al b. darned's Profile

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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.

about 16 hours ago
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

Have you ever used a Pressure Cooker?

>>>
...lamp shanks with white beans...
<<<
Table lamp or floor lamp?

Dec 29, 2014
al b. darned in Cookware

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

LOL!!

Dec 28, 2014
al b. darned in Not About Food

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

A wife asks her husband, "Could you please go shopping for me and buy a carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6."

A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk. The wife asks him, "Why did you buy 6 cartons of milk?"

He replied, "They had eggs."

Prime Rib Extraordinaire

As I was planning for our Christmas repast I asked my dearly beloved what she would like. Well, turkey was out because we're doing our Thanksgiving turkey on New Year's Day, only a week away. She suggested we do a roast beef, since we hadn't had one in a while. So I called my favorite family-run grocery store and spoke with the owner/butcher. I told him what I was looking for and he suggested I do a nice prime rib. Well, I love prime rib but I thought it would be a bear to prepare and really easy to screw up. When I expressed these concerns to him he replied, "We have a foolproof recipe for cooking prime rib we attached to every package." He also said, "We chine the rib bones off each roast and hand tie them back for easy carving." Since he never has steered me wrong before I took them up on his offer and bought a three rib roast.

The label on the package says this method works for any size roast. When I looked at the price I paid I thought, "This damn well better work."

Before the "Big Day" I also did some Internet research and was amazed at the variety of methods of obtaining the "perfect roast": Salt, don't salt, brown, don't brown, start high and low, start low finish high, and everything in between. By comparison, this seemed too easy:

Heat oven to 375°F
Roast for exactly one hour
Turn off Oven
Do not open the door
Leave roast in for exactly 2 hours
After two hours turn on the oven at 300°F
Complete roasting until desired internal temperature is reached

After the two hour rest the internal temperature of roast was 118°F. It took approximately one half hour more to reach the 125°F internal temperature I was looking for. I took the roast out and let it rest for approximately 20 minutes.

End result was an absolutely perfectly rare juicy prime rib.

So the next time you decide splurge on a prime rib use this method. You won't be disappointed.

So, what recipes have you found that seemed "too easy" but turned out perfectly prepared (insert meal here)?

Dec 27, 2014
al b. darned in Home Cooking

Secrets Of The Rapid Ramen Cooker

>>>
As stupid as the ad is, it really isn't that bad. $6 for two thick microwaveable (BPA free) plastic bowel.
<<<

Plastic *bowel*? That's gotta hurt!

Dec 04, 2014
al b. darned in Cookware
1

Rule #1...always...

I'll second that!

Nov 26, 2014
al b. darned in General Topics

Rule #1...always...

Make sure the basement freezer is plugged back in after your contractor, who was working in the basement, leaves for the day. I had a contractor installing a new bathtub. When he went down in the basement to connect all the plumbing he unplugged my freezer to plug in his drop light. He got done with all the piping, unplugged his light, gathered his tools, and went home.

I discovered that it was unplugged nearly a week later when I went to get something from it. Was the only time the freezer got cleaned out and totally defrosted since I bought it 10 years earlier… or since.

Nov 26, 2014
al b. darned in General Topics

Lay's Potato Chips: Just 3 ingredients?

Their website has a bit of hype, tho...
>>>
Our products are all-natural with no artificial colours or preservatives, no trans fats and they are certified gluten-free and cholesterol free.
<<<
AFIK everybody's plain chips can say that. Lay's certainly can.

Lay's Potato Chips: Just 3 ingredients?

No potato chips are bleached before they are fried. Potatoes go from the washer, to the peeler, to the slicer, and drop directly into the oil.

If they are darker it is because of the variety they use, or are cooked longer and/or at higher temperatures. Period.

Have you ever used a Pressure Cooker?

>>>
Have any of you used your pressure cookerto try "broasted" chicken?
<<<

DON'T DO IT!!

From Fagor's Users's Manual:

"IMPORTANT SAFEGUARDS
When using pressure cookers, basic safety precautions should always be followed:
1. Read all instructions.
...
12. Do not use this pressure cooker for pressure frying with oil."

Sep 18, 2014
al b. darned in Cookware

How The Coffee Shop Has Ruined Customer Service

Best.Reply.Ever

Has something changed with canning lids?

This is good to know if I come up a lid short when doing up a batch of something. However, since "old habits die hard" and it "can't hoit" to simmer them, I will probably continue to do it the old way.

Sep 10, 2014
al b. darned in Home Cooking

Mistakes, I've made a few

While DW is a self-proclaimed non-cook, she enjoys baking from time to time and is really pretty good at it.

In her wedding registry she asked for and received a popover pan. In the 14 years that we've been married, the only time that pan is been out of the cupboard is when we've had to move it to get to something else. And every time it comes out, she looks at it and says, "I've got to make a batch of popovers one of these days." And then it goes back into the cupboard. And so it goes.

Aug 29, 2014
al b. darned in Cookware

Sadness

Thanks! I needed a good laugh today!

Aug 29, 2014
al b. darned in Site Talk