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jenhen2's Profile

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Options for Wedding Cake?

You should call a bakery you like and tell them you need a cake for 30 people. Don't tell them it's a wedding. Just a party. When people hear wedding cake, it's like an automatic 200% mark up. I would think you could serve 30 for between $75 and $125 for a basic 10-12 inch round 2 layer cake.

SF / Napa without Kids!

Thanks everyone - these are great suggestions! I saw Nopalito on a show recently and made a note to check it out.

As far as Chinese, I know SF has a huge Chinatown, so was thinking more of a classic SF place. I don't love Chinese but hubby does. In New York, I think Joe's Shanghai would be the type of place I'm thinking of, but you guys have listed some good places to check out so I'll start there.

Grayelf, thanks so much for the visitor recommendations too. Great ideas! Thanks everyone - we can't wait to eat our way through No-Cal! :)

SF / Napa without Kids!

My husband are I are coming without the kids to SF for 3 days and Napa for 4. Staying in Union Square and Yountville. Looking for recommendations on Mexican, Seafood and Chinese in SF and general recs in Napa area for lunch / dinners. Not too fancy, but classic CA is preferred.

Also, bonus for restaurants near other attractions we might want to experience (Fisherman's Warf, Coit Tower, etc.)

We're coming from NYC where we have access to lots of general hipster/trendy places so aiming for things we couldn't get at home.
Thank you!

Are you the main shopper/cook at home?

I feel the same way. With a 1 year old, a 4 year old, a husband and a more than full time job, it's too much sometimes. I'll ask my husband what he wants for dinner and act like I'm a restaurant cook. Pick something and I'll make it delicious but I can't be creative!!! He'll say pork chops for example so we'll get pan seared pork chops (supermarket thin ones - not the best I know) and I'll sautee onions and apples to top with along with steamed broccoli and rice pilaf or sweet potatoes. Not the most amazing meal ever but I've given them something healthy that tastes good and took me 45 mins. I try to consider those wins.

When I did get creative it was to make my first Italian grain pie for hubby for Easter. It took 4 days, lots of ingredients I had to mail order (orange water, citron, etc) and was just ok. Definitely not worth the effort and making me think twice about my ambition in the kitchen!! Go figure!

Apr 07, 2015
jenhen2 in Not About Food

ISO advice from seasoned cookie bakers and/or crafty types

I did this for 4-5 year olds recently. For cut outs, I suggest you have them baked and let the girls decorate with royal icing you have in prepared piping bags. I use smitten kitchen chocolate brownie cookies and the sugar cookie recipe from haniela's (google her name). I would also suggest having pre made choc chip cookie dough without anything mixed in and let the girls do chips, nuts, etc and roll and bake. You might also enjoy some jam thumbprints - I have an old recipe from joy of cooking I like. You can make the dough and let the girls roll, poke with thumbs and fill with jam. I think those three projects would be plenty. Give the girls 15 mins at each "station" then take a 10 min break to bake and then rotate stations. It sounds like a very fun party!!!

Nov 28, 2014
jenhen2 in Home Cooking
1

Rolled Cookie Recipe for Favors

Thanks so much! This is very, very helpful! The instructions for the transfers say they work best on buttercream, so your idea sounds just right. I'll do a test run and see how it goes. Thanks so much!

Aug 26, 2014
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Rolled Cookie Recipe for Favors

It's my in-laws 50th anniversary and I ordered some 2-inch round edible prints of their wedding photo. I thought I'd put them on iced, rolled sugar cookies and wrap them in baggies to give as favors. I am a good baker and make a lot of cakes, pies and drop cookies, but never that great at rolled cookies. Any recipes and / or advice before I embark on this project? Party is in October, so I have some time. Thank you!

Aug 25, 2014
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

What companies make the best food processors

Since you're asking about something besides the Robot Coupe, I would say that Cooks Illustrated likes the Kitchen Aid food processor. I believe it was top rated last time.

Personally, I prefer the Cuisenart. I have one that's about 10 years old and going strong (not made by robot coupe), but I lust after the bigger new ones. Someday, I will upgrade!

Sep 06, 2013
jenhen2 in Cookware

Pre Prom Party this Saturday (yes today is Friday)

With pulled pork, add slaw and potato salad and you should be good to go. Sounds fun!

May 31, 2013
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

What favorite food is such a labor of love, time, technique or even money that rarely make it but when you do…

Would you be willing to share your Spanikopita recipe? I'm in desperate need of a good spinach pie!

May 22, 2013
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Coconut Oil

It's great for a carrot cake recipe - just sub out the oil. Nice, tropical flavor. I love it!

May 08, 2013
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Frosting ideas for chocolate cake

I've always liked the idea of trying a malt flavored frosting like this one: http://www.chow.com/recipes/12230-tri...

But if you're looking to incorporate fruit with the chocolate, I would think a later of jam used as "frosting" under the 7 minute icing would be a nice surprise. I always like how white the plain frosting looks against the chocolate cake layers.

May 08, 2013
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Ideas for party snacks: no oven or fridge

Thanks everyone! These are all great ideas. I'll definitely do some nuts and the pretzel bites are a great idea, too! And I'll do some kind of savory palmier - the pesto sounds delish and juliejulez linked to a prosciutto one that also looked good.

I know parties aren't all about the food, but it is my husband's 40th and I'd like people to really enjoy everything. I love to cook so that's part of the fun for me. Also, I am making a red velvet cake in the shape of a turntable with some fondant records of oldies that he loves. I hope it will be great!

Thanks again for all the advice and help!!

Apr 24, 2013
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Ideas for party snacks: no oven or fridge

I am hosting a party at a bar for my husband's 40th birthday. It will be in the back room at a pub with French doors that open onto the patio. The bar does not serve food, but will allow me to bring in my own. The party will be from 2:30 - 7pm, and will include several kids and about 30 adults.

Due to the timing, I don't need to serve a full meal, but I did want to provide some snacks and small bites that people can nosh on as they hang out. Any ideas for easy-to-eat items that can be out at room temp for a while?

I am thinking of hummus and pita chips, veggies and dips, and maybe a Greek pasta salad with oil and lemon dressing (thinking the kids would like the pasta). Other thoughts/ideas please!!

Many thanks!

Apr 23, 2013
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Keeping fresh bagels fresh

Freezing is the best way. I usually slice them before I freeze them and then put them directly in the toaster. Refrigerating them dries them out, in my experience.

Feb 18, 2013
jenhen2 in General Topics

Food to have on hand for the boyfriend

You sound like a real gem! What lucky girls!

Jan 11, 2013
jenhen2 in General Topics

Push Bottom Cheesecake Pan

Getting ready for holidays and really contemplating this one. Any experience / thoughts on whether this would work? There are no reviews on the KAF website yet, but I'm desperate!

Nov 07, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware

Need dessert ideas to go with posole

Tres leches cake is cool and creamy and pretty easy, more room for error than with flan, too!

Nov 05, 2012
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Declining a dinner invite tactfully

I completely agree with lisafv. This is a great answer and I think a very mature approach!

Oct 31, 2012
jenhen2 in Not About Food

Push Bottom Cheesecake Pan

Has anyone tried this new push bottom cheesecake pan from King Arthur? It sounds like a great idea, but I wonder if it will really work as advertised. Any thoughts? Thanks!

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...

Oct 10, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware

How does the Vitamix 300 or 750 do at chopping?

I have used my 750 to chop salad stuff before. I think I put it on 2 or 3 speed and used pulse. It was great! I made a chopped broccoli slaw and also used it to chop onions and garlic for tomato sauce and also carrots for something. I love using it to chop and clean up is a snap!

Aug 25, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware

Self-Catering a Wedding for 100?

I think your menu generally sounds lovely, however, I would suggest a little heavier on the apps. People are used to mingling and grazing during the cocktail portion of a wedding reception, I think, and adding some meats/salami, a veggie/dip platter, spiced nuts by the bar (purchased from Trader Joes to make it easier), and some other light pickings would probably be a good idea. Use no-cook options here to make it easier, too.

