abijah's Profile

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ISO of Fresh Clams

I'm looking to buy super-fresh, best-quality-possible clams. Where should I go?

Prefer somewhere Mid-City, Hollywood, or west of there. South to LAX is also fine.

Nov 22, 2011
abijah in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy non-canned Hatch/New Mexico roasted green chiles?

Thanks for the info!

Nov 01, 2011
abijah in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy non-canned Hatch/New Mexico roasted green chiles?

Is there anywhere in LA to buy frozen roasted New Mexico (aka Hatch) green chiles -- or any roasted green chiles that are not canned?

I know that I could just roast some Anaheims over my gas range burner, but I'm looking for a pre-made way.

Nov 01, 2011
abijah in Los Angeles Area

Camping in cabins for a week.

Afterward, let us know how it went!

Jul 01, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner, Part 95 [old]

Of course, Katrina!
There's no recipe, really, just what I threw together:
1. Soak 1 cup bulgur in 1 cup water for about an hour. (No heating.)
2. Mix juice of 1 -2 lemons, a small amount of mild vinegar, such as red wine vinegar, 2 -3 minced garlic cloves, about 1 tsp. cumin. (And some crushed red pepper flakes, if you like that kind of thing.) Toss with soaked bulgur. You want enough liquid at this point that the bulgur is overall moist.
3. Chop lots of herbs. Two days ago, I used a mint-parsley combination. Yesterday I used a basil-mint combination. I don't think you can go wrong. Just make sure there's lots and lots of herb. Mix the herb with the bulgur. When I look at the bowl of salad, I live to see equal amounts of green and brown.
4. Pour in 3 -5 glugs of olive oil, and plenty of salt and pepper. If possible, let the salad sit and the flavors marry for a while before eating.

Jul 01, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner, Part 95 [old]

Last night my partner and I made casual dinner for friends we have over frequently. The original plan was salmon cooked in a Indian-spiced yogurt-y sauce with raisins and nuts; fried eggplant (battered in chickpea flour); and cauliflower with tomatoes.

But we got lazy in the afternoon and instead served a very assertive basil/mint tabouleh that I'd made earlier in the day (intending it for the week's lunches), along with simple stir-fired ginger cauliflower, and braised salmon with a yogurt sauce on top that incorporated most of the flavors from the original dish, but was just simpler and less aggressive flavor-wise, so as not to compete with the tabouleh.

I wouldn't say the flavors all sang together in perfect harmony, but it was still a delicious plate of food, and it's fun to be able to change course at the last minute when you feel like it.

Jun 30, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner, Part 95 [old]

Brilliant re-purposing of Raisin Bran in the cobbler!
I am inspired by your use of cupboard leftovers.

Jun 30, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

Camping in cabins for a week.

I've done trips like this before, and they can be really fun.
The keys are:
1. Plan carefully, and
2. Let go of your usual gourmet standards, and accept that this isn't going to be the finest cooking you've ever done. That's OK. This is the kind of situation that the term "crowd-pleaser" was invented for.

This is what I would suggest, based on many years of Girl Scout training:
1. Think of what two dinners you can make that are easy to scale up, and that don't use tons of different pots and pans. Do you have any good one-pot meals in your repertoire? Like a hearty chili or stew? Those are good bets. Or, as others have said, if you have access to a grill, a marinade for meat that you're fond of? For desserts, think brownies or bar cookies.

2. Make a shopping list of every single thing you need to make your meals, with quantities. Don't forget oil, butter, condiments, etc.

3. Ask the other families to make similar lists of their grocery needs. Have one person be the grocery list clearinghouse and make a single, combined list. (For example, if each of four chefs needs one stick of butter, then on the shopping list goes 1 lb. of butter.)

4. Have one or two people be the designated shoppers, using the combined shopping list. If there's anything you need that no one else does, like small amounts of spices, then bring them with you, as others have sugested.

5. Relax and enjoy improvising with your restricted resources! And remember that all that fresh air stimulates the appetite! Everything tastes good while you're camping! So don't worry too much about perfection.

Jun 30, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

The leftover dilemma

Use the frosting for a second dessert -- spread on fruit (strawberries are a hit!) and eat.

