Sherri's Profile

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Five Days in Phoenix

Price point?
Where are you staying?
Can you give us a few more specifics, please?

Dec 01, 2014
Sherri in Phoenix

Niman Ranch chicken- is it really better?

Does your store stock Rocky brand chickens? If so, give them a try - they're *real* chickens.

Nov 18, 2014
Sherri in General Topics

housewarming gift?rude

Your post reminded me of a wonderful gift I received as a bride, first apt together, etc. a wise friend gave me rags saying "New brides never have rags; sterling flatware but no rags!" She was so right! She also gifted us with supper in completely disposable containers so no returns were necessary -- fried chicken in a shoe box and potato salad in a coffee can.

I think your idea of practical gifts is brilliant!

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists

" ... when it comes to online arguments it's not about winning the argument (because that doesn't happen, ever) but simply being a voice in opposition, and with luck inspiring others to find their voices as well. Otherwise cowards find strength in numbers, and the Internet turns into Topix."
Keep it up, ennuisans. See below.

Edmund Burke, (d.1797)
"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Sep 22, 2014
Sherri in Food Media & News

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

Edited to add -- re: Bar Mitzvah costs = one year of college tuition

Dear God! Whose "rule of thumb"? That sounds outrageous for a thirteen year old child.

Sep 22, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

"My daughter even hates asking at restaurants if something has nuts in it."

Chowser, please tell your daughter about nut-based liqueurs as well. Unwittingly, I served an Amaretto-laden fruit dish to someone with a nut allergy. Out came the epi pen! The ensuing drama would not have happened if I had known about the tree nut allergy.

Sep 18, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Make-ahead appetizers / snacks to be served at room temp for 25, including vegetarians

I saw this recipe this morning and tucked it away for one of the many times that I am called upon for this same type of make-ahead, no-refrigeration, serve-it-now business. It's a savoury take on Monkey Bread that certainly could be made without the pepperoni for the vegetarians.

Sep 18, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking

Party Early Birds

Ahhh, the old my-priorties-are-more-important-than-yours sthick. It's contagious since there seems to be a lot of it going around. Too bad there's no vaccine for the selfish/self-centered yet ...

Sep 18, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Party Early Birds

Yearly, we are invited to a Christmas Open House hosted by a husband-wife local business team. Hours are stated on the invitation. Since it is an Open House, we are usually at least an hour later than the first time stated. Last year, for any number of reasons, we arrived just a bit after the stated hour and the entire facility was full! I was astounded that about four hundred people could arrive simultaneously and have already homesteaded tables and chairs.

Nope. Our hosts explained that the 'early birds' began arriving about 1.5 hours before the invitation time. Since it is a business party, they grinned and did the best they could while caterers maneouvred around milling guests who rudely began piling plates from the incomplete buffet.

This coming year, the hosts will keep the doors closed (locked) and include some wording on the mailed invitations to indicate that entry will not be before the stated hour.

To me, this early arrival behavior is the height of rudeness and I cannot comprehend it. As host, I would have thrown in the towel long ago, deciding that these free-loaders deserve neither my time, nor my food and drink, nor my continued hospitality.

I commend you on your patience and goodwill. Definately, you are a kinder person than I am, grrrrr. Makes my teeth grind just thinking about your situation.

Edit: Can you possibly change the location? Hire a 'bouncer' to keep the gate secure? Mention that invitations must be shown to verify the guest list? Having a non-family member, i.e. hired person, be the bad guy is the best solution while setting up, you and your family need to be out of sight.

Sep 16, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Never have I been so baffled: Mama's House of Horrors


Kater, I am also in the 'whatthehell' camp re: Mama's Fish House as you can see from the above-referenced post. I have another one that predates this 2006 post but cannot access it on CH, likely it is too old. Neither is at all complimentary. I was roundly trounced, called a cheapskate and other names indicating that I must have grown up without indoor plumbing and wouldn't know a decent meal if it bit me. I simply do not understand the love. Will leave Mama's to all her fans and they are legion.
Aside - Do you suppose they are embarrassed at spending a large wad of money for a mediocre meal and feel they must chime in to justify it? Shades of The Emperor's New Clothes ...

