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Gifting cookies - how to package?

Here's a photo of packaging I made for a single cookie, but you could also put 2 cookies in the bag if you prefer. It's the method I described in my previous post in October, using favor bags and cardstock and stamping. The cookies were made by Sweet Heather Anne in Ann Arbor and used as favors for a bridal shower.

Jun 05, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

Bizarre restaurant behavior [moved from General Topics]

I have never seen Honky Tonk Freeway, but clearly the character who said the line hasn't been to our IHOP yet. ;) Maybe you're right, and it was a clever strategy for smuggling food. Don't let the word get out. I can only imagine the little old ladies blaring music over iPods or laptops at every buffet in the country.

Mar 30, 2012
kyoules in Not About Food

Bizarre restaurant behavior [moved from General Topics]

Wow, that's hilarious! And I thought a laptop was bad! I only hope that couple now has DVR... :)

Mar 29, 2012
kyoules in Not About Food

Bizarre restaurant behavior [moved from General Topics]

My husband and I went out for breakfast at IHOP (he loves that place) one Saturday morning and were seated at a table next to a couple who had brought their own entertainment. They had a regular-sized laptop opened up and playing YouTube music videos at full-blast. Whenever a song would end, the man would find another one to watch and listen to. We found a manager and asked to move to a different table, and the couple continued to play their music videos until they left. Yes, it was at an IHOP, but still...

Mar 29, 2012
kyoules in Not About Food

The "Bad Food" Joust!

I have a couple:

- A friend and I decided to make big batches of several different Christmas cookies to share with others. Our gingerbread recipe called for "molasses, not robust," but at the store there were several types of molasses. Not knowing anything about molasses, we got the Blackstrap variety. The dough was SO bitter when we tasted it, we thought we would sweeten it up with a little honey. Honey didn't help. We eventually tried brown sugar, white sugar, and even powdered sugar, but the dough still tasted terrible. We had to scrap that huge triple batch and start again!

- A group of friends and I get together each week for a dinner party. One time, we picked out a recipe for tomato tarte tatin, and used gorgeous home-grown heirloom tomatoes. The combination of the sugar and tomatoes tasted like Spaghetti-O's or Chef Boyardee - it was awful! The worst part is we all tried really hard to eat it and like it, probably in part because of the beautiful tomatoes we wasted on it.

- When my mom was young, she tried making cookies by herself for the first time. Instead of 1/4 teaspoon of salt, she measured 1/4 cup. I hear the resulting cookies did not taste that great...

Mar 29, 2012
kyoules in General Topics

Help a vegetarian cook her first Easter ham!

Let me know what you think of it! My favorite veggie combination in it is sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and peas, but we have tried several combinations. I love making a huge batch of small rustic hand pies, wrapping individually in foil and par-cooking, and the stocking the freezer with easy meals for the winter.

Mar 28, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

Help a vegetarian cook her first Easter ham!

Thanks for the ham rack suggestion. I thought I would just cut of enough slices to fill a platter for the table, but this does look like a nice way to serve it. Does this also work for spiral sliced ham?
The glaze also looks interesting. Does it have a strong espresso taste to it?

I never would have thought of a cooking bag to store a leftover ham, great suggestion! I think we might cut it in slices since the leftovers will be going to 3 different households, but like I said, I have very little experience with meat so maybe it would be better to leave our portion on the bone rather than slices.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions, I always learn new things here at CH!

Mar 28, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

Help a vegetarian cook her first Easter ham!

I usually use firm (sometimes extra firm) tofu, cut in 1/2" to 3/4" cubes, and vary the vegetables by season. This pie is amazing, and what really sets it off is the golden gravy. I've never served it to anyone who didn't LOVE it, and whenever I make it for dinner, my carnivore husband finishes it up before I can even say "I was going to take that to work for lunch tomorrow..." haha :)
Here is a link to the original recipe by Ruth Blackburn:

Mar 28, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

Help a vegetarian cook her first Easter ham!

