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Best vanilla extract

And several years ago, I remember reading that "imitation vanilla extract" is preferred to the real deal, in many recipes. For the life of me, I cannot remember why they put that out, but we have often used "imitation vanilla" from that point. Seems to go against conventional wisdom- anybody have the back-story or rumor-buster on that one?

Sep 18, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

Salty snack for office gathering

This "Strawberry Pretzel Salad" could also be considered a dessert-
For your consideration:
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 Tablespoons sugar
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large container whipped topping
6 oz. strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 cups strawberries or 2 10oz packages, with juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mixed crushed pretzels, butter and sugar together and pour into a 9 by 13 inch pan. Press into bottom and bake at 400 degrees 8 minutes. Beat cream cheese with 1 cup sugar. Stir into the topping and spread on cooled pretzel crust.* Mix together strawberry gelatin, boiling water and strawberries. Set in refrigerator until it begins to gel. Pour over the cream cheese mixture and refrigerate.
*Variation: Leave the container of whipped topping out of the middle layer. Spread it over the strawberry layer, like icing, just before serving.

(acknowledgement: most of this recipe was published in The Tampa Tribune, early 1991. The variation was not part of the original.)

Let us know if you use it. It has "salty," but would satisfy anyone's sweet tooth, too, for that matter.
Florida Hound

Sep 06, 2014
Florida Hound in Home Cooking

Where can I find frozen pomegranates?

Until recently, either Dole or Del Monte had a bag of frozen berries that included pomegranates. They are no longer on the market, and I miss that combination in my morning protein shake/ smoothies. Where can I find frozen pomegranates? Pomegranate juice is all over the place.

Sep 06, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

Sweetzels Spiced Wafers in Florida?

Any new Florida sources or potential Florida sources for my seasonal search: Sweetzels Spiced Wafers or Ivins Spiced Wafers. They are only available once a year, mostly in the Pennsylvania area, but since I spied them in Florida 1-2 x a few years ago, I have hoped they would show up around here again. Thanks again,
Florida Hound

Sep 06, 2014
Florida Hound in Florida

How come my tuna fish never tastes as good as sandwich shops?

Oh no, iL Divo- before you know it, you'll find all sorts of things that go great with onion mayo- as a sandwich or sub spread, its good! Cracker dip? chip dip? And then, it'll be time to make some more tunafish sandwiches, anyway. We usually have a regular jar of mayo and an onion jar of mayo going and neither one ever goes to waste. Just another handy condiment.

Sep 02, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

How come my tuna fish never tastes as good as sandwich shops?

Your comment on the lemon juice got my taste buds going. I posted the "general outline" of Mama's tuna fish sandwich recipe elsewhere on the thread, but here's the whole recipe, lemon juice and all:
From childhood...Mom's version of the Tuna Salad Sandwich. I tried to re-create her creation a few years back, and with some modifications came close to Mom's classic. For your consideration:
Prepare a jar of Onion Mayo in advance: 1 envelope of Onion Soup mix, mixed well into an entire 32 oz jar of regular mayonnaise. Store it in the fridge for this recipe and many other uses. As its own sandwich spread, it’s pretty good.
For the tuna salad mix: 1 can tuna, drained,
1/4 Cup onion-mayo mix (per above)
1 carrot, grated in thin peelings, peelings cut to about 1/4" long
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 capful lemon juice
salt
pepper
1 teaspoon sweet relish
Sprinkling of Splenda (Mom may have used a little sugar, "back in the day.")
Mix it up well, spoon it onto your favorite bread or toast, and IMHO---> childhood taste bud heaven.
Memories include this concoction soaking through the bread and the wax paper by lunchtime at the Elementary School (and we didn't worry about refrigeration, I don' t think. Glad we are more aware and concerned about that these days.) In keeping with the theme of the thread- I'd put this up against any deli tuna sandwich, any day! Enjoy!

