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What not to do at a farmers market

As an occasional seller of home-produced goods, I can tell you there is no shame in looking for late-day discounts. There will always be people who want (and are willing to pay for) the best early-morning, widest-variety of stuff early in the day. I don't mind a bit if someone at the end of the day is willing to take the less-popular items or the stuff I made too much of. If the price they offer is unacceptable, I don't accept it. Simple as that.

Jul 10, 2014
tonifi in General Topics
3

Famous Regional Food you find embarrassing or disgusting?

Awww...I love Springfield's Cashew Chicken, though I'll admit that your description is not wrong at all. Sooooo not Chinese, sooo not healthy, but when I'm in Springfield, I have to have it. (Though I've noticed a trend at Springfield buffets to 'hide' the cashews...not that I blame them, the price of the little buggers being what it is now. You have to go look back by the sushi guy or the kitchen pass. Presumably, with an employee nearby, patrons won't dump three cups of cashews on one cup of cashew chicken...)

Jul 09, 2014
tonifi in General Topics

Famous Regional Food you find embarrassing or disgusting?

Ah. You have guessed my shameful secret. It always made me cough...

Jul 09, 2014
tonifi in General Topics
3

Famous Regional Food you find embarrassing or disgusting?

Yep. A recent visit to Anthonino's Taverna reminded me that toasted ravioli is actually really good stuff. They make their own and it's a whole different thing than the rock-hard, hollow pasta squares I'd got used to...but...St. Paul sandwiches, I keep hearing that they're a St. Louis 'speciality', so I finally ordered on. Now, I'd never had one, I'm not sure I know anyone who had ever had one, but I was up for it. Eh. Okay. Not great. I don't think I need another one in this lifetime.

Jul 09, 2014
tonifi in General Topics

St. Louis - Highlights from a Visiting Hound

You like provel? I think I just fell a little bit in love, MGZ. Most out-of-town folks really don't understand our love for it. Thank you so much for the review. You remind me what a disgrace it is that I have lived in this town for 50 years without ever visiting Tony's, and I think that I am going to give my poor husband a shock next time my birthday rolls around and suggest we go spend some money for dinner. You stumbled on to our favorite lunch spot, as well, though I usually get the burger with the pancetta instead of the one with gyro meat. Next time you're in town try their toasted ravioli, which really is outstanding, and for a native, is a really nice reminder of why we love it in the first place...as with any local institution, the more popular it becomes, the more dumbed-down versions you see...but Anthonino's still make theirs from scratch, and they are great. Bless you for your kind words...and as for fecundity, well, this IS the Midwest, and St. Louis is traditionally pretty Catholic, and our real estate is pretty reasonable. My guess would be that Catholic upbringing+affordable 5 bedroom house=multiple kids might apply here pretty often. (I have cousins who come from a family of 14, at least six of whom have 5+kids already). I stopped at two.

Jul 02, 2014
tonifi in Great Plains

Does the meal have to be amazing?

Let's not all start squabbling about word choices, please? My reply would be that given the choice between 'good' and 'really good', CH is one of the resources I use to, hopefully, have 'really good' food whenever possible. When I am paying ten hard-earned bucks for a grilled cheese sandwich, I'd rather have one that is REALLY good. I don't stomp my feet and storm out of the place if my food is only 'good', but I'm a lot more likely to return if the food is, you know...really good, or even (dare I say? ) amazing. And I'm not being entitled if it is my money that I am spending for the meal I want. I'm too old to be a hipster, but I'll embrace doofus and foody, no problem.

Jul 02, 2014
tonifi in Site Talk
1

Substitution for flour in cream sauce?

Yep, just thicken w/something that doesn't have gluten, such as rice flour or cornstarch. You can also thicken your cream sauce with egg yolks, which adds richness to the sauce, though I'm not sure at what point you might start to overwhelm the taste of the fish.

Jun 25, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking

What foods have you made and then decided store bought was good enough, thank you, based upon cost, time, and taste?

Years ago I asked a Greek friend's mother how to make phyllo dough...Mrs. M was a wonderful, wonderful, cook, and I was all about the spanikopita. She said, "Here is how you make phyllo dough. Buy phyllo dough at store. Is better."

