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Low carb pancakes, outstanding!

There's zero baking powder in this recipe so that wasn't the culprit. They weren't 'bad' simply flavorless. I'll try the addition of vanilla next time around. After reading all the rave reviews, we were disappointed with these that's all, but it won't stop us from trying.

about 1 hour ago
Sherri in Special Diets

Low carb pancakes, outstanding!

I followed the printed recipe to a "T". They were handsome but tasted like eating sponge. In other words, there was no "there" there. They were saved by some fresh buttery strawberry sauce I'd made, but neither of us cared much for these. What's the secret to making the pancakes garnering all the raves?

Apr 17, 2014
Sherri in Special Diets

I'm sorry you don't like what I ordered, but keep your thoughts to yourself

This is the textbook example for "Don't yuck my yum". "Roz" needs to learn enough good manners to keep her opinion to herself. Who is she to determine what someone else wants to eat?

There is a very fine line among good friends between speaking one's mind and being frankly rude. Making people uncomfortable is the opposite of what good friends ought to be doing. In the future, "Roz" can order her seared tuna salad and pipe down about anyone else's choices. Truly, it is none of her business.

Apr 15, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food
7

Do you ever contact the manufacturer?

Many more years ago than I care to count, I spent a year in France as a student. I was terribly homesick, yearning for a taste of America (in the land of wonderful food!). A fellow student gave me a Mars candy bar and I cried. Instead of high-end chocolates, this tasted like heaven to me. I wrote to the Mars Candy Co telling them of this magical experience and what "a taste of home" meant to me. Not too long afterward, a huge box arrived on our doorstep. Yep. Boxes and boxes of candy bars from Mars with a lovely letter accompanying. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Mars and can still get misty thinking about how much this meant to me. That single positive customer service experience made me a believer in sending "attaboy" letters to companies when they have done something noteworthy.

Apr 14, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food
6

Food Network Magazine. Misspelled Item on Cover---Really?

I am quietly thrilled that someone is bothered by misspellings. From time to time, I have mentioned misspellings on CH and been soundly castigated by the "spelling doesn't matter since you can understand the content" crowd. Bravo to those who still believe literacy is important.

Apr 12, 2014
Sherri in Food Media & News
17

Cooking When You are Poor

When my cooking has "the blahs" I try to cook peasant dishes from different parts of the world. Usually, they're flavorful, budget-friendly and healthy. Taking a culinary trip around the globe has eliminated many boring meals from this household.

Edit: As you have hear from previous posters, the American diet is meat-centric. As a starting point, think of grain-legume combinations and add seasonings and vegetables from different countries to begin your journey. Many years ago, ACF began a program titled "Re-thinking the center of the plate", designed to reduce meat servings. Use this as guideline, coupled with your culinary journey. Reading "Hungry Planet" may be an eye-opener as well.

You have already received many great suggestions, let us hear what you are doing with these ideas.

Mar 31, 2014
Sherri in General Topics
2

What to make and/or have on hand for out of town guests?

Terribly true I'm afraid. It did hurt my CH sensitivities but she was very pleased to have it available. As a performer, she felt the need for quick energy and this was her item of choice. Easy to accomodate but not anything I would have *ever* thought of to have for a guest. So far, she's our only liver lover guest.
No, I could not bring myself to taste those slabs o'liver. A good (cold) pate - certainly, but not these babies.

Mar 31, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking
1

What to make and/or have on hand for out of town guests?

I have kept a "Guest Likes and Dislikes" list for as long as I can remember. We have frequent houseguests, some with allergies and others with marked preferences. For me, it is simple to check my list for "likes" and they range all over the board. One guest liked to have cold, sliced liver on hand for snacking at all hours and this is something I would have never have thought to stock! It was simple to accomodate her request, especially since there is a fridge in the small kitchenette for guests. Another wanted specific energy bars and cold apples available. We always have butter, English muffins & bagels with jams, cheese, fruit and meats in their fridge for snacks. Coffee, teas, waters, soda, wine and beers are also stocked.

