Caroline1's Profile

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does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

Sort of agree because there is absolutely no way on this big blue marble I can possibly respect that! NO WAY! A rose is a rose is a rose. And so is a rectum. '-)

does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

Well, I guess we're on VERY different pages. Do you actually think she and her husband want to expand a catered menu with hummus and cheese from a supermarket?

She does NOT make clear where their newly remodeled-before-entertaining-house is located -- The Hamptons for all we know! -- but she makes it quite clear she is talking about at least 36 people in her extended family who have not replied.

Are you aware that there is a contract signed with caterers, and it is clearly within the caterer's right to remove all of the catered food from the premises and leave without serving anyone (no refunds) if the contracting hosts try to expand the menu with food of their own? "Catering" is a business. It involves contracts, normally requiring all food served at the occasion be supplied by the caterer. The fee is commensurate with the number of guests SERVED, not by the number of guests invited. It is not unusual for caterers of set occasions to charge for serving guests food supplied by the host at the same "cover per guest" rate given in the contract! The cost of adding hummus and cheese for a crowd could be very expensive indeed. Are you aware of this?

They are NOT hosting a back yard pot luck. This kind of behavior by her family can create some very real stress for this young couple, if it hasn't already.

I guess we will truly have to agree to disagree if you think her predicament is acceptable.

Feb 16, 2015
Caroline1 in Not About Food

does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

Indy 67, your passivity and encouraging others to be passive as well is not helpful. The more people in this world who take a stand on the everyday issues that promote a community of people who are fun to associate with and not a constant embarrassment, the better. Why should the OP have to have places/extra servings catered and paid for and thrown out because family members and/or others don't know they are expected to reply OR are too self indulgent to bother responding but plan to show up anyway and eat someone else's food? Think about it. In this country, NO ONE is obligated to be someone else's carpet. It's in everyone's power to make a choice. It's never too late to take a stand. '-)

Feb 15, 2015
Caroline1 in Not About Food

does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

What a lousy position to be in! As the old saying goes, "we can choose our friends, but we can't choose our family." In your place, I would just sit myself down and call all of my family members who have not replied. And if anyone says they haven't made up their mind yet, then I'd say, "Well, we have to order the food so I'll just mark you as not coming. Thanks." And that would be that. Please understand that I don't have a lot of patience with rudeness, most especially from my own family. In your position, I would undoubtedly have snapped at my father and said, "Yo, Dad. look around! This is NOT Italy, and I'm celebrating my child's first birthday! You want some cake or not?"

I hope this all works out for you and that you have a wonderful party! Best wishes!

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking - Wolfert cookbook

I don't know that she does. My only Wolfert cookbook is "Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco," that she wrote in the seventies and I bought in the eighties. I read it when I first bought it, but don't know that it's gotten more than a recipe check since, and those are few and far between. But it is a valuable book for me because it did add to my understanding of the foods of Morocco. In fact, I don't really remember any single source that fully covered the magic of tagines so I'll share that here and hope it's useful to someone.

I became interested in tagines decades and decades ago, as in the first time I saw one. "What fun to cook in something shaped like that!" was my first thought. The next throught was, "Where the hell can I find one without going to Morocco?" Time was the answer. I had to basically wait for the internet. But meanwhile, I did find other clay pots to entertain myself (and guests) with.

As with all unglazed clay pot cooking, you must first saturate the unglazed clay by soaking it in water before cooking. I soak my tagines for at least an hour. When I break in a new one, I soak both top and base overnight fully submersed, then coat their interiors heavily with olive oil and bake them dry in a slow oven, then repeat. This strengthens the clay. Some people include a garlic rub with the initial curing, but I don't.

In my decades of picking up a bit of information here, a bit more there, then assimilating it all, I have developed a method for "building" a tagine before cooking.

