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Strip T's increasing funkiness

Well now the secret is *really* out, the place was reviewed in the Cheap Eats column of the Globe, at http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/...

Nov 09, 2011
luvsummer in Greater Boston Area

Strip T's increasing funkiness

We've been fans of strip-T's for a long time but hadn't been in a while, so were caught by surprise by the new menu. Surprised, and blown away. What a gem! I had the grilled octupus, which was fantastic, tender and flavorful. My partner had a special, the central American tripe stew. We split a small plate app, pumpkin toast with quanciale, and a small caesar salad. The cheese toast was the least successful, the very chewy quanciale made it tough to either cut or eat as finger food. But everything was delicious and the menu had so many intriguing items that we wanted to try. The attention to detail was amazing, from the very finely julienned apple strips on the stew, the beautiful fennel fronds on the octopus, the artistically arranged plates, it all felt like a much more expensive restaurant but still in the funky neighborhood joint. We'll definitely be back and not wait so long this time.

Oct 01, 2011
luvsummer in Greater Boston Area

Corningware French White

I have a big oval casserole that I've had for many, many years. It has a fine crack on the inside which doesn't seem to be enlarging, though it does make me nervous.

May 04, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

front loading coffeemaker

The DeLonghi DCF210TTC gets about 3.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon, the best rating of their front loaders.

Apr 22, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Safe, easy gas stove/oven for elderly parents

Are you sure you want a gas stove? I'd be nervous about sleeves catching in the flames, or them forgetting to turn them off.

I'd be inclined to use a combination of microwave and maybe an induction burner. If they make tea you can get electric kettles that automatically shut off if they boil dry. If they do more extensive cooking, perhaps an electric flat-top stove. We have a flat-top cooktop and a separate electric wall oven. The stovetop knobs are all front and center, and I put bright orange electrical tape on them to make it easier for my low vision SO to use. An induction cooktop might also be nice, although they're pricey.

Apr 20, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Searching for Le Creuset Eggplant Cassarole 2.5 qrt

There's a ceramic one, I think, on a Virginia Craig's list. It's got an old date but still looks like an active listing: http://lynchburg.craigslist.org/hsh/2... I like the cast iron one that does appear occasionally on eBay, but can't justify the price.

I have bought some inexpensive cast iron veggies over the years that I like just as much, from QVC and other places.

Apr 19, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Help me replace my Weber?

You may also want to scan sites like Craig's List to look for a second-hand Weber. If they're taken care of they can last a long time.

Apr 12, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Where do you put your cutting board?

Mine are on the counter leaning against the wall a couple of feet from the sink. I was wandering Bed, Bath, and Beyond once and found a stainless steel compact dish strainer, about 6" wide, that was on the clearance rack because the cutlery holder was missing. It's perfect for cutting boards because, while I towel them briefly after I wash them, there may still be a little dripping and the drainer lets air circulate.

http://www.amazon.com/Polder-6115-75-...

Apr 11, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Mother's Day gift - rec for vintage percolator

I'd go for the 1st one, since she wants 12 cups and it's clearly made in the Bronx. The 3rd one probably is too, given the bubble top. That seller is correct that the broken stem probably makes no difference--the stem of my 8 cup has a similar fault and it doesn't seem to make any difference. The 1st one starts out cheaper, but who knows what will happen by the end of the auction.

Apr 03, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Mother's Day gift - rec for vintage percolator

The classic Farberware percolator, especially if you can find an old one made in New York, instead of China, would be a good choice. They come in 4, 8, or 12 cup models. So many were sold that they're pretty commonly seen at tag sales, thrift shops, etc.

Apr 02, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Discolored AC LTD saucepan safe to cook in? Pls advice....

One of our favorite pots is a 4 qt. AC saucepan that someone rescued, believe it or not, from a dumpster. Most of the anodized coating was scraped off and we just used steel wool to complete the process, so now it looks like a somewhat-scuffed MC2 pot. It holds a simmer beautifully on our electric stove, something that's difficult to achieve with many pots. The dumpster diving didn't result in a matching lid, so we've been using an 8" cake pan with a knob screwed on for a lid--not pretty, but it seems to work.

Apr 01, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Weber Grill Grates.

I'm starting my 3rd summer with a Weber gas grill with east-west grates. It's a nice quality grill and I've learned to use it, but do honestly think that north-south burners make MUCH more sense if you do much indirect cooking. Though I haven't seen them in person, it sounds like the redesigned Genesis is a great idea, and having two side tables instead of one is just icing on the cake.

Mine came with stainless grates. I've thought about getting cast iron but haven't bitten yet. I do have a cast iron "grilling platter" (http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-Pre-S...), found much cheaper at a warehouse store, if I want something that will really hold the heat. But the Weber preheats to over 500 deg. in about 10 minutes, so it's plenty hot.

Mar 29, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Oven mitts?

