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Make-ahead appetizers/snacks to be served at room temp for 25, including vegetarians

I admit that the peanut noodle idea might have been stretching the idea of "snack" a bit. Here's another suggestion which was extremely popular when I've brought it to events. It's the Cheese Straws recipe from Trisha Yearwood's cookbook:

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

I've made these three times and they prove to be very popular. I made two changes, I used 5-year aged cheddar because I love that flavor. I also added a bit of horseradish and a bit more cayenne for some more zing. I also don't bother with the cookie press thingie. I just roll them and twist them like breadsticks. Very tasty and can easily be made ahead and they are meant to be served at room temp.

Sep 19, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Make-ahead appetizers/snacks to be served at room temp for 25, including vegetarians

There's this wonderful invention called a garnish. This is where you put a piece of what's IN the food, ON the food to indicate the flavor.

I don't think the White Bean dip looks any worse than regular chickpea hummous, which also is not a bright color. But, I do garnish it with a sprig of Rosemary on top and maybe a sprinkle of paprika or Zaatar for that missing color.

Sep 19, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Issue roasting chicken thighs on foil lined baking sheet?

For chicken breasts, 165 is perfect. For thighs, they really need to be cooked until they reach 175-180 range. However, there's no need to throw them away, just put them back in the oven for a few minutes. Also, dark meat chicken will always have a bit of a pink tinge to it, that's just the way it is naturally. If you cook it until it's hard as a rock and dried out, it may be all gray throughout, but then you will need to throw it away.

Sep 18, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking
1

Make-ahead appetizers/snacks to be served at room temp for 25, including vegetarians

For a change of pace, how about making a nice white bean and rosemary hummous? Just cook the white beans and puree them with some olive oil, a bit of fresh garlic and some fresh rosemary. Serve with pita chips or crudite.

I also happen to adore this "Garlicky Beet Spread with Dill and Horseradish" that I found in the NYtimes: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/10...

I do serve it at room temperature, as long as it hasn't been sitting out all day, it's fine. It's more than acidic enough.

Another easy go to dish that I'm always asked to bring, is Spicy Peanut Noodles. It's just spaghetti or Chinese Egg Noodles tossed with a sauce made with peanut butter, fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, seasame oil, and some siracha sauce for heat. There are many specific recipes online if you need one.

Sep 18, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Relative Chinatown novice - need dinner recs

Small: that last comment of mine was not directed at you at all. As I mentioned, in addition to Shojo, for cocktails, you might also like Montien, which is around the corner, and has a full bar/lounge and a large cocktail menu.

Sep 17, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Davis Square bummer!

Although Davis Sq. isn't on my normal "rounds", I do go to events at the Somerville Theater often enough that I have eaten at the restaurants in the area.

I have to disagree with at least one of the "meh" selections. Last Saturday night, we went to the movies at the Theater and ate at Martsa on Elm. We had a perfectly lovely meal. I really enjoyed their take on the Tibetan food, even more than Rangtzen, the other Tibetan restaurant I have to compare it to.

We had Momo's and Pumpkin balls for starters and both were delicious. We had some traditional Tibetan curries, which were somewhat different from the usual Indian curry, in both flavor and ingredients (Pork and baked apple curry, for example).

Service was excellent and the atmosphere was pleasant as well. I certainly will plan to return for another meal when we are in that area again.

Sep 17, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Relative Chinatown novice - need dinner recs

I was hooking into the "Chinatown" aspect of your question, and the way you phrased it and the title that was put on the question, suggested that "Chinatown" was the driving consideration.

When I hear that word, it has certain specific connotations to ME and IN MY OPINION, I gave you the options that IN MY OPINION, would fit the specific notion of going to Chinatown to eat.

I have in fact been to Shojo, and while I did enjoy the food there, I didn't find it to be any different than many other very lovely tapas-style restaurants that have popped up all over the Boston Metro area in the past couple of years. I never meant to "disrespect" that particular restaurant. But, again, IN MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION, when I think of Chinatown, I think of fluorescent lights, formica tables, big steaming platters of yummy food fresh out of the wok, or out of the fish tank, and lots of leftovers to bring home in those funny little cartons.

People on this board really need to chill. We are talking about food, not the future of Humanity or the Ebola crisis in Africa. These are "Rich White Lady" problems here...

Sep 17, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Which would rather have? Great Food or Great Service in a Restaurant?

I was tempted to say "both", but then I thought about it and realized how many places I go to where I put up with the service because the food is outstanding. This includes most of my favorite Chinese restaurants, for example.

So if the food is outstanding, I'll overlook less than stellar service.

Sep 15, 2014
mwk in Not About Food

Savory breakfast dish recipes for potluck

I found this recipe last year on the Huffington Post, and it was a big hit at the brunch I was hosting. I've made it a couple of times since and brought it to other people's homes and it's always popular.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10...