First its clay must be soaked to saturation, then I coat the bottom and sides well with olive oil. Then I stack in the meat, sometimes lamb, sometimes chicken. I NEVER sear the meat first. With lamb, I have my butcher cut it in cubes about an inch and a half to two inches cubed, making sure that about half of the pieces have a cut bone surface. I set the meat in the tagine bone sides down, then the boneless pieces are mounded on top. The bone contact serves as "insulation" so nothing browns or burns and adheres to the porous clay. Works great! (With chicken, I just cook longer at a lower flame setting and make sure there are no drafts!) Sometimes I mix all the spices as a rub and let the meat sit overnight absorbing the flavors, sometimes I don't bother.

When all of the meat is centered in the tagine base, then I stack on the vegetable ingredients. Chopped onions (and garlic)) first, trying to pile things in a cone shape. Then the other veggies, whatever they may be. I NEVER use potatoes in a tagine, but just about anything else goes. For the last year or so, I've been preserving my own lemons and always have a half gallon jar of them on the countertop. I nearly always use preserved lemons in my tagines. Other fairly common ingredients are olives, dates, apricots, figs, pine nuts, and more substantial vegetables such as zuchinni, the occasional acorn squash, lots of room to be creative. And of course, a rich mixture of spices that I crush and grind in my mortar and pestle, then sprinkle them liberally over all.

The spices include saffron (which I put to soak in warm water before I begin assembling the tagine), cumin, ras al hanoot (I do have a jar I bought, but I also often make my own), cardamom, maybe a dash of cinnamon, hmmmmm... the list is long, cumin, but it varies with each dish's meat and veggies. Last thing is to combine the saffron and its liquid with about a half cup or so of stock that I add last before closing up the tagine. Then it's a long and VERY low flame for two or three hours. Occasionally more.

It's during this time that I make sure the well in the top of the lid is full. It doesn't matter if the water in it is hot or cold, but it DOES promote condensation inside the cone shaped lid by preventing the clay at the top of the lid from drying out during the long cooking process. It is the total saturation of the clay lid, top to bottom, that promotes the condensation inside, and it is the gaps around the bottom of my hand coiled and built tagines that allows some of the vapor to escape while the condensation keeps running back down into the pan. It's this on-going process that makes the final sauce so extremely rich and flavorful.

My experience with tagines has led me to think of them as one of the greatest culinary cooking vessel engineering successes in the history of man! I love them. '-)

Feb 14, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking - Wolfert cookbook

I first becamwe fascinated with the unique qualities of clay when I lived in Turkey in the fifties. Terra cotta pitchers were an ancient tradition, and I found them amazing. The climate was VERY hot in the summer. The hottest day when i lived there was 130F on the flightline at Incirlik Air Force Base. We lived in town, and that self cooling evaporative water pitcher in my kitchen was in constant need of refills! Amazingly perfect cold water!

But Turks also have a long tradition of cooking stews in unglazed clay pots. They just touch your soul and make you so happy you have taste buds capable of conveying such joy!

The thing aboug unglazed clay pot cooking is that the oftener you cook in the clay pots, the better the flavor depth it can attain becomes. I have NEVER had that happen with my metal, ceramic, or glass cookware. The trade-off is that the metal, ceramic and glass are usually a lot more durable and easier to care for. But the clay pays big dividends for the extra trouble.

Time to break out your clay pots and give them a try!

Feb 14, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Let's talk about Liverwurst.

Yes! It works great! I've been cheating this way at least since the 60s! If you want to "cheat hard," and even fool a few experts, add a pinch or two of dried thyme and some cognac along with the butter. I don't add cream since it's not used in any "from scratch" pates I know of, but if you want to add a bit of "French authenticity" try some truffle salt OR if you just happen to have some truffle peels hanging around, those will work nicely! Also some crushed pistachio nuts worked in are convincing. And actually, it's really not THAT much of a cheat. Liverwurst is just liver for the pate that you don't have to cook first for yourself, right?

