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range vs. cooktop

As far as I'm concerned, that choice is purely a matter of taste. having lived for many years with a cooktop and separate double ovens, I find I prefer the all-in-one range. If you like the modular, fitted style of kitchen, then a cooktop and oven(s) are your best bet.

Two ovens are nice, but when you want to do something bigger, you need the full size range oven. So, think about how you use your oven. If you bake a lot of cookies, for example, the double ovens are ideal and really shorten the task. If you want to bake baguettes, a really big turkey or things like that, they just won't fit in the smaller wall ovens.

I'm going for the unfitted look in my current home, bit by bit converting from a fully fitted kitchen. Unfortunately, the switch to a range will be one of the last things I am able to do. Who knows? At that point I may also get a single wall oven for the times when I need more space, like over the holidays with big, multi-course meals to prepare.

I have to say that when we were in our last place, we made a temporary purchase of a small, very inexpensive range and were very happy with it. I guess i'm just a range kind of girl. Don't just go for what's in style, think about how you use your stove/ovens and go for what be most convenient for you.

As for gas or electric, if I had any simple option, I'd go for gas. Unfortunately, I'm out in the country, and we have no gas available (without buying a propane tank and having it piped into the house which is expensive), only electric. HTH

Jan 12, 2014
ruthieren in Cookware

French Lentil Terrine with Savory Carrot Custard

May 01, 2013
ruthieren in Recipes

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

Yes, it really would. I also learned to make cornmeal, whether polenta or grits or masa with canned milk. It was the recipe on the package. And we're not talking 40 years ago, this was in the late 90s, I'd say. I should check my packages now and see if they still have that recipe.
It does make a nice, creamy taste. ;)

Oct 31, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

Pretty sure. It was the fast food "roast beef" place. Hardee's is burgers, isn't it? Not much of a fast food person. Mickey D's, Taco Bell and back in Maryland Bojangles until they disappeared, then Popeye's. Don't think I've ever been to a Hardee's, or an Arby's alone, either.

Oct 31, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

He was a Norwegian from Minnesota! ;))) He ran away from home to become a cowboy and ended up on a ranch in Nevada, with a Chinese cook. That's where he learned most all his cooking, since he was only 12 when he left home.
I've had this made by several guys, and they all use evaporated milk. Always here on the left coast, but, now that I think of it, guys who grew up on farms. Which is really odd, since they probably had plenty of fresh milk available. Who knows? That's the way I learned it.
The gravy on grits was something folks were doing at a breakfast buffet type party. I just played along, and it was OMG good. This was also my introduction to grits -- grew up in San Francisco, so not a lot of grits around -- so I just went with the flow. Have never regretted it

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

When I lived in Maryland, there were a couple of Roy Rogers/Arby mashups around. Pretty strange. Don't know if it was shared space or the same parent company. Any idea?

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

The pear salad I grew up with, on a lettuce leaf or not, depending on how fancy/healthy you wanted to get: nice layer of cottage cheese, spread on enough mayo so the curds don't peek out, top with a pear half, slop around some of the syrup if you want. My dad used to grate black pepper over his, which, as an adult, sounds pretty good to me now.

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

I think I had something like that once on a brunch buffet: cheese grits topped with what tasted like this sounds, then a poached egg on top of that. Sinful and oddly lacking in the pork product department...a nice crumbling of cooked bacon couldn't have hurt. ;)

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

Use the Heinz Cocktail Sauce instead of the Chili Sauce for that horseradish kick.

Sub orange marmalade for the grape and ground turkey meatballs for the meat ones, and you can tell yourself it's healthy! Heh.

Hmmm, or maybe brown the turkey mix with the sauce and marmalade and pour over a platter of cream cheese! Dang, that sounds great.

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

Yes! A guy I knew when I lived in Baltimore was from there. He managed to find a restaurant in our area that served that as a pasta sauce. He dragged everyone there. ;) After the first time, we went on our own. Mmm-mmm good. A big bowl of spaghetti with this over the top! Wow.

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

It's gotta be evaporated milk, if you want the real thing. My dad used to cook this when we went camping. ;) Antidote to all that fresh air, I guess.
Try it served over cheese grits if you want to taste heaven.

