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Please help! Cookware set decision

The Kirkland Signature stainless cookware from Costco is fantastic - the full set runs at about 160, but there are stainless lids and not glass. I've been using them daily for five years and there are pretty much zero signs of wear.

Mar 27, 2015
pamelak52 in Cookware
1

What is a "medium" chinese eggplant?

I ended up using about 2.5 of the eggplants and probably could have added more. The recipe turned out great - here's what I made:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/mem...

I think a ratio of 3 18" Chinese eggplants, two peppers and an onion worked out fine. I also used four thai chiles (could have taken another couple chiles, I think)

Thank you for your input - chowhounders never let me down!

Mar 23, 2015
pamelak52 in General Topics

What is a "medium" chinese eggplant?

Me too! I prefer weight measurements. One source suggested 18" as a typical Chinese eggplant so I thought I would chec in here.

Mar 22, 2015
pamelak52 in General Topics

What is a "medium" chinese eggplant?

I'm trying to make a thai basil eggplant dish. The recipe calls for 3 medium chinese eggplants. I picked up a package of 3 chinese eggplants from my local Ranch 99, but it looks like a ton of eggplant (a few inches in diameter, about 18 inches long). Is this just how big chinese eggplant is?

Mar 22, 2015
pamelak52 in General Topics

Unsalted butter + salt

A tablespoon of salt - even kosher - is a LOT of salt for one pie. Wouldn't it be more like 1/2 teaspoon, if that?

Mar 18, 2015
pamelak52 in Home Cooking

Should vindaloo be sweet?

The etymology of vindaloo is vin (wine) d'alho (garlic).

Not aloo as in potato. The origins of the name are not from any Indian languages. Vindaloo really should have no potatoes.

Aloo gobi, aloo mattar - those are literal descriptions of the food (potato cauliflower, potato peas).

Should vindaloo be sweet?

Vinegar and cinnamon weigh in pretty heavily. I suppose the cinnamon could lend a bit of sweetness, and also if you used seasoned vinegar that could also make it a bit sweet. Vindaloo should have more than "some heat" - please give it another try :)

Mar 13, 2015
pamelak52 in General Topics
1

I am a terrible cook!

Oh, and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian are both great - lots of simple, clear recipes.

I am a terrible cook!

I use a meal planning subscription service called six o clock scramble. It comes out to a couple bucks a month. The recipes are easy and there are lots of vegetarian options.

Mar 10, 2015
pamelak52 in Home Cooking

Do I need to blanch baby kale for this lasagna recipe?

Thank you so much for all the replies! I will definitely blanch it.

For next time - would frozen spinach be acceptable in this kind of recipe? I happen to have a box in my freezer.

Feb 24, 2015
pamelak52 in Home Cooking

Dinner ideas for a family with food restrictions!

Could you do a combination of some kind of roasted meat or fish, a creamy pasta or rice dish, and a veggie? MIL could eat pasta (and veggie, SIL and FIL could eat the meat and veggies. 9When I was having a holiday dinner with a dairy allergic Jew, a Muslim family (no pork) and two vegetarian Hindus I went for the two-entrée solution and it worked nicely, since the vegetarian entrée could also be a hearty side.

What do your SIL's meals usually look like? See if she can come up with something. Vegan and low-carb are easy, but those restrictions would be a challenge to anyone who is not used to them.

Feb 24, 2015
pamelak52 in Home Cooking
1

Do I need to blanch baby kale for this lasagna recipe?

I am making this lasagna tonight:

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

Instead of using spinach, I am using some baby kale from the garden. Do I need to blanch the baby kale, or is that just a fussy and unnecessary step? What is the point of blanching the spinach for the lasagna anyway?

Feb 24, 2015
pamelak52 in Home Cooking

‘Wine’ for pregnant women launched

I have lots of wine for pregnant women in my house - it's the same wine that everyone else drinks ;) Way for a company to profit off the fear that a glass of wine here and there is going to poison your baby. (Granted, when I was pregnant I was so tired that I rarely drank, and wine makes me sleepier - but in that case, a milkshake is an excellent alternative!)

Jan 23, 2015
pamelak52 in Wine
1

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

My mother makes pretty awesome pizza. (We're Indian, not Italian, in full disclosure). Everyone raves about it. I make the dough from scratch and we all have fun grating cheese and chopping the various toppings.

Her sauce? Oregano, italian seasoning, garlic powder, crushed red pepper...and ketchup. It's outstanding.

Jan 22, 2015
pamelak52 in Home Cooking

Ben Edelman, Harvard Business School Professor, Goes to War Over $4 Worth of Chinese Food

Nope! Statements said within certain contexts is "privileged" - that is, you can't use the statements made in those contexts against a person in court. Attorney client privilege, spousal privilege, etc. No such thing as small restaurant owner - jerk attorney privilege.

Dec 10, 2014
pamelak52 in Food Media & News

Costco Food Finds - 2nd Quarter 2014

I have bought them in California (Danville). We have only tried the "Vindaloo" - which is not vindaloo at all! Vindaloo should have a solid hit of fire from vinegar and cinnamon. The vindaloo didn't seem to have either. It just tasted more like a generic curry to me, reminiscent of "chicken curry" served in the dining hall in college. I am pessimistic about the other two jars.

