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help with homemade mayo

I made homemade mayo yesterday and the emulsion turned out beautifully. The only problem is the flavor. I used a mixture of grapeseed oil and really good EVOO, and now I'm wishing I had just used my regular EVOO or all grapeseed. It tastes VERY extra-virgin-y. I tried adding a little more salt to balance it a bit better, and it helped some but not a whole lot. It was actually delicious on the BLT I had originally made it for, but it's a little overpowering on a turkey sandwich or in tuna salad. Is there any way to make the flavor just a bit milder without breaking the emulsion?

Also, it made quite a bit more than I expected -- there are only two of us in my household, and one of us is a blaspheming Miracle Whip fan. I have no idea how I'm going to eat all this mayo in a week, which is how long I've heard you can keep homemade mayo. Any suggestions for how I can use up some of this mayo before it goes bad? I make a mean potato salad, but again with the dominant extra virgin flavor I'm worried it would taste weird.

Jun 02, 2011
smk5815 in Home Cooking

Breaking long pasta -- ok or no-no?

Pasta is a staple in my diet, and spaghetti with my favorite tuna-tomato sauce is something I eat pretty much weekly. There are only 2 people in my household, and while we sometimes have people over and/or want to cook enough pasta to have leftovers, often we just want enough to feed us for that night. On those nights it seems silly (not to mention wasteful of water and energy) to fill our big dutch oven with water in order to cook a small amount of pasta. However, the dutch oven is the only pot we have that long pasta fits in without breaking it.

I've heard that you're not supposed to break pasta (my boyfriend nearly fainted the first time he saw me do it), but no one seems to be able to explain why. Can you break pasta? If not, how are you supposed to cook a small amount of pasta without using a huge pot?

Apr 27, 2011
smk5815 in Home Cooking

Red Chili substitution?

I'm planning on making a soup tonight that sounds delicious -- it has ginger, lemon grass, and coconut milk, among other things. I've gotten all of the ingredients, except one -- it calls for a fresh red chili pepper, which I can't seem to find anywhere. I've looked at two regular grocery stores, a store that specializes in fresh produce, two asian markets, and a store that is known for it's wide selection of ethnic foods. There are green chilis all over the place, but I haven't seen a single red that wasn't dried.

The pepper is supposed to be seeded, sliced, and sauteed in butter with garlic, ginger and lemongrass, and then pureed in a food processor. My mom is insisting that we can just use red pepper flakes, which of course are made with dried red chilis, but I'm not so sure. Even if we did, I wouldn't know how much to use, especially since red pepper flakes contain seeds which would increase the heat quotient considerably.

Any suggestions of a good substitute, or should I just scratch the recipe and try to figure out something else to do with my lemongrass?

Apr 11, 2011
smk5815 in Home Cooking

What is your favorite homemade "healthy" snackl or baked good?

This might be kind of cliche, but I make my own trail mix so that I can include exactly what I like (pretty much any kind of nut except peanuts) and leave out what I hate (peanuts). Most of my nuts I get from Costco, but I sometimes buy brazil nuts, macademias, or other more "exotic" nuts in bulk from Fresh Market. I add dried cranberries, golden raisins, or choppped dried dates or apricots. Sometimes I will add a very small amount of candy (the typical mnm's, crushed up banana chips or yogurt pretzels, chocolate covered nuts, mini white chocolate chips, etc) for fun, but only about 1/4 cup in 4 cups of mix. I also love smoked almonds, but they're pretty salty so a little goes a long way.

Mar 27, 2011
smk5815 in Home Cooking

Easy spring brunch recipe -- Green Eggs & Ham Sandwiches

This is my first post to this board, but I love playing with food, trying new things, and inventing recipes so I'll probably post frequently. Today I made Green Eggs and Ham sandwiches for my boyfriend and myself with some stuff I had in the fridge, and it was so good and spring-tasting I want to make it again the next time I host brunch. It's my favorite kind of recipe (no chopping!) and it takes about 15-20 minutes to make. It should be easily adaptable to what you have at home or like to work with (other kinds of bread; prosciutto or even bacon instead of ham) but this is how I made it this morning. The recipe is for two but could easily be expanded to feed any number of people.

