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Why I hate Christmas

What would Jesus do

PLEASE help me make this chocolate chip cookie

Your description of your grandmother's cookies sounds identical to how I make mine come out. I use a basic chocolate chip cookie dough, the biggest difference is that I add extra flour, maybe 3/4 cup? More?

With the extra flour, they pretty much don't spread or flatten and develop into a large puck shape mound. They are also not puffy in the airy sense of the word and develop kind of a dry, slightly sandy on the brink of crumbly texture. They don't fall apart but you can easily break off chunks of the cookie due to the dry texture.

I wouldn't use Crisco or melted butter, just follow the basic recipe and add extra flour. The only difference from what I probably do than from what your granny did was I use a lot of vanilla extract, double the standard recipe.

The cookies in your photo look kind of airy like it has a thin crackly crust, almost like chicken skin that you can peel off with an air pocket underneath. :)

Dec 18, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Home Cooking

Favorite Christmas Food Traditions

Since forever my parents have done the same giant crown or standing roast, popovers, some sort of whipped potatoes and some sort of fish/seafood dish. For some reason chives are the herb of choice also. I can't think of the sides right now. But the whole day is apeshit.

Pre-dinner is total noshes, primarily hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. The giant frozen box of puff pastries, like pigs-in-blanket, potato, sausage puffs are a must, hehe....,, crudités with onion dip a must, stuffed clams, shrimp cocktail, salmon dip, cheese board, fruit platter and a pineapple always makes an appearance, stuffed shrooms, Swedish meatballs, spanikopita, We also do hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy cane thing, mulled cider, sparkling punch, very old school but total tradition.

The oddest tradition is popcorn. My dad always made it for me and my bros as kids. I man the popcorn station now and everyone eats it. Very Charlie Brown.

For desserts, the one real mainstay is the cookie platter. Every so often someone in the family brings over a cheesecake but not every year. I want cheesecake on the dessert menu every year!

What are you baking these days? December 2014 edition, part two!

I'm glad I saw this thread because, coincidentally, I left an entire carton of butter on the counter for almost a week and a half. I was supposed to make cookies but due to a new position at work, I no longer have time to do much of anything, and finally made a million pounds of dough tonight. I hope I don't kill anybody!

So I made a base dough with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and salt and divided it into 3rds.

One third I added vanilla extract and ground almonds. Shaped it into a disc and put it in the fridge. No clue what to do with it yet. Was thinking of shaping them into little balls, bake them and roll them in something after.

2nd third I added added almond extract. Shaped that into a disc and into the fridge. No clue what to do with that one either.

3rd batch I added vanilla and chocolate chips, essentially making choc. chip cookie dough. But I want to add something else, I still have no clue so that also is in the fridge, but I shaped that one into a log. It's not Christmassy as chocolate chip cookie dough.

What to do with mixed shellfish/arthropod medley?

I buy something similar at trader joes, but it's a frozen bag of mixed seafood. I make kind of what I call a lazy girl's seafood cioppino. Start of with butter and lots of minced garlic, thyme, oregano and lots of dill and parsley, red pepper flakes, then add a lot of chopped tomato. Once the tomatoes are cooked through, 5-10 minutes, I taste and adjust seasoning, salt pepper, possible a pinch of sugar, then I just dump the entire bag of seafood in. Bring it up to the boil and then turn off the heat and let it sit. I like to eat it with toasted bread but you can serve it with whatever.

Sometimes I add cheese tortellini but that's just me but it is pretty awesome. When I started making this and serving it to people, it's like they'd never tasted anything like it. It's the butter, garlic, dill and tomatoes, because most people don't mix butter and tomatoes together. If you've never had it, it's unlike anything you've ever tasted as simple as those two ingredients are. It's just this really weird but awesome aroma and the taste is even better.

