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Do you have family/friends who don't appreciate good home cooking?

"To think there are people who don't have any life experience to know that real whipped cream is what it's *supposed* to taste like"

Oh, this is so true and timely as well. Saturday, we had lunch at a local pub that generally puts out good food.

For dessert, my son ordered a chocolate cake that came topped with "whipped cream." He took one taste and said "this isn't whipped cream."

The waitress was confused and assured him it was whipped cream. It wasn't and I am certain in her mind, it was whipped cream because in her experience, anything white and fluffy was "whipped cream."

No doubt many people don't know the difference between real and fake maple syrup. I know I mentioned it on this site before - my cousin married a wonderful, smart woman that admitted she didn't know that real butter was different from Country Crock. (She now is a real butter convert.)

about 18 hours ago
cleobeach in Not About Food

The 2014 Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog

I laughed out loud at the snowman cake pan -

"How do you slice the idiotic snowman cake? You don't. You bake it, you put it in the center of the table, and then you yell at the kids to not f-ing touch it. That's how people roll with a snowman cake."

And then I read Dgresh's story and laughed even more. If he saw that pan, I know if my son would have NO rest until I baked a snowman cake.

W-S also sells Star Wars pancake molds and some of the reviews are funny, about how hard it is to get the pancakes just right while children are rioting for their Yoda pancakes. I decided not to do that to myself on Christmas morning.

The 2014 Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog

I am also so sorry to laugh at your pain but I just finished putting the lights on the tree and needed the laugh.

Dec 14, 2014
cleobeach in Food Media & News

Input on venison dish please!

When I moved after college, it was a shock to my taste buds when I ate "suburban" venison from deer that lived on the edges of the corn fields and subdivisions. I prefer the venison of my childhood from deer that lived at the edges of the wheat and oat fields and woodlands.

Dec 12, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Input on venison dish please!

You nailed it with the "antenna" comment!

In my neck of the woods, we call them Sportmen's clubs or rod and gun clubs. All have rifle ranges and most have social halls and/or a bar and restaurant.

The one we below to ($15 per year) has many volunteer programs that give members a chance to get to know other members such as trout and pheasant stocking, trail clean-ups, fly pools, etc. The social activities tend to center around outdoor sports like fly pools, ham/turkey shoots.

Dec 12, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Input on venison dish please!

Good question thymetobake. The hunters I know (including myself, a former hunter) learned from family members. Hunter Education was mandatory in my school district. Venison was part of most, if not all, every families diet. I am happy to say all the hunters I know take it very seriously and are mindful about taking a shot.

And yes, one shoots at standing deer, not running deer. Deer do a lot of standing around in the woods.

My husband stopped hunting when we met (his decision, not mine) and everyone is now starting to ask about our son's hunting desires. If he expresses an interest, my uncles and our close friend will start taking him out under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program. I live in PA and deer hunting is a big deal.

Dec 12, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Input on venison dish please!

I agree with Puffin3s comments.

I grew up with venison being a very common meat on the table and I live in a hunting area. Not all venison is universally good. In addition to the kill and field dressing, I think the animal's diet also effects flavor.

I think the best venison tenderloin is done whole on the grill. A friend wraps a few slices of fatty bacon around it.

I don't know anyone that brines the tenderloins to alter the taste as the venison taste is desirable in my circles.

Not So Pioneer Woman?

"I think the main difference is that the blog ( as far as I know) is all her, while her show on FN is obviously governed by the powers that be at FN."

I don't think that is the case with her show.

On her blog, she talked about how they (the Drummonds) developed the show and hired their own production crew from England. They then sold the first (and apparently subsequent) seasons to FN. She was clear about that fact that they did the show on their own and shopped it after it was finished.

The Lodge renovations and kitchen design were done in anticipation of the show filming.

She discussed going against suggestions made by the production company (some relating to her appearance and the need for a stylist) but it sounds like she is now taking their advice.

She also sold the movie rights to her Black Heels/Tractor Wheels box. She went to school in LA and used to live there. Based on things she has written about on the blog, I got the impression she has contacts in the entertainment industry.

Dec 10, 2014
cleobeach in Food Media & News

Not So Pioneer Woman?

I'll have to give the show another try. It was almost painful to watch during the first season. I am a fan of her blog and felt bad for her as she seemed so uncomfortable.

Dec 10, 2014
cleobeach in Food Media & News

Favorite Christmas Food Traditions

Fresh squeezed OJ for breakfast, with our without champagne depending on when we are cooking our main family meal of the day.

Dec 10, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Not So Pioneer Woman?

I have read her blog for many years and the blog is far better than the show.

While I find it overkill, there is an audience for her picture-heavy, showing how to cut an onion style of recipe blogging.

Dec 10, 2014
cleobeach in Food Media & News

One pot cooking. Really?

No, you are not alone. Especially during the week, speed is more important to me then the "process" so I will get two or three pots going and consolidate the ingredients into one.

"People seem to go to a LOT of work to avoid doing just a LITTLE extra work is my theory."

So you have seen my husband clean up after a meal? I keep my mouth shut but the wasted energy he puts into stacking, unstacking, wiping, re-wiping and tetris-style dishwasher loading is fascinating.

Dec 09, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking
1

Anyone else crazy enough to bake with a preschooler?

My son is now 9yo and we have had our fair share of kitchen capers. I used to make him chef hats out of butcher paper and he would put a toy mouse under it like in Ratatouille.

I am not a baker (I don't enjoy it) but we have made plenty of batches of cookies, bread, cakes and brownies together because he wanted to bake.

Expecting AND accepting the mess is 99% of it. Our worst mess was making a cake. One of us was operating the hand mixer and the other was pouring the dry ingredients into the bowl. The mixer moved in an unexpected direction, the dry ingredients got dumped directing into the air intake, creating a huge cloud of powder and somehow I got my hand caught in the beaters. I thought I broke some fingers.

Our most interesting result was when he wanted to make blueberry cookies and insisted on smashing the berries into the batter, producing an interesting color of cookie. They did taste good.

We typically stick to brownies now but he did ask to make gingerbread cookies before Christmas.....

Dec 09, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Anguilla restaurants and dives

Yes to E's Oven. We had a very good meal there but I couldn't remember the name.

Good to hear Malihouana reopened. We had drinks there at least twice, one lunch up at the main restaurant and one lunch at the beach area. All were nice experiences.

I think I do remember hearing Oliver's closed. Our food was great but the service was odd for a number of reasons, including a barefoot server who was old enough to know better.

Veya was one of the ones we could not get reservations for any night, at any time, during our trip.

I wished we would have gone to either of Blanchard's places.

Anguilla restaurants and dives

My notes from our 2011 trip -

I read that Anguilla restricts beachfront land to restaurant and resort development because this type of development provides good jobs. (All places charge an automatic 15% service fee that goes straight to the employees) Every restaurant but two we visited were located on the beach. Most had local chefs, local as in born on the island, who specialized in local ingredients.

At Oliver’s, we had stingray. Another night, I have curried goat and Mr. PA had parrot fish or maybe it was trigger fish, it is all a blur. I also had conch for several meals, typically prepared in a curry sauce. Every restaurant had numerous fresh fish specials nightly as well as grilled crayfish (small lobsters)

BBQ is also popular on the island and we saw many back yard BBQ set ups all over the island. The ribs were consistently good.

In no particular order, we visited:

Picante – twice – really good Mexican.
Sandy Island
Lucy’s – local and very good, casual
Malliouhana – beach restaurant and Michel Rostang Now closed!!!!!!
Straw Hat
Tasty’s – local cuisine, very good
Oliver’s – very good but very pricey
Mango’s – wonderful seafood
Fireflys
Smokey’s
A beach bar on Rendezvous, can’t remember the name
Hank & Marlins
Luna Rosa
Roy’s

Prior to our trip, I posted on two travel different travel forums to ask if we should make reservations prior arriving on Anguilla. No, no, no everyone said, that is crazy, just call that afternoon. Ha! What a mistake! The first three days we called at least three places each day only to be told they were completely booked for that night and for the coming three nights.

Check out a blog called Escape From New York for excellent restaurant reviews. The blogger is a regular visitor to the island and she know how to eat well.

Critique my cocktail party menu!

I agree on a horseradish sauce as a second option. I love chimichurri but in my experience, not everyone does.

Dec 07, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Holiday Gift Baskets

Years back, there was a small gourmet shop in my town that did very high quality baskets, really fantastic stuff. The owner was far ahead of her time. She did pre-made versions and also welcomed people to come in and pick out selections and she would prep the baskets at no extra charge. Sadly, health reasons caused her to close her doors.

We get several baskets at work each holiday season and most aren't great. Like someone else said, they are mostly packaging. I open them in the break room for the employees to nibble.

I have given baskets of locally produced products like wine, beer, snacks, cheese, etc. hopefully someone enjoyed them.

Dec 06, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

What to serve with cheese ravioli xmas day?

Thanks so much. It is officially on the menu!

Dec 06, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking
1

Anguilla restaurants and dives

We were on Anguilla for 10 nights three years ago. We ate VERY well. Anguilla produces a lot of home grown chefs. I remember a great meal at Straw Hat. There was a casual Mexico sounding named place where we had two good meals. Let me search for the other restaurants we visited. I'll report back.

What to serve with cheese ravioli xmas day?

Tell me more about those peppers! What ratio of Oil to vinegar? Like a 4:1 or 3:1 salad dressing?

How long do you blanch the peppers? Should they be cooked thru or a bit crisp?

Dec 05, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

How can we say no to a dinner invitation? We don't want to appear ungracious even though we don't really like the boyfriend!

I don't have advice, only sympathy. An old friend married a man that no one in the circle could stand to be around. And it was impossible to decline their invitations. They were relentless.

Like you (OP) mentioned, it was as if she knew no one liked him and was trying to force the group to spend more time with him in hopes we would change our minds. It had the opposite effect, the more we got to know him, the less we could tolerate him.

We eventually drifted apart (after a 100+ no thank yous) so it isn't an issue any longer. I still feel bad about it but when the group talks about it, we all have the same feelings, that the friend would have cut us off had we told the truth about our feelings so the friendship was doomed no matter what.

I hope you can continue to have her in your life without him.

Next up Christmas, Hanukah, Festivus, etc.

Christmas Eve will be spent with friends of the family. The wife part of the couple is an amazing Italian cook. We look forward to this meal all year.

I haven't figured out Christmas Day yet.

I want something simple for breakfast. Anyone have a suggestion for good enough mail order croissants? I have no intention of making them.

We need to decide if we are having a small lunch with an evening visit to friends or a big evening gathering at our house.

Duck was suggested by Mr. CB. Maybe I'll do a duck and a small ham.

Dec 03, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Discussions about taking food home during Thanksgiving dinner

No one in my family/friends circle would ask for leftovers. (My mother has in the past but not any longer.) Standard practice is to send leftovers home with the elderly because they aren't able to cook or the young adults (who are cooking- and possibly financially-challenged.

However, I have heard unbelievable stories from friends and co-workers about how their families fight over leftovers. One says her SIL actually sneaks into the kitchen before meals, steals the pre-leftovers and locks them in her car.

Dec 01, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

El Convento, San Juan, PR

The names of the OSJ restaurants we ate at escape me know, one was Aqua-something and it was good. We really enjoyed staying in the old part of the city, it is lovely with a good vibe. We stumbled upon a tour at the governors mansion and it was beautiful and interesting.

The location of the el Convento is great if you like to walk. We spent all day and the evenings on foot.

The Mill, Hershey

Thanks for the report. We have relatives in Hershey and like to go out when we visit. We will give it a try.

Nov 19, 2014
cleobeach in Pennsylvania

El Convento, San Juan, PR

We loved our 3 night stay at the El Convento. For evening meals, we only ate there once at the tapas style restaurant. Service was challenged and the food was ok. There was at least one wedding going on and a corporate meeting so the hotel was at capacity. We enjoyed all three of our breakfasts very much. We hit the wine and cheese reception each night and it was quite nice, far above a typical hotel happy hour.

Logistical help needed for bring a meal to friend

Ha! In my semi-hoarder family, a better message may be "I will throw this out if you give it back to me"

Nov 17, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Logistical help needed for bring a meal to friend

What is it about the gladeware? I always get mine back as well, which is fine but I have a nagging feeling that If it was Tupperware, it would never find its way home.

Nov 16, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking
2

Dinner for 14...dinner on table or self serve?

While I want to put the platters and serving bowls on the table, I have reconciled the fact that my table is not wide enough to accomadate that style of dining. We do a buffet style with veggies, stuffing, rolls, breads and desserts on the sideboard and the meats and gravy self-served off the stove. I set the table and everyone is directed to take their plate and proceed through the kitchen to the sideboard, to table. Wine and water pitchers are on the table with extras on a table off to the side.

Nov 16, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Flavours for Wild Boar

Pickled red cabbage

Nov 14, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking