al b. darned's Profile

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Southern VT report

Thanks, Joanie. Kinda like a trip down Memory Lane.

Been to the Pot Belly Pub many a time in my youth, and I worked at the Country Girl Diner for a spell as a dishwasher and all-around grunt after flunking out of college the first time.

The Country Girl has been there forever and was owned by Dolly Moore when I worked there. At that time all the pies and cakes were made by Dolly's mother-in-law, Avis, who had to have been in her 70s at that point. She made some of the best carrot cake I've ever had.

Do they still have a huge coffee urn right next to the door leading out to the kitchen?

There's No Such Thing As Bad…

>>>
... We LOVED Vera's Villa Valona in Crockett, right next to the bridge across the Carquinas Strait. ...
<<<

I'm pretty sure that's the place! I was there from the early March to the end of June 1973. You and your dude you look me up! I'd have even picked up the tab!

Jul 17, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

There's No Such Thing As Bad…

>>>
2. Ice cream. Even the crappy dollar store ice cream is probably good. Admit it.
<<<

After giving it some thought, I agree with you as long as it's REAL ice cream, not that watered-down crap that they now have to label "frozen dairy dessert." And that garbage that babette feasts mentioned in her post isn't even on the radar.

Having said that, however, we don't have ice cream in the house very often, therefore if I'm buying it for personal consumption I will spend the money for ice cream without fillers,extenders or other unnecessary ingredients, even if they are "natural." (carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan, etc.)

There's No Such Thing As Bad…

Every now and again you'll hear someone make that ludicrous comment about a food item that they really love, that, no matter how badly you think it is prepared, they would choose (insert food item here) over anything else, given the choice.

I think the first one I ever heard was, "There is no such thing as bad pizza." Well, I beg to differ! I'm not talking chain pizza, though the person who made that comment did include chain pizza in his comment. I'm talking about places that should know better. Back in the early 70s I was in Navy school in Great Lakes, Ill. Every night the Roach Coach made the rounds of the barracks and dispensed some of the worst tasting pizza I've ever had in my life! The consensus was the box it came in would probably be better. We chalked it up to the delivery, believing that nobody could make pizza taste that nasty on purpose. Then one day we went to the (allegedly Italian) restaurant just outside the gate where the pizza came from and ordered a "hot and fresh" pie. After trying it "in person" we came to the conclusion the cardboard box actually improved the flavor!

This experience so tainted my perception of "off-base" food that it was a couple of months before I tried the pizza place just outside the gate at my next school in Vallejo, Calif., despite the urging of a couple of my friends. I couldn't believe the difference! This was some of the best pizza I've ever had, and even today I fondly remember my "California Pizza Experience."

Do you believe there is, "No such thing as bad (whatever)"? What is it? Conversely, have you debunked such a statement?

BTW - I'm not talking about a good recipe that just turned out badly due to some mistake in the preparation. I'm talking about an item that was made "properly," and one that the preparer is (mistakenly) proud of.

What other food related Absolutes have you heard of? The floor is now open for nominations.

Jul 14, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Wait, you mean everyone doesn't . . .

My mother did pie dough effortlessly as well, and still does even at 87, I have never been able to make a satisfactory pie crust. Then in the mid-80s, a friend of mine who was an excellent cook fessed up to using premade pie shells. She said she could make a very good piecrust but it wasn't enough better than the Pet Ritz available in the local Stop & Shop to make the effort worth it. I have used those and the Pillsbury version ever since, and nobody has ever complained about any pie that I've ever made.

Jul 14, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Wait, you mean everyone doesn't . . .

Great story, Will.

Though Springfield, Vermont was a fairly large town by Vermont standards in the 1960s, it was still pretty small, and the only pizza we knew of came in a box as well. In our house, however, it was Appian Way. We always made two boxes at a time on a rectangular cookie sheet. Nothing fancy, just sauce, cheese, and sometimes (as a special treat), pepperoni.

But times have changed, and I'm not nostalgic for the "good old days." There is to much good pizza around here for me to waste my time with pizza from a box. Besides, it involves dealing with dough, and that never turns out well for me.

