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Engagement Brunch for 70

I'd treat the quiche as a main dish and just add side dishes that would go well with it. I'd do a fruit salad. And instead of a leafy green salad, I'd offer a salad of cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, shallots or red onion, lightly dressed with a classic French vinaigrette. This will only improve while sitting in the dressing, unlike a leafy salad. If the quiche has no cheese in it, I might add feta to that salad. Then all I'd add would be good bread, especially baguettes and croissants, with quality butter and a selection of jams. Done!

Given that the guests will be bringing desserts, it would seem to be important to not overdo the main meal, leaving little room for dessert. You probably want the desserts to be the stars of the brunch.

Aug 16, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Uses for non-iodized salt?

Very interesting! How, exactly, do you use it to kill ants? My kitchen was invaded recently by an army of tiny ants, and it was hard to get rid of them. We finally did, after multiple efforts to caulk tiny cracks they were using to come in. We'd get one hole sealed, and they would excavate another. We also resorted to poisons, as the situation was dire, though I hated to use toxic chemicals in the kitchen. So if salt would work in some way, thatvwould be great!

Aug 15, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Please return your shopping carts, you lazy bum

Meh. They offer it at the Safeway near me. Average prices. Meanwhile, the local Whole Foods has by far the worst parking lot ever, no help out, and one or two "cart corrals" ridiculously far away.

Aug 15, 2015
bitchincook in Not About Food

What tools, ingredients, etc. should I bring to a beach house rental?

The place claims to have a furnished kitchen, but I've heard that before! It also has a gas grill. I'm thinking I'll bring my chef's knife and paring knife, as well as my manual knife sharpener, and a long-handled spatula for the grill. As for food basics, Maldon sea salt, a disposable pepper grinder, and some PG Tips tea. There is a basic supermarket nearby.

What do you bring along on vacation? What am I forgetting?

Aug 15, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

This chicken is still good, right?

There are so many variables here, including how fresh the chicken was when you bought it, how long it spent from when you picked it out of the meat case until you put it in your refrigerator, the temperature in the store and your car, and especially, the temperature in your refrigerator, just to name a few.

The only way, and indeed, the best way, to tell this is to give it the sniff test, as nothingswrong suggested. If it doesn't smell off, it's fine.

All those "rules" about how long you can keep this and that are pointless, as so much depends on refrigerator temps, etc. With my last refrigerator, things went bad quickly. With my new one, which hovers only barely above freezing in the main compartment, I can keep milk for at least two weeks beyond the "use by" date, for example.

Aug 11, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

What to serve?

Interesting how you find carbohydrates filling, as opposed to nuts and cheese. For me, it's exactly the reverse. Carbs leave me hungry in an hour, while nuts, cheese, and other such things would fill me up until breakfast. Different strokes, and all that.

Aug 08, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Ever tip the bagger who helps you out to your car?

The Safeway around here always offers "help out", but tipping is not allowed. The baggers are just doing their job, for which they are paid, no different than the deli clerk who slices my lunch meat. Or should I try to tip him, too? I don't think so.

Aug 08, 2015
bitchincook in Not About Food

So what do you think of horse meat?

At one time I lived in France, and before I got a good enough grip on the language I wound up with what was by far the worst, gamiest, gag-inducing burger, ever. I couldn't eat it. It turned out to be horsemeat.

Aug 06, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

What to do with over-cooked, dried out rotisserie chicken breast?

Thanks to everyone for these ideas. Ultimately, I wound up making crepes with asparagus and a white sauce laced with wine that rehydrated the chicken.

Aug 05, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

What to do with over-cooked, dried out rotisserie chicken breast?

I bought a rotisserie chicken at a store that used to cook them properly, but not anymore, apparently. The dark meat was fine, but the breast meat is dry and tasteless. What can I do with it to make it palatable? I was thinking perhaps of grinding it up and making enchiladas, but I'd really love some other ideas. Thanks

Aug 03, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Beware the Arrowtooth Flounder!

I bought some of that at Safeway a few years ago, and it disintegrated in the pan. Yuck! Made me wish my cat were still alive, as he might have eaten it. Then again, he had better taste than that. As it was, it went in the garbage and stunk up the garage until pick-up day.

Aug 02, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

How common is a warm or room temp rice pudding vs one from the fridge?

One of my fondest childhood memories involves warm rice pudding. I was 13 and had just come home from an evening class in "social dance," which involved dancing with boys. My mom generally was not much of a cook, but somehow she had been inspired to turn some leftover rice into rice pudding. It was fragrant with cinnamon and vanilla and studded with plump raisins within a rich custard. It was one last taste of childhood as I stood in the headlights of adolescence, and it was one of the best things I've ever eaten.

Does parking make a difference for you ?

Today I did a mental cartwheel when I got to Whole Foods and saw that the only decent parking spot in the lot was available. The lot is on a steep hill, and all the spots are absurdly narrow, even for cars, much less the enormous SUVs parked there by all those environmentally-conscious vegans. I drive a small 2-door car, but because it is a coupe, it requires more space than a sedan for opening the longer door.

My favorite spot has a space for motorcycle parking next to it on the driver's side. There is never a motorcycle there. Thus, I can get out and back into my car without pretzeling myself and/or having the car door close on my legs thanks to gravity from the hill. I have abandoned my shopping plans many times because that parking lot is such a hassle.

Though today I got lucky. Now if only those SUV-driving veganistas would stop micro-managing the packing of their precious bags at the check-out, we all might get done in a reasonable amount of time.

