls will be off), I'll return the KFP chocolate and buy the chocolate I like. Nobody in my family keeps kosher; I just feel it's important to keep the traditions while feeding my family good-tasting food.

Apr 04, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Passover hostess Gift?

When in doubt, flowers are always nice.

If you want to bring wine, try to find a liquor store that has a good kosher for Passover selection. The wine will not be limited just to the sweet stuff. You should be able to find varieties just like non-kosher wines.

Assume the dinner will be a meat meal. That means that if the family is strictly kosher, in addition to celebrating Passover, you cannot bring food made with butter, milk or any dairy. Pareve (no milk or meat products in the food) is safe. Ask and/or check the package. Fruits, veggies, nuts, and eggs are all pareve.

Good luck and enjoy the meal. You'll probably taste some interesting new foods.

Apr 03, 2009
amymsmom in Kosher

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

Thanks for your ideas. Here are some thoughts so far...

I added veggie broth to my grocery list, for the mushrooms.

May serve sweet potatoes or beets for a second starch.

My favorite Israeli grocery store has a teriffic selection of olives. I'll definitely do that.

Have a recipe for grilled, marinated zucchini and yellow squash. Will do that if it's warm enough to barbeque - otherwise I can roast them.

And finally, how did I forget chocolate dipped strawbs? I was going to do a flourless chocolate cake, but a nice sheet of white and semisweet dipped strawberries would look and taste great!

Apr 03, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

It helps, thanks. Didn't see any desserts, though.

Apr 02, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Vegan, Kosher for Passover Recipes

My daughter's best friend is vegan. Since she is invited to our seder next week, I would like to have something for her to eat besides steamed veggies and fruit platter.

My appetizers all contain animal products (chopped liver, fish and eggs). I want to serve something other than cruite and salsa for her; it's not festive enough. My family looks forward to my traditional entrees... brisket and roast turkey, so I'll also add vegan sides and desserts.

I'm roasting potatoes with onions - would usually use a combo of shmaltz and canola oil (I get shmaltz crazy when cooking for Jewish holidays), but I'll stick with just canola like the rest of the year.

I'll probably do stuffed mushrooms with matzah meal. Though I usually use chicken broth to keep them lo-cal, I'll use olive or canola oil for moisture.

Any other ideas, especially vegan tsimmes and desserts are welcome!

Apr 02, 2009
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Great new Shanghai Juicy Bun Joint-Bellmore Long Island!

Finally had a chance to try this place. Will definitely return!

My husband and I aren't familiar with Shanghai-style food, but we love more authentic Chinese/less American Chinese food. Even my daughter who's fine with bland food was happy.

We shared 3 dishes - garlic shrimp, pork with bean curd sheets and edemame and chicken mai fun. All delicious. Jennifer, the manager introduced herself to us and promised she'd introduce us to more interesting meals when we return. Definitely looking forward to that.

Jan 25, 2009
amymsmom in General Tristate Archive

waldbaums supermarkets on Long Island

What area are you looking for?

BTW, I shop at the Waldbaums in my area (Merrick) more out of convenience than anything else. If anything better opened nearby, I'd probably stop. Lately I buy most of my produce at Pat's Farms (in N. Merrick), and assorted other stuff at Stop and Shop or TJ's. I buy my appetizing at Bagel Plaza, never at a grocery store.

Dec 19, 2008
amymsmom in New York State (exc. NYC)

Thanksgiving dinner: what do you "cheat" on?

You can get low-sodium boxed stuffing.

It's so popular that two years ago, my grocery store ran out. I made sure I got it early last year. I think I mixed two boxes of low-sodium with one of regular, and added the usual sauteed veggies and boxed low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth. As usual there weren't enough leftovers.

Gotta remember to pick it up the next time I shop.

Nov 15, 2008
amymsmom in General Topics

Thanksgiving dinner: what do you "cheat" on?

My original take on this question was different than what was intended. When I think about cheating with a holiday menu, it's more about using more fat, salt and sugar - almost absent in my normal cooking.

So, on this tangent, so far this is how I'm cheating this year:

Usually I use evaporated skim milk when I make pumpkin pie (pre-formed crust, Libby's pumpkin pie mix, egg, and whole milk) - this year I'm making the regular recipe.

