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HungryHoya's Profile

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What dishes / foods do you NEVER get at restaurants?

I avoid ordering the foods I can easily make at home or associate with home cooking, even if I enjoy them. For me, that means any standard American food (the way my husband grew up eating/cooking) or Italian-American food (the food I grew up eating/know how to cook). I would never choose to go to an Italian restaurant, but when I find myself in one, I order something other than pasta.

I also mark down a dish for being served with simply prepared potatoes. On the one hand, I love the versatility of potatoes and we eat them a lot at home. We just tend to eat more of them when we're looking to stretch our budget (as we are now) and I don't like paying huge markups for something so simple. If they're delicious or somehow creative, I can forgive humble ingredients, but if they are not as good as I make (often the case) I just feel guilty for having spent the money.

Sep 28, 2013
HungryHoya in General Topics

Left over polenta

This is what I am doing for dinner tonight. I mix fresh portabellos with a reconstitued dried mix of mushrooms, sauteed with some rosemary, and with some soft the goat cheese that gets all melty and mixes with the mushroom "gravy"....yum

Sep 26, 2013
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Double Concentrate Tomato Paste/ Paste in a Tube

Thanks, everyone! It sounds like an interesting product I will look more closely for at the grocery store, but doesn't sound like I should order the bulk amount I'd need to in order to get it online.

Sep 24, 2013
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Double Concentrate Tomato Paste/ Paste in a Tube

Has anyone ever used tomato paste from a tube? We use tomato paste with enough frequency to buy the pack of cans from Costco, but I hate having to either throw out a little or store a few tablespoons when recipes only use a little bit (and we do not use it so frequently that we need open containers in the fridge all the time). I've never seen tomato paste in a tube in my grocery store, but after seeing it at Williams Sonoma I found a few other sources online. Most of them require buying a fairly substantial quantity, so I'd love to hear what others' experience is. Many of these pastes are labeled as being "double concentrate." Do they really have twice the flavor? Am I right to assume you'd just use half the amount as a recipe calls for?

Thanks!

Sep 23, 2013
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

What to do with too much (of the wrong) stuff ?

We've had a ton of cabbage at the markets around here (DC), too, strangely. I've been enjoying roasting it-Slice into 3/4 inch thick rounds, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and caraway seeds (if desired). I do this in the toaster oven so I don't heat up the apartment. 350 degree for 20-25 minutes (I just keep an eye on it for when it looks done and the edges just begin to brown).

I also really like cabbage in a quick stir-fry with carrots and small chicken pieces. It does require some stove-top cooking (no ones favorite in July), but everything cooks quickly.

Jul 24, 2013
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Need Sauce Ideas for Zucchini Noodles

I am making zucchini pasta for dinner tonight. Any ideas for a yummy sauce? A lot of recipes with zucchini noodles are completely focused on being paleo, or vegan, and it's tough to tell if they are meant to taste good or just meant to be substitutes. I have eggplant and yellow squash, but a veggie-heavy sauce might be too much of the same texture. I was thinking a traditional pesto with grilled chicken might work. Any thoughts or ideas for something new?

Jul 24, 2013
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

gluten-free DC / Arlington / Bethesda / Rockville

I live in DC and am also gluten-free, and this is one of my favorite casual places for take-out: http://www.chickenout.com/

It's not fancy, but its always been fresh and delicious. I often wish I lived closer to one, since most of the locations are in the suburbs by where you'll be.

When are they gonna start labelling genetically modified foods

No one was impugning anything or saying that private interests cannot produce good science. However, in this situation, I do think the lack of uninterested, neutral research matters, if only in public perception of the safety of GMO foods. Scientific research in the public interest is not a radical idea. However, as you pointed out, the US is very different than Europe, so perhaps I am being optimistic.

Mar 14, 2013
HungryHoya in General Topics

When are they gonna start labelling genetically modified foods

There is much more fear among Europeans about GMOs, and much stricter regulations. Whatever the validity of your comment on Americans' collective scientific literacy, it has nothing to do with this issue. America's crops are the largest % GMO modified, so of course this is where we hear about it. Europeans who come to the US are the most vocal about the dangers of GMO foods, in personal experience but also in the academic studies of GMOs. Just compare the literature coming out of Germany or France with what American "scientists" are cranking out. Even if the American public could understand the scientific literature, would it really matter, since most of it is from industry insiders with a predetermined agenda? (Not trying to fear-mongar here, because there are embedded interests on both sides of the debate, but very few studies are neutral, since, excluding maybe the NIH's investigations, most major studies have been funded by private agriculture).

Mar 14, 2013
HungryHoya in General Topics

Fruit/Veggie storage in small home: Hack my kitchen layout please . . .

These might make it easier to picture:

Feb 21, 2013
HungryHoya in Cookware

Fruit/Veggie storage in small home: Hack my kitchen layout please . . .

I've always thought using those wall-mounted, half-circle planters to store fruits and veggies was clever. You can even use several to sort different things. They obviously take up some space on the wall (usually positioned above the counter, under the cabinets), but the shape means it doesn't prevent you from using the counter underneath it for prep. I couldn't find a picture of them being used for produce, but here's a photo of the product I am referring to, being used in another "alternative" way:

Feb 21, 2013
HungryHoya in Cookware

What's Your Favourite Le Creuset/Staub French Oven Recipe?

I have to eat gluten-free, but that doesn't really effect a pot roast recipe (except checking the broth). I make this recipe at least weekly, except I don't puree the veggies to make a gravy. I prefer them left chunky, and it's all so moist idk why anyone would need a sauce for it.

http://www.theglutenfreespouse.com/20...

I should add- I usually use either my 5.5 or 6 3/4 for this, but I make enough for myself, hubs, and leftovers. You might have to adjust the recipe a bit to get the quantity to fit in the 3.5.

Enjoy!

Feb 21, 2013
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Vitamix models... How do you choose?

I have a 5200 and I love it. I bought a package that came with the 5200, the standard container, and two of the smaller containers, one of which was for grains. For me, the grain container was a huge selling point, since I need to eat gluten-free. I believe I bought it through the Vitamix website. It's not a standard deal but it's a promotion that I've seen run fairly regularly. You might want to call and see if they have any pakcage promotions coming up.

I have never understood the need for presets. Because the Vitamix is such a powerful machine, I would never really want to walk away from it or even let my attention drift too far while I was using it. It does everything so quickly, I am not sure why that would be necessary. Some family members have the Pro version with the presets and they said they often have to do some manual adjustment or additional blending anyway. There are so many things you can do with the Vitamix, they could not possibly pre-program it with enough presets to make it worth it for me. I'd prefer to have a little more control over whatever I'm doing, and have never felt that it was especially complicated to make a smoothie or soup. I have also never felt like the 5200 was lacking in power. Last night, I made a frozen dessert in it (frozen bananas, a little bit of unsweetened cocoa, splash of heavy cream); served with PB cookies- yum. We recently received an ice cream maker for a gift but are considering returning it because we're quite pleased with the desserts the Vitamix turns out.

I especially like having multiple containers. They are easy to clean, but there are some meals where we use both of the liquid containers in the course of making the meal and it's great not having to stop to clean one out. For example, mole sauce in the big container, small container for salsas or guac. Although we have a food processor as well, if I need to chop different ingrediants and keep the flavors separately, the Vitamix gets used for chopping, too. I also like it for pesto, fancier homemade salad dressing (made an avocado, olive oil, garlic cilantro, and lime dressing the other day), and for combining herbs and oil for freezing into ice cube trays for later use.

Feb 08, 2013
HungryHoya in Cookware

I keep looking at pressure cookers....and I don't know why...

I got a Fagor 6qt. two months ago and I love it. For me, just being able to have brown rice on a weeknight is worth having the pressure cooker. I am gluten-free so cooking other grains was a big one for me. I also am able to use dried beans and not worry about starting the rehydrating process a full day before. I also love being able to make soup and stock incredibly fast. Sure, sometimes it's nice to have things simmering all day, but sometimes you just don't have time for that. My husband has used the pressure cooker for some more complicated recipes, but I think they really shine when it comes to preparing whole food simply and quickly. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but I found by the second time I used it I had a pretty good idea of how it worked with my stovetop and which way of depressurizing I preferred. I just made a pressure cooker risotto for the first time this week and it was awesome. Definitely going into our regular weeknight rotation.

I understand wanting to be careful about another piece of specialty cookware, though. I would advise, based on whatever your current cookware collection is like, to look into getting one that also serves as a decent pot if you're not using it as a PC. If there is a size pot you could use anyway, that might be a good way to get more mileage out of it, should you decide to get one. Also, I don't necessarily think that a top of the line one is necessary, especially if you're not sure how you'll use it. I was initially scared to get anything but the most top of the line, since I remember several pressure cooker accidents in my mother's kitchen. You can get a decent Fagor, or Presto, with a fairly minimal investment.