Edit: We also experienced 'overcooked fish' among other banal items. Much ado about nothing (excepting a very pretty beach location). I had honestly hoped that someone at Mama's was reading the reviews and might have done something about the negatives. From your post, that does not sound like it happened.

Sep 16, 2014
Sherri in Hawaii

The Wedding Won't Go On Without Your Help!!!! [Tucson]

No, Lisa, it doesn't sound wierd at all. I am a great believer in the 'mother gut' feelings. You may be surprised to find the Inn smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood AND it is a bright pink color (that many find odd). Somehow, it looks 'just right' here. If you google the location, you will find that it is not far from Stillhouse. Please let us know how your plans proceed.

Sep 15, 2014
Sherri in Southwest

The Wedding Won't Go On Without Your Help!!!! [Tucson]

You're most welcome, Lisa. October is a lovely time to visit. If you have the opportunity, have a drink
edit: tea would be appropriate! in the library at the Arizona Inn when you're touring. It will set the tone for your visit. If you're in Phoenix, do try to visit The Royal Palms as well. Both are les grandes dames of our state. I wish you all the best for this wedding - your son and future DIL are lucky to have you in their corner.

Sep 15, 2014
Sherri in Southwest

The Wedding Won't Go On Without Your Help!!!! [Tucson]

Lisa, one of the lovely things about old Arizona are some of the traditional buildings. Yes, I know people in 'old' sections of the USA will scoff at 'old' being defined as 1930s, but Arizona became a state in 1912 so this is pretty early in our history. The Arizona Inn, like another favorite of mine in Phoenix, The Royal Palms, has a calm feeling of belonging to another era with the accompanying grace and gentility. If you were looking for a glitz/chic vibe, this would be the last place I would recommend. But for 'old Arizona' it is perfect. Perhaps the grandparents of your future DIL could ease your mind about choices in Tucson.

As an aside, I only have sons. My eldest married out of town/state and I was more comfortable with the venue than the mother of the bride so 'did' the entire wedding. I do understand that it is difficult to host a celebratory event outside your own geography. I wish you the very best of luck on this momentous undertaking.

Sep 15, 2014
Sherri in Southwest

Artichoke hearts packed in water - how to store?

A couple of thoughts and questions ...
Questions first -
Are you storing just the single opened jar of water-packed artichoke hearts?
Have you given thought to their future use?
Use an olive oil-vinegar (or lemon juice) marinade and leave them in the fridge?
Drain them very well, saute in olive oil and freeze this way
I think plain, water-packed artichoke hearts will have an unpleasant (collapsed) texture upon thawing.

Likely, I would not try the freezer unless I planned to use them in a manner that appearance/consistency did not matter. Pureed artichoke heart and green chile soup comes to mind immediately, followed by a devilled artichoke-eggy-cream cheese appetizer baked in individual ramekins.

How long do you want to store these? I should have asked this question first.

Sep 14, 2014
Sherri in General Topics

What happens if you freeze raw kale?

I should have read your post before answering! This has been a great kitchen truc and I've used it for years. Many people think it's nuts, but ... their loss.

Sep 14, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking

The Wedding Won't Go On Without Your Help!!!! [Tucson]

Although I don't live in Tucson - I'm outside of the Phoenix AZ area - I have spent time in Tucson. Have you considered The Arizona Inn? It is a small hotel, dating from the 1930s, with lovely grounds and the "old Tucson" feel that you are seeking. I've organized more than one even at The Inn and found them to be very accomodating and helpful.

Sep 14, 2014
Sherri in Southwest

What happens if you freeze raw kale?

itryalot, I *deliberately* freeze raw kale to hasten the cooking time. Yes, the cell walls break down and that is a positive for me. When I return from market, I put the kale in ziploc bags, straight into the -5 degree freezer. I have never dealt with any slimy black mess. Zipping out the stems is a breeze and the kale can be crumbled, with ease, directly into the pot or pan. Usually, I quick-cook this but have also used it in soup, etc.

Sep 14, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking

Iron Rich Recipes

Spaghetti Caruso - sauteed chicken livers and mushrooms in a Marsala enriched tomato sauce ( made in your C I skillet) -- my husband's favorite food memory from Milan.

Sep 12, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking

Grilled prosciutto wrapped Romaine - guidance please

Are you auditioning for new neighbors? Put my name in the hat, please.
I like to grill romaine halves, leaving the bottom stem/core intact. Yes, remove some of the outer leaves. Brush the cut side with a generous amount of olive oil and wrap with the prosciutto. Toothpick it to keep in place. Yes, they'll burn but no big deal. Build a nice hot fire on one side and grill on indirect heat. I like the prosciutto to crisp but not burn so watch carefully.
I suppose you could grill one side first but I'm having trouble with the olive oil flare-up problem ...

Edit: forgot to mention that some shaved Pecorino Romano shoved/tucked in between the lettuce leaves is pretty tasty also. Do this before wrapping the romaine with the prosciutto.

Sep 11, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

What I gather from this is that the OP wishes to have the bride accomodate her current diet du jour. With this information, I must wonder what happens if the OP adopts different dietary restrictions between now and the wedding date ...

I stand by my earlier thoughts:
attend the wedding and skip the reception
OR attend both and be a good, undemanding, guest
OR write a polite note declining the invitation entirely.

I appreciate your sleuthing, GG. Thanks for clearing the mystery that the OP seems unwilling to do.

Looking for ideas for a Sunday Supper for 30

OP here, two days after a wildly successful Sunday supper, to thank everyone for their thoughts/ideas/suggestions. As I mentioned earlier, I have printed this post for future reference since we will do this again (and again and again!)Thanks to everyone for giving me your expertise. Lots of great ideas here.
My husband loved the original Taco Bar idea and once I got in the swing, I decided to follow that thought with his smiling agreement.

All the original constraints applied with an added timing glitch that had the music running an hour over projected time. Thank goodness everything was "wait-friendly". Cold items were ziploc-ed in the fridge and four crockpots held hot food with three types of tortillas foil-wrapped, waiting in the warming drawer.

A vegetarian-friendly filling of summer squashes, mushrooms, fresh corn and roasted chiles was a surprise hit. The two meat selections -- beer-braised shredded shortribs and pulled pork were close behind. The beans, made veg-friendly with no meat but some liquid smoke, were wonderful (if I may say so). Rancho Gordo is always reliable and their beans are marvelous.

Toppings include: a tangy/creamy Mexican crema, four different cheeses: cotija, queso fresco, Monterey Jack (a nod to the gringos) and ???, six salsa choices from mild to fiery - signs and tasting spoons available to ease the choice, marinated red onions, fresh roasted Hatch chile slices, radishes & limes, Baja cabbage slaw and shredded romaine, rajas con crema (my personal favorite), shredded cilantro, guacamole (lots and lots of guacamole!) and others which escape my memory right now.

The margarita shooters as a part of the dessert buffet were another hit. Everyone expects cake/cookies/fruit but hardly anyone expects gelled booze. Another "Do Again".

Really careful organization and planning made this event a party for me too. There were no last minute cooking chores and everything was ready to serve in about 7 minutes. We served *lots* of beer and wine - our recycle bin testifies to that!

