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I am a terrible cook!

Start with Corn Pudding. Put a bag of frozen corn in the Cuisinart and don't puree it, just pulse the machine on and off a couple of times to break up the kernels. Beat 2 or 3 eggs with 2 cups of milk, a tsp salt, the corn, and a bag of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Now you can either bake this in a casserole or use it to fill green or red peppers (cut in half, seeded, and briefly par-boiled)---bake the corn pudding in the peppers.

Next, do you eat eggs? Kedgeree can be made without the salmon. Melt a stick of butter and in it saute' a couple of onions, sliced, a handful of golden raisins, and 2 tsp curry powder. Mix this with hot cooked rice. Serve it with a lot of little dishes of things to mix with it---sliced hard-cooked eggs, ground peanuts, toasted coconut, chutney, lemon wedges to squeeze juice, etc.

Again: Gazpacho. Take 4 large tomatoes peeled (just put them in boiling water for a hot minute), a green pepper, a cucumber, and an onion. Coarsely chop all this in Cuisinart. Add to a 46-oz can or bottle of tomato juice. Season with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and vinegar plus salt, garlic powder, and cumin (essential). Serve ice cold with croutons of toasted bread.

And again: Fried polenta. In slow cooker overnight make mush with 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal, 4 cups cold water, 1 cup salt. In the morning add a bag of shredded sharp yellow cheese and 1/4 tsp hot red pepper (or omit this). Chill the mush in bread pans. Slice. Saute'. Good with anything but especially with black beans cooked the Cuban way (available in cans if you don't feel like cooking them).

PS: Celery stalks stuffed with soft cheese. Frozen chopped spinach cooked, drained, mixed with a tablespoon of grated Parmesan, a tsp of garlic powder, salt, and a tsp of curry powder. Vegetarian slow-cooker or oven Boston baked beans. Crepes filled with creamed spinach or mushrooms and rolled up, cheese on top, baked. Aloo Gobi (Indian curried cauliflower and potatoes). Creamed sauteed mushrooms on hot buttered toast. Cheese souffle'. Quiche. Egg Foo Yong. All kinds of Asian stir-fry combos. Big baked sweet potatoes busted open and filled with butter and brown sugar. Chef salad with kidney beans, sliced hard-cooked egg, and bits of cheese. Boca Burgers with all the trimmings plus frozen French fries. Pizza with a zillion possible things on it that aren't meat---I bet your kids would love pizza. Tapioca pudding. Rice pudding. Bread pudding. Chocolate pudding. Apple Betty. Baked apples.

Mrsn311, are you maybe a little depressed? That's not about the cooking, then. Take care of yourself first and the cooking will follow.

Persian or Turkish Beef Stew (or Beef Filling)?

Yes, put all the spices in with the beef and dried peas to cook at the same time---nothing goes in at the end but the eggplant.

BTW if you like that combo you might like my Fake Middle Eastern Dinner: To ground sirloin I add salt, mint, garlic powder, cinnamon, dill, and lemon juice. Form into large meatballs and put in baking dish with canned tomato sauce plus all of the same again---mint, garlic powder, cinnamon, dill, and lemon juice. Then put quarters of onion, chunks of green pepper, and thick slices of zucchini or any similar squash here and there around the meat in the sauce, and bake all of this uncovered. Serve with rice.

2 days ago
Querencia in Home Cooking

What are some of your favorite limited-ingredient dishes?

Summer is coming: sliced zucchini sauteed in olive oil and eaten (hot or room temp) with salt, squeeze of lemon, and grated Parmesan. As entree or separate course. Can't appreciate fully as side dish.

Mar 29, 2015
Querencia in General Topics

Homemade Baba Ganoush Dip Help?

Do not boil the eggplant as it easily gets mushy. Grill it or saute' it in olive oil. Peel it first if you saute' it. If you have grilled it, separate the flesh from the peeling but don't scrape the peeling (may be bitter). Depending on what equipment you have, you can put the flesh through a blender or food processor or just mash it up with a potato masher or whatever you have. (Consistency will therefore be either very smooth or somewhat chunky.) Mix in a few good big spoonfuls of tahini (essential), some lemon juice, salt, and olive oil. I also add minced onion and garlic and maybe parsley. Refrigerated it will last a week at least but you will eat it all before that.