Sep 15, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Za'atar

It's great with Labneh, the yogurt cheese that's made by straining yogurt until it is the consistency of cream cheese. Mix some into the Labneh with some olive oil, it's very good.

I also love using Zaatar as a seasoning for white beans. Take some cooked white beans in a nonstick pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Gently smash the beans with the spatula or a fork and let them fry until brown and crispy on one side. Sprinkle with zaatar and serve. It's also delicious as a rub for chicken or pork, and I also sprinkle it on white fish before baking (cod, haddock, hake, etc.).

Sep 15, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Relative Chinatown novice - need dinner recs

I guess I was reading in a hurry and glossed over that, sorry. I was thinking of places with nice lounge environments. Personally, I feel like Shojo is not a "Chinatown" experience, and I wouldn't make a trip to Chinatown to eat there, when I can find that sort of thing in most suburban towns or other areas of Boston. Myers and Chang is an example that comes to mind. I just wouldn't put Chinatown and "good drinks" together in the same sentence. For me, Chinatown is for food.

Having said that, does it have to be Chinese? Can it be Thai? Does it have to be in the heart of Chinatown? Otherwise, I'd recommend Montien both for the good Thai food as well as for a full bar that offers all sorts of frilly drinks.

Sep 15, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Pressure cooker question

For some reason I've found that most of the pressure cooker recipe books I have, underestimate the time needed for things like large cuts of beef that need tenderizing. The first time I tried to make a corned beef brisket in the pressure cooker, the recipe I used said to cook for 35 minutes. At that point, it was still like rubber. I ended up cooking for an hour before it was nice and tender.

Sep 12, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Relative Chinatown novice - need dinner recs

I would suggest going to "Q" restaurant on Washington St. They have the dimly-lit atmosphere and full bar that you are looking for. The food is good too.

http://www.thequsa.com/

Sep 12, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

All the Comments on Every Recipe Blog

Let's say you were making an Ina Garten recipe, and you only had Safeway-brand olive oil, instead of "Good" olive oil. Would you go out and buy some "good" oil? :)

Sep 07, 2014
mwk in Food Media & News

All the Comments on Every Recipe Blog

Of course, this is the classic recipe/comments pair. The comments are hilarious.

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

Sep 05, 2014
mwk in Food Media & News
1

Healthy non-deli meat sandwich ideas needed

Since it's eggplant season, how about a nice sandwich with baba ganouj, or you can make a "lite" eggplant parm to put in a sandwich as well. Just bake the eggplant slices with a little dribble of oil, instead of frying them, and go lightly with the cheese.

If you can get Joseph's pita products, they have a great low carb high protein lavash flatbread. You can get two roll up sandwiches out of one piece. Roll it up around some curried chicken salad with apples, or make a nice Mediterranean one with a good sliced tomato, some feta cheese, cucumber slices and kalamata olives, and maybe a little bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over it.

I also love BLT. Get some uncured Vermont bacon or Applegate Farms uncured bacon, and good whole wheat bread. I'll also make turkey burgers or salmon burgers that I get at Whole Foods. Or, you can buy some salmon at the market, poach it in a bouillon and put in on the sandwich with a nice greek yogurt/horseradish spread, or yogurt/dill spread.

Sep 05, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Apple picking?

My favorite is Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton. Not only is it in a lovely location, they have a nice selection of apples. I also like picking up some of their great wines when I'm there. Some of my favorites, like their Raspberry wine, I have a hard time finding other places.

http://www.nashobawinery.com/

Sep 05, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

Well, I am going to be hosting a British friend of mine in about three week's time. He has asked for me to have a BBQ with my charcoal Weber grill. We will be having rib eye steaks grilled over lump charcoal, grilled corn on the cob, three bean salad and a peach cobbler for dessert.

Aug 27, 2014
mwk in General Topics
1

Worst Cooking show Buzzwords

The one that is starting to annoy me is "Turn up the Volume" as in:

"I'm making a traditional Macaroni and Cheese, but with the volume turned way up", because the chef is adding some chopped jalapeno's or something to it.

Aug 25, 2014
mwk in Food Media & News

Looking for light and upbeat or soothing conversational cooking shows

Currently, my three favorite cooking shows are:

On Cooking Channel:

"My Grandmother's Ravioli" with Mo Rocca. His show is wonderful and entertaining. The grandmothers he meets are universally fascinating and he spends as much time getting to know them and their history, as he does cooking food with them. It's a great mix of personal interest and food.

"Extra Virgin" with Debi Mazar and her husband Gabriele Corcos. They are a lot of fun to watch and they obviously really care about each other. The food is mostly very simple as is most really good Italian food (it's about the ingredients first).

On Food Network, Other than Barefoot Contessa(which has always been a longtime favorite), I love watching Trisha Yearwood's Southern Cooking show. Most of her recipes I probably won't make myself, because it's not really the kind of food I like to eat, but I love watching her and listening to her stories too. If you like desserts, though, her baking looks great. She made a banana pudding cake on her season premiere last weekend, that looked really yummy.

Aug 25, 2014
mwk in Food Media & News

Looking for light and upbeat or soothing conversational cooking shows

I have Marcia Adams' cookbook from that series, and I still use it regularly to this day. The Oven Fried chicken is to die for, and I love her "Funeral Pie" recipe and the Sauerkraut soup too.

Aug 25, 2014
mwk in Food Media & News

Shaw's > Star

I live near the Quincy Star market. When it was built originally, it was a "Star Market PLUS", which I guess was their upscale version. It was never rebranded to Shaw's. Since I've been living in Quincy, that store has been on a long, depressing downhill slide. I think it hit bottom two years ago, just about the time that BJ's opened down the street.

Even though I can walk to that Star from my house, I'd drive by and go to Roche Bros or Hannaford in North Quincy to do my shopping. I've noticed that since Cerberus bought it and started the changes, it has gotten somewhat better and the selection is a bit better. But, they still have the garbage self checkout scanners, their fresh herb selection is not great (went in there yesterday for fresh Sage, didn't have any...). They FINALLY carry organic cage free eggs, which is nice, and some organic grass fed hamburg.

I haven't really compared prices, but over all it's not as hideous as it was a year ago. Would I LOVE to see them sell it to Wegman's, or to Market Basket (if MB ever rises from the dead), absolutely. It's still fourth out of my four choices to shop.

Aug 18, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

gazpacho??

Many years ago, my mom found a recipe in a cookbook for a "Mexican Gazpacho" which I love.

Basically it's a standard gazpacho recipe (tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber, onion), throw in a food processor/blender, and then add a couple of teaspoons of cumin, a couple of teaspoons of chili powder, and a cup of greek yogurt (or sour cream if you want more richness).

There is an actual recipe with specifics, but I just make it now and add what amounts I like to it. You get the general idea.

Aug 13, 2014
mwk in Home Cooking

Alternative to Market Basket for cheap lobsters

I just bought a great 5 pounder at my local Star Market last week, for $6.99/lb. I needed a claw hammer to crack the claws, though :)

Aug 01, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Going away drinks and apps in Downtown Crossing Area

I second Marliave. Another option would be Kingston Station.

Aug 01, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

My imagination, or is Stop&Shop getting good again?

I live within walking distance of the Quincy Star Market. I've wished many times that they would sell the location to Market Basket, especially in the last couple of years when Supervalu was running the place into the ground. Since the BJ's has opened down the street, I only go into Star on occasion when I need a few quick staples.

However, over the past few months since Cerberus bought Shaw's and decided to make the Star Market their "premium" brand, I've noticed a lot of welcome changes to the Quincy Star. Much better quality produce, a much improved cheese and deli selection and better quality fresh fish as well. Prices seem to be a bit better and they got rid of that hated "loyalty card".

Jul 21, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

Garlic Dill Pickles

So I made these for the first time last week. I used the miniature greenhouse/persian cucumbers. I waited 4 days to try one. They were just so salty that they were inedible. They did have a very slightly sour, "jewish pickle" taste to them, but I ended up throwing them all out. I don't know how anyone could eat these, given how horribly salty they were. I measured everything and used Morton Kosher salt. I may try the other recipe linked to here, or cut the salt down to 1/8 cup and try again.

Jul 14, 2014
mwk in Recipes

Retirement party for 50 near Government Center

If the North End is OK, what about Mamma Maria? They have a private room that does seat 50+ people.

Jul 11, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area
1

NanaP [Jewish deli in Boston?]

Exactly. It's not a KOSHER Deli. Katz's isn't Kosher either, I don't think. Putting cheese on their pastrami sandwiches (as they do at Moodys) is a dead giveaway. But, from what I've seen from reviews of the place, it's not a Jewish Deli, it's more of an Eclectic Deli with many different cured meat options from all cultures. As such, I doubt they'd be expected to have a classic Katz's like sandwich and shouldn't be compared to that.

Jul 11, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area

July 2014 Farmers' Markets, Farm Stands, CSA updates

I get my CSA through Brookwood Farm in the Blue Hills. This week's box will be:

Summer Squash
Cucumbers
Escarole
Fennel
Arugula
Onions
Carrots
Cabbage choice
Herb choice
Lettuce

I also participate in their egg share from Brambly Farms and their Fruit Share. So far, the fruit has been all strawberries. I imagine we will be seeing blueberries soon. They also mentioned getting cherries and local stone fruits as well.

Jul 09, 2014
mwk in Greater Boston Area