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I made strawberry shrub, and now I think there's mother of vinegar in there.

Thanks! Any ideas for how to make my own vinegar, now that I have mom in hand?

Aug 09, 2012
Marsha in Home Cooking

I made strawberry shrub, and now I think there's mother of vinegar in there.

Is this possible/likely? The recipe called for equal parts fruit, sugar, and apple cider vinegar, I used a cold-process (no boiling of the vinegar), and it tasted fine until I noticed a ghostly floating thingie in the bottom of the jar that looks just like what was once told was a mother of vinegar. Is it? Will it hurt anything? Should I remove it? Can I still use the shrub (hope so - it's awfully good).

Aug 09, 2012
Marsha in Home Cooking

Where to buy Rennet / Citric Acid Powder?

Hello, can you tell me what BBE stands for? Thanks.

Jun 27, 2011
Marsha in San Francisco Bay Area

What to do with leftover slightly mushy plain spaghetti?

Okay, it's odd, but I find that almost everyone will eat it: Take cooked spaghetti, fry it in a very little oil in a skillet, sprinkle lightly with soy sauce and a tiny bit of sugar and stir all around. You don't want the final product to be sweet, just a nice contrast with the saltiness of the soy sauce. Add just a bit of soy at a time (I like the noodles to become a nice golden color, but not dark brown), and the same with the sugar. There should be no sauce left in the pan when it's done.

I once had to cook for a batch of hungry kids, one a vegan, and this was the only thing that everyone could/would eat; they asked for seconds.

Feb 28, 2011
Marsha in Home Cooking

Please help me with roasted chestnuts-How do you get the fuzzy lining off? I just threw 3 pound in the garbage!

I think you could ask your grocer, or whoever us in the aisle straightening out the lettuce and carrots - chances are he won't know, but be persistent and he might try to find out from somebody else. I think I'd take the reply with a grain of salt, however; last week I was informed by my grocer than a certain product was no longer made, when it turns out they just stopped carrying it. Caveat emptor!

Dec 05, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Please help me with roasted chestnuts-How do you get the fuzzy lining off? I just threw 3 pound in the garbage!

This isn't completely on target, in that it doesn't help you deal with fuzzy parts that won't come off no matter what you do, but it may well be that the fault is in the nut itself - it may have been quite old and dried out before you even bought it. They often are. My husband, a Brit with fond memories of hot roasted chestnut, says about half that he has bought in California aren't worth trying to roast and eat. Try to get good firm ones, that don't rattle, preferably Italian, and watch out for the Chinese ones.

Dec 02, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Only Tools Don't Tip on Takeout, and Other Rules of Gratuity You Should Know

Tipping is a pain - no doubt about it. So are laws that permit people to work for less than living wage. It would be nice if no one had to depend for a living on a job that pays less than living wage. Most of the servers I know work part-time because they need something that pays the bills while they go to school to learn another skill that will let them get a better-paying job, and serving is a flexible and often quite lucrative job for somebody with few skills. So we still need to tip (until the laws change), but the whole things just stinks.

Nov 13, 2010
Marsha in Features

Crash Hot Potatoes - thanks JaneEYB

I routinely cut my larger potatoes into the size I want (since I microwave them, I also protect the cut side(s) so they don't get tough). Works fine.

Oct 22, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Crash Hot Potatoes - thanks JaneEYB

I really like them too - but I don't like boiling the potatoes, so I cut them up into the size I want and microwave them with a towel on top to keep the cut sides from getting leathery, then put them on the oiled sheet and smash them with the bottom of a glass (I grease the bottom of the glass) and rough up the tops a bit and/or scrape the bits on the bottom of the glass back onto the potato. I tried both kinds of mashers and each one made a big mess and held on to too much potato; the glass works much better.

Then, instead of brushing with olive oil, I spray it on liberally with my pump sprayer (very liberally). Add salt and pepper and (for me) chopped rosemary. They turn out crispy but not greasy this way.

Oct 22, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

First Time Thanksgiving Host - Need your FOOLPROOF Roast Turkey Recipe!

RosemaryHoney, you're right - that is a potential problem with the bird flipping strategy. I use those silicon gloves and grab from both ends, and I take the bird and pan out of the oven and put it on the counter before flipping. I never had the skin stick to the rack or the legs tear off (you don't need to cook it any more if that happens!), but my rack is supposedly nonstick and rubbing the skin lavishly with oil may have prevented the problem. I'm glad you reported these difficulties.

Oct 20, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

First Time Thanksgiving Host - Need your FOOLPROOF Roast Turkey Recipe!