Continued Feedback on Moderation Changes, and More Guidance for Bloggers

Several weeks ago, a new poster asked a question on the Florida board, setting up an improbable scenario of conditions and asking how to handle some supposed eating requirements on an upcoming trip to Florida. After some serious Chowhound responses, trying to be helpful and trying to make some sense out of the conditions the new poster specified,a couple of Chowhounds started speaking out loud that this person was just putting us on. Lets have fun at these foodies' expense kind of thing. (That's my paraphrase today- no Chowhound used those words on the thread.) Up the that point, the new OP had never replied to Chowhound suggestions with any "thanks, I could try that," or reply with any clarifications on their original outragious conditions/ requirements. So the suspicion from the rest of us seemed quite justified, IMO. The reply posts that dared call the OP out on the possibility of a phoney premise were pulled from the thread. I think sometimes it is 100% valid to leave the evidence that some posters have a problem with the validity of a post- it just shows we are capable of some critical thinking. Now the surviving thread reads as if we are all a bunch of naive jerks, trying to be helpful, but being taken for a ride. Pulling the reply posts was the wrong decision, Team. btw, this one-time poster has not posted since. I do not think for a minute it is because they got a skeptical reception from others on Chowhound- they initially got a very broad, supportive bunch of responses.

Aug 30, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

What I should I serve with the champagne for a wedding toast?

If you had not mentioned it, sunshine, I would have. I am jumping in just to underscore- its not always obvious when planning a wedding- remember those who would prefer non-alcohol. Planning in advance is less awkward for servers and guests.

It shouldn't be this hard to participate. . .

Its been about a week since the Chowhound changes, and the intervening discussion since. Now, without any computer adjustments on this end, I seem to be able to click onto the new discussion prompt with success! I haven't posted a new thread yet, but the "dress rehearsal/ practice run" attempt a few minutes ago seemed to let me in just fine. Thanks for all support and suggestions! Now, what did I want to post about a week ago?

Aug 03, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

It shouldn't be this hard to participate. . .

Thanks, Mary, but clicking this does nothing.

Jul 30, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

It shouldn't be this hard to participate. . .

Various advice re: adobetag? Adlock? Ghostery? ??? Foriegn languages for someone who just wants to talk the language of food on a website called Chowhound. The various links do not present a solution of how to start a discussion thread, and this is very discouraging as it has been user friendly for years. Maybe participating is not an option with the changes to the site. That would be too bad. Thanks, Melanie, but "it was on my end, not the site's" may not apply here. Any other suggestions? To the chowhound team- will you be modifying this issue so we can post on this site in the future? Thanks, all

Jul 30, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

Site issues

Nothing happens when I click "discussion."

Jul 30, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

It shouldn't be this hard to participate. . .

I have tried to post a new discussion and can't find anything to click on to start a new thread. The FAQs are no help and they say if you need help, post something on Site Talk... of course, that, too, requires a new thread unless I coat-tail onto yours, breadcrumbs. I've been posting for years and never had this problem. I think my plight overlaps your concerns about some of the new changes.

Jul 29, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

'8 O'clock 100% Columbian' name change??

Gevalia's commercials are so obnoxious, I decided I would be embarrassed to buy their coffee. Does it really compare to what everybody "remembers" as 8 O'Clock Colombian? (I would be in the market for whole bean, not Keurig.)

Jul 14, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

Instant Breakfast Cereal

You're getting a lot of encouragement to make it at home and take it with you. I posted an "overnight steel cut oats" recipe some time back. We've also tried it sucessfully with stone-ground grits.

For your consideration:
We do overnight steel cut oats in the crock pot. We read somewhere of turning the crock pot into a type of double boiler by putting an oven-safe bowl in the crock pot, and surrounding the bowl with water. Someone thought there might be a risk of something cracking, so we follow their hint of wadding up some small pieces of aluminum foil under the bowl or putting a small saucer under the bowl. Nothing has cracked yet/ not worried about it.

Overnight Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

Before you go to bed...