Dec 10, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Home Cooking

Graham flour in CT New Haven/Fairfield counties

I bought Bob's Red Mill graham flour at Fairway Market in Stamford earlier this year. I think Fairway has one of the bigger selections of Bob's Red Mill products that I've seen. It was a small bag less than $3. I bought it to try and one day make graham crackers but that day hasn't come yet. :)

Can you please identify this?

You couldn't just stick your finger in it and give it a taste?

Gio said this was a food forum.

Nov 22, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Gardening

What to do with lots of raw tuna other than sushi.

How about a Spanish or Italian carpaccio or ceviche? One dish I had in a restaurant drizzled tuna w/ extra virgin olive oil, some sort of very slightly sweet citrus or vinegar w/ sunchoke and arugula and another did a ceviche with tiny diced onion, watermelon, cukes, tomato and other stuff I can't remember. It was also lightly dressed w/ a slightly sweet sauce and olive oil and served with cracker-like toast. Another carpaccio app dish I had used radishes, but unfortunately I don't remember what else but they were all really refreshing.

Nov 10, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Home Cooking

Fish & Chips - What kind of fish do you like?

Where I live in CT I've only seen cod, haddock and halibut but to be honest, I never really paid attention and I've always ordered cod because it's what I'm familiar with. I like salmon but sounds like a turnoff if fried.

I bought pollock from the grocery store a year or so ago because the store had a big sale, there was a huge line, I didn't know what it was so I just asked a group of little old ladies and stood in line with them. The fish guy said it was a type of codfish with a very mild taste and more firm flesh. He said I would *really* like it so I bought five pounds not knowing how much five pounds of fish was, it was really inexpensive, and really thick cuts.

I baked one, ate it and have never looked back. It's just very mild, meaty and flakes off in these big solid pieces with zero off flavors. If I see pollock I would 100% choose that.

Have you ever made and/or cooked w seitan?

I also bought a blob of seitan. I cut it into little cubes and cooked it with vegetables. It still tasted like dough/flour to me and felt like I was eating little dough pieces.

What bygone food fad do you still enjoy? [NYC]

I didn't say it was gone but not at prevalent as it once was. People who don't live near the EV or in my case no where near EV, I'm not going to trek there just for a drink much as I loved the stuff.

There is a $1 pizza shop on the corner of a Broadway and Franklin that sells bubble tea but every so often when I'm down in the area I can't bring myself to try it.

Nov 02, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Manhattan

What bygone food fad do you still enjoy? [NYC]

I also still love Artichoke but it's not the same as it used to be. The slices used to be thicker and sloppier.

A really old skool dish that I haven't seen is escargot. My parents loved French and a portion of my childhood was staring at my family eating snails en croute. I think the last time I ate escargot was in the late 90s, I can't remember which restaurant but it was served with blue cheese. It would be nice if this dish made a comeback.

I never hit the hot dog craze but before Crif there was another popular hot dog place. I can't remember the name, F something or other.

My god I think about bubble tea. The bubble tea craze was the best thing on the planet. If there was a place in CT that served bubble tea I would glue my entire body to the front door and never leave. This stuff doesn't exist here, but then it barely exists in Manhattan now either. Bring that tea and all those bubbles back!

Nov 02, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Manhattan

A really really difficult vegan thanksgiving challenge

If it's just for your neice, you could bake a smallish sugar pumpkin as a serving vessel (like a bread bowl), fill it with a vegetable chili and cover it with mashed potato mixed w/ sauteeed caramelized onions. Maybe a slice of herbed garlic bread using olive oil instead of butter.

No nuts, beans, cheese, eggs, meat etc.

For the chili use carrots, onion, bell peppers, corn, peas, parsnips, tomatoes, parsnips, radishes, etc. pretty much anything can go in since it's all being cooked down into a chili flavor stew. Adjust for seasoning and use some herbs.

Otherwise, do a huge batch and use small pumpkins for everyone and a larger one for your neice. I think it would make a cute presentation and make her feel really special.

