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Lunch near City Museum in St. Louis

My son had dinner not too long ago at Sauce on the Side after a high school robotics club event. His take on the calzone? "Mom, you should make those." I think he approved.

Aug 08, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains

Lunch near City Museum in St. Louis

Not sure how old your kids are and how much you are willing to hoof it, but Schlafly's Tap Room is about...3-4 blocks to your SW. Good beer, decent food, family-friendly, be absolutely certain to get the Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert, and one is probably enough to share. If you are driving, do think about Crown Candy Kitchen in the Old North area just to the north of downtown(and City Museum), some of the area is sketchy, so know where you're going (you're fine, really, but I wouldn't walk it), but Crown is a GREAT place for kids, with real soda-fountain sandwiches and ice cream (and I DO mean real, Crown has been continuously operating for about a million years).CROWDED at noon, but not so bad at 11 or at 1:30. The BLT has, I kid you not, a pound of bacon on it. BLT and vanilla malt, the perfect meal.

Aug 05, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains
1

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

Oh, I really do not have the oven on(at least not for very long)..too hot here in the Midwest. After years of resistance, I have finally started baking in the microwave. A surfeit of bread and a fondness for bread pudding inspired me to start experimenting, and it turns out that a batch of individual bread puddings baked in (silicon) cupcake pans or custard cups goes down quite well with the family. I've been drying pans of torn-up bread in the oven overnight (turn it on 300, when it preheats turn it off and don't open it 'til morning) and then mixing up a simple eggs/milk/vanilla/salt custard to soak the bread in. Add-ins so far have included chocolate chunks, chopped apples, blueberries, and butterscotch chips. They get grabbed for breakfast and nuked and enjoyed with a glass of milk for snacks. I'm thinking that tomorrow I'll use sweetened/condensed milk in the custard and add sliced peaches.

Aug 03, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking
2

What's for Dinner #378 - The Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition [through August 3, 2015]

I just love these threads...lots of inspiration to be had in them.

What's for Dinner #378 - The Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition [through August 3, 2015]

I had a smallish chunk of pork loin from the 'reduced for quick sale' bin that I forgot to brine last night so I sliced it into thick chops and tossed them in the brine mid-afternoon. I gave them a light rub (mostly garlic and paprika) and smoked 'em over pecan shells for an hour. Served with a tomato pie (a riff on the classic Southern cholesterol-fest of sliced tomatoes, mayo, shredded cheddar, and green onions baked in a pie crust), but I passed on the piecrust (it's almost a hundred damn degrees today) and decided to call it a 'tomato gratin' and instead of baking just put it under the broiler until everything melted and browned), which we had with some really good corn on the cob. (It's been a good year for corn). We are having tomatoes for every meal and an awful lot of the time in between meals, too...been waiting for good tomatoes. I made individual butterscotch bread puddings in the microwave for dessert...the local food pantry has started begging neighbors (who do not normally take advantage of their services) to come in on Fridays and take some of the bread that is going into the dumpster at noon (they are completely overwhelmed with bread, apparently), so I've been trying to find lots of non-oven ways to use it up.

What's for Dinner #378 - The Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition [through August 3, 2015]

Made braciole for the family because I can assemble them, brown them, and then pop 'em with pre-made sauce into the crock pot for everybody else (dear teenage son has volunteered to boil some pasta to go with) because tonight is the first event (the 'informal' event) of my 35th high school reunion. Thirty-five! I had to get dinner ready to go because I feel certain that the next few hours will involve trying on every garment I own and probably some wild, regrettable experiments with make-up and maybe even a few tears... Incidentally, the braciole are still tied with some twine, so right next to the crock pot is a note and a pair of kitchen shears. The note says, "DO NOT EAT THE STRING! REMOVE STRING BEFORE EATING." I have such faith in my family...

Seeking Burger with Cheddar "Cheese Spread" Topping - St. Louis

As lemons said, I would say that the dried mustard (and dried mustard is a different critter than the condiment...you mostly taste vinegar when you use the prepared condiment)is really there to just add an element of 'sharp', much like a splash of lemon juice does. My husband claims to absolutely hate mustard (and, not surprisingly, he DOES hate vinegar and any kind of pickle), but he loves potato or egg salad with a good pinch of dry mustard, and cheese sauces like rarebit really aren't half so good if you leave it out. Try a tasting spoonful with just a tiny bit of dried mustard, I think you'll want to go ahead and add a bit to your cheese spread. It just adds a bit of depth and sharpness to things that would otherwise be unremittingly creamy. If you really hate it, maybe a splash of sriracha instead?

