corneygirl's Profile

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Do-it-yourself recipe kits to mail to family with a new baby?

Basically - it's the same as grain alone. The only difference is to account for the amount of additional ingredients. If I'm doing a rice that is 1.5 times water to rice I just add 1.5 times rice and other ingredients. If you pack these up in 1/2 pint mason jars it's an easy adjustment. The cooking time and method is the same as for the grain alone - although I wouldn't use the pasta method for cooking the grains.

Nov 09, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Do-it-yourself recipe kits to mail to family with a new baby?

I've made different meal kits both as a gift and to take camping. I choose a grain, add dehydrated vegetables (dry veg. soup from a natural food store works, Amish/Mennonite stores around here sell different bulk dried veg. too), and bullion powder, different spice blends and a bonus ingredient. For example, barley with dehydrated mushrooms, rice with curry powder and dried apricots. Easy, only requires adding water and easy to ship.

Pasta/noodles in soups

Homestyle egg noodles that are bought frozen hold up better. If I'm planning well I keep pasta separate, but when I don't something like these thick, chewy noodles holdup better than the alternatives: http://www.reamesfoods.com FWIW they are more like what I think of as a dumpling in texture, although the shape is noodleish (and I'm not entirely sure about where the line lies).

Nov 04, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking
1

NE IA recent recommendations Marquette - McGregor - Guttenburg

We ended up going to the Irish Shanti. What a great find - NE Iowa is beautiful, but finding a good meal can be dodgy! B had a black and blue burger and I tried the luck of the irish. A couple of Dorthy's Lagers to alongside and we were happy and more than sated after a long hike earlier in the day. We'll go back next time we're in the area for sure!

Oct 28, 2014
corneygirl in Great Plains

Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

I haven't tried to get deli containers, but I have bought take out containers from a chinese place. Initially it was for centerpieces at a party, but I've given baked goods and taken dip type contributions to parties in them as well. I think I bought 20 or 30 for $5 from the takeout place on the corner. Really cheap, but in a manageable quantity. I've seen them for sale by the piece or 3 or else the hundreds but nothing that meets my quantity/economy standards as well as the local takeout joint.

Oct 27, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking
1

Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

It's the planning that is the most useful. I have very limited commercial experience, but anticipating a couple steps a head of time and staging things for that moment is the most important skill. Being able to look at a meal (or a series of tickets) and knowing what needs to be done in what order so that things finish at the right time. It's harder at home where the burners aren't as hot and mistakes can't be remedied as easily by covering a pan. But if somebody eating in my home complained like a customer I have a lot of recourse ;)

Oct 23, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Surprisingly simple ingredients you make, never buy

Tomato based sauces. I use canned tomatoes in the off-season (most of the year) but it is still a super fast dinner. Oil or butter, garlic or onion or both, maybe some veg that needs to be used. Herb/spices (red pepper flakes at a minimum, oregano/basil/parsley/fennel etc. based on inventory and mood). Maybe some olives and/or capers or jarred roasted peppers. Never the same twice, always similar.

I always make spice blends, like taco seasoning or cajun seasoning.

Salad dressing - usually oil and vinegar is good enough, on occasion I'll make a caesar or blue cheese.

Oct 23, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

NE IA recent recommendations Marquette - McGregor - Guttenburg

Thanks - these are great leads. We're going up this weekend, so I'll see what we get to.

Oct 22, 2014
corneygirl in Great Plains

NE IA recent recommendations Marquette - McGregor - Guttenburg

We were there maybe two years ago - it was pretty good. SO liked it a bit more then I did, but I'm not big on buffet. It's still a pretty cool place, but after the fires its not quite the same ambiance.

Oct 22, 2014
corneygirl in Great Plains

NE IA recent recommendations Marquette - McGregor - Guttenburg

It looks as though all the recs for NE Iowa are several years old. Anybody have new suggestions? We usually camp and cook over the fire or settle for whatever burger we come across. Anything worth going out of our way for or anything new worth checking out? We're spending the weekend in Marquette, but we'll be driving around to fish and hike so anything in 30 mile radius is fair game! Brunch, dinner, great taverns...

