Caroline1's Profile

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Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

Enjoy!

about 10 hours ago
Caroline1 in General Topics

Can we talk about kitchen lighting?

If you want to save a few bucks and you have a Home Depot near you, my son is a master electrician/electrical contractor and he says these are the best on the market:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial...

Lucky me! For Christmas last year he drove 1,200 miles round trip and did the 4 down lights in my kitchen and the 8 down lights in the family room as a Christmas present, and I LOVE them! I was EXTREMELY hesitant when I saw "65 watt incandescent equivalent," and told him not to bother. His reply was, "Mom, let me do this, and THEN if it's not enough light for you, I'll take them out." I'm sooo glad he did that! The kitchen and family room are now perfectly lit. In the family room, all 6 can lights are on a dimmer and it works great with these retro-fit LEDs! Of course, my electric company hates my shriveled and shrunk electric bill, but that's their problem!

Oh ,and just in case anyone doesn't already know this, be VERY careful where you use CFL bulbs in your home. They release UV light which will bleach the color red over time, so if you use them make sure anything red is shielded by an opaque lamp shade. I've gotten rid of all of my CFL bulbs for that reason.

I LOVE carrot cake and used to buy them around 9 at night just before the bakery closed. They kept them in a display case with fluorescent interior lighting, and by that time, what had been bright orange carrots piped in buttercream that morning were a pale sickly yellow. They still tasted great, and who am I to turn down a half price carrot cake? I had the impression they hadn't figured out why it was happening. Replace your CFLs before your paintings or anything else with red in it are faded by the UV rays.

about 10 hours ago
Caroline1 in Not About Food

starving on Food Stamps / SNAP

I may not have made myself clear. To the BEST of my knowledge, there is no single place/website/book that provides the general public with across-the-board information as to the benefits of each states MEDICAID programs provide for those eligible.

A couple of years ago, I lost a damned good doctor because he and his physician wife needed to live closer to her parents in another state because that states MEDICAID benefits program was so very much better than her parents would receive here in Texas.

In today's world, FEW nuclear families stay together, or even in the same state, once the kids finish school (especially college!) because they follow the paycheck. Consequently many kids do well, they are successfully "upwardly mobile," have kids of their own, but their "upwardly mobile" financial rewards DO NOT reach back a generation to their parents!

So the reality is that in America, many of these "helping programs," and especially MEDICAID, do as much to make things harder for families than they do to ease the burden. Few "helping programs" in America, or many other countries for that matter, were/are designed for the reality of today's excessively mobile society. It's a real problem that far too many are totally unaware of.

And yes! Fraud is a major problem across the board. BUT!!! It is now built into the program!

starving on Food Stamps / SNAP

Well, something else not well recognized is that the programs AND qualifications for SNAP/food stamps vary WIDELY from state to state simply because they most often fall under Medicaid guidelines in a state that participates in that program.

It's INCREDIBLY difficult to get accurate information about what the benefits of Medicaid are from state to state (quite LITERALLY "state secrets!) simply because if that information was made public (AARP has been trying to find out for years!) the state with the best benefits would probably be broke in the first 20 minutes of it becoming public knowledge because of the mass migration of elderly and families with children who qualify for Medicare and especially Medicaid.

But I do know this: WHAT you can buy with food stamps varies widely from state to state. But most of my information is around 20 or more years old. But rest assured, these programs do NOT change that fast! So I can say that at least in that time frame, the most liberal state I heard of was California, where the food stamp program could be used for ANY type of food, including restaurants and fast food. Conversely, in Texas, they could only be used in grocery stores for groceries, and NO deli items OR hot foods.

But there are movements in some states, New York, for example, where there is a heavy movement, especially among doctors, to enable physicians to PRESCRIBE food needs for their patients. The well founded logic is that it is damned hard to get a patient well when the patient has serious nutrition issues.

I'm still moderately active in some programs to help people meet their needs, including healthcare for the uninsured and such (hey, I'm 81 now and getting slower and slower physically with each passing year, so don't shame me, please <g>) and to put it honestly, America is in a WORLD OF HURT!

Since the BIG CRASH not too many years ago, that the government insists on calling a "recession" for reasons of public morale, but that in reality is a true depression that we and the rest of the world are STILL trying to climb out of, really makes this problem a very dark picture across the board, and not solely in the United States.