Mar 29, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking

Fast and easy way to cut a mango

In case you don't want the fruit diced--- learned how to prepare a mango by watching the cook in a Caribbean hotel, although she used a machete and I use a paring knife. Hold the fruit over the sink and cut it in half lengthwise, following the long slender seed. Give the two sides a twist away from each other. If necessary, take the point of the knife to free the seed so that you end up with two halves on the half-shell. Eat the mango either a) holding over the sink or b) with a serrated grapefruit spoon.

Mar 29, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking
1

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH "MAYBES" WHEN YOU INVITE GUESTS FOR DINNER?

If I invite someone to dinner and he says maybe he will come and maybe he won't, unless there is an awfully good reason (his wife is nine months pregnant) I would consider this pretty rude. What is the maybe about, maybe he will get a better invitation? Is this something new? Reading down through the posts, people seem casual and accepting of "maybe".

Mar 28, 2015
Querencia in Not About Food
1

Lone Chef/Food Addict Exploring Chicago

You really ought to try our Italian beef sandwich. Personally I like Al's, which has several branches. Have them dip the roll in the jus gravy ("wet") and say if you want the relish hot or sweet (which isn't really sweet, it's just not hot--the hot is real hot). A big local thing. There is an intersection (Ontario and Wells) which offers a quadruple whammee: Al's for Italian beef, Giordano's for pizza, Carson's for barbecue, and Ed Debevic's for diner food.

Mar 28, 2015
Querencia in Chicago Area

Use for leftover canned prune filling?

I would freeze the lekvar and use it in some future pastry. It's not cheap to buy.

Mar 28, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking
1

Your automobile as dining room!

It was family tradition that when we visited my children's grandmother, my MIL always sent us home with Ground Ham Sandwiches: baked ham ground with sweet pickle and bound with mayonnaise. Cannot imagine a car trip without them.

tryingtobakebread....

Advice to all new yeast bakers: treat yeast like a baby---feed it (it likes sugar and flour) and keep it warm (body temperature---not too hot). What it eliminates is the air that makes bubbles in your dough and gives texture to yeast breads. Keep the rising dough out of drafts (too cold) and direct sunlight (too hot). I remember from childhood when my aunt killed her yeast but putting the dough to rise on a very hot back porch, in the sun. Not good for Baby.

Mar 27, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking

Persian or Turkish Beef Stew (or Beef Filling)?

I have a wonderful recipe for a Persian beef stew ("Khoresh") but you absolutely need a Persian spice called Omani (ground up dried lemon). I got the recipe from the lady who sold me the Omani at Pars Grocery in Chicago: Brown cubed beef stew meat. Put it in a slow cooker with dried yellow peas that have been soaked (I use one pound of beef to half a pound of dried peas), 1-2 chopped onions, salt, cinnamon, mint, turmeric, garlic, lemon juice, fresh parsley, canned tomato sauce, and water. Let this cook until the yellow peas are done and beef is falling-apart tender. There should be a lot of very tasty sauce. Then for about the last hour of cooking, lay slices of eggplant over the top, to cook in the sauce. In restaurants I have had this dish with French fried potatoes served alongside but I prefer just rice. A little Omani goes a long way---I use 1/2 tsp to 1 lb beef, 1-2 onions, 1/2 lb dried yellow peas, 8 oz tomato sauce. You can wing it with the other spices. This freezes beautifully.

Mar 27, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking

Slow cooker that fits particular requirements

Had you thought of using a separate timer? You could buy a simple slow cooker and plug it in via a sophisticated timer that will do anything you want.

Mar 23, 2015
Querencia in Cookware

Heading to Montreal by way of NYC next weekend and feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared!

I get flamed every time I mention this but I stand by it. The Underground City is do-not-miss and personally I think it is fun for grazing. This basement-level downtown Montreal is vast---29 kilometers if you straighten it out in a straight line---and it is loaded, loaded, loaded with food courts. They are mostly run by immigrants so every ethnic food is represented and they set up to feed downtown office workers at noon, so if you get there around 11:30 everything is fresh. Prices are of course low and you can just wander and sample this & that food as you browse hundreds of shops in weather-defying comfort. This is where I first ate fatoosh and pelminy, where I bought a spectacular maple pecan bread with gobs of maple goo throughout, and where Poutine is a star. One of my favorite places in all of Canada.

