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CarmenR's Profile

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What did you/would you eat the morning of your wedding?

I ate something like 2 bites of a bagel. We did a lunch before our reception and I ate a burger then (in my wedding dress, ha) and I'm so glad I did because I ate virtually nothing during the reception.

31 minutes ago
CarmenR in General Topics

Help design our kitchen!

Hi there!
We have no dimensions yet- these are first-pass drawings to file with the city for demo, not finalized designs for buying any finishes (we're about 9 months from that!) I appreciate the input. We've looked at so many layouts, this is getting overwhelming already and we're just starting!

Dec 09, 2014
CarmenR in Cookware

Help design our kitchen!

This might not be an approp place for this, so if the mods need to delete, feel free. However, I GREATLY trust the opinions of the hounds and have been on this site for a while, so I'd love any input.

My husband and I are gutting a townhome and therefor get to design a new kitchen! We've decided on a basic layout for the parlor floor- see attached. Our concern is the sink situation- it looks like there won't be much room to the side of the sink in the island. We've considered making that a prep sink, but then where should we put the big sink? I really do NOT want to move the stove as putting it on the back wall would mean the vent hood will be blocking windows, and I love the placement of the fridge. We will also be sticking dual convection ovens somewhere, tbd.

Does anyone here have a similar layout? Or suggestions? Is it an epically bad idea to disrupt the holy "work triangle" by putting the main sink near the windows? Does a garbage disposal then go in both sinks? It's also virtually impossible for us to visualize how this is going to look/feel as no rooms in the house currently are this large so we can't even plot it out with cardboard boxes or something.

Ideas?!

edit: sorry for the giant pic, I almost never post pics to chowhound and didn't realize it would be so huge.

Dec 07, 2014
CarmenR in Cookware

Chick-Fil-A Anonymous

Former general manager of a chick-fil-a (5 year veteran)- can confirm, food is delicious and the quality of the chicken is as good, if not better than what you'll get at the normal grocery store. Obviously it's not better than the $7lb organic chicken, but it's as good or better than you're standard grocery store chicken boobs. I ate there literally 5-6 days a week for 5 years and would continue to indulge occasionally, except none exist in NYC.

As a side-note, if anyone has chick-fil-a specific questions, I'm happy to answer if I can. This was 10-15 years ago do the menu has changed (they didn't have milkshakes then and we had just started offering wraps when I was on my way out) but the way they marinate their chicken has shaped my chicken-frying to this very day!

Dec 07, 2014
CarmenR in Chains
1

Tell us about your Thanksgiving disaster

This is why god gave us "strategic panko crumbs" ;)

Tell us about your Thanksgiving disaster

My husband is a math guy (studied applied physics and engineering, now works in finance,) and his mind is VERY different than mine. Love him to death and he's a godsend when it comes to fixing things around the house, but MAN... those recipes. It KILLS me to watch him measure the water to boil pasta *facepalm*

Tell us about your Thanksgiving disaster

This is more along the line of a "drunk uncle" disaster, but my husband and I are mere moments from divorce every thanksgiving. We always go to a friend's house and bring two dishes- I've been bringing creamed greens for years, and every year my husband tries a "new" recipe. Bless his heart, he's actually a really good cook of things that don't require a recipe (grilling, soups, etc.,) however he is SO SO SO SO SO slow at following a recipe. He's the kind of person who grinds all of his spices in a mortar and pestle and wants to divvy them into individual little glass ramekins a la a cooking show before even beginning.

Needless to say, the Pioneer Woman said this mac and cheese would take 25 minutes to prep. Husband said he would start cooking at 3 for our 4:45 departure. I insisted that he start earlier, just to "get things prepped." Laid down to take a short nap at 1pm, made it about 15 minutes before the mortar and pestle AND the vitamix were in full-swing, ending my nap.

2 hours later (now 3pm) and he's still working on the roux and is now measuring 8 cups of water x2 to boil the pasta (I tried to explain that 8 cups is more of a suggestion and 16 cups of water would never boil, but he insisted on following the instructions.)

By 3:45, the water was barely simmering and I was dumping half of it into the sink so we could get this show on the road.

4pm mac and cheese finally made it into the oven. That's 3 HOURS later, and it still needed 30 minutes to bake. 4:30 I finish my dish and we made it out the door by 5.

To his credit, it was totally delicious, but I needed a few glasses of wine by the time I made it to the cheese course!

Retire where?

Wilmington is overpriced, over-congested and devoid of any culture.

