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bookgirl234's Profile

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Mexican Food across the USA 2007-describe yours

I live in Buffalo, NY and until the last couple of years we haven't had many Mexican restaurant choices at all. Your standard chains were available - Chili's, Don Pablo's, Taco Bell and, our version of Taco Bell, Mighty Taco (which everyone likes better!) - but nothing authentic in the way of fine dining (as far as I know). A few casual Mexican restaurants have opened in the suburbs and have been well received. I've never been to Mexico so I can't say how authentic they are; I'm betting not much but their food tastes good. I never bothered with the chains but I find myself going to the locally owned Mexican restaurants 4-5 times a month. They're all basically combo plate type places but La Tolteca is a standout for me. They have a huge menu with chicken, beef and seafood entree choices. I could basically live on their chips and salsa.

Apr 26, 2007
bookgirl234 in General Topics

Bacon in Buffalo

I was able to find it at Tops once - the one in Amherst on Maple. I picked it up because it was highly recommended by Cook's Illustrated but I wasn't that impressed. Although I love Wegmans I find they rarely have a varied selection of brands - typically it's their brand and one other. So for bacon that basically leaves you with Wegmans or Oscar Meyer.

What should I do with this cut of beef?

I've got this cut of beef that I bought on sale that I'm not sure what to do with. I'm thinking of it for tomorrow's dinner and am looking for suggestions. It's labled Top Round Steak Thick - Beef for London Broil - USDA Choice. It's 3.10 lbs, not very marbled and at it's thickest point about 1.5 inches and thinnest .5 inch. Normally I'd pan sear it and then in the oven for a few minutes but I don't know how that'd work because it's thickness.

I searched the boards and found a lot of recommendations for grilling but the weather isn't cooperating so that's out. I've got time for a marinade and a long cook time isn't a problem. I just don't want to ruin it. Any ideas?

Jan 13, 2007
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

Good Dining-In burgers in Philadelphia?

I'm in town one night and have too much work (conference calls with people on the west coast) to actually leave the hotel. The hotel's room service is TGI Fridays so I'm going to use the Dining In service. I'm really craving a good burger - these are my choices:

Cavanaugh's Restaurant
Continental Mid-town
Deuce Bar and Restaurant
Elephant & Castle
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Jon's Bar & Grill
Mad River Bar & Grille
Original Turkey Plus
Phila Deli
Steaks on South
The Wrap Shack

Any recommendations? Thanks!

Jan 09, 2007
bookgirl234 in Pennsylvania

What's your favorite type of pie such as apple, mincemeat, etc? (We'll save pizza pie for another day)

Lemon (no meringue)
Chocolate French Silk

Unfortunately none of these are on my Christmas menu!

Dec 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in General Topics

How to Make a Perfect Omelet - So Easy

I like the sound of this method. Does the bottom get brown at all? That's the part I don't like about my home cooked omelet.

Nov 15, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

Biscotti-- eggs or butter?

I've never made them in advance so I'm not sure about freezing. I do store them in plastic bags and that seems to work fine. Having said that though they don't really linger in the bag - too many hands reaching in for one!

Nov 07, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

Trouble with KitchenAid mixer?

I'm not home to check so I'm not sure. If there is I'm going to feel really stupid! From the pics I see online it looks like there's a lock on the right side, which is of course the side I never see because of the way I store it and use it.

Sep 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in Cookware

faux crab meat - what do I do with it?

I think a dip would be good - Paula Deen made one this morning with crab and shrimp (not imitation though). She used a can of soup but the end result looked really tasty.

Sep 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

Reheating Pasta with Cream Based Sauce

I do this too but I add the milk to the pan first, warm it up and then add the cold pasta. 2% or whole milk usually work best.

Sep 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

Trouble with KitchenAid mixer?

I've been having a problem with my KitchenAid - when I mixing cookie dough (just a regular chocolate chip) the top bumps up and down as if the bowl isn't on there right but it is. Is this an indication the motor is going?

Sep 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in Cookware

NY Times Article Ranking Ice Cream Makers with Compressors

Every public library in New York State offers a database called Custom Newspapers that has the full text of The New York Times going back to 1995 and is updated daily. All you need is your local library's website and a library card. Look for a link for databases or electronic resources or something like that. I found the article I think you're after - the title is "Churning Out Ice Cream Till the Sundae After Next." Just find Custom Newspapers and search for that title. If you you don't live in New York State check your local library anyway - they may have that database or another with full text to The New York Times and tons of other papers.

Sep 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in Cookware

Favorite flavored potato chips? Probably not Coney Island Hot Dog with Mustard

Lay's Salt and Vinegar since I was a kid. My best friend and I both loved them. One day after school we didn't have any in the house so we took plain chips and dipped them in vinegar!

I also love Lay's Sour Cream and Onion but they are breath killers for the day.

