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What's for Dinner? #137 - Easter Edition [old]

Oh those shish kebabs sound almost like how my Armenian grandmother would make them for us. So delicious. It was one of the very few things she'd cook that wasn't vegetarian.

Apr 08, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner? #137 - Easter Edition [old]

Duck tacos and homemade tamales! (Do you FedEx?)

Apr 08, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner? #137 - Easter Edition [old]

Friday and Saturday nights were Freezer Bonanza Nights (no squirrels were found <whew!>).

Hot n Sour soup with Chicken-Asparagus stir-fry on Friday, with everything from freezer containers except the asparagus, then Chili Dogs for DVD night with a friend on Saturday. The dogs used up almost all the last of the colossal dogs from GO, and got doused with lots of canned chili (I know, my bad, but no beans!), chopped white onion, shredded sharp cheddar, and yes, ballpark mustard. I don't think I could eat a chili dog with any other kind.

For Easter dinner this afternoon, more like lunch, a neighbor and her boyfriend came by. They're moving to Denver and I wanted to do something to say farewell and thanks for the help they've given me with a few things while my back is still out of sorts.

For starters, I did deviled eggs and stuffed celery on the relish plate, since it warmed up today. A shank portion ham was the main event instead of a spiral-sliced this year. Other than a turkey, a ham like this is about the only workout the electric knife sees.

For the glaze, I usually do a Chile-Espresso glaze, but found out on Friday that the boyfriend doesn't like coffee, so I needed to do something else. I defaulted to the Honey-Mustard glaze here on Chow since the butter in it sounded good, and it came out very tasty—I did add more mustard and substituted Steen's Cane Syrup for the brown sugar for a bit of molasses flavor. That worked out well, but I seemed to need to add some cornstarch to thicken it all up.

On the side we had roasted asparagus, yams and dinner rolls, all fairly traditional fare. We also had a tray of hot cross buns I'd made early this morning to nosh on after dinner. My guests brought 2 chilled bottles of a really nice German Reisling, so it was a happy afternoon/early evening for all. :)

N.B. I tried my hand at making creme fraiche for the first time today. Made sure to use pasteurized vs. ultra-pasteurized heavy cream + 2 tablespoons of just-opened buttermilk. Nice day today, around 70°, and 18 hours later, absolutely nothing's changed about it. :(

Hope everyone had a great Easter.

Apr 08, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

Beverage Calories

The pulp has soluble and insoluble fiber, a lot of it indigestible, even so, I include a fair amount of it in the final product that I drink. I'd like to see your numbers on the nutrition value of the juice from a half dozen citrus vs. the nutrition from one single whole fruit. From the numbers I've looked at, you'll be the one up for a surprise.

Apr 07, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

What's for dinner #136 [OLD]

His, and I'll be right over. :)

Apr 06, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

Beverage Calories

So you're saying that when I drink the juice from 5 or 6 tangelos, you're getting more nutrition by eating just one whole? I find that really hard to believe.

Apr 06, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

Are Obese People Just Like Heroin Junkies?

"I've seen very few obese people selling their bodies for a twinkie ... "

Price disparity, most likely. How much does a hit of heroin costs these days? (I don't know, truthfully.) I'd bet it's less than the cost of a Twinkie, on sale for a buck each at my local supermarket yesterday.

OTOH, the vast majority of bounced checks (when people wrote checks) was to the local grocery store.

Apr 06, 2012
RelishPDX in Features

Ultra-pasteurized milk is VILE!

The Darigold brand of milk here is ultra-pasteurized. I didn't realize it when I bought some a few months ago. I could instantly pick up a richer, fuller taste to it that I really enjoyed, and reminded me of the 'extra-rich' milk served at one of the bakeries we went to when I was young.

Apr 05, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

Beverage Calories

If you drink fruit juice with a meal, the sugar bomb effect is far less of a problem than drinking it on an empty stomach. Juicing fruit also has the benefit of being able to intake far more nutrients than by just eating the same fruit (you can drink much more of it). 100 calories in an 8 oz. glass also doesn't quite qualify for the sugar bomb category in my book, as other foods and drinks may. YMMV.

Apr 05, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

Yellow Goo for Hot Cross Buns

Mystery solved! :)

At my local Safeway today, they had displays of HCBs baked in trays, 9 buns per tray. They had both the yellow kind (labeled 'lemon'), and the white kind (labeled 'buttercream').

I asked the lady behind the counter how they iced these. The lemon is a clear, flavored icing gel they pipe on post baking, after brushing the buns with a donut-style glaze. The buttercream version is their standard uncolored and unflavored frosting, also piped on after baking, but without glazing the buns first.