Great suggestion to do the glazing for the last 15 minutes of cooking time for the other dishes. My tofu vegetable pot pie bakes at 400* so that temperature should work for the caramelizing of the glaze, right?

Mar 26, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

Help a vegetarian cook her first Easter ham!

Thank you so much for your reply, fourunder! I never thought of serving the ham warm or room temperature, like I said I am not experienced in cooking meat. I really appreciate the timeline advice! The hour holdover should be plenty of time for me to cook the rest of the items. For some reason I didn't see either of those two threads you posted when I originally searched, but they are extremely helpful! Your detailed instructions make me feel much more confident about serving ham to my in-laws.

Mar 26, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

Help a vegetarian cook her first Easter ham!

I have been a vegetarian since I was 13, so I have very VERY limited experience cooking meat, poultry, or fish of any kind. My husband and I are hosting my in-laws for Easter and a couple of the guests requested ham for Easter. I am planning on buying a pre-cooked spiral sliced ham and either using the glaze that comes with it or mixing my own glaze and serving the ham hot. My problem is I only have one oven, and will need the oven for other things on the menu (fish, vegetable pot pie, roasted vegetables, etc). I was hoping to be able to cook the ham in my crock pot, but I have no idea how to. I tried searching chowhound and google, but haven't found any great directions/recipes yet. I would prefer a tried and true recipe, as I WILL NOT be tasting the ham prior to serving (my husband will gladly taste it though). Another option is to cook the ham so it is finished about an hour before the meal and then take it out of the oven, and keep it warm somehow while the rest of the items are in the oven. I know that pre-cooked ham can be served cold, but I think I'd rather serve it hot unless someone can convince me otherwise. What are your suggestions?

Mar 26, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

Cheddar please??? Who makes the best cheddars???

The best cheddar I've ever had is Widmer (from Wisconsin) 10-year cheddar that I bought from Plum Market. I served it with a mixture of balsamic reduction and fig preserves on baguette. Just thinking about it now, I'm salivating like crazy. It was SO good!

Mar 23, 2012
kyoules in Cheese

POLL: Can you walk to an actual grocery store?

Like the OP, I live in Detroit MI suburb and am walking distance from what I would consider to be a full line, albeit very small, store - Westborn Market. Now I'm wondering if the small Westborn chain is the store coney with everything was referring to?

Mar 23, 2012
kyoules in General Topics

April Religious Holidays 2013 - What's on the Menu?

I completely see your point. It definitely makes things a little more difficult knowing everyone's food preferences. However, when I eat a meal at someone's house and they have thought of my dietary preference (vegetarian), even something as simple as using veggie broth instead of chicken broth so I can eat it too makes me feel like I am important to that person, remembered, and loved. I think it also has to do with the fact that my in-laws like to eat in restaurants for holidays (last Thanksgiving was my first ever in a restaurant instead of home cooking with family and it made me kind of sad), so when my husband and I host holidays I like to go out of my way to make it special for everyone.

To me, coming up with a cohesive menu that everyone will enjoy is similar to how some people like the challenge of doing crossword or sudoku puzzles. :)

Mar 20, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

April Religious Holidays 2013 - What's on the Menu?

I can't say that I'm planning 2013 yet, but I am working on Easter for 2012. :) It is always a challenge for me to put together a holiday menu for my in-laws, but it is a challenge that I gladly accept.

Here's what we're working with:
Person 1 (me): vegetarian (no meat, poultry, or fish, but eggs and dairy are ok) since 13, so I am not that great or experienced at cooking meat, don't like mushrooms or cilantro, I like to use local/seasonal foods whenever possible
Person 2: Doesn't love many vegetables, does not eat green beans, peas, beets, pineapple, blueberries, or most types of lettuce (baby spinach is sometimes ok)
Person 3: Doesn't eat eggs (egg whites in dessert might be ok), onions, leeks, scallions, chives, shallots, sometimes eats dairy, doesn't really like ham
Person 4: Severely allergic to mushrooms, doesn't eat dairy, can't eat spicy things, will eat most kinds of meat but is partial to salmon for health reasons, doesn't really like ham
Person 5: Eats most things but is concerned about calories and carbs
Person 6 (my husband): Eats just about anything (and boy, do I love him for that!) hehe :)
Kitchen has one oven and one small toaster oven

Obviously with this group there is no menu that would be able to satisfy all 6 people for every dish, so I usually make a variety of things so everyone is happy. At the moment, this is what I'm thinking of making (yes we always make tons of food and everyone loves leftovers):

vegan spinach/artichoke dip with bread and pita
cucumber sandwiches with dill OR 5 layer Greek dip (hummus, cucumber, olives, red bell pepper, dill, and feta on the side) with pita

- Some sort of interesting, but not too difficult, salmon recipe (I have made a side of salmon before with capers, parsley, tarragon, lemon, and white wine and they loved it)
- Possibly a pre-cooked ham, heated up? (Persons 5 and 6 requested ham for Easter) I am having trouble finding a ham small enough though
- Possibly a vegetable quiche or vegan vegetable pot pie

- roasted or steamed asparagus OR balsamic glazed roasted spring carrots OR stuffed artichokes
- Israeli couscous with toasted pine nuts OR wild rice pilaf OR roasted redskin potatoes with rosemary
- spring vegetable risotto OR spring vegetable pasta salad

- Individual Pavlovas with toppings (cut fruit, berries, whipped cream) OR Strawberry shortcake OR Flourless chocolate cake (I made it for Christmas and everyone loved it)

Mar 19, 2012
kyoules in Home Cooking

How many kitchen designers does it take . . .

(2) "I would also advise using a kitchen designer, rather than having a builder or even an architect design your kitchen. Kitchen designers know when you're just shopping a design around to a million places to get the lowest price, and won't spend as much time on your project. " Is that what you meant to say? If so, can you clarify?
Sorry, I should clarify that a bit. What I meant to say is that while you should meet with several designers until you find the perfect fit, don't just use them for their designs and then shop around their hard work to try to get the lowest price somewhere else. If I have two different clients, one has taken designs from another designer and just wants me to price price price everything, and the other is more interested in talking about design philosophy and getting my input, I will definitely spend more time and effort on the second client. Also, be very wary of surprisingly low bids. Quite often the designer has forgotten to include major elements (we've all done it before, unfortunately). Firms with a long history are better about including everything you want, so the project doesn't end up 10%, 30%, or even 50% more than originally bid.

(5) Re. countertop materials -- a good friend JUST had her condo kitchen remodeled and used a product called Cambria for the countertops. I saw her photos and it looks really nice. What's your take on Cambria?

I love Cambria! Cambria is a brand of quartz countertops and that brand is exceptionally good at developing colors that look like natural stone. Their newest colors (in the past couple years) are just stunning. I also like DuPont's Zodiaq for the fact that you can get an integrated Corian sink (undermount with no crevice that gets grimy), and the sink has DuPont's warranty. Zodiaq doesn't have the color palette that Cambria does, though, and you can get a Corian sink integrated into a Cambria top, but the sink just won't have DuPont's warranty. Cambria is also the only quartz countertops made in the US I believe.

(8) I've had a good size (~36" wide) double sink for the past 20+ years, and it's served me well. The smaller bowl (~ 9" wide) is good for rinsing/draining veggies and also serves as a draining place for hand-washed dishes and pots & pans. My largest roasting pan fits comfortably in the larger bowl. I'm inclined to go with another double sink, assuming the new design allows for enough room.

Yes, this type of double sink will work, especially if it's what you are used to and you're happy with it. When I referred to not liking double sinks, I meant the kind that have 2 bowls about 12"-15" each.

(9) I sure wish I lived closer to Detroit. How do you manage kitchen projects from a distance?

