bitchincook's Profile

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How do you deal with the compulsive need for everyone to like your food?

My sister-in-law criticizes just about everything I make, claiming that she would be fine with just vegetables. At first it really got to me, as I try hard to please my guests. Eventually I learned that she is more or less a professional orthorexic, and nothing I could ever serve her, except maybe boiled tofu atop lettuce from an organic farmers's market, would shut her up.

So now I make whatever I want. She can eat it, or not. I don't care. All the more for the rest of us!

Recipes for Impromptu Casual Summer Entertaining?

I like to keep a jar of caponata in the refrigerator for this kind of ad hoc entertaining. I always have crackers around, as well as a baguette in the freezer, to serve it with.

May 17, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

large shrimp and grilling

I can barely get my husband to eat shrimp as it is. He'd balk entirely if he had to pull the shells off of them at the table.

May 16, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

New veggie side dish recipes, please!

I agree with you on the spinach-chard thing. I absolutely love spinach, but more often than not, chard tastes like dirt to me. Kale, on the other hand, is just fine. Especially when quickly cooked in a bit of chicken broth and then sprinkled with crisp bits of bacon.

May 16, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Eating in Paris with a young toddler

Speaking as someone who lived in Paris with two young children, one of whom was born there, I think you should reconsider bringing a toddler to fine restaurants for dinner. It is just not done, and you would be made to feel extremely unwelcome. I would suggest trying to get an English-speaking babysitter for your child. The US consulate used to maintain a list of them, though I don't know if they still do.

May 12, 2015
bitchincook in France

Are you going to toss it . Or just hold onto it forever ?

Good question!

I have a jumble of junk in my house, for sure. Closets that need purging. Piles of magazines, catalogs and so on in a tower threatening to block the view to the TV.

But in my kitchen, order reigns. Spices are arranged inalphabetical order. The same is true of my collection of various kinds of rice. My collection of vinegars is displayed for easy selection. My cookbook library could use some dusting, but still it's organized and reasonably accessible. The same could never be said for my shoes, for instance. So in the end, apparently my willingness to organize my stuff is directly related to what said stuff means to me.

Are you going to toss it . Or just hold onto it forever ?

Generally, my house is a jumble of junk that I should have thrown out long ago. But not my kitchen. There, everything is fresh and/or ripe and ready to rock. This seriously shows me where my true priorities are.

May 09, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

Dinner Party Menu Question

At the risk of going against the tide here, I'll say I'd do the salad. While the potato salad has lots of vegetables, its base, potatoes and peas, are on the filling side, and I'd appreciate a lighter salad option to balance that out.

Also, given that you are going with a Mediterranean theme, somehow the brownie pie and marshmallows really seem wrong. How about fresh ripe fruit and dark chocolate truffles instead? I know that truffles aren't exactly Greek, but you sould certainly find them in the south of France.

May 05, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Epicurious gone bad on iPad

I am a big fan of Epicurious, but lately whenever I try to find a recipe on my iPad mini, moments after the recipe comes up the screen darkens and they want me to watch some bleeping video, selling cars or some such carp, before they will show the recipe.

Bad enough that this happens once, the first time viewing a recipe, but if I am dumb enough to endure this annoyance, start going on the recipe, close the flap on my iPad to conserve the bsttery while chopping one thing or another, I open it up again to find out about the next ingredient, and there is the dark screen and bleeping video all over again.

It's enough to make me dust off my cookbooks, quite literally.

Apr 30, 2015
bitchincook in Food Media & News

Chipotle is now GMO-free.

It is harmful if it feeds the groundless fear.

Do you love the concept of organic peanut butter but just hate the mess?

I make my own, as much as I need at the time, by putting organic peanuts in my mini food processor.

Apr 18, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

Made a pork pot roast (I think)! Exciting. But puzzled.