Well, I could get into a serious diatribe here, but to what end? As long as major corporations have HEAVILY funded Political Action Committees to peddle their influence to Congress, things ain't gonna get better! The writers of the constitution worked very hard to make an ongoing "revolution" within voters' rights, but we, the voting public since 1776, have GOOFED! And at this late date, there ain't no way congress will now pass laws banning PACs! Now there's a serious opportunity missed by us voters! So we hurt... And the pain will continue if we don't work harder to find better solutions. <sigh>

Where can I find Scotch Bonnet pepper seeds? Or habanero seeds?

New Mexico State University's THE CHILE PEPPER INSTITUTE just might be the answer:
http://www.chilepepperinstitute.org/c...

Good luck!

Oh, and while you're looking through the catalog, these puppies make a Habanero seem like a scoop of vanills ice cream by comparison:
http://www.chilepepperinstitute.org/c...

Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

So are my squirrels! '-)

Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

That makes sense. I also keep ALL of my fresh nuts in the freezer. Well, with one major exception: I have 3 huge pecan trees in my back yard, and there's no way in hell I would take up freezer space for those!

As for what gets refrigerated in my house, peanut butter? Never! True nut butters? Always! But even then, some nut butters will go rancid fairly quickly, such as cashew butter. I just threw a tub of it out yesterday. Part of that problem is undoubtedly that I don't like cashew butter all that much, so didn't use it often. But I didn't know that when I bought it about 6 or 7 months ago!

As for oils, I have kept 1 liter cruets of light olive oil and peanut oil right next to my cooktop "mis en place" for years now with no rancid problems. My evoo lives in the same place, but in a can to completely block out light. Works for me! But then, I'm not "everyone." '-)

2 days ago
Caroline1 in General Topics

starving on Food Stamps / SNAP

I haven't checked out the link you provide, but it has been a story that is hard to miss. My problem is that there is a LOT of misinformation and just plain wrong understanding of SNAP/Food Stamp program across the board happening with it.

First and foremost, to the best of my knowledge, food stamps (aka SNAP) are not now, nor have they ever been intended as the total food budget for an individual or family! So the "Paltrow/Bitali Project" was misinformed from the get-go, but at least it did trigger discussion about want in America.

Unfortunately, its nothing new. I remember a... hmmm... for want of a better word let me call it a "fad" back in the 1060s among the "super-haves" to elicit empathy for the "super have-nots." At the time, there was a large government program to redistribute tons and tons of surplus cheese to the needy, though I think just about anyone could access the cheese. Many socialites and political divas of the time held well publicized cocktail and dinner parties featuring the very same surplus cheeses in the menus. I seem to recall a lot of coverage of Ethyl Kennedy's (wife of Robert Kennedy, who was then Attorney General in his brother's administration) holding such an affair with heavy national media coverage.

In both cases the intentions were above reproach, but the executions were NOT well thought out, but at least they encouraged "the public" to think about the problems. But my concern is that such programs can do as much harm as good because of the twists they put on the programs they intend to draw focus to. In Gwyneth Paltrow's case, I think a far more realistic picture would have been presented had she used the food stamp purchase allowance in conjunction with food pantries and such instead of just throwing up her hands. What's the underlying message here? "It's hopeless, and anyone on food stamps is hopeless?" But then it might have had the same flaw as the elite parties about surplus cheese: Who the hell can't make great cheese dishes when you have a chef and a full kitchen staff at your disposal?

I think a very major flaw in the country today is one that is well illustrated by such programs, yet they draw little to no attention to it, is that few public school systems across the country still have mandatory "home ec/cooking classes" that are mandatory for all students. That kind of background would go a loooong way toward putting a whole lot of people who find themselves in need of emergency food help over a long or short period of their lives in a MUCH better position to cope.

There is no one answer that will make everything come up smelling of roses, but at least the Paltrow/Batali experiment has spurred discussion, even if it is "out of focus."

kindle cook books

I always keep my library card handy. And speaking of eBooks, I THINK an all digital library opened somewhere in the greater Dallas area not too long ago. That sort of left me scratching my head, as in why waste all of that money on a brick & mortar electronic library when you can do it all online!?! Oh well, what's crazier than people?

Apr 18, 2015
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

There is no such thing as "homogenized" peanut butter. I also thought there was until I researched it! The peanut butter that does not separate is mixed with HYDROGENATED vegetable oils (often cotton seed oil, which is loaded with pesticides!) which is basically what margarine is: hydrogenated vegetable oil, usually corn oil. Hydrogenized fats are VERY unhealthy, which is why I prefer using molasses to keep my organic peanut butter in suspension. It has been 5 days since I mixed mine and there is no sign of separation yet, and it has been at room temperature the whole 5 days.

Apr 18, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

I just read the label and every iota of fine print on my jar of Smucker's organic peanut butter and not one word about refrigeration. I've never refrigerated peanut butter OR peanut oil! The only oils I use for cooking are olive oil, peanut oil, and ghee. No refrigeration required for any of the above. But refrigeration will slow the separation process. I just hate to have to wait for it to get soft enough that trying to spread it doesn't rip holes in my bread. '-)

Apr 18, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

Just for the record here, the ratio of molasses to peanut butter that I use does NOT change the flavor of the peanut butter to sweet, in my opinion. I use a scant tablespoon to a pound of organic peanut butter.

I guess I should also add that I'm old, I live alone, I have arthritic hands, but I still love a great PB&J or a peanut butter and tomato sandwich every once in a while. Just not every day. And that is undoubtedly the key: every once in a while. A touch of molasses makes the peanut pulp stay in suspension, and it's one hell of a lot more healthy than hydrogenated fats, which is the "standard" way used today to keep peanuts and peanut oil from separating.

So let me try to explain this solution again: THIS IS OPTIONAL! '-)

Apr 18, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

kindle cook books

I've got a TON of cookbooks on my Kindle, but it has never occurred to me to try to prop it up in the kitchen and cook from it. On those rare occasions when I do use a recipe, I print it out from my computer, which does NOT exclude Kindle. It's just that the cookbooks on my Kindle are, for the most part, very very old cookbooks, though I DO have Michael Ruhlman's "Ratios" on it, but it's more of a good read than a "Hey, I NEED that recipe!" kind of book. '-)

Apr 18, 2015
Caroline1 in Not About Food

I am a terrible cook!

I haven't read all of the responses made since you posted your dilemma one month ago, but boy, have you hit the jackpot!

The thing I have noticed in your original post and in MANY of the replies is that you are overlooking things like prepared frozen vegetarian "classics," such as Morning Star veggie burgers and black bean veggie burgers. I'm not a vegetarian but every once in a while I simply MUST have a veggie burger! On a sesame bun with ketchup and mustard and dill pickles and the whole nine yards. Maybe even cheese!

There are a LOT of frozen classic Indian vegetarian dishes in supermarkets' freezers, as well as Cajun, and such. For example, Cajun "rice and beans' is a balanced protein meal and tastes pretty good too, if the cook doesn't go wild with the spices. (I am NOT a chile head!)

In Mexican food, a bean burrito is a classic. As are refried beans, but for me, canned refried beans ALWAYS need to be "refried!" I use chopped onions sautéed in lots of olive oil, cumin and chili powder to doctor mine. Cheese enchiladas, cheese chiles relleno, there are LOTS of classic Mexican dishes that are delicious AND vegetarian, though it is rare that they are ever identified as such.

You can also make a fabulous bean soup by simply adding enough water to a heated can of refried beans, but keep stirring so you can control how soupy you want it!

And eggs... *IF* you do include eggs in your diet, that is. And if you do, I should have included delicious juevos rancheros with the Mexican dishes above. So going forward with eggs, quiches are really easy, and you can use store-bought frozen pie shells in those disposable aluminum pie pans so you do NOT have to make your own pie dough. And don't forget soufflés. They are NOT that hard to make! And they are fun. You'll come away feeling like Julia Child! Just remember, for a soufflé, the family has to gather at the table and wait for the soufflé, NOT the other way around, because it is their very nature to "de-pouf" when they begin to cool.

Have fun with it! And maybe get the kids to pitch in and help. Make it a family adventure! '-)

Apr 18, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

Well, there *IS* a better way than all of that stirring and separating and stirring again. Here's how:

1. ONLY buy organic peanut butter in jars, never in plastic tubs.

2. Stir it well the FIRST time you open the jar to get most of the oil incorporated back into the peanut pulp.

3. Add a tablespoon of (sulpher free) organic molasses and stir again to incorporate.

Let it marry over night, and there you have it! Peanut butter that does NOT separate. '-)

I figured this out by Googling "homogenized peanut butter," (there is no such thing and never has been) and found a whole bunch of different kinds of websites, including one from a "social network" in which a woman (possibly near my age, and back then ALL peanut butter separated!) said that when she was a child, her mother would stir in a spoonful of honey and their peanut butter would never separate again.