Jul 29, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains
1

Seeking Burger with Cheddar "Cheese Spread" Topping - St. Louis

Because I am a big one for making it myself (and boy,do I regret it sometimes because DH NEVER wants to order carry-out any more) I felt the need to look up how to make 'pub cheddar'. It looks like a pretty simple blend of 3 parts shredded cheddar to 1 part cream cheese, blend in the food processor and then add a pinch of dry mustard, a pinch of red pepper, a splash of heavy cream, and then blend and add a splash of beer (thus the Pub...)from that bottle in your hand until the texture is spreadable. If I try it soon(and you know I'm going to), I'll let you know how it worked out.

Jul 26, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains

Seeking Burger with Cheddar "Cheese Spread" Topping - St. Louis

Stacked http://stackedstl.com/menus/ has a 'pub cheddar' option on the make-your-own burger menu. They do a good burger, too, so it's worth the trip.

Jul 23, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains

Thai ingredients in Saint Louis

OMG, hill food, BENDY? My new favorite word for produce. The only thing I will add to hill food's excellent advice is that if you have any trouble finding something at either of the Jay-food locations (Jay on Grand or Global Foods on S. Kirkwood) don't hesitate to ask an employee...things often come in a different form (frozen/dried/jarred) than you might expect and since the stores are arranged by country of origin, sometimes a 'thai' ingredient might not be found in all it's forms in the Thailand section. Both stores have really nice employees who will help you out.

Jul 09, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains
1

Why am I such a bad baker?

I agree, what kind of things are you trying? A failed cake and a failed batch of cookies are going to be two very different things. Everything tastes like flour? Maybe you just don't care for the taste of flour, do you enjoy baked goods that other people make? Have you tried making something without flour? Cheesecake, anyone?

Jun 21, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking
1

Home made potato chips

Never used duck fat, (fancy) but I do potato chips (and carrot chips and sweet potato chips) often. I HAVE twice cooked them, and it does make them crunchier...not necessary if they are sliced really thin (and they should be), but if you lightly fry (or even boil in salted water) and then toss them in the freezer or refrigerator for a while, your second frying should go really fast, and they will be crispier. Just be careful, they can stick to the pan you chilled them on...let them thaw just a bit before you start yanking them off the pan. And I always do a fairly shallow fry, I'm using a cast iron skillet.

Jun 17, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking

Help!! Brisket Problem

I'm guessing that the bit of fat in the gravy has just cooled and congealed. Not a biggie. It should pretty much vanish when it is warmed. If I want to reduce some of the fat in a particularly fatty dish, I do it on purpose so I can just skim off the fat once it has congealed...you've just done the same thing, only by accident. I wish I was having brisket tonight.

May 22, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking
1

Is my Pork Loin Bad?? Need to know Asap. :<

Meat is most often packaged in one of two ways (excluding the nifty white paper wrap you get from really fancy butchers...), either 'packer sealed' or 'store packaged.' Packer sealed will usually be a vacuum-sealed plastic casing, with a lot of the meat juices in there with it. These often aren't quite so trimmed up, there may be some surface fat or a bit of the 'silver skin' still clinging to it. A store packaged piece of meat is often smaller, sitting on a styrofoam tray with that little piece of absorbant pad on the bottom, it us usually trimmed of fat or irregular bits. Quite often when I open a packer trimmed bag of meat I get a much more strongly organic smell, and yes, they can feel a bit sticky, I'm guessing it has something to do with all those meat proteins in the liquid surrounding the meat. I think you're fine, really. If you're buying meat at a restaurant supply store or a price club, you're much more likely to get the packer trimmed package.

Apr 11, 2015
tonifi in General Topics

Best way to prepare lasagna 2 days ahead?

Lasagna is wonderfully suitable for making ahead, and I agree with magiesmom, I'd probably sort of half-to-mostly bake it just to save time on the day. If left unbaked, the contents can shift around a little, and any noodles that aren't covered with sauce will dry out. I regularly pre-make lasagna for my son to finish baking when I won't be home for dinner.

