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Stuffed Peppers?

I got quite a few gypsy peppers in the CSA box last week, had no idea what to do with them. A few nights later I needed to whip up a "kitchen sink" meal, so I riffed on stuffed peppers which I had never made before.

Used left over/stale sourdough chopped into small cubes, goat cheese, chopped CSA spinach and olive oil. Intended to use pine nuts too, but they were MIA unfortunately. Stuffed the peppers and popped them into the toaster oven for 20+ minutes.

Pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

Oct 04, 2013
tundrah in Home Cooking

Looking for Sustainable/Local Products Meat Market or Butcher in North SD/South OC

Anyone have any recs or experience for a good meat market that sells locally produced/sustainably raised meats?

I am looking for a place to buy meat for ourselves as well as the "extras" for our dogs.

I have always liked Tip Top in Carlsbad, though the last time I went there I asked the guy behind the counter if he knew if their chickens were vegetarian fed and he looked at me like I was an idiot. He scoffed at me and was really rude, started mumbling about "Organic being a scam," etc. I havent been back since. :(

Any ideas welcome.

Mar 28, 2010
tundrah in California

ADVICE: Getting Custard to Set Properly?

I recently got Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food and have been sampling my way through it. I was so excited when I found the recipe for her Vanilla Custard, as my grandmother used to make me a heavenly homemade custard as a kid, and I had honestly kind of forgotten about it.

I made it, and the taste was right on, but the consistency was way too thin (ala thin yogurt). Granted, technically she calls it "Pouring Custard" so this could just be me being in denial, but I was hoping it would set up to a proper custard consistency after hanging out overnight in the fridge.

The ratio was 1 cup milk to 2 egg yolks. In the notes she says you may use and extra egg yolk or extra cream/half half? to thicken it--is that all it needs or did I do something else wrong?

I have an ancient electric stove with which the heat regulation is shoddy at best, so wondering if out of fear of burning I pulled it too early...

Any thoughts welcome. My grandmother very recently passed and I would love to be able to contribute a custard recipe that stands up to hers for our keepsake book we are working on.

Here is a link to the recipe for reference:

Jan 08, 2010
tundrah in Home Cooking

"Home from the Army" Party Food Ideas

yes they were! that's what I am looking for--something CREATIVE/funny/cheeky, it doesnt have to be an exact replica of military food...

thanks Emmmily.

Jul 02, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

"Home from the Army" Party Food Ideas

well they've been home for a week or two, this isn't exactly their first meal. My friend thought it would be fun, so...

just looking for some ideas for fun party foods with a twist that makes them "military" even if its not accurate.

Jul 02, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

"Home from the Army" Party Food Ideas

A friend of mine and his girlfriend (M & G) have just completed their many, many years of service in the Army and are finally home for good! My best friend is throwing a celebration for them and the theme is "Everyone has to dress military except for M & G". He also wanted to have army-themed food, and asked me to help contribute ideas...

I am a little stumped. I looked up "Army themed parties" online and found a lot of "save all your tin cans and serve beans and weenies out of them", or "buy a cake and the edible spray paint, make camo and stick a plastic soldier on top".... ummm, no thanks.

I figured the 'Hounds would have better ideas. Fire away....


Jul 02, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

San Diego Restaurant Quandry

Unless your group is much farther along on the age spectrum, I'd definitely go with Starlite. One of my all-time favs, and with a call ahead they would definitely accommodate you. It'd be a short cab ride and worth it. Amazing decor, creative (but not cheesy) cocktails, good seasonal dishes, nice servers.

I know others keep recommending Cafe Chloe, but I have a hard time picturing where they'd jam 12 people in there, much less be happy about it. The one time (I know, only once) I was there they were less than accommodating with only three of us, and we were an easy going group... the food was good, but my experience overall left me a little cold.

Jun 21, 2009
tundrah in San Diego

San Diego is for Breakfast

oooh Le Peep! I miss it too! what on earth happened to them? they had locations out my way in both Encinitas and Del Mar (Carmel Valley/Torrey Pines High School)....

Also, whats with people's devotion to the Broken Yolk? I have to admit I've only eaten at the new one up here in Carlsbad, but it was positively a sub-par meal and experience...

it sounds like the OP is looking for more central San Diego eats, but my list up North for good options are:
Naked Cafe - Solana Beach
St. Tropez - Encinitas
Ki's - Cardiff
T's Cafe - Solana Beach

Jun 21, 2009
tundrah in San Diego

Guacamole -- What's in yours??

