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Easy Spinach Lasagna

Good recipe. I do agree with a previous reviewer that the 40-minute cook time may be too long; 30 minutes would have been sufficient.

Modifications - Used half a container of ricotta to save on calories. I did not use mozzarella, parm only. I allowed the frozen spinach to dethaw in the sink which resulted in no excess liquid. I added a bit of rosemary.

I will try again but half the recipe.

Apr 13, 2014
cityhopper in Recipes

did any GREAT vegan cookbooks come out this year?

I'm in the same boat; although, I did enjoy MS Living's "Meatless". I'd love to see a cookbook that is plant-based but offer portions of 1-2 servings. Dunlop's book is on my list.

Feb 25, 2014
cityhopper in Vegetarian & Vegan

Avocado ideas

To accompany an entree, grilled (or broil) the avocado. I think I borrowed the idea from a Chowhound article. I was quite skeptical but I really enjoyed it. I cannot grill at my place but I'd imagine the smokiness would add a great flavor to the avocado.

Going vegan

I am not much of a fan of labels but I respect the "practical vegan" title. It has a purpose but leaves wiggle room for the days that are out of your control. While, I did not intend to be vegan but sought to eat a primarily plant-based diet, I struggled with dietary choices while traveling for work as well.

Feb 25, 2014
cityhopper in Vegetarian & Vegan

Going vegan

I never sought to be vegan but I was motivated to reduce meat consumption based on an overall concern of the quality of commercial farming and the meat production process. Last year, I eliminated chicken, pork, and beef from my diet but I continued to consume diary, eggs, and fish (sustainable / whole caught). During that time period, I recommitted myself to physical fitness (but that has wavered recently).

I guess the initial hurdle was consuming a balance meal without going overboard on carbs. Next, based on my career, dining out routinely is required and eating out was very challenging especially during traveling. Also, it took a while to get a decent base of recipes that use normal ingredients (no speciality shopping required), quick to prepare, and scalable to 1-2 servings.

Being more conscious about my nutrition and physical wellness, I think I saw improvements in my health, physical appearance / weight, and I felt better. It's hard to tell the impact on the grocery budget. Initially, it felt like it dropped but as I became pickier about the quality of my foods, I think it probably shot back up; the fall/winter seasons are definitely costlier than spring/summer.

While I have not cheated, I think I need to reboot myself and set limits in 2014. I really want to do a juice cleanings at the top of Q2 (re-fresh start). Also, I want to reduce my diary (too high at the moment) and egg intake. I'm not sure if I'll eliminate my intake of seafood but I just want to make sure it's reasonable and not overboard (although, the costs should help with that effort).

Overall, I have no regrets. Surprisingly, I've been steadfast in not reverting back to consuming land animals even when I have faltered in other areas (exercise, sweets). I think this lifestyle takes some effort but over time smoothes out and becomes easier to manage. Everyone around you will accept your choices and be respectful of them. Most importantly, hopefully those choices will lead to vast improvements in individual health and the environment...

3qt cast iron dutch oven - useful or no?

Cooking for one, this is the perfect size. I would love to get a second :-)

May 11, 2013
cityhopper in Cookware

Breville toaster oven what size?

I overwhelmingly recommend the 800XL version. If you cook for 1 or have a small household, this will become your replacement oven. The panel gives you more a ton of control options from toasting, baking, roasting, and utilizing the convection feature.

May 04, 2013
cityhopper in Cookware

The Best Deal You Ever Found?

1. I got the Delonghi ice cream maker at Williams and Sonoma for $99 the year the new model came out.

2. At BrandSmartUSA, I picked up the 5.5 Qt. Cuisinart Stand Mixer for approximately $150. The funny thing about this purchase was I was going there to buy a small item and stumbled upon the deal.

I'm probably most proud of those deals as both of them are around $300 retail today.

May 04, 2013
cityhopper in Cookware

Food Processor or Good Toaster Oven?

If she has a small kitchen and primarily cooks for one, go with the Breville convection 800XL. It is the BEST kitchen appliance I ever purchased. Whenever I move into a house, I'll but a second one.

It works perfectly and doesn't require the same amount of energy or disperse the heat as a traditional oven. I bake more than I ever had.

Apr 27, 2013
cityhopper in Cookware

Shao Xing in Northern Virginia

FYI - For those interested, you can obtain the coking variety at Oriental Market (5001 Columbia Pike) for under $5.

Recommended restaurant supply stores

H-Mart and Grand-Mart only carry the non-stock varieties (yuck)! I will check at the Oriental Supermarket. I finally found Shaoxing rice wine there. At the time, I didn't think to browse for a wok because I went there specifically for the rice wine. Thanks for the suggestions.

September 2011 COTM Companion Thread: Nigel Slater

I'm about 18 months too late but Real Fast Food is an excellent culinary book. I have never truly read a cookbook before like a book. I think the lack of pictures made me focus on the the detail of the section preludes and each individual recipe.

Calling single-dwellers, non-cooks, great cooks and anything else in between: add this book to your collection.

Apr 05, 2013
cityhopper in Home Cooking

Recommended restaurant supply stores

Thanks. Are there any supply stores that are open to the public? I really am trying to reduce my Amazon/online orders to support local businesses. DC isn't make this an easy feat :(

Where in the DC area to buy an authentic wok?

No luck with Hmart Fairfax as of March 2013!

Recommended restaurant supply stores

Can anyone recommend a restaurant supply store in the area? I'd prefer a location that is metro accessible but okay within the 495 loop. I'd love a place that sold (real) woks, wok rings, and no name brand cookware.

Thanks!

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2013 edition [old]

I've ordered more cookbooks in the last year than I could reasonably get through in a year (or two). That said, there are three must-have books sitting in my Amazon cart: ATK Cooking for Two 2013 and 2012, and the Flavor Bible; no more purchases this year after that.