Apr 10, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking
1

polenta - home made

I don't even bother to try to slice it into fry-able pieces. I usually make a soft polenta for dinner, and then refrigerate the leftovers, and (usually for breakfast the next day), I just plop a scoop of it into an oiled skillet and turn it over when the bottom gets crispy. It firms up quite a bit, so you sort of smoosh it down when you put it into the skillet, but I've never been good at getting just the right consistency for slicing.

Cooking cheap and healthy with gifted food

When my vegan-y friends come over we do hummus pizzas, spread the pitas with hummus, top with any veg (roasted if you are so inclined ) that you happen to have, and then finish with some chopped cilantro. (And I add cheese to any leftover that I eat the next day...)

Mar 31, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking
1

Chicken Fried Steak in St. Louis

As a particular fan of CFS, I'm eagerly awaiting any replies you might get to your question. As for me, I like the Chicken Fried Steak on the breakfast menu at Billie's Fine Foods, a diner on Broadway. Not in any way fancy, but good diner food, generous portions and more than reasonable prices. My husband appreciates that they know what he means when he asks for his eggs basted.

Mar 28, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains

Do you hold Grudges against Restaurants? And for how long?

If you are my age, and grew up in St.Louis, there is one particular pizza chain here in town that really hits the mark for the Friday-night, movies-on-the-couch, let's-order-a-pizza experience for you. This particular chain has become fairly expensive in comparison to comparable local places, but it still wins out for the nostalgia factor. A few weeks ago the girl child and I decided to go for it when the boys were out of town. The first franchise outlet I called was so rude on the phone that I ended up telling them to never mind, and called another outlet that delivers to our neighborhood, only to have them almost out-rude the first place. I ordered anyway, waited almost an hour, paid a fairly absurd amount for our food (but the delivery guy was nice, so we tipped him handsomely...after all, judging by the woman on the phone, he has to work with a bunch of jerks), and enjoyed our perfectly mediocre meal. One of the toasted ravioli in our combo box was actually empty, just a poor floppy fried pasta shell with nothing inside it. I mean, someone loaded that box with those eight toasted ravioli...how could you fail to notice that one of them was flat? Can you say 'quality control?' Never again, they've lost me forever. We don't have a whole lot of places that deliver to our particular neighborhood, but we'll eat frozen pizza (ack!) before they see another dollar from us.

Mar 27, 2015
tonifi in Not About Food

Food storage Russian roulette: what's your riskiest food safety gamble that went okay?

When I was a poverty-stricken student with a shared refrigerator we used to keep our food either in the bedroom closet or on the 11th-floor windowsill of our room (until the pigeons figured it out and began to visit regularly). We once had a canned ham in the closet, opened, for two weeks. Cheese, milk, nothing was exempt. I am (sometimes alarmingly) casual about the possibility of food poisoning (yesterday I bought, and we ate, the 'prepare or freeze today' TUNA steaks I found at the supermarket...3.99 a lb!). Still alive. I should note that the two times in my fairly long life I've had food poisoning I can attribute it to commercially prepared food, a showboat-type (quite fancy) restaurant the first time, and the second time, Taco Bell. I'm willing to admit we may just be lucky, or really healthy, but I just hate waste. greygarious, you know that if you DO eat it, we're going to want to know how it went!

Feb 24, 2015
tonifi in General Topics

Roast Recipe with the Oven Turned Off - has anyone tried this with a gas oven?

Glad to hear it went well for you! Like I said, I do it all the time, I've never had it fail. I think you need to like your beef fairly rare, but we do, so it works for us. Lots of bang for the buck, too.

Feb 16, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking
1

Roast Recipe with the Oven Turned Off - has anyone tried this with a gas oven?

Well, I'm a tiny bit scared 'cause I don't want you to ruin your big old piece of meat, but I do the slow-roasted eye of round all the time since I first read about it in Cook's Illustrated, and my gas oven is kind of wonky, too. Sharpen your knife before you slice it, you want it to slice pretty thin. And refrigerate the leftovers overnight, it will slice really thin once the meat chills. This way of making eye of round has brought roast beef back to our humble dinner table, with mashed potatoes, gravy, Yorkshire puddings, and roasted green beans; AND lots of leftovers for French dip sandwiches later in the week.

