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Cold Cucumber Soup

We - part of a small cooking group - have decided to make a cold cucumber, mint soup for the first course - the main is going to be Shrimp Sambal. We read a review on Epicurious that suggested the addition of seared scallops which sounds rather elegant and adds a dimension to the soup. We are in southern Baja so shrimp and scallops are plentiful - thus the emphasis on shell fish. So I'm just wondering if the scallops should be seared ahead of time and chilled or seared at the last minute and added hot? Any suggestions? The soup is really very simple - we are going the route of yogurt but using home-made yogurt. Thanks for any ideas.

Apr 03, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

Need ideas for simple, quick dinners for 3 adults and 2-1/2 year old

Thank you so much. That looks like something I could play with as needed or wanted. I am collecting all these suggestions in one place and I promise if time permits to share any thoughts or ideas or suggestions that come up during my time in .NY.

Mar 22, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

Need ideas for simple, quick dinners for 3 adults and 2-1/2 year old

I am so very grateful for all these suggestions and have copied them all to take with me,. Yes, chicklet, I would love the slumgolian recipe. BTW I have a puppy whose name is Chiclet.

I have not made sloppy joes for 20+ years. Please give me some guidelines or pointers. I am a little afraid it all starts with a bun and both my grandson and daughter in law have a sensitivity to wheat. I don't think they are hugely allergic because I see them eat wheat-based things but every now and then I hear talk of avoiding wheat. Of course I am sure in Brooklyn I can find non-wheat buns of some sort.

Mar 21, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

Need ideas for simple, quick dinners for 3 adults and 2-1/2 year old

I am going to Brooklyn in a few weeks to look after my 2-1/2 year old grandson and feed him and his parents when his baby brother arrives. The kitchen is small but fairly well equipped. They are all adventurous eaters but no red meat. Pasta is limited to non-wheat based products. I will be tired and not inspired at the end of the day. I am coming from Mexico so cannot bring prepared meals. There are grocery stores very nearby with most things available. I often make chicken tacos (big surprise there) and they like the salmon patties that I picked up on chowhound a while ago. Soup is good and I have been copying that recent thread. They don't have a slow cooker and I hate to buy one because the kitchen is so small. I would be ever so appreciative for any and all suggestions. Thank you!!!

Mar 21, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

napa wineries to visit.. posts are dated... help!!

It is only my opinion but I - along with a friend who has lived in St. Helena for 30+ years and who knows the valley, knows the wineries, knows the to-die-for homes, etc. - we found the whole experience at Castello di Amoroso laughable, even embarrassing. I would never send anyone there. There are so many truly beautiful wineries to visit, why would you waste your time and money on something built to feed a HUGE ego. But it is only my opinion.

Mar 19, 2009
madwrk in San Francisco Bay Area

Shepards Pie Virgin Here!

My family's shepard's pie was actually pretty funny when I think about it. Nothing more than ground beef cooked till good and brown - a whole lot of worcestershire sauce added. Then it was just layers of this lovely ground beef and mashed potatoes then topped with crumbled potato chips - and oh how we loved it!!

Feb 23, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

Need suggestions for new cooking club

Six women in southern Baja have decided to form a new cooking club. We will meet every other month - two will prepare the main, two the first course and two the desert. My friend and I are on tap for the first meeting which means preparing the main event. Two members do not eat red meat but that's not our first choice anyway as the meat here isn't great. At this time of year we can get beautiful organic produce but nothing very exotic. Fish is abundant as are camarones and scallops. The type of fish we generally get is sea bass, yellow tail and dorado. Any and all suggestions appreciated. We are fairly accomplished cooks but are somewhat limited by availability of ingredients - i.e. no Trader Joe's, Whole Foods anywhere nearby.

Feb 14, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

Easy but different salad ingredients?

From our dear old friend Julia Child --

one Tb minced shallot
2 tsp dijon or other good mustard
2 Tb lemon juice
salt & pepper
mix - then whisk in 1/2 c. olive oil

and my daily standard that I picked up somewhere years ago:
1/4 c. balsamic
3 T lemon juice (living in Mexico it is actually lime juice for me)
one minced clove garlic
dash cayenne
s & p
then whisk in 1/2 c olive oil
I keep this mixed up in a jar at all times - sometimes throw in a little mustard.

Jan 28, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

How long can I leave eggs out of the fridge?

I live in southern Baja and the local tiendas all - I mean all -small and large, have eggs for sale un-refrigerated - and it gets hot here in the summer!!

Jan 11, 2009
madwrk in Home Cooking

What's the hype about Cafe la Haye in Sonoma?

The original chef - John McDaniel I think - left a while back and I am not sure who is there now. It was once really truly wonderful but I have not been there for a couple of years. So disappointing to read your post.