I made this last weekend for a party, and I've found that turkey is lots easier than people seem to believe. And with due respect to the thermometer folks, please remember that residual heat will bring your sitting bird up 5-10 degrees or so after you take it out of the oven.

The big thing here is to cook it breast side down at first, and finish breast side up to brown it.

Roast Turkey

18-20 lb. turkey, bought frozen on Sunday and left in cooler until Thursday. (This is what it takes to thaw it at my house, and still keep it safely cool until cooking.)
1 onion
1 apple
Salt
Pepper
Grapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)

Put the neck, gizzard, and heart in a medium pot with water, celery, and onion, bring to a boil, and put on low to make stock, if you like (it's good if you're making gravy). Don't use the liver.

Oil completely thawed turkey on outside, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper inside, add cut up onion and cut up apple to fit loosely inside.

Heat oven to 500. Put turkey in on rack on roaster, breast down, and put in oven. When it starts to drip, add water to pan. Do this roughly whenever you turn the turkey. Don't let pan dry out. After 30 minutes on 500, turn turkey to one side and turn heat to 350. After 30-45 minutes, turn to other side. Repeat with both sides, and for remaining time, cook breast side up. Whole business should take about 4 hours. Let stand at least half an hour before carving.

I find that the turkey gets a little stubborn about sitting on its side, after the first turn, so I just manhandle it as best I can, keeping it more breast-down than otherwise until I turn it breast up for the last hour or half-hour of cooking (use your judgment on this; if all the other sides are good and brown, you can turn it breast up). I've never had such a bird turn out badly.

You can make your gravy while the roast sits - use the drippings from the pan and add stock and thicken with water or stock and flour slurry, bring to boil while stirring, then turn to low.

Oct 19, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Pesto

Here's the one I'm happiest with; it calls for blanching the basil, which is easier than it sounds and really retains the flavor and the color, and makes it much more suitable for freezing. This is enough for about a cup (enough for 3 lbs. pasta), and I sometimes just make a third of the recipe:

3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves (you will blanch them)
2 T. chopped poached or toasted garlic, but I usually just use fresh
3 T. lightly toasted pine nuts (I do this in a frypan)
1/3 C. olive oil (I guess at this)
1/3 C grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper (the original recipe called for these, but I always forget)

Blanch the leaves in boiling water 5-10 seconds, then plunge in ice water or very very cold water. I just pour the leaves and boiling water into a strainer, and follow immediately with the cold water rinse until everything cools down. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible - really squeeze. Chop coarsely if you want to, (though I don't usually bother) and put in food processor with everything but cheese. Puree. Stir in the cheese. (Freezes very well.)

Oct 19, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

What is "it" in "gin and it"?

Aha - real life experience! I shall try this thing.

Jul 24, 2010
Marsha in Spirits

Open for suggestions: welcome guests, dietary restrictions

Many thanks for all your suggestions. I'm pleased to say that they are making me hungry!

Jun 15, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Open for suggestions: welcome guests, dietary restrictions

I'd do that, but they are flying in and staying in a hotel.

Jun 14, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Open for suggestions: welcome guests, dietary restrictions

I can ask, but I think it means nothing ground into flour.

Jun 14, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Open for suggestions: welcome guests, dietary restrictions

I'm entertaining very welcome dinner guests who have developed dietary restrictions since last I saw them many years ago: one can have no sugar and only whole grains (no flour); the other is not supposed to eat animal products. I am told that vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fish are all good (yes, yes, fish are "animal" but I am going with what I'm told). Anybody got any ideas on what to serve? My usual fallbacks of pasta and chicken are out, and I'm not feeling imaginative.

Jun 14, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

What is a size 10 (or 12) chicken?

Thank you. I'm going with the size 12 - don't know where I'd find a size 10.

May 08, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

What is a size 10 (or 12) chicken?

I have a recipe that calls for a size 10 or 12 chicken. It's a tagine recipe - Moroccan, but I suspect was posted originally in French. Does anybody know what size chicken I need?

May 08, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Passing of Sam Fujisaka - Please share Memories

How very much we will miss him. One of the best voices on Chowhound; always witty, responsive, helpful, and gentlemanly.

Apr 14, 2010
Marsha in Site Talk

My preserved meyer lemons will soon be ready - any recipe suggestions

I got it from Helen Rennie at her blog, Beyond Salmon. I'd seen other recipes that didn't call for oil, and I was hesitant because parts of the lemons stuck up above the brine, and just putting more lemon juice in (as some recipes recommended) wouldn't seal out the bugs/bacteria/whatever as well. So I went with the oil - even if the lemons aren't all I hope they will be, the oil will still be good!