Oct 21, 2014
corneygirl in Great Plains

[Iowa/Illinois] Quad Cities or Iowa City bread?

In Iowa City New Pioneer Coop is my favorite. They also have a location in Coralville and are opening one in Cedar Rapids soon. Bread Garden also makes fresh bread - I haven't had it for a while and didn't like it as much when I last tried it. The farmers market on Wed. and Sat. (in season) has several good options. I don't know about the quad cities.

Oct 20, 2014
corneygirl in Great Plains

Sheepshead Cafe Iowa City

This was all before my time in IC but I love the history of the town. That's a great artifact!

Oct 18, 2014
corneygirl in Great Plains

Great Farro ideas?

I completely forgot about this thread! I ended up using it a lot like barley (with beef and mushrooms)- I've tried once or twice more and I like the texture a bit better than barley, but being cheap I stick with barley (which I'm quite fond of). Funny to think that quinoa used to be cheaper than this - just saw it for $9 a pound in the bulk section. Thanks for all the responses over time!

Oct 18, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

How to Handle and Cut up a Carnival Squash

If you don't want to microwave, or if you want to get through the 20 a bit faster you can also shove them in the oven for a bit. I don't have a microwave and just shove them in the oven at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes. I don't bother to preheat, but I have gas. Softens just enough to get a knife through.

Sep 30, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Couple leaves 150 percent tip for bad service

If I had the means, then I would given this situation. It's not a servers fault if the restaurant is understaffed - if they can keep it together with 12 tables, that's amazing. I wouldn't characterize the server as sub par - although the service might have been (due to circumstances beyond servers control). I also wouldn't publicize the fact that I left a generous tip in any manner.

Sep 30, 2014
corneygirl in Food Media & News

Dinner Menu for Wine Club Gathering

Along the lines of chicken cacciatore, chicken boulliabase is also a nice braised option that would match with a variety of wines. Here is the version I like to make...
http://kitchenmusings.com/2008/03/04/...

Sep 24, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Dinner Menu for Wine Club Gathering

Any type of wine makes me think something like a couple roast chickens or individual cornish game hens might be good. A nice salad or some green beans and bread and the main would be covered.

Also since its fall and soup is on my mind what about a soup served from a large punching (or maybe small individual squash). This is the one I'm thinking of...

http://www.omaha.com/go/dining/omavor...

but there are a million versions if you search. I would go with bread and salad. Only thing here is being okay with a veggie main.

My go to dinner party dessert is usually an almond cake. Or else I just buy something. Get some nice chocolate and fruit and plate it nicely, maybe with a little whip cream.

I'll leave cheese boards to someone else! Sounds like fun! Just pick things your comfortable making and it should be great!

Sep 21, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

I agree with no hard and fast rules - I don't think the 11 person 'experiment' proves anything. If you usually eat supermarket tomatoes a chilled farmers market heirloom will be pretty great. If you can id heirlooms in a blind taste-test, maybe the chilled won't rate. Personally, I mostly binge on fresh high quality tomatoes in the summer. In which case I don't refrigerate. A great sale on cherry/grape tomatoes in the depth of winter? Stock them up and keep them cool.

Sep 15, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Signs of a NOT Authentic Chinese Restaurant

This is very true in the college town I live in. The official menus are pretty much identical, although preparations vary a little from place to place. Many (if not most) also tack up hand written Chinese signs behind the counter. There is a good number of Chinese students here, and so they generally order off those menus and tell their American friends what is good where and how to ask for it.

Sep 13, 2014
corneygirl in General Topics

Red wine with America beef stew .

That really hasn't been my experience. I wouldn't use a whole large bottle for my main braising liquid, but .5 or 1 cup helps to bring out those alcohol soluble flavors without adding a lot of flavor on its own. In general I never spend a lot of money on wine I cook with and I've never had a bad result. YMMV

Sep 10, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Red wine with America beef stew .

Dry vermouth ($2-$4 a bottle) is a good sub in recipes that call for wine. I like wine and usually have a bit of something around when I need it for cooking, but I like to keep a bottle of dry vermouth for those times when I don't or when beer or red wine don't fit the bill. It isn't the same as red wine, but it will work to bring out those flavors only soluble in alcohol and won't add a lot of sugar or oak like an untested red wine might.

Sep 08, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking
1

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

The real question is not about the value/cost of cooking for your family, but the assumption of who does it. The tyranny isn't dinner, but the fact that women are the ones who are supposed to provide it (and work a full time job and maybe raise kids [with or without a partner]). This is a rhetorical argument, where MANY (most?) families don't fit the paradigm but the message is still very gendered.

The Downside of Sharing Recipes...

I think a lot of people have difficult cooking circumstances or dietary biases and don't realize how much this holds them back. I have someone very dear to me who is thinks won't cook with salt - I've tried to explain that if you aren't using pre-made ingredients then the dish won't be high sodium to no avail. I also have close family with a very 'cool' but poorly functioning stove/oven so they don't get adequate heat for caramelization on anything. If people aren't confident in their cooking skills they blame the recipe and maybe themselves, when really it's tools (or biases).

Aug 29, 2014
corneygirl in Not About Food

Hoping that New York chowhounds are using discretion with their recommendations

How great would your charming vacation village be if the locals had that attitude. Chowhound is about sharing, if you don't like it don't read it and don't share. I'm sure you hope that midwestern 'hicks' like myself stick to the chains, but some of travel to get experiences we can't at home.

Fascinating cooking tips and advice

If a pan is too or awkward for the stove you can pour boiling water on it. If I let the stove top get really nasty I'll boil a couple pots of water **carefully** put the stove top in the bathtub and then pour the water over. It looks ALOT better and no nasty chemicals or blisters (if you're careful).

Aug 13, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Best Grill Substitution

Ditto the cast iron - and/or broiler. Basically, you want high heat so either heating a cast iron griddle or skillet for a while (like 20 minutes) before cooking or using the high direct heat of a broiler can work. I have a tiny old gas stove, so when I want to 'grill' something I heat my skillet in the oven set to Broil for and then pop the chicken in that under the broiler.

Aug 07, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Mushroom sauce for pappardelle (NO cream or tomatoes)

I usually pan roast mushrooms in a cast iron skillet and once they're really cooked blitz in the food processor. Broth, brandy/vermouth to thin it out. I really like to grind up the cheap dried shrooms from asian markets into a powder and add the powder to anything with mushrooms. It isn't obvious in the results, but it really pushes the shroomy flavor up.

Aug 07, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Cold Brewing Coffee Without the Toddy?

Lately we've been using our french press. Aren't too precise (about 2 inches of grounds) and exact amounts depend on the beans and grind we are using at that moment.

Aug 04, 2014
corneygirl in Home Cooking

Discrimination in Restaurants - does it influence where you dine?

It depends… Ideally I would say 'yes', but due to the vagaries of practice in OP I can't. However, if somebody I know has been mistreated or witnessed it first hand I boycott. Additionally, if I've heard many negative stories about the same place from different, unrelated sources I boycott.I used to work service, and I have good friends who still do. I defer to their experiences.

Jul 31, 2014
corneygirl in Not About Food

Iowa City IA Fine Dining?

There really isn't a fine dining place I'm in love with any more. Orchard Green is always good, but a little 'old school', Devotay is nice small plates - but to eat the equivalent of a normal meal is fairly pricey (usually 40 or 50 before drinks). I've heard more good than bad about Baroncinnis, but never been.

For moderately priced I like the Bluebird. They label as a diner, but the dinners are great. The specials are often really interesting, the steak frites is great (and nice value) and everything else has been pretty awesome. It's a casual environment with not so casual food and they have nice drinks to go along with it.

Jul 31, 2014
corneygirl in Great Plains