The water in the crockpot should come up to a little more than halfway up the outside of the bowl. Bowl should be able to hold 4 cups of liquid. Make sure the lid still fits on the crockpot. Measure out one cup of steel cup of oats. Pour that into the inner bowl. Now, add 4 cups of water to the inner bowl; stir it in. Maybe yes, maybe no, for a little salt. Put the lid onto the crockpot, set the unit on low (I learned to check that its on 'low' and not 'warm!') Go to bed, and the next morning, its perfect! In the morning, you can stir in a little milk or some dried fruit or raisins or some thawed out frozen blueberries or brown sugar or nothing! [AND spoon it into that thermos, millygirl! You're on your way...]
We do this 1- 2x a month.

A "grits" thread on Chowhound in 2012 also got us experimenting... Crockpot overnight grits recipe. Our liquid of choice was chicken broth and it gave a wonderful flavor. We now make it with less liquid than a recipe might call for because my wife wants a batch that can be scooped like a scoop of ice cream. I added sage to the recipe, since my wife wanted it to remind her of stuffing. We had grits like this in a restaurant overlooking the Nantahala River in North Carolina- a great memory in itself. We're pretty close to replicating the recipe in our own kitchen. Delicious!!!

Florida Hound

Jul 13, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

FLORIDA HELP

Being in the Florida sun for 10- 12 hours presents challenges even beyond what to pack for lunch. The dangers of sun stroke are real, and hydration around here is an absolute consideration. Nothing to drink or cool you down for 12 hours????? That "logic" you mentioned that pops in may be trying to tell you something. Please be careful.

Favorite ways to eat fresh blueberries?

1. Protein powder shakes- smoothies at our house, with the liquid either skim milk or light apple juice. A cup of blueberries, maybe a cup of strawberries, and/ or 1/2 a banana. If I am making the recipe just for myself, I might also include a container of Chobani Greek Yogurt. (The protein powders are either Raw Fit High Protein for Weight Loss, by Garden of Life, W Palm Beach, FL, or True Vitality Vanilla with 8 Billion Probiotic Cells by Green Foods, Oxnard, CA).

2. The 4th of July has just passed... Blueberries and strawberries and whipped cream make a nice presentation as an "American flag" on a sheet cake.

Jul 06, 2014
Florida Hound in Home Cooking

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Great list. Another vote here for the Horn & Hardart Automat(s) as the classic NY eatery in 1950s, early 1960s. As the OP mentioned, "RIP," but the automat still reigns big in my memory banks

Jun 28, 2014
Florida Hound in Manhattan

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Circa late 1960s, I had Belgian waffles several times at a cafe in the theater district- wish I could remember the name of the place! The cafe was either part of a hotel lobby or right next to a hotel. The wait staff in formal white and black, foreign accents, and I thought it was the classiest place in the world. I stopped there for my Belgian waffles several times as a teenager, and one particular server had the people-skills to act like he remembered me from visit to vist. So, many years later, having moved away from metro & suburban NYC, I was back on a visit and could not for the life of me find it. I wandered up and down the neighborhood streets and finally decided that may be a teenage memory that will forever have some mystery elements to it. Anyone else remember a place that sounds like my cafe?

Jun 28, 2014
Florida Hound in Manhattan

do you add anything to your coffee grounds

Another vote for occasionally adding cinnamon. On other occasions, pumpkin pie spice. I was adding salt for a while, then kind of forgot about it until I was reminded by this thread.

Jun 15, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

How to decrease Zombie Threads: collapse everything that's more than 4 years old!!

June 14, 2014. I just got a wonderful tip from a thread that has popped back up from 2008! Maybe some activity in 2010, too. But there was a very useful discussion on Horlick's malt powder, with a lot of related suggestions. I'm going to try to make a not-so-Brooklyn Egg Cream with "Malta" soda as a substitute for the seltzer. I even "replied" to the 2008 OP, whether they will see it or not. A zombie thread, maybe, but I'm please to get a new idea. (Looks like that thread is once again going strong in 2014...)

Jun 14, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

Malt question: Horlick's vs. malt extract vs. Carnation

This "tip" has been lying in wait for me to pick up on it for 5+ years! I make Egg Creams with Mug brand cream soda, when I can find any in Florida- I may have to try an Egg Cream with Malta! Thanks! By the way, we all know that standard Egg Creams use seltzer, not Mug cream soda. And I follow a standard Jim Leff recipe (with the seltzer...) I downloaded in July of 2000.

