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Isolda's Profile

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Giada says Italians like to use breadcrumbs instead of parmesan. Recipe examples?

I'm not Italian, nor a food historian (though I do have a history degree and love food history!), but many of the medieval recipes I have seen use bread crumbs as a thickener for stews and sauces. And some of those recipes originated in Italy. One in particular calls for bread crumbs to be boiled in honey, with ground ginger and black pepper. These can then be rolled into balls and served as a sweet, or used to thicken and flavor meat stews.

Bread crumbs not only used up stale bread, but they also made a substitute for dairy ingredients, which weren't allowed during some of the Catholic church's innumerable and required fast days. From what I can gather, Lent in the Middle Ages absolutely sucked.

Jul 18, 2014
Isolda in General Topics

"I Don't Cook"

I cannot imagine not ever cooking, although I know a handful of people who live on hummus, veggies, and take-out meals. There are nights when I'm too tired to cook and will go out or order take-out, but there are just as many nights when I am the only one eating dinner and will cook an entire meal for myself, with leftovers for the rest of the family.

Jul 18, 2014
Isolda in General Topics
1

Just a little bit more - oops

I did this 2 nights ago with a rice and lamb dish. I didn't scrape, but the entire dish was slightly bitter from contact with the burnt rice layer. (If the dish had been oilier, I might have ended up with a tahdig instead of just burnt rice!)

Jul 18, 2014
Isolda in General Topics

Gluten?

If it's a Chinese recipe, it's probably canned wheat gluten. If it's a bread recipe, it's vital wheat gluten, which is available at many supermarkets.

Jul 18, 2014
Isolda in General Topics
1

Food additives that wreck the taste of food

Could it be natamycin? This is a mold retardant they add to lots of shredded or crumbled cheeses.

Jun 26, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Food additives that wreck the taste of food

I don't know if I've had yogurt with fish oil, but that doesn't sound good to me! And yes, I try to buy organic or local meats because of the texture of the mass-produced stuff.

Jun 25, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

What does "eating healthy" mean anymore?

To me, it means not eating anything that isn't delicious and stopping when I'm full.

Jun 25, 2014
Isolda in General Topics

Food additives that wreck the taste of food

This isn't a rant against chemicals in my food. It's more about food additives (both natural and artificial) that taste so bad they render the food inedible or the beverage undrinkable.

Potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are so bitter they burn my mouth. What the hell are these things and why are they in sodas, bottled tea drinks and some juice drinks? Can't they just leave them out? Trader Joe's sweet tea doesn't use these things and it tastes delicious. Why can't other bottled tea makers follow suit?

Guar gum. Yes, this is a natural substance, but it really doesn't taste very good. I go out of my way to find cream cheese that uses mostly locust bean gum instead.

Natural butter flavor. This gives a nasty, cloying caramel taste that ruins otherwise good boxed cookies.

Any others that ruin processed foods for you? (And no, I don't eat that many processed things, but sometimes, they're unavoidable!)

Jun 25, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Chicken stock - here's what I have; what now?

Here's more advice to confuse you. I detest the flavor of onion that hasn't been sweated in a little oil before using to make stock, so I always do that first. I also brown the carcasses before adding the water, but you don't have to do this. It just adds a nice flavor if you do.

After that, cover the carcasses and veggies with water (don't add any fresh herbs at this point), toss in some salt and simmer, skimming the foam off for the first 1/2 hour of simmering. Then keep simmering until it tastes like chicken stock. Don't add water or it will dilute the flavor. You can always do this later depending on how you want to use the stock.

Jun 22, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Am I right to refuse a fractured pint glass?

Because only blue hairs wear lipstick.

May 25, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

The Downside of Sharing Recipes...

It's mainly baking recipes that become a problem, in my experience. I'll share a recipe with someone who isn't really a baker and who thinks that baking is magic, rather than chemistry. This thinking is the problem.

With magic, you can throw in anything, use any technique, and have it come out well. With chemistry, you have to follow the damn recipe!

May 19, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
2

Anyone else disgusted with dogs in restaurants?

Doesn't bother me one whit.

May 19, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Need a vegan tea party sandwich for a crowd

Thanks for these great suggestions. I've been experimenting and made a white bean-basil-olive oil-garlic puree that I spread on a tortilla (no dairy), then rolled up and cut into pinwheels. My testers loved these, but preferred the somewhat more complicated edamame pate I came up with (inspired by some of your suggestions.) While I love avocados, they're pricey here and it's not always easy to find as many ripe ones as I would need all at once.

May 19, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Need a vegan tea party sandwich for a crowd

Will do. Thanks!

May 17, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Need a vegan tea party sandwich for a crowd

Thank you!

