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Raw peanuts. Roasted and they taste weird.

Living near a Chinatown, I see lots of raw peanuts for sale at bargain prices, presumably for stir-fry. I just buy them to snack on raw. We may just have different personal tastes, but it may also be that there was something bad about your batch if they didn't even taste right before you roasted them.

Dec 17, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Favorite cooking task(s)?

I love mixing a bowl of ingredients with my bare hands, anything from meatloaf to cookie dough.

Dec 10, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Lemon bars

Agreed. I also find they cut neater when they've been completely chilled in the fridge.

Oct 27, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Lemon bars

Mine have brown and crunchy edges (in a metal pan), but that has never bothered me since they are otherwise perfect. I just trim the edges off before serving, and save the edges for snacking later.

Oct 27, 2014
weem in Home Cooking
1

Trying to organize a fun dinner for 10 "foodie hipsters" visiting from LA

Last weekend I went with a party of nine to a very hipsterish place in the Mission called Urban Putt. It's a full bar and restaurant combined with an indoor miniature golf course. Definitely festive. I was very content with my food (appetizer of deep fried olives, main course of jambalaya, dessert of Indian pudding), and I believe all my foodie friends were happy with theirs, too. (A word of advice is that, while you can make a reservation for the restaurant part, the mini-golf is first-come-first-serve, and can get crowded the later it gets in the evening.)

Non-alcoholic drinks that pair nicely with food

I no longer drink alcohol, but, of course, I still consume liquid beverages.

There is a temptation among people who, for whatever reason, have quit drinking to try to replicate the experience of drinking, minus the effect of alcohol. Mostly that involves trying to mimic the taste. But I personally find that it is more satisfying to experience what else is out there, in the same way that I find vegetarian dishes more satisfying when they aren't trying to mimic the experience of eating meat.

However, if you must have that flavor, there are a few options. Though they're hard to find, there are grape juices made with actual wine grapes that are more reminiscent of the flavor of wine than a Welch's-style juice. And there are a few non-alcoholic beers that are passable (I like Kaliber). Sorry that non-alcoholic wines are generally not very good.

I always keep a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge, and it is my go-to beverage for meals. Sometimes iced coffee, depending on what I'm eating. I usually drink tea and coffee black, but once in a while I'll mix it up with sugar, maybe milk, maybe lemon (for the tea), etc. There are also, as has been said above, lots of flavors of tea to try.

Water is an easy and obvious choice, either plain or sparkling. And it can be fun to enhance it with a splash of lemon or lime, a bit of juice, etc. One restaurant I go to serves its water with slices of cucumber.

And, for what it's worth, if I find myself in a bar, my go-to "mocktail" is simply cranberry juice and tonic. Tart but refreshing.

Apr 22, 2014
weem in General Topics

Egg entrees for egg haters?

You mention "brinner" foods like French toast and pancakes, but say you don't care for something sweet for dinner. Can you make savory versions? I have a friend who makes savory waffles by omitting the sugar from the batter, laying strips of bacon on the waffle iron along with the batter, and topping them with sour cream instead of syrup. I can imagine adapting pancake and French toast recipes in similar ways, mixing in savory spices, finely chopped bacon or other meat, mushrooms, etc. (I'd suggest cheese, too, but I see above that you're lactose intolerant.) I haven't tried this, but it might be a fun experiment.

Apr 12, 2014
weem in Home Cooking
2

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? [Through April 30, 2014]

Thanks for the reading suggestion, LulusMom.

Apr 07, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? [Through April 30, 2014]

I recently finished reading "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking" by Anya Von Bremzen. I got it from the library, I loved it, and now I want to own it. It's more memoir than cookbook, but it has recipes that I want to try.

Apr 07, 2014
weem in Home Cooking
1

Desserts that can be frozen

My grandparents had a neighbor who had a separate freezer just for cookies. She would bake in her spare time like a hobby, and then any time she had a gathering to go to, she would defrost a plateful and take them along.

Mar 21, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Question #1 - What to do with hotdogs other than in a bun?

I once ground a couple up in the food processor along with some onion and garlic, mixed in some bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, whatever spices I was in the mood for that day, a drizzle of olive oil, and used them as the stuffing for some baked tomatoes. Nothing I was planning to serve to company, but I was pleased enough with the result.

Mar 21, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? March 2014 edition! [through March 31, 2014]

Thank you! Yes, I agree they are very handy. I use mine to help me keep track of books I'd like to get down the road when I have the disposable cash, and if others end up buying me something off the list in the meantime, so much the better.

Mar 20, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? March 2014 edition! [through March 31, 2014]

For my birthday last week, some friends went to my Amazon wish list. Even though I have a variety of cookbooks listed, they picked two dessert books since they always ask me to bring desserts to their dinner parties. They admitted some self-interest in their choices. So I ended up with:
"The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book", by Marilyn M. Moore
and
"Maida Heatter's Cakes", by Maida Heatter.

Oh, and I popped into Goodwill the other day looking for a particular item, and on a total whim I picked up a copy of "Fiery Foods That I Love", by Paul Prudhomme. Goodwill prices make impulse purchases a little too easy, but it looks like a fun book.

Mar 20, 2014
weem in Home Cooking
1

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

Culinary histories of California? That's an interesting question. When I think of California cuisine, I think of the more contemporary version (Alice Waters, Judy Rodgers, even Michael Pollan). But historical? There must be information about the cuisine of California when it was a Spanish colony, and, of course, there's the rich heritage of Native American cooking. And you're right, California is a large enough place that there would logically be regional variations. Well, just to pick a book from my city, you might try "Sumptuous Dining in Gaslight San Francisco", chronicling the dining scene in San Francisco (with recipes) from 1875-1915. It's out of print, but shouldn't be hard to find.

