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Sherri's Profile

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Your food world and computers

Eatingjoy, I absolutely agree that errors are found in print material. I should have made my point more clearly.
A cookbook author has an editor, a blogger does not. Some authors are better at recipe writing than others but the added layer of editing can provide extra eyes to spot mistakes. Bloggers generally operate on their own, without oversight.

I will admit an additional personal bias - when I read a poorly written recipe blog, I tend to dismiss the author as sloppy. Someone who cannot be bothered to spell correctly may not be as careful about other aspects of their writing.
"Your gonna luv this to" does not win my confidence.

Jul 26, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food
1

Your food world and computers

As much as I enjoy mining the wisdom of the CH community, I remember life pre-computer. Like anything else in life, there are pros and cons in the WWW. Making good decisions about how and what to use is important.

Many posters have already stated, some internet food bloggers are very sloppy about recipes, especially timing. Some cookbooks share this same fault although, generally, there is more oversight in the publishing world. It is incumbent on us to be discerning readers, culling the gems from the dreck.

Using the internet for ideas is a great place to start. Following up with trusted cookbooks and/or one's own experience enhances the process. I wouldn't dream of taking blogger SuziHomemaker's word as THE definitive answer but will temper it with additional information. (No, I do not refer to an actual person, SuziHomemaker, I made up this blogger name for emphasis)

Certainly planning travel is quicker with the internet. Is it always better? No clear answer. We use a combination of tools, internet being one of them. About ten years ago, we found a waterfront beach rental through the internet but found THE house of our dreams for subsequent vacations through the housekeeper at house #1.

Jul 26, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

My first cookware set

I will tell you what I told my sons when they were furnishing their first apts after college. Either buy something so cheap that you can throw it away when it fails OR buy quality, slowly accumulating pieces that you love.

Restaurant supply stores and thrift stores are a great source of pots & pans. The first is built to withstand heavy use/abuse. The second can yield treasures -- a gently used 5 qt. Le Creuset Dutch Oven for $20 USD.

Think honestly about what you cook and how you cook. If long, slow braises are your favorite, you will need something that works in this genre. If you mostly eat stir-frys, a great wok is in your future.

I would hate to keep house without cast iron skillets. They are not terribly costly and terrific workhorses. Good luck on uour great adventure.

Jul 23, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

trip from Phoenix to San Diego

Antonio, welcome to Arizona. Please make certain to travel with a lot, and I mean a LOT, of water just in case. It is very hot in the desert at this time of year. Your route, I-8, will take you to San Diego quite easily. There really isn't much in the way of civilization along the way. There is a casino on Indian land but, I'm sorry, I don't have the exact location. It's a good stop for children/WC but the food was forgettable. Yuma is the biggest town you will find between Phoenix and San Diego. There are a lot of possibilities there in the Mexican food genre. If you search the Southwest board there will be recommendations for Yuma. I hope you have an enjoyable time on your visit.

Jul 21, 2015
Sherri in Phoenix

Defining cuisine the statistical way

Interesting article and flawed, I believe. Huge generalizations are made; some of the geography does not support the conclusions. I live in the desert SW, outside of Phoenix AZ. To say that 'cayenne' is indicative of the cuisine in this region is false. Many chiles are used in SW food but I cannot recall a single dish calling for cayenne.
China, Africa and India are enormous land masses with varying climates and topography. Even little France is very different in terms of cuisine from Normandie in the north to Provence in the south. I'm glad that you posted this, I enjoyed reading it. To be taken with a grain of salt..... Thanks.

Jul 20, 2015
Sherri in Food Media & News

bad manners to accept preferred treatment

Karl S hit it on the head; your job is to be a good, appreciative guest. Here in the Phoenix area, when I was still active in F&B, I often went out to dinner with "names" in town. We used to joke about the special treatment calling it "... being XXXX(insert BIG name here)-ized". Neither the chef nor restaurant had to do this but they chose to. Without dropping names, three confrères and I took a noted woman to dinner in Chicago during an IACP conference. We were mobbed at the table, she instructed us to "... keep your head down and don't make eye contact, dearie". A reporter-cum-photographer approached and demanded we smile, etc. Not complying, we found our photo in the newspaper the next morning titled "Five Old Bats Eat Birds"! It's one of my fond possessions.

Duke Fan, just enjoy and be a good guest in the future. Your friend(s) could lighten up a bit and learn to enjoy the perks that go along with being a welcomed regular diner.

