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JasFoodie's Profile

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What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

I spent what felt like ALL FREAKING DAY caramalizing a huge bag of onions and was sick of being in the kitchen by the time dinner came around, so I threw together a quick pizza/flatbread/thingy. Started with a garlic naan, liberal amounts of grated mozzarella and queso fresco (I ran out of mozz and had to do a quick substitution), some roasted red peppers (that was yesterday's kitchen project), some caramalized onions, and some olives.. all under the broiler till the cheese started to bubble and then drizzed with a balsamic glaze. It could have gone longer but the edges were getting too close to burned to a crisp. I was planning on adding some jarred artichoke hearts to it too but I couldn't get the #($&#*$( jar open. Besides there's no room for the costco sized bottle in my fridge right now either.

Cost on this was nearly nothing for me since all the ingredients except for the cheese came from my Gleaners membership which works out to $1.50 a week.

How many at home dishes have you truly mastered?

I rarely make an exact recipe twice because I don't measure when- but I do keep mental notes when a tweak in a quantity of ingredients results in a change I like or dislike so I can continue to adjust accordingly. I also very rarely come out of the kitchen having made the exact dish I entered it planning to make - I adjust and change on the fly. Often I'll start cooking by boiling water for pasta and then start rummaging around for ideas on what to go with it. But I can reliably produce tasty meals that most people (except those with very picky palettes) rave about.

I think more than specific dishes, I have mastered the art of eating very cheaply without feeling like I'm poor. Sure I pass on more expensive ingredients most of the time, even something basic like half and half is on the pricey side for me, but I feel like I get a great variety of healthy and very tasty food on my limited budget. That in itself I think is an important skill set to have in the kitchen.

I just realized I do have a few items I make that turn out exactly the same each time - baking recipes. My sugar cookies and my spice cookies are perfect. But those somehow don't count because I'm simply using a recipe I found online. Same with some of my canning recipes - tomato jam, red onion and balsamic relish, and corn salsa are perfect each time and I've made many many batches of each but again, they're made following formulas someone else created. No matter how many times I make them they'll never be 'my' recipes the way my lasagna or my carrot furikake are, even though both of those (like most of the things I make) started off with ideas from someone elses recipes that I then tweaked to my tastes.

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

I'm still eating off the chicken and rice I cooked a few days ago and posted about. Spent this afternoon roasting up and peeling a huge batch of red and yellow peppers from my gleaners membership (seriously, a whole tote bag full of peppers!) so I chopped up about 2 peppers worth and mixed into my rice. Nuked for 3 minutes, mixed in a small diced avocado and topped with a bit of the spicy roasted pepper puree/dressing I made a few days ago as well as some sour cream to help with the heat. The rice was a little dried out - probably should have sprinkled some water over the rice before heating. Chicken warmed up perfectly though. 3 minutes crisped the outside and dried it out just a little the way I like it while still remaining moist on the inside once I bit into it.

Cost: chicken leg was 31 cents, avocado 25 cents, peppers and sourcream were free with my gleaners membership, and the rest was pennies. That membership seriously helps my food budget!

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

After reading a post last night about omelets and watching the linked videos of Julia CHild and Jacques Pepin, I realized I've been cooking my omelets all wrong - I always went low and slow. So, armed with my new found knowledge, dinner tonight was a cheese omelet. Holy smokes did that come together FAST. I was in and out of hte kitchen with dinner on my plate in under 10 minutes. I still overcooked it a bit, but it was already an improvement over my usual method. I see a lot of omelets in my future so I can perfect them.

To go with the omelet was a spinach side salad, and a salmon sausage I found at one o the asian grocery stores I frequent. Nothing impressive there, I won't be buying it again, but it was something different.

Budget wise the breakdown was 2 eggs @1.99/dozen, 1 sausage @ 99c/6 a few pennies worth of cheese, and about 1/4 of the bunch of spinach I bought for 99c.

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

So.. how did the rice turn out? I've been cooking mine in the microwave since my mom figured out the proportions/timing when we got our first microwave and then handed the task off to me to make rice every night for the family. My preference is a good Thai jasmin rice since that's what I grew up eating, but this method works with just about any other rice, though you might have to adjust time/water accordingly.

Avocados range from 88 - 99 cents for mediums around here, but there's a hispanic grocery (Vallarta) that often puts them on sale at 4/$1.. they tend to be either mush or rock hard, so I take the ad to either Target or Walmart and pricematch them, feast on sliced avocados for a few days, and then mash the rest with some lime and freeze flat in ziplock baggies to use later for guacamole or avocado toast.