Off the beaten pah Chicago eats for a first timer

Word on the street here is that the whole city is already sold out with the Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary doings on July 3-4-5 added to the usual Fourth celebrations so secure your reservations ASAP. If you still plan to come and want "simple and easy" away from tourist crowds, here are some interesting options: 1) Vietnamese and Thai: take Red Line to Argyle---restaurants are on Argyle and adjacent N Broadway. 2) Chinatown: take Red Line to Chinatown/Cermak and walk around. 3) Indian: Devon Avenue walking west from Western Avenue, take Red Line to Loyola then 155 Devon bus abt 10 min to Western. 4) Mexican: take 60 Blue Island bus from NW corner State & Madison to Little Village (30 min) (Little Village is a couple of miles of 26th St between two Mexican gates). All of these are bustling neighborhoods with restaurants and few, if any, tourists. CTA website has details of travel information.

Mar 20, 2015
Querencia in Chicago Area

Cut out cookie

This recipe is unusual but it is so easy to work with that it is the only roll-and-cut cookie I make any more. GINGER COOKIES: In a saucepan put 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup dark Karo syrup, 1 tablespoon ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tsp cloves. Bring to a boil just to melt everything. Remove from burner. Immediately drop in 2 sticks (1 cup) butter. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted, then work in 4 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsps baking powder. Form into 4 rolls. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate any time from 2 hours to 2 weeks. When you want cookies, let a roll of dough come toward room temperature until you can work it with your hands like modeling clay. Roll directly on the ungreased cookie sheet, as thin as possible. Cut out with cookie cutters and remove extra to be recycled with next panful (point of paring knife works well for this). Bake 7-8 minutes at 375*. Remove immediately from pan. Advantages: 1) No floury mess. 2) Dough and method make possible delicate details like curly pig tails or angel wings or reindeer antlers. 3)You can bake just a few at a time and don't have to do the whole exhausting job. 4) The cookies have a good flavor and are crisp and spicy.

Mar 20, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking

three days downtown with kids and a tight budget

Water Tower Place has a nice food court but it's hard to find so people don't always find it. It's not the usual franchises---it's run by Lettuce Entertain You, which owns some of Chicago's best restaurants. With 14 chef stations, kids can choose what they like (eg, will eat). Go to Water Tower Place. Walk through either Macy's or American Girl, ground floor, all the way to the rear and exit into the lobby back there. Take the escalator up to FoodLife. http://www.leye.com/files/Menus/foodl... go to Lettuce Entertain You>Restaurants>FoodLife.

Mar 18, 2015
Querencia in Chicago Area

Bought too much deli roast beef. How should I use it up tonight?

You have to be a diner-lover for this---put deli roast beef with a jar of beef gravy and serve over bread for "hot beef sandwich".

Mar 18, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking

Help! I need low salt, low carb recipes

GAZPACHO: Peel 4 tomatoes by standing them in boiling water for a minute. Process them in food processor along with a peeled cucumber, a medium onion, and a green pepper. Don't completely puree them---just chop all together. Mix this with a 46-oz can or bottle of low-sodium tomato juice. Season to taste using garlic powder and cumin. If your doctor has approved a salt substitute, use that too. Add about 2 tablespoons each of vinegar and olive oil and, again, taste and correct the seasoning. This gazpacho (a Spanish summertime soup that is eaten or drunk ice-cold) keeps for at least a week in the refrigerator. It is very low-carb and low-sodium and is refreshing in hot weather, which is coming soon now.

PS Ask your doctor for referral to a registered dietitian at your local hospital. Insurance should cover it.

Mar 18, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015 [Old]

Today I bought a new TJ item that sounds interesting and is very PRETTY but I am not sure what to do with Preserved Tunisian Lemons. A relish on the side of dinner? Or?

