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Erika L's Profile

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How many days ahead can I make a soup with dairy?

Another vote for making the soup ahead and adding the dairy at the last minute.

Dec 17, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Storing matzoh crack for 2 weeks: freeze or not?

I don't know about the garage but I regularly freeze mine, just to keep it safe--it doesn't taste like much cold, so I'm not tempted to go into the stash. Or if I do, I have to think couple of hours ahead of time to let it sit on the counter.

Dec 15, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Your best CRISPY, CRUNCHY cookie recipe. Go!

Chicago choco chip cookies. Not sure what makes em Chicago but that's what my friend Betty (source of the recipe) calls them. They're super crunchy--I don't generally keep corn flakes around the house except for these and Momofuku cookies.

1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c flour
3 tsp baking soda
1 c plain oil
1 c smashed corn flakes
1 c oats
12 oz package of choco chips

Cream the butter and sugars, then add the egg and vanilla. Sift or dry-whisk the flour and baking soda, then add alternatively with the oil. Stir in the corn flakes, oats and choco chips.

Drop by heaping tsp about 2" apart and bake for 10 - 12 min at 350 Yield about 8 doz (really).

Dec 08, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Gluten-free crackers for cheese course?

Be aware the cross-contamination can occur if a knife touches wheat bread and then is used to cut cheese for the gluten-free person. Gluten sensitivity varies from person to person but one contact with wheat bread is enough to contaminate the entire piece of cheese for some GF people.

That said--my votes are for Blue Diamond (my all-time fave cheese cracker, GF or with gluten) and Crunchmaster.

Dec 05, 2014
Erika L in Special Diets

DEVILED EGGS! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (December 2014)

Rooster bombs: make your fave stuffed or deviled egg recipe, then put the tip of a Sriracha bottle into each yolk, give a little squeeze (maybe 1/4 tsp), then repair the hole in the yolk.

Should I be offended over a frozen pie?

It's just food. Get over it. And get over yourself. My fam loves canned cranberries and Marie Callendar apple pie. I brought homemade cranberries and pies for years, trying to show them how much more sophisticated I was. But what I was also doing was demonstrating how dismissive I was of their food preferences. If a frozen pie will really, truly make you gag, take a small piece, cut it into little bites, and then push them around on your plate until it's time to clear the dishes. Really, the point of TDay is to gather with family and friends, not to show off kitchen projects.

Are homemade marshmallows worth the effort?

Yes! Home made marshmallows are a revelation--pillowy-soft and very vanilla, not bouncy-chewy. I've made them only for parties (stand-alone and also in "mallomars") so I can't tell you how long they last, sorry.

Dec 01, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Cream that is not made with Cow's milk

Is it a sweet or savory tart? What are the other flavors? Coconut milk is the only non-dairy "milk" with any appreciable fat--it's about 33%, about the same as heavy cream. Other non-dairy milks such as soy, almond, rice, etc. are very thin and watery. That's consideration #1.

Also be aware that non-dairy milks won't thicken with egg yolks the way that a custard does--they lack the proteins to coagulate. So any tart made with a non-dairy milk will not hold its structure very well. I've made flans with an entire dozen eggs, and they collapse after a serving is spooned out.

Lastly, coconut milk does taste of coconut, albeit faintly. This works in some cases, not so well in others. I've used it in pumpkin pies--no prob, the spices muted the coconut plus everyone at dinner likes coconut. BTW the texture of a pumpkin pie made with coconut milk is terrific. However, the taste might interfere with, say, a leek and Gruyere tart.

BTW, you guest might be OK with olive oil to dip bread.

Nov 26, 2014
Erika L in General Topics

can you replace butter with Crisco shorting in gluten free ginger bread dough.

It'll work just fine. As pointed out, Crisco is 100% fat and butter is something like 85% fat, so the texture will be diff--actually moister, and it'll stay fresh longer without either the water or the gluten to dry things out. The spices and molasses will cover up the lack of depth of flavor that butter adds.

Nov 24, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Why Chinese cuisines/dishes do not include raw vegetables...

I was about 15 at the time and didn't ask for details but am assuming they didn't use the john.

When I said "parking strip," I mean the strip of dirt between the sidewalk and the curb, about 2' - 3' wide.

I now live in WA and there are lots of places where you can smell manure. Green acres is the place to be...

Nov 19, 2014
Erika L in General Topics

apple pie no cinnamon

Maybe serve the pie with cinnamon ice cream or a cinnamon-laced sauce if you think that others would miss the cinnamon? FWIW I'll be making an apple tart for TDay that has no spices in it at all.

Nov 19, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking
1

Gingersnap crust for pumpkin pie?

I do this all the time and in fact, it's my standard crust for a gluten free pumpkin pie (gf gingersnaps are very ez to find). Definitely pre-bake it and +1 for toasting the pecans.

Nov 19, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Cooking Ahead Question - Minnesota Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

I make this soup, or a version of it, on a regular basis. It will hold for 2 - 3 days in the fridge, no prob. If you use cream, don't add it til you reheat. I don't find the rice mushy after a spell in the fridge but if you want to be super cautious, you could do up til step 3 and finish right before the meal.

Nov 19, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking
1

Why Chinese cuisines/dishes do not include raw vegetables...

jsager--I can't relate a personal experience about nightsoil in China but I can tell this story about my grandmother and an aunt who both lived in El Cerrito, CA:

My aunt didn't leave China with the rest of the fam after WWII and was "lost" for many years. After U.S. relations were opened with the PRC, my aunt was permitted to emigrate in the mid-70's and she moved in with my grandmother. They decided to plant veggies in the parking strip in front of the apartment building and used nightsoil to fertilize it, until other fam members found out and gently counseled against that practice.

Nov 19, 2014
Erika L in General Topics

Gluten free flour used for gravy?

It depends on the composition of your gf flour. Wheat flour does a lot of things--thickens sauces, makes delicate puffy pastries, produces chewy bread. Some non-wheat flours are strong tasting and, I'm guessing, don't have much thickening power (buckwheat flour comes to mind). Others, such as rice flour, potato flour, and tapioca flour, will do the job. Cornstarch is very easy to work with and it's what I use to make gravy and also to thicken pie fillings. You have to make a slurry of the cornstarch with a little (a spoonful or two) of cold liquid, then stir that into the hot gravy. You can't stir the cornstarch directly into the hot gravy or it will get lumpy.

Nov 17, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking
1

Can I make jook with a smoked turkey wing?

Good to hear that it worked out and was a hit! Here's another vote for jook as a post-TDay use of the leftover meat and carcass--Mom always made it over the weekend, after the carcass was picked mostly bare. With slivers of scallion and ginger, now we're talking!

Nov 17, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Why Chinese cuisines/dishes do not include raw vegetables...

I'm Chinese and we rarely, if ever, had cold food or raw food when I was a kid. If we did, it was when Mom was serving "American" food. To this day, I don't like cold or raw food.

Nov 14, 2014
Erika L in General Topics

Gluten free brownies - need help!

I don't know about GF brownies from a mix but when I make them from scratch, they stay fresh longer than brownies made with wheat flour. My guess is that wheat flour tends to be drying. Some GF "flours" may also be drying--I don't know which ones are in your mix.

Oct 22, 2014
Erika L in Special Diets

Recipes from NY Times

I've used NYT recipes for years--absolutely dependable. Food 52 is an outgrowth of the founders' efforts to crowdsource recipes for the most recent NYT cookbook. There's also a NYT cooking app that launched about a month ago.

Oct 22, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

HELP: Replacing 16 oz Cottage Cheese with Cream Cheese?

+1, need to see the recipe or at least know what dish you're talking about. Those are two very diff food items and I can imagine many dishes in which they would not be interchangeable--at all.

