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RachelJ's Profile

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Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon

Jul 09, 2015
RachelJ in Recipes

Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon

Jul 09, 2015
RachelJ in Recipes

Questions regarding enchiladas

No marinara. You could whizz up some jarred mild salsa for the non-spicy ones and bake it as you normally would with enchilada sauce, as long as it's not too liquidy. Or don't even whizz it, just use it as it. I'm guessing you said marinara just because it would be easier than making 2 different sauces. I've done salsa in a pinch and it was fine. At least salsa has the right flavor profile. Marinara would just be weird.

Jul 05, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking

big big, fat, over-stuffed fridge/freezer!?!

I do the same thing, but with gallon ziplock bags, filled and frozen flat on a cookie sheet first. I make enough marinara sauce and apple plum sauce in the summer to last until the next summer, and I could never fit it all without using that method.

Jun 20, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics
1

Please help- need meatless mains for eater with sensory issues

Baked beans? You could make a ketchupy, garlicky, version.

Hummus with pita bread/other bread

Pan fried mashed potato patties (mix egg into the mashed potato for undetectable protein), dipped in ketchup

Maybe some simply seasoned, heated refried beans (Trader joes has completely plain ones) spread on a flour tortilla? You could serve shredded cheese on the side.

Smoothies made with yogurt and fruit?

My friend's son is 7 and has the same sensory issues. He eats only oatmeal, dry cheerios, soft breadsticks, and Ak-Mak crackers. I know how hard and frustrating it can be! Great that your son is starting to try new things!

Jun 19, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking

How has your cooking evolved with age?

I've been interested in food and cooking for as long as I can remember. I started collecting cookbooks as a kid and would read them like novels (still do). As a teenager, my cooking was mostly limited to baking for my friends and myself, as my mom was (and is) a great cook and cooked dinner every night. There was no real need to cook, but I did like to help her. My cooking and confidence really took off when, at age 20, I started baking bagels at a deli, and transitioned into line cooking. I gained great confidence from that and learned the art of organization and the "kitchen dance", as they say.

The real game changer came when I was around 30 and was working in a Jewish, Kosher assisted living. Most people associate assisted living food with institutional cuisine, but this place was a whole different story. The residents have extremely high standards, and almost everything was cooked from scratch. I was given a lot of control over the menu (a massive challenge, with dairy only breakfast and lunch, and meat dinners) and this evolved into developing my own recipes for the soups, entrees, and sauces, etc. The feedback from the residents was overwhelmingly positive, and these people are not easy to please, believe me! This was the best feeling ever, being able to make someone happy with a well executed Chicken Piccata, or a Matzo Ball Soup that made a resident think of home. It is really gratifying to feed people to whom a meal is often the highlight of the day, or to make an unhappy person smile, just by putting Bialys on the menu. That's not to say it was always perfect, but I learned that people will like the food more if they know and trust the person cooking it. If it's not so good one night, you will get the benefit of the doubt, rather than blame and suspicion. And all the elderly ladies, especially, were cooks themselves, and had strong opinions on the way things should be. Everyone has a recipe for Chicken Paprikash, and everyone's is the best! So it was gratifying to please these people and get to be in their ranks!

Now I mostly cook for my 8 year old son and myself, and friends and family. I get to pass on what I've learned to my food loving kid, who reads cookbooks just like I did. We read cookbooks or make up recipes together, visit farmer's markets, try new foods together, and we grow vegetables in our garden and turn them into many delicious meals. This is the best part of all that I've learned, passing it on to him and seeing his confidence grow. He made me scrambled eggs and toast by himself for the first time the other day, and seeing his pride was the most wonderful gift of all.

Horrible Restaurant Names

"Husky or Maltese Whatever" in Portland. This has got to be the weirdest name ever. Now closed...not surprisingly.

Ski trip lunch/snack ideas

How about cereal or granola and some of those shelf-stable milk boxes? Chips and salsa, guacamole on tortillas, crackers and hummus?
You could get some canned beans, lemon, olive oil, and garlic, and throw together as much hummus as your group can eat at one time, so as not to worry about having to refrigerate leftovers. Do you have an immersion blender? You can make a serviceable, though chunky-ish hummus if you use some of the can liquid in the mix.
I think I personally could live on hummus, guac, chips/tortillas/crackers and an assortment of fruit for a good while.

Mar 18, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking

When a food is good it's good......when it's bad it's eeeehhhhhhh

I've been having a problem getting a good avocado lately. It seems like by the time they feel ripe on the outside, they are going bad already on the inside. Or they both look and feel ripe, but have no taste and a weird watery texture. So disappointing! What is going on with avocados?

Mar 18, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics

BLUE PLATE - Why is there not more conversation about this utterly magnificent lunch counter?

Thanks for reminding me, I've been meaning to try it. You've made me hungry with your descriptions now! Crisp and chewy griddled cheese, mmmm.

Mar 17, 2015
RachelJ in Metro Portland

When a food is good it's good......when it's bad it's eeeehhhhhhh

I agree with the seafood and sushi 100%. Meatloaf I wouldn't even order in a restaurant because I love mine so much that I've always been disappointed in any restaurant's version. But for me, the worst is bad bagels and bad soup, two things I feel passionate about. A soup made without care, and a bagel that's more like a soft bun are just depressing and I won't even try to eat the soup if it is bad. I feel like a good, simple, flavorful soup is really not that hard to make. Saute the mirepoix, for god's sakes! Ugh, it makes me mad just thinking about bad soup. Sorry, I'm ranting.

Mar 04, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics

Healthy Fast Food (remembering Delites Chain)

I know this is an old post that has been reopened, but maybe someone would be interested in these healthy fast food chains...not sure where the op lives or if she will even see it...
http://veggiegrill.com/

https://www.freshii.com/us

Both are located in Portland, OR but have other locations around the country.

Mar 01, 2015
RachelJ in Chains

Portland Eliot Neighborhood - Any restaurant recommendations?

I would add OX and Broder Nord to the very fine list above.

Feb 26, 2015
RachelJ in Metro Portland

I eat it my way

I don't like pepperoni, but I like the flavor of pepperoni on a cheese pizza after I have picked it all off. I don't like it enough to actually order a pepperoni pizza, but if that's all there is I do enjoy it. And I thoughtfully donate my peeled off pep to any takers (family) or toss it back in the box for others to enjoy.

Feb 11, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics

I eat it my way

My dad eats the peanut shells too! He also eats the whole apple, core and all.

Feb 11, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics
1

Too much hassle to bother with foods

Donuts and croissants. I have tried making croissants at home after making them while working in a bakery-so much easier with a dough roller! I don't do anything deep fried, really. I can get good croissants and amazing donuts from nearby bakeries, that is fine for me. Plus, then I can eat only one and leave the scene, instead of having several dozen calling to me from the kitchen.
Cheese. I will leave that one to the pros. I dearly love cheese, but there are so many wonderful ones to buy that I've never felt the need to make my own.

Feb 04, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics

Kids' Menus

If you have 2 kids and they don't like the kids menu, maybe you could have them split an adult entree? I agree, some of them are pretty bad. I don't mind the choices, necessarily, but the quality! Dried out pasta that has been sitting around for who knows how long comes to mind. My son (7) sometimes gets a regular entree, and brings the leftovers home for the next day. More expensive, but I'd rather have him eat and enjoy his food than be grossed out by rubbery chicken and have to eat a bowl of cereal when we get home. Now that his tastebuds are more developed, he realized that the stuff was crap and also got bored of the same old thing on every kids menu. Mid-low priced American and chain restaurants always seem to offer the same chicken strips and box mac and cheese. Other types of cuisine are often served family style or meant to be shared. Chinese, Sushi, Indian? It gives kids an opportunity to try something new without the commitment to a whole plate of their own.

That being said, I would have loved to see mac and cheese on a kid's menu when I was a kid (80's)! It was always something like a smaller version of the adult turkey dinner or a pork chop and I was not a big meat eater, or an adventurous one. Nowadays the world caters to kids much more. I think they put that stuff on kids menus because that is what many young kids like to eat. If only it was better quality. Some of the places we go (mexican, italian and a seafood place at the coast) do just offer smaller portions of the regular food as their kids menu, and it is great food.
I just reread the post and saw the Austin part, sorry I can't help there. I'm in Oregon.

Feb 04, 2015
RachelJ in Austin

How to eat healthy as a picky adult

Smoothies are your friend. I make my picky, no veggie eating son a smoothie of banana, fresh pineapple, frozen blueberries, spinach (!) and plain yogurt with a splash of apple juice almost every morning. I told him about the spinach after he tried it for the first time, and he still loves it. He loves that he is getting the vegetables in without having to chew the vegetables. It just tastes sweet and fruity and tangy. This thing is like morning energy in a glass, and you can feel good about what you are eating without forcing yourself to eat a huge plate of veggies.

I also make marinara sauce with sauteed onion, garlic, finely diced bell pepper and finely shredded carrots added to the tomato products and cooked for a few hours on low heat. Long cooking is the key to good flavor (along with salt, pepper, italian seasoning, maybe a splash of wine). The vegetables totally dissolve into the sauce. You can make a big pot and portion it out into freezer bags or containers. All you have to do is thaw it out a little, heat it up and make pasta or saute some ground beef or chicken, or both. Quick, cheap and healthy. This is picky eater tested and approved!