Feb 13, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking

Question about Cinnamon Rolls

I haven't noticed a significant difference between 'active dry' and 'instant dry' yeast...the instant dry seems to rise a little faster, but since you generally want to look for 'doubled in size' and rising times can vary for a bunch of reasons, you are probably fine with either one. As a rule, I find that the slower the rise, the tastier the bread, so a colder temperature that retards the speed of your dough rising is probably going to make for better taste...but judging by these ingredients, these are likely going to be pretty tasty anyway, and I don't think it will make a huge difference whichever you choose. I'd try whichever method is most convenient for you and maybe, next time, try the other way, and compare.

Feb 08, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking

cheap/kid friendly eats St. Louis

Mine are a bit older these days, so I'm not going to be much help with recs, but if you would let us know what area you'll be staying in it will probably help people think of places for you to try.

Feb 04, 2015
tonifi in Great Plains
1

How to eat/serve Green Bean Casserole?

I had a friend in high school whose Mom was something of a gourmet cook. No canned-soup casseroles for her, she always brought the fanciest food to the PTA potlucks. Said friend went off to college in the 80s, and came back absolutely raving about the delicious dish he'd experienced in the dorm cafeteria...thin slices of green beans with the MOST delicious sauce and little crunchy bits...GBC, of course. His mother was horrified,but she made it for him. Green bean casserole is GOOD! It sounds even better with some rice underneath...

Jan 19, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking

quick chicken soup

I may get in trouble with a lot of hounds, because OF COURSE I always poach a chicken shred the meat, and roast the bones for homemade stock...but sometimes I just open a can of white-meat chicken breast chunks and throw it in a pan with a can of low-sodium chicken broth, a can of tomatoes, a can of corn and a can of black beans. Any and all of the add-ins are optional and vary according to which cans I see first, I've done mixed veg and no beans, white beans and spinach, I even get fancy sometimes and slice up a stalk of celery and throw it in. Then I put it in the fridge in a jar and have it for lunch every day for a week. Or, heat up a can of low-sodium chicken stock, when it is hot, beat an egg into it, add a splash of lemon juice, and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. As far as the hot beverages go, have you ever tried beef bullion with tomato juice and some lemon?

Jan 09, 2015
tonifi in Home Cooking

Did Santa bring you any new cooking devices, gadgets, etc?

Exactly, articshark, and I am a non-confrontational type that stresses out horribly over making someone unhappy with me. Fortunately, my husband is fiercely competitive and he egged me on...at his office the gifts are unwrapped, though...so everybody bird-dogs the things they want and it can get kind of ugly! Between the two of us, though, we snagged the smoker and hung on to it. The husband actually scored big points this year, too...he gave me a knife-sharpening kit, which I had lusted for after I used one that belonged to a friend.

Jan 02, 2015
tonifi in Cookware
1

Did Santa bring you any new cooking devices, gadgets, etc?

Aw, LOVE my KA meat grinder...just remember that meat grinds more easily if it is about half frozen...I use mine to grind all kinds of stuff, when you make meatloaf, throw the frozen bread right in with the meat and grind it all together!

Jan 02, 2015
tonifi in Cookware

Did Santa bring you any new cooking devices, gadgets, etc?

Good old Santa, via the rob-your-neighbor game played at my husband's office's Christmas party (and I normally HATE rob-your-neighbor) gained us a brand new Masterbuilt smoker. Yeah, baby. I've been making bacon for a couple years, smoking it on a gas grill, which works pretty well but requires that you hover over the grill during the entire process,lest your bacon got hot and begin to render its fat, and I am mondo excited to start my next batch of bacon, not to mention brisket...pork chops....turkey...sausages....oh boy.

Jan 01, 2015
tonifi in Cookware

What do you make after Christmas when you're sick of everything?

I'm hanging with the majority rule here, too. We had a huge Boxing Day party with all the heavy, rich, (delicious) foods you would expect. We have now had long weekend of re-configured leftovers (the end bit of the leek & potato soup made pretty good gnocchi), but tomorrow I want Vietnamese. Something crunchy and fresh and entirely different. Spring rolls and shaking beef and coconut milk curries. Tomorrow. We. Order. Out! (Somebody break the news to my husband).

Dec 29, 2014
tonifi in Home Cooking
1