Jul 12, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

Bastille Day Potluck

A stuffed, boned chicken that is roasted a day or so ahead, sliced and served cold w/ herbed mayonnaise. Accompany with white bean salad and asparagus mimosa. Coeur à la Crème with fresh berries for dessert.

Jul 11, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

What to do with a large piece of pork skin ?

Some kind of wonderful Rancho Gordo beans + pork skin + onions/garlic = a pot of deliciousness! I save pork skins in the freezer for making a pot of beans and would not like to be without my stash.

Jul 03, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

WOLF 48" Dual Fuel with 4 burners and 24" griddle VS 6 burners with 12" griddle

Speaking as the owner/operator of a 48" gas range, I opted for a single griddle w/ 6 burners. Yes, I purely love it and would not change a thing. Used daily for the past 13 years, we are mainly a household of two adults who have lots of friends and parties.

When we ordered this for our new build, the installer told me that no one ever uses the griddle. When he came about six weeks later for a minor adjustment on another appliance, he was actually happy to see that it was not pristine. Granted, I cannot use this the same was as a restaurant flat-top, there isn't enough room. But I have used all six burners more often than I can count.
NB: watching six burners is not a usual skill for home cook so if you're more comfortable with the large griddle, you should make a different choice than I did.

You ask if anyone uses theirs daily and I would have to answer "no", not daily but at least four or five times a week the griddle is working. We live in the SW so a lot of quesadillas are on our lunch menu. I've also found that it is a joy to use as a 'keep warm' spot for things like pots of chocolate sauce.

Bottom line, no one knows what you need except you AND this will likely ebb and flow, change over time, especially if children are involved. What works when cooking for a toddler changes dramatically when feeding teenagers.

I could really identify with your living situation. My late husband was a Naval Officer and we lived in a lot of OP houses (other people's) so I got very good at making do with what I had. As a trained chef, I knew that I could produce a meal cooked over a matchstick but my rental kitchens ranged from OK to pretty grim. Now I am thoroughly spoiled with a wonderful work space. Hope that your dream is fabulous.

Jun 30, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

Your favorite non-food-related items that get tons of use in the kitchen

Scalpels for boning fowl
Dental floss for cutting cake layers and slicing cheese
The pliers have already been mentioned as have the paint brushes, clothes pins and putty knives. For years, I've re-purposed shower caps from hotels as storage bowl covers. Today, you can buy them but I stick to my purloined favs.

Jun 30, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

Offering alternative meals to children - yay or nay

Likely it was her belief that Her House, Her Rules. Things can get odd with extended family ...
When all the rest of my THAT side of the family holidays were at our house, there weren't any of her nonsense rules.
My mother's side was much more fun and I don't think any of them would have dreamed of scolding a child. Even when I took all the cousins into the wilds of our Southern California canyon and we all rolled in poison oak. I'd been told to stay away from that plant because it would make you itch. When I touched it, I didn't itch so challenged everyone to do the same.
No scolding, but the next day was misery for all 14 of us.

Jun 25, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

Offering alternative meals to children - yay or nay

I clearly remember eating at an aunt's house as a child, a one-time dinner, thank god. She was a nurse and forbade any liquid consumption while eating. Had some mumbo-jumbo, pseudo-medical reason that did not fly with my mother. We went along with it to keep peace but always hosted holiday meals at our home after this bizarre incident.

Jun 25, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

Offering alternative meals to children - yay or nay

Pumpkinspice, a very wise pediatrician told me with my firstborn "no child will starve to death in the face of food. Believe that your child is at least as smart as your dog". We were having a discussion about eating habits, choosing foods, etc for this first-time mother far from her own family. He went on to say that food is not a hill to die on. I've never forgotten his words, lo these more than 40 years ago.

We did not make special or different meals for our sons. Mom is not a restaurant and dinner is dinner. When they were young, our boys often ate what we had for supper last night while my husband and I sat at table with them talking about our day. I could not bring myself to eat my evening meal when they were hungry - 5 PM was too early for me. We had a glass of wine while they ate dinner and we all talked. As they got older, we all ate together.

I don't think there is only one right way to feed children. Their likes and dislikes will change over time. Choosing battles is an important life skill. The sooner your child teaches this to you, the happier everyone will be. Let the family dinner table become a safe and happy place where children feel welcome, safe and nurtured. When thier friends clamor to be included, you'll know that you did a fine job. Meanwhile, relax and enjoy the ride. Children are magic.