Mar 18, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

I'm in California, just demonstrating how limited my grasp on history can be sometimes. I do enjoy filling in the gaps, particularly as it relates to culinary history, so thanks for all the info.

Mar 17, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

That sounds very interesting. I only recently learned that the dominant crop in the South was rice before cotton took over. It's such a pleasure to expand my knowledge like that. I love culinary history as a topic. I have "Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery", which was edited and annotated by the same author, Karen Hess. It's so fascinating to read about what people used to eat, how they cooked it, etc.

Mar 16, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

Oh, wonderful, thanks for the feedback, Kariin!

Mar 16, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

Thanks, I'll look for it.

Mar 10, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

How fortunate to have that bookstore just down the street!

Mar 08, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

Great list (the Fisher book is one of my favorite books, regardless of genre), and I have to second "The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cooking". I found it fascinating, read it cover-to-cover, and I hardly find anybody who's even heard of it!

Mar 08, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

Will do. Thanks for the recommendation.

Mar 08, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

I don't know if you're open to out-of-print books at all, but if so, you might enjoy the old Time-Life Foods of the World series. Dozens of volumes released in the late sixties/early seventies. You can find used copies online, and I check them out from the library. Each volume represents a different country, region or culture, all about the history and culture as it relates to food, plus recipes. Yes, they are obviously dated, but what I appreciate about them is the way they present traditional cuisines, rather than modern interpretations of them.

Mar 08, 2014
weem in Home Cooking
2

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

No, I haven't. In fact, the only one I owned and read in any depth was "Mangoes & Curry Leaves". I had to part with it a few years ago when I was super-broke, but now that things are a bit more stable I'm slowly building up my cookbook library again, and these are on my list. I'm sure there are nice used copies online, too, unless you only like to buy them new.

Mar 08, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

If I recall correctly, Joan Nathan's "Jewish Cooking in America" had a lot of history in it, too. The Roden book sounds interesting, so I'll have to look for it.

Mar 08, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Cookbooks that are more than just cookbooks.

I'm with you. I love a cookbook that tells me as much about the history and culture behind the food as how to cook it. You're just as likely to find a cookbook in my bedside reading pile as in the kitchen.

Since you mentioned Asian cookbooks, I'll recommend the books of the team Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, such as "Hot Sour Salty Sweet", "Mangoes & Curry Leaves" or "Beyond the Great Wall".

Micronesian dinner party ideas

Searching through old threads, I found this one, and realized I had become one of those tiresome posters who solicits suggestions and then never reports back. Sorry about that. The fact is, the dinner party never happened, so there was nothing to report on. But I did end up buying the recommended book "Tradewinds and Coconuts", which is a fascinating read. For instance, it says that European colonists in the 1700s stocked Guam with deer, which overran the island until it became legal a hundred years later for the public to own guns and hunt them, resulting in the seemingly improbable fact of venison being a part of the cuisine of this Pacific island nation. I often get as much culture and history out of a cookbook as I do recipes. Thanks!

Best ingredient guide cookbook?

Good recommendations above. "The Joy of Cooking" is probably my default reference book for home cooking. For vegetables, "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison was pretty comprehensive. And while I hesitate to recommend an out-of-print book, my 12-volume "Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery" from the 1960s is my other go-to reference. (My mom had it while I was growing up, and I bought my own pretty cheap on eBay.)

Also, if you're going online, you might look at the "Food Guides" section on the Whole Foods Market website (found in the "Recipes" section). I'm not endorsing the store, just pointing out the guide.

Mar 03, 2014
weem in Home Cooking

Another splitting the bill question

I don't drink, but most of the friends I dine out with do. When I go out to eat, I accept that it might not work out to be precisely even. I'd rather just forget about the imbalance and not create waves. As has been said above, dining out with friends is about more than just the food, and I'm willing to pay for the experience. But each meal is different. If my friends just have a glass of wine, that's one thing. But if they have knocked back two or three $10-15 cocktails each on top of wine, while I'm just having my iced tea, that can really throw the check out of whack. Fortunately, my best friends are usually aware of this, and tell me to only pay for my food, an offer I gratefully accept. But if they don't? Or if I'm with people I don't know so well? I would never complain "This is unfair! I shouldn't have to pay for all your drinks!" However, I have, once or twice in the past, politely and discretely asked, "Would anybody mind if I paid a little less because I didn't have any alcohol?" I have never, to my knowledge, had anybody object.

Art from Food

Jason Mecier creates mosaic portraits out of beans, pasta, and other foods. Plenty of examples in the gallery of his website.
http://www.jasonmecier.com/

Jan 30, 2014
weem in Not About Food

"Why does it always have to be chocolate?"

You are definitely not alone. I've never been fond of chocolate desserts. My tastes have expanded as I've aged to where I'll eat them if served, but I'll never select a chocolate dessert if there are other options. (As a child, I remember chocolate cake making me gag.) And I LOVE desserts! My go-to alternatives? ANYTHING else! Pies, cakes, cookies, ice creams, etc., etc. It just depends on my mood, and what else I'm eating. Since I'm the designated dessert baker for my circle of friends, I'm learning to bake with chocolate when the occasion calls for it, but otherwise it's fruit pies, spice cakes, lemon squares, etc.

I worked in an office that had cakes for each employee's birthday. The guy in charge of getting them appreciated the fact that he had to get a non-chocolate cake for mine, because he said it broke up the monotony and forced the office to try something different.

Jan 20, 2014
weem in Home Cooking
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