Lots and lots of emails and phone calls! :) It depends on the kitchen, but sometimes we will travel with our crew to install onsite, but that can get costly. We just finished a kitchen that was design and cabinets only, and the client's contractor did the installation. I don't feel that the installers did as good of a job as we would have on the installation, but we are used to custom cabinets and have extremely high standards. The clients are happy, and that's all that matters. There are great kitchen designers all over, you just have to find them. Good luck with your project!

Mar 12, 2012
kyoules in Not About Food

How many kitchen designers does it take . . .

Oh I absolutely favor multiple sinks in the kitchen, but if you only have the space for one sink, I feel it's better to go with a large single sink because there are so many things that just cannot be washed easily in the dinky sides of a traditional 50/50 split double sink. By all means, if you have the space (and budget) for a large, extra deep sink, vegetable/prep sink, as well as a bar sink, that's the way to go! Even the sinks that have one side a little larger than the other (not a 50/50 split) are better than having two small, very difficult-to-use sinks. I have lived in a house with a 50/50 double sink and a house with a large single sink, and I would never, ever ever, ever go back to the double sink. I can see how your use of the double sink for cleaning, trimming, and defrosting meat makes sense, (I do not cook or eat meat), but I still feel that if you only have room and budget for 1 sink/cabinet/plumbing, it would be much more of an inconvenience every time you washed a large skillet, baking sheet, jelly roll pan, dutch oven, stock pan, refrigerator crisper drawers and shelves, watermelon, etc. if you get a 50/50 double sink just for the convenience of preparing meat. I'm ok with agreeing to disagree on that one. :)

This does bring up another point though, that a good kitchen designer will learn your cooking habits and needs, your style preferences, and design accordingly. I have designed kitchens for young families, multi-generational households, elderly Chinese couple, Jewish families that keep Kosher, and everything in between, and every family has very different needs that necessitate very different kitchen designs. For my thesis project in design school, I studied the ways that differences in age or culture affect one's cooking habits and views of cooking and eating. Like I tell my clients, if everyone wanted the same kitchen, my job would be extremely boring!

By the way... I am super jealous of your twin Sub-Zeros built into armoires! :)

Mar 12, 2012
kyoules in Not About Food

How many kitchen designers does it take . . .

"Do it right, do it once, don't cut corners, a kitchen is something you'll live with for a long time and uses constantly." As a kitchen designer, I 100% agree with this statement!

My best advice would be to find a kitchen designer who likes to cook. They will have a totally different perspective than someone who is trying to fill your space with items on which they earn commission. I would also advise using a kitchen designer, rather than having a builder or even an architect design your kitchen. Kitchen designers know when you're just shopping a design around to a million places to get the lowest price, and won't spend as much time on your project. I would definitely caution you against being your own GC. Timing is everything in this position, and you wouldn't believe the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure each element arrives at the correct time, has a place to be stored until it is needed, and scheduling the correct tradespeople to install various elements. If you are OK living without a functioning kitchen for quite a length of time, you like talking on the phone, you have large amounts of spare time, and you have a large climate-controlled space for cabinets/appliances/tile/etc., maybe it's a good idea to save a couple bucks and be your own GC. Quite often costly mistakes by homeowners acting as their own GC outweigh any savings they might have had by doing it themselves.

Some design advice from a 4th-generation kitchen designer who loves to cook: :)

- Don't get trapped in the "work triangle" theory of design. This was ideal for a time when the kitchen was a space where the wife/mother did all of the cooking and meal prep, but isn't always ideal in today's kitchens where entertaining, multiple chefs/helpers working, homework, computer use, etc. happens.

- If you use your kitchen quite often, think beyond the buzz words and trends like granite and stainless steel. Natural stone may be beautiful for a countertop in a powder room, but the maintenance involved with it makes it not my number 1 choice for kitchens. I love quartz countertops as well as solid surface (like Corian) because they are non-porous. I prefer integrated appliances with wood panels to match the cabinetry rather than a full stainless refrigerator and dishwasher because it is nearly impossible to keep those two stainless steel appliances looking great all the time if you cook often.