Thanks to everyone who posted in answer to my initial question—I've learned a lot about HCBs as a result. I'm going to bake another batch on Saturday night to serve on Easter. I've decided to do one pan of half lemon and half buttercream, and one pan with crosses that are baked into the buns. This baked-into-the-bun style has me intrigued. I'm sure my guests will take home some of the excess.

Happy Easter to you all.

Apr 05, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

New to using a slow cooker---Easter ham in it?

I've had ham from a slow-cooker once not too long ago—it was a (probably) store-brand spiral-cut ham that began to braise in its own injected fluids, giving the submerged slices an unappetizing look and texture that I didn't like at all.

That said, there sure are a lot of home cooking bloggers out there who swear by this method, and wouldn't cook a ham any other way. I'm not sure I'd want to risk the price of a ham on trying to find a way to keep the ham out of the liquids while it warms, if that's even possible.

Apr 05, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #136 [OLD]

Triple-decker Club sandwich
Waldorf salad

Looks like it's bacon night in Portlandia. :)

While I was shopping for Easter dinner this afternoon, there was thick-sliced bacon in the butcher block case at the store that had to be 80% meat. Can't pass that up. Before leaving Freddie's, I had everything to make a classic Club, using up some of the sliced turkey from Sunday, that I'm happily munching on now. Swung by the deli to see what kind of side salad to add to make this a low maintenance dinner, and saw they'd just put out fresh Waldorf salad, one of my faves, so a third of a pound accompanies the Club. I like to make my own Waldorf, but it's a time-intensive effort for one.

To drink, a delicious orange juice I've just discovered. It's the house brand not-from-concentrate from Safeway, which uses all Valencia oranges. Really great stuff for bottled OJ. I'll be buying this from now on instead of one of the national brands.

But boy, would some clam chowder have gone well with this!

Apr 05, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #136 [OLD]

Fish in the nuker has certainly got my attention! I love fish, and am always looking for ways to cook it for single servings. Salmon teriyaki is something I've been thinking of doing soon, I wonder how that'd turn out in the microwave?

Apr 05, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

mark bittman on pink slime

Great post, thank you for the investment of your time in such a thorough answer! My guess is that the bottom line for me personally will become research, portion control, frequency and taste testing within budget considerations, for what I finally settle on.

Don't know if it's true or not, but I heard something on the radio not long ago that the avg. percentage of household income devoted to food and clothing combined has dropped from the mid-40% range around 1960 to the high teens today (I believe the figures were 45% and 17%). When I moved out on my own in the late 70s, a full 20% of my income went to food alone. I'd be tossing prime steaks and lobster tails out the window without despair if I did the same today, so there's probably some validity behind those numbers—even so, I balk at spending $15 for one serving of meat at home on a weeknight for myself, while that might seem cheap for the meat tab to feed a family.

Outside of profits for the cattle industry, it's becoming my belief that the rise of products such as pink slime have partially come about to satisfy our ever shrinking total spending on food as we become accustomed to seeing 2 cheeseburgers for 99¢ on banners at fast food joints, while non-food items continue to rise in price. That sets a value in our minds for what food should cost, regardless of its nutritional content or quality, with industry developing products to fit those budgets.

I wish this was easier! I'll have to look at what options there are for buying beef online. I'll think about it while I chow down on my 99¢ per pound shank of ham that's widely available this week in the stores. ;)

Apr 05, 2012
RelishPDX in Food Media & News

You knew you mastered the fine art of cooking or baking when you ______________.

... understood why there are other settings than "High" on the rangetop, or 350° for the oven, and when to use those other temperatures to my advantage as appropriate.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

Hi, my name is _______ and I'm addicted to ________ .(food only please!)

Hi, I'm Relish and I'm addicted to grapefruit and canned kadota figs. Yup, the same figs scorned by many on buffet tables 'round the world.

Grapefruits—white, red, pink, you name it. I could eat four or five a day and not tire of them. This addiction became known to me when I first began visiting a friend in Phoenix who'd bought a house in a development where a white grapefruit grove had once stood. The builders left three trees on each plot. A freshly picked ripe white grapefruit in the middle of February is actually sweet, not bitter and acidic.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

Why I’m done with berries and grapes out of season.

I've recently read that grapes, grown anywhere, contain the highest level of toxins of any fruit. It's due to the number of years the same vines are able to produce, building up toxins over the years. Could you have gotten a high dose or be sensitive to what the vines picked up from the soil? Surely, but I think it's a risk you'll be taking from grapes in or out of season, grown anywhere, in any grape product, including wine.

Strawberries in February now, meh. The first carton I bought this year was so woody they barely mascerated after three days. It'll be a while before I buy strawberries again this year.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

mark bittman on pink slime

I know little about how cattle are raised for human consumption. Without going to great lengths, the best beef I have constant access to is Certified Angus Beef, sometimes their Natural, most times not. Here's their page describing their Natural line:

http://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/bra...

They state that the cattle enjoy a diet of "top-quality grains, forages and essential nutrients," while at the same time declaring that these same cattle are never given antibiotics or hormones.

Do cattle who eat *any* grain need antibiotics, or only some grains, like corn. I'm trying to follow how CAB can make these claims given what you've posted above without calling either you or them into question.

(BTW, last night I had some top sirloin from Safeway, their 'Rancher's Reserve' branded beef, which I'm SURE is Select grade, but even so, it was great beef to me. That may only be an indication of my ability to compare it to other beef I'm able to access regularly.

)

I'd like to buy and eat the best beef possible for myself, the cattle, and the environment—a pretty big ask, I know.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Food Media & News

What's for dinner #136 [OLD]

It was a meal worth repeating! You're invited next time. The potatoes tasted of being slightly oversalted when I heated some up at lunch today, but that could have been from what I was drinking or something. Will look into that though. They tasted fine last night.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #136 [OLD]

I almost froze going to the bank and the store earlier to get fixin's for bean and cheese tostados tonight. Figured with a pound of beef for dinner last night, I could do vegetarian tonight.

Made them by simply spreading fried tortillas with a thick layer of refried beans, then cheese, nuked, then lettuce, avocado, salsa, and a dribble of diluted white vinegar on top that pooled underneath them like it's supposed to. Hit the spot.

Must go to bed early tonight. Long day tomorrow and I'm still not warmed up after that long walk.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

Beverage Calories

There are only 50 calories in 3 teaspoons of sugar for an iced tea, and an 8 oz. glass of orange juice has only 100 calories. I don't find those numbers especially worrisome.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

Real, Traditional Club Sandwich in LA?

I would head to Canter's on Fairfax.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Los Angeles Area

Best thing you've found at a 99¢ Only Store?

Why of course you can eat it. You can even be a 99-cent chef and blog about it:

http://the99centchef.blogspot.com/

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Chains

Cream Pie - in search of the ultimate

So I've consulted with my Easter guests, and they are actually okay going crustless with the pie filling and topping done in some large decorative ramekins that I have. "More than happy to save the calories for something else," was the consensus.

I'll still do domes, but we won't have any cutting/serving difficulties to deal with. I was happy that they both gave a go-ahead to coconut, so many people shy away from it.

That solution will also eliminate the need for me to source and buy mini tart pans that I may not use again for a long time.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #136 [OLD]

Interesting, thanks! And that your impression was just the opposite of mine as to which name went with the cheese. (I'm still blaming Betty Crocker—something tells me if I look at a box of Scalloped Potatoes, it'll have no cheese in it.)

I have to say, this was one of the best potato dishes to come out of my oven in ages. Usually I just do Potatoes Lyonnaise because it's so dang easy and tasty, plus I like the browned bits.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Home Cooking

Love the visual of it all....Pinterest

All your pins are belong to us!

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Food Media & News

Love the visual of it all....Pinterest

This is hilarious. People are pinning Pinterest pins to Chow now.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Food Media & News

Del Monte Sweet Pickle Relish

Oh wow, you've no idea how glad I am to have run across this thread. I've not been able to get Del Monte relish since about the year 2000, and absolutely CRINGE every time I buy another brand that just never sizes up to Del Monte.

Gotta find a way to source some now. I bought the last few bottles of it when a store up here had their last few bottles on clearance, and was told the whole line was being discontinued.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Las Vegas

Freezer purge

No small quantities of leftover anything goes into the freezer here, except tomato paste. Everything else either must be an item that has to be kept frozen, be prepared intentionally for the freezer, or made in excess volume with the freezer in mind. For everything else, if it doesn't get used up before going bad, it gets pitched.

I'm also a big fan of labeling with date and weights, and bagging meats by type.

There's no economy in cluttering up the freezer with junk just so I can finally justify trashing it due to freezer burn some day. The garbage disposal is in the sink here, not above the fridge.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in General Topics

Price compare: BJs & Costco vs Target/other supermarkets

One of the reasons why Costco can be fairly generous with their return policy is that they aren't eating the full price of the return. There are discounters around the country who buy up overstocks, customer returns, and damaged goods from Costco, then sell them in shops in low-cost strip malls.

One near me is: http://www.eaglebargainoutlet.com/

The other day I found a fairly nice Le Crueset dutch oven there that was simply missing the knob on top. They'd put one from a Kirkland item on it in order to get it sold. The savings weren't that spectacular, but that store moves a lot of merchandise through it.

Apr 04, 2012
RelishPDX in Chains