Jan 10, 2009
madwrk in San Francisco Bay Area

chile relleno casserole

The recipe is at my friend;'s house - I will try to get it in the next couple of days. Basically we were grilling the chiles first, grating the cheese - using Mexican cheese and cheddar, putting the Mex cheese inside the chiles, beating egg whites then egg yolks with flour - folding whites into yolks. Sprinkling the cheddar over the chiles - then spreading the egg mixture. The controversy is that she found recipes that called for corn tortillas torn and scattered on the bottom of the dish before the chiles went in. I thought that was peculiar. I will try to get the exact recipe and post it soon.

Dec 29, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

chile relleno casserole

Nope, definitely not canned chiles. It is a very small restaurant in a very small town in southern Baja. We were using local Mexican cheese with a bit of cheddar added. It's not so much the flavor as the consistency we are having trouble with. That seems like a lot of cumin - maybe we'll try a little bit first the next time we give it a go.

Dec 28, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

chile relleno casserole

We have tried twice now to duplicate a chile relleno casserole that is made here in southern Baja by a local restaurant. While our results are good there is something about the texture that we are not getting right. We are, of course, first roasting the chiles. We did not fry the tortillas first - maybe that was a mistake. We are using ideas from several different recipes -- we have now learned that we should beat the egg whites separately and fold them into the slightly beaten yolks. There is just something illusive - does anyone have suggestions? Muchas gracias

Dec 27, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

opinions in san jose del cabo

El Chilar is excellent as is Voila in San Jose. Damiana is nothing special. Let me know if you are coming to Todos Santos and I will be happy to give you some suggestions.

Dec 11, 2008
madwrk in Mexico

moderately priced dinner in Great Barrington?

Route 7 Grill is perfect for your situation on route 6 between GB and Sheffield. I went last week with my two year old grandson and his parents We all enjoyed our dinner - I had a glass of excellent pinot noir and the whole bill was about $60. They have lots of variety on the menu and it is very kid friendly.

Nov 28, 2008
madwrk in All New England Archive

Great Barrington eats with toddler and infant

We were just there this past weekend and went three times to Uncommon Grounds in Gr Barrington for breakfast lunch and coffee. We is me, grandmother, son and wife and two year old grandson. It was a great place for kids - toys, books, etc. The food was great and the coffee very good. (My son and I are coffee snobs,.) We had a very good dinner at the Route 7 Cafe - also very kid friendly. The food was very tasty, not a place you might seek out in Manhattan but really quite good. Lots of bbq items - beef, pork, chicken. Seafood, special kids' menu - decent wine by the glass. And I was delighted with a total bill of $60 for the four of us - including my glass of pinot.

Nov 24, 2008
madwrk in All New England Archive

South Egremont, Massachusetts

Thanks everyone - we had a terrific dinner at the Route 7 Grill - it was definitely kid friendly and very affordable. And we loved Uncommon Grounds - went three times. What a great place to take kids and the coffee was wonderful - as was the breakfast and light lunch. Don't know what I would do without chowhound. Let me know if any of you ever come to Todos Santos, an hour north of Cabo and I will try to give you some good tips..

Nov 24, 2008
madwrk in All New England Archive

Only one new cookbook a year

Waters it will be, thank you., I can't carry two books back in my luggage - and I will definitely try to get to Kitchen Arts and Letters. Thanks so much everyone.

Nov 24, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

Only one new cookbook a year

So it's time for me to buy my one new cook book while I am in NY for my semi-annual visit and it is between The Zuni Cookbook and The Art of Simple Cooking. Which one should I buy knowing I live in Mexico and eat mostly fish, chicken and vegetables?? I love Alice Waters Vegetable book but have been told the Zuni book is very useful. I don't cook very complicated meals any more but am always looking for inspiration. Recommendations greatly appreciated.

Nov 23, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

Best Way to Zest a Lime or Lemon

Thank you all sooo much. What a great resource CH is. I will buy myself a microplane in NY for sure - but not two. No dishwasher in my humble casa in Baja Sur.

Nov 19, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

Best Way to Zest a Lime or Lemon

I always seem to avoid dishes that require zest of lemon or lime because it seems arduous to me - and I have difficulty getting only the colored portion. But I have recently started making a key lime pie (aka Mexican lime pie) which is so easy and everyone loves it. So -- any suggestions for the most efficient way to zest a lime? I will be in NY for Thanksgiving and will have my semi-annual chance to shop for kitchen tools. Thanks.