Your technique is by far the most common, though I have seen recipes that call for adding the raw onions into the liquid. My mother used to make pork chops that way, and the end result was translucent onions that were very tasty. Of course, that was back in the day when pork chops were succulent and delicious.

Apr 11, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Help with braised lamb ideas

I might cut it into cubes and marinate it in Greek seasonings and make shish kebabs.

Apr 11, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Are you the main shopper/cook at home?

I agree that it can get tiresome to find inspiration, especially as the availability of foods that make me want to cook continues to shrink in the stores. Whole Foods, once a showcase of beautiful produce, fish practically straight from the boat, a vast array of meat and an excellent bakery, has become a place catering mostly to gluten freaks, take-out fans and veg heads.

Safeway, formerly a pillar of mediocrity, has given way to the tastes of its investment banker owners for profits. Good luck finding fish there that isn't farmed, or meat that hasn't spent months in some cyropack.

Lacking inspiration from what looks good at the market, I sometimes ask my husband what he's in the mood for for dinner. His answer, always, is "good food." Sometimes I just want to hang up my apron.

how to use a new mold?

I'm not sure what you are asking, either, but I'll add a tip based on my experience using a silicone mold to make a semi-freddo. These kinds of molds are not rigid and tend to flop around. Be sure to put it on something sturdy, like a baking sheet, before you attempt to fill it. In my case, I put the mold inside a metal bowl of the same size before I put it in the freezer. Otherwise I probably would have had chocolate hazelnut goo all over the insides of the appliance.

Also, it turned out to be more difficult to remove the frozen dessert from the mold than I expected. It certainly didn't just pop out. So be sure to grease it if you are baking something. If you are freezing something, you can dip the mold in hot water for a moment to help loosen its grip on the food.

Apr 06, 2015
bitchincook in Cookware

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015 [OLD]

Yay for the Mini Pie Medley. They really are tiny, but they are tasty, and they satisfy my husband's appetite for some kind of pie after dinner. The thing I have to remember is to turn or keep the oven on when I'm done cooking dinner, as they bake in only eight minutes but it takes ten for the oven to heat up. The thing he has to remember is to turn the oven off after he removes his mini pie. (Last night he forgot, and the oven was on all night.)

Apr 03, 2015
bitchincook in Chains

eggplant Parmesan

Traditional Eggplant Parmesan does not involve Parmesan cheese at all. "Melanzane alla Parmigina," its Italian name, means eggplant in the style of Parma. The latter refers to the region, not the cheese. Classically, the dish is made with mozzarella cheese. (Though some cooks, including myself, like to add some Parmesan and Fontina for the extra flavor they bring.)

Apr 01, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Godiva has never been great, but do people agree it's gotten worse?

Godiva, originally a Belgian company, was acquired by a Turkish company in 2008. The chocolate hasn't been any good since then, IMHO.

Mar 27, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

Tucson (+ some Phoenix) Report

Sadly, Bluefin is closing. The new owners of Casa Adobes want to jack up the rent, so the restaurant is moving out when its lease expires in late May.

Mar 14, 2015
bitchincook in Southwest

So I made a mistake....

I'm not convinced that they are not good to roast, grill or whatever you had planned to do with them. Around here the Safeway sells pork sirloin roasts that are actually much tastier than the typical loin roast. And they are not tough at all. To the contrary, they seem to be a bit better marbled and are harder to ruin. So give the chops a shot. You might be surprised.

Any thoughts about Feast in Tucson?

It's one of my favorite places. The chef, Doug Levy, is very creative, but where he truly is brilliant is when it comes to pairing food and wine. Take a look at the menu, decide what you want, then ask your server if Doug is available to discuss wine options. Chances are, he will show up, ask what you are having, and then return with several very reasonably priced wine options, which he will then describe in delightful detail.

If you happen to get there when he is swamped in the kitchen, and they send over a waiter named Kevin instead, you are still okay. Kevin knows his stuff just as well.