Well, I tried that. DO NOT USE HONEY! Honey and peanut butter have a chemical reaction and the peanuts cause the honey to crystalize. Yup. I used honey in my first effort, and thank goodness I only tried it with about a third of the jar. It ended up a lot more like peanut butter penoche than it did peanut butter. And the longer it sat (a day) the "tighter" it got! My current housekeeper is Mexican, and when I handed her a spoon of it to taste, that's what she said: Aha! Penoche de cacahuates! It was no longer spreadable and tore holes in the bread when we tried. So, no honey!

It *IS* the pure cane sugar in molasses that puts the oil and peanuts in suspension. And molasses was the tradition before "Modern Chemistry" began messing with our food. But I can attest that organic molasses does the trick nicely! Next jar I think I'm gonna try pure maple syrup, at least with a little bit to find out if that works. Hey, it may turn out to be a heavy competitor for Nutella! Who knows?

Now, for a final comment, I cannot, for the life of me, understand WHY some company like Smuckers, of Jiff, or Skippy has not figured out they could corner the market on organic peanut butter by simply adding a bit of organic molasses to the product. It would STILL be organic! duh....

Oh, and just for the record, I do not plan on trying corn syrup, Karo or otherwise, simply because corn syrup and/or beet sugar can mess up certain candy and confection recipes, so I'm just not even going to try that route. But if you do, and it works well, let us know!

And Happy organic peanut butter to all of us who want it!

Apr 18, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

should/can I brine soft cheese (queso fresca) to extend it's shelf life?

Brining is a safe way to preserve cheese. Feta, for example, in its countries of origin is ALWAYS sold floating in the brine it was aged in, and is intended to be stored in the home in brine, or in the case of very salty feta, it is stored in fresh water in the home, which reduces its saltiness because the salt "leaches" from the cheese, thus it is kept in a weaker brine at home. Feta SHOULD be a soft cheese, as soft as goat cheese, when made and stored properly. (God deliver me from most American made feta! AND cheese mongers who don't know this and drain their feta before display/sale. Bad news!

So anyway, if you store your cheese in a brine, you can expect it to absorb some additional saltiness the longer you leave it in the brine. Some people love it that way!

Another option, if you like the Italian style "mozzarella salad" (mozzarella balls stored in olive oil with herbs and spices to season it) you can do that with queso fresco as well. BUT do be careful that you haven't handled the part of the cheese you'll be treating in this way with your bare hands or you run the risk of sealing in germs that will form undesirable mold on the cheese during the marinating period, despite being submerged in oil. If you don't have any "untouched by human hands" cheese left, then brining it may be your best option.

Here's a pretty standard recipe for marinated mozzarella:
http://www.thekitchn.com/easy-appetiz...
There are tons more on the web. Personally, I would NOT use a red wine in it simply because in week long marinating (desirable!) it will stain the cheese. If I wanted the balsamic flavor, I'd buy white balsamic vinegar. And the LONGER you marinade, the better the flavor!

I have a local upscale market (similar to Whole Foods, but not) that offers lots of free samples (go shopping there and have lunch on the house while nibbling your way through the store) and they offer their own house made "mozzarella salad" that simply sucks because they put some out as samples the same day they make it! If you knew the name of the store, you would know how to spell "dumb"! '-

)

Good luck with your cheese!

Apr 10, 2015
Caroline1 in Cheese

Yahoo Says Best Chinese "Restaurant" In California is Something Called The Chairman Truck

I can handle food trucks, but when the best "Chinese" restaurant in all of Massachusetts is purportedly a JAPANESE restaurant named "Shabu Zen"... Something is seriously wrong with this picture!

Why do people read such drek?

Ketchup on Eggs? Not in my House!...Yours?

Made in England! Nostalgia bit me after writing this, so I ordered 2 bottles from amazon.com. God, I hope it tastes as good as I remember!

Apr 09, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

What is It With All the Duck Fat Hype?

Or if you DO care about cholesterol, simply use grass fed organic beef drippings (tallow) and ENJOY!!!

Apr 09, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

Ketchup on Eggs? Not in my House!...Yours?

Probably "HP" sauce, which is fairly difficult to find in the U.S.

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

Baking question QUICK Help

What you're talking about is "clarified butter," sometimes called drawn butter, sometimes called ghee. (yes, I know real India style ghee has a toasty flavor to it, but just try finding that kind of ghee in America!)

Besides making it yourself, you can buy it by the jar. Because of antibiotic allergies that kick in when I eat animals that eat them, I now use organic ghee in or on anything I would normally use butter for. Toast needs just the tiniest smudge because its so flavor-intense. But yummy! I buy it by the case. 12 jars last me about a year, and I DO use a lot of butter!