Nov 19, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

What is Your All-Time, Hands Down, Favorite Cookbook? [Moved from Not About Food]

For many, many years Mastering the Art of French Cooking was my book of choice. It is so dog-eared, and crackled with age. But times change and cooking and eating styles change. I would say for the past five or more years it has been a tie between Fields of Green, Annie Somerville, and Chez Panisse Vegetables. Both of these books are very down to earth, simple and give me inspiration to do more. I have been given books I have never opened - e.g. The French Laundry Cookbook. I guess it looks good on the shelf!!

Nov 17, 2008
madwrk in Home Cooking

Route 7 Grill, Great Barrington, Fab and family friendly

I am headed that way with my family in about three weeks. I am not at all familiar with the area (I live in Mexico) and am wondering if yo can tell me how to find it. It sounds like it might be perfect for our family - which includes a two year old and a pregnant vegetarian.

Oct 28, 2008
madwrk in All New England Archive

South Egremont, Massachusetts

I am going to be spending four nights with my family in this town the weekend before Thanksgiving. My family includes a two year old who will eat anything but loves pizza. I am a decent cook and am looking forward to putting together a couple of good meals - we are renting a place with a full kitchen. Looking for suggestions for places to have a nice meal - probably lunch and suggestions for grocery shopping. We are driving up from Brooklyn. Any local specialties? I live in Mexico and my family is from California and Switzerland - so our tastes are all over the place. Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Oct 28, 2008
madwrk in All New England Archive

Nick-San Cabo San Lucas

Me again - yes, it is exceptional but VERY expensive. Many people report that it is the best sushi they have had anywhere. And yes, it is close to the Marina. Are you coming to Todos Santos? If so, let me know and I will give you some recommendations and some "to be avoided at all costs."

Oct 20, 2008
madwrk in Mexico

San Jose Del Cabo

Yes, close to the center of town - maybe a 10-15 minute walk from the zocalo. A little difficult to find so ask for directions. Whatever you do, make sure you are indeed at El Chilar. I once gave a couple directions and found them at a very mediocre place just down the road!! It - El Chilar - is not in a great location, but very innovative food and not super spicy and a very nice environment with great service. Lots of choices. Their wine list is exceptional for San Jose IMO. No live music - can't remember if there was background music.

There is another very good restaurant in San Jose - very good - but I can't remember the name, sorry. It is across from El Encanto and is located behind an upscale furniture and accessories store - Paulina's. I had lunch their twice and it was really really good. A friend and I were on an overnight stay waiting for a flight out (we live in Todos Santos) and went back a second day for lunch. I will see if I can find the name from someone and post it.

Oct 20, 2008
madwrk in Mexico

San Jose Del Cabo

I find El Chilar quite good but I would bet your standards are pretty high if you can afford to stay at Esperanza. I also like Ban Thai but when living in Mexico it is a delight to find decent Asian food. Depending on where you are from it could be nothing to you. Both San Jose and San Lucas are tourist towns so you will find the high-end restaurants catering to tourists and most high-end restaurants are indeed at the resorts. People rave about the restaurant at Palmilla but as a resident I would never think to go there.

Oct 12, 2008
madwrk in Mexico

4 nights in san jose del cabo

There is a wonderful restaurant across the street from Encanto in the middle of town - inside the upscale furniture and accessories store - Paulina's I think. Had lunch there two days in a row. I am not certain if they serve dinner. And El Chilar is very good. Los Ventanas is closer to San Lucas than San Jose.

Sep 27, 2008
madwrk in Mexico

Dining in San Jose del Cabo / Cabo San Lucas

I know this is too late to help mapleleafgirl but in case someone looks up this thread - do not - I repeat - DO NOT go to Tequila Sunrise or Los Adobes - dreadful tourist food. Tre Galline is sometimes good, sometimes mediocre. Cafe D'Alicia is closed. August and September are not the months to visit Todos Santos -let alone San Jose or San Lucas - hot hot hot and humid. Many if not most restaurants are closed let alone many shops in Todos. During these months, locals eat mostly at Buena Vida and Il Giardino - pizza at BV and pizza plus other Italian food at Il Giardino. Wonderful breakfast and lunch at La Esqina and sometimes Friday night BBQ. Most taco standa are open - Barajas is always a favorite - just up from Pemex.

Sep 27, 2008
madwrk in Mexico

Friday night near Embarcadero

A friend and I will be staying on a Friday night in August near the Embarcadero - mostly so we can walk to the farmers' market Saturday morning. I don't want to make a big deal out of Friday night dinner because we are headed to Napa/Sonoma for a week. I'm familiar with the area having once lived there and I know all the big names -- but any suggestions for walk-in, possibly counter service? I haven't been there in years but I seem to recall that Boulevard had a counter - or was that One Market?? And it doesn't have to be "fancy" - actually, preferably not. No ambiance required, just good food. I would like to be able to walk although we will have a car.

Thanks so much for any suggestions.

Jul 10, 2008
madwrk in San Francisco Bay Area