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History of microwave-cooking?

As far as I know, B12 is the only nutrient that suffers a greater loss from MW cooking than other methods. This study cites a 30-40% loss from heating pork, beef and milk in the MW: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/j... For animal foods, MW cooking might not be the best choice. A lot of people are deficient in B12.

For vegetables, the amount of additional water needed to steam in a microwave is much less than on the stove, so in most cases I would think it's true that they retain more nutrients, especially if they are only lightly cooked.

Jul 13, 2011
elysabeth in General Topics

History of microwave-cooking?

I do the same. I have a disability, live alone, and have some dietary needs that limit my intake of processed foods. The microwave is great for heating up self-prepared frozen meals. It's more efficient and economical for me to cook multiple servings of meals that freeze well. On my bad days it's great to open up the freezer and have a hot home cooked meal, ready in a few minutes with a minimum of effort.

Like some other posters noted, the microwave does work quickly and well for certain "whole" foods; like steamed vegetables, poached meats, rice and other grains (if you don't have a rice cooker, and cooked grains freeze beautifully in a zip-loc).

Jul 11, 2011
elysabeth in General Topics

History of microwave-cooking?

I had to clean the microwave many, many times as a result of my first cooking experiments. Either they exploded or spilled over and made a big sticky mess in the bottom of the microwave. "Egg shrapnel" is a perfect, hilarious description, and those tiny pieces of egg and shell stick to everything; microwave, walls, clothes, hair, etc.

My mom must have had the patience of a saint! I was allowed to conduct my experiments as long as I cleaned up the mess and didn't waste too much food. I cleaned up as well as I could but she was usually behind me with a cloth. :) I guess it paid off for her eventually, because I was a latch key kid and took on dinner responsibilities very early.

Jul 11, 2011
elysabeth in General Topics

What Was Your MMM (Most Mortifying Moment) as a Cook/Chef When Cooking For Guests?

This might not fit the rules because I was serving, not the cook, but it's far more embarrassing than anything else I've done. Sorry, it's long for full embarrassing effect. I worked for a hotel as a banquet server when I was in high school, and in the summer we had weddings booked nearly every weekend. We carried the plates out on large serving trays on our shoulders, a table at a time. I had been working there a few years and on this night I was responsible for serving the newlyweds' in-laws and close family, who were seated directly in front of the head table in the middle of the hall.

I had built up enough experience and muscle by that time to carry up to 12 dinners, stacked 3 layers high with plate covers on a serving tray. We were serving prime rib, which was a very heavy plate, and the seating arrangement had 10 guests at the family table instead of the usual 8. I carefully loaded my tray of 10 prime rib dinners. It was very heavy but manageable and I had done it many times before, so I set out into the room to serve the honoured guests behind the head table server.

Just as I was passing the family table on the way to set my tray down, an inebriated woman who was chatting and laughing with her partner and hurrying back to the bar didn't notice me coming out with a full tray of dinners. I said "excuse me," very loudly but politely to get her attention, but I must have been invisible! I had to move quickly to avoid her running right into me. I missed her, but I felt a lone plate fly off the top of the tray and watched, horrified, as it hit the Father of the Bride in the shoulder and spilled hot prime rib and gravy all over the back of his tuxedo jacket!

As soon as I got the tray down I ran back to the table, apologizing and asked him if he was alright. He was standing to remove his jacket and I knelt down to pick up the fallen plate, and he said angrily, "I'm ok, but your knees are a good place for you to be right now," and everyone started laughing hysterically! I turned beet red, still apologizing over and over, and wanted to die.

I sent one of the other servers running for my manager. Luckily a few of the guests who had seen me nearly knocked over by the drunk woman explained what happened to the manager and Father of the Bride. He was very understanding, declined her offer to pay his dry cleaning costs, apologized for the rude guest and at the end of the night he even made sure I personally received a large tip for my service. I'm still indebted to that man for handling the situation so graciously.

Jul 07, 2011
elysabeth in General Topics

What Was Your MMM (Most Mortifying Moment) as a Cook/Chef When Cooking For Guests?