Jun 14, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

Is there a local non chain casual seafood restaurant in the clearwater area. Prefer picnic table on the beach kind of place.

I googled for information and another site which shall remain nameless had a line from someone who tried to go there "2 weeks ago" (Maybe Memorial Day weekend, or so, 2014?) He said they need to re-build- no food, guys. Open for drinks and bait only. (So you'd have to agree- currently very very very casual. But I won't count it on my dining out list for quite a while.)

Jun 14, 2014
Florida Hound in Florida

'Raw Fit' protein powder and synthroid

My wife has just started on a protein powder from Garden of Life, called Raw Fit High Protein for Weight Loss. She is also on synthroid medication where her doctor recommends not to take vitamins for 4 hours. Does anyone have personal experience with rx + supplements? (Yes, she will check with her doctor, also!)
Should she treat the supplement/ powder with same rules as vitamins?
Thanks

Jun 08, 2014
Florida Hound in Special Diets

How to decrease Zombie Threads: collapse everything that's more than 4 years old!!

Coincidentally, as soon as I finished reading this thread of posts, I accidentally got caught up in a thread just revived from 2009. There was a "Red Velvet Cake" thread on General Topics. I had read about 5 of the posts- all very enlightening- before I noticed they were all from 5 years ago. Someone brought it back, had come 2014 comments to make, insights to offer. I don't need to add to their thread, but it was interesting reading. Works for me.

Jun 08, 2014
Florida Hound in Site Talk

North Conway/ Storyland report

For July- Put May Kelly's on your list. Its too bad DrMag didn't get a chance to go to May Kellys, in North Conway. I wish I could remember what we had there in 2009, but I do "remember" that it was the best stop in our Maine-New Hampshire vacation. At the time, they periodically had an Irish dance group come in throughout the summer. It would be fun for you if they are still doing that.

I Love Dark Burned Toast. How about You?

The bagels I occasionally buy at Publix Supermarket deli/ bakery, or Einsteins Bagels, for example, are no better. They're fine. When Dunkin Donuts get the cream cheese and "burnt" to my liking, they are absolutely great by me. I bet somewhere on Chowhound there have been threads on 'the best bagels in the country' or something. But if someone was looking for a good bagel, I would put them on to Dunkin. Could do a lot worse.

Do you butter your French toast?

Gotta love Chowhound. It never occurred to me that someone would not butter their French toast. I go to a breakfast meeting for an organization in the area, about once a month, and we meet at a small restaurant that serves a very simple buffet. They always have French toast (not the best, maybe), and I will always pile on the slices, then slather on butter and butter and butter, and top it off with sopping amounts of syrup. And a little later, go back for seconds.

May 26, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

Best Sandwich in the World

Fresh tomato sandwishes (sopping with mayo) on white bread was the ambrosia of my youth. But you just can't find tomatoes as fresh and tasty as those from my father's garden. The sandwich was an extension of time-with-dad, and out of that context, or with pale tomatoes from some supermarket- it just ain't the same. Haven't had one with just tomatoes in years. (I will do a B-L-T with beef bacon once in a while, though, and list that among my continued favorites.)

May 16, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics

Dunkin D coffee at home

Update from the Hound:
I got ahold of some of the Dunkin Donuts creamer. Its good, but I am not sure it is the make-or-break difference in a true DD experience. I am alternating between Publix "Coffee Creamer" in the little carton, and the DD Creamer. I've put my Evaporated Milk routine on hold til these supplies run out- I will probably just revert to the Evap. I may make a point to avoid fat-free Evaporated, though. I have also now tried running the hot water through the Mr. Coffee, twice- the first time without the coffee, the second time, over the beans. The second go-round comes closer to the recommended 195-200 degrees for perfectly brewed coffee, and I think it may be making a positive difference. (Thanks again, Grampart.). The coffee in the cup gets better when it cools down a couple of degrees, though.
Thanks everyone.

May 10, 2014
Florida Hound in General Topics