Green Eggs and Ham Sandwiches

4 eggs
2 tablespoons half and half
2 tablespoons prepared pesto, give or take 1/2 tablespoon depending on your taste
1/2 tsp. salt
4 thin slices deli ham, sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon butter
3 slices swiss cheese
4 pieces whole grain bread
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Flour
Cooking spray

Whisk together eggs and half and half until smooth and fully combined. Add salt and pesto, whisk until pesto is evenly distributed. Set aside.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat and toss ham with a little bit of flour (just enough to lightly coat). When butter is melted and beginning to smell nutty, reduce heat to medium low and add ham. Cook, stirring frequently, until ham becomes brown and crispy. Remove ham and drain on paper towels

Spray non-stick pan with cooking spray, heat over medium low heat. Add eggs and scramble, stirring frequently, until they are cooked to your liking. Remove from heat and cover pan to keep warm, if needed.

While eggs are cooking, preheat broiler, and lightly toast 2 slices of the bread. Cover lightly toasted bread with swiss cheese and place on a cookie sheet. Broil until cheese is melted but not bubbly, set aside. Toast the other two slices of bread as dark as you like them, spread each with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise.

Place half the prepared eggs on these cheese-bread, top with half the crispy ham pieces. Top with the other two slices of toast. Cut in half and enjoy!

Mar 27, 2011
smk5815 in Home Cooking

Dot's Diner?

I set up a Groupon account for my trip upcoming to NOLA and today I got an offer for Dot's Diner ($12 worth of food for $6). I don't know the area so I'm wondering -- is this place worth checking out?

Mar 27, 2011
smk5815 in New Orleans

Louisville, Nashville and everything in between (what's good?)

I don't know if you'll be going through/near Murray, but if you are it's worth a stop. I went to college there (originally from Louisville) and while it's a tiny college town that's loaded with chains, there are a few hidden treasures.

Mary's Kitchen, right off 641, is a major greasy spoon with country friend steak that is UNREAL. I'm a bit of a connoisseur, it's my favorite food ever, and it's the best I've ever had. They're open 24 hours and serve breakfast all the time, and the staff is friendly and efficient. My best friends and I used to hang out for hours, talking or playing mahjong.

The Big Apple cafe is an American/over-Americanized mexican food place, but their bean dip is pretty decent and the Apple burger is excellent and served on a slightly sweet house-made bun.

The green curry at Jasmine is better than any I've had at some of the highest rated Thai places in Louisville. Their sushi is also wonderful.

There are also a few good pizza joints in town -- Tom's Pizza (thin crust, good garlic bread), Mugsie's Hideout (fantastic, authentic Chicago-style deep dish with the sauce on top) and Matt B's (deliciously greasy, more New York style)

By far my favorite restaurant ever in Murray, though, is Happiness. It's relatively americanized Chinese (not as bad as PF Chang's, but not the authentic Chinese menu at Oriental House in Louisville either) but they have the best lo mein I've ever had -- get the house lo mein(with a mixture of all the proteins that Happiness offers) or the shrimp. Get the spring rolls, too, they're fantastic.

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Oriental House
4302 Shelbyville Rd, Louisville, KY 40207

Big Apple Cafe
1005 Arcadia Cir, Murray, KY 42071

Tom's Pizza
506 N 12th St Ste A, Murray, KY 42071

Mar 14, 2011
smk5815 in Kentucky & Tennessee

First time in Louisville

I'm a little bit disappointed that no one's mentioned Asiatique (my favorite restaurant in louisville) or Zaytun's (the best gyro I've ever eaten, including any of the greek festivals and several famous gyro places in chicago). Both are in the highlands.

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Asiatique Restaurant
1767 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40208

Mar 14, 2011
smk5815 in Kentucky & Tennessee

Where to eat/stay in NOLA?

I just made reservations for the jazz brunch at Commander's Place on the day before our anniversary, and dinner at Delmonico for our actual anniversary. It's a little more than we had originally planned on spending, but I'm getting brunch and he's getting dinner so I think we'll be good.

Thanks again for all the feedback!

Mar 14, 2011
smk5815 in New Orleans

Where to eat/stay in NOLA?

Thanks so much to everyone for all the awesome advice! We booked our hotel last night (Le Pavillon), and we're looking into all the great restaurant suggestions from here and from a friends in the area. Hopefully we'll pick a place and make our reservations in a few days!

Mar 14, 2011
smk5815 in New Orleans

Where to eat/stay in NOLA?

Is there something going on the weekend of April 15? Everything in our price range on Frommer's is booked! It's looking more like we'll be staying at a Best Western . . .

Thanks so much for your help, we'll check these places out!

Mar 10, 2011
smk5815 in New Orleans

Where to eat/stay in NOLA?