Offering alternative meals to children - yay or nay

Karl, you are my hero! Succinct post, written with wisdom. Thank uou.

Jun 20, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

Do you tip your butcher?

Do favorite bottles at Christmas count as tips? If so, then I am in the YES column.

Jun 16, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

25th anniversary dinner in Scottsdale

T.Cooks will always get my "romantic" vote, but I have an emotional tie to this lovely property. We were married there 15 years ago and return for special meals. The food is outstanding as are the gardens. You could arrange to have a private meal in one of the secluded gardens throughout the property. T. Cooks is the only place I know in the US with a Director of Romance. Depending on what you want to do, I'll bet he can find a way to accomplish something extraordinary for your 25th.
Lon's at the Hermosa would be my second choice.
Both these properties were old Phoenix private estates and exude a sense of place that is missing from newer restaurants.
Happy Anniversary, hope that it is a memorable occasion.

Edit: I should note that T. Cooks is in Phoenix, maybe a mile over the Scottdale border.

May 18, 2015
Sherri in Phoenix
1

Review: Four Peaks Brewery - Tempe, Arizona

I've been eating at Four Peaks for years and have never had a bad or so-so meal. Usually, it is a burger and beers but the daily specials are not to be ignored. My husband had the best duck of his life at Four Peaks and that is saying something. If you're not ordering a full meal, try their pretzels ... Or try them with a meal if you're really hungry (football-playing, teenage boy hungry).

May 18, 2015
Sherri in Phoenix

Please help me to learn to enjoy fish

Does your unlove of fish include shellfish? or are you open to shrimp, crab, et al?

May 08, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

Scottsdale's Pink Pony is a disappointment

The Pink Pony has been a Scottsdale fixture since the Truman years. Filled with baseball memorabilia, my younger brother loved a special treat meal there - good burgers, steaks, etc. very 'old school' but in a good way. Yes, it's had ups and downs, finally closing several years ago.

On a rare trek through downtown, touristy Scottsdale, my husband and I decided to give the new Pink Pony a try. I gushed about my fond memories as we were greeted by the new owner who assured us that it was a much-improved PP. We were seated on the patio on a lovely day. It took quite a while for our waiter to arrive with menus. There were two other occupied two-tops on the patio. When he finall reappeared, we gave our order, explaining that we had a time deadline. My husband chose the umami burger rare ($15) and I opted for the chopped salad ($12)More than 20 minutes passed, water and iced tea arrived. More time passed. When our food finally arrived, his burger was was cooked well past medium on the way to well-done. It was too late to send it back so we pressed on. My chopped salad was OK except for the tired greens underneath. With tip, our bill was $38.

There was a hostess who passed through the patio, smiling but not dong anything that I could see. The owner/manager disappeared after the initial greeting. Whether our waiter was solo or not, we don't know because we never went inside.

It was a disappointing experience and one we are not likely to repeat.

May 05, 2015
Sherri in Phoenix

Chiles Rellenos - Meh?

I am in the minority and use Anaheim chiles instead of Poblanos. Further, I serve sauce on the side - it has never made sense to go to the trouble of making them crisp only to sit in sauce.
Full disclosure: I make two sauces - a wimpy one for gringos and another with some "body". I use cotija cheese or Monterey Jack. My Mexican friend tells me that these are not meant to be searing hot.

We don't eat these often but love them when the spirit moves me. Thumbs way up for chiles rellenos!

Have you tried making a C.R. burrito? I usually fill the burrito with more cheese, corn, cilantro and a great green chile salsa before adding the C R. Great Sunday lunch.

Apr 25, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

what do YOU serve for dinner with beef/calve's liver (and onions)?

Creamed spinach

Apr 25, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking
1

I humidified our condo by boiling water in a Dutch oven every day this winter......

Thought for next winter -- buy an el cheapo pot at a thrift store for $1 or less. When you no longer need a humidifier, toss it. Next winter, repeat.

Gnocchi cooking question

Would you tell us what kind of gnocchi you are cooking? Ricotta gnocchi will behave differently from potato gnocchi and the semolina-based gnocchi is another thing altogether.

