free sample addict aka Tracy L's Profile

Title Last Reply

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

I think for a lot of people investing in a few new pieces or an entire new set basically means that they will have theses pieces or set for a long time. If I was interested buying a new set it probably would be the last set I would own.

In my experience it all boils down (pun intended) to the relationship you have with the pot or pan. IMHO Successful cooking depends on understanding its optimal conditions and its flaws. I have an aluminum pot that I use twice a week in the cooler months. I know this sounds goofy, but it's my friend, I have relationship with it.

Cooking turkey in a bag?

Yes, and you can remove it from the bag or visa versa and let the turkey brown up in the oven for the last hour. I did that once when a former relative wanted crispy skin to munch on.

Water conscious methods for hand washing dishes

Thank you all. Up until about 8 years ago I hand washed all of my dishes. It is funny how quickly I got out of the habit of hand washing.

Water conscious methods for hand washing dishes

That is a great idea. I don't make a lot of pasta, but when I do I will use that idea. I do sort of the same thing at work. We have an electric kettle and at the end of the day I use the hot water left over in the kettle to clean my containers and dishes. There is no hot water and I hate using the communal sponge.

Water conscious methods for hand washing dishes

The dishwasher no longer works and it is not a priority to get it fixed.

Looking for new strong-flavored seasonings

I am currently in love with the pico limon spice mixture I bought at a Latino market in my neighborhood. It is very spicy so I use very little. I find the addition of citric acid gives it a nice kick and when I have added to soups and other dishes you can taste a hint of acidity. Cajun seasoning is another that adds a lot. There is one at the grocery store that I go to that is low in salt. They can't keep it on the shelves. I don't remember the name of it because I ran out. Jerk seasoning is a fun one to work with too.

Kitchen towel system?

I lived in a house built in the 40's where we had a towel rack like that. In concept it is great, but everyone has to be on board on with the system. It was easier to color code the dish towels. Red towels for counters, white for cooking, green for drying dishes or whichever you designate the towels for.

Water conscious methods for hand washing dishes

My dishwasher is toast and now I have to wash my dishes by hand. I live in California and as you may know we are in the midst of a drought. I don't use my d/w too frequently. I don't have many dishes anymore and I am the only person in my house, a good scrub and a quick rinse is fine for me (which I usually do). Unfortunately, there are those times when I make a big meal or cook for the holidays and need the space in the dishwasher (I have a smallish kitchen). Is there good method for using less water? Is there some low sudsing detergent that washes off well? Lastly, how long should I boil a pot that once contained a penicillin experiment?

I am asking specifically about methods for reducing water consumption. I am not interested in a debate on whether it is better to hand wash or use a dishwasher. The dishwasher is done.

What's for Dinner #334 - the Veteran's Day Edition [Through November 17, 2014]

We had our annual holiday lunch today for condo residents. I made the Bar Tartine cauliflower salad. The salad is composed of cauliflower, Persian cucumbers, mushrooms, radishes, scallions, garbanzo beans, serrano chilis, parsley, dill, tarrogon and sunflower seeds. The dressing was made from Greek yogurt. It was really good. The recipe serves 6, but I think it would have to be 6 famished people.

I was too tired to cook anything tonight so I had Stouffer's turkey tettrazini and I braised brussel sprouts in a sweet wine and chicken broth as the my entree cooked in the oven. Easy comfort food.

What's for Dinner #334 - the Veteran's Day Edition [Through November 17, 2014]

Wow, that is so neat. I am not a gadget person, but it would be good for salads and sautes.

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

I live by myself and I had a membership to Sam's Club(I know different for Costco). If it wasn't such a schlep to Costco I would join. Even with limited storage and freezer capacity I was able to save a lot of money. I especially did well with meats and poultry, precooked sausage, frozen veggies and cereal products. Some of the stuff I thought "I'll never get through all of this" but I actually did. I liked some of the wines and saved a lot on liquor. I like to have choices on hand so I am not tempted to eat out. In the long run the savings adds up.

I get invited to a lot of parties and we have a lot of pot lucks at work so it is huge savings for me when I am asked to bring a dish that will feed 12. Of course there are all the other added savings that others have mentioned. You can't beat the hot dogs at the concession stand every now and then.

I would suggest going with a friend who has a membership.

Would you shop at Walmart Neighborhood Market?

I have and never will again. It was dingy and depressing, poorly lit and decorated. We don't have a lot of choices in my neighborhood so I thought I'd check it out just in case I would want to shop there in the future.

It serves a purpose as there are a lot of families that rely on low prices and don't have the time to shop the sales at competitors. I am not sure how WM food center is going to do since there is a WM about 1 mile away and you can buy everything you need one trip. It seems like they are competing with themselves.

ISO a SPECIFIC Thai cookbook

Thank you both. I really appreciate it.

ISO a SPECIFIC Thai cookbook

Yes and thank you so much!

ISO a SPECIFIC Thai cookbook

Years ago I purchased a Thai cooking cookbook, but ended up giving it away. I have returned to Thai Cooking and the one Thai cookbook I kept is so so. The cookbook had a fuschia pink cover with black printing. There were no photographs in the book or on the cover. I think it was published in the mid to late 80's or perhaps early 90's. I would love to repurchase it.

***I am not requesting suggestions for alternatives to this book********

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition! [old]

I am lusting after the Bar Tartine cookbook. I am not sure I will splurge on that or not. I am debating whether or not to join GFC.

Amazon had a couple of great deals in Kindle cookbooks that I couldn't pass up. I bought Slow Cooking by Andrew Schloss ($1.99)and The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen ($2.99). The Slow Cooking book shows a lot of promise. I think some of the ingredients will need adjusting as it doesn't seem as well seasoned to my tastes, but the book is very long on technique. It is broken down into slow frying, baking, simmering, steaming, roasting, grilling, slow sweets, slow cookers and sous vide. The Mollie Katzen book looks like a typical Mollie Katzen book lots of good comfort food mixed in with homey comments here and there.

Sources in Sacramento for housemade marshmallows (not from Whole Foods)

No. I have no interest in making them, I am only interested in purchasing them.

Tamales - Is lard necessary plus...

IMHO the liquid added to the masa is what adds the flavor to the dough not the lard.

Sources in Sacramento for housemade marshmallows (not from Whole Foods)

I am looking for housemade marshmallows in Sacramento area (Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks etc.).

What's for Dinner #331 - the Pumpkin Carving Edition [through 10/26/14]

I made Panes con Pollo - Salvadoran chicken sandwiches. After a quick web search I chose the Saveur magazine recipe. I stuck to the recipe pretty closely (I used chicken instead of turkey), but added some capers as I think it needed a briny/piquant element. I made a quick cortido (cabbage salad)and put slices of pickle I bought from a Middle Eastern market. The Mexican grocery store in my neighborhood even had the torpedo shaped rolls I saw in El Salvador. It was excellent. I think I will buy a turkey next month and freeze it so I can make the sandwiches again for company.

What's for Dinner #331 - the Pumpkin Carving Edition [through 10/26/14]

I love stuffed bell peppers, but I think I'll try this next time!

Replacing Pancetta with Corn Beef - French cooking

I don't think the meat part of pancetta brings that much to the party for beef bourguignon, but corned beef would alter the flavors. I would use a stew meat that has a little more fat than you would use and brown it in a combination of olive oil and butter.

What are you baking these days? October 2014 edition, part two!

That is truly something to be thankful for.

My Chinese supermarket items to get

Fresh chow fun noodles
Chinese sausages
Rice flour (much cheaper than in non-Asian markets)
Yaki Soba noodles and fresh chow mein noodles.
Ditto on Star Anise
Coconut milk and water - it is usually half the price compared to other places.
Don't forget produce! Some places have a nice array of fresh herbs.
Cooking implements like a spider for frying or boiling, long chop sticks, bowls, hot pots,

Empty Nester Breakfast Nook Kitchen Project

I became single after a long relationship and can relate to transforming a space where you heat up leftovers (or assembled meals around takeout in my case) to a place to create and enjoy healthy meals. I love the converted rosewood bar and owe you big time for posting the picture. It is precisely what I need; however, I would have never thought of it. I can see where it can serve many uses. I also have a smaller fridge, I am not sure about you but a lot less goes to waste as a lot less can be kept in the fridge and everything is easy to find. I love the mix of warm woods with the pretty enamel ware. Thanks for posting and may you have many happy meals in your nook.

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? October 2014 Edition. [old]

I saw a couple of recipes on Pinterest from Seriously Delish. I would have otherwise passed it up in the bookstore. It is on my list right now.

Complaints about take-away

Yes I'd call or return with my complaint and have done so in the past. I am not sure why there should be a double standard for eat in and takeaway. A good manager wants feedback whether it is good or bad. A friend of a friend owns a chicken wing franchise. In order for his business to be successful he relies on all of the to go orders being correct and prepared well. He takes complaints via phone calls, photos from cell phones and people stopping a few days to a week after the purchase.

What's for dinner #329 - The Colorful Leaves Edition! [Through October 9, 2014]

I paid the same bill twice and much to my chagrin it wasn't a small one. Needless to say I needed to make my dollar stretch this week. As luck would have it, I have been reading Roy Choi's book LA Son and came across his $4 spaghetti sauce recipe. Basically you cook the garlic in olive oil for a long, long time and you cook mushrooms in water for a long, long time to make mushroom stock and then you combine it together with canned whole tomatoes and cook it on low for a long, long time. It came out really good, I loved the smooth, creamy texture and it was a nice alternative to more highly seasoned spaghetti sauces. I think I'd add some fresh garlic during the last half hour of cooking, it needed a little edge to it. I used some rigatoni I had on hand, but I think this sauce would work well with ravioli or gnocchi. I am not sure if it compares with $24 sauce, but it was very economical. The recipe says it serves four. I think he meant four families. It is all good though as I have plenty of sauce to freeze and enjoy again.

I'll try Choi's other recipes after pay day, I am over due for a trip to the Korean market.

Cookbook for "ELECTRIC" Pressure Cooker

I don't have an electric pressure cooker, but I do have the ATC cookbook. There are not 100 recipes in the cookbook. They count variations on a recipe as a separate recipe. As for the recipes themselves, I was underwhelmed, nothing stood out as really good. I have a friend who has Lorna Sass's book and I think it is a lot better. I do suggest trying the recipes on Miss Vicki's blog and Hip Pressure cooking before buying either of their books. I have found I really don't need a pressure cooker cook book per se I just needed to know how to convert my favorite recipes. The blogs were really good for researching conversions. I would get one book for reference purposes.

visiting Sacramento from SF

+1 for One Speed. I met a friend traveling from Redding to SF there for a late lunch. It was perfect. Parking was easy and she really enjoyed the food.