- If you use a lot of fresh produce, consider a refrigerator with dual compressors (like Sub-Zero), because they do not swap air back and forth from the freezer to refrigerator, which helps your food last much longer and taste better.

- Stick with neutral/classic colors on the more expensive items in the kitchen (cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring), and bring in color with accessories, textiles, and wall color. This will keep your kitchen from looking "SO 2012!" in 10 or 15 years.

- Always have the flooring installed BEFORE the cabinets and countertops. If you replace the flooring after the cabinets, or build on top of the flooring you already have, you will have serious issues when your dishwasher needs service because you won't be able to pull it out. The same goes for the refrigerator.

- I love large single sinks rather than double sinks. Double sinks were great when we used one side for soaking in soapy water and the other side for rinsing. Today, we wash dishes much differently. Typically we rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Have you ever tried to wash a baking sheet or a large roasting pan in a double sink and ended up soaking wet? Even for hand washing china, crystal, pots and pans, etc., I find it is still easier to work in a large single sink.

- If you're in the Metro Detroit area, give me a call! (We've actually done projects as far away as St. Thomas, Florida, South Carolina, Traverse City, etc.)

Mar 12, 2012
kyoules in Not About Food

Startin a dining club in Novi/Farmington Hills [DTW]

Two of my friends and I started a very casual/informal weekly dinner club. We have been friends through middle school, high school, college, and beyond. Most of the time it's the 3 of us and our husbands/boyfriends, with different friends as guests from time to time. We all love to cook and what we usually do is each bring ingredients for our assigned dish (one couple does apps/drinks, one couple does entree, one couple does dessert), and all prep and cook together. Usually the couple planning the entree emails to the others what they are planning on making, and everyone else plans their dishes to go with it. Sometimes we have a theme and sometimes we don't. For instance, one time we made Seva's Enchiladas Calabaza for the entree and had guacamole, salsas, and chips for the app, Mexican beer, and Mexican spiced cake truffles for dessert. This week we did General Tso's Cauliflower, General Tso's Tofu, homemade sushi, and banana tarte tatin for dessert. From week to week we switch who plans which dish, and take turns "hosting" at our houses. Sometimes if we've had busy weeks we'll meet at a restaurant instead.

We've been doing this almost every week for over a year now, and are working on a cookbook that we will print with Shutterfly or Artscow or something for each of us. I just love our weekly dinners and if my husband and I ever have to move, it's honestly what I'll miss most about the metro Detroit area.

Good luck with your dinner club!!

Here's a picture of one of our dishes this week: Sweet Potato Tempura and Avocado Sushi! It was our first time ever making sushi... so forgive the asymmetrical rolls. We love trying out new recipes and techniques together! :)

Mar 08, 2012
kyoules in Great Lakes

Best cake in Ann Arbor?

Hands down it's Sweet Heather Anne. Heather was an assistant to Courtney from Cake Nouveau and has an art/sculpture background. Her cakes are gorgeous, unbelievably delicious and moist, AND use as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible, including Calder butter and Guernsey dairy. She can do a simple buttercream cake or very realistic and hand-painted cakes with fondant. Small cakes, big cakes, dessert tables, cookies, she does them all. See her website or her facebook page: (Yes, she is a good friend of mine, but her cakes really are the best!) :)

Jan 31, 2012
kyoules in Great Lakes

A New Beans Thread

Love all the recipes in this thread! I am a vegetarian bean lover, but not a huge fan of super spicy food. There are lots of great Greek/Mediterranean dishes out there using chick peas (garbanzo beans), and Italian dishes using cannellini beans, kidney beans, etc.

I tried this recipe for Crockpot Greek Stuffed Peppers, and it was delicious. I added a little bit of lemon juice and would probably lower the cooking time or temperature next time. My meat-eating husband and inlaws loved it.

