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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.

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
1

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

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.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

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.

Jan 26, 2015
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 [Old]

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
1

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

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
1

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.
http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/s...

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.