BerkshireTsarina's Profile

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Saturday night dinner for one in/near Northampton or West Springfield

Would definitely second Blue Heron if you're in the mood and not too tired. Ibiza, in downtown N'hampton, has innovative tapas and a nice Spanish wine list. We like that a lot, too. Good place for unwinding.

What else can I do with Steel Cut Oats?

It was sensational! I used 4:1, but it didn't absorb in the normal way, so I boiled it down hard at the end. The Hub LOVED it, couldn't stop eating it. A new world is opening ---

Oct 07, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

What else can I do with Steel Cut Oats?

Trying it tonight!

Oct 07, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

What else can I do with Steel Cut Oats?

This sounds like a heaven-sent answer to sudden medical need to use whole grains instead of white rice!
One question for a novice --- for oatmeal, oats:liquid ratio is 1:3. For this "pilaf", would you think 1:3 or 1:4?
Thanks, Rainey --- or anyone --- or everyone.

Oct 07, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

To Keep Rick Bayless' Beans

A batch of Goya canarios beans is bubbling away in my slow cooker right now. It's a pound of beans, though, and we're only two people. I'm pretty sure I can keep the beans in liquid for several days in the fridge while we munch away at them.
My question is, Can beans be frozen in batches? That would be practical for us. And if they can, how best to defrost/reheat?

Oct 07, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Terra Cotta Bear and Brown Sugar

I will. (It IS cute.) Will it work any better than your disk? Dunno. But if not, then I'll try catte nappe's method.
At any rate --- so far, so good!

Terra Cotta Bear and Brown Sugar

Now that I have my soaked terra cotta bear nestled into a new pound of dark brown sugar in an airtight container --- where do I store the container? In a drawer, like where I keep my rice? Or in the fridge?
Hoping for more luck than my usual in keeping the sugar soft and usable.

Discontinued at Trader Joe's: July 2014-December 2014

Okay, peeps. Here's the scoop.
Aldi's OWNS Trader Joe's. TJ is its upscale North American venture.
(See The Economist magazine, Sept. 27, 2014, story "The Hard Rain.")
I think they're both actually outstanding in their different ways; I choose from each what I particularly like, as we have one of each here.

Sep 29, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Chains

Defrosting Zucchini Cakes

I could give this a try also --- but I'd have to think of it enough ahead of time!

Sep 22, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Defrosting Zucchini Cakes

Yes, frozen after cooking. I'll give that a try, and remember it for latkes for good measure!

Sep 22, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Defrosting Zucchini Cakes

I belong in the dumb and dumber department --- But it's a longtime failing. I can freeze things fine, but can never manage to reheat them properly. I made little sauteed savory zucchini cakes (like small chubby potato pancakes) and froze the extras. Now they're sitting there in the freezer, and I don't know how to reheat them. Help!?

Sep 22, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Thoughts on substituting dry sherry for shaoxing rice wine?

Before I found a reliable source for shaoxing I always subbed cheap dry sherry. It was okay. But when I started using the shaoxing, I noticed the difference. It just tastes --- what can I say? different. Maybe it's depth of flavor, I dunno.
Three-quarters of a cup of wine is a lot in a recipe, any wine. GH1618's second suggestion sounds good to me.

Sep 18, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Menu suggestions for shrimp and grits?

Curious, shrimp and grits is just what I've been serving to various folks over the last few weeks, to much appreciation. (Of course we're way up here in New England, where it's pretty unusual.)
It doesn't really need much of a first course. I've been serving it with corn bread, followed by a green salad dressed with Trader Joe's Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette, my new love. It's just the right mix of tangy and sweet.
For dessert, strawberries and chantilly cream is really nice.
I'm no baker, so I'd never even attempt a Lord or Lady Baltimore cake, or anything like that. But Trader Joe's Chocolate Ganache cake filled the sweet bill very nicely.
(If there were fresh okra around here, and I knew how to cook it, I might consider breading and frying it as a side, or even as a starter. But there isn't and I don't.)

Sep 03, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Cheap Lobster

I don't think I'm alone, but I prefer soft shell lobsters. They don't shred my hands, and I like the taste (not much different, but maybe a little.)

Aug 29, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Manhattan

Williamstown, MA

Which reviews? From 2010? Or 2014?
Look again, I think.

Banh Mi Saigon re opening in NorthamptonMA

I've been buying their tortillas at River Valley Market ever since I discovered they carry them. The best available corn tortillas short of home made.

Banh Mi Saigon re opening in NorthamptonMA

Now all we need is the return of the Asian market (although Tran's World Market, next to the former Shiki, is vastly improved since I last shopped there).

Ah So sauce...Am I the only one

Maybe it helps to have grown up with Ah So!
I'm sure I didn't put enough on --- somebody mentioned "slathering it on", which I didn't do. I added some to the meat from the pool on the bottom foil, which did help. More would definitely have been better.
What it did do was make me nostalgic for Saucy Susan, which is my young days equivalent of Ah So.
Ah, the role of memory in cooking and eating!
(Thanks for the cooking hints, Trish, there was no cleanup problem.)

Aug 12, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Ah So sauce...Am I the only one

Okay, I have a boneless pork tenderloin (1.5 lbs) I'm defrosting for Monday night. Don't know how to cook it in the first place --- let alone using my new Ah So sauce. Suggestions? (We are the only family in the US without a grill.)
I promise to report back!

Aug 09, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Affordable Bershires Dinner Recs to Satisfy a Somewhat Jaded Brooklyn Family plus other Recs for Food Stops in the Berkshires?

Hearty second for Cafe Adam, which I like even more than Mezze.

Berkshires- Lenox Lee Seafood question

Got it, thanks.

Berkshires- Lenox Lee Seafood question

Sounds great. And you even anticipated subbing out the olives! Thanks! (I'm assuming 350 oven?)

Berkshires- Lenox Lee Seafood question

Thanks, magies mom. Hope to give it a try next week --- although when it comes to cooking fish, I'm still a real novice after all these years. I can do shrimp, but fish intimidates me.
Do you have a foolproof and easy recipe for something beginner-ish? Preferably a white fish ---
(If you're too busy, I understand.)

Berkshires- Lenox Lee Seafood question

Is North Shore Seafood the one on King Street down from Stop n Shop? If so, what do you recommend?

Dessert Italian Style

Nothing heroic, but Italian and easy.
We're having an Italian dinner Sunday for 25 and we're going the easy and delicious way (easy and delicious being my style rather than from-scratch baking).
Cookie platters courtesy of Trader Joe, the soft bites biscotti in two flavors and Lacey cookies, dark chocolate.
If you wanted to splash out on one more, there are Italian olive oil pound cakes (I found my recipe on a Berio olive oil label) that are easy enough for even me to bake them. Not too sweet, just right, with wonderful keeping texture, and that little bit unusual. Serve 'em with summer fruit, whether berries or peaches. Genuine Italian!

Aug 01, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Ah So sauce...Am I the only one

Hub and I were just looking at Ah-So Sauce on the Stop n Shop shelves in Northampton yesterday --- new item, lots of jars --- I had vague memories of having seen something like it way back in the Fifties when I was young, and living on Long Island.
Do NOT remember it as gourmet anything, but can see where it could go on ribs. Looks sweet sweet sweet sticky sticky sticky --- Can't help wondering if I'm still up for that kind of taste anymore!

Jul 31, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Williamstown, MA

Next time you might consider putting in a new question as well as relying on the search---
That would have got you information about Mezze, which is a wonderful restaurant, and convenient to the theater (if you remember to reserve in advance!). It's expensive, but really worth the money.

Egg salad: how many eggs per sandwich?

What can I say? This is the best egg salad ever. It's not my word for it, it's Leibowitz's, who has since gone to the Great Beyond, where I just know he checks out his egg salad recipe from time to time to make sure I'm still honest.
Three eggs for two people. A 1-inch square of green pepper chopped as fine as I have patience for. Three scallions, chopped, white part and a little ways up the green depending on my mood. Hellmann's mayo (nothing else ever found in this house). A little salt and ---VERY important --- a little white pepper. Has to be white. Goes on toasted whole wheat, or Carr's crackers. Or if you're feeling austere, just eaten by the spoonful. Tomatoes are nice sliced up separately (here it's only Kumatos ever, unless it's midsummer and we have access to rare ripe garden tomatoes).
Just had lunch --- and I'm hungry again.

Jul 16, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Must have mexican cookbooks

I do realize that, DD. It was Cristina who dismissed RB up front, and as she said --- she was braced for the flak. (Although I was surprised there was so little.)
Thanks for the tip on the sweet potato salad, I'll give it a try now that our supermarkets occasionally stock guajillo chiles. I'm partial to the Roasted Poblano-Potato Salad with Flaked Tuna, an old favorite made new by a Mexican accent, and an example of why I find this cookbook so useful.
Buen provecho!

Jul 15, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking

Must have mexican cookbooks

I don't like one Plate at a Time either, perhaps because it's really a television show transcript, rather than an original book. Mexican Everyday I find extremely useful (cooking from it today) and especially adapted for just contemporary people who want to just cook Mexican food, traditional and contemporary, with lots of riffs on the basics. Like I said, I'm not SeƱora Autentica. I like good food, and since good Mexican doesn't exist where I live, it's essential to be able to produce it myself. Rick is (relatively) quick and (relatively) easy, but I don't feel that he's sacrificing quality for those goals. It sounds like the OP has different goals for his Mexican cooking, which other cookbooks may meet better. But I frown on putting down Rick Bayless; he's one of the modern champions of an ancient cuisine, and still tops in quality.

Jul 14, 2014
BerkshireTsarina in Home Cooking