Oh, no. I have long red hair and I'm TERRIFIED of that happening! It would be obvious where it came from and they might have to pull for a while... seriously freaks me out. I feel for you.

Jul 06, 2011
elysabeth in General Topics

History of microwave-cooking?

Oh, I forgot about eggs. I used to microwave scrambled eggs from my little cookbook too, with cheese. They were ok (to my 8 year old palate) but if I wasn't careful they turned into nasty-smelling rubber, or exploded... What is up with microwave cooking bringing out bad smells? Is it just me?

I second the LOL at the beakers of hot water. I wonder how effective it was...

Jul 06, 2011
elysabeth in General Topics

History of microwave-cooking?

My mom had some microwave cookbooks in the 80s too. She was a single mom and used the microwave a lot, mostly for sides. She got a recipe out of one of the books for steamed rice that she used every time she made it. I also remember a couple of failed experiments from those books, mostly meats. She tried to cook a meatloaf in it once and I can still remember the smell! lol - I didn't eat it so I can't comment on the taste.

I was only allowed to cook unsupervised in the microwave for a while and I had my own microwave book, but it wasn't anything like hers. I just made "kid food" like nachos, hotdogs, etc. from it.

Jul 06, 2011
elysabeth in General Topics

Substituting for coconut milk- suggestions?

Yeah, I live in a small community surrounded by farmland. However, there is a lot of seasonal migrant workers from the Caribbean and Latin America that come into town by the bus load to do their grocery shopping every week. They may be the force that's keeping prices down in my local store, lucky for me. :)

I can get coconut milk in 400mL (13.5 oz) cans for $1.19-$1.49, and they usually carry a few different brands. "Lite" coconut milk with guar gum (that I don't buy anyway, bleh) is more expensive, and starts at $2.69. The only other non-dairy milk they sell is soy. I don't buy it often for a few reasons but it sells for about $4.00/2L. I haven't seen almond or rice milk for a while but I think they were around $4 for a smaller tetra pak. Health food stores might have others but the prices at the local one are INSANE and I walked out last time I went in there because everything was well over my budget (I'm on disability support).

So for me, coconut milk works out to ~$0.30/100 mL and soy is admittedly cheaper $0.20/100 mL, but soy milk tastes vile to me when it's heated or cooked and I can't recommend it, personally. The flavour isn't remotely close and it doesn't have enough fat (IMO). You can't beat it into a yummy whipped coconut cream, either. ;D

My sister is allergic to dairy and I'm moderately lactose intolerant, but I can handle it in small amounts and I'm usually armed with lactaid so I'm not really restricted. I have become very familiar with dairy substitutes, though. :) Soy is my least favourite of all.

Jul 06, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Substituting for coconut milk- suggestions?

It depends on where you live. I can find soy everywhere, rice and almond fairly easily, but I haven't seen any of the others mentioned. Any of those options are more expensive than coconut milk in cans, also.

Jul 05, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

Yes, what I still find odd is that all of my great grandparents loved offal. Given the choice between a roast beef sandwich or a good head cheese or tongue, my great grandfather would go for the "gross" stuff every time, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Their children weren't so enthusiastic.

My grandparents and elders also seem to have this strange paranoid fear of undercooked meats. To this day, my grandma will cook a grey stringy roast or a bone dry turkey and then ask all of us at the table if it's "cooked enough." I always tell her it's perfect, though. :)

My mom inherited that trait and the first time I had medium rare it was a huge revelation to me. I grew up thinking I didn't like beef much, but I really just find dry meats inedible unless they're drowned in gravy. She has started leaving a bit of pink on the inside, but her husband is repulsed at the sight of "blood." I went to dinner at a restaurant that carves grilled meats table-side with his family a while ago, and everything was sent back to spend a few more minutes on the grill. It totally ruined the meal for me, so I just filled up on sides and pushed the meat around on my plate. So disappointing, but hey raved about that meal for weeks! I live in a rural area and well done still seems to be the norm here.

