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Main Line Tracey's Profile

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Eating sunflowers? Do they taste like artichokes? How to prepare?

Yes! That is such a good point. I will try it again soon with pre-seed sunflowers. That could definitely make a tremendous difference in prep and taste.

Aug 21, 2014
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Eating sunflowers? Do they taste like artichokes? How to prepare?

I hadn't thought to try the roots. How do you prepare them?

Aug 21, 2014
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Eating sunflowers? Do they taste like artichokes? How to prepare?

Sunflower review: So today I did it! I picked 3 sunflowers, of approximately 5" diameter, out of our garden. All were nearing the end of their flowerhood. I began prepping one and it fell apart. Next! I carved the stem & dark green off the bottom of one, then carved the flower part off of the top until it looked very similar to an artichoke heart. I placed it in acidulated water and I started carving the next one, which fell apart. So on to cooking!

Cooking: I placed the sunflower heart in a small saucepan with water and boiled it for 4 minutes. I then removed and dried it, then put it into the saucepan with butter and sauteed it. I lightly browned the sunflower, removed it from the pan, and cut it into quarters. I placed it onto a plate with butter, which the sunflower melted.

Result: The first quarter had not been trimmed of enough of the top part and tasted distinctly of sunflower. If you have ever eaten sunflower seeds, and I have eaten a lot, then you know the taste. Floral. The 3 other quarters were Artichoke with a capital A! Very tasty, earthy, and artichokey.

If I were to do it again I would definitely get larger sunflowers, as the amount of work involved is too much for such a little pay off using a sunflower of only 5" diameter. The video showed a sunflower that was much larger and I would not hesitate to cook sunflowers again if such large sunflowers were available. In addition to the artichoke flavor, it reminds me of artichokes in that it's quite a lot of work for a small reward, but if you like the taste then it's worth it. Also, I will never look at sunflowers as simply a beautiful and cheerful flower again. Sunflowers could be dinner!

Eating sunflowers? Do they taste like artichokes? How to prepare?

This is the original article that I read:

Eating sunflowers? Do they taste like artichokes? How to prepare?

That's EXACTLY what I was looking for! thanks Tokyoite!

Eating sunflowers? Do they taste like artichokes? How to prepare?

So many questions! I read this article about a restaurant in NY that is serving sunflowers. They boil, blanch, and then partially fry the flower part, after having removed the yellow, brown and green leaves. The flower "bulb" is supposed to taste very much like an artichoke, as sunflowers and artichokes are supposedly in the same family.

I'd really like to try this! I have 3 dozen sunflowers and I love artichokes! Any tips or advice on how to prepare sunflowers? Anyone done this? I plan on trying it tomorrow!

Aug 19, 2014
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Clueless cook with parents dropping by (long)

Oh! And maybe serve a nice assorted cheese plate for an appetizer to dinner.

Aug 07, 2014
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Clueless cook with parents dropping by (long)

The most important thing is that you enjoy time with your family. I'd hesitate to try to learn any new techniques for this dinner/breakfast. It's too stressful. I also try to make almost everything in advance, except one or two things.

Your salad sounds great! Buy a nice Italian dressing at the Berkeley Bowl to go with it. Have the salad premade and just add the dressing right before serving.

Buy premade frozen ricotta ravioli. 2 bags. Keep them in the freezer until your parents get there. Then boil water and cook according to instructions. Drain and pour back into pot that you boiled them in. Toss with a jar of marinara sauce. Pour onto a platter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Do not worry about roasted veggies. Serve delicious bread, the ravioli, and salad. That will be enough and they will love it. I'd buy some tasty cookies and serve them and some cake and coffee for dessert.

For breakfast, I'd serve fruit, premade croissants, a quiche that you bought and maybe cooked prior to them coming, juice, and I'd serve a breakfast casserole. Here is a great cheesy potato casserole (with a video on how to make it). You can leave out the ham or use turkey ham. It's got a lot of processed foods as you said that they like. It's SUPER easy and very highly rated.

Ina Garten, a great entertainer, tells about when she entertained once and made individual omelettes for everyone. She spent the whole time cooking and was exhausted at the end of the party, and didn't get to spend any time with guests. You parents want to eat well, but if that were the main objective then they would OBVIOUSLY be going to Olive Garden! (wink wink) Please respond back and let us know how it goes.

