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Rachael Ray gets on my last nerve

She does have a very hyper TV personality, I get that. I happen to be a big fan of hers though. And I've made a lot of her recipes and have yet to hit a bad one. Her recipe for Tuscan style spaghetti with beans is a regular at my house.

Jan 29, 2015
mwk in Food Media & News

Anybody know of a good chicken breast recipe?

I absolutely love this recipe from Barefoot Contessa. It's easy and really delicious. I probably make it once a week.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

Jan 29, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Suggestions for Steak Marinade

This one is quick, easy and delicious. Nigella uses a London Broil, but it would be great on a top sirloin as well:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

Jan 28, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

HELP: Good Chinatown Restaurants that Deliver

if you live in Boston or Brookline/Cambridge, you can use DiningIn to get food from SOME of the Chinatown restaurants. But, generally they don't deliver.

Jan 27, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

No problem. I'm "required" to bring it to any summer BBQ or pot luck parties. It's so easy to throw together, I won't buy deli salads any more.

Jan 27, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Indian Cooking Tips and Recipes

I usually use the Patak's Curry Paste, the mild one, rather than the pre-made curry cooking sauces, which is a different thing. The paste is used as a base for a curry, not as the sauce itself.

http://www.pataks.co.uk/products/mild...

They also have spicier versions, but I like to control the heat, so if I want more heat, it's easy enough to put some cayenne pepper in.

As for the jarred ginger paste, I have a few Indian supermarkets near me where I go for supplies. I've tried two different brands of paste, and both got thrown in the garbage. I just don't think it's a viable substitute for fresh, unlike the curry paste which is fantastic.

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Indian Cooking Tips and Recipes

One tip would be that you don't necessarily need to make the curry all yourself. I love getting a jar of the Patak's curry paste, and using that as a basis for my curry. It's very simple, and it sure tastes like a restaurant meal when I'm done.

I do make curry from scratch on occasion, and the onion directions are spot on. I will say that the garlic-ginger paste from a jar is disgusting and should never be used. It's tasteless, full of salt and just nasty. It's so easy to make your own in a blender or mini food processor, and it's not even in the same league of flavor.

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking
1

I need a good recipe for either Chicken Cacciatore or Parmesan Chicken

I make this recipe ALL the time. It's outstanding. I am a huge fan of smoked mozzarella, so I love this. It pairs so well with the fresh basil too, really packs a flavor punch.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ra...

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

Here's another "secret" that I use often. I make my own BBQ sauce for chicken by mixing one can of jellied cranberry sauce, 1 bottle of Heinz Chili sauce, and a packet of onion soup mix in a saucepan and heating until melted and combined. It's great brushed on ribs or chicken. I also use it as a base in a crock pot for meatballs on a buffet table.

Jan 23, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

Ha...proportions...well, I don't usually measure when I'm cooking. For the macaroni salad, I just mix up the dressing to "taste".

I can give you a starting point. For one pound of shell or elbow pasta, I usually will use 2 packets of Good Seasons (zesty or regular Italian doesn't really matter too much which one), 2 cups of Hellman's, and maybe a 1/4 cup white vinegar.

I mix the dressing together separately in a bowl and taste. I like it to be very tart from vinegar, so I'll usually start adding more splashes of vinegar until it's the way I want it, keeping in mind that when it coats all the pasta and it's been chilled in the refrigerator, the taste will mellow a lot. Of course, you may like yours with less dressing, or with less vinegar flavor. Taste and play around with the proportions. As I said, I make it strongly flavored because it's covering a lot of pasta and I like it to have flavor.

Also, along with the pasta, I'll add a bag of Mann's Broccoli Cole Slaw, to give it some crunch and some color.

This recipe differs substantially from deli macaroni salad, I'm just warning you. I hate deli salad because it's way too sweet for my taste. This is not sweet at all. There's some sugar in the Good Seasons I think, but that just helps the vinegar to go down more smoothly.

Have leftover roast chicken and sourcream in the fridge.....

Sautee some onions in a pan in a bit of oil. Add some diced tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of your favorite curry powder and cook down a bit. Add the diced/shredded roast chicken to the pan and just warm through, then take off the heat and add sour cream until it is a nice creamy curry. Serve over rice.

By the way, although Sour Cream is easier to cook with than yogurt and less likely to curdle, you can make it (or yogurt) almost "curdle proof" by mixing in a teaspoon of flour or cornstarch to a cup of sour cream before putting it in the hot food.