Jul 05, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

LOL! That sounds so much like my grandparents. I don't know, but I think that maybe those dishes were made in hard times when they really couldn't afford to waste ANY source of food. In the 30s-40s they had The Great Depression and then food rations in WWII, everything had to be stretched as far as it could go. Those foods might not be associated with happy memories for a lot of older people, or they just don't see the need for them now. My grandma also had 11 brothers and sisters in a tiny farmhouse. I honestly can't begin to imagine what life was like for them, but I never get tired of listening to their stories. :)

Jul 04, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

I've only heard British people call it "Cauliflower Cheese," everyone else seems to say "cauliflower with cheese sauce" and they don't bake it in the oven. Wikipedia has some history on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflo...

Assimilation is really interesting to me too. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and great grandparents. My great grandparents were *extremely* British and never really became Canadianized at all. My great grandfather spoke mixed Welsh at home as long as he was alive and we used some Welsh words in everyday speech when I was growing up. After my great grandparents passed on a lot of the "old country" stuff started to disappear (like the old offal dishes, elaborate teas, etc.). My grandparents were/are somewhere in between fully assimilated and not - they would agree with your dad on "meat and 2 veg" and are also fairly conservative eaters, but my grandma still has a soft spot for liver and onions.

Yeah - pommanders - we made them and after Christmas they were taken down and hung in wardrobes and closets to scent our clothes for the rest of the year.

Jul 04, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

OMG! The kidneys are the best part. ;) That's funny, my family doesn't cook too much offal anymore either since they've become more Canadianized. When I was small it was still on the menu - haggis, black pudding, tongue, tripe, liver, head cheese, etc.

My grandmother still makes a trifle for special occasions, and the exact same 3 cookies at Christmas. She used to bake a lot more, plus mince tarts, but I don't think she has the energy for it now. Shortbreads, rum balls and she calls those walnut ones "Russian Tea Cakes." I have recipes for all of them if anyone wants.

She also made a light Christmas fruitcake with dried cherries and probably almonds, soaked in liquor and aged. I have the recipe around here somewhere, I really need to dig it out and make a few this year for hostess gifts.

Cauliflower cheese was one of my favourites too! :)

Jul 04, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Need Vegetarian App Ideas

I make these a lot for parties and sometimes just a freezer batch for myself if I get a craving for samosas. One of my favourite things to do is replace half of the baking potatoes with sweet potatoes. The sweetness is subtle and tastes great in the spicy filling, and the orange colour is really attractive. The same filling is great in phyllo pastry, too. You can make any shape you want with it.

Jul 04, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Treasures in your kitchen???

That board sounds lovely. It probably makes great bread and pastries with so many years of love worked into it. Thanks for sharing.

Jul 04, 2011
elysabeth in Not About Food

Treasures in your kitchen???

Oh, man indeed! I live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment with about 4 feet of usable counter space in my kitchen, but I put all of it to good use. :) This sounds like my dream kitchen. I'm still in my 20s so it gives me something to aspire to. Until then, can I come over to your house? It must be a joy to cook in there.

Jul 04, 2011
elysabeth in Not About Food

Substituting for coconut milk- suggestions?

I appreciate you posting about it, on first glance it looks like it would be a perfect product for my sister and that milk warning could be easily missed. Pure coconut powder is a fantastic idea, though. Thanks to you both, ghg and HillJ :)

Jul 03, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Substituting for coconut milk- suggestions?

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen it over $3. I normally try to buy Rooster Brand with the gold label if I can find it. I don't have a can now but I'm fairly certain it's preservative-and-junk-free.

My food budget is *extremely* limited but I think I would still purchase it even at that price. It's also a vary nutrient dense food, and in my opinion that also makes it a real bargain at a few dollars a can. With some cheap fresh veg, spices and rice from the pantry, it makes a very economical and satisfying meal.

Jul 03, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Treasures in your kitchen???

I love reading "show and tell" threads like this and I know almost everyone has a few of them: Treasured items in your kitchen passed down from mom or grandma, that you can't do without. I want to hear about your treasures, the stories that go with them and the dishes you cook with them.

The "first three cookbooks" thread got me thinking about it because two of mine are books.