Now, if a kind creative soul would just come up with a really convincing essence of foi gras we could add, wouldn't that be great? Anyone seen foi gras oil in their local market lately? '-)

Feb 13, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking - Wolfert cookbook

Oooops! One critical factor I forgot to make clear is that with SOME clay pots, a critical reason their flavor cannot be duplicated in a modern pot or pan, even if it is shaped like the real thing, is that with many of them, the clay of the pot itself contributes an important earthy flavor in a very literal sense that "makes" the dish. It has now been close to fifteen years since my Romertopf met its demise in a nasty kitchen accident (RIP), but I don't remember the "clay flavor" as being quite as distinct in it as it is in my Northern Morocco hand coiled Rifi tagines. The Rifi tagines add a VERY distinct flavor somewhat similar to mushrooms but not exactly. Sorry for omitting this information!

Feb 13, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking - Wolfert cookbook

Oooops! No comment.

Feb 12, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking - Wolfert cookbook

Not a silly question at all. But I have a question for you. What kind of "clay pot" tagine do you have? Is the clay glazed, as in is it shiny? If that's the kind you have, then (sorry to tell you) it's not an "authentic" (that much discussed and hated word on these boards) cooking tagine, even if it was made in Morocco!

"Clay pot" cooking is as old as man. Well, at least as old as man conquering fire so he could roast a piece of meat! But most modern cooks don't want to bother with them because they require a LOT of maintenance! Many "clay pots" intended for cooking are unglazed porous clay and require soaking for at least an hour or two before cooking so the clay absorbs its maximum amount of waterm which in turn helps steam/tenderize the finished dish. The types of "Clay pots" that require this kind of treatment are true North African unglazed cooking tagines, Romertopf clay bakers for chicken, I once even had a Navajo traditional clay bean pot that was "glazed" with pine sap intentionally and gave a fabulous "pine fire" flavor to my baked beans, and I also have a Chinese clay pot for making soups.

The one thing that most of these types of clay pots/bakers have in common is that the clay absorbs to flavor of the spices and carries some of that flavor over to "next time," and they are NOT intended to go in the dishwasher. Cascade will not help the flavor of your next Romertopf chicken or lamb tagine. Trust me!

Because porous clay pots, tagines, and Romertopfs usually require soaking before you begin cooking, then they are only cleaned afterward with hot water (NEVER soap!), they also require being thoroughly dried out before you put them away, and should not be stored with their lids on or you run a VERY high risk of having them developing mold inside, which can render them unsafe for cooking., the web site that specializes in imported Moroccan tagines, suggest you clean a tagine with vinegar and water. DON'T!!! Unless you want the next dish you cook in it to taste like vinaigrette!

A major joy and an important part of TRADITIONAL clay pot cooking is that repeated use builds flavors within the interior surface of the clay. It's a natural part of the process. I cook a lot of Moroccan tagines in my very traditional hand thrown unglazed clay tagines, and dry them out after cooking and rinsing well with hot water and scrubbing with a vegetables brush by heating them in the oven at 200 or 300 degrees for a short bit, then letting them stay in the oven with the pilot light on for about a day before letting them get cold. I also keep them stored in the oven, and more than once I've turned on the oven, forgetting they are in there (I have 2, one for fruity tagines and one for savory) until the house is full of the rich aroma of saffron and ras al hanoot and cumin... good stuff!

So finally to answer your questions: IF you want "authentic" flavor, you will never get it in any other cooking vessel than the kiln fired but unglazed traditional clay pots called for, whether it be a tagine, a Romertopf, a Navajo bean pot, or a Chinese soup pot.

You have really good instincts! Because you're are absolutely right. You cannot get the "authentic" flavor of traditional ethnic foods that are supposed to be cooked in clay pots in modern cookware. Le Creuset "tagines" make me laugh! If you'd like to see some pictures of the tagine making process I use, you can have a look here:

Oh! And the cone shaped top of every TRADITIONAL unglazed clay tagine has a well in the top knob/handle that you fill with cold water prior to cooking. It helps promote maximum condensation inside the lid. Traditional tagines are true engineering wonders! The irregular shape of a hand thrown tagine allows just the right amount of steam to escape so that you get nicely concentrated broth. If you get an unglazed tagine thrown on a potter's wheel (or a horrible Le Creuset tagine), the lid will fit tight and if you don't want broth all over your kitchen, you'll have to use a chopstick or the handle of a spoon to keep it open enough that it doesn't overflow and make a mess as the ingredients release their natural juices.

Good luck! It's all a matter of personal choice and preference, but I will quickly admit that taking care of clay pots properly does require a bit more time than tossing a ceramic coated cast iron Dutch oven or a stainless steel induction friendly pan in the dishwasher. As you will see in the pictures, I do use a portable gas single burner "stove" for my tagine because clay just won't work on induction!

Hope this helps.

Feb 12, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Did you inherit any funky kitchen gadgets and appliances?

Two come to mind, both well loved. One is my great grandfather's (mother's mother's side) Sheffield steel that I use every time I take a knife out of my knife block. Once I foolishly bought a new steel thinking it would be better. Not even close!

The other is a copper with brass finial and handle tea kettle handed down through the same generations as the sharpening steel. Time has produced a leak that can only be cured by re-tinning the interior. For fear of a tin smith harming it I have now procrastinated long enough that re-tinning is useless because copper doesn't work with induction. <sigh> But when Japanese induction technology finally reaches America and copper will work on induction, I'll be looking for a tin smith big time! Meanwhile it sits on a shelf where I can see it because it is gorgeous!

Feb 11, 2015
Caroline1 in Cookware

Should I buy a food processor or a blender and mandolin?

I can't imagine choosing only one. I LOVE a well equipped kitchen! But buying all three sequentially on a tight budget makes sense. That said, all you need to do now is figure out which to buy first. The bad news is that you not only need all three, but you probably need a burr coffee grinder as well.

Having a LOT of experience with such things (a result of stacking up the years), buying "less than the best" is money wasted on either a food processor or a blender. A "less than premium" machine will end up being a temporary crutch to help you limp along until you can afford what you really need.

Mandolins are the exception to that rule. My Benriner Japanese mandolin is about 50 years old now, the original blades still cut like a knife through warm butter, and it was cheap 50 years ago and is still cheap today. The big surprise is how many professional chefs use them regularly as their "go to" mandolin. Just search "Benriner" on OR the web for the best price (around 20 bucks).

Give some serious thought to seeking out "vintage" (aka "pre-owned)food processors (and stand mixers) simply because they are so much more reliable and better made, as in no nylon gears that break down. Fortunately I bought lots of slicing, dicing, and shredding disks for my vintage Cuisinart that mean I can slice thick or thin and several options in between. I also have "French fry" and "match stick" blades, but they do come out curved. When I need straight, I use a mandolin or a knife.

I make a fair amount of dips and pureed soups too. I don't find my blender and food processor to be anywhere close to interchangeable for these dishes. For example I love the broccoli cheese soup I make with frozen broccoli-and-cheese-sauce I puree with chicken broth in my Waring Pro bar blender. I process it until there are no green flecks of broccoli left showing, which also whips in a lot of extremely fine bubbles that produce a velvety thick mouth feel to the soup I cannot get with my Ninja smoothie blender, nor with my Cuisinart food processor, nor with my stick blender. The Cuisinart does just fine for dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush, and salsas, but my blender is a nightmare for salsas and a PITA to clean with hummus!

All blenders are not created equal. There is no way I can get the smooth texture my broccoli cheese soup requires with my Ninja blender instead of the Waring, no matter how long I let it run, and I wouldn't waste my time trying with my Cuisinart. The same is true for mayonnaise; the high speed blender (Waring) renders the best results. Sliced carrots or celery, potato slices for au gratin or pommes Anna and dicing or slicing onions in volume are strictly food processor chores. But if I'm slicing veggies for tempura or a salad, Benriner rules!

Oh, and the Benriner comes with additional blades that can be added to produce julienne cuts in a couple of sizes. Unlike julienne with a food processor, these come out un-curved! For fun, sometimes I do a really fine julienne of carrots in about 4 inch lengths, then tie 3 or 4 strips in a knot and add them to a tossed salad for crunch and decoration. Guests are fascinated!

If you build by buying quality, the day will come when you have it all! Have fun!

