j

JasFoodie's Profile

Title Last Reply

Fresh Strawberries in glass jars - two weeks and still perfect

Wow.. I'll have to try this! I often get way more strawberries than I can reasonably eat with my Gleaners membership - sometimes as much as a whole flat of them. Did I mention it's just me? I make some jam, but there's only so much jam that I need. If storing them in glass will keep them lfresh longer, I'll gladly use a couple of quart sized mason jars to store them so I can keep adding them to my morning oatmeal.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

You Know It Isn't "Good Cuisine" But You Like It Just the Same, So There!

Although we call them Toxic Belch, McScarf and Barf, and Crap in the Sack around here, sometimes I just can't resist stopping into one. Toxic.. err.. I mean Taco Bell wins the call more often than the other two, and while I'm there I have to get an apple empanada too.

My food tastes range all over the place. I have a number of items I'll eat about once a year and then the itch is scratched for several months. Cheese in a can is on top of that list. There's just something about it!

However, I haven't quite reached the level of some of the people I work with at the Gleaners organization I'm a member of. They think Dennys is the best place to go for a steak, and Hometown Buffet (pronounced buff-ETTTT) is living high because you can choose from so MANY things! They think me a little odd because I get excited when my bag of groceries has some odd item from Trader Joes that they've never heard of like quinoa, and when I stumbled on a case of carrot cashew bisque they gave them all to me because everyone that tried them there thought it 'weird' .. I enjoyed it all with relish. It's become a game now - they think it cue to try to weird me out by putting something they'd never eat in my bag - 9 times out of 10 it's something I'm thrilled to get that I normally wouldn't ever buy because it's a non-essential or expensive. Last week it was a can of anchovies!

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

You Know It Isn't "Good Cuisine" But You Like It Just the Same, So There!

I worked at arby's for a while. I will no longer eat anything but their market fresh sandwiches, their curly fries and their jamocha shakes. Curly fries are best dipped into the jamocha shake. MMM yes. Now, the kids working at the arbys introduced me to what they called Ghetto Donuts - a bun cut into cubes, deep fried and sprinkled with sugar. Made on the day we'd just changed the oil in the fryers.. yum. But after a week of frying chicken tenders and fries in there, they tasted pretty manky. On the flip side, I introduced them to rootbeer floats. The poor things had never had one. When I worked late night shifts I'd tweak our milkshake machine to overfreeze the shakes so we got soft serve, and promised all the kids rootbeer floats if they'd stop bickering over all the end of shift cleanup. Worked like a charm.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

What sous vide cooked protein do you actually prefer to grill/pan-searing?

My experiments with sous vide have been limited since my equipement consisted of an enamelled dutch oven that I watched carefully and turned on the heat under for just a minute or two when the temp started to drop.
That said, I tried salmon, and my oh my, that was delicious. The texture was perfect. I would love to try steak, but unlike salmon, where I was willing to stay close to the stove for the amount of time it took to cook to regulate the water, I'm not willing to do that for however long it will take to cook my steak. I'd love to always cook salmon sous vide, but it's just enough of a hassle that I usually end up baking it anyways.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

What new food(s) have you tried recently and how was it?

I recently got my hands on some dried lavender. My only experience with it in the past has been overly perfumed toiletries and sachets so I wasn't expecting much. That said, when I sniffed the dried flowers they were nice, not overwhelming, so I've been experimenting.

Experiment 1 - Lavender Lemonade. Made a simple syrup, adding lavendar while heating. Added lots of lemon juice, and then used as a concentrate to make lemonade by the glass. Yum, yum yum. Also very tasty mixed in with carbonated water from my sodastream.

Experiment 2 - Chocolavendar Chai. Brewed a mug of chai, dropped in about 4 lavender buds while the teabag infused. Scooped them out when the tea was done brewing, and added a squirt of milk and about 6 dark chocolate chips and some splenda. This was winner! The faintly floral scent worked really well with the spice from the chai, and the chocolate rounded it out nicely.