May 17, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Need a vegan tea party sandwich for a crowd

I'm doing a tea for 170 people (high school seniors and family members). It's a school tradition, so it has to be nice. My menu was set, but I found out that a few families are vegan, and I only had two vegan items. Someone is ordering vegan pastries, but I need a savory sandwich.

It needs to be a finger sandwich, not too messy, and nut-free. All food is plated and placed on tiered plate holders on each table.

The menu items, including the non-vegan things, are:
Fruit skewers (back by request)
Arugula, hummus and carrot pinwheels
Cucumber, dill and cream cheese triangles
Curried chicken salad sandwiches
Whatever vegan pastries the volunteer brings
Nick's Supernatural brownies
Cheesecake bars
Phyllo tarts with lemon curd and mini-meringues
Scones with jam and clotted cream

May 17, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

How to ask guest to pay for meal/drinks at dinner?

I think I'd just say on the evite that the party will include soda, iced tea, and crawfish. Period. Then, the people who want beer or shrimp instead will contact you individually to ask about these items and you can tell them your plan then.

But I think it's more polite to just pay for the whole thing, and maybe scale down the guest list. I just don't think it's ever right to make an invited guest pay.

May 17, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
3

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity does NOT exist.

I agree, but my point is that people who think they have an allergy/sensitivity to anything should be getting their advice from a medical professional, not a news article or even us brilliant Chowpeople.

May 16, 2014
Isolda in General Topics
1

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

It's not worth trying to please everyone at the same time. I just make a variety of foods and hope that everyone finds something they can eat.

May 16, 2014
Isolda in General Topics

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity does NOT exist.

I'm sure more research needs to be done, but the one thing I can say for certain is that people who think they are sensitive to gluten should not resume eating it on the advice of a lawyer quoting a study in a business publication.

May 16, 2014
Isolda in General Topics
7

Help!!!! Onion from HELL breath & aftertaste day after eating..................

By now, I assume your onion breath is gone (well, not your breath, just the onion component), but for future reference: whenever you have bad breath that brushing and scraping doesn't cure, then it's in your system and requires a systemic cure.

The most effective treatment I've found is to eat a lot of plain parsley. Even if you love parsley, it's a really unpleasant cure, but it's pretty good at neutralizing the odors of garlic or onions.

My mother once tried to get my dad to eat a pound of parsley after he'd spent a day at the Gilroy Garlic Festival and came home reeking like a burnt tire.

May 16, 2014
Isolda in General Topics

The Last Great Bastion of Racism

I would love to believe that there is a "last great bastion of racism," but I'm afraid racism, like poverty, is going to be with us for a long time.

May 16, 2014
Isolda in Food Media & News
6

Fage Greek yogurt too thick?

I love Greek yogurt, but the only way I can eat it is with a ton of honey in it.

May 10, 2014
Isolda in General Topics

Home Cooking and Marital Discord

And another thing, Rude-y, even though this isn't exactly a chowish bit of advice: Back off on the scheduling thing. Seriously. Kids need down time. Highly scheduled elementary age kids are more likely to grow into teens who need constant stimulation, wherever they can find it. If you can find even one night a week to cook, as well as eat, as a family, your kids will remember this in years to come, and they might learn to enjoy good food as much as you do.

May 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
6

Home Cooking and Marital Discord

I have experienced conflict like this, fortunately not with my husband, who appreciates the time and planning required to make a really good meal.

My family of origin is a different story. My mother eats to live, and that's it, so when we visit, there's often a battle over what restaurant we'll go to (she likes restaurants that have a view, even if the food sucks) or what she'll let me cook in her kitchen. ("oh, just use a store-bought pie crust. no one will know.") It drives me nuts.

I think if I were you, I'd find a few minutes alone, maybe on a date night, and just say something like, "I know food isn't important to you, but it is vital to me. It's both a hobby and a way of feeling alive. I'll respect that you want a spotless house if you'll respect that I really need to be able to make nice meals." Or whatever.

May 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
4

Bringing food/coffee into another shop

This makes me wonder what kind of restaurant serves such bad food that someone would feel compelled to bring her own cardboard cakes? ;)

May 08, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Bringing food/coffee into another shop

And Starbucks' overpriced pastries are often not very good.

May 08, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Bringing food/coffee into another shop

You handled the situation very graciously. As the mother of a very picky eater, I appreciate parents like you!

May 08, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Lactose-Free Cream for Lemon Curd?

I'm lactose intolerant but don't have a problem with butter, since it's mostly fat, rather than whey, which is the part that contains the lactose.

May 08, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

What's the Worst Dish You Ever Made?

I once made an absolutely horrific lima bean and gingersnap casserole from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks. (Remember those? Lots of trendy overpriced 80s ingredients and probably very little testing of the recipes!)

No, I am not kidding.

May 07, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking
3