Feb 11, 2015
Caroline1 in Cookware

Anyone know how to proper knife cuts?

Without seeing what you're actually doing, it's difficult to offer a suggestion beyond ask your instructor for a little first hand coaching. Surely you're not the first or only one to have this problem. Most often it has to do with how you hold the knife, but there are countless other possibilities. NEVER hesitate to ask your instructors. That's why you pay tuition. '-)

Good luck, and may your cooking career be long and successful!

Feb 09, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Harcèlement moral : plainte contre un établissement de Joël Robuchon

It seems there is a lesson here:
I. Never work for Joel Robuchon without a contract.
II. Make sure the contract includes a clause excluding you from ever being required to drink salted water.

But it does make you wonder just how much salt the guy put in the pasta water, doesn't it! Working free for Michelin starred chefs is nothing new. However, suing them for gaining the experience is. But will it hurt or help the aspiring cook's career? Time will tell.

Feb 09, 2015
Caroline1 in France

Belgian Waffle Irons, Things I didn't know... Until Now

I should have updated this a looong time ago, but some sort of electronic shuffle has kept it out of my sight until now.

My ancient Rival Belgian waffle iron has been resuscitated and is once again making fabulous Belgian waffles! I ran the Teflon coated plates through the dishwasher 2 or 3 times, then let them rest in the oven with the interior light on to make sure thew were completely dry, then coated them heavily with ghee/clarified butter and let them cook empty at the lowest setting for an hour or two. I let them cool overnight and did a trial run the next day. Voila! Happy waffles are once again a part of my life. '-)

Jan 28, 2015
Caroline1 in Cookware

Lemon thief

An activated garden hose would end that discussion! But then there'd probably be no video. Am I the only one who has ever turned on my sprinkler system to encourage human grazers to move along? It's fun to be creative! '-)

Lemon thief

Except training a coyote to pee in a cup for you is damned challenging!

What would be a complimentary side dish to fried rabbit?

Or turtle soup? '-)

Jan 16, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

One little food story

You've pushed me back to my childhood in southern California! We had a loquat tree, a kadota fig tree, a mission fig tree, four apricot trees, a pomegranite tree, a guava tree, and of course, MY personal annual fight with the birds to shoo them away from all of my favorite fruits. Your loquats look perfect!

I hate to tell you this, but the next time you pay $8.00 a pound for some loquats, your soul is going to weep because not a single one of them will equal the flavor of your memory of those sun ripened luciously juicy loquats! Voice of experience here. But bless you for jogging my memory. It's a beautiful thing! '-)

Jan 05, 2015
Caroline1 in General Topics

Is Chowhound dead?

TaDAAAAHHHH...! Today Time Warner installed my new 30mps download on the web (and I plan to upgrade to 100mps download tomorrow), AND I dumped FiOS! ANNNNNNNNDDDDD... I apparently don't have to compose posts in another software program and then cut and past them to Chowhound if I want the whole thing posted! The screen doesn't hiccup and close my browser! Soooooooooo.... It appears my problem was probably FiOS!

Annie, you might want to check out other ISPs in your area. I will NEVER go back to Verizon for anything! I only wish it had occurred to me about a year ago that the problem might not be this website, though it was the only one I had a problem with. But changing ISPs certainly seems to have solved THAT problem!

But I do hate having all of the very very very old threads resurrected! If people hate really loooooooong threads, reviving old threads from 2009 that had 129 responses already, and now people are adding more 5 years later is not going to make anyone's reading OR wading experience richer!

Jan 05, 2015
Caroline1 in Site Talk

Is Chowhound dead?

For some time, but most especially since the "new design" by the webmasters of Chowhound, I've had the problem of having posts pop off the screen and the whole website shut down while I'm typing a response. *IF* it happened on other social websites, I'd blame my computers but it only happens on Chowhound on my work station, my laptop, my tablet, and my smart phone (ALL Windows).

