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Slow Cooker Red Pepper Butternut Squash Soup

I make very similar versions of both the soup and the chickpeas, and love them on their own- never thought to combine them! I will now, though, this looks like a great combination and I love a bit of crunchy topping on a soup!

May 19, 2014
pickledtink in Features

Need a vegan tea party sandwich for a crowd

If you want a finger sandwich for the vegans, how about something like a cucumber and greens triangles with a hummus (maybe cilantro hummus?) spread instead of the cream cheese. I have had variations of the above that I love.

For another sandwich idea, roasted veggies with a red pepper spread? Or something like roasted eggplant with olive tapenade?

why does GF pasta come out gloppy while Asian rice noodles turn out just fine?

Ooh, yes, I forgot that quinoa pasta is also good! Good to know about the overcooking to make cold salads....I actually haven't made a cold pasta salad in a long time for that texture reason. But I have found re-heating with a bit of sauce does the trick.

Alas I am also dairy-free, so no mac and cheese for me! Although, I suppose if the noodles themselves are good, I could eschew the cheese packet for other add-ins. In general, I have found TJs to be a great source for GF items!

May 16, 2014
pickledtink in Home Cooking

why does GF pasta come out gloppy while Asian rice noodles turn out just fine?

I have never tried corn pasta, but I have had good results with other GF pastas that are rice-based. I haven't found one that reheats quite as well as regular, but the fresh results are good.....Tinkyada I think is one brand I use a lot.

May 16, 2014
pickledtink in Home Cooking

Lactose Intolerance

Heat doesn't break down the lactose, unfortunately, but depending on how sensitive you are to it, you may be able to tolerate some baked goods that don't contain a ton of dairy. Personally, I can't have any dairy, but I do know folks who can't drink straight-up milk but don't have a problem with the comparatively small about in, say, a muffin.

I've never tried baking with lactose-free milk, but I am pretty sure that you can use it interchangeably with regular

May 07, 2014
pickledtink in Special Diets

Anyone have any experience with using Guinea Hens to keep down the bugs in the garden?

On my friend's horse farm and organic garden, they use guinea hens to keep the ticks and other bugs away. Works well, although the hens themselves aren't the prettiest thing in the world and they can be noisy, but the upside is bigger than the downside.

The nice thing about them is they are low-maintenance. They basically wander the property and are fine left to their own devices so long as they are fed and have a place to sleep and rest.

As far as eating from a garden, I am only going by my friend's many years of experience, but they do have a large garden used to produce vegetables for sale and I doubt they'd let the guinea hens loose on the property if there was danger of them eating any of those valuable crops!

May 06, 2014
pickledtink in Gardening

Confession, I love surimi, who else does?

Glad I am not the only one! I love surimi. To me it has a very distinct taste from that of any kind of crab. Although the ingredient list doesn't bear thinking about too hard, I still enjoy it. I don't know if I'd order it specifically at a restaurant, I kind of prefer it with cocktail sauce at my house!

May 05, 2014
pickledtink in General Topics

Any Favorite French Fries Toppings?

When I was a kid I used to dip salty french fries in ice cream or a milkshake. I still crave that combo, although I can't eat the dairy anymore so it shall remain a delicious memory.

Double carbs - or carbs with a carb filling... is that wrong?

Just to add to the multicultural nature of carb-in-carb, there is the Indian dosa, a think pancake wrapped around (often) potato. Delicous!

I have to admit, the first time I saw pasta on a pizza (in New Jersey- never seen it up here in MA) I found that really strange. I mean, not just a tortellini here and there, but like covered with Ziti.

Apr 21, 2014
pickledtink in General Topics

Tasty (and Easy) Baked Tofu?

I love TJs baked tofu as well! Tonight I made my own, though, starting with TJs extra firm tofu and pressing it for a good long while, then sauteed it in a little bit of oil with onions and tamari. I added some veggies and veg broth and covered to steam until the veggies were done. It was delish, and reminded me of TJ's savory baked tofu although the texture was a little bit different not having been baked.

I imagine that tamari-marinated tou, then baked, would also turn out well!

Microwaves Are Essential for Things We Don't Need Them For

I can say that since I started using a microwave, my starch horizon has expanded to include potatoes on a regular basis. I know roasted potatoes do taste better, and it's not appropriate for all potato preps (e.g. potato salad), but for a quick potato on the side of whatever I am eating for dinner on a weeknight, it can't be beat!

Apr 03, 2014
pickledtink in Features

Interesting taco toppings

A quick and easy red cabbage slaw- just shredded tossed with lime juice and a pinch of salt.

Feb 07, 2014
pickledtink in Home Cooking

First Timer Questions

Great news is that the Harpoon brewery is just a few stops on the Silverline from where you are. I'm not what you might call a beer geek, but I always thought their offerings were good and you can get some beers there you can't anywhere else, along with your tour. If you hit the beer hall, don't forget to try one of their warm pretzels with some of their fab dipping sauces.

First Timer Questions

I 2nd the Harpoon Brewery tour. Their warm pretzel with all those lovely dipping sauces that come with is defintely worth a hang in their beerhall, plus they usually have some beers available there you can't get anywhere else. Easily accessible from anywhere via the Silverline from South Station.

Lowell-area gems

Good to know if I am ever in the Lowell area! You might also want to share your finds with the "Southern New England" board as Lowell tends to be thought of as outside the GBA (at least as far as I know). I could be wrong, of course, but I think Lowell comes up more often over there

Is alcohol almost always a part of your meals/get togethers?