I just bought some new mitts at TJ Maxx. they're silicone outside and quilted fabric insider, and they come up quite high on the hands. They're not perfect: a little big in the hands for me and a bit awkward, but they're certainly protective. I've been making no-knead bread so handling heavy iron pots in a 450 degree oven, so they come in handy. The nice thing about silicone is that they're washable.

Mar 26, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Preparing Foods w/Arthritic Hands

We've also lately become a big fan of those pre-prepped green beans, either from BJ's or Trader Joe's. They're trimmed, washed, all we have to do is dump them in a pan. Baby spinach comes that way too, and some of it you can even microwave in the pan. It's more expensive, but the grocery stores have more and more in the way of cut-up fruits and veggies. If it means a night free of pain, it's worth the upcharge. If you already belong to Costco, check out their other options. We go to BJ's and buy trimmed broccoli florets, big bags of mixed lettuce spring mix, the green beans; I'm sure Costco has similar offerings. Trader Joe often has such things but in sizes more practical for smaller households. Think of it as healthy fast food.

My mother had bad arthritis in her hands, and I suspect it's in my future as well. She often wore gloves around the house since keeping her hands warm really helped. Cold really affected her; she watched me pull the giblets out of a still partially frozen turkey once and really squirmed imagining that cold. Make sure you let the tap water run long enough to get warm before you wash your hands or the dishes.

I worked with a woman who found that wearing sturdy rubber gloves seemed to give her hands more strength, especially when doing things like vacuuming. I'm not sure why, but she swore by it. Worth a try!

Mar 26, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Preparing Foods w/Arthritic Hands

One of my cousins invented and trued, unsuccessfully, to market a similar gadget. It was a smallish cutting board, maybe 8 x 11, and a companion serrated knife with a slot near the tip that fit into a pin in the cutting board, holding the tip of the knife in place. The whole thing did operate similar to an office paper slicer, but you could take it apart easily for washing.

It was a great idea, but to keep it at an infomercial price point the quality just wasn't there. I use it a couple of times a year for scoring an "X"into chestnuts, it's perfect for that. And I suppose it might be useful for those with hand problems. It would be nice if it was made of better quality materials.

The cousin has a lot of them still in the garage, I can ask him if he'd consider selling them on eBay or something if people here think there'd be interest.

Mar 26, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Staub Elite?

I was in TJ Maxx/Homegoods yesterday and saw a yellow 5 qt. dutch oven for $40 in the Staub Elite line. There was only one, so I bought it, figuring if I didn't then it probably wouldn't be left if I decided later that I wanted it. I'm still dithering. I have a 5 qt. Martha Stewart which has been fine for the couple of months I've owned it, but it's VERY heavy, heavier than my 7 qt. LC. My thinking was perhaps to keep the Staub and give the Martha Stewart to a strong young male relative. The Staub is thinner walled, similar to a LC, making it much lighter, although oddly the lid is actually heavier than the pot. The enamel is on the thin side, with a layer of gray iron peeking through at the bottom edge, and a couple of tiny pinholes elsewhere. On the other hand the lid fits much better than on my LC and it's got a neat feature where the handle on the lid fits into the pot handle so you can park the lid while stirring the contents. It is evidently a budget line of Staub, still made in France, that was sold by QVC--their description is still on line, although it's no longer in stock. Reviews gave it 4 stars out of 5, although there are enough negative reviews to give me pause.

http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/vi...

At this point I'm likely to return it, but am wondering if there's any other wisdom out there about it.

Mar 20, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Recipe booklets that come with cookware

It depends on the appliance. Crockpot, yes; pressure cooker, yes; my first microwave in the early 80's, yes (it had a hollandaise recipe that actually worked pretty well, though I've probably lost it).

News flash, good ol' google--I found that recipe! http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/ubbs/arc...

A new enameled cast iron post (bought on eBay, originally from QVC) came with a recipe booklet and on a whim I tried one of them, a Spanish rice and chicken. It wasn't bad, though kind of 70's-ish. My mother-in-law evidently used to make something very similar years ago.

Mar 17, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Should I upgrade to LeCreuset or All-Clad Stainless?

I'm not sure that's any bargain nowadays. The Calphalon pots from 25 years ago were MUCH heavier and thicker than the ones sold today, from what I've seen. Even with the anodizing worn off, an old one might be preferable.

Mar 17, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Should I upgrade to LeCreuset or All-Clad Stainless?

Great choice on the dutch oven, and I'm jealous of your brasier! I can't really justify that piece but just lust after it.

