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What's for Dinner? #146 - Memorial Day Edition [old]

I learned how to grill this weekend! My dad and I made grilled chicken together -- it was marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, canola oil, and some herbs and spices. It's an old family favorite. I'm about 80% sure that I can use a gas grill without starting a fire now. #progress

I also made this pie: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od.... It tasted great but fell apart a little -- I think I should have used egg yolks only. Luckily I somehow bought 2x the ingredients, so I can try again!

Also, I joined a gym, because I really like pie and want to be able to eat more of it.

May 27, 2012
discombobulated in Home Cooking

Household food battles: Foods you love but your loved ones hate (and what to do about it!)

Seafood. My boyfriend doesn't like any seafood at all, and I love it! He'll try anything once, but i think his tastes are pretty set in stone. I have salmon with my family sometimes; once, I convinced him to try it, but he didn't care for it. I have no idea how anyone could dislike salmon, but he did.

We cook together -- cooking is a pretty big part of our relationship -- so I can't use the "I made it, eat it or get your own" line. I'll have to save the seafood for when I'm out or he's away. He's going on a business trip the week after next, so I'll chow down on seafood while he's gone!

May 27, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Kaffir lime leaves in northern DE or nearby?

Just what it says on the tin. I'm getting into Thai food, but I've read that fresh kaffir lime leaves are really important for a lot of Thai dishes, and I cannot find them at all. I tried Newark Farmer's Market, and they didn't have it. Neither did Young's Asian grocery store on Kirkwood Highway; the lady there told me they were really hard to find. No kidding!

I'd be willing to try a place in PA, maybe even NJ or MD if I need to. Is there anywhere that carries kaffir lime leaves?

May 23, 2012
discombobulated in Mid-Atlantic

Have you ever "trained" yourself to eat something?

Cheeses! I am currently expanding my cheese palate. I tend to like salty, hard cheeses best, but I'm trying to train myself to like softer, milder stuff, even though I don't like the texture. I find sheep and goat cheeses easier than cow cheeses, for some reason. I love Manchego and I had a wonderful herb-crusted goat cheese called tomme fontenay, but I still don't like most cheddar. Go figure.

Hot sauce! My capsaicin tolerance is still not as high as some people's I know, but a dose of Marie Sharp's livens up a dish nicely. I don't know WHY I wanted to increase my hot sauce tolerance, though! It's probably because people who like hot sauce are considered more adventurous, tough, cosmopolitan -- but that's stupid and I should know better. Whatever. The damage is done.

Black coffee. This happened by accident when I went to Italy, and all the coffee was super-strong, and I wasn't sure whether or not I'd look like a stupid American if I asked for cream or sugar. So I drank it black, and it was unbelievably bitter at first, but then I got used to it. When I went back to the US, anything but black coffee tasted bland.

May 23, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Have you ever "trained" yourself to eat something?

Hi -- I'm from Hockessin, which is also near the Mushroom Capital of the World! *waves* I also don't like the texture of mushrooms -- I like the flavor, but I hate to bite into them. A few months ago I tried them again, just to see if I liked them, but I didn't.

I might try harder to like them if my boyfriend ate them, but he doesn't. If I make mushrooms, I'll be the only one to eat them, and I don't even really like them. So it seems like a waste of food.

May 23, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

"Least Favorite Vegetable" Poll

There are a lot of vegetables I've never tried: okra, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, kale, bitter melon, parsnip, kohlrabi, rutabaga, celeriac. (You can probably tell that we didn't have many bitter greens growing up.) I generally like roasted root veggies so I would like to try some of these!

I can't do mushrooms. It bums me out that I don't like them, but the texture just isn't for me. Sometimes I'll eat something with mushrooms as an ingredient and I'm like "Oh hey this is pretty good!" and then I'll actually bite into the mushroom, with its weird texture, and remember why I never eat them. It's sad.

For just about everything else, there is <i>some</i> preparation that I like. I'm not wild about cauliflower, but I like it roasted; I don't care for cucumber, but pickles are yummy; raw stringy celery annoys the hell out of me, but I like it in soups and sauces. And so on.

May 23, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

What Foods Do You Hate/Dislike that Most Hounds Probably Love?

Maybe you had silken tofu? That's the lighter stuff. I find firm tofu revolting, but silken tofu I can stand in some contexts. I agree that neither one is very flavorful. I think silken tofu might be a little hard to work with because it falls apart so easily, but I could be wrong -- I've never tried it.

If I were vegetarian and needed protein, I'd eat beans every day for decades rather than touch firm tofu -- I really hate it.

May 23, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

What Foods Do You Hate/Dislike that Most Hounds Probably Love?

Mushrooms. I kind of like the taste but I can't with the texture.

Most cheeses, when eaten alone. I will devour the hell out of hard, sharp Italian cheeses, and I'll eat almost any cheese if it's melted. But the texture of, say, cheddar makes me gag, and many many many cheeses have a texture like that. I also don't like the taste of brie or any blue cheese. I'm trying to get better! I really am!

Do Chowhounds like tofu? If so, this goes on the list. My family loves it and I can't eat their food because I can't fucking stand the stuff. The taste is mediocre and the texture makes me gag. (I did have a delicious pesto/silken tofu spread a few weeks ago, which had neither tofu's taste nor its texture, so it was okay.)

Haven't had many organ meats. I'm a bit wary of trying them.

Smoked salmon. Actually, most smoked things that aren't bacon.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

What are your FAVORITE meals or dishes to enjoy when it's HOT outside?

This sounds really fascinating and I want to try it. Thanks so much!

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Those weird things you eat when you are in your kitchen

YES to chips dipped in sour cream. Usually corn chips for me, but now I want to try potato chips too.

I tried dipping my corn chips in onion-and-chive cream cheese the other day, but it was far too salty. :(

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Foods you dislike buying—but sometimes need to

Seconding the bottle-of-extract thing. Vanilla is okay, but I'm never going to use the rest of that peppermint or rum or almond extract. It's just going to sit in my pantry.

I kind of hate buying herbs: dried herbs because they aren't as flavorful as the fresh stuff, and fresh herbs because I always have more than I know how to use. I know I can't grow every herb that I'm going to need, but I WANT to, goddammit, and my anemic basil and wilting rosemary will shape up, just you wait. (...yeah.)

I am not crazy about buying ground spices, because I prefer to buy them whole and grind my own. (Cinnamon I don't mind, because I'll never pulverize a cinnamon stick into a fine powder to use in a cake.) In that vein, I also don't like buying curry powder or garam masala (I like to make my own), but sometimes I do, because: lazy.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

My boyfriend's family has a lot of baked pasta recipes (manicotti, lasagna, etc.) that have a filling of ricotta, pecorino romano, and a bit of orange zest and cinnamon. It sounds weird, but it's delicious!

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Those weird things you eat when you are in your kitchen

I eat corn chips with sour cream -- I guess that's sort of weird? I also eat slices of pecorino romano by itself. It's so salty it makes my mouth itch, especially at room temperature. I love it, but I don't know a lot of other people who eat it plain. I sometimes drink bread-and-butter-pickle juice from the jar, but only in small doses, or it's too overpowering.

I also eat Nutella (or Trader Joe's cocoa almond spread) with a spoon, but everyone does that.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Those weird things you eat when you are in your kitchen

Oh wow, that sounds amazing. I have mine with sriracha and mayo on a sandwich, but I'll be honest, the bread is my least favorite part. I like your way better, and I'm totally adding mustard next time.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in General Topics

Generally scorned products that are madly delicious -- in certain applications

Thank you for this, Hank -- I've wanted to try orange for a while! I'm going to try 3 parts orange juice to 1 part lemon. Maybe add some pineapple too.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in Home Cooking

Your tried and true Cook's illustrated Best recipes.

Yay, Cooks Illustrated! I don't have a subscription, but <i>The New Best Recipe</i> is my favorite cookbook. It's simply called "The Book" in my house, sort of like the Bible for secular foodie types.