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

I love books like this! Cook books that really get deeper about the culture and country. I"d highly recommend:

Madhur Jaffrey-A Taste of India
Betty Groff-Good Earth & Country Cooking (A wonderful insight into Amish and Mennonite cooking and life. I own 2 copies.)
Paula Wolfert-Mediterranian Grains and Greens (Foraging and Mediterranian/Middle Eastern cuisine. Wonderful stories. Makes me want to move there.)

Aug 04, 2014
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

What do you think about restaurants charging for bread and butter at dinner?

I have no problem with a restaurant letting you know that there is a charge. That way you can make a decision.

I have had 2 incidents, one where I was charged 50 cents for blue cheese dressing when the waitress had offered me dressing options and not told me that there was an additional charge for blue cheese, and another where I went into a restaurant for their special tapas menu and they asked if I wanted water. I said yes and was later charged $1 per glass. Turns out that their regular menu says that water is $1, but the tapas menu that I had did not say that. I contacted the owner and they gave me my money back, not before telling me "It's spring water and costs more. Our regular customers know about the charge." And so, do you not want any NEW customers? Obviously when you treat people like this.

Again, I have no problem paying for what I know that I am being charged for. No surprises on my bill please.

How long to cook tilapia in the oven? Or alternative quick tilapia ideas that kids will like

One of my FAVORITE and simple recipes is broiled parmesan tilapia. It's delicious and so fast! My kids love it too! These amounts are estimates, as I really don't measure. The original recipe came from Allrecipes, but this is my take on it. We serve it with rice.

2 pounds frozen tilapia fillets
1/2 c parmesan cheese (any style)
2T butter/margarine (softened)
2T mayo or ranch dressing
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. dried basil
1/8 t. celery seeds
1/8 t. pepper

Broil tilapia fillets for 4-5 minutes until starting to become opaque. While tilapia is broiling, mix parmesan, butter/margarine, mayo/ranch, garlic, basil, celery, & pepper. Remove tilapia from oven and flip fillets over. Spread parmesan mixture on tilapia fillets. Broil until parmesan mixture is browning and tilapia fillets are flakey. Enjoy!

May 25, 2014
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Please help settle dispute with my Mom

Eggs in potato salad is a regional or ethnic difference. It's just a style thing. I prefer it because that's what I grew up with.

Now, pickles in deviled eggs are SO a Southern style, and I stand firmly against it. Leave pickles out of deviled eggs! It ruins the subtle flavor of the eggs.

(On another note, I also had guacamole once where they put eggs in it. Seriously???)

Vegan 4 Course Meal Ideas

I would stick with your first 2 courses and last course, and substitute a vegan lasagna for the entree with some nice bread. I love doing lasagna as a dinner party entree because you make it ahead and just cook it. Here's a Chow recipe:

Rudest grocery checker remark

I love to see what percentage I've saved too!

Dollar Store food! Had some SURPRISINGLY good food from $ store!

I just ate the Jamaican beef patty (spicy) and the bbq bun. The Jamaican beef patty was good and definitely spicy. Tasty spicy. I have never been to Jamaica, but have been to Jamaican restaurants and this tasted similar to what I have had there, but with less filling. The bbq bun was good! The directions recommended microwaving it for 1 1/2 minutes, but since it is fully cooked and just frozen, I defrosted in the microwave. The bun part was fluffy and the bbq filling was good. I would definitely buy both again!

Dollar Store food! Had some SURPRISINGLY good food from $ store!

Suzgirl (from another thread) If it is Family Dollar Tree check out the chicken dumplings in the freezer section. Shockingly good.

Are you snacking on anything right now? **Springtime Edition**

I posted another thread about my exciting dollar store finds. I just ate smoked oysters on crackers with butter, eclairs, and a shrimp egg roll. All from the dollar store!

Dollar Store food! Had some SURPRISINGLY good food from $ store!

I was reading another thread about smoked oysters. I really wanted to try them but didn't want to waste money on something that I ended up hating. I remembered seeing them at my local dollar store, where everything costs $1, so I went to get some. I found my smoked oysters and also picked up some sardines in broth. Then I decided to explore. WOW! I found some interesting food!

I bought (frozen) mini eclairs, a shrimp egg roll, a Jamaican beef patty and a Jamaican chicken patty, a bbq pork bun, & apricot preserves.

