c

CricketGirl's Profile

Title Last Reply

Desperately Seeking Winter Salad Ideas

A Thousand Thank You's!!! There may be no meat at this dinner, I have so many great salad ideas now. Our mother's spinach salad is required, but I might make a small version of that, and a small bowl of fresh spinach with a mix of fruits, dried & fresh - those ideas made me especially hungry!
Thank you all... and a joyful Christmas & New Year!

Dec 11, 2010
CricketGirl in Home Cooking

Desperately Seeking Winter Salad Ideas

We are hosting three brothers, two sisters-in-law, and five neices/nephews ranging in age from 7-16 for a family Christmas dinner the day after Christmas. We are all omnivores with very few dislikes/won't eats amongst all of us, with only one allergy in this group and that's a nephew who is cannot have oranges (he's fine with lemon & lime).

I am planning to serve cold, rare roast beef (we actually all really prefer it that way) and a cider-braised pork butt (hot), and roast potatoes. But I need vegetables and frankly, I don't particularly want to cook them. I want to spend my afternoon playing with the kids! I have quite a number of vegetable casserole dishes I could make but I'm BORED with them and thought doing some salads might be fun. But... other than making our late mother's spinach salad, I simply cannot think where to start.

So help! Do you have great winter salad ideas OR, and I'm willing to re-consider a hot vegetable casserole I don't have to fuss over that afternoon if you've got something great up your sleeve.

FYI, and because I'm cooking, my own two food dislikes are olives (love the oil, hate the fruit) and lima beans, so they are not options. Thanks for the help!

Dec 07, 2010
CricketGirl in Home Cooking

Simple food failures

I have a braised lamb shanks recipe that has always worked for me and tastes so wonderful! If you're willing to give it a go, I'm willing to dig it out for you. Probably should do it for myself anyway as I have four shanks sitting in the freezer and it's time to make 'em or lose 'em.

Dec 07, 2010
CricketGirl in Home Cooking

Simple food failures

Whoa! I would love to find out what you're doing with mac & cheese, because I think it's the best thing in the world to make when four people suddenly show up and you've got nothing but leftovers in the fridge and rock hard meat in the freezer.
I always start with a white sauce - easy, simple, and cooked out properly to get rid of the flour taste completely.
Slowly add the freshly grated cheeses - I use a mix of 1-year old cheddar (I prefer white,but orange is fine), emmanthal, and fontina (sometimes gruyere, if I've got a heel leftover from my favourite baked eggs). And I mean slowly, so that each handful has melted into the sauce before adding more.
If I find the sauce is thickening too much with the cheeses, I add a little WHOLE milk to bring it to the consistency I prefer.
Season with dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, s&p
Now, if I have time, I will then pour the mac & cheese into a baking dish, sprinkle with panko crumbs, dot with a bit of butter & bake @ 325 until the crumbs are nicely browned. If I have four hungry people staring at me the whole time I've been making this I first get them to set the table, make a salad and then serve right from the pot!
Hope you keep trying... mac & cheese on a cold winter's night.... heaven!

Dec 07, 2010
CricketGirl in Home Cooking

Quebec City next week!

Definitely dinner on Thursday (and later rather than early - say some time after 8:30 if that's possible), definitely lunch on Friday and on Sunday, a combination of breakfast & lunch, but not necessarily "brunch" if that makes sense. Saturday... If a really, really wonderful dinner restaurant was open AND less expensive for lunch on Saturday, then lunch, and I'll make something simpler for us for dinner that night (following your shopping suggestions!)
You do love your city, don't you??

Quebec City next week!

We are completely open in our food choices - anything & everything! Well, I don't eat lima beans or olives & my husband doesn't eat organ meat of any kind. Other than that...
As to price... we don't want to,and can't afford to go to $$$$ with every meal, but maybe one, if another was just $. It's always been my experience when travelling that the places locals like to go for the little but still important occasions (not a 40th birthday, but maybe a 37th birthday, as an example) are usually the best places for visitors to go, too. Very high quality food & service,and quite reasonable (although not usually cheap) prices.
Thanks for your help...

Quebec City next week!