Experiment 3 - Ran out of chai teabags, so tried regular black english breakfast teabags, and some lavender. This worked better as an iced tea rather than hot, and only needed to be very lightly sweetened (hey, I lived in the south for several years.. I'd drink tea flavored sugar syrup if it wasn't so bad for me) Again, very nice and much more refreshing than just plain iced tea.

Experiment 4 - Decided I needed to try something savory, so I made rosemary lavender roasted potatoes last night. Mmm mmm!

So far everything I've tried has been a winner - I'm going to have to make lavender a regular item in my spice cabinet. I'd still like to find more savory applications for it, but just the three beverages are enough to convince me to keep it on hand.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

What new food(s) have you tried recently and how was it?

Oh my... As the daughter of Indians who grew up in Burma and then moved to Thailand, this was favorite childhood dish. Not one my mom made often, but even though it's been atleast 20 years since I ate it, I can still almost taste it just from seeing the picture. I may have to ask mom for her recipe the next time we talk.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

What are your favorite condiments with EGGS?

Yummy, eggs. Here's a few ways I like mine..

Fried, with the yolk still runny, topped with s&p, a pinch of cumin and some grated cheese. Or fresh herbs and feta. Basically egg + cheese + herb/spice

Soft boiled, with a bit of truffle salt (actually, truffle salt with eggs in any form)

Omelet, with cheese and tomato jam and/or red onion relish

Baked - in the cavity of an avocado - scoop out some of the avocado to snack on first or it'll overflow. Top with a couple of dashes of hot sauce.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

ever taken a paid for cooking class??

My mom teaches the occasional Thai Cooking class. The way she does it is the 'host' gets together a group of friends, about 6 people, and my mom shows up at their house with all the ingredients. She provides printouts of all the recipes, and they cook together as a group, with my mom guiding. After all is done, they all sit down together to eat the food they prepared. Usually there's several dishes made, and enough of each for everyone to get a few bites - more than a sample but not a full serving. With several dishes made, it works out to a decent meal. The host provides whatever beverages etc they wish to, and is responsible for the cleanup after the party. These are not so much cooking classes as social events though, as my mom's reputation for Thai food is extremely well known amongst all her relatives and friends in Philly and NJ and several of them have hosted one of her cooking classes in their home with their own circle of friends. I guess it's one way to have a dinner party without having to prepare the food yourself!

When I was a kid, she used to do similar classes but out of our own home, and since we were in Thailand at the time, she taught Indian food. In fact one of her students, a young Indian housewife who needed to learn to cook to please her new husband ended up opening a fairly successful Indian restaurant.

My mom says that more than anything though, her cooking classes are a good way to expose more people to her food - on a number of occasions after the people see just how many ingredients are involved, they're not that keen to make the food themselves, but it has lead to catering gigs for her where she preps the dishes and delivers them to the party in disposable containers with reheating instructions, letting the hosts handle the logistics of setup and serving at their event.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

Will Sugar Snap Peas freeze well?

I just bought a bag of them frozen at Target the other say, so I'd say that yes you can. I don't know how they cook up though, I've been using them by tossing a handful of frozen into my soba noodles with shredded zucchini and tahini sauce. By the time I serve, they've thawed and helped chill the noodles even more. Perfect summertime meal.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

What foods have you made and then decided store bought was good enough, thank you, based upon cost, time, and taste?

Same. I always have a few jars of sauce in the pantry for those 'I juts don't want to cook' nights when all I am willing to do is boil some pasta, drain, and pour sauce over for a quick dinner.

If I want to make the effort, I'll brown some onions, mushrooms, and ground beef and add jarred sauce.

Made from scratch is a whole different beast - what I make isn't so much a red sauce as a meat sauce that involves several hours of cooking, starting deep deep carmelization of the onions. I probably only make this a couple of times a year but make enough that I can freeze 1/2 of it and pull it out again a month later for another round.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in General Topics

Recent cooking fails?

I decided recently to jump on board the 'made with something other than basil' pesto bandwagon. I had a bunch of kale in the fridge that wasn't inspiring me in any other way, so I decided to give it a shot. Googled a few recipes to get ideas and then headed into the kitchen to improvise based on the recipes I'd read.