However, TOMORROW I will be migrating from Verizon FiOS to Time Warner at a reduced speed (30mps up and down as opposed to 75mps up down) and I'm HOPEFUL that will make a difference. Time will tell, pun intended! '-)

Jan 04, 2015
Caroline1 in Site Talk

Freezing demi-glace

I'm late with a response for you, but it's not like I didn't try! Once again Chowhound ate my post! It's a major problem for me, and as a result I don't post much any more, but... in this case, I think you ask a fair question, so though I may well be too late to be of much use to you, maybe it will help others. Sorry!

So first to your question about freezing stock and/or demi-glace for later use. My answer: Regardless of what Julia Child did 50 years ago, NO! Don't do it! Why? Because if you store stock/demi-glace "ice cubes" in a zip lock bag in the freezer, they will only be good for a day or three before they start building layers of "perma-frost" on their surface and when you use them after five or six weeks (let alone months) of such storage their flavor will be like garbage!

INSTEAD: I use these: I fill them ALMOST to the brim (water expands when it freezes and you don't want to pop the lid off!) and freeze my stocks and demi-glaces in these. Voila! NO ice formation such as you get when you follow Julia's method. Even if you freeze the stock/demi in the ice cube trays and store those in a ziplock, you will STILL get the nasty "perma frost" that forms on the frozen with time and makes it taste disgusting. There are enough of these mini-cups with lids (50 per pack) to do quite a bit of demi-glace.

As for you question about what people think of Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cook book instructions for making stock/demi-glace, *IF* your intent is to end up with anything close to a classic demi-glace OR beef stock, he has the technique down but the ingredients will yield a whole bunch of stock for a classic beef stew, but NOT for a classic brown stock OR demi-glace! And as he says in the instructions, making a true classic brown stock or a classic demi-glace is not something any sane home cook is going to want to do oftener than a maybe couple of times a year. To do it right, it takes about four days for the stock and a lot more time for the demi-glace reduction. So my point, is, "Chef Bourdain, WHY are you sending people on a wild goose chase that will NOT render anything close to a true demi-glace?" Hopefully Eric Ripert has shown him the error of his ways since his years at Les Halles. '-


In his defense, let me quickly add that his TECHNIQUE of simmering and skimming and never ever boiling your stock is right on! The primary changes I would make to his ingredients are these:

1. The BONES you use should be almost entirely knuckle/joint bones. The kind that are all shiny with cartilage. They render the most natural gelatin possible, which is very important in a demi-glace or a classic brown sauce/glace de viande. You don't want to use marrow bones because they release a lot of fat into the stock, and that only means more skimming. LOTS more skimming! And the same3 goes for adding a tablespoon or so of flour to the tomato sauce you rub the bones with before browning them for your stock pot. The flour ALSO adds a lot more scum and skimming to the process, so leave it out, then just be careful how hot a temperature you roast the bones at because the tomato paste is high in sugar content and prone to burning. Better to roast/brown long and slow that have a bitter stock!

2. Do NOT use red wine, no matter how great or small the vintage! Using red table wine in either the classic stock OR the demi-glace will render results that are suitable for a nice boeuf Bourguignon, which is, after all, quite likely what it was used for at Les Halles, but it will NOT result in a classic demi-glace suitable for all of the myriad secondary sauces demi-glace is treasured for. So if you want a classic demi-glace, OMIT the red wine, then when you start reducing your very well refined (skimmed and strained many times until it is crystal clear) add about a half cup of Madeira or classic Ruby Port (the driest of these wines you can find) and then begin your reducing process. In today's world of haute cuisine, no one still makes a classic sauce Espagnole to use in a demi-glace simply because it adds a day or two (or more) to the process if you are going to do it right and end up with a crystal clear demi-glace. It is MUCH faster with very very close approximation (or actually better, in my opinion) by simply making a true "glace de viande" (a clear brown stock reduced until it is thick and gelatinous enough to coat a spoon) flavored with a traditional Madeira or ruby port wine.

It's also classic to use mushrooms as part of the mirapoix (50% chopped onions, 25% chopped carrots, 25% chopped celery stalks from near the heart) as well as (please god, let me have some of these on hand the next time I make a demi-glace!) truffle peels.