I asked my husband what dinner foods he wants me to make. He asked for turkey (okay), some starch (okay), green beans in cream of mushroom soup & french fried onions (normally banned in this house), and ham (too salty, but popular in our family).

The usual full-fat desserts.

This isn't the full menu; just what I planned so far. I guess we'll go back to our healthier diet after Thanksgiving. Well, after we finish the leftovers (more cheating)!

Nov 15, 2008
amymsmom in General Topics

How do you make your gravy?

Before I start preparing the turkey, I cut up the giblets & neck and brown them in a medium pot. Once they're a little crisp and most of the red is gone, I add water and boil. This will stay on the stove on simmer - I add water to the pot as needed.

Then, I chop up lots of onions, celery and carrots and cover the pan. Any garlic, herbs, salt and pepper that fall off the turkey while I'm seasoning it are welcome. After the turkey has roasted about 10 or 15 minutes, I add wine to the pan - white, red, dry, sweet - whatever I feel like that day - I think about a cup. Every 15 minutes to 1/2 hour, I'll add some giblet liquid to the pan - I don't want everything to dry up and burn, but I don't want the liquid to get too deep.

When the turkey's done, I move it to a platter, and start to deal with the gravy. I pour the veggies and pan drippings into a strainer over a large pot. Then I deglaze the pan with a little water and pour it over the veggies. If there's any giblet liquid left, I'll pour that over the veggies to get off some of the fat. I pour the liquid into a fat strainer - often in a couple of passes (if I have more liquid than the strainer holds). The veggies go back into the pot, and the defatted liquid goes in too. I put it all back on to boil - adding water if it's too thick (rarely) or cooking it down if it's too thin.

After the turkey's carved (we do it before company comes - one less thing to do when they get to my house), I pour whatever juice is on the plate into the pot of gravy.

My gravy is flavorful, almost fat free, but very vegy - everyone seems to like it. I don't serve the giblets. There's not much left to them after their long boil.

I use this method (though without the pot of giblets) for chicken too - that's how I started doing it.

Nov 15, 2008
amymsmom in Home Cooking

Asian Market near Oceanside/Baldwin?

There's a little produce/gourmet store next to the fish store, by the parrot store in RVC. I think they have some Asian products.

Jul 29, 2008
amymsmom in General Tristate Archive

Freeport?

Rachel's is my favorite restaurant in Freeport for dinner. I've always had excellent meals and terrific service. However, I would never go back for lunch.

This past December my office had it's annual holiday luncheon at Rachel's. We had had the last two at Pier 95, which is my husband's favorite (he's the boss, so he usually makes the choice), but since we had such good experiences at Rachel's, we thought it would be a nice change. Big mistake. I felt like we were eating pretified diner food. The women from my office didn't mind the food, but I was embarrased that it wasn't as good as past parties.

Seems like two restaurants residing in the same location.

Jul 22, 2008
amymsmom in General Tristate Archive

Good food near Nikon Theater at Jones Beach?

Nautilus Cafe was my favorite in Freeport till we had a bad meal & bad service one night a couple of years ago. My mother-in-law, who eats out a lot, still swears by it. My favorite in Freeport is Rachel's, though only for dinner. Nice fresh seafood, and fairly convenient to Jones Beach.

Jun 20, 2008
amymsmom in General Tristate Archive

Star Fish Restaurant Merrick?

I ate there with some old HS friends last week. We all liked our food, and the service was pretty good. I had a monkfish dish that was tasty and not too full of fat (trying to keep the calories low). Everybody was happy with their meals.

We also tried the tasty "martini's" - they kept us happy!

If you like fresh fish and good drinks, you should enjoy Starfish.

While you're there, try Bagel Boss, in the same strip mall, for appetizing!

Jun 20, 2008
amymsmom in General Tristate Archive

BRASSERIE PERSIL, OCEANSIDE N.Y.

I think it's related to Surf & Turf Grill (???) in Merrick. Their food is terriffic. Finally tried it last week & will definitely go back.

If the food is the same at Brasserie Persil, definitely go!

Jun 20, 2008
amymsmom in General Tristate Archive

How to use special ingredients to make cheaper food seem special

Porcini mushrooms added to any dish with white buttons.

May 10, 2008
amymsmom in Home Cooking