All looked good - it was a lovely bright green color. Then I took a taste. OMG GARLIC! It overpowered everything! I'm a garlic fiend, so without thinking I'd tossed 3 large cloves of garlic into the food processor. Now if I were making a stirfry or even a pasta dish this wouldn't be a problem, but I'd forgotten about the rule that the finer the garlic will be cut up, the less is needed. Three cloves of garlic pureed into one bunch of kale completely overpowered it.

Refusing to be defeated though, instead of tossing it 'raw' with some cooked pasta as I intended, I heated it with the pasta in a skillet and added a bit of greek cream cheese and some pasta water to turn the pesto into more of a creamy green sauce. Cooking the garlic to mellow it out worked well, that turned out to be pretty tasty.

The refridgerated leftovers mellowed a bit, but still were pretty strong. Told myself that I will have to remember for next time that just 1 clove of garlic will suffice!

Then the next week I had 2 heads of red cabbage to get though. Out of curiosity I googled red cabbage pesto - apparently it exists! So, I decided to give that a try. Did you know that when you add an lemon juice to purple cabbage it turns this amazing shade of pinky purple? The color was something else. And yep, you guessed it, too much garlic again. I'm so used to just grabbing a few cloves that I didn't even think about it. This time I dumped it all into a container in the fridge and told myself I'd give it a day to mellow out before using it. Ten days later, I hadn't even touched it - I couldn't get past that color! I finnally dumped it down the garbage disposal.

Lesson learned.. less garlic. Kale pesto good, red cabbage pesto, not so much.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Recent cooking fails?

Yesh! None of those mug cake recipes seems to work out right. And they're all usually incredibly unhealthy too.

My version is to buy a box of angelfood cake mix (must be angel food) and a box of any other cake mix - I like devils food, because of the whole angel/devil thing. Mix both boxes of mix into a single container - no adding any other ingredients, just the two mixes. When you want cake mix some of the dry mix with water, milk, soda, melted icecream, yogurt, whatever - pick a wet ingredient and experiment! Just get it to cake batter viscosity. Nuke in a BOWL, not a mug, for about a minute. serve with a dab of frosting or a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce if you like.

It's not a rich luscious cake by any means, but the eggs in the angelfood cake mix help it to rise a bit so you don't end up with a hockey puck. If anything it's a bit dry and spongy if I use just water, so I either try to use a wet ingredient that has a bit of fat in it - milk or yogurt work great, or add just a couple of drops of oil when mixing.

Also -nuke in a bowl, not a mug. Any time I use a mug I end up with a mess, and cake dried into the bottom corners of a mug are a beast to clean. A bowl is much much easier and I seem to get a better texture.

Jun 23, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

What to do with baby yukon gold potatoes??

I'd roast them for sure. Try them with rosemary and lavender (my latest discovery) for something different and delicious.

Start by parcooking the taters - I nuked mine in the microwave with just enough water to cover and a little bit of dried lavender for 8 minutes. Then drained and nuked again for a couple of minutes to help dry them out. Then toss with a bit of olive oil, rosemary and a little bit more dried lavender and roast. Finish with a light sprinkling of fleur de sel or some other large flakey salt so that you get a pop of salt here and there.

My oh my.. the subtle lavender is a tasty addition to potatoes.

Jun 22, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

How do you eat tinned sardines?

Medium dice and saute some onion until just starting to brown around the edges, add the sardines and whatever tomatoey ingredient you have on hand - I've used tomato paste when I have an open can, a bit of left over pasta sauce, or ketchup in a pinch. Toss in some capers. Mush everything together till it looks like an unappetizing mush, toss with whole wheat spaghetti (this is one of the few times I'll use whole wheat pasta - for some reason it just WORKS) and thin with just a touch of the pasta water if needed so the noodles get coated. Finish with a handful of fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon, and some grated parmesean. Yes yes, I know the no fish and cheese rule. I don't care. This is good eats!