And lately I really like Reduced Fat Ruffles with Dean's French Onion dip. The chips are less greasy and a little harder.

Sep 21, 2006
bookgirl234 in General Topics

Biscotti-- eggs or butter?

I use Maida Heatter's recipe for Almond and Chocolate Chip Biscotti and everyone loves it. It doesn't call for butter and the cookies come out hard but not that crumbly. I don't know how authentic the recipe is but they're as good as I've had in Italian bakeries. As for ideas I sometimes substitute a bit of the flour for cocoa powder. I'm going to include dried cherries the next time I make them. And I think that's going pretty soon because I'm now craving them!

Here's a link to the recipe online; it can also be found in Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts:

Sep 12, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

How do you know cast iron is clean?

I bought a pre-seasoned cast iron grill pan (my first cast iron) and I'm having trouble cleaning it. I use hot water and a scrub brush but there always seems to be a layer of grease that doesn't come up. I know grease or oil is what seasons the pan but I feel like the pan's dirty because it's brown grease. After I've washed the pan should anything come off on my finger when I rub it? I'm sure I could get this grease off if I scrub enough but I don't want to scrub the seasoning off. Thanks in advance!

Aug 06, 2006
bookgirl234 in Cookware

i think i might have messed up seasoning my first cast iron pan

I bought the pre-seasoned griddle pan a few weeks ago and the only instructions were to wash it with soap and a stiff brush and it was ready to go (but, of course, dont' use soap ever again). I used it that night with no problem.

Jul 30, 2006
bookgirl234 in Cookware

dinner in Batavia, NY this Friday....

I lived in Batavia about 10 years ago and Pontillo's Pizza was good. I know the Rochester locations are still well-received.

Buffalo-Rochester-Finger Lakes - where to stop for a bite...

Ted's Hot Dogs on Sheridan Drive is always a good meal - chargrilled hot dogs, fresh curly Q fries. Anderson's Custard is right across the street for dessert. If you're interested in wings you can always go to the Anchor Bar downtown but that might be a little out of your way. Duff's is very close to the Millersport South exit off the 290 and they've got great wings. If you want more specific directions let me know.

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

I read a book called Cookoff : Recipe Fever in America by Amy Sutherland (really interesting read) and in it she interviews the woman who invented the Tunnel of Fudge cake for the Pillsbury Bake-Off. I can't remember all the details but seem to remember them both lamenting the fact that the recipe on the Bake-Off website doesn't really work anymore because one of the original ingredients was a dry packet of frosting mix that isn't available anymore. The author made the recipe and said the middle was soft but not runny. Have any of you made the recipe from the site? I'm just wondering how it came out.

Here's the link:

Jul 27, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

lots of cucumbers

Nothing fancy but during the summer months our dinner table was not complete without a small dish of sliced cucumbers in cider vinegar.

Jul 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

My mom made that goulash too except after the elbow noodles were added she put layer of shredded mozzarella on it, put the pot top on and let it melt. I still like it but rarely make it because it serves so many. I did make it recently with some leftover sauce for the nostalgia value and my 8-year old niece loved it so it might be popping up in my life again. She also did a version of it called Lazyman’s Lasagna – basically the same recipe except egg noodles instead of elbows and a small carton of cottage cheese added near the end of cooking. They were the first dinner dished I ever learned to make.

Every family in our town seemed to make a similar goulash - my best friend's mom put some ketchup (along with tomato sauce) in hers.

Jul 23, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

Ideas for Block Party Potluck

Chicken Wing Dip with tortilla chips is always a pleaser at the parties I attend. Cream cheese base, cooked chicken breast mixed with hot sauce, butter and blue cheese dressing, topped with shredded mozzerella and baked for awhile. I've got a more specific recipe if you're interested.

Jul 17, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking

What did I do to my All-Clad? [Moved from Home Cooking]

I have two All-Clad pans (8-inch fry pan and 3-qt saute) and both of them have mottled, cloudy surfaces in the pan. I bought them both new at a Williams Sonoma outlet. The started with the saute pan. The first thing I cooked in it was a steak. I didn't make a sauce to go along with it so the burned bits were tough to wash off. I filled it with soap and water and let it sit (I think overnight.) After I cleaned it the surface was all mottled. I thought it was because I let it sit so long so I didn't do that with the fry pan. After using it I washed and dried it right away but I still ended up with the same result. Did it require some sort of seasoning? I didn't get any directions with it because it was open stock and didn't come in a box. Any ideas on what's wrong and ways I can get it looking new again, if possible? TIA!

Jul 09, 2006
bookgirl234 in Cookware

ISO you best lasagna recipe

Lasagna Bolognese - made with a bechamel sauce instead of ricotta.

I don't use a specific recipe; just my own bolognese sauce and a basic bechamel. Here's a link to a recipe online that's similar except I use ground veal, pork and beef instead of all beef:

Jul 03, 2006
bookgirl234 in Home Cooking