Wow! First of all, thanks for all the info on grocery shopping! We are going to have a terrific time every morning, visiting all these delicious places. I will report back on any particular gems we enjoy.
Second, I visited the accommodation link - I don't have time now to peruse it properly. But, we found the condo on vrbo.com and have had nothing but good experiences using this website so....
Looking forward to the restaurant suggestions!

Quebec City next week!

Thanks for this info. We are looking for just the one night of 'fine' dining so this place sounds/looks excellent. I suspect that this week could be spent indulging in much cheese and bread and 7 different duck recipes - if I can find duck to cook 'at home'!!

Quebec City next week!

Hi,

The condo address is 9 Remparts.
The owner tells us it's a 5-minute walk to EVERYTHING; we think it's possible he might be overselling the place but, it has red brick walls and a wood burning fireplace. We would have taken it if it was a 15 minutes walk from EVERYTHING.

Quebec City next week!

I had hoped we'd be in Paris for Christmas/New Years but.... I'm quite happy to be spending a few days in Quebec City (after indulging my husband's love of skiing first in Tremblant!).

We are renting a condo in the old city, which is great for me because I love to cook even when on holiday (we're driving on this trip, so I can take my knives & cast iron pan & a few other bits). But we also love to eat out. So what we are thinking about doing is having lunch Friday, Saturday & Sunday at places other Chowhounds might recommend and shopping for groceries for me to make dinner those three nights. But when I say shopping for groceries, I mean in the European style, if at all possible, going to a butcher and a cheese shop and a green grocer, etc. to gather provisions on a daily basis.

Thursday night (December 16th) we do want to have dinner out, so I'd love a suggestion for that evening as well.

And finally, a few hours away, we'll be in Tremblant for a few days skiing as I said. We're interested in restaurant suggestions, if there are any to be had.

Thanks in advance!

Paris 26 Dec 2010 to 3 Jan 2011

Thank John Talbott & Souphie & everyone else who answered my questions. I think now I have too many choices! But then, isn't that part of the charm of being in Paris?
We will not know definitively if we can actually get away (it's my job that may be holding us back..) for another two weeks, but as soon as we can, we will book tickets & apartment & start planning.
Merci beaucoup!

Jun 21, 2010
CricketGirl in France

Paris 26 Dec 2010 to 3 Jan 2011

My nephew by marriage who lives & works in the Alps but travels to Paris also recommends both Chez Michel and Au Pied de Cochon for the food - said nothing about the atmosphere. Which, to me, is so important to enjoying the meal...

Jun 15, 2010
CricketGirl in France

Paris 26 Dec 2010 to 3 Jan 2011

To both John Talbott & mangeur -
My definition of a bistrot is a comfortable place, with chairs that are meant for sitting in for at least 90 minutes, with lighting that is neither too bright nor too gloomy, with tables that will hold plates and glasses & cutlery without worry something will go phlattt on floor. That's what it needs to look & feel like.

And then once I'm comfortably seated, and the first glass of wine is poured (something young, with hope & promise, but not raw and definitely not peaked), I want to choose from amongst the comfort foods that made me fall in love with the idea of French cooking, and gave me options to choose when creating our family's inn menus. Cassoulet. Boeuf Bourgignonne. Coq au vin. Perhaps something a la Normande. Definitely the chance to choose something with mussels.

The experience I want is about the food but also about the atmosphere, the venue, the walk to the establishment.

Jun 15, 2010
CricketGirl in France

Paris 26 Dec 2010 to 3 Jan 2011

Thanks for that bit of information. I knew there would be some places closed because of the holiday period but we're going for the adventure! And really, three generations of hoteliers & restaurateurs... I don't mind the cooking thing, even on holiday. Do you have a favourite bistrot you would recommend - if they're open?

Jun 14, 2010
CricketGirl in France

Paris 26 Dec 2010 to 3 Jan 2011

Although we have not completed our travel plans yet, it looks like my husband and I are taking our first holiday together in more than six years in the week between Christmas & New Years, extended the trip to 3 Jan.
Our first choice destination is Paris, and I'm very keen to shop & cook at least one meal a day while we're there, but I am very concerned about finding good, local, interesting markets, cheese shops, bakeries (bread & pastry), fish markets, etc. Our working plan is to rent an apt in the Marais area, but we are keen to travel - and shop! - around the city.
Your best suggestions - especially for that time period - will be gratefully received.

Jun 12, 2010
CricketGirl in France