bitchincook's Profile

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Lamb Burger question(s)...

My favorite recipe for preparing lamb burgers is something I have been making for years, and I'd never call it bland.


The texture of the finished burger depends on how much you cook it. It will be relatively soft if it's on the rare side, and it will firm up considerably the more you cook it. While I like lamb chops and leg of lamb medium rare, I actually prefer to grill the lamb burger closer to well-done mostly for this reason.

The taste of the burgers as well as the tzatziki sauce improves considerably if you mix up the meat and make the sauce at least several hours ahead of time. The flavors need time to develop. I have found that the extra tzatziki sauce keeps for months, literally, in the refrigerator, so I make a big batch.

about 23 hours ago
bitchincook in Home Cooking

What's the point of celery in recipes?

No taste? To me, anyhow, celery has a lovely fresh, mild taste. The flavor is especially concentrated in the leaves.

I accidentally soaked a filet in water

This has happened to me as well, and the meat wound up tasting fine after I dried it off and cooked it anyway. I made an extra tasty sauce for it, just in case the meat had lost some flavor, which it really hadn't.

Jan 24, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

Re "Cooked" by Michael Pollan

I haven't read the book, but I'll add my two cents, from the perspective of a married mother who had a high pressure career while at the same time raising two kids.

Was I tired when I got home from work? Absolutely, though my exhaustion was mostly mental and emotional, from the stress of my job, as opposed to physical. I worked at a desk. It was not as though my feet ached from standing all day or I was worn out from physical labor.

Were there evenings when I wanted nothing more than to order pizza and crash? Certainly, and that's what I did.

But most of the time I doffed my work clothes, donned my apron, and actually cooked something good for my kids and my husband. They are my favorite people in the world, and if I'm going to cook for anyone, I'm going to cook for them.

That is not to say that all those meals were complicated or time-consuming to prepare. Far from it! Still, I had a reliable bunch of menus I could make that were easy and that everyone would enjoy.

We ate those dinners together practically every night. And when the kids were grown and DH and I had sold the house and the movers were scheduled to come the next day, the four of us had one last dinner at that kitchen table reminiscing about all the good times we had had there over the years. Eyes were decidedly misty, and not just mine.

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

The secret to my excellent turkey gravy is a generous glug of Gravy Master. When I moved West, I looked in every store in town and couldn't find it. I even contacted the company, which is based in Maine, and they said it wasn't sold in the West. I seriously considered moving back to Virginia. But instead I wound up enlisting the help of my son, who still lives there, and he sends me secret care packages of The magical stuff when my supply runs low.

Bon Appetit's Food Lover's Cleanse

Gag me! This only shows how far Conde Nast, publisher of the iconic magazine, Gourmet, had fallen.

Jan 20, 2015
bitchincook in Food Media & News

Anyone else over Guy Fierri?

What you need to do is mute the sound and read the captions. Then it's an entirely different experience, as his voice is grating.

Food Safety - store sell-by date vs USDA recommendation

Your government lies to you, sadly enough. I first figured this out as a young, idealistic, woefully naive new college grad trying to learn to make a simple roast beef in my new apartment far from home. I cooked I don't know how many hunks of meat to the USDA recommended temp of 145 for rare, only to discover that the meat was hopelessly overdone. I am embarrassed to admit how many meat thermometers I threw out, thinking that somehow as I was always getting bad ones, like some sort of horrible roast beef karma.

It took an embarassingly long time, but eventually I figured it out. There was nothing wrong with all those thermometers. The USDA lies.

And as much as they lie about doneness temperatures, they also lie about how long meat can be kept. They would have you toss out all your Thanksgiving turkey two days after Thanksgiving, for example.

I know that we have many bigger issues to deal with, but if they can't get this right, why are they even in the business if telling us whay to eat or how long to cook and/or store it?

Pat peeves as a guest at a dinner party?

On the subject of the bathroom, please have a functioning lock. I don't know how many times I've been to houses without them. Though my worst experience involved a lock that jammed and wouldn't let me out.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - January 2015

I buy the wild sockeye all the time, and I have found a solution to the slicing problem. Sometimes it seems like the salmon isn't sliced properly, if at all, which makes it hard to remove flat pieces from the package. When that happens, I take the whole slab out of the package and turn it upside down. It's almost always perfectly sliced that way, but the unattractive gray-brownish center of the fish is visible, so I am guessing that they package it upside down to hide that.

Jan 15, 2015
bitchincook in Chains

How Would YOU Revive Chowhound?

One factor that is a disincentive to post is the way the site kicks you off and forces you to log back in every two weeks, or so it seems. This seems absolutely unnecessary, and there are times when it has annoyed me enough that I just say to he11 with it.

Jan 13, 2015
bitchincook in Site Talk

Discontinued at Trader Joe's: January 2015 - June 2015

Whole Foods 365 Brand tonic water is made with real sugar and is cheap as well, less than $3 for a 6-pack.

Jan 06, 2015
bitchincook in Chains

Weight Watchers Foodies - The Date is January, the Time is Now! January 2015 Edition

I am curious why this thread is in Home Cooking instead of Special Diets. It really doesn't seem to fit here. Any moderators care to answer?