I am a purist too--my family owns an avocado grove, so we are die-hards RE our gauc.

- Avos--Always Haas. NEVER pureed or overmixed--just lightly mashed with a fork, still chunky
- Lemon juice--I grew up with my mom making it this way so thats how I like it, it tastes "fresher" to me
- salt and pepper
done. adding too many other ingredients--you might as well save yourself the effort and buy that pre-made greenish glop they sell at the market. Nasty.

May 29, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

fresh basil

I like it sliced finely and added into my tuna salad/tuna melts along with red onion, celery and mayo. Gives it a little unique punch that regular old tuna is missing.

May 29, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Too Poor for Drinks

I have grown to love having people over for drinks and dinner for any reason. Especially so with the single male friends of my BF and I, they are always both eternally grateful for a decent meal and are fun company.

This may be slightly off-topic, but to further what someone else said about starting or finishing off the night at home, I also think thats a great idea.

Recently I was invited to my cousin's birthday celebration. They started off the night at their place with drinks and apps for a few hours. When they moved on to phase two to go out to dinner, my sister and I--who are both extremely crunched for cash right now--left our gifts and birthday wishes for cuz and went along our own way back home.

It didn't feel weird at all to graciously bow out at the right time, and it allowed us to be involved in the celebration without agonizing over the cost. Something to think about when planning celebrations that typically are "going out" events....

May 29, 2009
tundrah in Features

Los Angeles Balcony Garden -- What's Idiot-proof?

I am still getting the hang of edible gardening, and (unfortunately) I am also contained to a patio for my plants. This time of year, my patio gets full sun all day--what is your sun situation like? Most edibles (that I am aware of anyway) need a LOT of sun...

Right now I have (all grouped together in containers):
- mint and chives
- italian parsley, thyme, and rosemary
- two varieties of variegated sage
- basil, curly parsley, dill
- tomatoes--Patio, and a cherry variety
- Blue lake green beans (this is probably the saddest of the lot--they must not like containers)
- spinach and chard--the chard is still going strong, but the spinach is done I think for the Summer. Where you live though you may still have some time left if its not too hot? The chard has been great for me--I grew it from seed, it just keeps producing, and it is so tasty in my morning omelets with a few mushrooms and swiss.

I am definitely not a "doter", but the thing I really have learned is that all these edibles need tons of water--not as in saturating every day, but every second/third day once established. I live in SoCal and am crazy water-conscious, so most of my garden is drought-tolerant and only gets watered once a week unless we are having a heat wave. The edibles definitely need more attention.

Good, organic compost mixed with org potting soil always is imperative as well. And lots of harvesting too...

May 26, 2009
tundrah in Gardening

lots of fresh dill

I found a recipe here on Chow not long ago for both salmon and dill, and spinach and dill breakfast crepes.... they were quite good, and I am not even that huge of a dill fan.

I do however have quite the bunch growing in my backyard at the moment, so all these ideas will be used by me as well!

May 26, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Does anyone cook for as long as a week without using sugar or sugar substitutes.

Easily. I am another savory/salty/non-dessert type here. Even as a kid I never had much of a sweet tooth--I had the occasional soda, but never understood the maddened mission that was Halloween candy collecting... yech.

We have honey and agave syrup for tea, and varieties of sugar that will probably all go bad before they get used. I forget we even have it half the time--a friend was over the other morning and asked for sugar in his coffee, I had to dig it out of the depths of the cabinet for him.

The only thing I can even recall using sugar in recently is a great coleslaw recipe from Paula Dean--and I cut the sugar amount in half from 2 to 1 tbsp--everyone loves it.

May 25, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

fish stock/bouillabaisse--any advice?

And, one more stupid question--when I pulled it out of the fridge this AM, it was completely gelatinous. Is that normal or will I have to cut it with water to use? I need one gallon of stock, but I dont know if thats in this form, or in a diluted form...

aaaah. I am a dummy...

Apr 25, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

fish stock/bouillabaisse--any advice?