Jul 14, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Paula Deen Resurfaces Brownface Photo, Leans Into New Identity as America's Racist Grandma

Much ado about nothing!

Fresh seafood sticker shock.

I don't get the hype over halibut sheets. I bought some last summer when my fishmonger was featuring them. To me they were not much different than scallops for at least double the price. If they come around again I think I'll pass.

Jun 20, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Fresh seafood sticker shock.

My fishmonger here in Syracuse had Copper River Salmon on sale this week for "only" $20.99 a pound, normally $22.99 a pound.

A lot of his fish is in the $20 a pound or more range.

Jun 20, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Wusthof Ridge Chef's Knife -- Worthwhile or Gimmick?

Okay, now that all the Knife Snobs have chimed in, allow someone who actually owns one to offer a rebuttal.

After reading all the reviews on Amazon, I asked the Birthday Chicken for this very knife. As a right-hander, I was unconcerned about the negative comments made by left-handed users/readers.

Well, the BC came through and I find that for slicing and chopping vegetables (which I do often) I reach for this knife more than any other in my block. The combination of the holes in the ridge really do keep things from sticking. This is particularly appreciated when preparing onions or potatoes.

Yes, it's stamped steel, but then so are several of the knives rated highly by Cooks Illustrated. It has a comfortable grip and is properly balanced. It was properly sharpened right out of the package and I've had no problem keeping a good edge on it since.

Is this the one knife for all reasons? No, of course not! As an old-timer told me many decades ago, "The right tool for the right job." But for the every day, mundane tasks I described above this knife fits the bill perfectly.

Jun 05, 2015
al b. darned in Cookware

Help Me Use My New Unglazed Baking Dish

I purchased this 9 in. square stoneware baking dish (in turquoise) from King Arthur Flour.
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...

When it came I was surprised to find the interior was not glazed, and when I checked the listing online I realized it was my bad, as I didn't notice that before buying. Both user reviews for this white one say how much they like it for baking breads, pies, rolls, etc. No mention was made of baking something like lasagna or other casserole type dish.

Should this dish be relegated to bread/pastry duty, or can I use it for the other things I mentioned? Does it need to be seasoned in any way? (It came with no instructions of any kind.

)

I would appreciate any help you can give me on the proper use of this dish, including any other hints you may have.

Jun 05, 2015
al b. darned in Cookware

Peeps Milk… Who Would've Thunk It

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style...

I wonder how many Peeps they had to milk to get a gallon of that stuff.

Mar 14, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Peanut Butter and. . .

Toasted English muffin with butter, peanut butter, and a jelly of your choice.

Celery with the little groove filled with peanut butter and topped with pistachios.

My dad used to like peanut butter and tuna fish, but I apparently did not inherit that gene. I think it's actually pretty disgusting.

Celery with a little group filled with peanut butter and topped with seasoned salt, or seasoned pepper, or habanero salt (The Spice House "Vulcan's Fire Salt")

Note:
While peanut butter in chili is a nice addition, be sure to ask your guests if they are allergic to peanuts. A few years back when I lived in Rhode Island a college student died when she ate chili that had peanut butter added at a restaurant. She never thought to ask about peanuts because she'd never heard of peanut butter being added to chili, and the restaurant wasn't aware of people with peanut allergies. (This was back before there was so much awareness of peanut allergies.)

Mar 14, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Peanut Butter and. . .

>>>
They are like nasty little spider bellies.
<<<
LOL!!!!
Best.Description.Ever. (and I like raisins)

Mar 14, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

What cooking gadgets changed your life?... Well at least your cooking?

Over the years I've added many a gadget to make my life in the kitchen easier. While many went out nearly as fast as they came in, there have been several keepers. These included my vacuum sealer, food scale, Thermapen, and Kyocera Adjustable Mandolin Slicer to name a few. There are probably others I can't think of off the top my head.

The "gadget" that made the biggest difference for me in the kitchen has been my microwave. Once I got past only using it for popcorn and reheating leftovers and actually learning what I could do it has made all the difference in the world. This is truly one appliance would not like to live without.

Jan 29, 2015
al b. darned in Cookware

Stop Thief! Keep your fork to yourself please!