You can do an eggplant/rice cake (like a vegetable burger but without beans) and top it with a vegetable slaw. Nestle it on some corn (if not fresh make sure it's not processed in a facility that processes nuts) sauteed with onion. Caramelized onion is insane and can really shine when you can't use butter or cheese.

Use lots of pepper!

Balducci's new york

$2.85 for a slice of cheesecake and the olive bar. I hated olives as a kid and still hate them as an adult.

Oct 21, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Manhattan

Relatively new baker - looking for some inspiration

I started a few years ago by making everything "healthy" by substituting yogurt for eggs and butter or oil, esp. for cookies. They always came out flat and rubbery. And in place of flour I started to blend oatmeal and nuts for oatmeal and nut flour, not bad but crumbly.

For pizza and bread, I watch Julia Child's Baking With Julia online. It's the full series and it's great.

Sep 23, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Home Cooking

Embarrassing question

Lol, I was born/raised in Manhattan and I always forget. As a kid I always thought of LI as a borough because of Queens.

Sep 23, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Site Talk

Call me an old fashion prude, but I don't think this is appropriate. "Mom Bakes Vagina Cookies For 2nd Graders"

WTF, lol!!

Embarrassing question

Why is Long Island not a part of the outer boroughs board?

I need to know, it's making me cray. I've posted a couple of questions about LI in the past not realizing they got moved to the NY State board.

Where does Staten Island belong?

Sep 23, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Site Talk

Scenic Drive from NYC to Boston..

Route 8 is the cusp of the Berkshire Mountains though, you have the peaks, valleys, the river, etc., it's like driving between two mountains for a really good stretch. Route 7 does offer more food and shops but until you get past New Milford, it's not all that happening. Route 7 has the falls, downtown Kent, the gorilla that hangs outside ice cream shop and Henry Kissinger, I'll give it that.

Scenic Drive from NYC to Boston..

If you go through CT, there is a chocolate shop in Brookfield, CT called Bridgewater Chocolates that makes the most serious chocolate covered toffee I've ever received as a gift. I've always thought I hated toffee type candies but these had the most buttery crispy candy covered in the smoothest chocolate I've ever tasted. I def. recommend buying a box or two or three. Brookfield is also close to the CT Wine Trail also. I did visit one vineyard that is or was owned by a gynecologist, Di Grazia Vineyards. I don't know much about wines but this vineyard does not add sulfites if that means anything to you.

And before I get screamed at, if you decide to take I-95 N, pick Route 8 over Route 7. You can hit either Mass Pike or Route 2 in MA right over the CT border for a scenic drive. Route 8 totally gets ignored, but what a BEAUTIFUL drive. And you can stop by ESPN in Bristol, CT. They might not let you in to their complex but worth a shot.

Yet the yelling begin.

Wine identity please

Lol, that's it. Terrible speller and memory.

Sep 16, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Wine

Wine identity please

Thanks sun and moto. I found it on wine.com. It was Chateau de Meusial, not a red but white Bordeaux. I must be color blind also. :). There were a lot of different wines, this was the only one I tried. Also, there are not one but two lions flanking a crest.

Sep 16, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Wine

Wine identity please

Oh, it was at my neighbor's anniversary party. I spoke with one of them earlier and described the bottle, unfortunately she had no idea who brought what or that particular bottle since a lot of people brought wine.

I do remember that it was a French Bordeaux. The only reason why I tried it because I just assumed it was probably on the more expensive side and not a $9 everyday bottle. I only tried a sip and was surprised at how good it was.

Sep 15, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Wine

Wine identity please

First, I try not to drink alcohol due to a mild allergy, but I did taste a French wine over the weekend that blew me away and I hope you can identify the brand.

It was def. French and a red. The labels mostly white with a blue outline? Maybe some gold and a little bit of red somewhere. And there was a lion standing on its hind legs. I think the lion is the house's signature but I'm not sure. I think the bottle may have been a blue tint also but I'm not sure about that either.

