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Poppy seed cookies featured on NPR...can I sub butter for some of the oil?

Thanks, that's what I needed to know...that the texture would change. As is, they are pleasingly crispy and I would like to maintain that feature.
Good idea on some salt, too. Perhaps that will help boost the taste of these cookies.
I'll try the suggestions!

Apr 22, 2013
kapusta in Home Cooking

Poppy seed cookies featured on NPR...can I sub butter for some of the oil?

A while back, NPR's "Found Recipes" featured "Aunt Ida's Poppy Seed cookies". I finally got around to making this recipe, and the cookies are good, but I'm wondering if I can change out some of the oil (1 cup) for butter to get a little deeper flavor? I'm also thinking that these bad boys would benefit from some lemon zest.
Here's the link to the recipe:
Any suggestions to improve upon this recipe?

Apr 21, 2013
kapusta in Home Cooking

Help my California yogurt man-up

Maybe it's those California cows??

Perhaps you already do this, but I have better results on my yogurt when I heat the milk to about 185-190F first and hold it there for about 15-20 minutes. Then cool your milk to less than 112F or so and add your yogurt culture.
The heat denatures the proteins and results in a more consistently thick yogurt, in my experience. Prior to instituting this practice, my results were hit and miss and it did seem to vary with what milk I used. This has also eliminated the grainy texture that I sometimes got.

Apr 15, 2013
kapusta in Home Cooking

Anniversary Meal in SW Virginia or Near By

One possibility is "Chateau Morrisette".
It's just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, south of Christiansburg. Nearby are some B&B's and the town of Floyd, VA which has a funky vibe and a lively music scene.

Further south on Interstate 81 is Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA.
Famous for the association with author Barbara Kingsolver, and her book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". Don't know about lodging in that area.

Apr 15, 2013
kapusta in Mid-Atlantic

Twisted Noodle open in Durham

DH and I had lunch here last month during a visit to the Triangle. After reading here about the slow service, we were prepared for a long wait. Well, it took some time for a waiter to take our order, but the food came relatively quickly. This was a Saturday. DH had Drunken Noodles...I'd give it "average". I had tofu in spicy chili basil sauce. Very good, although not very spicy despite requesting that when ordering. However, given the subjectiveness of "spicy", I really can't fault the restaurant. Also had an order of Summer rolls, which were also good. Next time we're in Durham, we'll probably try it again.

Jun 07, 2008
kapusta in Southeast

cow hollow

We often stay at Cow Hollow, and we have enjoyed dinners at "Baker Street Bistro". It's small, so reservations might be a good idea on weekends. Wine by the glass or bottle is reasonably priced, and I believe that they have pre-fix dinners on the weekends. A bit of a walk but certainly within your range...go all the way down Chestnut, then turn left, cross Lombard at Baker and it's about a block up the street on the right.
Second the Lucca's deli. We always grab a couple of sandwiches there for the flight back east.
Betelnut is very good, but it is noisy. Weekdays aren't so bad.
Don't be afraid of Muni buses. We get a week pass on Monday and ride all week with our Muni map, available at the cable car kiosk at Fisherman's Wharf or the tourist office on Market. You can grab Muni downtown from Chestnut/Fillmore (#30) or out to Sunset/Richmond from Lombard/Filmore (#28). So little time, so much to eat!!

The Fallout of No-Knead Bread

I have been making this bread for about the past 6 months. Initially, I was using an AllClad pan to bake the bread, but the pan and lid began to aquire some discoloration from the high heat, so I hied myself to Target and purchased a plain Chef Mate cast iron dutch oven. As suggested above, I then went to Home Depot and had a very helpful young man assist me in choosing a replacement metal knob for the lid. We haven't purchased bread for the past few months. Why is no-knead so great? Well, my typical work schedule calls for around 60 hrs/wk with unpredictable hours...I work in an operating room. With this recipe, I can throw the dough together at night (or get husband to do it if I'm at work) and then forget about it until sometime later the following day when I shape and bake it. I've also adapted the recipe for a slightly larger loaf that fits in my Chef Mate pan better: 4 c. flour, 2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast, and a scant 2 cups water. To keep the crackly crust, we simply store the loaf, cut-side down, on the cutting bagging. Most of the time, I substitute 1/2 c oatmeal for flour.

Aug 17, 2007
kapusta in Features

Prague - recommendations

We were in Praha for 2 weeks in late April/early May. Most of the restaurants we sought out were Czech themed. Although many people speak some English and many restaurants offer English (or German) menus, you would be well advised to have a phrase book to decipher menus.
Had a lovely meal at "Koliba Praha", a Slovakian restaurant, near the red-line Roztyly metro station. Exit the station, follow the little path up the hill directly to the restaurant overlooking the station. My entree was a delicious lamb-filled ravioli-like potato pasta in a spicy red sauce. There is an outdoor terrace with beautiful views of the city and the Vltava, or indoor seating. The night we were there, a small "gypsy" combo played folk music. If you venture out this way, stop along the red line to walk through Vysehrad, an old fortress that has some great views of the river.
If you want obnoxious, drunken tourists, overpriced food, and impatient waiters who try to sell you extra items, then try U Fleku in the downtown.
U Suteru is worth seeking out, located on Palackeho near Vodickova in Nove Mesto. Great bargains on lunch specials but a little hard to find. The payoff is few tourists inside...they're all at U Fleku getting gouged.
Also for lunch, try Bredovsky Dvor on Politickych Veznu, one block from the Mustek metro station in New Town.
Pivovarsky Dum, at Ječná/Lípová, is also a great lunch stop with beer brewed on premises. Here's a link: Menus are available in English and they have a non-smoking section out front.
We would certainly second the suggestion by the other poster, Bradbury, that a train journey to Plzen and the Pilsner Urquell brewery is a wonderful day trip. There is a small fee for the brewery tour (offered in various languages), but it is extensive and includes the cellars and a barrel tasting of beer.
Since our Czech language skills are marginal and we could not reliably understand spoken numbers, we found it helpful to have a pen and paper along when we dined out. When it was time to pay the bill, the waiter could write down the amount owed, and we would then write down the total amount that we wanted to give the waiter/waitress so as to include a tip. This won't be a problem at larger restaurants, but small pubs and cafes are not always English-enabled. At many restaurants, the waitstaff carry cash around with them in a small purse and make change for you at your table when you pay the bill.
Have fun, and remember to say "Prosim" and "Dekuji" and you'll get along fine.

Aug 05, 2007
kapusta in International Archive

30 minute microwave mozzarella?

Thanks for the tip, Gooseberry. When you caution to limit stirring while the curds are forming, do you mean before or after the rennet is added?

Aug 02, 2007
kapusta in Home Cooking

30 minute microwave mozzarella?

Today was my first attempt at this. I used 1 gal. whole milk from Kroger's, heated slowly to 55F, then added 2 tsp citric acid and 1/2 tsp mild lipase powder in 1/4 c water. Then heated to 88F and added 1 tsp calcium chloride in 1/4 c water, and 1/2 rennet tab dissolved in 1/4 c water. The break looked promising but when I tried to scoop it into my bowl to microwave it, I too ended up with smallish, soft curds that just slipped through my slotted spoon. So...not wanting to waste the milk, I tossed the lot into cheesecloth and drained the whey off as much as I could...still a gloppy mess, but when I began to microwave it, it got sticky just like the recipe said, and after several go rounds in the MW, I finally achieved the taffy-like product called for. I think that the kneading and stretching part is important to get the right texture in the finished cheese. Next time, I'll try a different milk...maybe I'll get firmer curds. Anyone else have suggestions?

Aug 02, 2007
kapusta in Home Cooking