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

I don't know about that one, but one of my college faves was a pint of sour cream, a small package of Ranch Dressing Mix, and a package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed, drained and squeezed dry). All that spinach is good for you!
I think I saw a lasagna recipe using this dip between the noodles and calling it "Florentine." Heee! I bet people loved it, too.

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

"Dirty" recipes that are crowd pleasers

When I was introduced to dump cake, the recipe called for peaches. If I remember correctly, it included the juice, so the bottom of the cake mix layer got a bit cake-like and the top, with the melted butter, was all crispy goodness. Worked for me. I had no idea it was originally intended to be pie filling. That sounds pretty good, too.

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

Charlotte Observer runs Bonnie's Buffalo dip

That wonton idea sounds interesting. I was just thinking I'd mix it all together, spread it on some lightly fried corn tortillas, on a cookie sheet, and bake it in the oven. Cut in wedges, I could definitely eat that for dinner (or breakfast) and call it a quesadilla. ;)

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

Scrapple!

Il Divo, yes! It was a way to use up bits and pieces in the process of eating the whole hog. As long as you have cornmeal, some herbs (classically, marjoram, as I believe someone said here) and a mix of meat-ish scraps, including a little liver, usually, you can make scrapple. Never mind the recipe, make it so it tastes good to you! I eat mine with hot sauce and sea salt. What did a California girl know from scrapple? I ate it the way I liked it.
I, too, tend to go crazy trying to find ingredients and follow the recipe the first time I make something new to me, then I figure out what's really needed to make me happy and modify. ;) After being reminded of this again, I'm getting a craving. Oddly enough, I was planning to make meatloaf again -- those juices made a really flavorful cornmeal base.
Keep on cooking!

Oct 30, 2012
ruthieren in Home Cooking

Turchetta with Vermouth Gravy

I do a rolled, boned chicken thing similar to this. I wrap it in foil rather than using cheesecloth or twine. After about half an hour in the oven, it's firmed up enough for me to remove the foil without having it unroll or lose its shape. I use one of those V-shaped racks so it's fairly easy to roll-turn it.
I realize the torchetta is quite a bit bigger, so times will vary, but roasting the roll mostly uncovered like this gives a nice crispy skin and it holds it's shape through the slicing and serving.

Jul 30, 2012
ruthieren in Recipes

Aren't serrano peppers hot?

I think it may have more to do with climate. Hot and dry yields a hotter pepper. Milder and more humid not so much. At least that's been my experience as a grower. In the Northern California Wine Country I got nicely hot jalapenos. In Maryland, they were barely more than skinny bells. Arizona they were fiery good.

Jul 29, 2012
ruthieren in General Topics

Eating Against the Grain: Kosher-for-Passover Breakfast Recipes

I'm not Jewish, so not an expert on Passover rules by any means, but cereal and croissnts made the classic pate feuillete way, i.e., only dough layered with butter, are both unleavened. so not an issue.

Mar 31, 2012
ruthieren in Features

Season 2 of "The Pioneer Woman": Roped and Branded

Okay, I have to ask: if this were a review of a show hosted by a man, like Emeril, for example, would you comment of his incipient jowls??? WTH?

And, let's face it, if she didn't have that charm and sincerity he chooses to call branding, she wouldn't have her own cooking show, now would she?

Yikes, guy. Review the show not the host.

Mar 31, 2012
ruthieren in Features

Smoked Sable

When I was in college, butterfish was very popular with students because it was so cheap - about $3 a pound. Just a couple years later, one of the food magazines did an article on it, how wonderful it was, complete with delicious recipes. The price immediately rose to $6.99 a pound. So, if I'd known about smoking it back then, well, and had a clue as to how to smoke anything, I'd have been all over this. ;)

I had no idea it was so costly now. Dang those food mags! It's like Tilapia dn Tri-tip, both of which ran around $3 a pound for years. Then the foodies got the word, and the prices skyrocketed. Wonder what the people who bought them because $3 was all they could afford, do now?

Feb 29, 2012
ruthieren in General Topics

The Turducken of Cheese Balls

I think this is excellent! Although that wasn't your intent, I don't imagine, this concept would be a great way to use up the bits and bobs that are hanging around toward the end of the holiday party season.
It's a little work, but just think of all those flavors melding and contrasting! I wold never have thought of the pears, but I bet they're just right.