NEVER use ANY salt in the stock or the demi-glace or you seriously risk ending up with a stock/demi-glace that is so salty it's only fit for the garbage can.

And just for the record, this is my favorite skimmer: If you enjoy cooking enough to bother making your own stock, this puppy (or one similar) is worth its weight in gold!

And finally, a note about using the classic method of lining a colander with cheese cloth to strain your stock. I find it extremely difficult to find "culinary grade" cheese cloth in today's America, so go ahead and buy regular cheese cloth but run it through your washing machine WITHOUT detergent or fabric softener, R soak it in a large bowl of warm water and rinse several time to get all of the sizing out of it. Many years ago, the sizing was "culinary grade corn starch," but in today's world of "Better Living Through Chemistry" that's not a reasonable thing to assume, so rinse your cheesecloth well if you don't want to mess up the flavor of your stock when you strain it.

Sorry about this being too late to help you, but maybe things will be better in a week or so when I finish the transition from Verizon FiOS to Time Warner internet. I certainly hope so...!!!!!

Jan 04, 2015
Caroline1 in Home Cooking

Is Chowhound dead?

Okay, I've been wondering if it's just me but Hokie Annie says she's having problems with her FiOS access, so maybe it isn't just me!!! The problem I've been having since the new "fixed it when it wasn't broken" board redesign is that I get about this far in a post when PFFFT!!! It disappears! So I've about given up. If I make it all the way to "Post" with this one, then....


And Chowhound, stop fixing what ain't broke...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Accused of shoplifting!

You might want to go to a craft shop and get some stuff -- paint, plastic flowers, Nerf monsters? -- and "customize" your basket so no one will EVER again think it's not your basket! '-)

Lousy experience for you. Sorry!

Dec 23, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Let's ban the word GUYS!!!

You may be right. I'm of an age that the proper grammar of my youth dictated that a baby, male or female, was referred to as "it". "She" or "her" were restricted to VERY informal discussions. "He" was the de rigueur pronoun for all else. I just figured, "Oh well, if aliens are monitoring earth from space, they'll pass us by once they figure out there are no women!" '-)

Dec 04, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food

Dedicated Sous Vide Board?

I did it to make a point: YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! I would very much like a dedicated sous vide board!

I'm a wily bitch! '-)

patsully, you still readin'? :-)

Nov 29, 2014
Caroline1 in Site Talk

Wackiest, craziest, most interesting restaurant that you have ever been to

When I come upon really interesting threads like this, I often wonder how in the world I have missed them so long! But this is a really fun topic, so it may have years more before it dwindles away.

My most interesting and absolutely unique restaurant experience happened a very very loooooong time ago. The late 1950s! My husband was in the Air Force, and stationed at Incirlik AFB in Adana, Turkey. Summers there could be incredibly hot. One Saturday the thermometer was heading for the low to mid 120s F again, and when it's that hot, altitude is your friend! So we hired our favorite Turk taxi driver for the whole day and asked Nazim to take us some place cool. And boy, did he ever!

He took us high up into the Taurus Mountains, and ultimately to the Cilician Gates, where Alexander the Great's army was pinned by Darius' army around 330BCE (or whatever year around that time), so part of Alex's army went round the mountain and wiped out Darius' Persian forces, then came back and manually widened the pass so that chariots could pass through, not to mention an army marching side by side! And THAT is the road we were on! (I'm an ancient history freak)

The road clung to a cliff and was elevated by about 20 feet above a river. Nazim slowed and pointed to a cluster of clothed tables and chairs set up on a bank of river rocks with a path leading down to it. He pointed, "You in the mood for charcoal roasted chicken for lunch? This place is famous in Turkey." Of course we said yes, then had to walk down a narrow path to the outdoor restaurant set up on river rocks. Unique floor!