This is another favorite:
Pappardelle with Bean Bolognese Sauce (3 types of beans and butternut squash

A super fast and easy one-pot meal I've made is a box of Near East toasted pine nut couscous, a can of garbanzo beans, some sort of greens, and if you want, parmesan or feta on top. I make the couscous according to the package directions, adding the drained/rinsed garbanzos in with the couscous, and put the greens in just before serving so they wilt a bit.

Dec 20, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

Best butternut squash roasting method?

I love squash with savory/spicy spices rather than the sweeter versions. My favorite roasting method comes from a recipe for a roasted squash and quinoa salad. You roast the squash with olive oil, salt, cumin, chili powder, sage. The roasted squash is equally delicious hot and chilled.

QUINOA AND SQUASH SALAD (Recipe from Inn Season restaurant in Royal Oak)

4 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups cubed winter squash, such as butternut (I usually double this because it is SO good)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground or rubbed sage
Pinch of salt (I usually use more than a pinch)
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Mixed greens for serving


3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled, mashed
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Toss the squash with olive oil, cumin, chili powder, sage and pinch of salt. Roast in oven until tender, about 15 minutes. (It may need more time depending on how large you cube the squash). Remove and set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and toast the pumpkin seeds until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, pumpkin seeds, red onion, carrot, celery and parsley with the squash.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients. Add desired amount of the vinaigrette (or serve it on the side), salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a bed of greens.

Dec 20, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

Detroit Thanksgiving - Any Lessons Learned? [DTW]

We had two Thanksgiving dinners. The first was with my family 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and we hosted 14 people at our house. I cooked everything but the turkey (I'm a vegetarian, so my grandma who lives a mile away cooked it) and pies. Since I'm a vegetarian, Thanksgiving is all about the sides for me! I asked family members for their top 3 favorite Thanksgiving foods, and made sure everyone had all of their favorites. Biggest lesson: planning ahead and organization made everything run smoothly! I made 3 spreadsheets to keep it organized. (Shopping list for 4 grocery stores, items to make ahead of time, and a timed schedule for day-of work). Here's the report on what I made:

Smoked salmon - bought a package from Trader Joe's, and my brother turned half of it into a dip with cream cheese, lemon, dill, and thyme. Everyone loved it. Served with crackers.

Brie en Croute with homemade cranberry sauce - Delicious, but almost a disaster! Since I only have 1 oven, I tried making this in my 10 year old toaster oven, but it quickly burned the cute bow I'd made on top with the scraps. Scraped that off and fit in in the regular oven and it turned out delicious, though not as pretty as I wanted it to be.

Stuffing - Made a couple boxes of Stovetop (it was requested!) as well as a homemade cornbread/andoullie sausage/creole dressing. I made the cornbread stuffing ahead of time and reheated in the oven before our meal. I didn't eat it, since I am a vegetarian, but my husband loved it. May have been a little spicy for a few family members. Recipe:

Martha Stewart No-Knead Yeast Dinner Rolls - DELICIOUS, as usual. I made a double batch and may have made them a bit large, but they are always a hit whenever I make them. Best rolls I've ever had. Recipe:

Mashed Potatoes - used Yukon Golds and a ricer, made ahead of time and reheated. This was my first time using a ricer, as I like my mashed potatoes with skins and a bit chunky, but these were delicious with some cream, butter, and Penzey's Fox Point seasoning.

Martha Stewart Roasted Fall Vegetables - always a hit with my family. A bit overcooked this year, but that was my fault. (I set the timer and had another family member take them out) Recipe:

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows - best I've ever had (I ate it without the marshmallows), and I usually like sweet potatoes in a savory dish. Used this recipe, only I made it ahead of time and pureed the sweet potatoes, then reheated and topped with marshmallows the day-of:

Broccoli Salad with Raisins/Sunflower Seeds - made it with golden raisins, which I like much better than normal ones, and a dressing of mayo, balsamic, and brown sugar. Good.