Downstairs, I try to have a soup of some kind in the main fridge as well as a quick throw-together meal if they arrive ravenous. There are always several varieties of nuts, different fruits, crackers and 'snacky' foods available. Most of our guests try to be accomodating and tell me they "eat everything". Many years of experience has taught me that *nobody* eats everything. There will be some hated food, likely the one I have chose for the first dinner at home. I hit the trifecta early on with a very amenable guest who told me she eats everything. Everything, that is, but what was on our dinner table that night -- ham (no, thank you), mac 'n cheese (I don't eat cheese) and a cheesecake for dessert that was the only dessert she disliked.

Today, as our friends age, I have found that most everyone is on some sort of restricted regime - low-carb, low-fat, etc. Knowing in advance what your guests will eat is a huge bonus. It would be sad to make blueberry bread for a low-carb guest. Just ask. It is always enlightening to learn what they like to eat for breakfast *before* the breakfast happens. If they like very strong de-caf coffee, nothing is easier than buying it in advance but really tough to tap dance at the moment without.

Mar 27, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking
1

Coping With Cancer, Chemo, Radiation & Food Changes

I found that when cooking for two family members undergoing chemo that it was most important to listen to them. Likes and dislikes changed often; there is no 'one size fits all' answer to what to eat during cancer treatments.

For each of them, at some point, they said meat tasted like metal so I did not serve meat during those times. When soft textures were desired, richly buttered pureed potatoes mixed with carrots were a big hit.
Applesauce, with or without cinnamon [this changed as well] worked nicely.
Sometimes icy cold food was the best while other times, it was warm food.
Neither ever wanted spicy because of painful mouth sores so anything even mildly acidic was nixed as well.
One wanted very small portions frequently while the other ate somewhat 'normal' sized portions.
As I recall, bland food was the most widely tolerated. Small pasta shapes (orzo and the like) or rice were popular. When times were pretty good, these could be flavored with a cheese sauce or, when times were more rocky, they worked well almost plain.
Custards were a hit as well. They could be either sweet or savory and varied from traditional vanilla to a mild garlic with a red bell pepper puree (the puree worked very well once - lots of lip-smacking appreciation - and was never requested again).

Generally, thinking about or talking about F-O-O-D was not popular. Like I stated at the beginning of this post, listen to the patient and proceed with love and patience.

Mar 24, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking
1

Raising a non-picky eater

On the 'plus' side, Sra. Swanky, you won't have to turn to white collar crime to feed your young'uns if they eschew expensive foods while they're young. Instead of the afore-mentioned mussels and grilled salmon (or my boys' favorite - artichokes stuffed with crabmeat), you can happily feed them roast chicken, spinach and other less costly dishes. Good eaters will experiment soon enough. When they're in their teens, they can eat their own weight daily. Tough on the wallet if the foods-of-choice are pricey.

Mar 20, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food
1

anyone have a pot filler?

Mine is to the (far) right of a 48" cooktop. It reaches three of the four right side burners. The griddle and left side two burners are without water, although I have been known to slide water around.

Mar 19, 2014
Sherri in Cookware

anyone have a pot filler?

I love mine. It's been 11 years since we built this house and I use the potfill daily. Naysayers will point out the possibility for leaks - but our water heater can leak and I don't want to go without hot water. Also, yes the water-filled pots do need to be emptied but with a potfill heavy lifting is reduced by half.

A potfill is a lovely luxury and something I would hate to be without.
NB: we have 'soft' water throughout the house but I made certain this spigot is 'regular' water. I use it to water house plants as well as the innumerable cooking chores. Until I had this, I never realized how often I needed/wanted just a little bit of water. Now, a simple turn of the handle and I'm set.

Ours is installed a bit higher than your 14" so my large stockpot fits. We also have a shelf above the cooktop, the potfill fits underneath it perfectly. Lovelovelove the potfill!

Mar 19, 2014
Sherri in Cookware

Please suggest a wedding gift

Do you want a traditional wedding gift or something more suited to the couple's interests?

Is this couple registered anywhere? Can you ask them what they would like?

Approx how much do you want to spend?

Mar 13, 2014
Sherri in Cookware
1

Using up an obscene amount of eggs - help!

Could you donate some of these eggs to a local food program, such as a shelter or church group, feeding the hungry? Many areas have a branch of St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army who run kitchens.

