DonShirer's Profile

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New-to-me California artisan sheep's milk cheese

If you are looking for other sheep cheeses made on the West coast, here are a few I've tried in the order in which I like them: Excellent (top) to Good (bottom).

Flagsheep (Beechers, WA)
Echo Mountain Blue (Rogue creamery, OR) a goat/sheep mix
Fat Bottom (Bleating Heart Creamery, OR)
Ewelicious Blue Cheese (Bleating Heart Creamery, OR)
Lamb Chopper (Made in Europe for Cypress Grove, CA)

Aug 01, 2015
DonShirer in Cheese

VEGGIE SLAWS/COLESLAWS! Home Cooking Dish Of The Month (July 2015)

I grew Turnips in my garden for the first time this year, and when I presented a humongous root to my wife she at first had no idea what to do with it. She finally made a sort of slaw, dicing up the turnip, carrots and apples, with a dressing made from mayo, apple cider and ??? (She doesn't remember the exact recipe.)

It turned out pretty well and we've been eating it as a side dish for a week (it kept fine in the fridge). Next year I'll harvest the turnips at an earlier stage so they aren't so big!

Aug 01, 2015
DonShirer in Home Cooking

Passion fruit vine - thumbs up or run away?

There are several sites on the web about growing

Jul 29, 2015
DonShirer in Gardening

Madison Beach Hotel (Madison, CT)? Or other brunch of note?

This trip advisor site has a MENU option. Click on that, and then BRUNCH.

Madison Beach Hotel (Madison, CT)? Or other brunch of note?

We had brunch at MBH several years ago. As I recall, it was pleasant but not memorable. I remember better the views of the sound at the beach afterwards!

Water's Edge brunch is, however, very memorable. I can still picture the times I've been there...and especially remember the day that included a wedding (no relation). I'm no sushi fan, so FS, while good, doesn't pick up points for that.

Frozen Brussels Sprouts

I'm not a B.S. lover (either kind!) but a couple of years ago I wanted to vary the Thanksgiving menu a bit, so I tried a recipe involving shredded Brussels Sprouts, bacon, and onion (can't remember the source) and it turned out pretty good.

Jul 26, 2015
DonShirer in Home Cooking

McDonald’s now sells lobster rolls in New England

They have had this on the menu at a few shoreline locations in previous years.

Jul 24, 2015
DonShirer in Greater Boston Area

New Oreo Thin Cookies

Got the last package of the thin mints at Wal-Mart. Price up to $3.00
Eating one as I type...the darn things are addictive!
1 cookie = 1 mouthful.

Jul 21, 2015
DonShirer in General Topics

What to do with too many cans of refried beans?

Huevos rancheros. Spread the refritos over a tortilla, top with fried or poached eggs and salsa. Add whatever else you like (lettuce, cheese, etc) around the edges.

Jul 20, 2015
DonShirer in Home Cooking

Gigantic cucumber?

My wife makes some sort of cool drink with them (in fact she just asked me today if I had a couple of ripe ones handy). She's out now so I can't ask her the recipe, but here are two links I found with minimal effort:

Jul 19, 2015
DonShirer in Home Cooking

Best way to keep sweet corn

Even easier. Cook in microwave unhusked. The silk comes right off.

Jul 19, 2015
DonShirer in General Topics


I had to grin at the title of this thread. Almost a direct quote from my wife when we lived in Arizona. I bought a young fig tree, and three years later she was almost in tears when facing the huge harvest. To keep matrimonial harmony, I cut down the tree.

Jul 14, 2015
DonShirer in General Topics

What's this kale love?

Kale is indeed easy to grow with almost no care required. It even returns the next year by itself.

And I happen to be eating a lettuce/baby kale/arugula/mizuna salad right now which prompted me to read this post.

Everyone's tastes are different, but I find it difficult to understand why we see so many posts saying "I don't like a particular food. --If you don't like it you don't have to eat it!

Jul 13, 2015
DonShirer in General Topics

Low & Slow Scrambled Egg fans, have you tried this?

I mentioned these in previous post. Since then I have added one step:
mix the ingredients with a hand blender. Adds air to the liquid.

Jul 12, 2015
DonShirer in Home Cooking

Mystic Market - Mystic CT Gourmet Foods

The "East" incarnation of a well-established Mystic purveyor recently opened in the old Pat's Kountry Kitchen site. They have a clean mid-sized eating area, a butcher/deli counter and a line of refrigerators for take out items. The deli salads looked good, there were a lot of frozen appetizers, family meals and entrees. I bought a reasonably-priced frozen Porchetta and Endive combination which we had for dinner tonight. DW complemented me on the selection.