As promised, the chicken was fabulous! I am a firm believer that nothing nothing nothing gives flavor as great as true charcoal! Turkey also produces some delicious wines, not to mention raki, an anise liqueur. Great lunch and great conversation, but all during lunch my eyes kept wandering to the graffiti about 20 feet up the "cliff" on the opposite side of the river. LOTS of graffiti! My Greek wasn't all that good (not that it's that much better now), but I could at least figure out that it was in ancient koine Greek, and mostly men's names. TWENTY feet above the beach!

So I asked Nazim about all of the names. His answer was, "Soldier's carved their names there after a battle."

I shook my head. "I didn't think soldiers would have that many ladders with them."

Nazim threw his head back in laughter! "The soldiers were the men of Alexander the Great, and they stood on the river bank and carved at their level. That was over 2,000 years ago, and the river has eroded its bed by 20 feet since then."

I was awe struck. Alexander has always been one of my favorite historical characters. To think we may have had lunch at the same spot, just 2,000 years apart!

After lunch, when we climbed back up to the road, Nazim said, "Before we leave, you have to taste some of the greatest artesian spring water in the world! Come!" And he led us to a place across the road where an overflowing half round rock cistern filled by an artesian spring was at just the right height for animals to drink from. Then right above it was a smaller diameter rock cistern for men to drink from. But it was empty! The artesian outlet had "migrated" downhill enough to miss the men's basin completely! In Alexander's time, the well had filled both bowls.

That experience gave me a sense of the continuity of time and man such as I have experienced in few other places. The food was fabulous, the air was cool and refreshing, and I left with the feeling that had we had just gone there 2,000 years earlier, we might have had lunch with Alexander. Maybe even charcoal broiled chicken! '-)

In my lifetime I've been privileged to dine at some drop dead fabulous restaurants on 3 continents, developed a most unfortunate taste for beluga caviar (unfortunate because it's unaffordable and unavailable), and generally not fallen short in any area of fine dining, but... THAT very rustic restaurant high in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey is my all time ever greatest "unusual" restaurant experience! Until time travel is a reality, I'm very grateful for the memory!

Thanksgiving for one - What would you make?

Since family isn't arriving until day after Thanksgiving (tomorrow evening), I spent most of the week convincing myself I was NOT going to do a Turkey! They will arrive already pre-stuffed with that critter. Even gave the turkey away on Monday to a friend who is having 35 for Thanksgiving dinner. And I ALMOST made it through! But...

This morning (Thanksgiving morning) I had a panic attack (well, not literally) and the thought of not eating a silly gobbler on this most turkey of all days was simply not acceptable. BUT...! I gave away the turkey, did not much want to cook one, soooooo... For a measly $30 bucks I got a truly moist and delicious smoked turkey from my local Fiesta Mart, that came with cornbread stuffing! My first ever smoked turkey, and who knew how good one could be? Drippingly moist and delicious! To go with it, I did a quick sweet potato souffle with walnuts, a mushroom gravy (what's dressing without gravy?), *NO* mashed potatoes, some green peas, and a nice glass of wine. Deeee-licious! And I have lots of freezer space for leftovers.

Tomorrow I think I'll do a chicken tagine with preserved lemons and apricots for dinner, then hit the family with the leftover turkey the next day! But that's a lot of poultry in a row. Maybe I'll do a lamb tagine instead, and if anyone doesn't like lamb, there's always peanut butter and jelly... '-)

Thanksgiving for one can be pretty enjoyable! Lots of phone calls, lots of peace, no football, and 81 years worth of wonderful Thanksgiving memories to let float through my head! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too! :-)

Let's ban the word GUYS!!!

Late to the party, but just for the record: I loooooooove the word "guys"! :-)

Just thought you guys should know.

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

cortez, I think you've spurred me to come up with the perfect solution: From now on I will serve Thanksgiving dinner on the day CLOSEST to Thanksgiving that has NO big games going on!

I consider my "paycheck" for all of the cooking I do to be great conversation during and following dinner, and I hate competition from the boob tube! There's no law that says you can be more thankful on a Thursday than you can on any other day.

Oh, and just for the record, I don't really use a VCR any more; it all goes on my 3tb hard drive. '-)

Nov 27, 2014
Caroline1 in Not About Food