Source: I grew up in Wilmington.

Oct 28, 2014
CarmenR in Not About Food

Soup

It would be too thick if you didn't dilute it? Also I only see two stages- steam/boil and then dilute.

Oct 28, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

Why in god's name would anyone want a 7oz+ martini? I'm a big martini drinker but once it starts to get warm, it's game over. yuck.

Oct 05, 2014
CarmenR in Spirits

Wedding at restaurant - tipping question

We did basically exactly this when we got married (Oct 12 last year, similar date!) There were 110 people in attendance and we did a sat night buyout. We had 3 bartenders, 2 waiters/runners, a hostess/doorperson and the manager there plus I think 3 people in the kitchen.

There was a 20% gratuity built into the price of the buyout, which was no joke and we asked if it was split evenly through the staff when we signed the contract. It was, except for the manager who refused a tip (but seemed to have a really fun time, actually, they kept the place open for us an extra hour after the time we paid for and the kitchen staff came and hung out with a cocktail!)

We did not suggest tipping and made it clear that we had everything covered, however many of our guests tipped the bartenders. Based on what I saw, they probably got a pretty penny- most people laid down $3-5 a drink at first (the drinks at this place retail for about $14, so they tipped accordingly) and then scaled to $1-2 moving on from there.

That said, we had a LOT of industry folks in attendance and they tip for basically everything as a good-will effort. YMMV but I would ask how the gratuity is split and then would tip out accordingly. The runners and kitchen staff worked their butts off for us and I'm glad they got paid to do so!

Also, we sent thank-you notes to the resto and named as many folks as we could remember, and have always been greeted warmly when we've visited since. I would recommend that as a kind gesture- people like getting cards!

Oct 05, 2014
CarmenR in Not About Food

Eastern North Carolina style barbeque in NYC???

I'm going to agree with you here- I grew up in Wilmington NC and Quinn's tastes way too sweet to me (more like TN bbq.) Maybe it's just a personal preference, though.

Oct 04, 2014
CarmenR in Manhattan

Good non-toxic, grain-free things for a puppy who is teething to chew on?

Be careful with the Kongs- my maltese mix is a serious chewer, and at the rip-old age of 6 months was able to DESTROY the puppy kongs. And I mean totally destroy- he ripped them apart and was working on eating the rubber pieces when I caught him. We moved on to the "tough chewer" (black) models which took him a mere few days to shred.

In short, if you can monitor the pup, kongs are amazing. But be careful- they're not as indestructible as they purport!

Unheralded Brooklyn Restaurants

Lot 2 is my favorite "unknown" restaurant. My husband and I eat there a few times a month and have never had a bad meal. It is NOT a good place if you're sensitive to salt, though...

Jul 26, 2014
CarmenR in Outer Boroughs

What would YOU make with this? Malibu and Ciroc Red Berry

What would you make if you had a party coming up and your wife was forcing you to get rid of 3/4 bottle of malibu rum and a bottle of circoc red berry? Because this is exactly what I am telling my husband.

We were gifted both bottles and they've been sitting forever. They seem like maybe a good mix for generic punch, and my husband says he's going to "wing it," but last time he did this it took him almost an hour of reblending to make something tasty (after over-habanero-ing the tequila and making something incredibly spicy!)

We also have 5 lbs of limes, 10 lbs of lemons and an industrial juicer. I'm wondering if we should go with something more pineapple/orange based...

We had guests raving over a white, peach-based sangria with whole vanilla beans a few years ago, but I believe that called for vodka. We generally have pretty good drinks at our parties and I'd prefer to not turn this into frat-party jungle-juice, so I turn to you fine folks. What large-batch would YOU make?

Jul 01, 2014
CarmenR in Spirits

What sides should I make for my annual crab boil?

This is great and I can use my mandolin to whip this up quickly, I think!

Jun 30, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

What sides should I make for my annual crab boil?

It would be if we actually served it like a meal, but its more like a giant, roving 8 hour long garden party where we do two batches of boil but then people obv want to eat in between. Plus, let's be honest, those crabs have only a teenytiny amount of meat in them. They're really not even my scene, but people love them and they're cheap enough!

Jun 26, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking
1

What sides should I make for my annual crab boil?

funny you should mention that, I actually made a summer orzo salad yesterday! I could def double the recipe- I love using orzo for those salads since it's so small volume-wise.

Jun 26, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

What sides should I make for my annual crab boil?

I do! I get supermarket coleslaw for authenticity sake (growing up in NC we didn't *do* gourmet slaw!)