I must've missed this thread the first time around. I agree wholeheartedly with the title of it.

Unlike what seems to be the majority of posters here, I don't share food with other diners when I eat out. Period. Likewise, I never ask for a share of their dinner. This is never a problem for DW, who feels the same way I do.

No, I don't care for a taste of what you ordered. If I wanted what you have than I would have ordered it myself. And with all due respect, I will not share what I ordered with you. If you'd like to know what it tastes like, order it yourself.

I guess it's what you're used to, but in our family food poaching was considered to be VERY RUDE. And being "Rude" was bad enough, but being "Very Rude"… Well let's just say it wasn't advised.

I'm surprised at the number of people who were responded who actually share food. I must've been dining with the wrong crowd all these years, because of this is something I seldom have witnessed. The only one I could even recall is one couple that we dine with occasionally and one or the other of them will invariably offer a taste of what they have ordered in hopes that DW or I will offer a taste of our. At least they have the good grace to ask, and don't push it when we say, "No thank you."

Jan 25, 2015
al b. darned in Not About Food

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

While I make a batch of turkey or chicken broth a couple times a year I freeze them in quart containers and use them for making soup or other dishes that call for a large quantity. When I need a cup or less I, too, pull the jar of BTB out of the fridge. 1 teaspoon nuked in a cup of water and I'm good to go.

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

I use my microwave to "speed up" recipes and sometimes rescue them.

A couple weeks ago when I made a batch of beef stew I seriously underestimated the amount of vegetables I put in it. So rather than adding them to the pot and having some of the veggies overcooked, I cut up some additional veggies and nuked them in the microwave until they were done. I added them to the pot, and no one was the wiser.

When I make grilled meat and cheese sandwiches I always portion the meat (roast beef, ham, etc.) and then nuke it for about 30 seconds before assembling it in the sandwich and grilling it on my Breville Smart Grill. That way I never have golden brown and delicious on the outside and cold on the inside.

My microwave is my friend.

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

I pretty much had turned my nose up at American cheese for years. After reading several threads where people here used it I decided to try it again. I was still underwhelmed with Kraft slices, but then somebody here mentioned that Boars Head was better. Turns out my deli carries Boars Head so I tried some of their American cheese. It turns out it is so much better than Kraft slices. And it really does make a nice cheeseburger.

Left Chicken in Sealed Plastic Out Overnight – Can I Cook It?

As others have said, "When in doubt, throw it out!" It's not worth the risk of food poisoning.

Jan 18, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

What is your biggest recipe pet peeve?

>>>
* giving vague quantities for cooking. like three potatoes or juice of one lemon. do people realize how wildly veggies & fruits can vary in size? and the amount of juice in citrus fruits can vary depending on size and season? tell us how much chopped onion or ratio of lemon juice.
<<<

I ran into this last night, where the recipe for squash soup said "one medium butternut squash." I guess the one I had was "medium" because resulting soup is pretty good.

Jan 18, 2015
al b. darned in Home Cooking

Crock-Pot Cuisine -- are you kidding?

With all due respect, sunshine, get off your high horse. Your sarcastic comments are entirely out of line.

I am fully aware of stores called "groceries" have been known to frequent them on occasion before I became disabled. DW is known for actually *shopping* at them and bringing good things home. She works full time, though, and doesn't always have time to shop. These might be a good thing to have in the freezer for those days when I am not up to cooking. (DW's non-cooking has been well documented in other threads.)

Jan 18, 2015
al b. darned in General Topics

Crock-Pot Cuisine -- are you kidding?

>>>
if you can preplan to have a frozen box delivered, you can pick up groceries or arrange a delivery without any more cost or effort.
<<<

As someone who is housebound due to disability, I find your comments a bit condescending. Being housebound means I am home all the time and can accept the package, but I am not able to go out and pick up groceries. (Some of the drivers will even bring my package in and leave it on the kitchen counter for me.)

Strange as it may seem to some people who live in "the big city," grocery delivery is not available in many areas of the country. Even in a medium-size city such as Syracuse, those of us who live in the "suburbs" do not have this option. (AFIK it's only available in a limited area around the universities.)