The verdict:
-Smoked oysters were a national seafood brand and were rich and smoky. I enjoyed them on saltines with butter. Would definitely buy again!
-Sardines in broth weren't to my taste, but were also a national seafood brand.
-Eclairs were a hit with me and the whole family! Not the top that I've ever had, but comparable to ones I've had from Costco.
-Shrimp egg roll was a typical American style egg roll. But pretty tasty for only $1!
-Haven't tried the Jamaican beef & chicken patties, the bbq pork bun, or the apricot preserves yet. I was impressed that the preserves only used sugar (no high fructose) and that the other foods didn't have many money saving, artificial ingredients.

With all of the other food that I saw there, I would seriously be able to cater a party from only the dollar store! (Plus the liquor store too, of course) Any one else had any finds from the dollar store?

Rudest grocery checker remark

I had a male checker once say "Eww. Lady things." when looking at pads. I gave him a break because he was obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Recommended vegetarian slow cooker cookbook and/or your favorite tried and true recipes?

This author has a few slow cooker Indian cookbooks out. I have read 2 of hers and they are great!

Gluten free whole wheat flour alternative-your advice please

Hello! I recently started an anti-allergen elimination diet and gluten is out. I purchased a flour blend but my pancakes and baked goods are turning out a bit gummy and they don't have the depth and earthiness that whole wheat flour used to give me. The blend consists of white rice flour, tapioca, and potato flour.

There are so many alternative flours out there: sorghum, chestnut, millet, almond, coconut, brown rice flour, sweet potato, etc. I hate to purchase bag after bag of flour, only to find that they don't work and I've spent a mint. We have no nut restrictions. Is there a mixture that you would recommend as a whole wheat flour alternative?

Calling all brown baggers

Whatever we had for dinner.

Oct 26, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Need main for dinner party

My rule is never to try out a new recipe for a party. If you'd like, it would be best to make the Chicken Marbella in advance and see how it turns out and how you like it.

I would make the beef tenderloin. It may be old to you, but other people will enjoy it as it is something special. Then you will stress less and enjoy your party more.

Oct 21, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Fermented Foods!

Does adding honey or ginger to fermented foods kill off some of the good bacteria?

Sep 19, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Appetizer suggestions for a grad student!

Why not make 4 appetizers: one very popular and common (meatballs, pigs in blanket, crescent rolls w/filling), one cheese selection, and two more interesting items? That way you have something for the less adventurous and something for those with more exotic taste.

You know you friends better than we do though. I have friends who would LOVE pigs in a blanket, and others who would lovingly mock me for years if I served it.

Sep 06, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Pepperoni - What would you make? Suggestions please.

I really like the old crescent roll standby: Unroll the whole roll of crescents. Press 2 triangles together to make rectangles. Roll thinner with rolling pin and sprinkle with chopped pepperoni and shredded cheese. Roll up tightly and repeat with other crescent triangles. Freeze for 15 minutes. Slice 1/2" thick and bake at 350 until puffy and golden. (5-7 minutes maybe) SO tasty and easy!

Aug 18, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

Scrambled Eggs

If your eggs are chewy then you are cooking them on too high heat and maybe for too long. I'd do everything that you did before: Crack eggs into a bowl, add 1 T. of milk per egg, sprinkle salt and pepper, and then pour them into a cold skillet. I use stainless steel (not non-stick) with great results. Put the heat on low-medium and scrape the bottom of the pan constantly. You will be moving the cooked eggs from the bottom of the pan and incorporating them into the uncooked eggs. When the eggs are lovely moist, fluffy clouds, but slightly not done, take them off the heat immediately and move them to a plate. The residual heat will continue to cook the eggs and they will be fabulous! (If you would prefer them a bit more done, you can always microwave them for 5 seconds, but NOT TOO LONG or you will have rubber eggs)

Jul 23, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

If you could eat any food/meal and it have no effect on your health, what would it be.

Bacon, camembert, bread, chocolate croissants, gosh there are so many things!

peeling FRESH eggs

You could try the gadget called "Eggies"!

Jul 20, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking

What can I do with leftover grilled vegetables?

I made a ratatouille pizza this weekend! I used the roasted veggies and placed them over Artesian Bread in 5 rolled into crust, topped it all with small bits of chevre and shredded mozzarella. Yummy!

Jun 13, 2012
Main Line Tracey in Home Cooking