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amtriska's Profile

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Hazelnut Truffle Fudge

Ridiculously easy to make. Instead of buying toasted hazelnuts, I bought raw hazelnuts, chopped them in a food processor, and toasted them in the oven. Muuuuch better than store-bought.

Sep 06, 2013
amtriska in Recipes

Candy Cane Cookies

Is there any way to get them to keep their pre-baked shape? Mine got flat! Not a bad look, but not like the ones in the picture.

Dec 18, 2011
amtriska in Recipes

Fudge-Dipped Ritz Are Mind-Blowing

I discovered these last Christmas. My only complaint is that they did away with the saltiness of the cracker. Haven't they picked up on the salted dessert trend?

Dec 02, 2011
amtriska in Features

Apple and Cheddar Quick Bread

I didn't put the sage in either and it turned out great. We used pepper and a little bit of mustard. Nice and crusty on the outside. I kind of wanted it to be a little more apple-y, though.

Oct 31, 2011
amtriska in Recipes

The Sandwich Hall of Shame

I loved the "sad hipster hot dog." Ever finally go to a place you've heard raves about only to find out that it's famous not for good food but for the crappiness of the truck's paint job and the craziness of the server's beard?

Sep 06, 2011
amtriska in Features

Guinness Milk Shake

Cannery Row, anyone?

Aug 12, 2011
amtriska in Recipes

How to Handle Blood Sugar Crashes

Sorry, but a guy who picks fights with restaurant employees or "takes it out" on you can't blame his low blood sugar. No sane person "turns into a complete lunatic" if they don't get their food on time. That's jerk behavior.

Jun 18, 2011
amtriska in Features

Chèvre Truffles

Not a big fan of maple syrup with my chocolate -- has anyone tried substituting corn syrup?

May 25, 2011
amtriska in Recipes

What Is America's Worst Restaurant Chain?

@yanktonirishred: That's funny -- my mom is visiting her friend in Florida and the friend is reeeeeally excited about taking her to Golden Corral. They can't even make the food on their web site look good. It looks like baked cardboard.

May 06, 2011
amtriska in Features

What Is America's Worst Restaurant Chain?

Even as a child -- when I could eat McNugget after McNugget -- I couldn't bring myself to like Arby's. It's basically beef-flavored paper with an thick orange (cheese?) sauce. Gross.

Can I Use a Coupon on a Date?

I feel like the negative attitude toward coupons is going to change soon. With the advent of Groupon, it's become less of a cheap-old-lady thing to do. Who knew that coupons would get hip?

I'm 23, and my recession-era generation doesn't seem to have a problem with it. My wife is painfully cheap (we bought our rings online; hers cost $36, mine $12) and I'm sure that if I'd broken out a Groupon on the first date, she'd have married me on the spot.

Apr 29, 2011
amtriska in Features

Mark Bittman's customizable soups

New York Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/mag...

Has anyone else tried these vegetable soups? The creamy ones looked great, but I found that I had to add/substitute a lot to make them taste rich and savory. I substituted sour cream or Salvadoran cream (better!) for Greek yogurt. Adding cheese (smoked Gouda was great) gave it a heartier flavor, too. It also definitely needed a few cubes of bouillon for flavor, and adding extra garlic didn't hurt. It was best with crushed tomatoes or spinach. There's really nothing a hand blender can't do.

Maybe I'm just too into cheesy-tasting soups, and Bittman probably didn't want to kill his readers with calories. I have to say, the food photography in the article is some of the best I've ever seen...

Apr 15, 2011
amtriska in Home Cooking

A nice beer in Bay Ridge?

My partner and I just got a new apartment in Bay Ridge, and I was wondering if there were any good bars/brewpubs/whatever within walking distance of 83rd and 4th -- basically, any place that serves a good selection of beers. Anyone familiar with the area?

Dec 01, 2010
amtriska in Outer Boroughs

I Made that Spam Pudding You Love!

I agree with the whole white lie thing -- you're not being asked to eat sawdust. One HUGE exception, though: your partner.