For future purchases: my own preference would be to get a stainless pot in your 3-4 qt. size, since I'd want to avoid the weight of cast iron for something that you're likely lifting pretty frequently. Unless your pockets are fairly deep I don't know if I'd bother with All-Clad for something used to heat rice, soup, vegetables, and pasta. You won't go wrong with All-Clad, but it may be overkill--though that said, my spouse loves our 4 qt. saucepan in All-Clad's brushed aluminum exterior. If price *is* an issue, maybe consider another brand's clad cookware like Tramontina. For pasta, my family either uses a relatively inexpensive 6 qt. stainless pot with a disc bottom, or an 8 or 10 qt. stainless pot with colander insert that we got for about $30 at a warehouse store. It's been great. I don't see the need for expensive cladding for a pot to boil water, though on my smooth-top electric stove I do really need a very flat bottom, which the disc bottom provides. I feel the same way about roasting pans--if you're using dry heat for a piece of meat on a rack, why buy expensive cladding? I *can* see getting something heavy and durable, since I warped my 9 x 13 stainless pan by heating it on a burner to make gravy after a roast was out of the oven, but I personally wouldn't buy a $200 All-Clad. I'm also of the school that buys a new non-stick frying pan every few years, sticking with something inexpensive. Obviously you'll find very different opinions here, it will be interesting to see the advice you get.

Mar 16, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Newspaper columnist's rant against foodie culture

I have to admit, this gave me a good chuckle:

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

Mar 15, 2011
luvsummer in Food Media & News

Stainless Steel Skillet with Thickest Aluminum Disk/Base

I have a Sitram Profisserie large saute pan and its aluminum disk is about 1/4" thick. The pan flares out a bit beyond the disk, which I know bothers some people, but we have really enjoyed the pan for a number of years now and probably use it 3-4 times a week. It cleans up very well. Ours has a helper handle, which they may not make any more since I didn't see it on line.

Mar 15, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Le Creuset 3 1/2 qt low oval @ Amazon for $97.75

I ordered this, too, when Blondelle posted it. Then a couple of weeks later I was in Marshall's and bought a 2.75 qt. regular oval for a little cheaper, so I canceled the Amazon order. I was a little sorry later I did, since the 2.75 qt. may be a little small. So far I've just used it for no-knead bread, it's a nice size to do an elongated loaf. If I were you I'd contact Amazon and complain that the item isn't as described, see if you can convince them to send you the stainless knob.

Mar 11, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Embarrassing gadget you love?

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a fascinating piece about the rotisserie and other gadgets by Ron Popeil. It's at http://www.gladwell.com/2000/2000_10_....

Mar 09, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Griswold Skillets--Values vs. Prices?

I wish I'd had that advice when I bought an otherwise good shape Griswold a few years ago. It turned out to be warped to the point where it spun on my smooth-top electric stove, which needs an absolutely flat-bottomed pan. I gave it to a relative who has a gas stove, figuring that could handle a slightly warped pan better.

Mar 09, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Throwdown: Toaster Oven vs. Microwave

I only had a toaster oven for a few years a long time ago and haven't missed its absence. But when our microwave broke we went out in a snowstorm to replace it! Sure I could live without it, but it's awfully convenient for a lot of things, mostly mentioned below. Add to that heating a damp towel or a buckwheat-filled pillow for a compress and cooking veggies, especially asparagus. Many mornings I make a single egg in a teacup in the microwave, the perfect size for an English muffin sandwich in 53 seconds.

After reading the CI article about toaster ovens I thought I'd try the Breville IF I had the counter space--which I don't--plus the $250 price tag made me wince. We keep a toaster for toast, which gets done MUCH faster than in the toaster oven at work.

Dessert_diva, how do you make the 3 minute potato chips?

Mar 07, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Cookware for cooking meat for a crowd?

I grew up in a family of 7 and my mother did a lot of her cooking on an electric skillet. They don't seem as popular as they used to, but would probably be good for your purposes.

Mar 06, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Beautiful new coffee grinder woes...

I've had a Capresso burr grinder for about a year. When I first had it I don't remember it having static problems. In fact, when I read about static problems with other grinders I thought I was lucky. But then, for some reason, the Capresso developed them. When I read your post I thought perhaps I'd bought it in warmer weather and the problem got worse with dry indoor heated air, but when I looked back I see that I bought it in February. So I have no idea. I'll double check later, but I think it does have a 3-prong plug. The static makes it require more cleaning, and I found recently that it wouldn't grind, probably because of too much buildup. I had also been storing it in a base cabinet near my dishwasher, and I wonder if the humidity was getting to the less-than-clean mechanicals and gumming things up.

Mar 01, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Embarrassing gadget you love?

There are a bunch of used ones on eBay. Lots in purple!

Feb 27, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Embarrassing gadget you love?

I'm curious about hotly marketed gadgets of yore, the things that were EVERYWHERE--until they weren't, or at least until they turn up at yard sales. One I never tried, but was always skeptical about, was that miracle defroster that was supposed to defrost food quickly. What ever happened to that, and did it really work?

Feb 27, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware

Embarrassing gadget you love?

Mine are pink, thank you very much! See http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Internatio...

I buy rubber gloves, but can't seem to remember to use them--and my hands show it. I *did* just buy some pinkish-red silicone potholders.

Feb 27, 2011
luvsummer in Cookware