Jun 23, 2014
tonifi in General Topics
4

Bars to watch World Cup in St. Louis

hill food, I am in awe of your bar classifications. I will now feel the need to define every bar I enter. I'm rooting for dumpy, grumpy and occasionally scenester, though by rights I really ought to patronize oldsters. I don't have the wardrobe for slick.

Jun 12, 2014
tonifi in Great Plains

What is this cut of pork?

I still think those are pork steaks...the funky shape of the bone is characteristic...it almost narrows to a shard on the end. There are different cuts, some are more squared-off, some are boneless, but usually they are somewhat oval and have that 't' shaped, rather porous looking bone...I think the definition is just 'steaks cut from the pork butt', (which is the shoulder portion, usually used for pulled pork-style bbq).

Jun 02, 2014
tonifi in General Topics

What is this cut of pork?

I do believe you found pork steaks! (Welcome to St. Louis...oh wait...) Best backyard bbq option, ever.When I lived away from the Lou I was puzzled and sad to see that they don't seem to exist outside of St. Louis. Lucky you.
http://www.feaststl.com/dine-in/featu...

Jun 01, 2014
tonifi in General Topics
1

What is so great about grilling?? (... help!?)

I like the grill because it doesn't heat the house up, our summers can be awful, and the last thing I want to do is turn the oven on for hours. I don't like the cleaning part either, and I've had to accept that the grill is never going to be as clean as I would like it to be, but I fire it up and let it get insanely hot prior to each use, and I assume that the cooties have burned off. When it is under heavy use (and I use it to smoke entire pork bellies, so it gets some heavy use, indeed), I spray the whole thing with oven cleaner, let it sit for an hour or so, and then spray it clean with the hose. I try to not do it really often (oven cleaner is gnarly stuff) but it gets it clean, so...
Try kebabs, (kids love food on sticks, just don't let them stab each other...yes, I speak from experience...)

Jun 01, 2014
tonifi in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling
1

Troubleshooting Homemade Ricotta

Making cheese and butter at home isn't always 'cost effective' for just that reason...you need a goodish amount of milk for a smallish amount of cheese. That being said, I usually have plenty of milk, and I don't always keep things like ricotta in the house, so I find it is easier to make it rather than go out to the store to buy it at the last minute. I, too, had some times when I got a big old pan full of curds, and some times when I had just a few small curds. I found a blog that suggested that all milk is not created equal, and so the amount of acid you should add is not necessarily the same for every batch. The blog told me to keep adding small increments of acid until the whey was REALLY yellow and translucent, and this seems to work for me. I keep tasting to make sure I'm not ending up with something that tastes too vinegary, but that hasn't happened yet, and I have more than doubled the acid in some batches. I don't use a microwave, I prefer to be staring into the pot as my milk heats up, so I can keep messing with it. And I do think the homemade ricotta tastes wonderful. (I just tried mascarpone...you wouldn't believe how easy it is to make...I could kick myself for every eight dollar tub of it I've bought over the years. I'm making it with a two dollar container of Aldi heavy cream, and it works beautifully).

May 23, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking

Pre Washed Bagged Salad Mixes- Do You Take A Lending Hand?

Bagged greens taste odd to me, like nickels. Seriously.

May 23, 2014
tonifi in General Topics

YOGHURT SHELF LIFE

It is probably fine, and if it has gone bad, you're probably going to know when you open it. As a rule, yogurt just keeps being yogurt for a looong time...you may have more whey around it just because it has been compacting and squeezing out the whey. Obviously, if it has mold growing on it or smells really nasty, you should pitch it. But I've gone waaaay past a few months and it's been fine.

May 17, 2014
tonifi in General Topics

Good places to eat close to I-40

Only thing better than roadfood is free roadfood! Safe travels on your way home.

Apr 28, 2014
tonifi in Great Plains

Good places to eat close to I-40

Hey kagemusha49, I'm feeling bad at your lack of replies...it might help if you gave us a bit of a timeline...will you be passing through particular areas at particular times? Coming through St. Louis, be aware that we had a well-publicized incident last week when a tourist left a dog in the car at the zoo and the police broke into the car out of concern for the dog. I'm really happy St. Louis has become such a conscientious town critter-wise, but it was only 74 degrees that day and I think that there may have been, ahem, a BIT of overreaction (better than underreaction...) SO...you need a place with outdoor seating, I'm thinking. Most of our restaurant-heavy areas are within a few minutes of 40, what kind of thing do you like? Are you looking for ethnic or homey? What day will you be here? I'd love to make some suggestions if I had a bit more info.