Until I was a teenager, almost all family functions were held at my grandparent's place, and they never ever had any alcohol. I'm not sure why, exactly, except perhaps that my grandfather was not a drinking kind of guy. I don't think it was expressly forbidden, but I don't think my grandfather really "approved" of drinking so I doubt anyone would have brought it up. The best way to explain that is that we are descended from Puritans, and my grandfather was living proof of that legacy.

Didn't strike me as odd until I attended a boyfriend's family parties (very big, Irish family) and booze was *everywhere*.

Nowadays, there is usually wine/beer at family get-togethers, but I don't think it would be missed if it were somehow omitted. Although, with most of us cousins being over 21, I doubt that is likely to happen! I don't drink myself, for health reasons, so it would make no difference to me!

Nov 23, 2013
pickledtink in Not About Food

recommendations for a dairy free meal shake?

Although the are a little more on the $ side, I like Oddwalla's soy protein shakes (be careful, some of their protein shakes have whey in them). I have a dairy allergy and have often been in a position where I need supplements like Boost or Ensure, but neither of those worked for me as they do have (albiet sometimes small) amounts of dairy in them.

I think the one I usually get it the Oddwalla Super Protien. I also like them as they're not sweetened with HFCS like some meal replacement shakes are. Yes, I know, I could make my own, but that would pretty much wipe out the convenience element for me!

Other than Asian cuisines, what other cuisines have "fish balls"

I had the same thought (below) at apparently the same time! I was debating as to whether they are more on the "fishcake" spectrum of fish amalgamations, but decided that their shape and preparation landed them on the "ball" side of the court, so to speak :)

Nov 06, 2013
pickledtink in General Topics

Other than Asian cuisines, what other cuisines have "fish balls"

Would quenelles, sometimes made out of fish mixed with binding ingredients, count? They're not round like Asian fish balls but are ovoid (as far as I know) so not too far off....

Nov 06, 2013
pickledtink in General Topics

Fishmonger insists open clams are still alive...?!

Live clams can be slightly open, but in order to check that they are still alive, you need to tap them lightly- a live one will close right up. If it stays ajar, it's dead.

The clam uses muscles to open/close its shell, and when those muscles are relaxed it can cause the clam to open *very slightly*. Of course, a gaping wide open clam is a dead clam!

Spice Mixes/Seasoned Salts - preferences please...

I will 3rd the rec for Herbamare. In that same vein, I also like's a good all-purpose seasoning that harmonizes well with coarsely ground black pepper.

I am also a big fan of DennyMike's Chick Magnet's made for chicken as the name suggests, but in my house we enjoy it as a coating for tofu!

For something with a little more dominant flavor, I like "The Gourmet Collection" Garlic & Herb blend. It's got a bit of salt it in and tastes great on vegetables!

Nov 02, 2013
pickledtink in General Topics

Delicata Squash Mishap

For true winter squashes, I don't think anyone eats the skin. Delicata, however, is in the same family as summer squash and zuchinni, even though we think of it as a winter variety, so in that context it makes total sense!

Nov 01, 2013
pickledtink in Home Cooking

Early weekday breakfast near Sullivan Square (Charlestown)?

2nd (or 3rd?) Buddy's. It's great little truckstop-style diner for solid, no-frills breakfast!

The hated egg white - does anyone geniunely enjoy them?

I do! In fact, when eating a hard-boiled egg, I much prefer the white to the yolk. That being said, my preference for eggs is over-easy or sunny-side up, so that the yolk is runny. Maybe it's more that I don't like hard-cooked egg yolk....but I do really enjoy some hard-boiled egg white, diced with a little s & p :)

Oct 13, 2013
pickledtink in General Topics

I know it's good for me but I just can't eat it

Eew. Yeah, I tried it earlier this year (it's *everywhere* now!) and I think I was expecting something amazingly thirst-quenching, given its popularity. I was underwhelmed.

Oct 13, 2013
pickledtink in General Topics

I know it's good for me but I just can't eat it

Bananas. It's not so much the taste, but the texture. I can't do it!

Also, as much as I love things salty and brined, I have had a really hard time getting into olives of any kind. I keep trying because I feel like there must be something I'm not getting, but I haven't seen much improvement.

Oct 13, 2013
pickledtink in General Topics

Soft pretzels: dip or plain?

Normally I am a mustard-only kind of gal (and copious amount of it), but I recently had a sample of my friend's fresh-baked pretzel at a local brewery that came with a roasted red pepper dip of some kind that knocked my socks off!

Oct 13, 2013
pickledtink in General Topics

When did you last go to the Hilltop in Saugus?

Never went to the Saugus location, but spent a lot of time around there as a kid, and after countless drives on Rt. 1 that road won't be the same without it.

Went to the Braintree location just once, in the early 90s (I think). I remember it because it was probably the last meal out I had with my granddad. He took me, my mom and my grandma there on a whim, and it sticks out because I was vegetarian at the time. Couldn't really explain that one to grandpa, though.

One night in Portsmouth, looking for a decent large lobster

Older, large lobsters (particularly females, which by that point probably already have their protective v-notch) are considered "breeders" and therefore not harvested, if I recall my Marine Bio correctly...gotta keep those babies coming!

September 2013 Openings and Closings

Saw an article in the Cambridge Chronicle that Tasty Burger has indeed replaced Lyndells.