We do usually have bread as someone generally brings roughly 5 lbs of cheese...

Jun 25, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

What sides should I make for my annual crab boil?

Ooo this is a good idea! I always forget about fennel and am surprised by how much I like it. Do you have a specific recipe you like?

Jun 25, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

What sides should I make for my annual crab boil?

Hounds, flex your creative muscles!

My husband and I are getting ready for our third annual crab boil for 4th of July, and I need some ideas of new sides to make. This is a potluck, so we always end up with a ton of random stuff from steaks and hotdogs and frito pie to kalbi "sushi" and peach cobbler. Usually, I make the following:

crab boil (which has potatoes and shrimp and veggies and all that normal junk)
NC style pulled pork with sandwich fixings
Guac
Chips/Salsa
Store-bought potato salad
Grilled corn
giant bowl o alcoholic punch (tbd by husband.)

This year, I have more time leading up to the actual day so I'd like to make some more exciting stuff, however we have a few limitations.
1) We live in NYC and, while our apartment is pretty big, we don't have a TON of counter space or fridge space. For this reason, things like salads that can be room temp-ish are good (bowls take up less footprint) and things like deviled eggs are not good.
2) I will have basically no time on the 4th to actually cook anything we we spend the morning hours picking up crabs/lobsters/kegs/ice etc. So make ahead STRONGLY preferred.
3) It's going to be hot, so using the oven on that day is not ideal but can be done in advance.
4) I am a good enough baker of easy stuff (muffins, biscuits, brownies, etc) but not of pie crusts or anything overly sensitive.

So basically I'm looking for some interesting, make ahead, doesn't-need-to-sit-on-a-tray types of dishes. We expect about 45 people, but it doesn't need to feed that many.

What would YOU like to eat at a crabboil!?

Jun 25, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #308 - A Midsummer's Night's Dream Dinner Edition! [through June 25, 2014]

We've been making totchos at parties for at least 7 years. It would be easier if we had a deep fryer, but doing them in the oven is surprisingly easy. People rave about them!

What are you baking these days? June 2014 edition, part 2! [OLD]

Ah fair enough. I should have been more specific- I don't think I'd try to do a loaf or a bundt in a cake pan at all because the recipe size is generally different (I could be wrong there!) I actually have a bundt and a couple of loaf pans for bread baking, just the regular old cake pans are notably absent! Thanks for the comment :)

Jun 20, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? June 2014 edition, part 2! [OLD]

Yup it's a 9". Since we're on the topic, can you think of a cake that could NOT be baked in a springform instead of a normal cake pan? I'm trying to improve my cake baking and will hopefully be trying a bunch of recipes this summer...

Jun 18, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? June 2014 edition, part 2! [OLD]

This is potentially a *really* stupid question, but I don't actually have a round cake pan (and I'm 100x maxed out on kitchen space,)... can a springform pan work for a cake like this? I have a springform gathering dust and I'd rather not buy yet another pan...

Jun 17, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking

Food porn as man bait

I think everyone here needs to lighten up a bit. What if this thread had been "Food Porn for Significant Other/Partner Bait"? Would that have made everyone less hurt? I didn't read this as sexist at all- my husband cooks as much as I do, and cooked as many meals when we were dating as I did.

Food porn as man bait

I'll let my husband know ;)

Jun 13, 2014
CarmenR in Not About Food
1

Food porn as man bait

Chicken, fish and some bone marrow (different days, obv.)

Jun 13, 2014
CarmenR in Not About Food

Food porn as man bait

My husband says he knew he would marry me when I made him linguine with clams for the first time when we were "just friends" 5 or 6 years ago. That dish was included in our wedding vows. I think I sealed the deal with the roasted chicken a few weeks later.

He's a pretty good cook as well, but I enjoy making dinner and usually have more time. He still requests the linguine with clams anytime I ask him what he wants me to make to celebrate something, which I don't mind because it is THE easiest dish ever.

Jun 10, 2014
CarmenR in Not About Food
1

Lavender - Use Leaves or Flowers?

I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to see if anyone has success cooking with the fresh leaves? I wanted to try to make a lavender glaze for a poundcake I'm making and I have two decent-sized plants in my garden, but neither of them have flowers. Thoughts? Considering that lavender SUGAR is a thing, there's very few recipes around for a glaze... most of what I'm seeing includes the flowers in the baked good, but not the glaze so I'm wondering if there's a reason for that.

Jun 10, 2014
CarmenR in Home Cooking