Mar 13, 2014
Sherri in Home Cooking
3

NW, out by Luke AFB

If Surprise isn't too far for you, Amuse Bouche is a find. It is in a strip mall, BYOB and not very large. Having said that, the cooking is the best I have found in the chain-heavy West Valley. I don't think it will intimidate your in-laws and will likely make you happy.

Mar 10, 2014
Sherri in Phoenix

Surviving a kitchen renovation (without gaining a hundred lbs and/or losing your mind)

To continue, knowing what you have available before you begin is a great help. Fridge? With this, you won't need to deal with the mess of a cooler. Even if it's in your bedroom/bathroom/library, it will be a 'plus'.
Cooking gear -- assess what you normally do and try to think of a small appliance that can do this job. I used our BBQ grill, an electric skillet, toaster oven and a small gas cassette. The fewer pans needed the better since your washing-up facilities will likely be makeshift. Bending over a bathtub with a greasy pan loses its allure quickly. I quickly learned that a one-pot-wonder was much easier than trying to make a salad and sandwiches. The S&S required much too much prep space and utensils to make it a good solution, even though it is easy to accomplish in a 'regular' kitchen.

Paper is your new best friend. Paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, etc do not require cleanup. My sons decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches using the iron and foil-wrapped bread & cheese. They were a hit. Looking on this as an adventure - keeping the end prize in sight - can make or break the project. Do plan that it will cost more and take longer than you expect.

Don't overlook the benefits of feeding your construction crew. They will reward your thoughtfulness many times over.

Mar 07, 2014
Sherri in Cookware

Surviving a kitchen renovation (without gaining a hundred lbs and/or losing your mind)

I've been through a couple of kitchen renos ....... the more planning - realistic planning - you do, the better you will fare. Find your simple "go-to" foods and make them star. Using pre-prepped ingredients will be a help. Often, I used a salad bar for already cut vegetables when my work space was particularly filthy.

If you can plan a space far away from the mess, you will be much better off. I'd thought to use the garage but in the desert in the summer, it was uninhabitable. Of course we did a lot of grilling, but that will not be the total solution for the OP.

More later, I need to be somewhere five minutes ago.

Mar 06, 2014
Sherri in Cookware

Chest Freezer organisation?

Many years ago, when I had a chest freezer, we did some of the things other posters have listed:

identified the food when pagkaging it

made lists of what was in there

used segregated storage to keep a meat area, etc

Yes, we did use milk crates too

but most importantly, we had a strict FILO system [first in, last out].

Today I have two large upright freezers but I recall the chest freezer fondly simply because it was such a PITA. It was silly happy to get it since it was so much better than the itty-bitty freezer unit that came attached to the fridge.

To sum it all up - try to be as organized as possible so you will know what is in there. You do say that it is a small chest freezer, so you're not likely to store a huge amount.

Mar 06, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food
1

crockpot insert used in oven?

What is the material used for the lid handle? I have used my crockpot covered with foil in the oven - 300 degrees if I remember correctly but I shied away from using the glass lid because of some plastic on it.

Mar 06, 2014
Sherri in Cookware

Follow-up to the thread on catering to in-laws' Midwestern tastes (boy, did I open a can of worms!!!)

My lovely southern grandmother taught me "never get into a pissing contest with a skunk" and it has been a great piece of advice throughout the years.

Mar 04, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food
19

microplane, i need a good one. please advise.

Microplane is a tool originally used by woodworkers. I stole my first one from my husband's workbench many years ago. I buy them at hardware stores (VS kitchen emporiums) since they are much less expensive.

Mar 04, 2014
Sherri in Cookware

Catering to relatives who don't want "exotic" food

Question to the OP -- how old is this child? I think many of us would feel differently about the family celebration for a 6 year old VS a 16 year old.

Dave Barry's Laws of Life, #11 -- "There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven."

Mar 04, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

Best food to cook in a cast iron pan

BACON and lots of it to assist in seasoning your new CI skillet. You will want to rinse it with hot water after cooking and dry it on a cooktop burner, no need to wipe it dry. Using it for fatty foods at the beginning of its life will make a difference in its lifelong ability to resist sticking.

I know there are people who scramble their eggs in a CI pan but I'm not one of them.

Once the pan is nicely seasoned, you will find that it cooks/bakes/broils very well and may become your go-to choice.