Thanks for the suggestions! They look intriguing.

Apr 12, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

My preserved meyer lemons will soon be ready - any recipe suggestions

I bravely salted down a bunch of meyer lemons and they are looking promising, sitting as they are in their own juice with a skim of olive oil on the top. They should be ready to use soon; now I seem to have misplaced all the recipes I'd been not making because they called for preserved lemons! Do you have any suggestions?

Apr 12, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

I'd prefer to choose how much wine I drink at dinner, but how to say so?

So now I think I have a good strategy - I appreciate everyone's insights. No big smile, but a pleasant thanks and then probably "We'll take care of refilling" after the first pour.

Apr 12, 2010
Marsha in Not About Food

I'd prefer to choose how much wine I drink at dinner, but how to say so?

I think I'm liking your suggestion "We'll take care of refilling" - it doesn't seem to contain any implied criticism. Now if I can just remember!

Apr 12, 2010
Marsha in Not About Food

I'd prefer to choose how much wine I drink at dinner, but how to say so?

Point taken! I am now looking for wording that won't offend experienced servers but will protect me from those with less finesse - I'm leaning towards "Thanks, we'll pour the rest" after the first pour. I really want to keep it simple and unobtrusive, for myself as well as the server.

Apr 12, 2010
Marsha in Not About Food

I'd prefer to choose how much wine I drink at dinner, but how to say so?

Yes, I could have poured from his glass to mine, but I really didn't want to - the glasses they provided were very large (a "full" glass sort of covers the bottom seventh or eighth of the glass, volume-wise) and the table itself wasn't so big. It really would have been awkward and potentially messy. If it happens again, of course this is an option. There wasn't time for my husband to cover his glass - he was eating, fork in hand, and that girl was quick! I'm thinking a big smile after the first pour and a "Thanks, we'll pour the rest" might head off the problem.

I was wondering if anyone with serving experience could help out here?

Apr 12, 2010
Marsha in Not About Food

I'd prefer to choose how much wine I drink at dinner, but how to say so?

Had an unexpected problem at dinner last night. We ordered a carafe of wine (which was advertised as being only a glass and a half, which the server reminded us) for the two of us - we didn't want much, and we figured we could always order another. The server brought it, poured a third in each glass, and went on her way. My husband drank some of his with his first course, but I didn't because it matched my main course better. On her way past, the server quick as a flash picked up the carafe and emptied it into my husband's glass, then whisked it away. I blinked; he growled, and when she returned he asked her how she knew that we wanted to give him all the rest of the wine. She countered that some people like that kind of service/attention. He told her that we would prefer to be the ones to decide who gets the most. She was apologetic and brought us another glass without charge, but I don't think she ever got the point.

In case I haven't made it clear: We had intended to split the wine, and when she originally served us both I assumed she understood that. But it brings up the larger question of how to pace oneself when the server feels a need to top us one's glass. Now that we are so attuned to the perils of driving under the influence, this seems to be increasingly important. Yet "good service" has traditionally included discreetly dispensing the wine as each patron's glass empties, paying attention to how much each has already had (which unfortunately was not the case here - the just dumped the wine into the emptier glass).

My questions: Would it be wise to reposition the carafe/bottle in future so that servers won't keep filling our glasses without asking? Would it be better to mention that we'll take it from there after the first glasses are poured? I don't want to offend the server who is a polished professional (I know several) and can be trusted both to be nonintrusive and to make eye contact before refilling a glass. But I don't want a reprise of last night's issue, and I have no way of knowing if the server has this sensitivity. Your suggestions for ways to politely head off this problem would be welcome

Apr 12, 2010
Marsha in Not About Food

pork shoulder vs pork loin

You didn't cook it long enough. Sure, it looked done, but it wasn't. Give it 10 hours (or more) at 250 and you will find that the meat and the fat are easily divided. You don't need to "pick through it" - just slide the fat and whatever connective tissue is still there away from the meat; takes about 5 minutes for a large shoulder.

Loin is not well enough marbled with connective tissue to allow proper cooking via this method.

Mar 29, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

What to do with the liquid strained off yogurt?

I'm going to use it henceforth to water my plants or wash my face.

Also, what kind of milk do you use to make your yogurt? Can I use nonfat or 1%?

Mar 24, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking

Substitute for "chili garlic sauce"?

thanks - i'm soaking up all the sympathy i can get, i must say it was nice to have dinner in the crock pot, ready to eat, when i had to stop using my arms. i can't wait until i can slice bread again!

Mar 12, 2010
Marsha in Home Cooking