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dearcallie's Profile

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A kitchen without traditional cabinets-thought?

I recently remodeled my kitchen with the same idea. I actually started thinking about it because in Louisiana a lot of people have "fishing camps" - essentially cottages on a bayou or lake, and I always loved the rustic simplicity of the kitchen design, which often included open shelving.

I don't find dust or grease an issue with the stuff I use daily, and if I have to wash a less frequently used platter or whatever on the more rare occasion I use it - it's not that big a deal to me. I also don't obsess above things looking all "Martha" - though I did pare down down to a single set of china, and a couple of sets of inexpensive glasses to keep things uncluttered.

I love it - and having everything right on hand is one of the biggest reasons why. :-)

Feb 25, 2012
dearcallie in Not About Food

Oceana torched!

I belong to a business networking group that meets every week at Zeke's, and can personally attest that the food has improved exponentially since the KN episode. Candace - the waitress who served Ramsey - has always been a sweetheart.

May 23, 2011
dearcallie in Food Media & News

Oceana torched!

That was one of the most painful things I've ever seen... from the one brother's cretinous attitude to the former chef's astounding lack of quality control over the kitchen, to the shameful amount of screaming and cursing at the people who worked there... mind-boggling.

I've never been and never will. I haven't seen a lot of KN episodes, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen food from a walk-in make Gordon Ramsey VOMIT before.

The cretinous brother - I forget his name - going out and getting drunk during the big re-opening said it all.

May 22, 2011
dearcallie in Food Media & News

What's your favorite low key breakfast place?

My personal "secret" to Elizabeth's is to order the "Basic" breakfast - 2 eggs over medium, hash browns, wheat toast "dark", and add ham. For $7 dollars I get a giant platter full of simple, but extremely well executed, breakfast deliciousness.

It's a couple dollars more for brunch - around $10 - still extremely worth it. My boyfriend keeps ordering more exotic offerings - all good - but inevitably says "Yours looks so much better than mine..." and finishes it off because it's a LOT of food!

The eggs have always been cooked exactly to order - and it's a fine line between over easy and over medium... the yolks have to be... semi-solid, but still fluid, the hashbrowns are decadently deep-fried, the mountain of ham is slightly charred, but still juicy - and the toast is crunchy and actually toasted.

My best tip for brunch would be - do whatever you have to to get there before 10am... after that the line gets crazy.

Also love Huevos, and one of the very best - total dive - breakfasts I had recently was the Greek omelette at Please-U... gyro meat, feta,cooked into a giant omelette, and hash browns - for about $5,. Lots of decent coffee, diner-vibe, some really good eating, and a nostalgic foray into the diners of my Boston area youth...

4408 Banks St, New Orleans, LA

1751 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

Mar 08, 2011
dearcallie in New Orleans

Bourdain + Treme = Television Goodness!

I was really excited to read this:

I'm from New Orleans - and a big fan of both... what do y'all think?

*Bonus Alan Richman controversy!

Feb 28, 2011
dearcallie in Food Media & News

Waiting for a table - what's your limit?

Mine is in steady decline... and I live in New Orleans, a city of wonderful food. I've just discovered that any wait of over a half hour or so (at a place that doesn't accept reservations) is almost never worth it to me.

I try to patronize places for lunch instead, if I love the food, but standing in line just almost never seems justified. I'll get all kinds of "exceptions" thrown at me, I know, and I'd be more willing to do that - or wait even with a reservation - for a truly stellar restaurant experience with a cuisine I can't get here... but I'm just less patient and a better home cook than I used to be, I guess.

What's your limit?

Feb 05, 2011
dearcallie in Not About Food

Balancing Foodie/Health Issues

Yeah... BC and AC are two entirely different things. Haven't had much luck... OVER focusing on food intake -and don't own a scale - but I know that works for some.