So I ended up going to a local fish house and picked up some HUGE heads/carcasses (which were still pretty much attached to everything but the fillets--bones, tails, fins, and all kinds of entrails). They were massive, I had to split them between two large stockpots, one in each. Added lots of water, white wine, fennel, onion, parsley stems, thyme, bay leaf, little S&P. Gently simmered for about 40 minutes. The stock is really fishy-tasting, and far worse, it stunk up the whole house and every surface within a 20 foot radius BADLY. I have spent the last three hours scouring and scrubbing cleaning up the mess and trying to get the stink out.

I now have two large pots of it waiting in the fridge for Sunday. I borrowed a stock pot from a neighbor since I couldnt get both carcasses into mine, and I am terrified to return it stinking of fish... any tips for getting the smell out???

This is the first and last time I do this I think--between the smell and the mess it was WAY too much work... blugh. It probably would have been easier with smaller fish (these had to have been 20-30 lb fish when they were alive)...?

Apr 24, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

fish stock/bouillabaisse--any advice?

hmmm. good point by both of you above--no harm in calling the Fish Market and asking them if they have any I can buy... that would be the best solution for sure! :)

bgaz--I live in San Diego...

Apr 23, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

fish stock/bouillabaisse--any advice?

Thanks all for the links and advice. I'll stop trying to talk myself out of it and go for it. I definitely want to make this a day ahead though.

Any problem with leaving it in the fridge overnight (skimmed/strained)? I could freeze it, but seems silly seeing as I'd just have to thaw as soon as it freezes...

mcel215--In California we have a great small chain of restaurants called the Fish Market. My parents bought my sisters and I all a cookbook from their founders, and now once a year we have "Fish Market Night". It is fun and yummy! :)

Apr 23, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

fish stock/bouillabaisse--any advice?

My family and I are having a fish-based getogether meal this weekend and I said I'd attempt bouillabaisse. I have never actually had it, but it looks similar to cioppino which I love.

I am working from a recipe from the Fish Market Cookbook ( which calls for fish stock...

Where on earth do I get fish stock, and/or is it better to make it? For some reason that seems a little intimidating to me (tho chicken stock is not for some reason), extra time to do it notwithstanding... I saw somewhere on this site someone mentioned a Better Than Bouillon fish stock, but I know they dont have that at my market unfortunately...

The cookbook I have siad if I make it from scratch to use heads and bones that have been filleted no more than 2 hours prior--ummm.... not sure thats going to be realistic... and that the stock may generate some sort of weird fatty film that I will have to freeze then scrape off. This is why I am hesitating...

Any opinions/advice on how to proceed?

Blugh. Wondering if I should choose something easier...

Apr 22, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Artisan Bread - Question on the baked result

beating a dead horse here... but had to report back...

made two loaves from the CI recipe this week, though I didn't exactly follow the actual baking instructions. I have been making the dough to the recipe, letting it do its second rise in a small skillet on parchment for shaping, then actually cooking it on a stone instead of in the pot/dutch oven. the taste, crust and loft (yay for actual air bubbles) has been far superior to the 5 Min Artisan bread results I got. 15 kneads is hardly inconvenient, though I don't know how well this dough would survive in the fridge for days on end...

also tried the Pepin method, but that was a bomb for me. WAY too dense, and a nightmare to get out of the pot. Not a fan of that one...

Apr 10, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Mini Chopper/Food Processer--Dough Question

I've used mine with the standard blade for pie crust multiple times and it seems to work fine--just usually have to process in 2-3 batches then do a few more hand kneads to get into a cohesive ball.

Mar 29, 2009
tundrah in Cookware

blind-baked shrinkage frustration!

great ideas all...

I think you may be right RE the beans/weight. A) I dont have that many left and B) theyve been through the process enough times that theyre just little dried up shells without any heft in them.

In regards to heat, that is one thing I am doing right. My old oven is not the greatest so I have an oven thermometer to gauge with, and I definitely let it get nice and fired up before I bother putting anything in.

grey, do you have any problems removing the second pan? do you add extra flour in there? this sounds like the easiest/fastest solution but I am having premonitions of hot glass and ruined crusts...???

So, maybe I will do this, RE all of your replies:

- first try new and more beans
- then go to the pie weights/pennies
- and/or try the second pie plate

Thanks all! I will report back...

Mar 15, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

blind-baked shrinkage frustration!

So in spite of my usual inability and/or disinterest in baking in general, I do think I have down a decent pie crust. I don't really make pies, instead I use Martha's pate brisee for my quiches.

The texture and taste are always good, however I -cannot- avoid the shrinkage problem.

