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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
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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

Help me name this queso dish.

thymetobake I'm going to have to join up with fldhkybnva here and say that the white queso dip in restaurants is invariably the Land O' Lakes Extra-Melt white American uber-processed cheese log. I, too, fought this conclusion...nothing else works as well or tastes as good. Sigh. A lot of places have a 'signature' take on it, they mix in onions or salsa or cumin or ground beef, but the base is melted, processed white American cheese, usually thinnned with a bit of milk or chicken stock. And it's good, too. You can find it as most commercial-food suppliers, or I think you can order it online.

Dec 01, 2013
tonifi in Home Cooking

Gordon Food Service - There is now one near me.

rich in stl, you beat me to the question! I drove by the other day and wondered what they are all about. Are they a membership kind of place, or is it all about the big quantities? Anybody know? (And WOW, sad little Deer Creek Mall has certainly gone boom!)

Nov 19, 2013
tonifi in Great Plains

Homemade Yogurt Disaster

Ah-ha! Well, I can't really speak to the dry milk, I used it once and felt it gave my yogurt an unpleasant, faintly chalky taste, so I haven't used it since. I think other posters are probably right that you could just thin it down with something, more dairy, or some vanilla extract or other liquid or liquid-y flavoring. You are clearly on the right track, since your yogurt cultured, it just got too thick with the addition of the dry milk. I don't really use a recipe anymore, but I think that the one I started with was from this article: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/fo....

Nov 09, 2013
tonifi in Home Cooking
1

Homemade Yogurt Disaster

It really won't get any thicker than it 'can', since what is happening is the cultures are eating the milk and once they've chomped it all, they're done...are you putting something else in the milk? Like dry milk? Did you strain it? Did the whey separate? Have you tasted it?

Nov 09, 2013
tonifi in Home Cooking

Homemade Yogurt Disaster

If it is set up to your satisfaction you can do either. I usually pour it into a colander lined with a clean dishtowel and let it drain even more overnight (put the colander/dishtowel/yogurt into a bowl so the whey doesn't drain all over the fridge...obviously....) but we like our yogurt drained to a fare-thee-well. Kind of like tasty spackle. I very occasionally have a yogurt fail, less often now that I've been doing it for a couple of years. Usually it is because I got impatient and didn't let my milk cool enough and killed my cultures. Don't let the occasional failure dissuade you. And non-cultured yogurt milk (provided you haven't been waiting for it to culture for so long that the milk spoiled) can be used in place of milk for cereal or milkshakes or something...

Nov 08, 2013
tonifi in Home Cooking

St. Louis visit - Open to additional ideas

Monch liked our pizza! He LIKED it! He REALLY liked it! Monch, you come on back here ANY time. Bless you and your adventurous palate. You rock.

Sep 12, 2013
tonifi in Great Plains

Good Eats in StL Over Labor day Week(end)

I am SO tagging along with you next time you hit town. Wow. Just wow.

Sep 04, 2013
tonifi in Great Plains

Dough ok overnight?

Oh absolutely, but as tacosandbeer has said, I wouldn't put the components together until morning. the acids in the peaches would make your dough soggy, I'd refrigerate the components separately and then just put the cobbler together in the morning before baking. Peach cobbler sounds wonderful this time of year.

Aug 31, 2013
tonifi in Home Cooking

Good St. Louis Restaurants Open Labor Day

cookingmatterschef, I almost hesitate to weigh in because the only places I seem to go any more are Table and Home Wine Kitchen, and I tend to go for brunch, not dinner....but I HAVE to second your suggestion. I've never had a meal at either place that wasn't wonderful. Not every dish is to my taste, but if I like it at all (fish), I love it when Cassie Vires cooks it. And even if I don't like it even a little bit (pumpkin), her renditions taste good enough to me to (almost) win me over. Josh is a wine brainiac, and he will even pair beer for you if that's your preference (hey, I'm a low-rent kinda gal). You absolutely want to call ahead of time, particularly for the no-menu Monday at HWK, since it can fill up well in advance of the date. The two no-menu dinners I've had at HWK are not only some of the best food I've ever eaten, but they are a great deal of fun...waiting to see what comes out of the kitchen for each diner, eyeing everyone's plate....comparing dishes. I wouldn't call either one 'fancy', the focus is much more on food than it is on wardrobe...I've been to Table (Cassie & Josh's new venture) for dinner once, brunch several times. Small plates, you're encouraged to order a variety, small portions but plenty of food in all, and everything I've had was absolutely perfect. Well thought out, well executed, darn tasty. The duck hash at brunch is fantastic. Table has long tables, you'll sit stranger-adjacent, I actually didn't think I'd like that, but it really isn't awkward, you can choose to talk or not talk to the folks near you. Home Wine Kitchen has much more traditional seating. You really can't go wrong with either. Home Wine Kitchen is in Maplewood, fairly centrally located in a nice little neighborhood. Table is down on Cherokee Street, south side not too far from the river/highway 55. The area is edgier, a little more hip. a little more run-down in spots. I think you would love either one.

Aug 24, 2013
tonifi in Great Plains

Making yogurt without using commercial yogurt or starter

I LOVE this thread! As to what you said about a kitchen in which yogurt is made all the time, noahbirnel. I knew a woman when I was a kid who SWORE that her Grandma could make yogurt from milk and nothing else, she said that she just 'stirred it with her hands.' Now, the Grandma in question was Greek, she was about 217 years old (okay, but she SEEMED that old to me at the time) and I kind of dismissed the possibility, since Grandma didn't speak a lot of English and I couldn't exactly ask her. Now I kind of wonder if there was some truth to it, if Grandma had been making yogurt for so long in that kitchen, and with those hands, that the cultures were ever-present. I can't even remember the playmate's name after all these years, but I still wonder if it was possible she was telling the truth. I am going to try the chili stem thing a.s.a.p.

Aug 18, 2013
tonifi in Home Cooking

I'm confused about temperatures and 'doneness' with chicken breasts

This may not be relevant to your thermometer usage, but I find chicken breasts to be real stinkers when it comes to trying to get a good thermometer reading...I DID find that my thermometer seems to 'read' the temperature a good inch and a half up from the tip, so I try to insert the thermometer into the side of the piece of chicken. If I get just the tip in, it doesn't always read true. (And yeah, this post keeps trying to turn into a dirty joke...or maybe it's just me who thinks that...)

Aug 18, 2013
tonifi in Home Cooking

What food or foods is your town known for ?

I just asked him what foods Dukinfield might be known for and he went. "Phffffffttttttttttttt." And yeah, he's sticking by Boddie's...I asked him about Robinson's and he said, "That's Stockport," so you must be at least sort-of known for it.

Aug 18, 2013
tonifi in General Topics

What food or foods is your town known for ?

Hey Harters, where are you from? DH hails from Dukinfield, if asked this question he would likely say "Boddingtons". (Beer, it's a food group).
I'm from St. Louis, Missouri. We're pretty much known for gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, a particular St. Louis-style pizza (you either love it or you just don't understand why anyone would...), and we used to be known for brain sandwiches, but somewhere around 1970, everybody lost their nerve and quit eating 'em.

Aug 17, 2013
tonifi in General Topics
1

Foods that make you sick?

About twenty years ago, watermelon started making me very, very ill. Sweating, black spots dancing in my field of vision, headache, intestinal distress and several days of pain and sensitivity in my feet & hands afterwards. It has become worse and worse, to where I had a reaction (bad, scary, passing out, home-alone-with-young-kids and too altered to dial 911 reaction) just from touching it. I have been told that a profound sensitivity to a specific fruit can be somehow related to a latex intolerance, and I've always had trouble with latex, though I'm whistling through my hat here, I really have no idea why I was fine with it for thirty years and then...BANG.
Just last week I ate two peaches and my mouth began to feel like my skin was burning and I got a headache. I'm kind of worried, I'd hate to end up unable to eat ANY fruit.

Aug 11, 2013
tonifi in Not About Food

Entertaining while on a tight budget - potluck? fewer events w budget menu items?

Not sure if you want to go quite this far, but in college we used to host 'dinner parties.' The host provided ten packs of ramen noodles, and everyone brought something that might go well with the flavor that the host had chosen. It worked out really well in that those of us who were flush that week might bring some mushrooms or ground beef or chicken parts, and no one was ever frowned upon if their contribution that week was a can of mushroom soup or a couple of carrots. We had a friend who showed up one day clutching a handful of wild onions he'd yanked out of the yard...he may have meant to be funny, but we chopped them up and used them. We'd make up two or three recipes with the ingredients we had, and then have dinner together. Strange, I don't remember anyone ever being too broke to buy beer...
I do think that your friends will still enjoy themselves over red beans and rice or chili and tortillas...an occasional potluck is fine, too, once in a while, particularly if, as other posters have mentioned, you provide a main and let everyone else bring side dishes.

Aug 10, 2013
tonifi in Not About Food

Salted Caramel Ice cream

You might want to put 'St. Louis' in your heading. I'm pretty sure I've seen Salted Caramel on gelateria menus around here (and the two I frequent are Gelateria del Leone on Grand and Gelato di Riso on The Hill). Not sure about ice cream, but Whisk down on Cherokee street does a wicked good salted caramel cupcake, if you feel like branching out. Check first, they do different things on different days.

Aug 10, 2013
tonifi in Great Plains

POLL - Do you allow pets on your kitchen counters, are you male or female

So I walk into the kitchen SECONDS after writing this post and what do I find? I get no respect around here. None. Damn cat must have been reading over my shoulder:

Aug 09, 2013
tonifi in Not About Food
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