This is a staple for me - quick dinner that uses up that half an onion I have in the fridge sometimes - all other ingredients are almost always on hand, though I'll skip the parsley if I don't have any. I usually buy sardines in a tomato sauce rather than plain so I have the base of the sauce there already, though plain and adding my own tomato element works too. This isn't a pretty looking dish, but it's oh so tasty! At least I think it is. My housemate thinks it's vile, but she's never actually tasted it.

Jun 22, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Best way to reheat roasted potatoes so they don't get soggy?

I made a large batch of roasted potatoes with rosemary and lavender tonight and seem to have finally perfected the technique to get my potatoes creamy and soft on the inside while crunchy and crisp on the outside - a feat that had until today had eluded me.

The only catch is because I'm cooking for one, I have lots of leftovers. A dish that takes this long to make isn't worth cooking in single serving batches, so I did about 2 lbs of potatoes. The problem then comes in storage and reheating. What is the best way to reheat these potatoes so that I don't end up with soggy spuds? While they'll still be tasty I'm sure (the lavender/rosemary combo is a winner!) I'd hate to lose the lovely texture that I managed to achieve at long last.

Jun 22, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Success! Homemade “Fage” Yogurt! Easy! Cheap!

I don't own a thermos, and would rather make yogurt using equipment I already own, so this method is out for me. I've seen a number of people mention heating pads, and was wondering what they do about the whole auto shut off issue.

Also, as in the original post on this thread, I add milk powder to my recipe, which results in not needing to strain the yogurt, but to just refrigerate the end result - something I much prefer as I am not pouring half the volume of my milk down the sink. Besides, the fewer steps the better.

Jun 16, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Success! Homemade “Fage” Yogurt! Easy! Cheap!

So I made a couple of batches of yogurt when I first found this thread and then quickly got sidetracked. I want to try again, but I've got a question for people who use a heating pad to keep the temp up. Does your heating pad stay on the entire time? Mine auto shuts off after a certain amount of time. I don't know how long, but definately not long enough to turn it on once, and walk away for 12 hours while the yogurt incubates. I was thinking of making my yogurt in a 1 quart mason jar, wrapping it in a towel and then rigging up the heating pad in some way - maybe wrapping it around the towel wrapped bottle? I'm just not sure what to do about it auto shutting off. Won't that cause the temp to eventually drop too low?

Jun 16, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Stupid easy recipes you really love

Now this sounds good. Perfect way to use some of the greek cream cheese I have in the fridge too!

Jun 16, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Cooling pâte à choux - to slit or not to slit?

I've only made them once, years ago and while I can't be sure, I don't remember cutting a slit in them.

I've been thinking about making a batch sometime soon too, after recently spending entirely too much on some rather mediocre cream puffs. Have you found a good recipe in your search?

Jun 14, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

raspberries on sale, what to do

I had this problem last summer when I came home one day with 6 boxes of raspberries just for me. After I'd had my fill of them as dessert I started adding them to salads. The one that I remember standing out was simply a big bowl of couscous, raspberries, diced onions, basil and feta. Unfortunately I don't remember what dressing I used on it - something a bit tart to balance out the sweetness of the berries I'm sure.

Jun 14, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Stupid easy recipes you really love

Tonights dinner was panzanella salad- how appropriate this thread got bumped up today! I start with the basic idea of a panzanella - cubes of bread and tomatoes with a vinaigrette but throw in whatever floats my boat.

Tonight it started with cubes of garlic sourdough, cherry tomatoes, a couple of cucumbers cubed, a can of artichokes drained and chopped up, half a jar of green olives I had lurking in the back of the fridge, a handful of diced onion, and some capers.. all tossed with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar and plenty of dried Italian spices since I wasn't going to make a trip to the store just for basil, and in the end it tasted great without it.

I do some variation of this atleast once a week in the summer since it's easy to throw together without any heat involved and I can use up all the odds and ends of salad type veggies in my fridge. When it's 108 degrees out there if I can't come up with a no-cook meal, I eat icecream for dinner! If I'd had a red or green pepper that would have gotten tossed in too. Usually I add a bit of finely chopped garlic but since the bread I used today was already garlicy, I skipped it. Best part is that I can make a huge bowl of it and eat left overs tomorrow - by then the bread will have really soaked up all the juices from the tomatoes and dressing and be amazing!

Jun 14, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking
2

The perfect way to cook jasmine rice

When I was a kid my mom figured out how to cook jasmin rice perfectly in the microwave. It was so simple that from that point on it became my job to make the rice for dinner every night - I think I was about 9.

Start by rinsing your rice really really well - swirl it around in the water, splash everyone nearby, make a mess.. just keep going until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain as best as you can - no need to be neurotic about getting every last drop out because get this.. the next step is adding water back in! For jasmin rice I've always used a 1:1.5 ratio of rice to water.

My preferred cooking vessel is a ceramic bowl with a tight fitting lid. Growing up we had a designated 'rice pot' to make rice in. Something very similar to this:

http://importfood.com/media/ceramic/8...

Don't have one of those? Use a bowl with a plate as a lid.

http://p-ec1.pixstatic.com/5253fffbdb...

To the rice, add a squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt and a teeny pat of butter and stir. Cover and microwave for 17.5 minutes(*), fluff with a fork and behold, perfect rice!

* So 17.5 minutes worked for the microwave my mom had when I was a kid, and for most of the microwaves I've used since. But occasionally I use a microwave that the timing needs to be adjusted on. If your rice is still crunchy and there's liquid at the bottom of the bowl, increase cooking time by a minute or so the next time until you find the sweet spot for your microwave.

Possible addons/variations: I like adding a bit of coconut milk to the rice before cooking. Powdered coconut milk works fine too - just mix a teaspoon of it with the water you cook the rice in. Another option is to replace some of the water with chicken stock. I sometimes toss in some fried garlic or onion before cooking too. Any (or all!) of these will really amp up your rice.

Jun 12, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

what to do with country style pork ribs?

My go to recipe for country style pork ribs is to brown them on all sides in a hot skillet, then toss into a crock pot. Add zest and juice of a couple of lemons, a can of drained garbanzo beans, some rosemary, and enough chicken stock to cover. You can refrigerate it overnight at this point in the crock, and start it cooking the following morning. 8 or so hours on low and dinner will be waiting for you when you get home. You end up with incredibly tender meat that falls apart when poked with a fork, and very tasty broth. I like to serve it over a bowl of couscous. I suppose rice could work too, but the couscous does some sort of magic textural combination for me in this dish.

Jun 12, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

What's the biggest obstacle you face when it comes to learning how to cook?

I always tell people to learn to cook what they love, but never be afraid to try new things and be creative. Fantastic meals can be made with the most basic cookware and simple ingredients combined the right way.

There's a world of difference between knowing how to follow a recipe and knowing how to cook without one. I was raised in a home where there was no such thing as recipes - if we wanted the same dish twice, tough luck.. my mom seemed to always tweak her dishes based on what ingredients she had on hand, or when inspiration struck and often she'd start making one thing for dinner and end up putting something completely different on the table. Oddly enough, even though I didn't even start cooking until several years after I moved out, I now cook the exact same way. Improvisation is a very useful tool to have in your repertoire of tricks.

Learn what sorts of herbs/spices go well together - then apply them to a completely different kind of dish. For example, cumin and anise are often used together in indian dishes. For something completely different I made a pasta salad and for the dressing mixed mayo and pickle juice like I normally do, but seasoned it with cumin, anise, and lemon zest. Totally different but delicious.

These sorts of tips will get you from having a small list of dishes you know how to cook to being able to make a tasty meal on the fly out of what can seem like the most random ingredients. Sure, there might be a few rather odd meals along the way, but hey.. cooking is an adventure!

Jun 12, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking
1

Any changes to your list of staples recently?

I recently discovered canned smoked mussels at the dollar store (same brand that sells in the grocery store for $3) and it's become a pantry staple for me - I toss them into a salad, or make a quick pasta with sauteed onions, a little bit of bacon, a can of mussels, and about 2 tablespoons of alfredo sauce. Yummy, cheap, and easy.