I don't think I will ever get tired of the high-roast chicken. I make it with a rosemary-garlic butter. It's beautiful, it's delicious, it's fun (you cut up a chicken with scissors!) and it's good for a couple of guests. Everyone I've ever cooked it for has loved it.

The beef burgundy was a pain in the ass. I spent all day cooking that stew. I cursed at it; I burned things; I had six or seven unexplained knife cuts on my right hand and wrist afterward. It was all worth it for the first beefy, winey, unbelievably rich bite. It was so rich that I couldn't think about food for the rest of the night or my stomach would feel a bit off, but it's one of the best things I've ever made. Next time I make it, I'll know how to do so more efficiently.

I love the recipe for Italian meatballs, with the beef/pork blend and the bread soaked in plain yogurt. They come out so tender and delicious. My boyfriend's Italian-American mother makes good meatballs that she's justly proud of, but The New Best Recipe's meatballs are even better. We haven't told her and we never will.

The chewy chocolate-chip cookies are to die for -- they're as good as bakery-made cookies, and cheaper and more satisfying because I make them myself. They're popular with my entire family as well as my sister's friends. I never make any other kind of chocolate chip cookie anymore.

The pies have been very good; I've tried the key lime pie and the cherry pie. I am so grateful to them for pointing me toward Trader Joe's morello cherries for my cherry pie filling. What a revelation! (I also put them on ice cream and in smoothies.)

The scalloped potatoes are mouth-watering, flavorful and creamy. They have zillions of calories, but they are so good!

Now for the not-so-good: I made pan-seared scallops for my aunt and uncle once. The scallops were yummy, but I thought the white wine/lemon juice sauce for the scallops was too watery in texture (it didn't really reduce well) and too sour in taste.

I tried the Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake once, and it was very dense, more like a brownie than a cake. It tasted good, but it looked very silly. In addition to that, the "rich chocolate cream frosting" wouldn't reach a spreadable consistency; even after we refrigerated it overnight, it was too liquidy. Since it was cream-based, I whipped it, and it turned out to be a lovely whipped frosting -- but it didn't work when I just followed the instructions.

I don't care for most of their tomato sauces, particularly the quick tomato sauce. I guess the trend now is for tomato sauces that taste like raw tomatoes, but unless I'm using fresh tomatoes (which the recipe does not call for), I prefer the Italian-American sauces that simmer for hours and hours.

I didn't realize they'd published a chicken tikka masala recipe! I need to hunt that down. Would anyone mind posting the recipe?

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in Home Cooking
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The Cookbook of the Month for June 2012 will be: The Homesick Texan Cookbook, by Lisa Fain

Hooray! My boyfriend's sister has this book and I've been eyeing it jealously ever since she got it for Christmas. I'll have to find a copy.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in Home Cooking

But you'll love it the way I cook it!

Haha, I have to watch myself so that I don't do this. My family and I have VERY different taste in food. They are mostly vegetarians who like tofu and eat a lot of frozen veggies. I'm an omnivore who finds tofu repulsive and usually avoids frozen veggies. Whenever they're making one of their boring tofu dishes, it's an effort to stop myself from saying, "Better you than me" or "Yeah, I don't care for that", or just a disdainful "Oh." when they didn't ask for my opinion. I have to stop.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in Home Cooking

But you'll love it the way I cook it!

My boyfriend always hated broccoli, but had only ever had it steamed or raw. I cooked it by blanching it for a minute, and then sauteing it in some olive oil with a bit of garlic and cayenne pepper. Now he likes broccoli and we have another vegetable we can eat together.

Thanks for everyone's responses, btw, your vegetables sound delicious and I'm going to try them.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in Home Cooking

Say what?? Cooking comments that baffle you

Was her name Elphaba?

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in Not About Food

Say what?? Cooking comments that baffle you

What Kaimukiman said. I always avoid the organic parts of my supermarket's produce sections because organic food costs at least 50% more than non-organic, and the evidence that it's healthier than regular food is thin or nonexistent. I might buy it if the prices were identical, but they never are. So, like the man at your supermarket, I have rolled my eyes at organic food more than a few times.

May 22, 2012
discombobulated in Not About Food