iheartcooking's Profile

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Signs of a NOT Authentic Chinese Restaurant

Friendly service?
I dunno, I've changed my perspective on this after seeing that most of my favorite places are semi-authentic, serving a few dishes they must get asked for a lot so they added to the menu so they can make money.
And I KNOW those fried wonton strips are not authentic but they are so nice to nibble on so who cares?

Sep 12, 2014
iheartcooking in General Topics

How do you cook your meatballs?

Pan-frying them seems to be the most authentic way, but I always make ridiculously large batches and bake them on sheet pans. The most important and also hardest part is spacing them adequately so that they brown evenly instead of steaming. So tempting to crowd as many as possible onto one pan.
I freeze a bunch and drop the rest into hot marinara before serving.

My youngest prefers them perched on top of the sauced pasta. He saw it that way in a cartoon, and I aim to please when it's such a simple request :)

Sep 12, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking

Picky eaters are the bane of my existence...and now I live with them

This thread has been so wonderful to read because I didn't know how many Chow-step-moms there were on here! I want to share my experiences, because, for my step-sons and I, food was an important aspect of our relationship and became more so as they grew older. There aren't too many interests I share with teenage boys, but we all love food. We taught each other a lot in the time we've been married.
They were 2 and 4 when I became their stepmom and due to the miracle of 50/50 custody I was able to influence their eating and they influenced my cooking style. They love salad and fruit and hate cooked veggies, so the weeks we have the boys, our side dish is either salad, or fruit. Easy, and no food battles (I don't serve bread though, or they'd eat nothing else.) They eat a lot of processed food at their Mom's (no judging here- she is a great mom just not into cooking) and the youngest one has been known to complain about her microwave-lasagna (although my homemade is not terribly impressive). (Wow I guess I like parenthesis)
I've broadened their palates enough that we can try new foods on vacation and they trust me to order for them at a restaurant where nothing is familiar to them, because they know I don't try to force things on them that they don't like.
I think they actually know my cooking is an expression of love and are very gracious, even if they don't like something I made they try to spare my feelings, which is unbelievably sweet especially for the older one who has recently discovered sarcasm.

I also have the luxury of having every other week off from stepparenting, so DH and I can eat more adventurously those days.

Unsanitary behavior by restaurant employees

Not to mention, if I don't trust an employee to have clean hands, am I supposed to trust that they are going to keep pasta at a safe holding temperature?

Aug 18, 2014
iheartcooking in Not About Food

Unsanitary behavior by restaurant employees

Our immune systems are stronger.
That said, I'd never compromise the immune system of others with these poor habits.

What food do you wash that you're sure no one else does?

I do often wash/wipe down the tops cans.
I also don't wash most of my produce and I'm also a nail biter, and I almost never get sick.

What The Heck Is Up With All This "Chipolte" BS?????

I'm guessing that you met him then, as a friend of mine was instructed to pronounce it this way by Guy himself.
This was supposed to be a reply to "Fee-Eddie," but it wound up down here.

Aug 11, 2014
iheartcooking in Not About Food

What The Heck Is Up With All This "Chipolte" BS?????

My kids don't like to pronounce it so they ask me to make "that thing with the bread and tomatoes and green stuff." I'm ok with that :)

Aug 11, 2014
iheartcooking in Not About Food

What The Heck Is Up With All This "Chipolte" BS?????

This and poor pronunciation of words in general makes me insane, but lately I've started to let it go because, there's no point in being annoyed. Also my husband is one of the smartest people I know, but he says "nu-cue-ler", "EXpecially" and others that make me nuts. I told him it reflects not on his intelligence but on how others perceive his intelligence.
But, people are smart in different ways. A lot of folks struggle with pronouncing words correctly but they could do equations around me, or have more technical knowledge. So I don't see the point in letting it bother me just like it doesn't bother them that I can't, I dunno, take apart a carburetor.

Aug 11, 2014
iheartcooking in Not About Food

What to do when steak (or other meats) are served cold?

In this it's important to remember the server's job is to convey your instructions to the cook, not to do the cooking. Complaining about the steak to your server won't get you too far, they don't know how to cook after all, their job is to bring it to you.
POLITELY asking the server to take something back to the kitchen with CLEAR direction on what you want might produce better results. (Yeah, it should have been done right the first time, oh well, life is like that.)

Aug 11, 2014
iheartcooking in Not About Food

I bought frozen mussels before I knew any better

So I went shopping for tinned seafood because lately that's what I'm into. Weird I know, but I wanted to try the many varieties of canned mackerel, sardine, shellfish, etc they sell at the Asian supermarket. Anyway...

Then I came upon the frozen section, and after oohing and aahing over the selection of fish balls, I finally grabbed a package of New Zealand mussels, frozen and without shells.

Then I looked on CH and saw quite a lot of folks warn against buying or eating frozen mussels. Bummer!

But I got em and I plan to eat em....somehow. Fortunately, no one in my house likes them but me, so I won't be making them soon, and, they're frozen so I have some time to figure out how to prepare them.

I assume they're not cooked although I can't find out for sure from the package.

I'd like to use them in pasta, but when I come home from work at an ungodly hour, would they be passable if I sauté them in butter?

Does the shell mean anything in terms of flavor or quality the way bones do in chicken?

So, any single-serving preparations for frozen mussels?

How do I know when they're "done?" Can't imagine sticking a meat thermometer in these things lol.

Please don't advise me to feed them to my cat. I don't have one.

Aug 08, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking

How do you eat tinned sardines?

Reviving this thread to reply that although I haven't tried any of those croquette recipes, I've made sardine croquettes with beaten egg, scallions, and a drained can of seasoned Portugese sardines, rolled in Panko and pan fried in bacon grease! This might be my new standard way to eat tinned sardines since the flavor comes across nicely and it feels like having tasty crab cakes! I could see my way to making this with other canned fish.

Aug 07, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking

Good way to doctor up jar spaghetti sauce?

They're surprisingly good with a great texture. Although they've expanded their food offerings so I'm guessing there will be some decline in quality.

Aug 06, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking

What would be in your perfect picnic basket?

This sounds positively divine

Aug 02, 2014
iheartcooking in General Topics

What would be in your perfect picnic basket?

We do a lot of beach picnics which necessitates foods that it's hard to get sand into or are improved by that extra little crunch.
I love to bring Chunks of good cheese and sweet cherry tomatoes strung onto bamboo skewers. Sticky chicken drumsticks. Pringles are a must for these types of picnics. Same with lemonade.
We do this a lot, but it wouldn't take much to make it the picnic of my dreams. My perfect basket would include those mini bottles of champagne to sip while the sun sets.

Aug 02, 2014
iheartcooking in General Topics

Don Mclean offers his take on the new Chow.....I offer you all "The Day The Old Chow Died"

I absolutely hate parody songs, but I do applaud the effort and creativity you put into this. As to having too much time on your hands, sometimes something inside you just has to come out and you gotta let it out.

Aug 02, 2014
iheartcooking in Site Talk

A beef: "Is this your first time here?"

I don't like it but I understand it's a line the servers are required to ask the same way employees at my store must ask "what brought you in today?" Rather than "can I help you?"
So I'm annoyed at the practise but certainly not with the server. It's likely an open-ended selling question.
Matter of fact asking someone when the last time they were in our store is another suggested ice breaker.
It's dumb but why let it bother me? So many things that actually affect my life that are worth getting annoyed at. That's less than a second of my life wasted.

Avocado on Sandwiches: Mash or Slice?

I mash, for the same reason, I don't like when they slip out the sides! I like the combination of textures, and I only mash just enough, not completely pulverized.

Jul 28, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking
1

When you were starting out in the kitchen what did you make?

Something I made a lot when I moved out, really the only thing that tasted good, was pork chops I'd dusted with flour that I'd fry in oil, add a ton of sliced onions, then I'd add white wine and continue cooking till the chops were done.
Maybe not the best way to cook chops but my boyfriend at the time liked them and so did I.
Made a lot of pasta too, often using Liptob pasta sides as training wheels.
I enjoyed cooking but didn't really do any research or learn any techniques till I got married, started watching the food network, and found Chowhound.

Jul 27, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking

Metlted Cheese - Flavor?

Agreed!
However, I think melting cheese is a great use of bits of multiple leftover cheeses. Like into a cheese sauce, rarebit, fondue...
But you could also make a cheese ball I guess...

Jul 25, 2014
iheartcooking in Cheese

"dump" recipes??

I have been known to do this even after learning the merit of browning the meat then sweating the aromatics separately.

