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gelatin vs creme fraiche for stabilizing whipped cream

I'm using a whipped cream frosting for my buche de noel this year (no flames, please, I like whipped cream better than buttercream.) I usually use gelatin to stabilize the cream but am wondering if crème fraiche would work as well. I need it to hold up for about 24 hours in the fridge.

Anyone done any experiments with this?

1 day ago
Isolda in Home Cooking

What is your opinion on Pampered Chef products?

Some of their stuff is excellent. Some is useless. I went to a PC party that was a fundraiser for my son's school, so I felt obligated to buy a few things. I splurged on the RockCrok cooking pot (basically, a dutch oven that you can put in the freezer, stovetop, broiler and microwave. Even the large one isn't very large, but I'm finding it very useful. It's nonstick, and you can actually cook pasta in the microwave with this thing and have it come out al dente. Gimmicky, but handy.

I also love their garlic press, which is a replacement for one I bought 15 years previously. It does a much better job than my Kuhn Rikon, which makes a mess and leaves a lot of good garlic behind.

I also bought one of those fat mops (looks like a pastry brush made with shiny fiber optic cables). I use it to blot pizzas and suck some of the extra fat from the tops of soups and stews.

I can only vouch for the durability of the garlic press, as I haven't owned the other items long enough to say how long they will last. PC is more about socializing and fundraising, IMO, because I'm sure you could find similar products for less online.

Dec 20, 2014
Isolda in Cookware

Need help Please- Mincemeat cake

That cake sounds delicious, like an easier homemade fruitcake. And I love None Such mincemeat. It is the best one I've tried, probably because it contains actual beef.

And I 've rarely had any problems substituting real butter for shortening in old recipes. The only exception for me seems to be pie dough, which benefits from a little shortening for texture and butter for flavor.

Dec 20, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Is it just me, or is this really utterly ridiculous?

It is possible for both the restaurant to be wrong to have an out of date website and for this guy to be a total jerk. Having an out of date menu is widespread. Maybe it isn't right, but I don't think it's any worse than being so unmerciful.

I really feel for this guy's students. They go a few words over the limit on an assignment, and what does he do? Slap them with a 20 page fine?

Christmas Day Dinner

I know this stuff happens a lot in families, but if you're not enjoying it, you need to speak up and assign duties. It's best not to complain, just to say, "Uncle Harry I'm giving you and Aunt Clara the responsibility of bringing a green salad. Cousin Sarah and Cousin Mike can help with the clean-up." Or whatever. This will take some of the weight off of you, so that you can have a holiday like everyone else.

Then make something you enjoy cooking. Oh, and don't clean beforehand. Just tidy up and save the heavy cleaning for when your guests are gone. I learned long ago that if the powder room was clean, guests never noticed if the rest of the house wasn't so shiny.

Dec 12, 2014
Isolda in General Topics
1

Carnitas help please

I've never had to add any extra fat to my carnitas. I just cook the pork in beer, salt, guajillo peppers, lime juice until I can shred it, then I brown it well in the fat that it renders. When I'm done, there aren't any fatty pieces left, because most of the fat has rendered.

Dec 05, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Dry white wine substitute

I'd use half as much vinegar to start, then increase it if the flavors are out of balance.

Nov 26, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Left My Refrigerated Preserves Out

I've left preserves out for days. No one got sick. I'm generally a stickler for food safety, but stuff like jam, ketchup and fruit pies don't worry me if left out.

Nov 26, 2014
Isolda in General Topics
1

Can I boil my potatoes with skin on, then let the food mill peel them?

Thank you! I knew someone here would have the answer!

Nov 26, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Can I boil my potatoes with skin on, then let the food mill peel them?

I'm not a fan of mashed potatoes, so I hardly ever make them, which is why my question is so stupid. My son asked if I could please make him some mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving "without any of those big chunks in them" so that should tell you how mine usually turn out. ;)

To save time, can I just slit the peels around the middle, boil them, and then push them through the medium disc on my new food mill to get the peels off, or would it be better to peel, then cook and mill? These are Yukon Golds.

Also, I usually throw some garlic cloves in the potato cooking water. Can I still use these or will I lose them in the milling process?

Nov 26, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Rule #1...always...

As a heavy juice consumer, I know you speak the truth.

Nov 21, 2014
Isolda in General Topics

Frosting a frozen cake?

I've done this. Make sure the buttercream is very soft if the cake is frozen, because the frosting will freeze a little as it touches the cake and you want to be able to spread it evenly. Since you've already done your crumb coat, you should have an easy time frosting it.

Nov 12, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking
1

TUMS at a dinner party?

This is somewhat off the subject, but I actually serve a bowl of individually packaged lactase pills whenever I have people over for tea. My friends think it's funny--sugar, stevia packets, and lactaid pills get their own dishes--but some partake of them. Lots of people my age (50s) seem to be a bit lactose intolerant, especially if they're of non-European descent. When my daughter has friends from her college home on break, she offers them gummy vitamins with breakfast.

Perhaps in a few years, I should add Tums to my array of condiments?

Nov 12, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Browned/Burnt/Overcooked Eggs - yum?