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese - Cooked quinoa and roasted the beets ahead of time and then chilled, mixed together the day of with arugula, goat cheese, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette and topped with pecans. It was a hit! I was worried about others liking it, but it was probably the most-requested leftover. I completely forgot to add the shaved fennel to it, but it was delicious anyway.

Cranberry Pineapple Marshmallow Salad - fastest recipe I made! Chopped fresh cranberries in my food processor, mixed in some crushed pineapple, yogurt, marshmallows, and walnuts. Also a favorite leftover.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce - I make basically the recipe on the bag, but use orange juice instead of water and add orange zest. I made it ahead of time and used it in the Brie en Croute as well as serving it by itself, everyone loved it.

Brown Sugar Whipped Cream - I made this from the eve cookbook (I REALLY miss eve, but glad I have the cookbook!) to go with pie someone brought, and I think it was as big of a hit as the pie itself! My cousins (5 and 9) each told me separately that they wanted me to give their mom the recipe and teach her how to make it - they helped me dump ingredients into the KitchenAid, turned on the mixer, etc. :


I bought almost all of my fruits/vegetables at Randazzo's (less than $50), with a few coming from Westborn. Bought fish, dairy, beverages from Trader Joe's (about $100), and a few items from Meijer.

For Thanksgiving Day, we went to Gandy Dancer with my in-laws. Service wasn't as good as it usually is there (slow on water refills and our meals weren't all placed on the table at the same time like they usually do, but of course I forgive them for that on such a busy day). The place was packed with big crowds around the entrance when we got there at 1:00. They are a little lacking in vegetarian meals there (especially since I don't like mushrooms), but I quite enjoyed my vegetarian squash bisque and pear/beet/blue cheese salad on their Thanksgiving menu. Also liked the almond-encrusted brie from their regular menu. This was my first Thanksgiving in a restaurant, (which I was quite sad about at first), but it turned out to be a lovely time. All 6 of us ordered completely different things (my husband was the only one to choose the Thanksgiving Feast), and we all enjoyed it. I felt out of place not cooking anything Thanksgiving morning, but I have to admit it was nice not having any clean-up afterward!

Nov 30, 2011
kyoules in Great Lakes

What's your favorite vegetarian sandwich?

My favorite sandwiches:

Sunflower seeds, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, provolone, lettuce, and a delicious dill cream cheese-type spread on multi-grain bread. YUM!

A BLT with home-grown tomatoes and soy bacon

Havarti, avocado slices, red onion, tomato, lettuce

Pita or wrap with hummus, tabouli, and falafel

Wrap with greek salad-type ingredients: lettuce, feta, olives, red onions, banana peppers, swiss

Nov 28, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

Pralines - Need Recipes

I, too, fell in love with the pralines from River Street Sweets in Savannah. I've tried several recipes, and I've found this is the closest:

Pecan Pralines

1 1/2 c. toasted pecans (they really do taste better toasted... just don't burn them!)
1 1/2 c. white sugar
3/8 c. butter (I think that's 6 T. if I remember right)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk or cream (I use cream)
1 t. vanilla (I usually use a tablespoon I think - good quality Madagascar vanilla)

- Line baking sheet with parchment. I usually need 2 for each batch. I suppose you could also put a long piece of parchment on the countertop or table, it might be easier that way now that I think of it. It's best if this is located directly beside your cooktop.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine pecans, sugar, butter, brown sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla.
- Heat to between 234-240 degrees, "soft ball", stirring occasionally
- When it's heated to the proper temperature, remove from heat, and stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes.
- (If you want to make chocolate pralines like they have at River Street Sweets, add some semi-sweet chocolate at this point)
- Here's the tricky part, the part where I always get burned, so be careful:
Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. You want to do this FAST. I usually have an oven mitt on my left hand holding the saucepan, and use a regular spoon in my right hand to drop them. You have a very limited amount of time here. If it gets too cool, the pralines will be grainy-crumbley-sugary. What you can do instead is heat the remaining mixture again, but usually I need to add a bit of cream to get the right consistency when heating the second time. Then repeat the stirring, and drop the remaining mixture by spoonful on the parchment.
- Allow the pralines to cool completely on the parchment (if you can resist!!)

