mels's Profile

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DIrty Family Secrets

When I grill larger supermarket chicken legs, it does take about 40 minutes and they are plenty juicy. I use charcoal and some direct and indirect heat to maximize the smokey flavor, so I am not blasting it on high on a gas grill for 45 minutes. If I get air chilled chicken legs from Whole Foods, they are significantly smaller and take way less time.

Aug 19, 2014
mels in General Topics

What makes you sick or react that you love?

All dairy. I love cheese and yogurt and butter, but we had to part ways. I did an elimination diet with my allergist: removing the most common food allergens from the diet for 3 weeks, then adding them back in one by one. I found that dairy makes me congested and makes my face break out in horrible acne. I have narrowed it down to a casein (milk protein) intolerance. If I have dairy, now I have to face the consequences, so I try and avoid it all together.

Aug 19, 2014
mels in General Topics

Is there a quality lunch spot near I-91 in MA/Pioneer Valley?

I'm looking for a "birthday lunch" spot on a weekday somewhere along I-91. I'll be en route to Connecticut and while I don't mind venturing a few miles off of I-91, I'd rather not veer too far from my main travel route. So what is a birthday lunch, you ask? I don't want my travel partner to have to eat a mediocre sad sandwich on the day of their birth but the place we stop does not need to be fancy...just quality food that tastes good. We both like every cuisine and are just as happy with well executed pub food as we are with delicious Indian food. We aren't picky at all, we just like good quality grub. Any ideas?

Aug 14, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Substituting ghee for butter in BAKING

I am resurrecting this old thread to say thank you, mollyholde! I have a casein (milk protein) intolerance- it does everything from making me congested to making my face break out in cystic acne, so I just avoid dairy all together. I am able to use ghee since the milk protein has been removed and am struggling to figure out how to adapt it to baked goods without conceding defeat and buying those awful vegan Earth Balance fake butter sticks. Coconut oil is fine in some things but honestly, I don't want that underlying coconut flavor in everything I bake. I will try the 60/40 ghee/butter ratio and report back with my results!

Aug 14, 2014
mels in Home Cooking

Bear's Smokehouse BBQ in downtown Hartford

I am admittedly not familiar with the original Bear's in Windsor but I heard that they opened up a second location in downtown Hartford, right next to Arch Street Tavern. Has anyone been yet?

Aug 06, 2014
mels in Southern New England

MEAT DONENESS -- then and now

Mom was the main cook. Then and now, she cooks everything until it is well done and dry as sawdust. Steaks, Thanksgiving turkey, pork...all well done and dry.

Now I usually do medium or medium-rare for steak, burgers, etc.

Aug 05, 2014
mels in General Topics

Musings on the relatively low activity on Southern New England Board

I agree with the others who have noted the geographic area on this board is too wide. I live in Greater Hartford/central CT and 9 times out of 10 when I come to this board, the majority of posts I see are about places I don't live or frequent. The Cape probably drives 50% of the traffic on this board. I'll chime in if there is a discussion about something in my area but those times are few and far between.

Aug 01, 2014
mels in Southern New England

A better idea for Dunkin Donuts

I know people all have their preferences but I really can't stomach DD coffee. I say this as a New Englander who sees a DD on every block. It has a weird (burnt?) taste to me. The word "acrid" comes to mind. I would rather have coffee from the local gas station than DD.

Jul 25, 2014
mels in Food Media & News

Fresh Bratwurst/Knockwurst in Hartford area?

I've been to Noack's, which was great when I worked in Wallingford, but is out of my way these days. I was hoping to find something similar closer to home.

Jul 16, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Fresh Bratwurst/Knockwurst in Hartford area?

Old thread but I used the Chowhound search feature and came to this post. Is Adolf's still the best bet for fresh brats in the Hartford area?

Jul 15, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Wha do you put in your brown baggie?

I am desperately in love with this roasted chickpea and kale salad from Serious Eats. It is so unbelievably good. I've been switching up the herbs lately (yes, I make this a lot) because I have fresh basil and parsley coming out of the wazoo in my garden:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/02/ve...

Jul 15, 2014
mels in Home Cooking

Procaccinis - East Hartford, CT

I feel like I get a coupon offer (Groupon or SaveNowCT) to this place in my email every other day. Sounds like a solid "Meh".

Jul 14, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Refreezing meat that defrosted

Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate it!

Jul 09, 2014
mels in General Topics

Refreezing meat that defrosted

I know chicken can turn fast BUT most grocery stores sell previously frozen chicken to shoppers who then buy it, come home, and re-freeze that chicken. Why aren't we all dropping like flies? If you have ever bought a package of raw chicken at the grocery store and put it in the freezer, you have done the exact thing we are warned against. I tried to Google it but can't find out the scientific reason why we are told not to refreeze raw chicken, yet most of us unknowingly do it.

Jul 09, 2014
mels in General Topics

Refreezing meat that defrosted

If it has been kept cold, why can't it be re-frozen? I ask this in all seriousness. I know "They" always say not to, but I don't understand why, from a scientific standpoint, this can't be done. At my grocery store, there will be packaged Perdue (thawed) raw chicken breasts in the refrigerator case. They were shipped frozen and the grocery store sells them thawed/unfrozen. Many people take this chicken home, then re-freezes it. How are we all not dying from food poisoning?

Edited to add: if the meat was kept cold and not thawed for long, I would refreeze it.