Jun 30, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner - Part 94 [old]

Shecrab, where do you live that you have fresh figs?
I don't believe I've ever eaten one, maybe will try to track some down...

Jun 24, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner - Part 94 [old]

Complex chili -- good description!
That's pretty much how it turned out. Pretty tasty.
I used spinach at the end of cooking instead of carrots. Next time, I would probably omit the juice and zest and just keep the segments (or vice versa).
The big thing was that it got me over my fear of stewing beef. I had a few bad experiences early in my cooking career of tough nearly inedible beef concoctions, and those scared me away for a while.
It's nice to see your cooking judgment and skills improve over time!

Jun 24, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner - Part 94 [old]

Thoughtful mush!
I love it.

Jun 23, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

July 4th Appetizers

My go-to handheld party appetizer, especially if there's a grill around, are homemade jalepeno poppers -- usually stuffed with garlicky cream cheese and wrapped with bacon, but there are lots of variations online. It can a while to stuff all the peppers, but they're oh so good.

Jun 23, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

July 4th Appetizers

Just an idea: For easy-to-cut mangoes, I'm totally addicted to using the frozen mango chunks sold by Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, if you're near one of those. Here in California, TJ's has lately started selling frozen Indian mangoes (as "Sweet Mango Halves"), which are so heavenly.

Jun 23, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner - Part 94 [old]

I still had extra oranges in the fridge, and thanks to LindaWhit and mamachef, I couldn't get the idea of a citrusy stew or tangine out of my head. So I read some recipes, improvised, and now stew is simmering away. I have to laugh because a year ago, I never would have made a long-simmering dish in the summertime, but 10 months after moving to Southern Cali, I just make such distinctions as much -- If I waited for only the cold and/or gray days, I wouldn't have much opportunity! And anyway, plenty of tropical cuisines have spicy long-simmered dishes, so I guess that cooking for my climate means working in that tradition.
And good to know that twodales is simmering with me!

Here's what I put together.
I fear I might have too many competing flavors, but we'll see.
After eating it, I'll update if there's anything I wish I'd done differently.
- Brown 1.5 lbs. stew beef. Set aside.
- Cook sliced onion in left-behind oil.
- Add small pile of garlic, small pile of ginger, sliced jalepeno, dried New Mexico chile, some crushed red pepper, 2 cinnamon sticks, abt 1 t. each of cumin, coriander, cardamom, pinch of cloves, juice and zest of one orange, 2 chopped tomatoes, a few splashes of rice vinegar, and water.
- Add the beef back in and simmer til tender.
- When that's done, I'll stir in some carrots and orange segments.

Jun 23, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner - Part 93 [old]

My goal tonight was to use up oranges. Thanks for all your suggestions of what to do with them. I considered a beefy orangey stew of some sort, but I wasn't going to be home during the hours it would have to simmer, so I let go of that.

Instead, I made an Orange-Ginger Chicken Stirfry of sorts.
Chicken stirfried with onions and jalepenos, and stirfried broccoli -- all tossed in a briefly simmered sauce of orange juice, ginger, garlic, more jalepeno, some reconstituted dried pineapple pieces ((score one for the back of the cupboard!)), a few splashes of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Final additions = chopped almonds, half a bag of spinach, and orange segments.
Obviously doesn't taste exactly like Chinese takeout, but I was happy that it kind of hit the right notes that are satisfying in good takeout Orange-Ginger Chicken. The pineapple pieces helped! I can't even remember what I had them leftover from, but am sure glad I thought to throw them in.

Also made an experimental salad. Had a nice spicy mesclun mix and good tomatoes from the farmers market, but my partner doesn't recognize a salad as edible unless it has some kind of crouton, cheese, or preserved meat added to it. I was at a loss for all three until I remembered there was still a brick of paneer in the wayback of fridge. I dug it out, cut up some small cubes, and fried them in olive oil with Bengali five-spice. Let the cubes drain, and used the leftover oil from the pan in a garlicky red wine vinaigrette. Tossed the cheese and vinaigrette with the salad. Not sure the 5-spice salad will become a regular, but interesting for sure.

Beverage: sliced strawberries floating in cheap Sauv Blanc with a splash of spritzer. Happy Summer!

Jun 22, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner - Part 93 [old]

Tofu mixed into ground meat is something interesting I hadn't heard of before. You use silken, I assume? Any other tips for making it work?

Jun 22, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner - Part 93 [old]

Thanks for your welcomes, everybody!

I was inspired by the talk of Chicken Piccatta on yesterday's thread, and I did my weekly shopping today, so that's what we had. I used a recipe from epicurious, and served steamed broccoli and asparagus along side, also doused in sauce of course. And some leftover sourdough bread. Delicious, and so quick, as promised!

Now here's the Challenge: Tomorrow I want to use up some of the many ORANGES in my fridge. My in-laws have a tree in their backyard, so sometimes we are inundated with extras. We just got back from a two-week vacation, so the ones currently in the fridge are starting to get a little old, and I'd like to use up a bunch at once. Yes, we use them for cocktails and straight eating, but does anybody have any ideas for a main dish?
For proteins, I have chicken breast, beef stew meat, or cod.
For produce, I have tomatoes, salad greens, spinach, broccoli, parsley, jalepenos, fresh oregano, an avocado, lemons/limes

Any ideas?!

Jun 21, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner - Part 93 [old]

Hello, WFD folks.

The Home Cooking board and the WFD thread has been a valuable resource for me for a long time now. Thanks for all your posts over the years that have kept my food brain humming.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to challenge myself to make weeknight dinners that are both a) pretty quick, and b) use up ingredients sitting in the cupboard and fridge, and NOT make extra trips to the grocery store. I love making elaborate meals, and taking a lot of time researching recipes, hunting ingredients, etc. But right now, I'm without a full-time job, and have found that I'm spending way more time on nightly dinners that I actually want to, at the expense of getting other things done. (You know how tasks expand, when given the time!) So it's time to tighten up my game, and still put delicious stuff on the table, just in less time, and with less waste, and also while building up by improvisation skills.

In order to keep myself motivated, I'm going to post my results to the WFD thread. I hope my reports are useful to someone else!

So here's Dispatch #1, from last night:

On Sunday night, the pickings in the kitchen were slim.
My one protein option: Frozen Dover Sole filets
Fresh Vegetables: A half-dozen small tomatoes, some spinach, half of a small purple cabbage
Plus: Whatever I could find in the cupboard/freezer.

Here's what I made:
- Quickly Pan-fried Fish (dredged in cornmeal only, no egg or other batter.)
- Tomato Okra Corn Stew (I found half a package of frozen corn in the freezer, along with an unopened jar of commercial pickled okra that was passed down to us by my in-laws. This dish is one of my favorite easy Southern-ish vegetable dishes. I toss the three main ingredients with garlic and/or onions, cumin, and coriander. Usually I use fresh or frozen okra, but the pickled ones were just sitting there, so I thought, why not? )
- Cole Slaw with Mayo
- Brown Rice

Outcome:
Success! Quick, delicious, and a complete meal. (My partner didn't think the slaw went well with everything else, but I think it's just because he isn't a cabbage fan.)

The pickled okra worked just fine in the dish. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of the jar! (Of course just eating those tart little beauties as-is is always an option.)

Bonus:
I also made a big pot of dal with some Tuver Dal that's been in the freezer forever. Used the spinach, some dried coconut, and spices (tumeric, cumin, and mustard). Will be good for lunches during the week.

Jun 20, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

Making stock in advance

Totally fine! Will last at least 5 days.

Feb 02, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

Advice on Oven-Smoking a Pork Shoulder for Pulled Pork?

My friends in Oklahoma just sent me a box of pecans from their pecan tree, and I thought, what better use for all these shells than smoking the boneless pork butt I have in the refrigerator. Problem: I live in an apartment in the city with no smoker and no outdoor grill. So I've been looking at instructions for doing smoking in the oven, like this one (based on a Bittman recipe):
http://www.instructables.com/id/Oven-...

However, all the instructions I've found (and their aren't a lot of them) are for ribs, and I haven't found any specific references to doing big hunks of pork in the oven/smoker. I'm looking for words of wisdom from people who might have tried this before.
Did it work?
Did you use a "foil tent"? A Dutch oven?
Did you marinate the meat first, or just rub?
Any other useful ideas?

Can't wait to try this.

Thanks in advance!

Feb 02, 2011
abijah in Home Cooking

Substitution for Hazelnuts?