The first (and favourite) one is my great-grandmother's "Presto! The Magic Cook Book" by Standard Brands Limited (makers of Magic Baking Powder in the brown and yellow tin). http://www.flickr.com/photos/27413256@N06/4496089870/ It was a promotional booklet printed in Toronto around 1930 and was the source of a lot of her go-to recipes for tea biscuits, scones, cakes, cookies, breads and other "famous" baked goods. The book also has a lot of various recipes that don't contain baking powder - for soups, meats, salads and puddings. It's a great little collection of classic Canadian recipes with a beautiful cover. I love it.

I mentioned the 1943 (War Time Edition) Joy of Cooking http://www.thejoykitchen.com/history.... that I found at a Flea Market in the other thread. Technically this book isn't a family treasure but I cherish it because my grandma was with me when I bought it. She was so excited to see it because her mother had the exact same edition, but her copy had been lost over the years. I don't know who Mrs. Russell Dickhout was, but I treasure her book with hand written recipes and notes in the back. There is a recipe that "comes from a young mother who pickles Hallowe'en pumpkin," and I really want to try it. This book is just a great all around reference and Irma Rombauer's original writing is so endearing to me. I can feel close to my great grandma when I use her favourite cooking bible.

Another non-book item I have is my mom's set of brown, orange and cream pyrex mixing and serving bowls. The colours and pattern are honestly not that attractive, but they have great sentimental value and I love pulling them out of the cupboard to mix up a batch of cookies! I also have the brown stoneware serving set with matching gravy carafe that she always used for Sunday roasts. I wouldn't serve roast-anything without it and it looks great in my kitchen.

What are your most treasured kitchen items? Sorry if this topic has been done before, if it has I missed it.

Jul 03, 2011
elysabeth in Not About Food

What were your FIRST three cookbooks?

This is funny. Who would guess that The Peanuts Cookbook would inspire so many young Chowhounds? I'll definitely be passing that book on to my own children, when I have some. ;)

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

Oh...great post. I haven't been to tea in anyone's home since I was very small. I did go to the Fairmont Royal York for afternoon tea last week, though. I think it's a tradition that needs to be revived! But really, I can't imagine many people would take the time to bake the big assortment of treats. A lot of the same sandwiches and baked goods still turn up at showers and funerals, so it's not totally lost.

The canned/smoked salmon and kippers are funny to me, too. My grandmother always made this smoked salmon spread with cream cheese, smoked and canned salmon with lemon and chives. I still make a tarted up version of it now, but I use all smoked salmon and goat cheese thinned with cream instead. We ate a lot of other fish - local perch and pickerel, trout, smelts, smoked whitefish - but canned salmon always had to be in the house.

Fish reminds me of this too: My uncle drove a truck when I was small and on his trips out east he would pack coolers full of live lobster. We boiled them up when he got home and had a feast! It was a big treat. I wish I could have it now.

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Substituting for coconut milk- suggestions?

Have you tried finding another source? I also live in the boondocks (rural Ontario) but nearly all of the grocery stores, plus Wal Mart sell coconut milk these days, at cheaper prices than any substitute I can think of. I use it in some recipes for my dairy-allergic sister, and the price is usually comparable to tins of evaporated milk. Whole coconuts are much more expensive and difficult to find than coconut milk, at least for me.

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

Thank you! Happy Canada Day

I'm going to make Butter Tart Squares to celebrate, because all of these posts gave me a wicked craving. It's the same yummy filling but I just don't feel like fiddling with tart shells today.

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

What were your FIRST three cookbooks?

1. The Peanuts Cookbook for me too! I still have it, it was my mom's and passed down to me when I started cooking. Love that book.
2. *Microwave* Cooking for Kids - Better Homes and Gardens (LOL it was the 80s-90s, and I was only allowed to use the microwave to cook unsupervised)
3. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook - This is the next one I remember, my ex's mom gave it to me when I moved out at 19... I could cook by then but think it was a hint!

My mom had a big collection of cookbooks and I mostly learned from those. Joy of Cooking was a big one. I scored my own 1946 War Time Edition Joy of Cooking at a Flea Market for a few dollars and it started my vintage cookbook collection. It has some really archaic recipes but I still use it, and it's a great read.