Reading the ingredients and nutritional information shows that these meals aren't too bad. The sodium is a bit high but otherwise the ingredient list is fine. They're certainly better than a lot of the stuff I have seen that is available from Schwann's. (They do deliver to my neighborhood.)

Having said that, would I buy these? Probably not because of one glaring omission from their website… Shipping charges. No where on the site does it indicate how much it costs for shipping, which I assume would be as much or more than the cost of the meals themselves. Even their extensive FAQ says nothing about shipping charges. And it seems I will have to create an account before I could find out what it would cost.

Keen's Steakhouse - Don't Go!!!!

The question wasn't about whether I would/should go to Keens, but what would/should a high-end establishment serve with the crab dip instead of Triscuits served here?

Dec 31, 2014
al b. darned in Manhattan

SS Sponge or BKF

Have you tried Bon Ami? I've been using it for years on my SS cookware. It works well and is considerably cheaper than BKF. And you don't need to wear rubber gloves when you use it.

Dec 31, 2014
al b. darned in Cookware

SS Sponge or BKF

Baking powder or baking soda? I have heard of using baking soda for cleaning everything from teeth to industrial machinery but never baking powder.

Dec 31, 2014
al b. darned in Cookware

Dish poaching

I know the type. But this SIL did more than one-up party offerings.

A friend of mine ("Joe" married to "Sally") had a SIL ("Joe's" brother "Bill's" wife "Mary") who not only one-uped dishes, she tried to do it for everything. Joe and Sally bought a house, within a few months Bill and Mary bought a new house more expensive than Joe's. Joe buys a new car, Bill and Mary get a new (you guessed it, nicer) car. Sally buys a new (insert item here) shortly after so does Mary. With each of these purchases Mary let it be known that it was her idea for the new objects. But her one upmanship even extended to family planning. Sally announces she's pregnant. Lo and behold a couple of months later so is Mary. When I first met them I thought it was a strange coincidence that both families had five children and each of Joe and Sally's children as corresponding child of the same age as Bill and Mary's family.

Dec 31, 2014
al b. darned in Not About Food

Keen's Steakhouse - Don't Go!!!!

The OP said:
>>>
...The final straw was the crab dip. It was relatively tasteless, but the kicker was that they served it with Triscuits - yes, Triscuits. I cannot believe that we were served Triscuits...
<<<

monavano said:
>>>
Triscuits are gauche!...
<<<

I don't live in NYC, and don't plan to visit there anytime in the near future, so I don't ever expect to have the opportunity to not dine at Keens. However, after reading all the posts in this thread including several along the lines quoted here, my question would be what *should* a high-end steak house serve with the crab dip?

FTIW, I happen to love Triscuits and wouldn't mind if they were served with a good crab dip. I guess that shows how much class I don't have! :-)

Dec 31, 2014
al b. darned in Manhattan
1

What to do with leftover prime rib?

I made prime room for our Christmas repast this week and had about half of it left over. Saturday night I used about half of the leftovers for beef stroganoff. I sliced it about 1/4 inch thick and about an inch wide. After I made the sauce I put the meat in it just long enough to warm it up, about a minute. Though the traditional way is to serve it with mashed potatoes on the side, I served it over mashed potatoes. It was delicious.

I plan on using the other half sliced and served as sandwiches using Kaiser rolls, horseradish cheddar cheese, real horseradish, and maybe sliced red onion.

Dec 30, 2014
al b. darned in Home Cooking
1

May I vent? (living with a reasonably Chowish person who isn't quite a Chowhound..)

>>>
I've known plenty of women who can't cook too.
<<<
I'm married to one. Long before we got married I cooked for myself. When we first met I asked, "What you cook best?" She replied, "I don't cook, but I don't mind cleaning up after somebody who does." For the last decade and a half this arrangement has worked very well. When people ask her about her cooking reply is always, "We eat better when he cooks."

In all fairness, DW *can* cook, though her repertoire is fairly limited to the simple dishes she cooked for herself when she was single. She just doesn't like to. She also can bake and make some of the best homemade brownies I've ever had.

Dec 30, 2014
al b. darned in Not About Food