Jul 25, 2015
bitchincook in Not About Food

trip from Phoenix to San Diego

I-8 is definitely the way to go. It is a generally easy drive, with relatively little truck traffic, and the speed limit is 75 in most of Arizona. That is your first clue that there's not much in the way of unique, interesting places to stop along the way. The biggest town you'll pass through is Yuma. If you are interested in history, there is jewel of a museum there. I don't know about restaurants there though. From I-8, Yuma appears to be a giant strip mall punctuated by car dealerships and mobile home parks. It goes on for miles.

I make the trip from Tucson to San Diego often enough, and actually my favorite place to stop is the In and Out Burger in El Centro, California. It's clean, and the food is a major cut above typical fast food fare.

Jul 20, 2015
bitchincook in Phoenix

Substitute for cilantro?

To me it tastes like soap, but others say it tastes like citrus. So I go with that idea and use lemon and/or lime zest, plus some basil or parsley for color.

Jul 19, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

There's No Such Thing As Bad…

I would bet that there is not and has never been any actual cheese in it. Just artificial, imitation, cheese-like fake food.

Jul 18, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

Do you bake your own cakes or cookies ?

I keep the freezer full of home-baked chocolate chip cookies made with almond meal substituting for half the flour and Amaretto instead of vanilla. They are lower in carbs than the traditional recipe and much tastier, in my opinion. Ironically, I started making these five years ago when my husband developed diabetes and had to lose weight and reduce his carb consumption. He was able to find the discipline to do that as he knew he could have a couple of these cookies in the evening as a reward for staying with the new plan. He lost all the weight, has stayed slim, and his blood sugar is normal. So now he allows himself a small glass of Amaretto with his cookies. When the supply in the freezer gets low, he tells me we have a "cookie crisis," so I bake some more.

Thinning the herd. Getting my cookbooks down to a reasonable number

This reminds me a little bit of a conversation with my adult daughter a few years ago when I was trying to decide which cookbooks to take with me to a temporary summer house. She remarked, English major that she was in college, that it would be like trying to decide which of your children to bring along.

IMHO, lose the currently hip preoccupation with decluttering for its own sake. If you have more than a dozen books that you love, keep them!

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

My husband loves these mini pies.

Jul 07, 2015
bitchincook in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

I like the 365 brand from Whole Foods much better. Sure, I could mess around with the timing and oven temp for Trader Taters, and that might even rescue them from the flabby mess that they were. But why bother? IMHO, if a company can't be bothered to actually test its products when prepared according to the direction on the package, why should I dick around with their stuff?

Jul 07, 2015
bitchincook in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

Nay for Trader's Tater Tots, at least if cooked per the directions on the bag. Mushy, tasteless, bleh! The rest of the bag is going to the landfill.

Jul 06, 2015
bitchincook in Chains

Food you cook out of love

Pasta. I'm generally not a fan, as all those carbs leave me hungry in an hour or two, but DH loves the stuff.

Jul 06, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

Does this product exist?

You know how when you walk through the door into a supermarket, you sometimes feel a blast of air coming down on your head? That's because they use air pressure to keep insects from getting in. They use it in the back, too, at the loading dock. While that might not be enough to get rid of bugs already hanging out in the crates of produce that is brought in, it certainly helps by keeping random fruit and/or other flies from getting in the store to set up camp.

Jul 01, 2015
bitchincook in Not About Food

Your favorite non-food-related items that get tons of use in the kitchen

Needlenose pliars for pulling bones out of raw salmon and other fish.


AJ's Fine Foods usually has it at the butcher counter. You might want to call ahead to make sure they have it when you want it, (sometimes their selection is more limited in the summer.) They will always be happy to order it for you, which takes one day.

Jun 22, 2015
bitchincook in Southwest

Ever considered writing a cookbook?

I am very good at reinventing leftovers into something entirely new and different, often better than the original, and I thought about doing a book on how to do that. But then I looked on Amazon to see what's going on in that category, and basically, you can barely give it away. So I gave up on that idea, though my family and friends continue to say that I do my best work with leftovers. And they don't even mean it as an insult.

Jun 12, 2015
bitchincook in Not About Food

how do couples handle dinner?

My guy and I moved in to a new place after we got married, and it was "our" place, which changed the whole dynamic compared to how it had been before. That said, I pretty much took charge of the kitchen, or at least the cooking. I spent the first three years of our marriage learning how to cook, rather than just heat processed food up, working mainly with Julia Child's first book and the Joy of Cooking, 1975 edition. My new husband ate everything quite happily and even scrubbed the pots and pans.

Then kids came along, and my culinary adventures got decidedly more practical, especially as I had a high pressure job. My guy still ate it all gleefully, and also was fine with scrubbing the pots and pans.

Eventually the kids grew up and we retired, and I got more adventurous once again in the kitchen. My cookbook collection has grown from Julia and Joy to maybe 300 volumes. No matter what I try, he still eats it happily. And he still scrubs the pots and pans, very happy, from what he tells me, to be on this adventure together.

What's For Dinner #369 - Is It Really Summer?? [through June 15, 2015]

Here in Tucson it is pretty much always summer, at least during the daytime. Tonight I'm hoping to grill some fish if they have anything decent at the store. Otherwise, I'll make pizza.

I have a friend who rarely puts food in the fridge who is still alive .

My mom put stuff in the refrigerator, but for her own crazy reasons, she kept that fridge as warm as it would go. I am still alive, too, but I could have done without all those cases of food poisoning as a child.

Odd flavors - i.e. Cilantro tastes like soap or some foods taste like mold.....(?)

So you are suggesting that your uncle's aversion to cilantro was psychosomatic? Stick it my salad and sit next to me, and you will get it barfed all over your supercillious lap!