I pre-chill the dough before rolling out, then put in the pie dish. Then I freeze it for at least another 45 minutes to an hour. I prick the bottom, multiple times. I put in parch paper with beans, and bake, first for 20 with the beans, then another 20 w/out.

The only thing I can think of is that instead of pinching the edges I should let them drape over the sides to hold them down??

The only reason this matters much is that for the quiche, it gets super messy and the filling bleeds all over into the pan and underneath the crust. Taste-wise its not too affected, but I would like to be able to produce a nice cleanly-crusted end product...

Any thoughts?

Mar 15, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking


i just made this Creme of Asparagus a few nights ago and it was a hit--easy and super-tasty:

Also, I've been making my own "Asian-inspired Chicken noodle" for lunch lately--quick as it gets... I buy the pre-packs of Udon noodles in the refrigerated deli section at the market. Toss the packets of "seasoning"--ie MSG. Instead make a broth from 2:1 Better than Boullion and Miso paste + 3 cups water. Bring to boil, add udon, chicken or tofu, mushrooms, green onions and/or chard. SO good!!!

Mar 15, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Recipe Seeking--Avocado Chile Sauce???

great! I would love to try more than one...

Mar 14, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Recipe Seeking--Avocado Chile Sauce???

awesome, thank you! I will let you know how it goes...

Mar 14, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Recipe Seeking--Avocado Chile Sauce???

Hello all,

It is peak avocado season here in So Cal and we are up to our ears in avos.

I am hoping someone knows what I am talking about here and maybe can supply a recipe...

My favorite taco shop in Idaho would serve some sort of green sauce with its carne asada tacos. It obviously consisted of avocado, and when I asked the shop owner, chiles as well. It was creamy in consistency--like a thin yogurt--and was absolutely heavenly. Very mild, no spice at all, super rich, smooth and creamy and SO, SO good.

I may be brave enough to attempt this on my own if I was at all familiar with chiles, but I am not.

Anyone familiar with what I have described? Even better, anyone have a recipe--or even at good guess at such?

You will be my hero.... 22 avos in the kitchen counting down to go time...!!!

Mar 14, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

What have you given up trying to cook?

I do my chops in my cast iron skillet browned first w olive oil, garlic, butter. Add a few tbsp water to keep moist, then add lemon zest, white wine, parsley... (I kind of forget what ends up in there half the time). Covered and simmering/sauteing at medium high for a while... I dunno, they always come out great this way for me.

I also flounder at potato pancakes like someone said above. I used to be a miserable omelet maker until we recently got a Scanpan--heaven!

I am still figuring out breads/doughs--we made pizza crust tonight from the recipe here on Chow and it was WAY too dry. BF loved it, I thought it was meh. And I've been battling with the 5 Min Artisan bread--have had a few come out good, most bleh to decent, none great...

I am a cook, not a baker!!!

Mar 11, 2009
tundrah in General Topics

Artisan Bread - Question on the baked result

Hah hah. Hah. :)

Well I do have to say since I am new at this, I am probably not ~as~ frustrated as you are. I did just cut a slice off my latest cooled loaf, and it is the best yet. Not great yet, but better.

I think I will next try the other methods (CI and Pepin) and see if that gets me anywhere.

I am still intimidated by all the kneading and rising and temps though of "proper" breadmaking. Do you have a more standard method recipe you really like?

Maybe all this practice will make me brave enough to jump to the next level (whether I am ready or not)...

Feb 12, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking

Artisan Bread - Question on the baked result

I always do let it sit/rise for a while before slashing, but I will try the flour then oiled extra sharp blade.

I will try the CI recipe and see if that does any better, as well as the Pepin (I am intrigued by his second stir/rise--wonder if that will help)?
Also, I have a Cruset French Oven, which I did one loaf in w only a bit of olive oil. Removing that one was disastrous. I tend to steer clear of Pam, but maybe I can make an exception in the pursuit of the perfect loaf of bread!

And, I did just pull out another loaf. This time on the stone, first on parchment for 25 min, then another 8 min straight on the stone to firm up the bottom. Crust looks better, but its hardly "lofty". I did do this batch with half the yeast (been using the NYT recipe) as the first few were WAY too yeasty for my taste... and this was the end of the batch so naturally it'll be a little flatter.

Augh...! So many variables! I need to keep a notebook me thinks...

Feb 12, 2009
tundrah in Home Cooking