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Any chowhounders attending the windy bbq classic?

Never heard of it until you posted. Looks like an entirely packaged, non-local event. The traditional annual Chicago 'cue event is called Ribfest, has local competitors, and is held in Grant Park in the summer, although I don't believe there is any significant opportunity to sample the competitor's fare.

about 2 hours ago
masha in Chicago Area

Any Peeler Experts?

Y style is much easier to use. It's what I started my son on when he was about 5 - requires much less manual dexterity. I too have an OXO Y style. My only complaint about it is that the handle, which is made out of some sort of cushioned material (so easy on the hands) has gotten a bit "tacky," probably because I often put it in the utensil container on the lower rack of my dishwasher. But it functions very well both in terms of ease of use and comfort -- your typical OXO product.

about 2 hours ago
masha in Cookware

Need new Drip Coffee Maker, under $75

I'll check out the Melitta. Had not realized that they made electric drip products. The problem is that over the past 10 years most of the inexpensive appliances have shifted their manufacturing to China and the quality is subpar. So, while your 10-year old Melitta may be great, it's not clear that the product I bought tomorrow would be of equal quality. As noted upthread, I'd had a Krups that I loved years ago and my first instinct when the Cuisinart failed was to buy a Krups. But the reviews on Amazon of the Krups maker were eerily similar to my experience with Cuisinart -- leaks developing after relatively low mileage

(Bought my husband a Nexpresso for Christmas 2 years ago and returned it after we concluded we'd not get enough use out of it. If I was inclined to spend multiple hundreds of $s for a coffee maker, I'd be more likely to buy a Breville drip than a Nexpresso.)

about 17 hours ago
masha in Cookware

All-purpose red and white wines for cooking vegetables

Can't say that I've ever made a veggie only braise but I suspect you would not need that much wine because I doubt that you would cook it as long. A meat braise typically simmers for about 3 hours at very low heat. I would assume that a veggie stew would not need to cook for more than about an hour. But this is all a guess; I'd suggest you look at some veggie stew recipes that include wine as an ingredient and use them for a guide.

about 18 hours ago
masha in Home Cooking

All-purpose red and white wines for cooking vegetables

Most of the dishes that I prepare in which wine is an ingredient typically call for 1/2 to 1 cup of wine -- e.g., to make a sauce (including deglazing the pan) as Divadmas suggests, or in risotto.

Indeed, for braised meat dishes that cook at low temperatures for a long time -- but which I presume are not something you will be making -- such as boeuf bourguignon or short ribs, you might use as much as 1/2 to a whole bottle of wine.

about 19 hours ago
masha in Home Cooking

Salad dressings

A lot of good ideas on this thread, on the same topic, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5907... (229 comments)

about 22 hours ago
masha in Home Cooking

Need new Drip Coffee Maker, under $75

Can anyone recommend a basic electric drip coffee maker -- 10 or 12 "cup" capacity -- for about $75? It doesn't need any "bells or whistles." For example, I don't need an integral coffee grinder, or even a clock feature to brew coffee for a set time. I just want a coffee maker that makes credible coffee, that will last a reasonable amount of time, for a reasonable price. About the only feature I care about is a cone, rather than basket, shape for the filter.

I am posing this question after throwing out, this morning, a 10 Cup Cuisinart drip coffee maker that was less than 2 years old. Yesterday it seems to have sprung a leak somewhere, such that liquid oozes out underneath the base. When this happened yesterday, I thought I'd been careless and not inserted the pot completely onto the surface; but it occurred again today and I realized that the liquid that was escaping was stone-cold, so it was leaking out before it had even gone through the heating element.

Is 20 months really all one can expect as the useful life of a small appliance? By comparison's sake, this Cuisinart was preceded by a Braun model and, before that, a Krups, each of which lasted for literally decades.

My initial thought was to buy another Krups but after reading reviews on Amazon today, it sounds like they have the same quality problems as my Cuisinart. And, the more I read of reviews of other models on Amazon, the more it seemed that these kinds of quality issues are endemic.

I am not really interested in spending multiple hundreds of $$ on a coffee maker (say for a Breville), nor buying a single serve pod model (i.e., Keurig or Nexpresso). Is my quest hopeless?

1 day ago
masha in Cookware

Parmesan Scalloped/Au Gratin Potatoes but not too sauce or creamy

The key to scalloped/ au gratin potatoes without soupy sauce is to pour in liquid only about 3/4 to the top, rather than covering the potatoes entirely, and then cook uncovered so that the liquid evaporates.

I've posted elsewhere that I make mine by par-cooking the layered potatoes, already in the casserole, for about 10 minutes in the microwave, then pour a cheese sauce over the par-cooked potatoes so that 3/4 of the potatoes are covered, cover the top with shredded cheese, and then bake in the oven at about 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Made them like this last week and there was no discernible liquid when they were finished.

I make mine with cheddar but I am sure it would work with parmesan too.

Sep 29, 2014
masha in Home Cooking

what do you cook your pancakes on?

Not shilling for the Chef's Design that I have but it's nonstick and we've had it 25 years, with no signs of any degradation.

Sep 29, 2014
masha in Cookware

Adventurous food family heading to Chicago

Laughing Bird evidently has closed. See this link,
http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

Doesn't sound as though it was of interest to the OP but posting this anyway in case anyone else has been (or will be) following this thread and thought it sounding interesting.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

All-purpose red and white wines for cooking vegetables

Never stored it in the freezer; we don't have that much freezer space so I keep it in the fridge. We do have a vacuum-stopper device that allows you to extract the air from the re-closed bottle, which extends the life in the fridge, but even without using it, I've found that wine keeps fine in the fridge for as much as 2 months if you are cooking with it -- although it probably depends how you use it in cooking. If you are just adding the wine at the end, so it's not cooking off, the off-taste of older wine would be more pronounced than if you were adding it to a dish that will be cooking for awhile.

Wine that is old (in the sense of opened & then stored in the fridge) will not make you sick. It just becomes very acidic and it loses alcohol content.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Home Cooking

All-purpose red and white wines for cooking vegetables

An open bottle of wine that is refrigerated should be fine for far more than 1 week if you are just using it to cook. I've kept opened, recorked bottles in the fridge for literally weeks for cooking purposes.

My go-to cooking wine is 2-buck Chuck, which is $3 by us (Chicago). I typically keep a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (red) and Chardonnay (white) on hand for cooking. For vegetarian dishes -- such as a mushroom risotto - I would typically use white, not red, wine.

Especially if you do not typically drink wine, I would doubt that you would discern any "inferiority" in the taste, stemming from either the fact that it is "cheap" wine, or that it's been open for a bit.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Home Cooking

what do you cook your pancakes on?

I have a 6 burner cook top, and both the front & back center burners are the identical (medium) size, which is where I always place my 2 burner griddle. I set both burners on medium and make sure the griddle has preheated for quite awhile so that there has been adequate heat transfer to the center portion of the griddle, which is not directly over either burner.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Cookware

Looking for Old School..

Another truly "old school" Italian-American restaurant, although not in the Loop, is Bruna's in the "Heart of Chcago" neighborhood. Per their website, they are the 3rd oldest Italian resto in Chicago, opened in 1933 with the repeal of Prohibition, http://www.brunasristorante.com

When we lived in Hyde Park we used to eat there all the time and loved it, but that was 20+ years ago. I cannot vouch for the current quality of the cuisine.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

what do you cook your pancakes on?

Correct. In fact we rarely use the grill side but use the griddle side all the time - not just for pancakes, but grilled cheese sandwiches, warming tortillas, bacon (which I suppose could be made on the grill side), fried eggs, etc.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Cookware

what do you cook your pancakes on?

The Chef's Design product that I have, linked to above on Amazon, has a smooth surface on the reverse side.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Cookware

what do you cook your pancakes on?

A 2-burner griddle (reversible as a grill pan but we never use that side), by Chefs Design, http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Design-20.... Had it for about 25 years.

Sep 28, 2014
masha in Cookware

Worst Cooking Disaster Thread

In terms of physical injury, the time I was using the food processor to shred cabbage for cole slaw, was in a hurry, and, rather then use the pusher, forgetfully used my hand to shove the cabbage thought the chute. I have small hands so it was only when my index finger made contact with the blade that I realized my mistake. It took two stitches.

In terms of food, when I mistakenly used baking soda in place of corn starch for a slurry I was making for a peach compote dessert, as I repored on the Recant Cooking Fails thread a couple of months ago. (Tried to link the post but am having problems. Don't know it it is a CH issue or the recent IOS8 upgrade on my iPad).

Sep 27, 2014
masha in Home Cooking

Looking for Old School..

Understood that La Scarola is a relatively newcomer but it has a very "old school" vibe and menu, not to mention good food. It is the best "old school" Italian restaurant close to the Loop in my view.

By comparison, while Italian Village is older, I don't find the vibe at Vivere to be "old school," although it does have decent food. The atmosphere at La Cantina may be "old school," but the food is really mediocre. I have not eaten at the 3rd resto in the Italian Village building in ages and cannot recall its name but my recollection is that its food is, at best, passable.