As far as what we like to eat . . . pretty much everything! We both love seafood, particularly shellfish, and he's a huge sushi fan. Steak, chicken, or vegetarian dishes are all equally welcome, though. We're pretty adventurous eaters and will pretty much try anything once. Our favorite place in our city is an excellent asian fusion place, but I personally am looking at this trip as an opportunity to experience authentic cajun/creole food. Spicy is not a problem for either of us. Pretty much the only thing I absolutely will not eat is sweet potatoes (I've tried many times and many different preparations to like them, and the smell/taste/texture of them just puts me off).

Mar 10, 2011
smk5815 in New Orleans

Where to eat/stay in NOLA?

My boyfriend and I are visiting New Orleans in mid-April (before JazzFest) for our anniversary. He grew up 2 hours away so has been several times; it's my first trip. He's insisted on hitting up Cafe du Monde, which sounds great, but he doesn't have much experience with the more fine dining options. We would like to go someplace nice for our anniversary and would be fine with spending up to $100 for the total bill -- however, if we spend that much, we want it to be totally worth it! Any suggestions of venues that fit the bill?

Also, we haven't booked our hotel yet. We've checked out all main travel sites and they seem to only list chain hotels and fancy four-star places that we can't really afford. We'll do a chain hotel if that's all we can afford, but we'd like to stay somewhere with a little bit more local flair (even if it's not super-fancy). We're looking at spending up to $100 a night. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Mar 10, 2011
smk5815 in New Orleans

Tipping for Comped Drinks

I don't really see how this matters, especially since it's been established that the difference in our salaries doesn't matter. In any event, though, I meant nightly - at least, on certain nights when he works longer shifts and it's especially busy. He's good at his job and many of the patrons are regulars who have known him his whole life and tend to tip well.

For the record, I didn't intend for this to become a question of the morality of him comping me drinks. It may be wrong of me, but as far as I'm concerned that's between him and his dad. I go there so rarely and drink so little that I doubt I'm costing them hand over fist anyway. I don't know if he comps other people a lot or not, but I don't really think that's my business. I just wanted to know what I should be tipping

Feb 09, 2011
smk5815 in Not About Food

Tipping for Comped Drinks

I would never even consider not tipping at all. Several of my friends and family members work in the service industry and rely on their tips, so I know better than to accept services and not tip for them.

I have tried several times to pay for my drinks but he always waves me away and tells me not to worry about it. For the record, he has a comp allowance, and if he goes over it he takes it out of his tips. I only go there once or twice a month at most. I always pay to play pool if I play, as well -- he doesn't have the authority to comp the tables. I never get more than two beers or cocktails, and sometimes if I'm staying for a while I'll have a few cokes or shirley temples. I've only gotten food once, and I didn't order it -- he overheard me and another friend talking about getting some food after we left and the next thing I knew I had a plate of chicken strips in front of me. Most of my friends are his friends as well and already come to the bar, so it's hard to give word of mouth, but I've mentioned it to a few people at work.

I want to be generous because he's being so generous to me, but at the same time if he wanted me to pay for the drinks he would charge me for the drinks, so it feels a little strange that I'm paying for them anyway. Also, the tips go straight to him (or get split with the other bartender on busy nights), and don't go towards the cost of the drink itself, so tipping the cost of the drink seems a bit high.

Feb 07, 2011
smk5815 in Not About Food

Tipping for Comped Drinks

I have a good friend who is a bartender at his dad's small billiards bar. I'm not hugely into the bar scene, but every few weeks a few other friends and I will head over there for a few drinks, a game or two of pool, and some conversation with some of the friendly regulars. Because we're friends of the bartender, our drinks (whether they be beer, my favorite screwdriver, or shirley temples) are always comped, and sometimes we get free food as well. I was there on New Year's Eve and I got a free glass of Moet.

My friend's dad pays his employees well, with all of his bartenders (not just his son) making $10 an hour, which is just about unheard of in my area. They also make really good tips, with my friend often coming home with close to $200 in cash on top of his paycheck. He makes a LOT more money than I do even before his tips, so I greatly appreciate the fact that he takes care of me whenever I come by. However, I feel weird totally taking advantage of the situation, so in the past I've thrown whatever I would likely have spent on the drinks in the tip jar -- usually $10 to $15 each night, both as a tip for his actual work and as a thank you for his kindness. However, $15 is almost twice my hourly wage, and my friend is already raking it in. Should I continue tipping the cost of the drinks, drop down to the standard bar-tip ($1-$2 a drink), or go somewhere in between? I don't want to be a mooch, but what's the point of getting free drinks if you're paying for them anyway?

Feb 07, 2011
smk5815 in Not About Food