Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

vicki_vale's Profile

Title Last Reply

Toronto : How to hire extra help to help with at-home dinner party?

Hi Toronto hounds, Can anyone suggest where can I hire extra help to clear dishes and tidy the kitchen for an at-home party in Scarborough during the Christmas holidays?

Here in NYC, I can hire servers (who will put away dishes) from Columbia University's student center-run bartending school.


Your Recipes for Clam Soup ?

hello hounds
this is my go-to hot and sour clam soup recipe this winter. would love to hear yours!

one 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into fine threads
two or three small dried chili peppers, seeds removed
12 large or 18 medium sized clams, soaked two hours ahead of time in cold saltwater with a spoonful of cornstarch, then scrubbed clean
1 block of firm tofu, cubed
pinch of dried wakame seaweed
2 tablespoons of fish sauce (the clear kind, not the paste)
white pepper

cover all ingredients with cold water. put the lid on, and bring to gentle simmer and keep cooking until clams begin to open. for extra heartiness, add one bundle of bean thread noodles. garnish with one 1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro. haven't tried this with coconut milk yet, but it would probably be really really good.....!

Feb 28, 2012
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Best Venison / Moose Recipes

venison super-slow braised with fat shitake mushrooms in red wine with strong aromatics (lots of sage, marjoram, thyme) with a touch of balsamic vinegar and then rough processed & stuffed into ravioli with brown butter sage sauce, or simple tomato sauce for those concerned about excessive butter consumption

Dec 03, 2011
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Need dinner idea to bring to family with new baby

after our kid was born, i was thankful for:
stuffed peppers
stuffed ricotta shells

wished someone else would have made me breakfast-type food:
homemade fruit salad
banana bread

in stacks of small tupperware containers

Dec 03, 2011
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

What can I make to serve 20 people for Thanksgiving Brunch?

bake several roasting pans of quiche, ricotta french toast (prepare night before, refrigerate & bake on thursday), and/or zuchini frittata (ditto) & then cut them into 2" x 2" squares lined up in neat rows on a platter. serve warm or room temperature.

fruit salad with melon and fresh pineapple

pomegranate punch (ginger ale + pomegranate syrup + lemon slices)

pear bellini or mimosa

Nov 22, 2011
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Toddler birthday party - healthy menu ideas

Great list of ideas.

What are "ants on a log" ?

Oct 23, 2011
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

home made food for babies/toddlers?

our kid is the same age as yours. she gave up puree as soon as she got four teeth. I keep 4 or 5 little tupperware on one shelf in the fridge for our kid's meals, and use a 6 oz stainless steel food jar for cold food on-the-go. when i have a bit of free time, i re-fill them with new things. everyone in the house knows these are for the baby, and can help make dinner by piling three or four choices on her plate. Often, it's just the un-salted or plain version of whatever we've been eating, though she LOVES roasted garlic, sauteed onion, mushrooms in white wine, lamb samboosack, thai coconut curry, and sour dill pickles!

at home favorites
canteloupe or sweet plums (with skins) in 1/2" dice
apples (with peel) cut in very thin 1/8" slices
red seedless grapes or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
unsulfured dried prunes, cut into quarters
unsulfured raisins, cut in half at first, but now whole
chestnuts, broken in quarters, from vaccuum pack
broccoli, peas, or chopped kale, well cooked.
kidney beans or chickpeas, slightly squashed to break the skins
sweet potato, butternut squash, or zucchini "fries", finger-food-sized sticks cooked 3 min in the microwave

frittata or omelette cooked thin and cut into 1" pieces, filled with hard-to-pick-up tiny food like cooked rice, millet, or hijiki

baked pasta, such as barilla's omega macaroni which is made with flax flour and bean flour, baked lazy-no-boil style with a can of san marzano diced tomato, shredded cheese, herbs, and garden peas.

any kind of slow-cooked chicken or beef, or parchment-baked fish

Oct 23, 2011
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Homemade baby food.

Hi chowhound parents, I just started to add legumes (unsalted organic canned) or meat to make all-in-one meals for our baby. Some favorite combinations:

sweet potato, kidney beans, apple.
potato, white cannellini beans, peaches.
black beans, polenta, spinach
organic chicken thighs, millet, carrots.
organic grass-fed beef, barley, sweet potato.
hard-boiled eggs, cereal, whole milk yogurt.

I'm on a mission to find good iron-rich foods and am thinking of ways to use more legumes and grains like quinoa and millet next. Any homemade recipes ideas are appreciated.

May 20, 2011
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Pork shoulder roast

We just did a dry rub with rosemary, cumin, coriander, adobo spice (orange peel), smushed garlic, salt & pepper, set in a deep pan and covered tightly with foil. Roasted 3 hours at 350F, then uncovered another 2 hours at 300F to let the fat crisp a little. Moist and delicious. Not too many juices in the pan though.

Apr 17, 2011
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Pre-pregnancy feast

The "forbidden" foods for pregnant ladies are not neccessarily full of contaminants and pesticides. At one point, well-meaning colleagues told me I should not eat ANYTHING raw for fear of germs.

On the side of reason, though, some of the foods on my doctor's no-go list were seemingly normal foods, like blue cheese, suitable for most normal adults, that *could* pose a higher risk of illness for unborn babies. Not because the foods were unhealthy or bad, but because babies cannot always process what we can. High amounts of Vitamin A (in calf's liver) & C, for example. Or exposure to certain kinds of food-borne bacteria that most adults could handle, without serious trouble.

That said, my fantasy pregnancy meal would be a champagne brunch, with:

unpasteurized fresh squeezed orange juice mimosa
oysters on the half shell with fresh shallot vinegrette
smoked salmon with mould-ripened goat cheese
homemade pickled herring with lovely raw frisee greens
cold pate and deli pickles from the barrel, not a jar
tuna tartare
runny eggs benedict with pools of raw egg hollandaise and barely cooked ham
proscuitto crudo and melon
fully caffeinated coffee
tiramisu with real dark cocoa and plenty of liqueur

Jul 06, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

How do you like your oatmeal?

Steel cut oats, mixed very runny in 1/2 water + 1/2 unsweetened soy milk, with a handful of ground flax meal, a generous amount of grated orange peel, dash of brown sugar and one stick of cinnamon. Pressure cooker 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with dried cherries and pumpkin seeds.

If you like it cold and raw, I also enjoy:
Quick cook rolled oats, with ingredients as above, except lemon zest instead of orange (somehow it seems fresher and better cold). Pre-soaked in a closed container in the fridge for two days.

May 29, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Leftover egg yolks - help!!!

Make pasta with yolks only. And then add some to your shampoo. Then your hair will look great while you cook.

May 29, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

stinky tofu purveyor

big jeff
good luck in your quest. i'm glad i am not your next door neighbor right now-- that stuff reeks so bad that it qualifies for DEP regulation : D

May 14, 2010
vicki_vale in Outer Boroughs

Falafel - need lots for delivery - Sehadi's or Zaytoons Smith St?

Thanks for the Mr Falafel suggestion. Hope to check them out before the weekend.

Does anyone know Mazzat's falafels on Columbia Street, near Union Street ? I think they are green inside -- made with lots of parsley.

May 13, 2010
vicki_vale in Outer Boroughs

Falafel - need lots for delivery - Sehadi's or Zaytoons Smith St?

Hi 'hounds! I need to get a big platter or tray of falafel balls for a party this weekend. Who makes better falafel?

Sahadi's on Atlantic (I think they're $4 a dozen)
Zaytoons on Smith (almost $7 a dozen)

thank you falafel experts

May 12, 2010
vicki_vale in Outer Boroughs

Help: Graduation BBQ for Meat eaters vs. Veg. Heads

Corn and beans are a classic vegetarian protein combo:
How about grilled corn-on-the-cob with Mexican lime chili butter
and a chickpea-green bean-black olive salad

Also, devilled eggs at a backyard party will be gobbled up, no matter how simple it sounds.

For dessert, grilled half-moons of pineapple (including the bark) are great too.

Good luck!

May 03, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Where can I buy a green tea mille feuille cake?

Is there a Japanese bakery in Manhattan that sells this?