The cheese selection disappointed me. There were very few selections in the coolers and I didn't see that many more in the deli counter. The place was packed and the clerks were too busy for me to inquire. I'll have to do that on my next visit.

Names for parts of a cheese

Isn't that just the ripest part?

Jul 06, 2015
DonShirer in Cheese

How Long to Cook Corn?

Even easier--no wrapping required.

(Their time of 5 minutes seems long unless you have a really low powered microwave--I use 3 minutes)

Jul 05, 2015
DonShirer in Home Cooking

Is it bad to grow beans next to chile pepper plants?

Someone once gave me a copy of "Carrots Love Tomatoes, Secrets of Companion Planting" so I looked up beans and peppers. Frankly, I would usually take their advice with a large dose of (epsom?) salt, but even they say nothing good or bad about pepper/bean companions.

And I've been growing tomatoes and beans next to each other for years with no problems. (and CLT says nothing about this combo either).

Jul 02, 2015
DonShirer in Gardening

Asian Restaurant (Broad St., Middletown, CT)

No complaints about size here. I took leftovers home and had lunch from them today and (if I cook more rice) will have another tomorrow!

Niagara on the Lake and wineries

Here's a link to some winery info in nearby Ontario.

Sorry can't help with the restaurants. When we were there we had an RV and cooked our own.

Asian Restaurant (Broad St., Middletown, CT)

Was finally able to visit them after a meeting--they stay open til 11 Fri/Sat.
The Hot Sour soup was good (and well-spiced), but I think I like the Tom Yam better.
The Szechuwan Chicken was tasty (and prettily presented) but not as spicy as I expected. Bottom line, I'll go back again when I get the chance.

El Pulpo - Middletown

On my way to a meeting, I noticed that El Pulpo restaurant (mediterranean/tapas) was going full swing in the Main St. Market building. Anyone sampled them yet?

Cheddar please??? Who makes the best cheddars???

Tried Isle of Mull a second time. It was better than my first try. A reasonable choice, but B+, not A level.

Jun 21, 2015
DonShirer in Cheese

Red vs. Green, Yellow Peppers

Stokes has developed a variety "Staysgreen" which it says emulates its name.

Says "tastes as good as a mature red pepper" but says it grows slowly so start indoors in northern climes.

New Hampshire Agricultural Station developed a pepper they call "Permagreen" which supposedly does the same. A web search found a few commercial sources (Amazon, ABCgrow).

I wonder if they are endorsed by Kermit?

Jun 18, 2015
DonShirer in Gardening

Has Anyone Planted "Ketchup & Fries"?

Someone inquired about this recently on a very popular gardening forum. No one said they had grown them, but a respected expert said they had been around for awhile under names like Pomato. The wikipedia article on pomato credits its development to The Max Planck institute in 1994.

Yes the picture showing both tomatoes and potatoes ripening at the same time is suspicious.

The book "Carrots Love Tomatoes" (not that I am recommending it) says: "Don't plant (tomatoes) near potatoes, since tomatoes render them more susceptible to potato blight."

Jun 18, 2015
DonShirer in Gardening

Do you really need to *cook* frozen vegetables before using?

Yep. 30 seconds in my microwave brings them to room temp. I don't like to eat them frozen.

Jun 13, 2015
DonShirer in General Topics

15-second scrambled eggs!

Tried a 2-egg scramble this morning using the technique in this link. It actually works! Eggs did come out very creamy (but it took 20 seconds).

Jun 11, 2015
DonShirer in Home Cooking

Thieving Birds....

Had some problems in the past with birds (most likely suspects) taking one peck at a tomato. Someone suggested they were looking for water, so this year I'm going to provide a tray of water nearby to see if that reduces the sampling.

Can't grow blueberries. Birds eat them all. Tried placing netting over entire bush--didn't work, they snuck in from underneath. Tried putting netting over blossom cluster. They pecked right through it, tearing the netting. This is one battle I'm not going to win.

Jun 09, 2015
DonShirer in Gardening

Thieving Birds....

Had some problems in the past with birds (most likely suspects) taking one peck at a tomato. Someone suggested they were looking for water, so this year I'm going to provide a tray of water nearby to see if that reduces the sampling.

Jun 09, 2015
DonShirer in Gardening

CT: Make your own Main Street (if you could move your favorite restaurants ... )

While there are a couple of New Haven Italian and Pizza places I wish were a little closer to Westbrook, I can still find a good representative of most of the essential food groups within 15 miles, and occasionally I need a good excuse like that to get out of town and visit some nearby sights (or stores) as well!