My grandfather told a story that I like to call the Parable of the Mince Pies. One day at work, a coworker asked if my grandfather wanted the mince pie from his lunch. It happened a few more times and my grandfather finally asked what was up with all the unwanted mince pie. The poor coworker explained that he'd complimented his wife on the dish excessively during their courtship (even though he didn't like it). Ever since then, she loved to pack him mince pies for lunch. I imagine he might have kept putting off telling her that he didn't like it until too much time had passed.

Lesson learned. After hearing that as a kid, I've never told my partner I liked something I didn't like.

Oct 25, 2010
amtriska in Features

Yeah, Sure, "Let's Have Coffee"

What do the honesty-is-the-best-policy commenters propose as a good reply to these gestures? "No, I don't want to be your friend"? "Naw, I really don't feel like ever going to lunch with you"?

Oct 25, 2010
amtriska in Features

Help!! eggs and only a microwave/toaster oven?

You can actually boil eggs in the microwave if you know what to do. Yes, there are a ton of YouTube videos with exploding eggs, but there's a way to get it right.

1. Cover the eggs in aluminum foil. (Yep, the OTHER thing you're not supposed to put in water -- aluminum foil! However, read on...)
2. Submerse the foil-covered eggs in a mug of water. Probably best to do only one or two at once. The water prevents the foil from arcing, and the foil assures that only the boiling water is cooking the eggs, not the microwaves.
3. Make sure the water doesn't evaporate or splash out. Watch it carefully. Cooking times vary from microwave to microwave, and also depend on how soft you like them.

I've done this plenty of times (dorm, sigh) and the eggs always turned out fine. (And now to steal some salt from the dorm kitchen...)

Oct 01, 2010
amtriska in Home Cooking

Meatloaf-Free-Form Or Loaf Pan?

Individual loaflets in muffin pan? Yes! My mom makes them and they're damned good. More "edge pieces" that everyone wants, plus the moistness of a loaf pan without the sogginess. Plus the ketchup-to-meat ratio is great since they're wider at the top than at the bottom. (You can tell I've put a lot of thought into this.)

Aug 20, 2010
amtriska in Home Cooking

When Meatloaf Escapes the Pan

Ever baked individual loaflets in cupcake pans? All the moistness of a loaf pan meatloaf without the sogginess. And everyone gets the edge piece, with a bigger ketchup surface area.

Aug 19, 2010
amtriska in Features

Eggland's Best nutrition

I'm sure you've all seen the Eggland's Best commercials advertising better nutrition -- is it real? How is this possible? How can their eggs be better than any other eggs?

Apr 01, 2010
amtriska in General Topics

You can make a $40 cake look like a $5 cake!

Witness the horror: http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/1...

If they think that looks like a $500 cake (let alone tastes like one!) I've got a cheap-icing-laden bridge to sell them.

Dec 03, 2009
amtriska in Food Media & News

Non-foodies' reactions to foodie behavior

I completely agree with you about celebrity chef shows -- Iron Chef is really more like a cross between porn and Fear Factor for me -- some beautiful food plus a little "oh, that's gross" thrown in for good measure. (The various ass-tasting turkey/crab/avocado/bacon desserts are a good laugh. Some things just shouldn't make it into a sorbet.)

Actually, what strikes me as particularly obnoxious are the cooking reality shows, particularly since shows like Hell's Kitchen and Chopped tend to recruit the biggest whiners and prima donnas for entertainment value. To me, that takes away from the enjoyment of the cooking and eating. A lot of the time they barely even show the food or discuss its preparation in favor of showing some reality show nut trying to salvage pasta from the trash. (Ew. That was when I stopped watching Hell's Kitchen.)

That said, I do appreciate the good, solid cooking shows that give laypeople a chance to make things we might never find in a cookbook or learn from relatives. This stuff was a gateway to cooking when my brothers and I were little -- I will never forget hearing my adorable little brother refer to his "mise en place." (Everybody now: awwwww.) There's something about television that really lets cooking come alive.