Does it sound familiar, and is it a good wine? To me most alcohol tastes like alcohol and not much more but this stuff was smooth.

TIA

Sep 14, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Wine

"Cute" inexpensive lunch spot in Southern Fairfield county?

Did they really? I walked by during the art festival but didn't pay attention since all of the food trucks were stationed on that street.

Wait, was SoNo Caffeine also a music store or didn't they sell something other than coffee? I have a really weird recollection of that place.

Recipes for better beans

I find with beans you need a little bit of both acidity and sweetness. I love bean salads. I dice different vegetables, carrots, peppers, onions, tomato, parsley, other herbs and spices, whatever and apples. I usually premix with some sort of salad dressing, but since you don't want to add salt, try using sherry vinegar and lots of pepper. If the apples aren't sweet, I'll add chopped raisins. They add a nice chewiness. I also add crushed nuts for more texture.

You can squeeze lemon and add a little oil, maybe sprinkle a little sugar if it's too sour or add mustard or honey mustard. Def. add some sort of raw onion, chive or acallions, cilantro, parsley.

When I make bean salads, I make a huge batch that can last for a while, and with everything mixed in, it's already set to go.

Trader Joes has already shelled edamame with adds to the mix. I love the texture of them.

There's a recipe for black bean brownies. I tried bean brownies with red, black and red adzuki. I do blend them and it makes a really dense earthy fudgy brownie.

Anyone been to Denny's yet?

FidiR, who eats there? Not knocking the place, just curious about the people who have been during your visit, if there were 'hood types, students, tourists, curiosity seekers or a mix? I think it's a little too hidden away from people going down Fulton Street and people visiting the Brooklyn Bridge to cause any kind of late night uproar and I doubt anyone visiting the WTC Memorial will seek it out. That part of Nassau is a dead zone, thoughKeith McNally is scheduled to opening a place around the block??

Sep 04, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Manhattan

The Marshal - Is This The City's Best Bread and Butter?

That's really porno. It even has a hump.

Sep 04, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Manhattan

food trucks near Wall St/Bway?

Battery Park has Brookfield Place crossing the WSH. It reminds me of a mall food court and it's a little depressing (that just my personal opinion but others will differ) but you can take your food outside and sit at the waterfront instead of sitting inside. It's good for options and a quick bite.

There's also the Shake Shack behind North End Grill and the Conrad hotel. It's located in the pedestrian tunnel on Murray Street. Whole Foods is also close by and they have surprisingly good ethnic take away dishes if you like Indian, SE Asian, etc.

If you don't want to cross the West Side Highway, just go to Stone Street, salads, pizza, burgers, pub food, Mexican to upscale Irish-American. Stone is the backend of some of the restaurants on Pearl St.

On the side between Stone and Pearl are three takeout joints, a popular deli called Bingo's, Terra Fish and Chips (and lots of seafood dishes) and a Burger Burger for a quick fix.

Maiden Lane has some chain fast food places. I'm not familiar with the food truck scene down there but I know other posters are familiar with it. There's a taco place on Maiden that's part of a really popular Mexican restaurant (cannot remember the name) but don't bother. The place sucks surprising ass.

Sep 03, 2014
mushroomaffairs in Manhattan

"Cute" inexpensive lunch spot in Southern Fairfield county?

I hope it's not too late but Chocopologie in South Norwalk is really cute and small, and they have salads. The decor is like kind of like Anthropologie for men. The places you mentioned are not cute by any means. Tabouli Is really excellent, the chef is CIA trained from what I was told when I first went there, but the decor is functional, not cute. Cotto in Stamford is really cute but I've only been for dinner. It may be a little bready for your friend. Try Dinosaur BBQ, it's not cute but really cool soaring space and they have gigantic salads.

I reaLy hate this place but Capriccio has great Al Fresco dining. The last time I ordered a salad I got brown chopped romaine but my friends salads were good. I was the only one who was given a wilted dish!