Mar 03, 2014
Sherri in Cookware

I HATE My Kitchenaide Mixer! Here's Why

As much as it pains me to reveal this, I actually read the manual/ booklet for my new Kitchenaid stand mixer. It describes a small screw that will change the height of the beater to reach the un-mixed areas. I don't know about your model, but a glance at the accompanying literature could provide the help you need.

I do mix and scrape simultaneously. Position the plastic scraper at the wall and be careful not to angle it into the mixer. Have been doing this forever.

You may get used to the single beater and come to love it, especially with heavy mixtures which can bog the hand held mixers.

The mixture won't fly everywhere if you reduce the speed when you slowly add liquid, then amp it back to where you were.

My previous Kitchenaid was made in the 30s and only [prematurely] replaced this Christmas by The Big Boy 7 qt Pro Line.

Mar 02, 2014
Sherri in Cookware
5

The Island In Your Kitchen

CindyJ, we did build from scratch so were able to direct our space. I've moved around/lived in a lot of houses on both coasts and learned from experience what works for me and what does not. The closed off dining room just did not make the cut. I have had them and chose not to go that route in this wide open, western ranch-ish house. We do have lots of room, most of it open.

Feb 28, 2014
Sherri in General Topics

The Island In Your Kitchen

We have a large round table in the open, great room area that we often use for guests, it can open to seat 10 comfortably, more if we squeeze. There is another good-sized table in the library where my husband and I eat most of our lunches. It too will expand. The peninsula is primarily used for breakfasts and when we have casual guests. Lastly, since we live outside of Phoenix, we have patio dining for much of the year. Lunches and dinners are often eaten there when the weather is nice. We don't actually have a 'primary dining area' but eat where the spirit moves us to be. My husband is burdened with a wife who will move furniture at the drop of a hat so nothing stays put for long. If I feel like eating by the fireplace, that will be our dinner spot tonight.

Feb 28, 2014
Sherri in General Topics

Bad names

' "Bottom of the Barrel" is, by definition, the lowest in quality.'

grampart, in the Food History world, there is a slightly more mundane definition. From Medieval times forward, 'bottom of the barrel' referred to barrel-preserved pork [among other food products] and simply meant that you were almost at the end of your supply. 'Scraping the bottom of the barrel' is another way of saying this same thing. Pigs not worth feeding through the winter were slaughtered after the first freeze of autumn and preserved for winter eating when fresh food was scarce. By winter's end, supplies often were running low, hence the phrases. Today, the phrase has lost some of its original meaning since very few of us depend on preserved food for sustenence through a rough winter.

Feb 28, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

The Island In Your Kitchen

I'm in the "Yea Island" camp; adios to trends or kitchen designers/decorators who say otherwise. Think of this as a critique of hemlines - one year they're low and the next they're high ... and yep, they're still there, just different from time to time. Islands would not have withstood the 'test of time;' if they were not utilitarian. I have both a peninsula and a large island (with sink). We entertain frequently and use each of these extensively.
NB: we deliberately did not build a dining room in this house; lots of history negating this as a viable choice for us.
What should be 'officially passe' are so-called authorities declaring how others should live.

Feb 27, 2014
Sherri in General Topics

Question for the ages

A paper bag or one of my own. Our garage is at street level and the main house is below this level, I need the milk to be stabalized for the trip down. Alone, a gallon of milk is vulnerable to tipping, in a bag it is more secure.

Feb 24, 2014
Sherri in Not About Food

What pot to use for braising for 1 or 2 people?

There are just two of us here for most day-to-day meals. I have a lot of LC, from a 2C oldie to the monster goose pot. Unless I am determined to make something for a single meal, I don't often use the 3.5 LC, preferring the 5 qt. But your question is not how I cook so I will ask one of my own -- are you braising small pieces or whole cuts? EX: 2 pounds of beef stew meat can be braised in a smaller pot than a solid piece of 2 pound beef roast. I could brown a couple of chicken thighs in the 3.5 but not the 1.5 qt (unless I did them in stages, which seems like a giant waste of time/energy/etc). What are you cooking in the 3.5 that you might rather cook in the 1.5?

NB: since braising takes a bit of time, I don't see the reward in making very small amounts.

Feb 24, 2014
Sherri in Cookware