Thanks again to you-all for wonderful inspiration. It should be noted that I used the Low Country Boil idea (modified, of course) for a celebratory dinner honoring a brand newly minted PhD friend. In addition to the potatoes, corn, shrimp and kielbasa, I added quartered onions, mussels and clams to the pot with two large platters of ribs and chicken. Although I made a salad, it was overkill as we ignored it completely in favor of dipping our treats in a lot of very messy garlic butter. Great dinner but would not have suited for 30 in my quarters. Thank you-all again. CH rocks!

Recipes for better beans

All of the above ingredients plus some dashes of liquid smoke to mimic the (absent) ham hocks or smoked turkey.

Sep 08, 2014
Sherri in Vegetarian & Vegan

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette


After more than 60 responses, has anyone noticed that there has not been any activity from the OP, even though there have been questions.
Specifically, I asked if the dairy/wheat avoidance is a true allergy or personal preference. There is a world of difference between the two.
Lots of CH input here but zero from the OP.

Edit: many of the posters suggest contacting the caterer or facility re: dietary accomodations. I would like to suggest that not all wedding locations are equipped to handle menu changes. It pre-supposes a large, restaurant-style operation. Many lovely venues are not set up with commercial kitchens so the caterers bring pre-prepared food. Making changes is not feasible. A wedding reception is a personal choice of the bride and groom, it was never designed to be all things to all guests.

Luciaannek, are you there?

Sep 05, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

"I am going to ask the menu and suggest a solution."

Suggesting a solution means that there is an existing problem. In this case, there is no problem at all. You are creating one and it is unnecessary. If you have a true allergy to wheat and dairy, you already have experience about choosing foods that will work for you. If this is not an allergy but a preference, you have burdened the couple with making your dietary choices their problem. That's not nice guest behavior, at least here in the USA.

Edit: Having attended dozens of weddings - in the US and abroad - I have *never* seen any mention of dietary preferences/allergies/etc. I don't believe that geography has anything to do with this. It simply is not standard behavior.

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

"I'm really just not sure what to do here."

You have several choices:
1. Attend the wedding and decline the invitation for the reception.
2. Attend both the wedding ceremony and the reception. Act like a lovely guest, compliment when appropriate, find something charming to say to/about the wedding couple and eat what you can.
3. Decline the invitation with a polite social lie (since you state that you do not know the bride very well, this is a very acceptable solution).

Expecting your personal dietary restrictions to be accomodated is ludicrous - Expectation Management 101. This is not your wedding nor is it a public restaurant. Quietly leave when you're hungry.

PS - if you've catered weddings, as you state, you already know that a guest bringing their own food is completely out of bounds. They might as well use their cell phone to ring for pizza delivery!

Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt

Smiley, please repeat after me "JANE'S KRAZY MIXED UP SALT". Do this as many times as necessary until you cease defaming poor Jane.

Sep 03, 2014
Sherri in General Topics

Removing already "set" cooking oil stains?

Zout + Dawn scrubbed in with an old toothbrush works for me. If it's truly nasty, do this ahead of the regular laundry cycle. Wash as usual.

Sep 01, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Why oh why did you not use my host(ess) gift at your dinner party?

Look up the def. for Passive-Agressive behavior. I'll bet you find the gift-giver's picture there.

Aug 28, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Motel / Buffet Scrambled eggs

c.oliver - I am embarrassed to admit this but ... using those same HB eggs + some mayo, mustard & pickle relish (usually purloined from another buffet)and a ziploc baggie makes a great (free) lunch sandwich (especially if you use the breakfast bread). Squashing the eggs et al was my sons' favorite car activity and the resulting 'egg salad' was more than passable for a roadside picnic.

Aug 28, 2014
Sherri in General Topics

Liquid Diet Help!

"Preparing for a real dietary challenge"

Nov 23, 2013 by jujuthomas in Special Diets

To the OP - if you can forgive my inept transfer of CH information (I don't know how to give you the easy link), the post referenced above will have a lot of great information for you. The original poster, jujuthomas, was facing about six weeks of having a jaw wired shut. Good luck on your recovery.

Aug 27, 2014
Sherri in Special Diets