Oct 13, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Almond milk

Late response here, but...almond milk should work fine for fried chicken, either to make a batter or to dredge before flouring. +1 on not using it for custard, flan, etc. I figured this out the hard way by adding more and more eggs and yolks to successive attempts at flan. When I hit a dozen, I gave up. Only then did I have the sense to do a little research and learn that almond milk lacks proteins to provide structure for custards and puddings.

Oct 10, 2014
Erika L in General Topics

Almond milk

For what purpose?

Oct 08, 2014
Erika L in General Topics

Cornflakes as a cookie ingredient?

Ah. You'll get better results if you crush the cereal into pretty small bits. If not, the cookies will have to be quite large in order to have enough dough to hang together. But big cookies might be what you want. You can whirl them (the corn flakes, not the cookies) in a food processor--they'll still provide lots of crunch--or go old skool by putting them into a zippie, then smashing with a rolling pin or the bottom of a frying pan. I second the distinction in how to measure. The cereal won't be absorbed into the dough--it's more like nuts or choco chips, goodies bound by the dough, so if you add too much (or if the flakes are too big), the dough won't hang together.

Sep 24, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Caramels without corn syrup?

The corn syrup's in there for texture. If you completely omit it, you'll have something with a texture more along the lines of peanut brittle--maybe not that hard, but definitely not soft or chewy. I can't, though, offer any suggestions for substitution.

Sep 24, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Cornflakes as a cookie ingredient?

It would be helpful if you posted the recipe. I have a couple that use corn flakes--in one, you crunch up the cereal and mix it into the dough and in the other, you roll balls of dough in the cereal. Either way, the cereal's there for texture, not flavor.

Sep 24, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Guiltiest Guilty Pleasures

Another vote for Kraft mac 'n' cheese in the blue box BUT with only 1/2 to 2/3 of the noodles. It's an even better salt bomb than when it's made the regulation way.

Sep 23, 2014
Erika L in General Topics

Signs of a NOT Authentic Chinese Restaurant

(Smacking forehead with heel of hand.) What is it about "ethnic" food (read: not the food of your peeps) that makes people get all holier-than-thou about "authenticity?" Let's try this. I really want authentic American food. What should I search out? Burgers and fries? McD or Shake Shack? Navajo fry bread? Brunswick stew? Iowa pea salad? BBQ chicken pizza? Indian pudding? St. Louis gooey butter cake? PB&J on white balloon bread? I'm Chinese. If I make a stir fry with gai lan and hot dogs, is that authentic Chinese food? (The stir fried hot dog scenario is from "Typical American" by Gish Jen.) I have a (non-Asian) friend who brags that she knows that she's in an authentic Chinese resto when the menu is written in Mandarin. What she's actually telling me is that she can't recognize authentic Chinese anything.

People, people, people. It's FOOD. If you like it, eat it. If you don't, don't. But please don't get all uppity about "authenticity."

Sep 17, 2014
Erika L in General Topics
1

Signs of a NOT Authentic Chinese Restaurant

All restos are businesses, and business owners need and want to stay in business. If pu pu platters, sushi, teriyaki, whatever, are helping the owner to pay the rent and be able to offer other, more "authentic" dishes, then I'm not gonna fault them. BTW, I'm Chinese and will say that we love trashy food as much as the next person. I'll never turn down honey walnut shrimp, and I've eaten my share of crab Rangoon and cheese bings.

Slow Roasting and Jarring Tomatoes in Olive Oil

Another vote for freezing. I use heavy square plastic containers that are meant for freezer storage--they're much more space-efficient than jars.

Sep 08, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking

Can I substitute virgin coconut oil for butter in flourless chocolate cake?

I make GF DF desserts and always use coconut oil because I don't like vegan margarine. Coconut oil actually gives better results than butter in baked goods because it's 100% fat, whereas butter is about 85% fat and 15% water--moister, richer, denser, and it'll stay fresh longer. You can use refined coconut oil if you want no coconut flavor, but even virgin isn't that strongly flavored. It just depends on your and your guests' preferences.

Aug 28, 2014
Erika L in Home Cooking