Thanks for your input - success stories of any stripe are always inspiring! :-)

Jan 30, 2011
dearcallie in Not About Food

Balancing Foodie/Health Issues

Well, here's the thing... I already do a lot of what has been suggested. I eat no fast food - or *maybe* once or twice a year, don't eat processed foods, bring lunch - generally a big salad with proteins or a baked sweet potato, LOVE veggies - one of my favorite dinners is a big plate of Brussels sprouts roasted with olive oil, seasoned salt and a glass of white wine... and it's just not working the way it used to.

Fitting in exercise is tricky. I drop my 10 yr old of at before-care at 7:30 to be at the office at 8. I leave work at 5, pick him up from after-care about quarter to 6, get him home and fed by about 6:30, then it's 2 hours of homework. (he has ADHD and very mild Aspergers, and it takes a LOT of monitoring to get him through assignments). By then I'm BEAT. I have a very client oriented job that takes a lot of mental energy. I love it, but it's exhausting.

Anyway, all of the responses have been really helpful. I'm just going to have to suck it up, and realize things aren't working as well as they used to. I actually did buy an "infomercial" thing, lol. It's a down-sized elliptical type apparatus, and the plan is to get up earlier and use it for a half hour every morning while watching the news. I'm actually kind of excited about it's arrival.

Not as excited as I would be about an invitation to a really great restaurant, but still... ;-)

Jan 30, 2011
dearcallie in Not About Food

Balancing Foodie/Health Issues

Yes, yes it is. :-D

I'll quit bitchin'... I know I've been spoiled with stupidly healthy peasant genes. It's just... a bit of an unpleasant surprise to realize I can no longer get away the lazy way out...not a big complaint in the scheme of things, I know.

Jan 27, 2011
dearcallie in Not About Food

Balancing Foodie/Health Issues

I'm sorry, I wasn't really specific. By meat, I meant red meat. I do eat chicken and fish, eggs and also nuts for protein. No sugar, potatoes, white bread, chips, crackers - with the very occasional whole grain version as a treat. I don't drink fruit juice, and eat a lot more veggies than whole fruits.

I guess it's just frustrating that eating this way for several decades has been enough to not have to think about my weight, but it's no longer working. I guess it's just an age/general metabolism thing creeping up on me.

Thanks for all the suggestions - clearly I'm going to have to re-think things, including actually exercising. In the morning. Before coffee at the office. (we have a local coffee roaster client and it's so good, I wait until I get there to grind beans and make a fresh pot).

Ah, well...

Jan 27, 2011
dearcallie in Not About Food

Balancing Foodie/Health Issues

Waaah... I'm almost 50, and have never had to seriously contemplate the food/health thing... about weight.

No more. Though I've embraced a pretty low-carb way of eating - because I genuinely FEEL much better, even that isn't working as well as it did in my forties, and I actually enjoy eating healthy fats, LOVE veggies, eat meat maybe once a week... but there's still a slow gain.

How do y'all reconcile that? I'm a generally active person, but LOATHE regimented exercise.
There's no happy answer, and I'm going to have to buy an infomercial thing, because I don't have time to go to the gym (working single parent), right?

Damn it!


Jan 26, 2011
dearcallie in Not About Food

10 best ingredients in my kitchen

1. olive oil
2. sea salt
3. garlic
4. green onions
5. lots of cheeses
6. eggs
7. bacon
8. wine
9. lemons
10. greek yogurt

I have plenty of other pantry items to fall back on, along with shopping for fresh veggies 2-3 times a week - but these 10 feature most regularly in pulling together meals. I live in New Orleans.

Jan 24, 2011
dearcallie in General Topics

_______ ruins my figure/diet/life

Good bread... with real butter or olive oil.

I've given up most carbs - because the difference in the way I feel when avoiding them is seriously appreciable - without a pang, and I rarely buy bread... but I am just shamefully weak when confronted with a good bread basket at a restaurant or if I have some left over from a dinner or something.