Also, I would recommend trying to enlist the advice of a professional, even if they don't do the actual catering. Call the Institute of Culinary Education or similar school and ask if a recent grad or teacher would advise you. Food safety for 125 people, especially when they are guests at your wedding and reheating is involved, is a very big deal and different from just a regular dinner party, I would think. Maybe a professional can give you tips, suggest menu items, or help you plan strategies for serving that will ensure it goes off without a hitch. I would think someone would spend 2-3 hours with you for $200 bucks or so, well worth it to be armed with a great plan, I would think.....

Congratulations and good luck!!

Aug 19, 2012
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Make ahead party food

It's probably best to think about the whole menu first and then focus on what can be done months, weeks, days in advance. That way you don't end up with a bunch of random things you've make in advance that don't really go together. Depending on how many you're expecting and the style of your event, I would suggest a menu like the following:

Cheese, cracker & charcuterie platter (include the fig puree described by the other poster)
Veggie / dip platter - make the dip a couple days in advance
Gluten-Free Stuffed Mushrooms - use the caps to make the filling with parsley, onion, garlic and some parmesan cheese; make filling in advance, but I would assemble and bake them the week of
Mini lasagna sounds good - some veg, some meat to be made in advance and fozen
Spinach pies - made ahead and frozen
Marinated chicken, beef or lamb skewers - bbqed the day before and served room temp with dipping sauce
3-bean or couscous salad of some kind (I also do a brocoli slaw for parties and everyone loves it. Smitten Kitchen has a great recipe) - veg and GF and can be made several days before
Fruit salad or platter - assembled day of / day before
Small cookies to snack on before or after cake - these can be made in advance and frozen

Hope that helps! Congrats on the wedding - very exciting!

Aug 16, 2012
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

Bran Muffin - Give me your best!

this place by my office makes delicious bran muffins - moist, flavorful, slightly honey flavored. I would add raisins myself, but for a dollar, I'm not going to be picky. I'd love to make them myself, but don't want to buy a whole box of all-bran just to male one batch of muffins, which is what cooks illustrated would have me do. Please, any ideas? Thank you!

Jun 23, 2012
jenhen2 in Home Cooking

What to buy from King Arthur Flour catalog

I have this and love it! Go for it!

Jun 23, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware

Gigino at Wagner park or Crispo for outdoor birthday dinner.

I went to Crispo with a party of 6 and sat in their back patio recently and it was way, way too loud.i don't know what the deal is with the acoustics, but no one in our party enjoyed it, despite the great food and wine. We even asked the waiter what the deal was and he said he was having a tough time too and that people were just loud. He looked miserable. I don't know if that was just a fluke or what, but it made for a truly terrible experience that would definitely ruin you birthday. For what it's wortt, I'm 33 and generally not overly sensitive to noise.

Jun 23, 2012
jenhen2 in Manhattan

Do you think I should exchange my Vitamix Professional Series 500 for a Vitamix Series Professional Series 750 blender?

I got my 750 yesterday!! Wow! It is some machine and I am enjoying it tremendously! Thanks for all your input. Now, let the fun begin!!

Jun 16, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware

Do you think I should exchange my Vitamix Professional Series 500 for a Vitamix Series Professional Series 750 blender?

Thanks so much - your input is REALLY, REALLY helpful. Now I just have to convince hubby to pull the trigger on this awesome machine. Happy blending!

Jun 11, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware

Do you think I should exchange my Vitamix Professional Series 500 for a Vitamix Series Professional Series 750 blender?

I totally know what you mean on purchasing philosophy, and I think along the same lines. I'm glad to hear you use the presets. I am thinking I would, too, and it is a handsome machine! One last question if you don't mind - did you get or do you plan to get the smaller container or the grain container? Thanks!

Jun 11, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware

Do you think I should exchange my Vitamix Professional Series 500 for a Vitamix Series Professional Series 750 blender?

1marcus4 - on the 750, how often do you use the presets? I have a toddler and am thinking that to set it and walk away (even on clean) would be worth the extra $100, but I'm on the fence between the Pro 300 and 750 - any thoughts as a 750 owner?

Jun 11, 2012
jenhen2 in Cookware