Nov 15, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

Sweet potatoes! Help me fulfill my dad's Thanksgiving request!

I can testify for the second recipe (epicurious) that biondanonima posted. I made it this weekend and it was delicious! I actually ended up pureeing the sweet potatoes because our family likes them mashed, not chunky, but I tried them before I pureed them and I liked them better chunky myself. I tend to prefer sweet potatoes in savory dishes, but I loved this recipe - the brown sugar glaze was delicious.

Nov 13, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

Pre-Thanksgiving appetizer, maybe with cranberry?

This, exactly, was going to be my suggestion! I am making this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving at our house this year, using homemade cranberry sauce with orange juice and zest, over brie, wrapped in puff pastry. I am going to try making it in my toaster oven to see if it turns out, since I only have 1 oven and space in it will be extremely limited that day.

My husband once ate an entire wheel of Brie en Croute by himself... but that's a different story. :)

Nov 10, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

I think I'm Hosting Thanksgiving! Help! :)

"I also thought one of the other poster's suggestions about, asking your guests if there's any food item they consider key to Thanksgiving Day."

I would second (or third, I suppose) this suggestion! I am cooking for 14 this year, and it is my 2nd time hosting Thanksgiving. I emailed everyone a couple weeks ago and asked them to email me the 3 foods they most look forward to on Thanksgiving. My goal was to include at least one of everybody's favorites, but I am actually able to include all 3 for everyone. It was fun and sometimes surprising finding out each person's favorites. I was planning on ditching the green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but they showed up on several of my guests' favorites list, so I will be making them.

Nov 09, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Dinner for 8 - Vegans, Vegetarians and Carnivores Included

Wow, thanks for this link! Everything looks delicious!

Nov 07, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving Dinner for 8 - Vegans, Vegetarians and Carnivores Included

I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year for 14 people, 13 of them are omnivores, I am the only vegetarian. (My grandmother is cooking the turkey at her house a mile away). As the only vegetarian in my extended family, I've come up with several vegetarian dishes that everyone enjoys. :)

First, Martha Stewart's Roasted Fall Vegetables. (Vegan) I've made this every year for the past 3 or 4 years, for my family as well as my in-laws, and everyone has loved it. If you have leftovers (which you probably won't), Martha gives directions on making them into soup. They are one of my younger brother's favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and he's a 20 year old meat-eating college kid.

Next, a beet and quinoa salad:

Kristen's Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets (Vegan


2 cups dry quinoa, cooked (used 4 cups of water) and then chilled
1-2 large (or 3-4 small) roasted beets, cooled and cut into 1/2" cubes*
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (or shaved)
2 small cucumbers, sliced into half moons
1 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Optional: You could serve this with greens, such as arugula, baby spinach, etc.

Mix together all the ingredients and top with dressing. The beets will color everything else pink, so if you'd like to avoid that you could serve them in a separate dish or put them on top of the salad just before serving.

Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1 or 2 teaspoons of prepared mustard
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients except olive oil, and then very slowly whisk in olive oil. You can add fresh herbs (such as basil, tarragon, or oregano) at the end if you like.

*To roast the beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets. If they are large, quarter them. Toss beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap individually in aluminum foil, and place on a jelly roll pan or roasting pan in a single layer. Roast at 400 for approximately 1 hour, or until they are fork-tender.

This recipe is my own creation. I served it at a vegan potluck and it was extremely popular, and was very popular with my meat-eating husband with the addition of goat cheese. You could serve this salad with the cheese in a separate dish, so vegetarians and carnivores could add it if they wish.

Hope that helps!

Nov 07, 2011
kyoules in Home Cooking