I'm canceling TGC after I get Nigellaism. This cookbook ordering addiction is getting out of hand!!! I started an EYB account and now I have to start cooking through the collection of cookbooks I acquired.

Apr 04, 2013
cityhopper in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? March 2013 edition! [old]

Yesterday, I purchased Kitchen Diaries (Nigel) from the local bookstore. While I was there, I had a chance to thumb through Practical Paleo and Meatless (M. Stewart). I'm really excited about both books and will order both this week.

FYI - I know it seems old that I'm getting a paleo cookbook (meat centered) and a vegetarian based book. I am not vegan but desparately need to incorporate more plant-based meals into my diet. I was interested in the PP book as the author of shares a ton of nutritional information and 30-day meal calendars based on various health conditions.

Chinese Takeout CB may be added to my wish list :-)

Mar 31, 2013
cityhopper in Home Cooking

Where in the DC area to buy an authentic wok?

DC: You should be ashamed. With a diverse Asian population and metropolitan population that enjoys Asian inspire dishes, why in the hell is it so hard to buy a carbon steel wok in this area. In a two day period, I frequented Chinatown, H-Mart Fairfax, and Eden Center and left each of these shopping districts empty handed. What really just drove a dagger in my heart was all the cheap, tacky coated cookware. Seriously, this can't be life!!!

I cannot believe that everyone is ordering their Woks online. Is there a secret password to obtain woks.

Shrimp and Grits

Do you jeopardize quality by using frozen shrimp?

Dec 02, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking

Electric Pressure Cooker with Stainless Insert?

Thanks for sharing!

Oct 28, 2012
cityhopper in Cookware

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? October 2012 edition [OLD]

Lusting after Slater's Kitchen Diaries I & II and Real Fast Food, Bill's Everyday Asian, ATK's Cooking for Two 2012 and the Flavor Bible. These will likely be a nice Christmas gift to myself.

Oct 13, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are lusting after? Back to school edition 2012 [old]

TGC (impulse buy)

Kitchen Simple - Peterson
Flavor First -Forberg
Real Simple Easy, Delicious Home Cooking

Sep 06, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking

Shao Xing in Northern Virginia

Was anyone able to locate Shao Xing (authentic drinking variety) in NOVA or DC area?

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For many years I hated thigh meat. It wasn't until I had to start paying for my own groceries (LOL) that I appreciated the value of the thigh (both in taste and pricing).

Aug 17, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Generally no and I'll use less oil when cooking. However, if it's a glob of fat that may not cook down, then I'll cut it off.

Aug 17, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking

recommendations for supermarkets, butchers, fishmongers, farmers markets in DC?

I have had a hard time finding recommendations outside of Whole Foods and TJs. I would have expect the grocery shopping experience to be more robust in DC. I'm not a fan or Giant or Harris Teeter. Wegman's is in the burbs. OP, there is a Dean and Deluca in Georgetown.

A CSA may provide the best quality, but I do not have the space to accomodate. I'd love a recommendation for a good butcher, bakery and fishmonger between the Orange line (furthest west going to Ballston) or red heading towards Dupont Circle.

what are you making today?

I'm trying to keep summer cooking simple. Today, I made my protein of the week from a CHOW recipe. For dinner, I prepared a baked, skinless chicken thigh accompanied with a baked sweet potato (half) and mushrooms and kelp noodles. The oven did most of the work with a minor contribution from me ;-)

Aug 12, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking

Asian-Marinated Baked Chicken

I made this meal with a few modifications and overall I give it a 4-rating (perhaps 4.5 based on reheat value). Changes include reducing the 1/2 cup of soy sauce to 1/4 cup and substituting with 1/4 cup chicken broth (low sodium), reducing ginger to 1 tbsp and I added green onions. I used legs and skinless thighs. I marinated for 8 hours and rotated the meat ever 2 - 2.5 hours. My cooking temperature was between 425-450 (old school stove) for about 35 minutes. Then I rotated the meat again and allowed it to finish off in the cooling oven. I did not broil as I intend to reheat over the week and will broil with each serving to create the glaze/sauce.

Of course I did taste the meat and it has great flavor. I think my adjustments worked well for me and I look forward to remaking this simple dish in the future. Next time, I'll probably cut the sugar down to a 1/4 cup total (half sugar and half agave).

Thanks

Aug 12, 2012
cityhopper in Recipes

What cookbooks have you bought lately? Summer edition, part 1 [OLD]

Purchases from the most recent TGC sale - 4 books @ $9

1. Martha's American Food
I was hesitant about this purchase but after thumbing through it I have decided to keep it. It's a collection of cuisine favorites from different parts of the country that are generally simple to prepare.

2. Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics
I just love her even though I probably will not be making many of those recipes for a while (cost of ingredients and cook time).

3. Vegetables, Revised
This was a bad purchase. Not a good fit for me. Probably will sell or gift it.

4. A Country Cook's Kitchen
This is an interesting read and has great pictures. I think I will keep to read/learn and probably gift it later.

Aug 11, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking

A Well Constructed Cookbook & Recipe

1. Hardcover that lies flat or *covered* spiral binding
2. Semi-gloss pages with pictures close to recipes
3. iPad/Kindle/Nook bundles
4. bmorecupcake's suggestion of measurement listing

This may be picky but many cookbooks are written with the assumption of a family of 4 or 6. I'd like to see a footnote of the ingredients for 2 servings. For one, I'm single; two, I have a small kitchen. Yes, I know I could convert and no I do want to eat that same meal all week or freeze it. So it would be nice. :-)

Aug 11, 2012
cityhopper in Home Cooking