I'm pretty sure "purist" just means "how it's done in the western hemisphere." I have several middle eastern cookbooks that call for cooking egg dishes solid. And the egg in tamago sushi is always cooked thoroughly.

And yes, I like my omelets slightly brown. It's not a crime if that's your preference.

TUMS at a dinner party?

You didn't call attention to her stomach issues. She did. She had no intention of discreetly medicating, or she wouldn't have put the tums on the table. She wanted attention and she got it.

I bring lactaid pills in my purse or pocket to every meal. I doubt anyone sees me take them, and that is as it should be.

Do guests' "do not eat lists" get you down?

It's not the lists, it's the entitled attitudes some guests have. If you've got an allergy or a special diet, bring it on. You may not be able to have everything I serve at this meal, but you will find something yummy to eat. Please be gracious.

Cocktail Party for Charity Etiquette

I go to parties like this all the time. The invitation always says clearly that it's a fundraiser for X charity. That way, people know what they're in for and can choose to decline if they feel pinched or don't like the charity.

The rule seems to be that if it's just a party, then it's a party, but if it's for a charity, the invitation should say so clearly so that no one is blindsided or put in an awkward position. If it's the latter, there is nothing wrong with having a box for checks.

Nov 07, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

When a favorite restaurant is ruined - what do you do?

I'd say goodbye. Telling the owners won't help, as they're probably already doing the best they can, and it's just not enough.

Nov 07, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
1

First trip to Wegmans: What should I get? [moved from Boston board]

I've been to the Burlington Wegman's twice, so I'm not an expert, but the only things that make it worth the trip are the meats, cheeses, and wines. They have a good selection of these three things (as well as microbrews and liquor). Buying your booze where you buy your groceries is pretty awesome for New England.

The bakery looks great, but is really average in quality. Everything I tried was just so-so (and we are carb fiends, so we bought a lot of stuff on each trip!), and every single label I read revealed the presence of things like tetrasodium EDTA and other preservatives that tend to bring down the quality of baked goods. Really, what's wrong with flour, butter, sugar, etc.?

The produce was shiny and beautiful, but you can get the same for less right down the street at Market Basket. My biggest complaint is the redundancy in stock (you can find milk in three different places) that make the whole store just a bitch to navigate.

In short, I'll go back when I'm having a dinner party and need some good cheese, wine and meat. But I'll still need to go to Wilson Farms for the bread and will definitely make my own dessert!

Nov 07, 2014
Isolda in Chains

how long have you had your......

A little piece of the plastic latch just came off of my circa 1994 Cuisinart. I am so delighted! A full break/kaput/self-destruct is surely right around the corner! It works for now, but I need ideas for replacements. Any thoughts?

Oct 28, 2014
Isolda in Cookware

Ladies, Stop With "Getting Out My Aggressions"!

I think it is because very often, we are holding in our rage precisely because our culture doesn't find it acceptable for women to pound or throw things. Everyone gets angry and only letting it out by subterfuge isn't always enough to vent that anger.

I'm not saying that whacking dough or smashing chocolate is more about letting out anger than getting the job done, only that it can be one way of accomplishing both tasks! ;)

Oct 26, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
1

What turns you off about restaurant restrooms?

Poor ventilation, general filth, and lack of supplies (tp, soap, paper towels or a hand dryer).

Oct 20, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food
1

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

As others have pointed out, restaurants have their reasons for not taking reservations. And I have my reasons for not going to places where I know I'll have to wait. There's enough good food out there....

Oct 15, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

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

Not harsh, but the rise in food allergies isn't explained by "weak" genes getting passed along.

Oct 15, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

"Natural" color stains?

Well, saffron is great if you're wealthy!

Oct 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Only a Chef Can Ruin Mashed Potatoes

I did that with some cauliflower. It was delicious.
My son, who is the pickiest eater alive, thought the potatoes had gone rancid.

Oct 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Only a Chef Can Ruin Mashed Potatoes

I happen to like a lump or two, just as a reminder that I'm eating real potatoes. I'm scarred forever by my mother's habit of using the kind that came in a box. Now that was some fine glue.

But her excuse for the box mix was that she came from a rice culture (Cajun) and potatoes just didn't count as a proper starch.

Oct 10, 2014
Isolda in Not About Food

Russo's and Wilson Farms

Just wanted to add that if you are shopping at Wilson, don't use their lots. Park on Mass Ave and then walk up Pleasant or across their back employee/vendor parking lot. You'll save time (as much as half an hour) and burn a couple of extra calories.

Oct 06, 2014
Isolda in Greater Boston Area

How are your corn tortillas doing?

If you have a Whole Foods near you, you may be able to find tortillas without the vegetable gums in the refrigerated section. (All the shelf-stable tortillas have all kinds of additives, I've found.)

My homemade tortillas (masa, water, salt) fry up nicely and stay crisp. Whether they would be crisp the next day, I can't say, because we usually eat them all!

Oct 06, 2014
Isolda in Home Cooking

Russo's and Wilson Farms

Wilson is packed this time of year, but you can still get in there on a weekend if you go early. It is to be avoided entirely the week before Thanksgiving, though.

Oct 05, 2014
Isolda in Greater Boston Area