Crusty sourdough, a chewy whole grain loaf, a real baguette...ahhhgh, I'm powerless over the siren call... my New Year's Resolution is to be fairly stringent during the week, and allow myself a single splurge each weekend day. After all, it's not honestly possible to order eggs over easy without delicious wheat toast to dip in them... is it? Or order a giant thin crust pizza from a local place and *not* enjoy the crispy blackened crust and edges? Not for me anyway... ;-)

Jan 16, 2011
dearcallie in General Topics

What's your "secret ingredient?"

Dry vermouth.

It functions better than either red or white wine in almost anything... spaghetti sauce, chicken in any kind of sauce... I even dollop some into pea soup (heavy on oregano and garlic, my version will convert pea soup haters... ;-)).

Shoot, I douse frozen fish fillets with dry vermouth, sprinkle with Tony Chachere's ,spray with olive oil and cook in the toaster oven for a quick meal for my 10 yr. old son, with a salad and weekend baked sweet potato.

Also? How else are you gonna use up that bottle of dry vermouth, even if you ARE a martini lover?


Jan 10, 2011
dearcallie in Home Cooking

What do you HATE about your kitchen?

I've endured almost 20 years of bad kitchens - shotgun style; had to walk through son's bedroom to access... poorly laid out, etc., since I moved to New Orleans. I recently bought a house, and since the kitchen had to be gutted, FINALLY have a kitchen I love.

It's actually pretty spare - no dishwasher, traded the "fancy" electric stove for a used gas one... but BOY is it ever user-friendly.

Funny how years of making-do without thinking about it, can change so dramatically once the setting improves... :-) I actually love to cook now.

"Before" kitchen with crap particle board cupboards and drawers - most of which weren't functional, electric stove, and broken dishwasher.

"After" kitchen with birch butcher block - made by a former carpenter/neighbor - for about the same cost as Home Depot's pre-fab stock.

We won't talk about the fact that it took several months to complete, and I had a gutted kitchen when I moved in... all worth it.

Now. ;-)

Jan 10, 2011
dearcallie in Not About Food

Food to serve with Scotch

May not work with a scotch tasting - but Fig Newtons are genius with a scotch after dinner. You'd probably want to make a fancified home-made version ;-), but the dry-ish, not too sweet cookie and the fig filling work really, really, well... believe it or not.

Dec 26, 2010
dearcallie in Spirits

What obscure recipe book do you have and love?

George The Housewife... I found it at a thrift store - a self published...treatise on life, food, politics, health, culture and incidentally, recipes - that is an indescribably compelling read.

Complete with wonderful period b/w photography including National Geographic era slyly inserted topless images of African tribal women, under the guise of extolling their healthy habits to his long suffering wife outside of various trendy at the time NYC restaurants... it's an absolute wonder of sincere all-american mid-century hubris.

His unfettered certainty is both amusing and addictive... watch him soundly critique a World's Fair fare... watch him lay waste to culinary lions in New York, watch him tell you that not emptying ashtrays and cleaning up yesterday's newspapers are the main cause of "nervous disorders" in housewives, while offering tips on hunting and gathering and fashion... So very wrong on so many accounts, yet wildly oddly entertaining at the same time.

Dec 02, 2010
dearcallie in Home Cooking

Slate: Don't Buy Julia Child's MtAoFC: You Will Never Cook From It

Pierre Franey published a long-time column in the NYTimes "60 Minute Gourmet", along with several cookbooks about the same philosophy, often endorsing ... shortcuts, dependent on the latest food.. technology. While he espoused fresh and simple dinners, he was absolutely NOT above canned or frozen goods utilized to present a balanced meal.

Rachel Ray is as annoying as as a squeaky hinge, and she has absolutely no real cooking "chops", but she is today's answer to a populist approach to "real" cooking.

Is it "better" than Julia Child or Pierre Franey? Hell to the NO... is it better than ... nothing?

Sadly, maybe.. but I still hold out for the burgeoning... real, local, food movement. Shoot - I'm planting container gardens this year - and I kill every plant I've ever looked at. I just want not to pay crazy-high prices and feed my son something that actually *tastes* like real food...

Apr 26, 2010
dearcallie in Food Media & News