May 11, 2014
pamelak52 in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 2nd Quarter 2014

Agree, these are great.

May 11, 2014
pamelak52 in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - May 2014 [old]

It melts fine, but, for example, the cabot pepper jack melts even better. I use both for quesadillas but when I want a nice melted top layer I go for the cabot. The taste of the habaneero pepper jack is pretty excellent, though, I almost always have some in the fridge.

May 11, 2014
pamelak52 in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - May 2014 [old]

Frozen pad see ewe - NAY. Nay beyond belief. Noodles are gelatinous blobs, tofu tastes and feels like a wet sponge. Taste is bland, the whole thing has a bitter aftertaste.

Karat Cake - outstanding. Can't believe it came from the freezer!

May 11, 2014
pamelak52 in Chains

Which restaurants use banana leaves for food presentation?

I have bought them at Asian supermarkets in the frozen section. My husband is from Kerala, and food is served on banana leaves for special occasions.

At the end of my rope -- please help

Yes, yes, yes! The last paragraph, especially. Don't give up your other hobbies to be a better cook. Eventually, you'll resent all the time spent cooking when you could be doing something you enjoy. You won't enjoy it if you have to sacrifice so much.

Something that helped me - when I was trying to figure out how to make Indian food (Indian, but didn't learn to cook growing up), I made one dish over and over again until I thought it was really good. I did this so that I could get an idea of how different components of the dish (how much of the various spices to use, canned versus fresh tomatoes, how much to reduce onions) affected the final product. I ate a lot of channa masala that year, but it really helped me get a better understanding of how cooking works.

Also, there is a great website called The Six O'Clock Scramble. The recipes are pretty simple, varied and for the most part tasty. THey can be made generally in under 30 minutes. Cooking for a family can't be a production every night. Too much stress! I try to go for healthy, functional meals 75% of the time, and one or two nights for an experiment or something fancier. If you want to make a side dish, get a rotisserie chicken and have the interesting side dish be the only thing you make from scratch.

If your kids see cooking as a stressful chore, they won't want to do it. You owe it to yourself and your family to take some of the pressure off of yourself. (My mother is an excellent cook, but never seemed to enjoy it - it was just a chore. Cooking was never appeaing to me.)

What's the Worst Dish You Ever Made?

Not really a cooking fail, but this seems a good a place as any for this microwave use PSA -

I needed a second timer and used the microwave timer, which I had never used before. Unfortunately, i had actually just turned on the microwave and didn't notice. From the next room (sort of an open kitchen) I heard a bit of a crackling sound. As it turns out, if you start a microwave on empty, the interior will melt and the unit will more or less implode.

May 08, 2014
pamelak52 in Home Cooking

Non-tomato based pasta dishes that can be made ahead of time

Depending on how far ahead of time you need to make it, Giada de Laurntis's butternut squash lasagna is excellent. A 9x13 pan feeds eight to ten easily, especially if there are other foods available as well.

I make it during the day and just bake when company is over. The leftovers are also great, so it would probably be a good candidate for baking and reheating (but I haven't tried that)

Apr 13, 2014
pamelak52 in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

California - Pleasanton store. I will double check to make sure I didn't get the price wrong. For $5 i'd be pretty pleased.

Feb 22, 2014
pamelak52 in Chains

Kitchen appliances

I just bought a Bosch 800 a few weeks ago. Life-changing! Dishwashing is no longer a chore. Pots and pans go directly from cooktop to the dishwasher. Lasagna pans with baked on cheese, no problem. Just make sure if you have hard water to get a model with a built in softener.

Feb 21, 2014
pamelak52 in Cookware

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

Meh - battered halibut. I was expecting something really special for $9 and such a small package. Used them for fish tacos, I feel like we could have just used fish sticks!

Yay - the mini crispy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Great flavor.

Yay - High fiber multigrain brad. Better texture than any other high fiber bread I have tried. (Though I am curious about the distribution - I don't remember it being this good when i bought it from DC area stores; I shop in the SF bay area now.)

Yay - Hold the Cone! mini ice cream cones. Fun small snack.

Feb 21, 2014
pamelak52 in Chains
1

too many spices/not enough flavor - mung bean soup

I would cook down some onions separately and then add them to the soup and let the flavors meld for awhile - I think that often, the problem with Indian food that doesn't taste "quite right" is that the onions weren't sufficiently concentrated/caramelized. Maybe add that and some water for a thinner (but not overly salty) soup?

Feb 14, 2014
pamelak52 in Home Cooking
1

Appliances for Indian cooking

I agree - the magic bullet is not suited for dosa batter. A regular blender would be a better bet.

Feb 12, 2014
pamelak52 in Cookware

So what's the average Chowhound's Race / Ethnicity?

American-born Indian (Asian)

Oct 27, 2013
pamelak52 in Not About Food

Storage for serving pieces

Thanks everyone! I could probably make a roll out of a kitchen towel, and stitch slots for each of the two pieces. A brightly colored print would make them easy to find, too. Now, to brush up on my sewing skills...

Oct 10, 2013
pamelak52 in Cookware