But since I require the aid of my crockpot on work days, sometimes I do the "dump" thing. Usually frozen aromatics and frozen stock-cubes, with cut up sausage, dried beans and grains.
Maybe boneless skinless thighs, soy sauce, brown sugar, siracha.
Pork shoulder, spices, bottle of beer.

Other than that it's true I rarely measure, but I also don't "dump" much anymore. Took me years to realize cooking takes more than combining ingredients, it's the way each one is cooked and incorporated that matters. I can't go back now.

Jul 25, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking

Really overripe bananas

This doesn't top the momofuku recommendation but there's this thing all over the internet where you process frozen overripe bananas with peanut butter and it somehow resembles ice cream. I have been meaning to try it or hoping another 'hound has tried it, all the articles I've read about it are by random bloggers.

Jul 25, 2014
iheartcooking in Home Cooking

When your family just has to have bread bowls...

Fair enough lol. The thought had occurred to me actually.

When your family just has to have bread bowls...

Thanks for the recommendations! Also, there is a Boudin bakery on site at Disneyland (actually California adventure) where they bake the bread on site. They have a whole "fake San Francisco" which I once thought was pretty lame when I was more of a cynic but now I appreciate the effort that went into creating it.
I had really no idea what to check out at the wharf so I'm so glad you gave me some ideas. Thanks again.

"Google it"

True and I think it's hard sometimes to tell if someone is being rude intentionally or not. You and others have boiled it down to perception here which makes sense to me, I was reading google search links as "don't waste our board space with questions to which there are answers out there, just type your questions into google."

Jul 24, 2014
iheartcooking in Site Talk

When your family just has to have bread bowls...

My family and I (husband, two pre teen boys) are on vacation in SF for one last evening. I've taken them to hole-in-the-wall dim sum, and other great eats, and now what they really want (in addition to ghiradeli fudge sundaes) is chowder in bread bowls.

From what I read, bread bowl chowder is not authentic here, nor particularly good, and I'm ok with that. In fact, my husband works at Disneyland and the kids and I enjoy Boudin bread bowls there quite a lot!

But I want to make them happy because they have been troopers while I take them all over the city to places I recall from my childhood. I'm just hoping there's somewhere near the wharf where my boys can have their bread bowl and I can have that or something else more seafoody?

My trip to SF won't be ruined if I have to eat bad chowder from a stale sourdough bowl. I was just hoping local hounds might know something in the wharf area that has that where it's not horrendous tourist fare.

"Google it"

Thanks for giving me another way to look at it!

Jul 24, 2014
iheartcooking in Site Talk

"Google it"

Actually I do sometimes do this. I don't think google is useless, I just think, "this poster came here for answers from people."
Google can be useful but it also links to a lot of blogs written by professional bloggers who are not necessarily food experts, and sometimes that means you get twenty versions of the exact same recipe, buried in a long blog post about how their morning went. SOME are experts, and some of those float to the top of the search.
But I do see it differently than before, and I don't see it as intentionally rude, but it's like someone asking me directions and I point to the map in their hand and say "use that. Bye."
Maybe he map was a piece of crap, or confusing, so they're asking me, a human with experience.

Jul 24, 2014
iheartcooking in Site Talk

"Google it"

I find it so completely rude and snarky when, below a post requesting some bit of info, the first reply is a link to a google search, or the suggestion to visit google.

This may have been a viable option a few years ago but now with search-engine-optimized, nearly identical blogs where they incorporate the phrase "authentic pasta recipe" three times per paragraph, followed by an untested (I assume) recipe written by a nobody, I'm glad to have a resource such as message boards where I can ask others about their experiences. I'm not asking anyone to do the footwork for me, if you don't know the answer, don't reply! If you don't want to contribute, don't reply! Linking to google is just snark, and I can't believe the mods let it happen. Every time I see it on a post, I want to reply pointing out how unnecessarily snarky it is, but it happens a lot, so I'm venting here.
Maybe people ask some really obvious (to YOU) questions. At that point you should just refrain from replying if you're annoyed by the dumb question.
A google search only gets you so far, and it's not good for everything. These boards help us find answers from people whose expertise we know on some level, and we pay it forward by contributing our knowledge to the pool as well.
Am I wrong?
Phew glad I got that off my chest.

Four Days in San Francisco-- Please Critique (apologies for the long intro)

Thanks, I will give it a try. Sounds worth the trek actually :)