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

This reminded me of something kind of odd, we ate tinned tomatoes too, but more often on potatoes - especially with sausages for bangers and mash. My grandfather always liked COLD stewed tomatoes on hot boiled potatoes. :) My mom made the same dish with macaroni, tinned tomatoes and cheese but added ground beef and baked the whole thing in the oven like a casserole. Most of the foods in your post were also eaten in my home, I love home made chili sauce. Thanks for taking me back!

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

My family is mostly Welsh and Scottish descent and kept a lot of their old recipes and traditions when they moved here. So I had mostly traditional hearty British cooking growing up, mixed with more recent Canadian influences. Lots of roasted meats, stews, soups and chowders. I posted my family's Welsh leek and potato soup in another thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7931... that came from the "old country."

Meat pies and pasties - like a lot of the other posters I loved shepherd's pie, also steak and kidney or mushroom pies. Eastern European and Italian-Canadian foods are also very popular in his area, so we had cabbage rolls, pierogies, borscht and pasta too.

In the summer we would eat lighter dishes, lots of salads and grilled meats with (usually boiled!) fresh vegetables. My grandparents were farmers and we ate very seasonally, something I still tend to do. Even now, I live in a rural area of Ontario and decent quality produce is still limited out of season here.

Happy Canada Day, everyone! :) I hope you're all having fun celebrating today.

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

LOL! In our family it was LARD and BUTTER, not shortening, but especially NEVER in pastries. Even in the low fat craze, my baking demon aunts said they would rather fall down dead than eat bad pastry. :)

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Potato & Leek Soup

My family's "recipe" for Cawl Cennin (Welsh leek soup) couldn't be easier, I make it all the time. It's a very traditional rustic soup, so the quantities aren't very specific.

- Clean and chop a "big bunch" of leeks, we use both white and green parts as long as they aren't too tough.
- Saute them in lots of butter with a little salt and pepper until just softened.
- Add "a few" old baking potatoes cut in small cubes and enough good light stock to cover
- Simmer about 20 minutes until potatoes can be crushed easily with a spoon and the stock starts to thicken from the starch in them
- Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher or pulse with an immersion blender until it's smooth enough... we always leave it with a bit of texture, it's not Vichyssoise :)
- Thin the soup with a bit of milk or cream, again let the consistency be your guide. Season with more salt and pepper and add a few tbsp of chopped fresh thyme, chives, or any herbs you like.
- Heat gently until it's hot enough to serve, eat in big bowls with crusty bread and cheese on the side...

Most of the "creaminess" and thickness comes from the potato starch, not dairy. Old, starchy potatoes make the best soup. We don't use onions and never garlic because they would overpower the delicate leeks. I might add a chopped shallot if I have one kicking around, but it's not needed if you use a lot of leeks. I also sometimes add very little sriracha, hot pepper flakes or a pinch of nutmeg - not traditional, but good. Leeks have a really unique subtle flavour, almost cucumber-like, that should shine in this soup but gets muddled easily, IMO.

Forgive me for my traditionalism, leeks (and this soup) are cornerstones of Welsh cooking. ;)

Jul 01, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

The leftover dilemma

1 - I usually just make enough salad for one meal or eat it later. It depends on the greens, if you don't mind eating them wilted in a cooked dish. Eg. wilted spinach salad or dandelion could be used, dressing and all in soups, casseroles, etc. My father actually made lettuce soup with it in desperate times. It was a hot meal, at least.
2 - Eat cold, make kedgeree, fish cakes, add to a salad, mix with mayo for sandwiches, freeze it to add to chowders.
3 - Actually really versatile - eat cold, add to salads, shepherd's pie, pasties/steak pies, fried rice, soups, stews, casseroles, sandwiches, quesadillas, tons of possibilities...
4 - freeze it
5 - I would actually toss this one but I despise frosting

Jun 30, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking

Canadians--tell me your favourite recipe from Mom or Grandma

I'm in SW Ontario and this recipe looks exactly like the one my great grandmother always used, except she used plain white vinegar or lemon juice. Funnily enough, all of the women known for baking in my family also swear by the pie crust recipe on the Tenderflake Lard box, and wouldn't dream of using any other!

Jun 30, 2011
elysabeth in Home Cooking