Dec 10, 2011
ruthieren in Recipes

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 4th quarter 2011 [OLD]

I haven't tried TJs brand, but most of the chorizos meat or veggie are in a tube. I use either/both for chili, depending on whether I'm going veggie or meat. The brand I buy calls it Soy-rizo, and it's the same texture as their meat ones. Have you tried other brands? Was it the spices you didn't like? The texture? I'm so used to just grabbing it, I'd hate to get a nasty surprise from the one from TJ's.

Dec 10, 2011
ruthieren in Chains

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 4th quarter 2011 [OLD]

Okay, I have to ask, what do you mean by the trout was "thin"? It sells by weight, so 3 oz of trout one place is the same amount as 3 oz of trout at another place. I love this, so I'd really like to understand so I can make a good judgement for me.
Thanks!

Dec 10, 2011
ruthieren in Chains

Restaurants for Fat People

I'd like to see a restaurant that recognizes the fact that women have breasts! My best friend and I, both rather generously endowed, found ourselves in one chain restaurant sitting on low benches at high tables, meaning that our endowments were laid out before us on the tabletop, as if on display. Our plates had to sit in the middle of the table. At first it was embarrassing and annoying, then it got funny, finally we were laughing too hard to eat.

So, who were those booths designed for? Men only? If we hadn't both been tall, as well as well-endowed, I guess our chins would have been resting on the table instead. Maybe we should have asked for booster seats to raise the girls up enough so we could reach our dinners.

I realize the article mentioned was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but really the need is for restaurants that will fit most, whether portly, chesty, petite, or average. If in an effort to squeeze in more tables you make 50% of your diners uncomfortable, well, that's 50% of that night's crowd that won't be back again. Whether it's giant chairs that fit the tall or big person and leave the petite ones with their feet dangling inches from the floor, or tiny chairs that only the very petite butt can fit into, it's a bad business.

Dec 10, 2011
ruthieren in Features

Advice on freezing potstickers?

I usually make huge batches of various kinds of dumplings for the freezer, and the first time I did something like this, with egg rolls, they all stuck together for me, too. The problem is raw dough, a little moisture from the filling, and you have flour paste. So, common enough mistake when you're starting out with dumplings.

Now I make them, set them out on cookie sheets (raw) so they aren't touching, and set the cookie sheets in the freezer. When the potstickers, eggrolls or whatever, are frozen, it's safe to put them into a big ziploc bag or other freezer container - the dough is hard and will not stick together. Then you just pull out however many you want and cook them.

If you're going to steam them, I would thaw them, again, not touching. If you're going to do the fry then pot steam*, you can cook them direct from the freezer.

I've frozen Crab Rangoon-style dumplings without a problem, although I usually let them thaw on a plate (no touching) in the fridge for an hour or so because I worry about how the frozen cream cheese will react to getting hit with the extreme heat of hot oil.

*Heat oil in a saute pan. When it's hot, put in the dumplings flat side down. Let them get a little browned on the bottom, a few minutes, then add maybe a half cup of water and cover the pan. The steam produced will finish cooking them through in just another few minutes, don't add too much water or they can get mushy, or leave them until the water is completely evaporated or they will stick to the pan.

Oct 26, 2011
ruthieren in Home Cooking

Scrapple!

I have to confess I take shortcuts in my scrapple -- first, I usually use Albers Quick Grits. :)
I made a meatloaf a couple of days ago. Since I like my meatloaf on the herb-y side, I used those pan juices to make my scrapple, just added water to get the volume I needed.
Second shortcut -- I like a creamy, liver backnote, so I stir some liverwurst or braunschweiger into the broth. If I'd had some chicken livers, I'd have used them.
Cook the "cornmeal" at a low simmer (also helps the creaminess), maybe add a little broken up meatloaf, finely shredded leftover roast, chicken, whatever, test the seasoning, and it's scrapple! Add fresh herbs if you like.
Purists aside, start to finish, that being fried scrapple on my plate, was about 20 minutes, including letting it set up in some little individual silicone loaf pans I have. Slice them once horizontally, and it's a perfect portion for one or two, depending on how much you like scrapple.
It's a way to use leftovers, so the less planning and actual work I have to do, the better I like it. ;)

Sep 15, 2011
ruthieren in Home Cooking