KarenDW's Profile

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Would like your opinion on what coffee supplies to provide for a nicer end vacation rental

To me, the major difference is this: With a carafe, I can pour several cups at once; i.e., can be "hostess" to any with whom I'm sharing the cabin. The experience is convivial. Also, I get to wake up to the aroma of brewing coffee.
With a pod machine, I am listening to the "whir" of the machine for each cup, and we don't all get to sit and sip together.
Maybe for some people, it doesn't matter.

about 4 hours ago
KarenDW in General Topics
1

Would like your opinion on what coffee supplies to provide for a nicer end vacation rental

I'll concur with the folks who suggest the Cuisinart with thermal carafe. Without a heating element, there's nothing to "burn out", and the coffee stays drinkable for a leisurely morning :)This machine makes a reasonable coffee, and guests can adjust the amount of coffee they use for brewing.

Renters from Australia, or Europe, will be especially familiar with using French Press, or the stovetop espresso. The glass body of the press is pretty durable, and also easily replaceable. I sometimes travel with my Aeropress http://aerobie.com/products/aeropress... which is similar to a French Press in it's method of use, but is constructed of durable polypropylene.
Seek out a "better" brand of commercial packets (from an office coffee place or warehouse store)and rotate your stock frequently. Leave enough packets to make one pot each day of the stay, plus two extra packets. If you decide to use bulk beans/grounds, then please do discard/remove the excess at the end of each renter. I can't imagine what some people might do with their hands inside the coffee canister.
Shelf stable milk or cream are actual dairy, heat treated and packaged to slow spoilage. Highly superior to non-dairy powdered "coffee whitener", and available in small(8 oz? cartons. People who are particular about their choice of milk will bring their own.
For tea, I always appreciate the choice of an herbal, caffeine-free type other than mint or camomile :) In our town, a box of 12-20, individually foil wrapped, assorted herbal teas is under $5. So, easy to add some variety to a welcome basket.
Electric kettle is definitely a plus.
One other item which improves almost any coffee: ceramic mugs. We've been in too many rentals which provide non-breakable plastic cups.

What is the best way to invite guests online to casual gatherings at your home? Evite, Facebook, or some other way?

I use email, and show all the recipients' addresses in the original message. But then, most of my events have fewer than 20 guests.
For larger events I use Evite. For family events, we preface the Evite message with personal emails. 90% RSVP :)

Jan 27, 2015
KarenDW in Not About Food

Fake wedding cake trend?

I was first married in the 70s. We had 200 guests at the evening reception. Buffet dinner included a dessert table. It was a social convention to send guests home with a small wrapped portion of Wedding Cake, which was expected to be dense fruitcake with fondant frosting. No expectation, whatsoever, that the wedding cake would be served as dessert. Therefore, fake cake! Complete with a real cake section for the knife, and ceremonial mutual cake tasting photo. Fruitcake was ok. Dessert buffet was delicious.
Fast forward 30+ yrs to 2nd wedding. Pastry chef created a beautiful cake. Cake was less than optimal. But beautiful. Photos would have been just as lovely had she decorated a fake cake.
Just sayin'

Jan 27, 2015
KarenDW in Not About Food

What's the point of celery in recipes?

My daughter would agree about the "not particularly fond of"; and she also would be asking "what's the point?"

Jan 26, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

Menu Planning Help - Baby Shower

If the soups are smooth enough, then they could be served in mugs or cups, eliminating the need for juggling the plate/cup/spoon combination
I use cappuccino cups, because they fit nicely beside food on a dinner plate.

Jan 26, 2015
KarenDW in General Topics

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

Adding packet gravy mix to shepherd's pie and pot pies. Organic and gluten-free, of course.

Jan 21, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

What do you serve for drinks at dinner parties?

Typically water (room temp and cold), fizzy water, wine, cocktails. Unless there are children involved, I rarely inventory fruit juices or milk. We do, however, have over a dozen teas, and at least three different coffees in the house right now.
If a guest wanted a fizzy non-alcoholic drink, I could rustle up a cordial from the various syrups on hand.

Jan 18, 2015
KarenDW in Not About Food

What do you serve for drinks at dinner parties?

My friends would drink water if we didn't have soda.

Pat peeves as a guest at a dinner party?

I've tried taking along fold-up slippers, or extra socks. My feet are an odd shape.
Mostly, I prefer to keep my shoes on. Especially if there are pets.

Jan 17, 2015
KarenDW in Not About Food

Registry Ideas

My brother and sister-in-law registered with a travel agent...
But back OT,
Coffee of the month?

Jan 16, 2015
KarenDW in General Topics

Home Cooks - How do you minimize food waste?

Apricot ketchup is also good...

Jan 15, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

The Dine Out dilemma...

Had a quick lunch, recently, at Nuba on East 3rd Ave. It's a very casual environment, with table service and take away. Our service was unremarkable, which is totally fine with me. Salads were fresh and with balanced dressing. Entree portions generous.

Jan 14, 2015
KarenDW in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

How The Coffee Shop Has Ruined Customer Service

It actually was ;P

Jan 13, 2015
KarenDW in Not About Food

Am I the only one who doesn't brunch?

"I wish I could sleep that much"
:)
Usually, I go to sleep at around 2, wake up around 8:30 or 9, and have coffee & read my mail... all of a sudden, it's 10 am

Jan 13, 2015
KarenDW in General Topics

Saying "No" to oil in baked goods

For baking, I usually use sunflower or safflower oil. Occasionally non-GMO, organic cold pressed canola.

Jan 13, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

Home Cooks - How do you minimize food waste?

A plastic shoebox, with removable lid, could help a lot. Crumple some paper towel or brown paper in the bottom, so that veggies don't sit on the bottom.
Or... wash and prep the vegetables, and then store in the fridge in large mason jars.

Jan 13, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

Mandatory municipal composting: how do you handle your food scraps?

Something to keep in mind is that food scraps and yard waste are (often) sold by the City to a composting facility. Composting facilities will pay more for "clean" material, and may reject, outright, a truckload of highly contaminated material. The revenue from waste sales pays for the hauling costs (contracted out in many cities).
If the waste does not generate revenue, then the cost of waste removable is fully borne by citizens/residents.
I'm willing to sort out recycling and food waste, if it helps to moderate my costs for waste removal.
Also, our landfills are getting full. I'd much prefer that my municipal government spend $$ on housing and poverty mitigation, than on yet another place to pile garbage.

Jan 11, 2015
KarenDW in Not About Food
1

Crock-Pot Cuisine -- are you kidding?

As someone who's in the business of providing prepared meals for others...
$20 (for 4 servings) is not any more than buying the individual ingredients and seasonings.
The real benefits? to the consumer of such a product:
* someone else has figured out how much of everything to purchase for the desired quantity of end product;
* someone else has planned the menu and recipe;
* someone else has washed, peeled, and cut up each ingredient;
and finally,
* someone else has tested the recipe.

Clearly sunshine842 is not in the target demographic. But 25 years ago, my kids attended different schools, 5 miles apart, and I worked two jobs in-between taking them to soccer practice and dance class. We definitely took advantage of prepared-grocery options, produce delivery, and take out. And for my parents, moderately-frail 80-somethings, having all the ingredients washed, peeled and cut means that they can prepare more of their own meals, with a minimum of risk and fuss.

Jan 10, 2015
KarenDW in General Topics

What do you put in your chicken stock to make the most flavorful soup?

Usually, my base chicken stock is only chicken bones, water and salt. Legs, wings, wing tips, backs, necks. I chop the leg bones to expose the marrow for flavor. No garlic, onions or pepper, as those are allergens for members of extended family.
Process: fill 6 quart flow cooker with bones, cover with cold water, set on "low" for 8 hours. Strain, chill, defat; reduce to 50%.

Jan 09, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

What do you put in your chicken stock to make the most flavorful soup?

I often strain, cool, defat, and then reduce to 50%. Takes up less space in storage :)

Jan 09, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking
1

veal shanks for osso buco

Maybe Save-On could order in for you?

Jan 09, 2015
KarenDW in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

"Brown on all sides"

My sister swears by the oven-browning method! Especially for time starved single moms. She would heat the oven to 500ºF while making morning tea. Spread meat cubes on sheet pans. Meat into the oven; girl into the shower :) Both done in 10 minutes! Meat & veg go into the slow cooker. Girl goes off to the bus.
Supper is ready after work. Win. Win.

Jan 07, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

what to do with Lambrusco?

Make vinegar, or
Reduce a lot, and use to braise short ribs, with onions, sundried tomatoes, olives and capers; or, and dried porcini.

Jan 07, 2015
KarenDW in Home Cooking

one night in vancouver... where to go forbest local seafood?

First of July is a public holiday here: Canada Day :) Downtown should be a great hub for live jazz, lots of flag waving, and probably some fireworks, too. Enjoy your trip.

Please help me shorten my list!

If the weather is fine (dry, not too cold) then Go Fish on the wharf near Granville Island is an option. No indoor seating. However, if you are here on a Sunday, Yew has "Wine Down Sunday" promo, with bottled wine at 1/2 price. So that may temper the otherwise "higher end" price tag.
On your list, I'd keep Bao Bei and L'Abbatoir as must-visits. Farmer's Apprentice and Burdock have great chefs, but I haven't been. Pidgin was really good; we went right after opening, and there is a new chef now.
Do stop in at Bestie, if Phnomh Penh or Meat and Bread don't fit your schedule/are too busy. Sausage, craft beer, home-made relishes... Bestie is a sausage lovers' dream (IMO only, and I know the chef).
If you haven't already booked your car... you can use your zipcar membership here for short term "rentals". I think the rate is around $12-15/hr.
Everything on your list is accessible by transit, including most of the Richmond recommendations.
(Richmond malls, Aberdeen and Yaohan, are an interesting cultural experience, and have food courts...)
Chef Hung would be my choice for the Taiwan Beef Noodle Experience.

Jan 07, 2015
KarenDW in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Please help me shorten my list!

Because it has a lovely cocktail list, and a not-your-mother's-Chinese-restaurant vibe?
Food is good, too.

Jan 07, 2015
KarenDW in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Mandatory municipal composting: how do you handle your food scraps?

Yes. There is curbside pickup for single-family homes, and most townhouses/row houses. Some apartment buildings use the same contracted waste haulers as City, but there are several private waste haulers. Each waste collection company determines what it is willing to pick up.

Jan 07, 2015
KarenDW in Not About Food

Whole Chickens Disappearing From Supermarkets?

Our local supermarket has rotisserie (non medicated, and free run) chickens for $14, and whole organic for $28.
If I'm into breaking down whole birds and using parts to their "highest, best use", then sure, sell me the whole, raw bird. Sometimes I want 2 lbs of bone-in thighs for adobo, or the same of boneless, skinless breast for chicken fingers. And I'm ok w/ paying more for that.
But yes, I have also noticed that whole birds are on sale less frequently than the various parts.

Jan 06, 2015
KarenDW in General Topics

One little food story

Thank you for sharing your story. This brings to mind an autumn visit to Port Townsend, WA, staying at Fort Warden. Our family happened upon an abandoned apple grove (not quite enough trees to qualify as "orchard"). We picked some fruit, which then turned into a rustic pie, complete with pastry rolled with a wine bottle. It was all completely unexpected, and created with pantry staples we had packed along for our weekend getaway.

Jan 06, 2015
KarenDW in General Topics