Feb 08, 2013
HungryHoya in Cookware

Breville toaster oven what size?

I have had the full size oven for a few months and I love it. It takes up a lot of counter space but even in my very small kitchen, I think it's worth it. My husband and I use it multiple times every day. We do a lot of cooking ahead on weekends for reheating during the week, usually just parts of meals so we'll mix reheating something made ahead of time and throw together the quick part of a meal for something fresh. The oven is great for reheating anything sort of delicate, and I love having it at eye level so I can keep an eye on things while I am prepping something else. The keep warm feature is also great for this reason. I use it on it's own but also baking something right in the oven and then just switching it to keep warm until we're ready to sit down. As for cooking in it, we've used it to bake chicken and use it to roast veggies a few times a week. I love that the interior of the large oven is warm enough to use most of our regular trays and bakeware in it. The temperature seems to be more even and regulates better than the full-sized oven in our apartment (we rent, though, so I cannot be sure that our built-in oven is of any quality or how it would change things if someone had a well-functioning oven already).

I've always had some sort of toaster oven, and even cooked for myself in very simple, small models, but the large Breville adds more functionality than I would have expected. I love being able to have multiple components of a meal inside, or keep two full plates of food warm. We did purchase the bamboo cutting board tray for the top of it to reclaim some of the space it took up.

Feb 08, 2013
HungryHoya in Cookware
1

Gender Reveal Party- At a restaurant-everyone pays for themselves- how to word evite

It sounds like the issue may already be settled but I wanted to second this...this is exactly what I was thinking as I read the thread. I am in my late 20s, and in professional school, so it's totally common for people to do pay-your-own-way for birthday get-togethers and the like, but I would have no idea to expect it for this type of party. As someone without children, whose friends have only just started to have children, I have no idea whether or not this is a traditional party or what expectations would be. I am always happy to celebrate with my friends but sometimes need to budget accordingly in order to be there (as in, attending the party means we do not go out to eat otherwise for that week or the week prior, or maybe a small purchase gets put off until next paycheck). This is especially important if anyone will be traveling to be there, and may be shelling out for flights or train tickets. Out of consideration for your guests who will want to celebrate with you but do not have unlimited funds, I would make sure expectations are crystal clear! Have fun and congratulations!

Jan 10, 2013
HungryHoya in Not About Food

Costco worth it for a couple?

My fiance and I have had only had our Costco membership for a few weeks, but I definitely think it's been worth it. At first, we were spending the same amount of money on food (we budget pretty carefully, so it wasn't extreme), but we were eating waaayy better (ie, no more fights about him not coming home with one important ingrediant because it was pricey at our normal urban grocery store). We definitely eat healthier and better because of Costco. That said, we've also had the membership pay for itself in the money we've saved buying gift cards for gifts, which we would have done anyway. Between that and other gift items, we've said a ton.

Dec 14, 2012
HungryHoya in Chains

Wood Salad Bowl Quality- How durable can they be?

We've decided to return it for cash and look for another one, either thrifted or new, but it seems to be worth looking for something made of one piece of wood. Thanks, everyone!

Dec 01, 2012
HungryHoya in Cookware

Wood Salad Bowl Quality- How durable can they be?

Do you mind if I ask how much yours was (and when you bought it, for the sake of adjusting)? I am finding very expensive ones that get good reviews but I had no idea salad bowls could cost $250 and up! Any other information, in terms of type of wood, what brand it is, where you purchased it, would also be helpful.

Dec 01, 2012
HungryHoya in Cookware

Wine classes

That sounds like a great gift idea! Were you looking for classes as in tasting and appreciating wine or making wine? I have friends in that area who recently made their own wine at a vineyard over a series of classes about making wine, and loved it! I'll ask them if that's the sort of thing you're interested in.

Dec 01, 2012
HungryHoya in New Jersey

Wood Salad Bowl Quality- How durable can they be?

I recently received a wood salad bowl as a gift that, unfortunately, was cracked in two when it arrived. When I took it back to the store, the cashier happily took it back and told me they would send me another one. The second arrived with a crack, also, though it was not split completely in two. I am inclined to return the bowl for cash or credit which we could put towards a higher-end serving bowl, but this is a gift from someone who will be dining in our home with some regularity, and my fiance thinks we should keep it. He insists that when he was growing up, his family went through several wood salad bowls, and none of them, regardless of price point or how well you care for them (not putting them in water, proper oiling, etc.), are meant to last forever. I've never had one before and I have no idea if this is true. I generally prefer quality to quantity; our kitchen is sparse but I enjoy everything in it. However, I understand that if a product has a limited shelf life regardless of quality, it makes more sense to not throw more money at the purchase. Looking at some of the reviews on the W-S website makes me think that even if we put more money towards this bowl than the giver did (it was $50), in addition to the cash we'd get from the return, we might still not have the bowl in a couple of months. Has anyone had a wood salad bowl they use regularly? How long have you had it? Is it really high maintenance? Has anyone had problems with these bowls?

For whatever it's worth, this is the bowl we received:
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...&

This is the series I would probably replace it with if we decide it's worth it, only because the reviews are generally positive:
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Dec 01, 2012
HungryHoya in Cookware

Gifted nonstick roasting pan with rack- unsure what to do

I was recently given a nonstick roasting pan with rack from my soon-to-be MIL. She is very sweet and wanted to make sure we had a Thanksgiving here even though we cannot be with family this year. She has asked in the past if we needed things, needed cookware, etc., and we would always downplay it because 1.) we live in a small apartment and only want things we absolutely need and 2.) I am a little particular with cookware. I avoid nonstick, or at least cheap nonstick without any sort of information about what makes it nonstick or where it came from (I have food allergies so if we use a nonstick pan it has to be exclusively used with food safe for me, since the coating can harbor particles of allergens that make me sick). I am trying not to overwhelm them with information about my allergies/preferences, since food allergies already are confusing for people who have not had to deal with them.

Anyway, the roasting rack we received is by Tools of the Trade, made in Indonesia, and is nonstick with a nonstick rack with it. There is absolutely no information about what makes the surface nonstick. It says that it is oven safe up to 450 degree, which makes sense, but I am concerned about regulating that carefully since most turkey recipes are right around that temp. Also, I am concerned about the rack rubbing up against the pan and flaking off the nonstick. It says not to use metal utensils with it, but how is the nonstick-coated metal putting pressure in the same 4 tiny places any safer?

Does anyone have any thoughts about the safety of this nonstick rack inside nonstick pan situation?

Nov 16, 2012
HungryHoya in Cookware

Expired Dried Wild Mushrooms

Thanks, Bacardi! The advice was correct. We both had lots of mushrooms and suffered no ill effects. Just another reason to love them!

Nov 13, 2012
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Expired Dried Wild Mushrooms

I have some dried wild mushroom (a combination of portabello and shitake) that are expired by about 2 months. I have no idea how this happened- I use them all the time and one container somehow migrated to the back of the pantry. They've been kept in our climate controlled apartment in the back of a cool, dark pantry. Would I be crazy to include these in dinner tonight? Prep. involves rehydrating by boiling for 5 minutes than soaking, followed by a quick saute.

Thanks in advance!

Nov 13, 2012
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Substitutions for Water Chestnuts

I subbed in the celery. I sliced it very fine so that it was mostly for crunch.

Oct 28, 2012
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Substitutions for Water Chestnuts

Thanks, Barcardi1! I took your advice- came out great. I'll still go back to water chestnuts next time, but I could barely tell the difference!

Oct 28, 2012
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Substitutions for Water Chestnuts

I'm making an adaptation of PF Chang's lettuce wraps. The contents of the wrap is a chicken/mushroom/water chestnut stir-fry.

Oct 28, 2012
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Substitutions for Water Chestnuts

I am preparing for tonight's dinner, and noticed that my well-meaning, but not detail-oriented fiance purchased Chestnuts packed in water instead of water chestnuts. The supermarkets are crazy right now (everyone is bracing for the hurricane), so I need to find a substitute I have on hand. I have carrots,celery, chestnuts (ha!), mushrooms (which are already in the recipe- I could maybe add more). I have seen suggestions to use jicama but I do not have any. Any other ideas?

Oct 28, 2012
HungryHoya in Home Cooking

Help me stress test my blender!

Although soft fruits may not be a huge stress challenge- fruits with hard seeds, like kiwi, will definitely make it clear if the blender is blending evenly and thoroughly.

You may also want to try making a soup or something savory that includes cheese. I noticed broccoli and cheese soup is super easy to make in a good blender, but less powerful blenders just cannot handle cheese (even when cut into chunks and brought up to room temperature), or broccoli that is anything other than overcooked.

Oct 19, 2012
HungryHoya in Cookware

Keeping Dishes and Enameled Cookware on Chrome Wire Shelving

My mistake! I will check out the wire shelving at Costco.

Thanks, all!

Oct 09, 2012
HungryHoya in Cookware