Jan 06, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Hand Mixers

There is no gluten in potatoes. That said, I agree that whipping potatoes can make them gluey and using a ricer is far preferable.

Dec 31, 2014
bitchincook in Cookware

Winter brunch menu

I was looking for something different to make for Christmas brunch and I came up with this puff-pastry encased savory pie.

It could probably use a bit of pepping up from adding Parmesan to the ricotta, but otherwise, it seems like a contender. One good thing about it is that you can assemble it a day ahead of time and then just bake it when you need it, so you won't be captive in the kitchen.

Dec 29, 2014
bitchincook in Home Cooking

May I vent? (living with a reasonably Chowish person who isn't quite a Chowhound..)

I'd figure that I had failed to specify what kind of bread I wanted, so it wouldn't be fair to send him back to the store. I'd go to the store, and I'd put the bread he did buy in the freezer for some time when it was more appropriate.

Dec 29, 2014
bitchincook in Not About Food

Christmas Dinner Highlights and Lowlifes

It does not matter what kind of "bad place" she may have been in. She is an adult, and her behavior was simply inexcusable.

cooked fish smells bad - is it ok?

"When in doubt, throw it out." I'm not sure where that adage came from, but it's what I go by.

Dec 27, 2014
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Best ways to make use of a food processor?

In addition to the uses mentioned by others, I find my food processor indispensable for making to most out of leftover meat and poultry. I grind it up and use it in Enchiladas, Shepard's Pie, Tamale pie, Pastitsio, Moussaka, to name just a few things. Thanks to my food processor, leftovers in my house are never just reheated second-rate versions of the original meal. They take on an entirely new, exciting identity.

Dec 26, 2014
bitchincook in Cookware

What do you not order in restaurants...

Tea. Unless I know that the restaurant knows how to serve it, and isn't going to bring me a mug of lukewarm water with a large wooden box from which I am supposed to select a tea bag.


Good luck getting any decent fond in a non-stick pan. So no, the food just will not be as good.

Dear Santa, . . .

Dear Santa,

What I'd really like would be for a certain relative who is on the "must invite to every holiday meal" list to get off her gluten free kick. I would like more than anything to be able once again to plan menus without having to take her latest food fad into account.

Though inevitably, she'll sign on for the next one, whatever that may be.

So Santa, I've changed my mind. I'd like you to deliver this relative a one-way ticket to some place that she would like to go that is very, very far away.

30-35 guests expected for my son's 1st birthday lunch celebration. What alcohol should I serve?

What does this question have to do with the Southwest?

Dec 18, 2014
bitchincook in Spirits

Do you have family/friends who don't appreciate good home cooking?

I'm wondering if your mom may be Irish. I ask because on the Irish side of my family, we kids (back then) were told frequently that the adults had forgotten things that we would never know. It was meant to put us in our place, part of a general cultural belief that you should never praise a child, lest you "feed the devil."

Dec 16, 2014
bitchincook in Not About Food

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

Sedimental, If I weren't already hitched, I'd definitely look you up.

Servers who pick up dishes but not flatware between courses: was I rude to bring this up?

I wouldn't have made that comment, but I would have been annoyed. I am buying two courses. I want each to come with its own plate and its own clean silverware. My husband agrees with me, and all things considered, we prefer to patronize restaurants that are a cut above the "save your fork" level of "service."

Help me plan an impressive and romantic dinner menu featuring California Spiny Lobster?

Epicurious has a recipe for Spiny Lobsters in Crazy Water that might work for you for the main course.

Dec 12, 2014
bitchincook in Home Cooking

One pot cooking. Really?

For me, there are at least three reasons to do it in one pan. First and most important is to allow the fond to develop, which translates into the most flavor, as others have mentioned.

Second, I tend to use the time when the meat is browning to prep the vegetables, and in that case, using two pans does not save any time at all.

Lastly, while washing pots and pans may be quick, my hands do not do well in hot soapy water at all as I have eczema; they tend to chap, crack and bleed. (Wearing gloves is a major annoyance. What do you do with dripping wet gloves when you are done with them?) So generally my husband is the pot-washer. He is fine with one and okay with two, but give him more than that, and I don't hear the end of it.

Dec 10, 2014
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Kitchen venting

That vent next to the stove would probably be better than nothing, but still, don't expect much. I have a cook top with a powerful Vent-a-Hood above it, and while it works fine for the stove, it is next to useless for any smoke or fumes coming from the adjacent wall oven. Indeed, it was useless in capturing smoke from the oven on Thanksgiving, when I cranked it up to 450 to roast some vegetables after having used to it roast the turkey. The smoke alarm went off, and the fire department called.

Dec 09, 2014
bitchincook in Cookware

What's For Dinner #338 - Winter Wonderland Edition [through 12/14/14]

Sunny and in the 70s here in Tucson, (payback from summer when it's 110+ in the shade) so dinner will probably be something on the grill. I'm thinking of steak with fried onion rings and Greek salad.