I'm looking for the whole cake. It's made with stacks of thin crepe-like layers, and filled with equally thin layers of green tea (or matcha) flavored whipped cream.

Thanks, hounds!

Mar 16, 2010
vicki_vale in Manhattan

Cast Iron Techniques?

something that needs to be browned on the stovetop then baked in the same pan is a good use.

fritatta is my favorite cast iron skillet dish.

Feb 20, 2010
vicki_vale in Cookware

Polska Kielbasa

Slice it into rounds and fry it until it's a little bit browned on the edges and the extra fat seeps out.

Enjoy it with mustard, sauerkraut, sauteed onions, sauteed mushrooms, cole slaw, potato salad, sour cream, and/or apple sauce. While you're at it, have some borscht and pierogies too!

Feb 16, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Open House Menu Ideas (noon-6pm)

Baked potato and egg frittata with a little cheese, sundried tomato, diced ham & peas is a favorite here.

If it's a smaller group, I start it off by frying the potato slices on the stovetop in by biggest cast iron fry pan. If it's a big group, I start by roasting the potato slices in olive oil in a big heavy lasagna pan in the oven.

Then i toss in the ham and other stuff with some rosemary or oregano, and pour the egg, milk, and nutmeg batter on top until the everything is covered. Top with a little shredded cheese and parmesean. Bake until eggs are set.

It's good cut into thick 2" x 2" squares warm out of the oven or cold the next day.

Feb 16, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

What kind of mushrooms would you use in a recipe from Abruzzo/Molise?

I've lost touch with my Italian 'grandmother', the landlady from Abruzzo that used to shout at me (in Italian) though my apartment window with instructions how to make brodetto and pasta. Otherwise I would ask her.

For rabbit and various kinds of salt pork or lardons or pancetta, maybe try Ottomanelli's on Bleeker St in the Village, and in Italian Brooklyn, there's the Staublitz butcher shop and Los Paisanos butcher shop which are both in Cobble Hill/ Carroll Gardens.

For the boned turkey, could you work with a boned whole breast?

Feb 16, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Chinese Tea Eggs - Quick method with Photos

I have a modified quickie tea egg method.

The marinade is a combination of Master Sauce (dark soy) and Tea Egg (black tea and five spice). Instead of gently cracking the hard-boiled eggs and letting them marble in a slow cooker for a whole day, I just peel them naked and let them sit in hot marinade for two short hours.

These eggs (photos attached) were made with brown medium-sized organic eggs. The eggs were probably a little too fresh - you can see some dings and dents after I peel them. Anyhow, the smaller sized eggs give a better surface area -to- marinade ratio, I think, and just look at the naturally gorgeous dark yellow yolks! I sprinkled a little Japanese orange sesame chili pepper for the final touch.

Love to hear your home cooking variations

Feb 15, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Chinese Pork Dumplings

I am a firm believer in the reverse method, which is steam-then-fry.

1. Start with 1/2 inch of cold water plus 1Tb oil in a cold non-stick frying pan.
2. Bring the water + oil to a boil (together) on high heat.
3. Quickly lay the potstickers in neat overlapping rows in the shallow boiling water.
4. Cover with lid and let it boil & steam for one minute.
5. Remove the lid and let the water boil off & evaporate. (see photo attached)
Only the oil and the potstickers will be left, and there is no need to add oil at this point.
6. Let the pan dry out and lower the heat to medium. The potsticker bottoms will start to brown.
7. Flip the entire group of potstickers on to a platter - do this by inverting a platter over the fry pan, holding them both together, and turning them upsidedown in one smooth motion.

Photos attached.

Feb 15, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Are You Cooking for the Chinese New Year?

Dumpling photos attached!

Feb 15, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

A very veggie Chinese New Year

Fish (whole, not chopped up) are a traditional good luck symbol. I often use my treasured fish-shaped bundt pan to make jellied desserts like egg-less mango custard.

The classic Buddhist eight treasure braised in mock oyster sauce is also a vegetarian New Year's favorite. If you have access to authentic ingredients, the dish typically includes Chinese black mushrooms, carrots, thick tofu crepe (but not the plain white tofu which is bad luck), black wood ear mushrooms, sun-dried lily buds, and sometimes bamboo, water chestnut, fresh gingko nuts, hard-boiled quail eggs, green peas, snow peas, or black hair moss (super expensive!). You need to select exactly eight of these ingredients.

For snacks and sweets, a welcome gift for the host would be a round tray arranged in eight sections or compartments (again the lucky number!), each filled with a different type of candy, nuts, or sweets. Good choices: Pistachio nuts in shell, shelled walnuts, pumpkin seeds, lotus seeds, any kind of dried or candied fruit (like melon, mango, papaya), and/or hard candies in gold or red wrappers.

Also, the table is not complete unless there is a bowl of oranges or clementines to symbolize wealth and prosperity.

happy new year and have a great potluck party!

Feb 12, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

Are You Cooking for the Chinese New Year?

Tomorrow we commence my annual potsticker challenge. The challenge is eating as many as we can : )

I buy the pre-made dough from the Asian supermarket (1 lb packets contain roughly 40 wrappers), and will be making at least three different kinds of fillings. I use the fine shredder blade on the mandolin for the hard vegetables (carrot, daikon, ginger) and use a lot of aromatics (one whole bunch of fresh herbs per mix).

The general proportion for each filling mix is:
1 lb protein (ground raw meat or diced raw seafood or mushrooms)
2 cups of greens, composed of one whole bunch of minced herbs (such as chives or coriander) + a small amount finely shredded carrot/ Chinese celery/Napa cabbage/Chinese mushroom and or daikon
(1 egg optional)
2 Tb finely minced raw yellow or white onion
1 tsp+ of grated fresh ginger (approx half inch knob)
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tsp of light soy sauce and/or Lea & Perrins
dash of white pepper
dash of sesame oil
pinch of salt


BEEF + CHINESE CHIVES with Chinese mushroom
CHICKEN + CORIANDER with Chinese celery
SHRIMP + CORIANDER with snowpea shoots

For my vegetarian friends,

Raw egg binder is very beneficial to make the stuffing easier to handle. If the mix is slimy or too wet, add 2Tb of crumbled uncooked dry bean thread vermicelli or dry wakame seaweed. This will help the final texture. Throw it into the raw mix, let sit 10 minutes and allow it to absorb the excess moisture.

When I make a lot, they can get mixed up, so I give each dumpling type a unique shape.
Simple half moon = vegetable
Pleated half moon = seafood
Simple triangle = chicken
Pleated triangle = meat

light soy sauce + Chinese red or black vinegar + 1 finely sliced tiny fresh chili + drop of sesame oil

Feb 12, 2010
vicki_vale in Home Cooking

fresh wasabi root

They sell small pieces at the other Sunrise branch on Broome Street in Soho as well.

Apr 28, 2008
vicki_vale in Manhattan

New! espresso at Abelmarle/MacDonald deli (Church F train)!

At long last a good coffee before jumping on to the subway! I just figured out the renovated deli on the Northeast corner of Abelmarle & MacDonald has a Swiss "Nespresso" machine and for an amazing two dollars, you can get a passable cappucino with frothed milk. It's next door to the yummy Thai Basil take-out place with the green awning.

Who knew. I love Kensington! No starbucks for me....I love supporting my local deli...!

Nov 19, 2007
vicki_vale in Outer Boroughs

Found! Japanese knife shop in NYC

I usually troll the places on the Bowery and sometimes check out the Japanese supermarkets for cool stuff. Then today I just stumbled across this place and thought hounds might like this place too -- The Korin Japanese Trading Co. at 57 Warren Street near the Chambers Street 1/9 subway in New York. I was too overwhelmed by their huge selection of knives and only managed to walk out with some flat bamboo yakitori sticks. They carry a small selection of Zojirushi rice cookers, airpot thermos things, and the airpot-type hot water kettle too.

Apr 20, 2007
vicki_vale in Cookware

What to do with black Chinese vinegar?

Make a classic dipping sauce for dumplings with 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 soy, a pinch of fresh cilantro leaves and a tiny asian chili pepper cut-up.

Mar 27, 2007
vicki_vale in Home Cooking