I am assuming that the OP is not indifferent to the quality of the food in his quest for "old school" vibe.

Sep 27, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

Looking for Old School..

You don't need to go out to the far northwest Chicago for Old School Italian-American. La Scarola, is just northwest of the Loop at Grand & Milwaukee, http://www.lascarola.com/index.html.

Sep 27, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

guests not offering to do dishes, is it rude?

A distinction exists between the obligations of dinner guests and overnight houseguests, in terms of pitching in with chores and clean-up. I do not expect local guests who join us for an evening to help with the clean-up, although inevitably almost everyone does pitch in with clearing the table after we've finished dessert & coffee, if we are moving to the living room.

House guests are a different species, entirely. I don't necessarily expect them to do the dishes (I'm fairly persnickety about how my DW is loaded, etc) but simple etiquette requires that they pay back the hospitality -- which depending on their skills and the hosts needs, can include helping prepare dishes, setting the table, cleanup, drying dishes as I am doing the hand-washing of what cannot go in the DW, beer runs (which includes paying!), etc. -- not to mention keeping their own space clean, which includes making their beds, stripping the bed linens the morning that they leave, etc.

I am blessed with friends and family who understand these basic social courtesies. I recall one Thanksgiving in which my ex-SIL, who was otherwise not the most considerate of people, insisted on ironing the table cloth -- a godsend! My sister almost invariably cooks dinner one night if she stays for more than a couple of days. We had a houseful of old friends for a long weekend last summer -- I had so many offers of help in the kitchen, it was hard to accommodate all the offers.

Lo Mein using spaghetti?

Ditto, although I am far from an accomplished Chinese cook, I've used linguine for noodles with spicy peanut sauce. To my inauthentic taste buds, the pasta substituted fine for the noodles, although I still am trying to perfect the sauce. Madeline, I'd love to know your spicy peanut sauce recipe.

Sep 26, 2014
masha in Home Cooking

Looking for Old School..

I used to love the Berghoff and continued to go there for lunch regularly but it is really resting on its name. The last time I was there, about 2 months ago, they did not even bring rye bread to the table until we asked for it, and it was stale. Just not what it was.

Sep 26, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

Private Dining Space, 60 people - River North

Further to my suggestion of River Roast, see this review that was just published in Crains, http://www.chicagobusiness.com/articl...

Sep 21, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

Yet another conventioneer...

Carrie, welcome back (we've exchanged comments on the SF board a few years back). One relatively cheap resto in River North is Slurping Turtle, which features ramen and other Japanese small plates. The ramen is super; I've been less enthused about the other offerings.

As Nsx mentions, Chinatown is very close to McCormick Place but you may find it disappointing give what is available to you locally. If you like xiao long bao, Moon Palace's are pretty credible.

Sep 19, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

O'Hare-Rosemont - help?

The thread that I linked was the original thread and then he jumped onto this one, which was started by someone else.

Sep 18, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

O'Hare-Rosemont - help?

They are at the ES in Rosemont over the weekend and then moving into the city and staying at the ES River North for a few days.

See this other post, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986925

Sep 18, 2014
masha in Chicago Area

Small town restaurant + Bad experience = Would you go back?

I travel out that way about once a year. Don't usually get as far north as Burlington (typically am staying in Addison County). Cannot speak to the restaurants in Burlington itself but I don't think it's dismal as you report. Starry Night in Ferrisburgh has good food although the service is amateurish -- not surly or boorish, just not polished. I agree that Bobcat Café in Bristol, which everyone seems to love, is more of a pub than food establishment; was very disappointed with the food when we ate there last year. Ate very well last year at American Flatbread and Storm Cafe in Middlebury.

Sep 18, 2014
masha in Not About Food

Tufano's?

Never dined at Tufano's so cannot comment on it. An alternative "Old School" Italian restaurant that you might want to consider is La Scarola.

Sep 17, 2014
masha in Chicago Area
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4 nights in Chicago - Sunday choice

I have to agree with Gonzo on this. We dined at Boka a few years ago when Chef Tentori was there and were not all that impressed -- not a bad meal but didn't wow us either. Only after Gonzo and others posted repeatedly strong reviews on CH about Boka since it reopened with Chef Wolen did we finally make a return visit about 2 weeks ago -- it was just fabulous from start to finish, in terms of food, ambiance and wonderfully professional service. Also, if you are looking for a relatively quiet ambience, it fits that criterion too.

Sep 17, 2014
masha in Chicago Area
1