Mar 17, 2015
Querencia in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015 [Old]

I am with you on the decadence only I do it this way: bake TJ Truffle Brownies then while they are still warm, pour over this fudge topping, which sets up as it cools. FUDGE TOPPING: In a saucepan put 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup milk, 1/3 cup butter. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute by the clock. Remove from burner. Add 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips and stir until they melt. Pour over brownies.

Mar 17, 2015
Querencia in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015 [Old]

Today at TJ I bought a interesting-looking new product, Preserved (salty) Tunisian Lemon Slices. What do I do with them? Just nibble one on the side of dinner, or chop them up and put them in something, or?

Mar 17, 2015
Querencia in Chains

Lent, No Meat Lunch for Teen Boys

If fish is OK I would give them fish tacos with a lot of stuff to pile on, maybe a side of macaroni & cheese. Common old frozen fish sticks would be fine for the tacos.

Mar 15, 2015
Querencia in Vegetarian & Vegan

Sodium amounts in corned beef brisket

The most useful website I know for finding out what's in specific foods is "USDA Nutrients Database".

Mar 14, 2015
Querencia in General Topics

Your most cherished food memories...

There is a difference between walnuts and black walnuts. The latter have a hull so hard that it is ground and used in industrial sandblasting. If Connie Chung has teeth that can shatter a black walnut, I hope she never bites me.

Mar 14, 2015
Querencia in General Topics

How to eat frugally?

Many years ago when my husband was in school I cooked with a similar budget. And I see that you need to limit carbs, which is unfortunate because pasta casseroles and hot cereals would answer a need. But let's see what we have. 1) Every week, check chain stores' online grocery ads for the week so you can take advantage of sales. Price of a sale item may be less than half the usual price---where I am, lovely heads of green cabbage are 9 cents lb this week for St P's Day. 2) Foods you can cook in a big pot and get many meals from will work, for example a pot of chili with one pound of ground meat, one pound dry kidney beans, a big can each of crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, a couple of onions, and chili powder, and this will yield 8 or 9 pints of chili. 3) Your town probably has a Dollar Store. Many good options there. 4) Call your Department of Social Services and see if there is a lunch program you can get in on. Also, call every church you can get to and see what programs they have---most now serve meals and/or distribute bags of groceries. If you get your diabetes care at any kind of institution like a hospital, ask to talk to a social worker there for suggestions of local programs. You aren't a butterfly that can live on a drop of nectar!

Meal Train for young family

During my husband's long illness I learned something new---that pre-made sandwiches in the refrigerator are useful and welcome. Doesn't work with wet fillings but sandwiches of meat (any kind), cheese, or peanut butter, nicely cut into manageable parts and wrapped in Saran, last for several days and are a huge convenience when a household is in crisis.

Non-Cook: Where to Start?

Hello Mischa: I see that you are in England. A classic US cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, has many editions but the older editions were actually written by the original author, Irma Rombauer, with so many bits of advice helpful for the beginning cook. Just now I looked on amazon.com and the 1953 edition is available in paperback for as little as 36 cents US (about 25p plus around L3 shipping). I learned to cook by studying this book, which gives basic directions for cooking just about everything.

Mar 13, 2015
Querencia in Home Cooking
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015 [Old]

The frozen baby onions aren't new but deserve a mention--- elegant, convenient, and what bargain (if I had to peel them all I sure wouldn't sell them that cheap...). This week I added them to Aloo Gobi along with a bag of frozen peas. Screwed up the authenticity of the dish but it was wonderful.

St. Paddy's Day 2015 Corned Beef...What's Your Preferred Cut of Choice...and How Do You Plan to Prepare It? Braised or Baked in the Oven or Steamed/Braised on the Stove Top?

And a moment of silence, please, for the price of corned beef this St P's Day season. Makes sense since all beef has gone up in price but, yikes, what a shock. Used to be considered an El Cheapo meat.

Mar 12, 2015
Querencia in General Topics

Peanut Butter and. . .

I make an African Soup which is totally fake (I made it up and have no African heritage and have never been to Africa)---a chicken soup with peppers and tomatoes and onions, a little spicy, with a little peanut butter in it. Just my idea of what an African dish ought to taste like. Other than that, I just make Joy of Cooking peanut butter cookies, or eat peanut butter on saltine crackers.

Mar 12, 2015
Querencia in General Topics