Some kinds of guilt are just plain delicious!

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking
1

Baking question QUICK Help

But then I'd have to lick my fingers... '-)

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Ketchup on Eggs? Not in my House!...Yours?

On fried eggs, as in on a plate with bacon, hash browns, and lavishly buttered toast, I'm more likely to use A-1 sauce or Worcestershire. It's an English thing I learned from my grandfather as a little kid. But no self-respecting fried egg sandwich is ready to face the world before the salt and pepper doused egg is gently deposited between two slices of gummy white bread seriously slathered with mayonnaise with a light and evenly spread dollop of Heinz organic ketchup on one side of the sammich. Deeee-licious!

Conversely, I cannot begin to imagine ketchup on a hard boiled egg! What would the Easter Bunny say?

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

What does New York have that LA doesn't?

The Empire State Building. '-)

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Los Angeles Area

Baking question QUICK Help

Actually, that's not always a good solution. When you use butter -- REAL butter -- you never have to flour the pan the way you do when you use (god forbid!) shortening or margarine to grease the pan. Ghee also works GREAT! I buy ghee by the case!

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Baking question QUICK Help

Yes, but you can also spread the butter quite nicely with a paper towel. I've done it. You just have to pay a little extra attention to the creases. But I guess it depend on what you're calling "a fluted pan." '-)

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Gendering of Food

You cannot get CLEP credits if you are attending any classes in an accredited university. Drop out for a year, take the CLEPs and save a fortune! '-)

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

San Diego Style Mexican Food

Thanks for the information! I just gave them a call and they DO have chiles relleno on the menu, and not just as a chile relleno burrito, as it shows on their on-line menu. The website, for anyone interested is:
http://marianastacoshopfrisco.com/wp-...

This makes me VERY happy! They use ANAHEIM chiles in their rellenos, just as God intended! I hate hate hate chile rellenos made with poblano peppers. It's just not safe to have two at a time because one might be mild and the next one will melt your fillings with its heat.

I am NOT a chile head! '-)

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

San Diego Style Mexican Food

Actually the meat is already seasoned as a result of the onions, chili powder, cumin, etc. that is added to the pot with the beef before simmering. Just DO NOT add salt until AFTER the meat is cooked.

If you have ever had shredded beef tacos or burritos (carne de res deshebrada) in a restaurant, and as you chew the beef gathers into a touch, stringy ball, THAT is because they salted the beef before cooking or added salt during the cooking. Salt makes beef muscle pull up, tighten, and cook tough.

However, feel free to add salsa, pico de gallo, salsa fresca, Tobasco, Sriracha, or whatever heat you like to the taco or burrito. I don't recommend adding it to the beef prior to or during cooking. Cooking modifies the flavor.

Enjoy!
-

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

San Diego Style Mexican Food

I forgot to include a recipe for carne de res deshebrada (shredded beef for tacos or whatever). This is a classic Mexican recipe.

Brisket or part of a brisket.

A stock pot of good size for the piece of beef.

Water to float the beef (in other words, cover it completely)

1 or 2 or 3 onions quartered or rough sliced

4 or 5 cloves unpeeled garlic

1 or 2 large carrots cut in very thick slices

lots of chile powder to taste. I often use "Gebhardt's)

Ground cumin to taste

a fresh bunch of cilantro (optional for gringos <g>)

NO SALT!

Do NOT brown the beef. Simply put everything listed above in the pot and bring to a full, rolling boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for an hour or three. The point is, make sure the brisket is cooked to the cut-with-a-fork tenderness.

Remove beef to a platter or a large bowl and shred with two forks. It should pull apart quite easily. In fact, it should shred with very little urging! NOW is the proper time to salt to taste with Kosher salt or sea salt. WARNING: If you add salt during or before boiling the beef to full desired doneness, you will end up with very tough, stringy deshebrada de res.

And save the water the beef was boiled in. It makes a GREAT soup! Just add vegetables of choice, or add back some of the brisket before shredding, and away you go!

This recipe is traditional Mexican, REALLY easy, but it does require a little time. But oh so worth it! Once the beef is shredded, it's ready for use in tacos or whatever.

Depending on a person's age, "California Mexican food" and "California Mexican food" may NOT be the same animal!

Pity.

And an ADDED NOTE: If you order "tacos al carbon" and you are served fajita tacos, you are in a very bad restaurant! Traditional tacos al carbon are made with meat that is charcoal broiled over real coals. They are fabulous in flavor, but damned near extinct in my area. <sigh>

Apr 08, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking