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Canonical's Profile

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Why can't I get my bread to rise???

You have two flours that are low in gluten, so even if your yeast is still happy, there's fewer stands of gluten to help trap the gas they're giving off. Also, if you're kneading it a long time, a) you're not going to develop much gluten because of the flours and b) what gluten there is may be getting cut up due to the nice sharp bits of whole wheat.

Are you going for a lower-gluten bread or could you replace the spelt flour with unbleached bread flour?

Oct 19, 2014
Canonical in Home Cooking

what to do with leftover cornbread?

Warm up a slab, slice it in half, throw it in a bowl and put good chili over it. If you made a non-sweet, firm cornbread, find any Italian recipe that's served over polenta and have at it.

Oct 19, 2014
Canonical in Home Cooking
1

Grassroots petition for menu item

The only thing that comes to mind is, "whatever floats your boat".

Oct 19, 2014
Canonical in Chains

Finally tried Wolf's chili for the first time

I've heard a lot about Wolf's over the years. Some people touted it as the best chili ever, others as the most "authentic" (whatever that might mean). I finally found it here locally and picked up a can to give it a try. Sadly, i wasn't impressed.

First look upon opening, I thought I'd gotten a can of dog food--the stuff was pretty solid in the can and required heavy duty spoon-scoopage (to use a technical term) to pry it loose from the can. Meat was in tiny fragments. Flavor was actually pretty good, but they went way, way, waaaay overboard on the masa thickening (I assume that's what it was. I haven't drug the can back out of the trash to check). It was far too thick even when hot and it had an unpleasant gritty texture. I think if I'd added another spoonful or two of corn meal, I could've baked it and gotten some interesting cornbread out of it.

Is it always like that or did I get a bad batch? As I said, the flavor wasn't bad and it'd make good chili dog topping (it certainly would stay on the 'dog) or even as a cheating form of nachos, using the chili as the first layer on the chips. Perhaps, too, on a hot dog or chips I wouldn't notice the unpleasantly gritty, thick texture. So, normal? Or bad can?

Oct 19, 2014
Canonical in General Topics

Best Seasonal/Holiday Trader Joe's Items.... for 2014

Not in yet, but when I was in there 3 or 4 days ago, the checker told me they'd be getting in the Celtic Cheese Collection again soon. That was the one with the Welsh, Irish and Scottish cheeses bundled together. Of course, that came up because I was buying a block of the Welsh Collier's (could be misspelling that) at the time. That was one of my favorites from the pack.

And next time I visit, I'll have to see if they have Panettone in yet. Mmmm....

Oct 19, 2014
Canonical in Chains

You're Not Allergic to MSG and 6 More Culinary Secrets

I'm not "allergic" to MSG since I don't suffer a histamine reaction to it. Small amounts of it are fine, larger amounts give me a screaming headache. Sorry, a singe anect-data, but I'll continue to avoid it.

As far as being "scared of the wrong ingredient", little scares me but Canola oil. My body can't process it (again, not an "allergy" per se) and I get screaming cramps and the result you'd expect 20 minutes after consuming it. That makes me sad since a lot of restaurants have switched to it due to its low cost and high smoke point. My favorite potato chips use Canola and/or vegetable oil rendering every bag a sort of Bathroom Russian Roulette.

Oct 16, 2014
Canonical in Features

No Ketchup For You !!!

Meh. His restaurant, his rules. That said, what's next--yanking away a patron's plate because they got involved talking and now the food isn't the perfect temperature? Keeping salt and pepper shakers/grinders off the table because it's impossible the chef(s) erred in seasoning? Insisting on particular wine/beverage pairings no matter what the customer's tastes are? It seems a little controlling to me and, personally, I'd rather people enjoy their food. If that means they want ketchup on it, so be it.

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - October 2013 [old]

No more repulsive then grinding up nuts and adding sugar, salt and solidified shortening--aka "peanut butter". Or mixing sugar , butter and a flavoring and calling it "buttercream frosting". :) It's actually very tasty and I will willingly admit that I bought some Speculoos cookies today--very tasty. Even tastier if you spread one with a thickish layer of Speculoos Butter and topping it with another to make a sandwich cookie. If loving Speculoos Butter is wrong, I don't wanna be right... *starts humming really bad 70s music*

Oct 16, 2013
Canonical in Chains
2

Discontinued at Trader Joe's - July 2013 through December 2013

Ah, thanks much. I do love the dressing so.

Oct 09, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Discontinued at Trader Joe's - July 2013 through December 2013

Was that in the sauce aisle or the one over with the lettuce and produce in the cooler? I hadn't tried the sauce (if it is a different critter), but I love to make coleslaw with the Thai Peanut dressing in the cooler. I will be very sad if that is gone. :(

Oct 06, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - October 2013 [old]

Hey, could you leave a yay/nay after you try it? I love Mt. Vikos feta and if the TJ's version is similar, I'd be a really happy camper. :D

Oct 04, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - October 2013 [old]

They are absolutely delicious! I tried them last week when I made a cherry sauce for some roast pork. Usually I use the TJ's Fresh Cherries preserves, but they're gone for a bit. I bought another jar today because I want to try a cherry shortcake...mmmmm....

Oct 02, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Discontinued at Trader Joe's - July 2013 through December 2013

And I fibbed! I just checked my email and they said,

"Our cherry and boysenberry preserves are currently unavailable due to a product review. This is a normal procedure at Trader Joe's, as we randomly choose an item to review the sourcing of ingredients.

Please know that all Trader Joe's preserves will be back. We have yet to be given a definitive date of return, and greatly appreciate your patience."

I left out their apologies for the delay in responding, but yay!

Oct 01, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Discontinued at Trader Joe's - July 2013 through December 2013

Thanks, Elise! I still haven't gotten a response back from the TJ's contact form I sent in. :(

Oct 01, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Discontinued at Trader Joe's - July 2013 through December 2013

Bah to double-posting (and my apologies), but I popped off a contact form to TJ's asking about the possibility of the preserves making a comeback. I'll post when I get a reply.

Sep 24, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Discontinued at Trader Joe's - July 2013 through December 2013

Oy. I hope it's temporary. I'm a big fan of the Boysenberry and Cherry preserves. Mix the cherry with some chipotle tabasco and it makes a great sauce for roasted pork loin. Since I was planning on a pork loin, I bought a jar of the German Morello cherries and will thicken the syrup slightly and then chipotle them; hopefully, it'll work.

Sep 24, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - February 2013 [OLD]

Forgot all about the brisket! And we haven't tried the chicken--I'll add it to the list. Thanks! :)

Feb 13, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - February 2013 [OLD]

I have one of the turkey pot pies, but haven't tried it yet. We do love the barbecue pork from the refrigerated section--a short nuke and tasty, tasty pulled pork sandwiches.

Feb 13, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - February 2013 [OLD]

If you're finding green carrot bits, it just means they came into contact with some baking soda that wasn't fully incorporated into the batter before the carrots were added. The soda will make them look a yucky green, but they're not moldy and perfectly safe to eat, even if a little gross looking. :D

Feb 07, 2013
Canonical in Chains

Do you dream about food or cooking? Anything funny to share?

The funniest one was my husband. He woke me up by talking in his sleep:
"No! Not that one! The *other* one*!" was pretty good, but I loved the next one,
"NO! The penguin gets the pizza!!" He sounded so indignant! And there was so much stress on "penguin"; very "You are such an idiot!" I had to stuff blankets into my mouth so I wouldn't wake him up laughing. I asked him the next morning, but he never was able to remember what he was dreaming about at the time.

Feb 05, 2013
Canonical in Not About Food

What's for Dinner #188 - The Long Slog Edition [OLD]

Yummy, indeed! *wipes drool from laptop* Tonight is a boring green salad (husbandly request yet again. :p), but tomorrow will be angel hair pasta and a sauce of olive oil, tarragon, basil, Greek oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, lots of garlic, sauteed mushrooms and a little balsamic. Quick and tasty, but at least a little more exciting than salad.

Feb 05, 2013
Canonical in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - February 2013 [OLD]

It's frozen--there's a bag in my freezer right now. Maybe you got a bad batch, Oliviasaru. I've made it twice now and both times it was great--lots of kimchee.

Feb 04, 2013
Canonical in Chains

What's for Dinner #188 - The Long Slog Edition [OLD]

No, no; some of us are being lazy and/or boring. Fried apples over homemade baking powder biscuits tonight. My only excuse was that it was a husbandly request. ;)

Feb 04, 2013
Canonical in Home Cooking

Words that Annoy You in Restaurant Reviews

"Literally" used when they mean, "figuratively". And, to be fair, restaurants that name their dishes with titles that are literally (ha!) a list of the ingredients. "Fnord's House o' Lard's signature dish, "Hunks of Wagyu beef lovingly hand-torn from the bone, braised in Patagonian Toothfish broth and garnished with a brunoise of roasted celeriac and heirloom Mariana's Peace (tm) tomatoes and garnished with chips of heirloom Burgundy Softneck garlic deep-fried in schmaltz" literally made me fall out of my chair." Really? Was anyone else hurt in the accident? Did their insurance cover that?

Jan 30, 2013
Canonical in Food Media & News

NY Times Article - No Pics of the food Please - I agree

If it's a quick, discrete, no-flash photo, not a problem. Enjoy! The problem is that it's often less than discrete and it's usually the final straw that croaked the poor Bactrian. Partial blame falls on restaurants that cram tables too close together. But here's a scenario I've run into:

Husband and I are seated next to a pair of proto-typical hipster/foodie wannabes. There follows 15 minutes or more of listening to their cell phones going off, followed by, "Hey....not much. We're at *****, what're *you* doing?...blah...blah...blah" all of which is carried on at normal conversational tone, somewhat loud for a shared circumstance.

Table conversation, at the same loudish volume, consists of where they've eaten before, what reviews they've read and raised voices about the role of garniture (no, I'm not kidding). Misuse/mispronunciation of "pistou", "roulade" and other furrin (sic) words liberally sprinkled throughout as they vie for position of alpha-foodie.

Their food arrives. They verbally dissect it, compare it to every other meal they've ever eaten anywhere. Rearrange the table to get photos while, again, in loudish voices, stage-manage the arrangement, the angle, whether or not the wine glass should be in frame or not, etc. Then comes the comparison of the photos--never mind that the item they photographed is still right there in front of them. Angle's wrong--take more pics. Compare. Contrast. Finally they take a bite and promptly complain that the food isn't up to temp. That a crispy element has become soggy, also etc. How disappointing! Front of house, back of house, somewhere quality if falling off. Well, yeah, food does tend to do that while it sits.

What I'm trying to say, in my oh-so-long-winded way, is that sometimes it's not so much the photo-taking itself, but everything else that leads up to it.

Jan 29, 2013
Canonical in Food Media & News

Seeking Your Best Recipe for Beef Stew

Mine's about as basic as it gets, but we like it simple (and just finished a big pot of it the other night). :)

Trim the stew meat of all fat, silver-skin and gristle-y bits. I cut it up to about 1 inch squares--you may chose to make biger pieces or smaller, but the cooking time will change. Heat up enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan. Flour your meat and give it a good, dark browning all over without burning the flour residue in the pan. Don't overcrowd the pan--you don't want to lower the heat too much and have it stewing away (yet).

When the meat's all done, it goes into a heavy, enameled cast iron pot (like a Le Creuset, but less pricey). Add flour to the oil in the pan and brown it, cooking it for a minute. Add sufficient hot water all at once (to prevent lumps) to make enough gravy to cover the meat. Let it bubble away for a minute. Pour it over the meat. Add salt, pepper, and finely chopped onion to taste. I also throw in a bay leaf or two, depending on size. Reduce the heat and let that do a slow bubble for about 3 hours.

Once the meat is fall-apart-tender, peel and cut up your carrots and potatoes and chuck them in. If you don't think there's enough gravy to give everything a good dampening, remove the meat and set aside while the veggies cook. Once the veg is done to your liking, fish out the bay leaves (if you didn't remove them when you took out the meat) and taste. Adjust the seasoning. Add your meat back in if you removed it and get it all reheated. Serve it up with crusty bread--I'll have butter on mine. :)

Jan 28, 2013
Canonical in Home Cooking