Jan 22, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

I need party food ideas for 50 people, including kids

of course you can do whatever you want to this. Making meatballs I'm sure is delicious too, but this is usually a "throw away" dish for me when I'm making a lot of food and I just want something easy. Sort of like when Ina goes to the market and buys antipasto instead of making an appetizer ;)

I have actually added onion soup mix to the concoction on occasion, but since I'm trying to cut back on salt, I stopped doing that. I've been known to add some dehydrated onion flakes to it, though.

Jan 22, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner - #345 - the Winter Doldrums Already? Edition [through January 28, 2015]

I made one of my favorite meals last Sunday. I take a bone-in pork butt roast (not the picnic one with the skin, but the butt) and I put it in an oven roasting bag (for easy clean up) with a half bottle of red wine, a can of diced tomatoes, a few chunked carrots and celery, some sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme that I tie together, and salt and pepper. Roast at 300 degrees for 6 hours, until it reaches at least 175. Then I defat the cooking liquid as much as possible, remove the herbs, and put it in a blender with the vegetables to make a great gravy to go over the meat.

On a more involved note, I also tried making the America's Test Kitchen version of Bolognese Sauce. It was really yummy. Filled the whole house with a nice aroma, and made enough that I have three containers in my freezer for later on.

I need party food ideas for 50 people, including kids

A very popular dish that I usually include on buffets is BBQ meatballs or hot dogs.

You take one can of jellied cranberry sauce, 1 bottle of prepared Chili Sauce (I usually use Heinz) and melt them together in a saucepan. Pour into a crockpot and add either some frozen mini meatballs, sliced hot dogs, cocktail franks, or cooked chicken wings. I usually use the meatballs because they are easiest. People seem to LOVE this. Just keep it warm in the crock pot.

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

My absolutely favorite macaroni salad recipe is one that I got from my Mom, who made it occasionally. I can sit and eat an entire bowl of the stuff if allowed.

The dressing is Hellman's Mayo, white vinegar and Good Season's Zesty Italian Salad dressing mix. I take this to BBQ's during the summer and it always disappears.

What is your favourite thing to do with a chuck steak?

A friend gave me "Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking" for a Christmas gift. Last weekend, I was watching her show and she made this recipe from the book. I decided to make it for dinner last night and it was delicious. She uses a London Broil, but I'd think a chuck steak would work just as well.

London Broil with Sun Dried Tomato marinade

http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/de...

Jan 13, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Are there any highly recommended vegetarian entrees in the Greater Boston area?

I love Red Lentil in Watertown. I've never had a bad meal there. Everything is tasty, presentation is very nice and service is excellent. I love the Millet loaf and the Rustic Paella.

Jan 12, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Raw Chicken Dishes

I had some chicken sashimi when I was in Japan two years ago. I survived. However, I didn't particularly care for it. The raw chicken was a bit slimy and rubbery. It doesn't seem to have a nice texture to it, like raw beef or fish would.

Jan 09, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking
1

quick chicken soup

And have it come out like pistou? I suppose you could just add some chopped fresh basil, which would cut the salt content down to nothing.

Other flavors I have tried: Add some pre-sliced mushrooms, A squirt of siracha sauce, a splash of low-sodium soy sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar and you have a lazy-man's hot and sour soup. A beaten egg, some chopped ginger and a tiny splash of low sodium tamari or soy sauce makes a "cheaters egg drop soup".

I've also tried the chopped garlic from the jar, and dried onion flakes.

Oh, and once I tried adding a jar of carmelized onions to make a French Onion Soup like substance. It wasn't bad at all, in a Sandra Lee sort of way :)

Jan 09, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

quick chicken soup

Heat up some lo-sodium chicken stock. Add a small bag of frozen peas and carrots. If it's not too much trouble, dice a stalk of celery and add it. Otherwise, don't.

When the peas and carrots are heated through, pour a mug of the soup, and top with a large spoonful of pesto sauce, purchased from your supermarket ( I like Pastene brand). It's sort of like an "instant", "Poor-Man's" soup au pistou. Very tasty. I don't know about the salt content of the Pastene pesto, but if it has too much salt, you can look for another brand. Also, you don't need very much at all to flavor a soup mug full of soup.

Jan 09, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy New Year January 2015 edition! [OLD]

Thanks, I'll check those out as well.

Jan 09, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

meal delivery service - hingham

Have you tried looking on Foodler? Enter their address and see what restaurants deliver there.

Jan 08, 2015
mwk in Greater Boston Area
1

Favorite Freezable Soups/Stews

One of my favorite recipes is my mother's recipe for her Jewish style Cabbage Borscht. It's got a really nice sour kick from the lemon juice (or sour salt if you have it). It freezes really well.