Jul 09, 2014
mels in General Topics

Onions. Do you "count" them as a vegetable when planning a meal?

I never count the onion as a vegetable, nor do I include tomato sauce (say, marinara on pasta for instance). As much as I like onions, I am guessing most dishes I eat them in wouldn't contain enough to count as "1 serving" of veg like a cup of broccoli would. As for the tomato sauce, I have no rhyme or reason why I don't count it.

Jul 08, 2014
mels in General Topics

Strawberry Season in Connecticut

2014: quart of strawberries is going for $7 at Rose's Berry farm, $6.50/qt at Deercrest Farm. I would still rather pay that much that eat a Driscoll's berry! Strawberries are one of those things that I need to eat in-season/local or not at all...tomatoes also fall into that category for me.

Jul 08, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Fried clams

I love the clams at Flander's Fish market in East Lyme. Their other seafood dishes are pretty good but not the absolute best. However, their clams (both strips and whole bellies) are fantastic. They always seem to get the breading just right and no clumps.

Jun 13, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Anyone ever had garlic turn blue-green while cooking?

The blue garlic phenomenon happened to me once. I cook with a lot of garlic regularly and it scared the hell out of me when all of a sudden my saute pan was filled with bright blue/green garlic. After a quick Google, I decided I would not die from said blue garlic and ate whatever the dish was I was cooking. It hasn't happened since so I don't know how I happened to hit the sulfur/acid/copper trifecta that one time.

Jun 13, 2014
mels in General Topics

Hot Pepper Jelly

Quite honestly, out of all of the stuff I make from scratch, jellies aren't high on my priority list. I'm lazy and will continue to buy the commercial stuff!

Jun 13, 2014
mels in General Topics

Hot Pepper Jelly

Thank you to all who have posted their recommended commercial hot pepper jelly brands. I have found most to be way too sweet with not enough "hot", and I have tried everything from Stonewall Kitchen's $8 jar to a local farm stands homemade stuff. Usually I remedy the bunk jar by adding a little ground cayenne pepper. Once that rehydrates and gets stirred in well, it offsets the overabundance of sugar.

For the record, my favorite hot pepper jelly usage is smeared on a piece of aged cheddar. Sublime.

Jun 11, 2014
mels in General Topics

Dairy free: need a tangy feta substitute

Whoops!

Jun 06, 2014
mels in Special Diets

Anything to look for in Aldis?

I remembered something else I get from Aldi's...canned pumpkin! I feed it to my dog daily. Regular grocery store (Stop & Shop) sells it for $1.89/can. Whole Foods is cheaper (!) at $1.69/can. Aldi's comes in at $0.99. SCORE! This is obviously pure pumpkin for the pooch, not canned pumpkin pie filling.

Jun 05, 2014
mels in Chains

Dairy free: need a tangy feta substitute

HOLD THE PHONES! I have discovered a recipe for a vegan feta on the Vegetarian Times website. It uses blanched almonds as the base. Coming off my recent success of making a cashew-based vegan queso (recipe from theppk.com), I think I will try this feta soon.

Here is the link to the almond feta recipe: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe...

Jun 05, 2014
mels in Special Diets
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Anything to look for in Aldis?

I generally just buy produce at Aldi. Last week I was able to buy avocados on sale for $0.69/each which is the cheapest I have ever seen them. I live in Connecticut and usually avocados on sale are $1/each and normal price is more like $2/each. I also picked up a 3 lb bag of sweet potatoes for $1.29, which I have seen there on sale for $0.99 before.

Jun 04, 2014
mels in Chains

Dairy free: need a tangy feta substitute

Thanks for the interesting ideas! I will play around a little and report back.

Jun 02, 2014
mels in Special Diets

I scream, You scream... What are you pet peeves about ice cream?

+1 on the vanilla. I love a good vanilla, as in containing actual vanilla. I am not a fan of the generic white/sweet ice cream (tastes like creamy sugar) that passes for vanilla flavor all too often.

I scream, You scream... What are you pet peeves about ice cream?

Cheap chocolate (chips or chunks) in ice cream is the worst. If you isolate the dark brown disks, they taste kind of plastic-ish and definitely not like chocolate. I will take a soft ribbon of chocolate (think fudge swirl) over those chocolate-esque hard pieces any day.

Dairy free: need a tangy feta substitute

I have a recently discovered dairy intolerance (milk protein/casein, not lactose) and have had to go completely dairy free. For now, this includes all milk: cow, sheep, goat. I have been doing OK with the dietary change except for feta. I miss feta. I previously ate many dishes where feta provided that tang which would balance the other flavors. These are a couple of my favorite feta recipes to give you an example of what I mean:
http://www.chow.com/recipes/30566-swi...
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

Now feta is off the table, dishes like the salads above are going to be missing something. What could I use to strike the right balance in a dairy free manner? I have read online about soaking extra firm tofu in some sort of brine which is a possibility, though I try to keep my soy consumption to a minimum. Are there any other creative ideas out there that I am not thinking of?

May 30, 2014
mels in Special Diets

What is it with Americans and speculoos?

I have traveled for work for the past few years and the only thing enjoyable about flying with Delta is receiving a pack of Biscoff cookies, which I then dunk into the horrid Delta coffee. The combination is magical and I am not proud. Fast forward to last year when my sister in law was raving about the speculoos spread from Trader Joe's.She cracked open a jar and I asked "Why is TJ's selling Delta cookies in spreadable form?".

May 27, 2014
mels in General Topics
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