mels's Profile

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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.

1 day ago
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
1

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.

May 30, 2014
mels in General Topics
2

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.

May 30, 2014
mels in General Topics
9

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
1

Let's ban these tomatoes!

I agree. Even worse is when you are served one of those hard round globes during the peak of tomato season. I know we (collectively) have been spoiled and can buy any fruit or vegetable we want at any time of the year. However, I have learned that some things are worth the year-long wait for. Tomatoes are one of them.

May 27, 2014
mels in General Topics
1

allergy free flours

Most flours will not contain soy, so I am assuming your son can't have any flour that is processed in a facility that also processes soy? I know King Arthur Gluten Free flour is processed in a facility that is free of common food allergens (soy, milk, eggs, gluten) but the downside is...it is gluten free flour. Have you considered grinding your own wheat? You may also find a local person who grinds wheat. Chances are they wouldn't be processing soy in the same facility if it is a small operation.

May 27, 2014
mels in Special Diets

How Many Food Stores?

I have 2 I do most of my shopping in: Whole Foods and BJ's (wholesale club). I pass both on my way home from work, so it is no big deal to hit up either of them. Also, I take part in a CSA which is where the bulk of my in-season veg and fruit comes from. Once in a great while I will go to the local supermarket chain (Stop and Shop) or Trader Joe's but I could live without either of those.

May 23, 2014
mels in General Topics

How germ phobic are you?

Married, no kids, so for the most part we are in control of the incoming germs. Living with one of those little Petri dishes would freak me out ;)

May 23, 2014
mels in General Topics
1

How germ phobic are you?

I am a 5, as I consider my germ avoiding practices to be neither fanatical nor lax. I always wash my hands the second I come home from being out in public (think grocery store) and I think that is probably the biggest reason why I am rarely sick with colds, flu, etc. I wash my hands before eating anything with my hands, which mostly comes into play at work. I do use a paper towel for the door when leaving public restrooms as I have seen way too many people forgo hand washing in that environment and I really don’t want to contract norovirus, thanyouverymuch.

I am a soap and water person, and don't love hand sanitizers. However, I travel some for work and after emerging from a bathroom stall in Baltimore Airport and finding there was zero soap in the place (!), I started keeping sanitizer in my bag for emergency purposes. I will use it in soapless bathrooms, before eating with my hands after milling about with the general public when I have no access to soap and water, and other times I deem my hands would ideally be washed before proceeding.

Raw meat is kept away from veg during meal prep (knives, boards). I wipe down the counters if I have been working with raw meat, and wash my hands immediately after I am finished touching raw meat.

Leftovers: anything up to a week old that has been properly refrigerated is fair game, except seafood. I won’t hold seafood for more than 2 days.

Floor food: If at home, I pick it up immediately, blow off the dog fur, and proceed. If at a restaurant, in my office or anywhere like that…NO WAY. I am not eating it.

I am in my late 30s and grew up with a mother who defrosted meat on the counter all day while she was at work (never got sick), I stashed my tuna sandwich in the classroom cubby without ice packs or any refrigeration (never got sick), plus I have a dog, so I try and keep things in perspective.

May 23, 2014
mels in General Topics

Do Canadians Eat More Healthily Than US Americans?

I have lived in both countries and don't see much of a difference in the way Canadians eat vs. those in the US. The same crap food fills most of the grocery store aisles in both countries.

May 19, 2014
mels in General Topics

Substituting almond milk for cow's milk in baking?

Thanks for the reassurance, everyone! I am glad it won't be an issue.

Apr 25, 2014
mels in Home Cooking