1 medium head of green cabbage, shredded coarsely
1 pound of any type of stew beef on the bone (oxtails, short ribs, shins, etc.)
1 large 28oz can of crushed tomatoes in puree
3 cans of water (use the water to wash out the remaining tomatoes in the can)
1 tablespoon of Sour Salt or to taste (or the juice of one lemon)
*note: I like mine sour, but taste the broth and decide for yourself. It should have a nice mellow kick from the lemon
Sliced beets (my mom used canned, but I roast a couple of beets and slice them)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tb Oil

Put the oil in the bottom of a large stockpot and brown the meat for a few minutes on each side. Put all the rest of the ingredients, except for the beets, in the pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove the meat from the bones and cut into small chunks. Return the meat chunks to the pot, along with the sliced beets.

It freezes really well. I have three containers of it in my freezer now. It's also fairly low-calorie, low-carb, gluten-free, etc.

Also, although pasta and potatoes in soups don't freeze very well, have you tried using barley or wheat berries instead? They freeze really well and keep their texture.

Jan 08, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking
1

Low(er) Carb Slow Cooker Recipes

I like this recipe. I just made a batch for lunch last week. If you are really strict on the carbs, you can leave out the corn. But, it's fairly low carb anyway.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/slo...

This one too, but I leave out the potatoes, or substitute with Rutabaga or something more carb-friendly.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/slo...

Jan 07, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

One Bag of Chickpea Flour, Five Ways to Use It - From Food52

I realized I had forgotten this recipe as well. I was trying to cut down on my carb intake, and I was looking for lower-carb options to make noodles, etc. I also happen to own a Spaetzle maker, so naturally I started by looking for spaetzle recipes that didn't use wheat flour. I found this one, and it works really well with the chickpea flour.

http://www.tamaraduker.com/2011/07/ch...

Jan 07, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy New Year January 2015 edition! [OLD]

I am a huge fan of the cuisines of the Middle East and Asia. I love the flavors, aromas and combinations. I live in Boston, and I spend a lot of time shopping in Watertown at the Armenian markets, trying new ingredients, etc. While surfing the web a few months ago, looking for a good recipe for Hot and Sour soup, I came across this blog, "Silk Road Gourmet".

I made the Hot and Sour soup and it was fantastic. I saw that she has a cookbook that covers the areas around the "Silk Route" and that cuisine. I ordered that cookbook. So far, I've made the Afghan Chicken kebabs with Afghan Cilantro Sauce. They were outstanding. I'm going to try some new recipes this weekend, I think.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Silk-Road-G...

One Bag of Chickpea Flour, Five Ways to Use It - From Food52

Here's one that I love, that you probably haven't seen or tried yet. It's an Ethiopian dish called Butecha. I found it listed on this web site:

https://ethiopianfood.wordpress.com/r...

I've made it numerous times now; it's a staple side dish in our family. Try it!

Jan 06, 2015
mwk in Home Cooking

Best restaurants under $30 for App and Entree?

Cafe Polonia, Ariana in Allston, Asmara in Cambridge, Antonio's on Cambridge St., Lulu's in Allston, Sunset Cafe Cambridge, Trina's Starlite Lounge in Somerville, Greek Corner in Cambridge, Cafe Barada in Cambridge.

This is IMHO, of course. Also, my REAL list would include a lot of Asian restaurants because I love Chinese, Japanese, Thai food etc. I don't know if you consider Indian food off the list as well, but I would throw a few of those in as well.

Dec 24, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

We don't eat meat, they don't eat fish.....

Here is another option that I really love. Polenta Pasticatta with a Mushroom Ragu. I'm not a vegetarian, but I have friends who are. They INSIST that I make this when they come for dinner. As with all of the recipes I've made from Lidia Bastianach's cookbooks, it's not terribly difficult and it's so delicious. You can easily make the Ragu ahead of time and then assemble the dish, or you can make the entire thing the day before, and then bake it when you want to serve it.

Polenta pasticiatta is a layered baked dish, just like lasagna, but made with warm, fresh polenta instead of pasta

http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/de...

Dec 16, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking
1

Local meats/eggs w/o breaking the bank...recommendations?

Just so you are aware, Harvestland is owned by Perdue. It's their attempt to pretend that they aren't a factory farming operation. I do believe that the labels say "no antibiotics", so maybe that's at least something good.

http://henrylau.me/dont-be-tricked-in...

Dec 16, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area