Feb 25, 2015
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Newbie questions about chicken stock (possibly dumb)

Nobody's mentioned my method of storing stock yet - once it's made,strained, cooled and the layer of fat has been separated from the congealed stock, I put the stock back on the stove in my widest pan (which happens to be my wok) and bring it to a boil. The large surface area aids in evaporation, and I cook it down to a fraction of the volume it started at. Usually by then I've transferred it to a small saucepan, lowering the heat so the now fairly viscous 'stock' doesn't burn. I've reduced an entire large stockpot (16 quarts or so?) down to about a cup and a half this way. I freeze most of this, and leave a small amount in the fridge in a mason jar to use the same way you'd use store purchased stock concentrate like Better than Boullion. The biggest differene between store bought and home made stock concentrate however, is that home made is salt free! Yup, I don't salt my stock since I know I'll be reducing it as much as I am. Instead I salt the dishes I am making. It makes things much more flexible. And I love that I can add a whole lot of meaty stock flavor and mouth feel to a dish without drowning it in liquid and waiting for the stock to simmer out again. For example a spoonful added to spinach that's just barely wilted along with a grate of nutmeg is amazing - if you'd added the amount of stock needed to get that much flavor, your spinach would be cooked to a mush by the time the stock evaporated. It also makes storage SO much easier. You can always dilute it down to stock to make soups with, but I find the reduction so much more versatile.

Feb 24, 2015
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

Tonight I baked up a sheet pan full of pre-marinated chicken drumsticks that I got from the local hispanic grocery store - 10 drumsticks for $3.21! I even indulged and cooked them skin on - they turned out nice and crispy on the outside and very moist on the inside - something I was relieved to discover since I've never baked drumsticks before. I've been mostly a BSCB type of person, but those are getting pricey and these were rediculously cheap.

While they were baking, I nuked up a large batch of rice (2 cups rice, 3 cups water, a splash of oil, salt, and lime, a shake of tumeric, nuke for 18 minutes. Perfect rice every time) and once it was done stirred in a whole lot of chopped cilantro the zest and juice from a key lime, some fried garlic and onion powder.

Sliced up an avocado and a few slices of an onion to go with that and dress with salt/pepper/lime, and I was set. Great thing is this was an incredibly cheap meal too. Avocados were 4/$1.. chicken legs worked out to 32 cents each. The rice was pennies for a single serving. So.. dinner came to under $1, which is pretty much what I aim for. And I have 9 more chicken legs and plenty more rice. I'll probably eat this a couple more times then pull the meat off the rest of the legs to top salads or make chicken burritos, and use the bones in a soup this weekend. I have plenty of tortillas, sour cream, avocados and the last jar of my corn salsa from last summer.

So far I seem to be doing good on my resolution to always have a cooked meal in the fridge I can heat up. It means I only have to prep one meal a day (breakfast doesn't count, I can nuke a bowl of oatmeal and make coffee in my sleep)

Things to do with tiny salty shrimp

Not at all.. it is a rather salty item. Use it more as a condiment than an entree or even a side. I grew up eating a mixture of thai/indian/burmese food and what was common was jasmin rice, dhaal (indian lentil soup/curry) and a veggie side dish of some sort and a generous spoonful of balachung to mix with the rice and dhaal. To this day, that is my comfort food.

Feb 24, 2015
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Pumpkin bread with 1 whole can of pumpkin?

No pumpkin bread recipe here, but since you love the way it tastes, why not use leftovers to facy up your oatmeal the next day? I like to stir in a generous dollop of pumpkin, a bit of brown sugar, and some nuts into my bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Those teeny fancy lil packets of oatmeal that cost an arm and a leg can go hang.

Feb 24, 2015
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Things to do with tiny salty shrimp

Balachung is exactly what I just bought them for. The last time my mom visited she made me a batch and I've been craving it ever since I ran out. Obviously, everyone has a different version of it. The version my mom makes starts with the shrimp - stick them in a food processor or spice grinder and shred them as finely as you can (or leave it partially chunky.. all up to you!). Heat up a bit of oil in a skillet, and fry up the pulverized shrimp and set aside. In the same pan, toast some crushed peanuts, and then some sesame seeds. Then combined all these ingrediants, and add some fried onion/shallots and fried garlic (the kind you get at 99 Ranch Market in a clear plastic bottle with a red lid), add a generous amount of lime juice and continue to cook till desired dryness. Some people like it rather wet and almost paste like with plenty of oil, others like it cooked to a crisp. I lean towards the crisp side myself.

If you're familiar with the concept of japanese furikake, this is the same idea - use it in the same ways. In fact I've started with a carrot furikake recipe I found online: http://justbento.com/handbook/johbisa... and added some of the shrimp to it right before adding the soy sauce. Very tasty, I had to stop myself from just eating it with a spoon. There are also other furikake recipes on that site that do use the shrimp, so poke around on there.

Feb 24, 2015
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

This time of the year the only tomatoes I use are either the ones I dried or canned last summer. I wait till they're 3lbs/$1 and buy upwards of 50 lbs for just myself to use for the rest of the year. Carrots sound like an interesting possibility. I get a bag of baby carrots from my gleaners membership every single week and am so sick of using them as munchies. I'll have to give them a try - carrots go exceptionally well with ginger and sesame oil. Maybe a bit of miso added to that could make for a tasty asian inspired dressing of sorts.

Would love a recipe for your carrot dip. I'm always looking for ways to use up those dang carrots!

Feb 24, 2015
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

Looking for variations on this dressing recipe

I made a salad dressing (of sorts) today that turned out fantastic - it was loosely based on a dressing I had on a Starbucks salad of all places. Looked up their ingredient list online and got this:

mild chile vinaigrette (tomato puree [water, tomato paste], olive-pomace oil, honey, red and ancho chile puree [red bell peppers, water, dehydrated red chile peppers, dehydrated ancho chile peppers, lemon juice concentrate], roasted red bell peppers, apple cider vinegar, salt, contains 2% or less of: lemon juice concentrate, spices, garlic puree, mustard flour, black pepper, natural flavor),

Soo.. my version started with about a dozen yellow peppers that I roasted and stuck in the fridge over the weekend. Today I peeled them all, saving all the dark syrupy liquid that had collected in the bottom of the bowl. Added the peppers back to that, added a splash of olive oil, some red wine vinegar, a bit of honey, a single chipotle pepper and some of the sauce from the can, a couple of cloves of garlic, some onion powder, mustard powder, and salt and pureed the heck out of it with an immersion blender. I forgot about the lemon, or I would have added some of that as well. I ended up with a cup full of thick puree/dressing that worked beautifully on a salad of spinach, quinoa, beans, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Compared to my usual dressing choices (blue cheese!) it was light, but it packed a LOT of flavor, and I probably got a full serving of veggies worth of yellow peppers out of the two tablespoons or so I used too.

This recipe was definitely a keeper for me - I'll make tweaks to it each time I make it I'm sure. But the concept of pureeing a veggie as the base of a dressing for a salad has me intrigued now. What other veggies can I do this with? Unfortunately I'm drawing a complete blank so I thought I'd ask here. I'm not necessarily looking to stay with the same spice/flavor palette.. more for ideas of other vegetables that might work in a similar way to dress a salad. I've had a salad with a hummus dressing that was basically a liquidy hummus, and I plan on trying to replicate that sometime too. I'm just looking for more options for a dressing that will actually offer up some nutrition, rather than empty calories for the sake of flavor.

Feb 23, 2015
JasFoodie in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

Inspired by Starbucks Chicken and black bean salad that I had a few weeks ago, I made my own version for dinner tonight using ingredients I had in the fridge. So.. mine ended up being spinach, quinoa, great northern beans, black olives, diced red onion, home made sundried cherry tomatoes.

The dressing however is what made it really shine. I had roasted up a dozen yellow peppers over the weekend and stuck them in the fridge till I had time to peel them. Today was the day - there was a sticky syrupy liquid at the bottom of the bowl they were in, so I added the peppers back in, added a generous splash of ollive oil, red wine vinegar, a single chipotle pepper with a little bit of the sauce from a can, some onion powder and a couple of cloves of garlic, and pureed the heck out of it all with my immersion blender. I ended up with about a cup of thick puree that was bursting with flavor and was made up mostly of vegetables. Added a couple of tablespoons of it over my salad and tossed it all.

This was a new recipe for me. I do salads with greens and beans. I do quinoa with beans and veggies. I've never combined greens and quinoa together and I realized I quite like it. And the 'dressing' being made up of pureed roasted peppers? Delicious and so much healthier than the same amount of bluecheese dressing which is what I tend to do. I'm going to have ot come up with more variations on this.

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