Dec 01, 2009
amtriska in Not About Food

Non-foodies' reactions to foodie behavior

I was watching Iron Chef the other day with my fiancee. I tend to get a little carried away with these things. ("Ooh! Hearts! Use the hearts! Fry the hearts!" "You vile animal, you put turkey in a goddamned sorbet!") She thought it was hilarious. I was a little surprised because I'm used to watching these shows with my family, a bunch of committed foodies. If my mom had been there, she'd been yelling at the screen about butter and chicken stock right along with me. But my fiancee finds my food-centrism kinda hilarious. She tells me that watching me cook is like watching someone have sex on her kitchen counters. She also laughs whenever I mention the word "butter." It's become our little joke. (She's a great cook and loves food, but it's not her religion as it is mine. It doesn't help that her relatives spray their bagels with Pam. Shudder.)

What have your experiences been with non-foodies' reactions to your, well, foodism? What's your favorite "non-foodies-just-don't-get-it" story?

(I forgot to mention that she also thinks it's hilarious that I belong to a site called "Chowhound.")

Nov 30, 2009
amtriska in Not About Food

favorite Pumpkin beer

Ohohohoho sweet potato fries. Yes yes yes yes yes.That might just be the pairing of the year. Ahem. Sorry, I get carried away when it comes to sweet potato fries. The spicier pumpkin beers do tend to go well with snack food and sugary stuff, which makes them great for parties.

Nov 30, 2009
amtriska in Beer

favorite Pumpkin beer

I agree -- pumpkin is definitely one of the less cloying beer flavors out there. For some reason, it seems to go better with the flavor of beer than most fruits -- rich and spicy rather than sweet and obnoxious. I like the Post Road stuff myself.

I'm drinking Long Trail Blackberry Wheat ale right now. It's pretty okay. The blackberry flavor is almost what you'd get in a Blow Pop, but for some reason it's excellent when you're thirsty.

Nov 30, 2009
amtriska in Beer

Good Cocoa Powder??

I love Droste, too. Say the word "Droste" to my mom and she'll talk for days about its virtues...we always had some in our cabinet when I was little. Much better than Hershey's, I agree. I use it for cheesecakes, hot cocoa, hot fudge, everything.

Nov 23, 2009
amtriska in General Topics

You don't like that?!

I'm with both PattiCakes and Piccola. Regarding Piccola's point, I get frustrated when someone refuses to try something just once -- how can you assume you won't like something before you know what it tastes like?

On the other hand (PattiCakes' point), if it's the third or fourth time someone's tried something and they really don't like it, it's rude to keep trying. I may not be picky with my food, but it's no personal insult to me if other people are.

Nov 23, 2009
amtriska in General Topics
1

Weirdest alcohol you've ever had/cocktail you've ever made?

I'll start: I took a Russian cooking class at my college a couple of years ago, and we made our own infused vodkas. (None of this was paid for with departmental money -- a lot of us were underage!) The weirdest of these was garlic-infused vodka. No one would drink it but me -- I loved it!

How about you? What's the weirdest alcohol you've ever had, or weirdest drink you've ever mixed?

Nov 23, 2009
amtriska in Spirits

Best beer in the Berkshires?

I go to college in the Berkshires, and I'm trying to branch out from buying Magic Hat all the time. Any recommendations for good local beers in the Berkshires? I love dark beers and have a weakness for seasonal flavors like pumpkin and peach.

Nov 23, 2009
amtriska in Beer

Mint M&Ms -- do they still make those?

Beautiful. Thanks. So now I have confirmation that they're still out there!

I just saw a coupon on the Rite Aid web site that has a coupon for seasonal M&Ms, and the accompanying picture is the mint M&Ms bag. It could be an old photo, but I'll cross my fingers and hope the Rite Aid down the street has them! Now it's up to me to decide whether it's worth walking half a mile for 2 for $5 M&Ms...

Nov 23, 2009
amtriska in General Topics

Things I ate/drank in college that I will never eat again

I'm in college, and a lot of this stuff is "guilty pleasure" stuff that I try occasionally but can't stomach more than a few times a year. Hot dogs, McDonald's...yeah, pretty pukey.

However, Keystone is one of the things I'll be thankful never to drink again. I love a good beer, and the beers in the Berkshires are often truly amazing. However, I sometimes (guiltily) drink Keystone during the Beirut (beer pong to you non-New Englanders) competitions I keep getting myself sucked into. It tastes like watered-down water. The best thing about it is that it reminds me that I have Magic Hat and Berkshire Brewing Company beers at home in the fridge!

Nov 23, 2009
amtriska in General Topics