I bet that almost any crunchy nut that you like would be just fine. Try almonds or walnuts.

Nov 23, 2010
abijah in Home Cooking

Chili-Apple Pie; Too weird?

The butter pie recipe to me sounded like the butter tarts I grew up eating on trips to eastern Ontario. According to Wikipedia, they're characteristically Canadian:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_tart
They were either plain or had additions -- my favorite addition was raisins.

Nov 20, 2010
abijah in Home Cooking

Please Help: Scratches in my Cast Iron pan. What do I do?

When I left the pan soaking with water for several hours, rust did show up in the scratches. (I don't normally leave my pans soaking, but I got a phone call in the middle of washing up, and cest la vie.) By the looks of the scratches, I'm afraid that they will cause sticking as well.

I think the difference between cutting cornbread and cutting pizza is that cornbread is fairly soft, whereas in order to cut the pizza, I was pressing directly down, very hard, going back and forth with a sharp blade. (I *hope* you don't have to do that with your cornbread!) I didn't have to *look* for scratches -- they are, like, big gashes staring me in the face.

Nov 20, 2010
abijah in Cookware

Dinner Party Ideas for Food-Restricted Guests

It might be in the book, but it is definitely on the site. Here's the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/din...

Enjoy!

Nov 20, 2010
abijah in Home Cooking

Please Help: Scratches in my Cast Iron pan. What do I do?

We love cast iron cookware, and have a collection of several sizes that we use for almost everything. I've never had to go through an initial seasoning process, however, because all our pans have been hand-me-downs.

Recently I baked a pizza in our largest pan (a real monster -- I love it), and cut it in the pan, using a wheel-blade pizza cutter. Big mistake! Now there are deep scratches in the cooking surface of the pan where I pressed especially hard with a pizza cutter.

I followed the instructions here:
http://www.ehow.com/how_5635297_remov...
which basically say to rub in oil, heat in the oven at 400 fro 30-40 minutes, and then allow to cool in the cooling oven. But when I took it out, I saw no improvement, and if anything, the scratches look a little angrier -- orangish in color.

Is there any way to restore the surface of the pan? Please? I am sick about this.

Nov 20, 2010
abijah in Cookware

Best Pumpkin Pie recipe?

My favorite is this gingery, cream cheesy, limey, walnuty (though a little complicated) one from chef Pichet Ong:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

Nov 19, 2010
abijah in Home Cooking

Need help with brussel sprouts, please

I was having a dinner party just the other day, and I did this. I roasted the sprouts a day ahead, refrigerated overnight, and then served them at room temperature at dinner. No need even to re-warm. Delicious -- everyone raved.

Nov 19, 2010
abijah in Home Cooking

1000 Islands Trip: Foodie Recommendations?

I'm a bit late to this conversation, but for great food, go to the Canadian side...best bet is Kingston. You can have a beautiful trip taking the American ferry (small and privately owned) to Wolfe Island from Cape Vincent, then drive (or bike) across the island, and take the Canadian ferry (large and government owned) to Kingston -- the boat drops you off at pier right downtown. (Or take the 1000 Islands bridge across for a little bit less romantic adventure, and more highway driving on the Canadian side.)

Kingston has a large and varied selection of restaurants. Chez Piggy is old, famous, and good, but there are others there for the researcher, and the town itself is just really pleasant to poke around in.

If you take the ferry, be sure to pick up some butter tarts (with or without raisins) at the little bakery near the dock in Marysville on Wolfe Island while you're waiting for the Canadian ferry to arrive. Delicious and homemade -- butter tarts are a specialty in this part of Canada.

Nov 19, 2010
abijah in New York State (exc. NYC)

Good sides for grilled or oven-roasted whole steelhead trout?

I just made a wonderful Preserved Lemon, Fennel, & Arugula salad that was a big hit at my dinner:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
I did not top it with the fish as the recipe calls for (it suggests either anchovies or smoked trout), and you wouldn't need to either, since the fish is already on the plate.

The catch is that you need to procure some homemade or store-bought preserved lemon, but it may just be worth it, since the brightness and acidity of the luscious preserved lemons go so nicely with an oily tasty fish like trout.

Nov 19, 2010
abijah in Home Cooking