My mom doesn't like spinach, but she loves a rice dish I make with spinach. You can't taste it at all. I just cook the rice separately and chop the spinach up so it's as fine as chopped parsley. I saute mushrooms and onions in olive oil with salt and pepper (or you could sub corn or steamed chopped broccoli or both) and add the chopped spinach at the end just to wilt it. I mix it all together with some grated cheese. This is a good side dish for chicken, meat or fish. I personally just like it as the main dish. This is cheap and easy, too.

Baby steps. I think that feeling like crap is a good motivation to do something and make some changes. The fact that you are reaching out for help and advice says a lot. The smoothie is seriously a good place to start. Once you see how good eating healthier makes you feel, I think that will be motivating you even more to keep it going and try new things.

Jan 26, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking

Sturdy post office-ready cake or tart idea

A chocolate chip cookie cake is pretty sturdy and very delicious. I used the Toll House recipe and baked it in a glass pie plate for my son's birthday-a huge hit. You can cut wedges like a cake. I recommend vanilla ice cream along side at the other end of it's journey.

Jan 26, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking

Last Thanksgiving leftovers in North America?

Someone in my house (a major turkey lover) just finished the last of our Thanksgiving freezer turkey over the weekend. Now he's ready for more.

Jan 26, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking

Show us your Avatar...

A cat pancake I made for my son

Fried rice always sticks

I'd say if sticking and burning is the problem, you'd want to lower the temp and add more oil. Maybe the pan is too hot if it's burning that fast? Try starting at a medium temp instead, and letting the pan get fully hot from that setting. Also, I think you need more oil, depending on how much rice you are using/how big your pan is. I've never tried this, but what about adding some oil to the cold rice and coating the grains lightly before cooking. Once you add the well oiled rice to well oiled hot pan, try leaving it alone for a bit before trying to move it around in the pan. I haven't used refined coconut oil for stir frying, does it have a high smoke point?

Interesting ideas for leftover cheese sauce?

Use as a baked potato topping, or a sauce for potatoes au gratin or mac and cheese, or serve over vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.

Jan 18, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking
1

Favorite "Seasoning Salt"? Is This Regional?

I'm from Oregon, and grew up using Johnny's Seafood Seasoning (now called Lemon Dill Seasoning), although not the seasoning salt.

Jan 17, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics

Master Shopping List

Sorry, I was feeling snarky. I definitely understand the need for local honey, I don't buy anything but. I get mine from the farmers market. I just don't write "local honey" or "farm eggs" on my list because if it's my list I obviously know what I want. I'm not going to buy Sue Bee from the grocery store if I don't write local down. I can understand wanting to be specific if someone else is doing your shopping. To me, it just came off as pretentious, and I was in a mood to call it out. I apologize.

How to convince wife to go to TJ

My first thought was, why would you have to convince your wife to go to Trader Joes ? :)

Jan 17, 2015
RachelJ in San Diego

Master Shopping List

This is a strange post, to me. It kind of comes across as you showing off your exotic/fancy/pretentious taste in food. I mean, who knows what you want? Did you forget anything, is that really the question? Ok, what about oatmeal, cereal, crackers, cheese, bacon, lentils, split peas, canned tuna, pasta? I could put a million things for you to add, but I don't know you or what you do or don't like.

Master Shopping List

I have a pad and pen in the kitchen, and we just write down things as we run out throughout the week. I usually think of some things I want to cook during the week and buy what I need. I do the big grocery shop on Saturday morning, but usually make a few other trips to get last minute items. As for what the OP would want, I have no idea. Your list seems pretty extensive, and quite different from mine. For me, things like canned beans and ketchup wouldn't be on a "master list" because how often do you need to buy stuff like that? I get cases of beans at Costco and ketchup lasts about 9 months around here. I just add it to my list when we get down to the last few cans, etc. Not to mention the fact that I personally don't want the same things every time I go to the store. Seems kind of limiting.
I guess I'm missing the point of a master list?
Do you take this whole big list around to the store(s) with you when you just need a few of the items?

Jan 16, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics
1

How many people really use shallots? I generally don't.

I love them, so I grow them in the summer. After harvest, cure (dry) them on the covered patio for 2 weeks, and store them hanging in paper bags with holes punched in them in my laundry room. They lasted us this year until Thanksgiving, which was wonderful., but next year I'm growing more! I agree that they are too expensive at the store and I have had the problem several times with them being moldy in the center. I think they sit too long at the store.

Jan 16, 2015
RachelJ in Home Cooking

Moldy pasta sauce, help

I make many gallons of marinara every summer and freeze them flat in plastic bags like this. It saves so much space in the freezer. I do apple and plum sauce this way also. No freezer burn from air space at the top of a container to worry about.

Jan 15, 2015
RachelJ in General Topics