Discovered Greek Cream Cheese @ walmart, of all places (never seen it anywhere else) and have it on hand all the time now. It's got way more flavor than regular cream cheese, so a little bit goes a long way.

I found that one of the local asian groceries sells a 1 lb bag of frozen mixed seafood for $3, so I have a bag of them in the freezer at all times. A bowl of broth with any variety of asian noodles (heck, ramen works in a pinch), whatever veggies need to be used up and a handful of the frozen seafood, all seasoned with some sesame oil and a bit of fried garlic makes for a cheap tasty meal - the 1 lb bag is good for 4 bowls of soup.

On the not so much any more side.. I seem to have no real interest in tuna any more, even though for the longest time it was a staple - I'd buy a dozen cans at a time, but I've not bought any for months. Burnout maybe? I guess when I can eat smoked mussels for the same price as tuna, the mussels win.

Jun 12, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Recent cooking fails?

Oh dear! This reminds me of my 18th birthday. I was the one who always made cakes for all my friends and had been griping that I never got a cake at school on my birthday because nobody ever made me one. So on my 18th birthday, my best friend who while well meaning had NO business attempting to cook anything... ever.. decided to bake me a cake. Appearance wise it was an impressive frirst attempt. As I cut into it and serve up the first slice I hear her say 'why is it white???' Apparently it was supposed to be chocolate cake - but she forgot the cocoa powder. This week is 20 years later - I still haven't let her forget about that. I should find the pictures from that day and post on facebook or something.

Apr 24, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

What the heck did I end up making? I was aiming for paneer/ricotta..

I was just given a half gallon of milk that hit it's sell by date yesterday and since I rarely drink the stuff I decided to make a batch of paneer or ricotta out of it - I do this often... heat up the milk to just below a simmer, add lemon juice and let sit.. strain and the resulting curds tend to be somewhat like a grainy cream cheese that I smear onto toast or add to omlettes, pizza, or pasta dishes. I know there are recipes out there that involve time and temperatures but I don't usually bother, just eyeballing it.

Today when I got the milk home, I didn't have room for it in the fridge so I left it on the counter for a few hours before I got around to it. Then, because I was in the middle of others things, rather than bring the temperature of the milk up quickly, I put it on very low heat so that it wouldn't boil over while I wasn't paying attention - it probably took a good 30+ minutes for the half gallon of slightly cool milk to heat up. Took it off the heat, poured in a few glugs of bottled lemon juice (yeah, I don't measure that either), gave it a stir and walked away. About 45 minutes later when I remembered it again, I came back and still had 'milk' with a little bit of stringy stuff at the bottom of the pot. Hmmm.. Put it back on the burner at a medium heat, and since I was out of lemon juice, added a couple of glugs of white vinegar. It immediately separated, but rather than the usual small granules that I get, all the curds came together in a clump that got stringy like melted cheese when I stirred it. This reminded me of making mozzarella, so I switched to mozzarella mode - or rather what I remember of making it since it's been a couple of years since I last did so. Drained off the whey and using a wooden spoon, folded the mass of solids over and over to squeeze out more liquid. Then nuked it for 10 seconds and started to stretch the hot mass. Lo and behold, it stretched just like mozzarella does. Nuked again for another 10 seconds, added some sea salt and a bit of truffle salt and stretched and formed into a ball which is now chilling in my fridge. The texture frm the little bit I tasted is fairly tough, but it tastes just like home made mozzarella!

While I love me some mozzarella - what the holy heck just happened here? How did I end up with a stretchy stringy cheese when all I added to my milk was citric acid? Could the fact that it sat on the counter for so many hours (and to tell the truth, I'm not sure it was refridgerated for several hours prior to when it came into my posession either) have somehow played a part in this? In the past when I made mozzarella, rennet tablets always played an important part, and in fact on more than one occasion my mozzarella failed and I ended up with something more like ricotta... a mass that never quite came together and stretched no matter what I did to it.

I have another half gallon of milk in the fridge right now that I'm tempted to leave sitting on the kitchen counter all day tomorrow to see if I can repeat these results. I'd love to gain some sort of understanding on what just happened so that I can repeat it and make future batches not turn out quite so tough. I'm sure the cheese I ended up with will work just fine in any dish that involves heat and melting or browning it, but it's not quite what I aim for when making fresh mozzarella - which I like to eat with slices of tomato and basil.

Apr 24, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Searching for a great artichoke heart dip or spread

I've been toying with the idea of some sort of pesto-ish concoction.. haven't gotten any further than just the idea yet, as I've been eating can after can by shoving a bit of cream cheese into the center of each heart, rolling the heart in seasoned flour then spraying with olive oil and baking till crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle.. and scarfing them all down before I even leave the kitchen...

But if someone wants to run with the pesto idea... that might work too!

Was there a nation wide sale on artichoke hearts recently or something? I just bought a dozen cans when I found them at the dollar store. If they have more when I stop in this weekend I'll buy out their stock again - sure beats paying nearly 4 bucks a can at the grocery store and I love them!

Apr 24, 2014
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Impact of plastic bag ban?

I'm in CA but not in the areas that have banned plastic bags. That said, I've carried my own totes for years - I started because fabric totes hold more and are easier to lug up three flights of stairs than a dozen plastic bags. And these days I walk to the store and back, so fabric totes I can sling over my shoulder are easier to carry on the trek home. Also, some of the stores would deduct 5 cents a bag if you brought your own bag in. Not significant, but it adds up over time.

When I started doing this, cashiers looked at me funny. I'd even have some who would bag things up in plastic and then load the plastic bags into my totes. *facepalm* For the most part they've gotten better about it over the last few years as it becomes a more common thing. Though today at the dollar store when I handed over my tote bag to the cashier and said I don't need her to bag my stuff into a plastic bag she got totally befuddled. "You mean you want to put the things in the bag yourself? or you want me to do it? or.. I don't get it?"

When I buy meat, I put it into one of the plastic bags for bagging produce, and then put that into one of my tote bags. My totes go through the washing machine regularly so if they got a little bit of 'meat juice' leak out of the bags into them, I wouldn't freak out. In fact I'm considering making up a bunch of reusable produce bags from something extremely lightweight like cheesecloth or mesh of some sort. I imagine my produce could then just be left in the bags when I store it in the fridge too.

For anyone even half way handy with a sewing machine, this is the pattern I use to make my tote bags - I taught myself to sew by making totes, so if I can do it so can you.!
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index....

Mar 15, 2014
JasFoodie in Not About Food

was this a social faux pas?

Good grief. What a spoiled brat. Send him to my sister's place to eat, and I'll come eat with you guys instead. I'd appreciate som tum that isn't spiced to the point where my ears ring for a chance.

My sister would be the perfect host for him. We both grew up in Thailand, but she eats much spicier food than I do, and she knows my tolerance for spice is not nearly as high as hers. Yet when I visit her, she cooks the food full on spice the way she likes it, and then proceeds to mock me for my inability to keep up with her. And when I gulp down water, she reminds me that water doesn't help the heat. Yes, I know.. but it's all that's available since she's convinced that carbs are evil so she doesn't serve rice with thai food. When both my mom and I visit her, and my mom is doing the cooking, she'll make the food slightly milder (but still fairly hot - hitting the edge of my tolerance levels) so I can eat it, and my sister complains under her breath that they're having to eat 'baby food' because of me. Her attitude (and not just about food) makes visiting her torturous and she then gets mad at me because I don't fall over myself telling her how grateful I am that she took the time to cook a meal for me. And god forbid I mention eating something similar elsewhere that I enjoyed, she takes it as a personal insult that I didn't LOVE her food, even after being fully aware that she prepared it to her and her husbands tastes, thus making it barely edible for me.

THAT is a social faux pas. What you did was a very gracious way of making sure your guests would be able to enjoy their meal no matter what their tolerance for heat levels are. Someone who reacts the way that guest did has issues that have nothing to do with you.

Mar 15, 2014
JasFoodie in Not About Food