Apr 27, 2014
tonifi in Great Plains

Making yogurt without using commercial yogurt or starter

Okay, it is April, and I am still making good yogurt from the chili-stem yogurt I made back in September...earlier posters are correct in saying that commercial-yogurt as a starter is just fine, but after 3 or 4 generations you start to lose some, oh, structural integrity...it starts to be a bit lumpy or a bit thin...this wild-caught stuff is TOUGH. I have been scooping out a bit with each generation to use for starter, and I did one time have to resort to a frozen jar I had tucked into the back of the freezer (somebody ate my starter...) but I am impressed. The frozen stuff kicked in just as enthusiastically as the non-frozen, though I did make sure it had time to thaw very well before I used it in the new batch. I'd love to hear if someone has used chickpeas, though I will probably pass on the anthill option.

Apr 12, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking

butchers in st louis

What are you looking for? You'll find some meat guys at farmer's markets (the guy at the Harr Family Farms stall in Soulard Market knows his stuff, he raises his critters) and there are a few independent butchers in town. Try G &W, http://www.gwsausage.com/, or Kenrick, http://www.kenricks.com/. We have some really decent local producers (I've had some amazing sausages from Todd Geisert's farm, http://www.toadspigs.com/), but they don't often have an independent retail outlet, they sell at farmer's markets and some of the (better) grocery stores.

Mar 27, 2014
tonifi in Great Plains

Bacon flavors

Okay fellow 'hounds. I've been making bacon for a while now, and I'm trying to come up with new flavors. Sriracha was a huge success, as was vanilla, maple, and coffee bean, but I'm looking to expand my horizons. What sounds good to you?

Mar 18, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking

Easter Brunch - St Louis?

I second lemons' recommendation for Eau. Somewhat pricey but with a boy that age you'll certainly get value out of it. Whatever you do, don't listen to anyone who tells you to go to Bevo Mill. Awesome, wonderful, whimsical building. Dreadful steam-table food.

Feb 22, 2014
tonifi in Great Plains

Continental Breakfast Challenge - so sick of Costco muffins & Yoplait.

So, they're okay with home-produced food? I wish our schools were, as well. When we did breakfasts at our (privately run!) preschool I did breakfast sandwiches and breakfast pizza. Both, just a riff on scrambled eggs/cheese/diced meat/tomatoes/onions, but one stuffed into hollowed out loaves of french bread, wrapped in foil and baked until melted through and then sliced into servings on-site, and a similarly themed pizza with homemade crusts, but you could just as easily buy store-bought pizza crusts. I think I used a sun-dried tomato cream cheese for the pizza 'sauce'...it's been a while...The pizzas were more of a hit with the preschool crowd, but the sandwiches were much easier to transport and to keep warm (I put the heated, foil-wrapped loaves in a cooler and packed a few dishtowels around them for the 30-minute trip and setup and they stayed nice and warm). I took a fruit salad with yogurt dressing on top both times, with some bowls and forks. Bless you for branching out of the muffin-rut.

Feb 09, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking

Mice in apartment

And hillfood is dead on, the stove is NOT sealed. Let me tell you about the sister-in-law who found the mouse nest in the bottom broiler drawer of her stove...AFTER Thanksgiving dinner, thank you very much. (Ex sister-in-law now, although that dinner had nothing to do with the divorce).

Feb 06, 2014
tonifi in Not About Food
1

Mice in apartment

This is a brick Victorian, probably 130 years old, I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to plug ALL the holes/cracks/gaps in this house, and I have seen a mouse run straight up the drainpipe to the third floor of a neighbor's house, so you'd have to do every bit of it. Every time a house on the block is rehabbed we get mice, and we have had as many as three cats at a time, all good mousers. Also, no one likes to find the dead mice the cat hides in our shoes. With a background in animal welfare, I was loath to use glue traps, with small children & pets I was reluctant to poison. We tried sound-wave barriers, humane traps, snap traps, and finally (ugh) glue traps and NOTHING worked. I talked to my vet and my pediatrician about the possible dangers, and finally went with poison. I use the dehydrating stuff that (hopefully ) sends them out of the house to die, and I am careful to put it out of reach of kids and critters, but I've used it for 10+ years and it is the only thing that works. If we see evidence of new ones, we buy new poison, and pretty soon we don't see them anymore. And we're all still alive. Damn things are disgusting. I try to find the poison that comes in little sawdust 'blocks' instead of the pellets, because I can see if it has been nibbled on, and target areas where they seem to be eating it the most. As a landlord, I think your landlord is a little misguided, but they are probably not eager to say, "Mice!" to any other tenants, for fear they will start a panic...I'd do my best to clean up the vermin in my own environs, and hope the box traps do the rest.

Feb 06, 2014
tonifi in Not About Food

How to handle a reaction to food allergies at a restaurant?

You know, I used to think the whole food allergy thing was waaay over-hyped, and then my husband began experiencing hives and a swollen tongue and trouble breathing once a week or so and we got to play 'am I allergic to something' until we worked it out. (Artificial food color, probably mostly on the red end of the spectrum). All I can tell you is that if I am out with him I speak right up, right away, and say to the server "He is very allergic to food color so if you suspect anything he orders contains it could you please let us know?" He is sometimes reluctant to 'make a fuss' but I recall a very scary trip down the highway after a dish of vanilla ice cream when he began wheezing a hundred miles from a hospital, so I ask. I am unable to eat watermelon, and since that is an ingredient less likely to 'hide', I am not quite so diligent, unless the plates around me look like they are garnished with fruit...I don't think there is any harm in contacting the restaurant to let them know that they need to make their staff very aware of the possibility of food allergies, but I don't think they bear any real responsibility this time.

Feb 05, 2014
tonifi in Not About Food

Social media - do you know CHs who are also friends on social media? And does it add to the experience?

I have one incredibly funny, witty, charming CH friend who has also become a friend on FB, where he is also witty, insightful, and great fun. We found, along the line, that we have a lot of experiences and acquaintances in common (including one fairly epic party we both attended more than twenty years ago) though we never have met in person. And I do believe I need to take the plunge and buy him lunch some time soon, despite my fear that he will find me incredibly dull in person.

Feb 05, 2014
tonifi in Site Talk
3

MEATLOAF - Home Cooking Dish of the Month for February 2014

I'm with you c oliver. I started smoking homemade bacon a while back and it just seemed like a natural progression from bacon-wrapped meatloaf to smoked meatloaf. I use any old recipe that catches my eye, but I do the cookin' out on the gas grill with a handful of wood chips in my cast-iron smoke-pan. Even the picky children love it.

Feb 02, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking
1

Dealing with non-chowhounds

Yep. I go out frequently with my cousin, who is truly my favorite person in the world to hang out with. I am a hound, I can even be a bit of a snob (please don't charge me twelve dollars for a square of microwaved food-service lasagna),and I am willing to pay more for tastier food, although I like a plate of hot wings as much as the next guy, too. Cousin, however, is a stickler for value, by which she means quantity. This girl can eat. We are neither one of us slender, but she's a lot thinner than I am...and she can put away six or seven plates heaped with food. This means, of course, that she looooves a buffet. Ryans. Golden Corral. Chinese buffets. And you know what? I deal with it. I have a salad and the fried chicken (even bad fried chicken is pretty good), I enjoy her company. Once in a great while I drag her to my choice of eateries, and she grumbles a bit about the 'small' portions and lets me have my fun. In the long run, I enjoy a mediocre meal in good company as much as a better meal all by myself. I'm a chowhound, but I can bend my rules for the sake of someone I love. Now...could I LIVE WITH someone who insisted on frozen dinners every night (like the 'healthy eater' boyfriend who only allowed diet soda & lean cuisines in the house)...nope!

Jan 25, 2014
tonifi in General Topics
3

Food names for pets

I once dated a guy from South Carolina who had a dog named (I thought) Omelet. Turns out the dog's name was Hamlet (the play, not the tiny version of smoked pig) but the whole family had such strong accents that it took me over a year to realize they hadn't named the dog after breakfast food.

Jan 25, 2014
tonifi in Not About Food
1

Can I roast the broccoli stalks?

It makes me sad how much of my life I spent NOT roasting vegetables. Roasted green beans are my favorite, toss a little lemon juice and chopped garlic on at the end...let 'em get downright black in spots. Honestly, like candy. Try roasted green beans with roasted cherry or grape tomatoes with a little parm or feta on sprinkled on top.

Jan 04, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking