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Laralee's Profile

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BBQ DC BEST??

There is NO good BBQ in the downtown area. Hopefully you're going with time and transportation. We ate our way from one end of the downtown area to the other and only found one great restaraunt. Bangkok One on K Street. We highly recommend the coconut shrimp there. If you're stuck downtown, just save the BBQ idea for another time.

Need advice: How to be better organized for weeknight meals?

I second the frozen veggies idea. I buy frozen, chopped onions and green peppers to cook with and it saves a ton of time and clean-up. They're usually as economical as the fresh ones, unless you find them on sale.

I also make spaghetti in large batches on the weekend so we can have some during the week. That way, some of the time I would normally spend cooking can go toward cleaning.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches are a favorite here, and I try to have those or grilled PBJ's or egg sandwiches once a week for time and $ savings. Another regular is Zatarain's rice dishes and sausage. Prep and clean-up time is quick. We also like to make microwave bean and cheese burritos. None of this is exactly gourmet. My husband calls it 'maintenance food' but it's just a necessity when life hands you a tight schedule. We cook the good stuff on the weekends and freeze as much as we can, but we know it's not practical to try to freeze enough weekend food for everyday. I used to try to pull that off, but it's too hard on the weekends.

Jan 09, 2010
Laralee in Home Cooking

embarrassing question- failure with cookies! why?

I just checked with my daughter on this. She's a more accomplished baker than I am (and is the sole baker of cookies and cakes at our house.) She told me to change the toll-house recipe by adding 1 tsp cream of tarter, change the flour to 2-1/2 cups, and the salt to 1/4 tsp. Her recipe sounds strange to me, but her cookies are good. She also said that your problem is much more likely to be your oven temperature and baking time than the recipe. The 375 degrees on the package is assuming that your oven temp is accurate. Ours runs 25 degrees hotter than it should. Even so, she bakes her cookies at 350 degreesF after adjusting for the error. Since she uses parchment paper under the cookies, she is able to pop the next batch right into the oven, but the pan is already hot from the previous baking and she has to adjust the baking time. Basically, you have to watch the cookies and take them out when they're done instead of relying on the timer.

Jan 09, 2010
Laralee in Home Cooking

What are you making right now?

This is a good post for cooking inspiration. Y'all are wonderful cooks! I'm about to make my first batch of tamales in about 10 years. We'll see how it goes.

Jan 09, 2010
Laralee in Home Cooking

Food Adventure Help!

It's probably not the right season, but for a future idea...cattail roots/aka Cossack Asparagus. It tastes like asparagus, but looks like leeks. They would NEVER guess.

Jan 07, 2010
Laralee in Home Cooking

New Year's Day menu. What's your family's traditional meal for a lucky new year?

It has more to do with how good the previous year was. If it was any good at all, then we have the left over mexican shrimp coctail that my husband makes for New Year's Eve.

Dec 27, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking

Help me find a cookbook for an unadventurous cooking novice...

I think a cookbook might be too much for him at this point. Do you have the time to write down complete, simple instructions for making two or three of his favorite foods? It would be a most personal gift that is surely to be appreciated. Out of curiosity, I'm wonder if the poor wife going to be chaning the oil and doing basic repairs on their car?

Dec 27, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking

Frugal meals

When one has limited funds, often limited time goes hand-in-hand. If that's the case, and you want to include cheap sandwiches like PBJ's in your menus, you can find a breadmaker second hand for $5-$10. White bread made with a breadmaker costs about 20 cents/loaf to make (including the energy it takes to bake the bread.)

Dec 27, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking
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What is Medium? How much do "4" weigh? Recipe Pet Peeve

I think you just nudged me over to a Eureka moment. I couldn't make a good pie crust to save my life, but I also have no interest in cooking with a scale (up until now.) It takes time to weigh things, much less measure them and I don't like to take the time to do it. I guess I need to slow down and learn something new now and then. Thanks!

Dec 26, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking

Recommend a cookbook for a VERY novice cook?

Julia Child's "How to Cook" would be my first choice, although there are some great contenders here. What did you decide on?

Dec 26, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking

Bread Baking

I'm not an expert in the technical stuff of bread machines, but I can tell you that I regularly use a good quality bread flour like King Arthur's (not the machine flour) with good results. I don't normally add gluten, but I do use a mix of white and wheat flour (usually hard spring wheat flour.) I think gluten is for people who want to use pure whole wheat flour and skip the white flour altogether.

They're right about bread not storing well in the fridge. The freezer works okay if you use a plastic zip-type freezer bag (I've not tried the ventilated bag.) The ventilated plastic bag is unnecessary for storing at room temp. The bread does need to cool completely before you put it in a plastic bag though, or it will sweat and get soggy. One thing that works well and saves on resources is making hamburger-sized buns instead of bread loaves. The buns last longer and can be stored in a pot with a lid instead of plastic.

Dec 26, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking

tough, chewy duck...how do you avoid this? or fix this?

I've never had good luck with duck except when I pressure cooked it first and finished it up with the glazing in the oven. I get consistent results from this, though. We don't have a good source for duck here, so others may have had different results.

Dec 26, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking

So Now That Christmas Is Over, What Are You Cooking?

We're still polishing off the ham, so we had ham sandwiches today with horseradish sauce. I made some cranberry jam to use in them, too. It was great!

Dec 26, 2009
Laralee in Home Cooking

Hummus with chipotle and smoked paprika

This is the first promising recipe for hummus I've seen. I'm looking forward to trying it!

Dec 25, 2009
Laralee in Recipes