Mar 31, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

Traveling with frozen foods to beach vacation

If your food is firmly frozen, you should not have any problems. The ice block of beef will act as a cooling agent for the frozen chicken/lasagna/etc. Yearly we drive 1000 miles from Arizona to Northern California for a month at the beach. Our drive is hot. Every single time we arrive and unpack, the food in a cooler filled with frozen food is still rock-hard. Frozen solid.
Have a great time!

Edit: great point, Raffles and wekick, about pre-chilling the cooler. I use milk jugs filled with water that live in the extra freezer. Overnight with 4-6 of these will yield a cold cooler for your trip.

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

Ddysert, Second favorite chard, name please? As I stated earlier, I am disappointed by the "unanswer" I received from corporate. Telling me that wine tastes different from vintage to vintage is talking down to someone who has been a wine drinker for many years. This patronizing communication style is a poor way to keep a heretofore loyal customer base.

Mar 13, 2015
Sherri in Wine

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

ddysert, finally, I did receive an answer, a standard corporate answer. To paraphrase, "we simply like the new name better, it reflects our wine more precisely ... "
The writer went on to assure me that the Belcreme de Lys is the same as Creme de Lys with "variations that can occur with different vintages".
Baloney, and I don't think we will receive a straight answer to the question.

I am disappointed. My question passed through three different people and I feel like it was shuffled off to the Standard Answer department.

Mar 09, 2015
Sherri in Wine

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

Almost two weeks have passed after the initial "someone will get back to you" answer from my request. I sent a follow up today and hope to hear something.

Meanwhile, I have tried the Belcreme de Lys and do not like it as much as my old friend. There is a harsh first taste ... Wish that someone had followed the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" dictum.

I will post when I have an answer.

Feb 26, 2015
Sherri in Wine

ISO Reference Cookbook(s) - Good and Bad?

TWELVE RECIPES by Cal Peternell.

A chef at Chez Panisse for more than twenty years, Peternell wrote this book for his son when he left home for college. Dad realized that, although they often cooked together, he had never taught his sons HOW to cook. They could accomplish kitchen chores but did not have the basic knowledge necessary to really cook.

Thebook is relatively new so hasn't received a lot of attention. Suffice it to say that I will be buying copies for my sons. I have found it to be a wealth of information. Peternell gives a basic recipe and many variations including changing main ingredient, cooking method and flavorings.

In a chatty fashion, Peternell walks you through the steps of constructing a dish, suggests accompaniments and is never condescending or preachy. I love the photos of him in his home kitchen because it shows his battered, well-used batterie de cuisine instead of staged perfection. This is real-life cooking chock full of ideas, hints and accomplished wisdom.

Edit: re-reading all the comments, I noticed that I missed the request for step-by-step photos of the process. 12Recipes, while it does have photos, does not have the requested step-by-step photos. If this is a deal-breaker, I fear you will have to skip this extraordinary book. That would be the sole down side to 12 Recipes. All in all, I still recommend it very highly.

Feb 21, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

Seeking durable kitchen pot holders, the kind you can use for really hot pots and pans

OP here. I ordered both the Ritz and San Jamar potholders. Ritz have not yet arrived but the Crew Ware (the San Jamar label) did. Nothing would do but that I cook an oven dinner. 450 degree oven, roasted a couple of chickens and am very pleased to report that these pot holders are great! A tag attached to the P H states " protection up to 500 F, intermittent heat resistance".

I called the Webstruant live chat line to inquire about the meaning of "intermittent heat resistance" since it raised flags for me. Explanation = up to 30 seconds of heat resistance, may be longer.

I carried the hot chicken roasting pan for over two minutes as test and am very happy that I never felt even 'warm'. A friend was here cooking with me and we agreed that these are a keeper. Next test includes a pizza steel that normally heats for an hour at 550 degrees. I am hopeful.

Meanwhile, my thanks to all for your productive advice. I appreciate that you took the time to respond.

Edit: I should state that these P Hs come in brown, no other color available. If a color-coordinated kitchen is important, you will have to make another choice. Chocolate brown is it.

Feb 21, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

Seeking durable kitchen pot holders, the kind you can use for really hot pots and pans

I had never heard of webrestaurant store and am delighted to have this resource. I ordered the 12 pack because they state 500 degrees VS the usual 200-300 degree level. The shipping is $$$ but it still works out well. Thanks for the info and new shop.

Feb 17, 2015
Sherri in Cookware