But ironically, whatever you do, don't go to one of their wine-tasting events, which are grossly over-priced, unlike the generally very reasonable prices at the restaurant.

Feb 28, 2015
bitchincook in Southwest

Smoked Salmon

I have found that if the slices are nearly impossible to separate, chance are good the fish was packaged upside down, presumably to hide that unattractive gray-brown center part. I flip the whole slab of it over and can then usually remove the slices easily.

Feb 26, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics

Dinner ideas for a family with food restrictions!

I have wrestled with feeding a similar crowd, and the frustration and literal headaches that ensued made me reconsider my strategy of trying to please everyone with every dish. Instead, I make a big variety of good food, and they can pick and choose to suit their preferences. It works for me, and I no longer feel held hostage to the limitations that would otherwise be imposed if I tried to cater to everyone's particular diet-of-the-month.

February 2015 COTM "MIGHTY SPICE COOKBOOK" Reporting thread for Chapters 3 & 4

I made these with the uncooked tortillas you get in the refrigerator section of the supermarket, Tortilla Land, I think. I cooked them in a dry pan first and then had no trouble rolling them up around the meat. I didn't fry them after that. Instead, I put them on a baking sheet, brushed them lightly with oil, and then stuck them in a hot oven for a few minutes, just long enough to melt the mozarella.

Otherwise, my opinion of the recipe is that the meat needed a lot more seasoning. Just some cumin and sumac was not enough.

Breadcrumb topping for mac & cheese

Definitely use panko. Dot with butter, and either stick it under the broiler or give it a few minutes in a hot oven.

Feb 12, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

February 2015 COTM "MIGHTY SPICE COOKBOOK" Reporting thread for Chapters 1 & 2

Vietnamese Chicken with Chili and Lemongrass p. 56.

This was a big hit in my house tonight, though I modified it a bit. By the time I was done trimming all the fat and gristle off the pound of chicken thighs, there wasn't a whole lot of meat left, so I wound up adding peanuts at the end. Also, I substituted basil for the soap, err, cilantro. And I couldn't find a red chili, so I used a Serrano. Interestingly, said chili was plenty hot when I tasted a bit of it raw, though it lost almost all its heat after being cooked. Next time I'll ramp up the heat a bit. I served it with brown basmati rice and a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and shallots dressed with seasoned rice vinegar. Not a bite was left.

Feb 11, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

The new Epicurious

I just tried to use it and could not find the advanced search function, so I found this information on the site:

"To access the Advanced Search tool, click Advanced Search at the top left corner of the main Epicurious.com navigation header, right under Recipes & Menus."

I tried that, and the advanced search link did not appear on Safari or Firefox. Do they even test this stuff?

A head-banging half-hour later, I finally figured out what to do. Click on the magnifying glass to the right of the search box. A page will come up with a bunch of distracting photos of random recipes on one side and a bunch of boxes to check if you want to browse the recipe database on the other side. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, you will finally see a link to the advanced search function.

This is not an improvement, IMHO!

Feb 04, 2015
bitchincook in Food Media & News

How have you used oats in a savory way?

I put ground uncooked oatmeal in the meatballs I made for a party attended by a relative who is a gluten freak.

Feb 04, 2015
bitchincook in Home Cooking

Small Food Processor?

I had a Cuisinart Mini-Prep, but it broke down after less than a year of infrequent use. I replaced it with a KitchenAid model, and that one has been going strong for close to ten years.

Feb 02, 2015
bitchincook in Cookware

what is best water for tea?

For me, the most important thing is that the water has to be fresh, not something that has been sitting around in the pipes. Otherwise the tea will taste flat.

I like to put in a load of wash in the laundry room adjacent to the kitchen before I fill the kettle in the morning. The washing machine draws all the water that has been sitting in the pipes under the house all night long, and I get fresher water for my tea. It really makes a difference.

Jan 27, 2015
bitchincook in General Topics