sockii's Profile

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Rachael Ray gets on my last nerve

I'm not a fan of her shows nor her style of cooking, but I met her totally by accident about a year ago at a rock concert -- I just ended up next to her and her husband in the pit. She was just about one of the nicest and down to earth celebs I've met, so I've had to cut her some slack since then (and give her some props for her taste in music as well.)

Masterchef Junior 1/20/2015

Joe totally made me laugh this episode with his old Italian grandpa routine and bad yoga (no, Joe, that was NOT down dog...but it was still funny seeing you fall on your arse.)

Jan 26, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef Junior 1/20/2015

I have to say I'm liking this Season Three so far a LOT more than Season Two, which almost turned me off completely with the annoyance of Samuel and the obvious staginess of some of the others (Oona, for one). This season feels at least a lot more like the first with kids who come across more genuine and less drama-y...I have to wonder still why they started a Season Three as soon as Season Two finished airing...were these the kids who weren't the stereotypes to fit in Season 2, and/or they knew they didn't have a good likeable bunch last time around? I wonder...

I am cheering for Andrew because he is from my local area and everyone around here is so happy he made the show (Deptford NJ represent!) He's totally coming across Jersey-Italian tough yet still likeable. Cory also annoys me a bit but I do find Riley adorable.

Jan 26, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

Juniper Commons

Just to nitpick (as a self-confessed 80s musicaholic):
Metallica really didn't get mainstream big until 88-90 with "And Justice For All" and "Metallica". Before then they were pretty much only big with metal heads.

Queen's really big years were in the 70s, ditto KISS and AC/DC. None of those you mention except for Van Halen really constitute "80s music" necessarily. I'd imagine much more along the lines of New Wave, post-punk, Madonna and hair bands like Bon Jovi. Which sounds like a heck of a lot of fun to me...more fun than the menu for Juniper Commons as I'm looking at it, I have to say.

Jan 26, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia

Day trip to Philly

I love Eastern State Pen but

a) It's a little out of the way of other, perhaps more major, Philadelphia attractions and
b) During the winter months, visits there are a bit limited. That is, you kind of really need to time it with one of the tours they run instead of being able to walk about and explore on your own, and the tours do take a while. I'd save that more for another time.

Obligatory food content: Reading Terminal is definitely probably the best bet for a casual lunch. If you want a meal with a view that's a little fancier, you might want to check out XIX (Hyatt at The Bellevue) if they're still doing their great 3-course $22 lunch deal. Lovely room with views of the city from the 19th floor with a classy starter & dessert buffet + to order main course.

Jan 20, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia

McDonald's walks fine line with 'Signs' commercial

I was offended by the use of that godawful annoying song by "fun." who I find anything but.

Jan 18, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

People who bring their own food

I think the issue of rude behavior in public/with (near) family is far more important at this point in time than quibbling over eating choices. Lots of kids are very picky eaters. Even I was until I hit my early teens and I started to develop a taste for Japanese, Mexican and other "different" cuisines. I very well remember that pretty much, up until that point, the only thing I wanted to eat in restaurants were either plain burgers or basic pasta. Some kids grow out of it, some remain "white food" eaters for life and there's nothing you can really do about it.

You can't FORCE someone to eat what you've prepared, no matter how proud of the dish you are. That's life. I have a great-nephew who basically lives on buttered pasta and chicken nuggets, when family goes out to a restaurant that is what he gets or he doesn't eat anything. But, he is not allowed to throw a tantrum or be rude about what others are eating. If I'm throwing a big dinner party and that part of the family is invitied, I'm THRILLED if his mother brings something to nuke for him to eat, or just asks me to set aside some plain pasta for him that she will finish up for him. And, I'm also happy if we just get him to try a bite or two of something else on the table. But we don't pressure him to do so.

So it's a parenting problem in that this girl is being allowed to be rude to you, and in restaurants, and not being instructed that such behavior is inappropriate. But, not your family (yet), not your place to do much unfortunately but grin and bear it. If it gets more serious perhaps YOUR mother can have a talk with this girl's mother about behavior expected, at least when/if a gathering takes place in your family home or where you've put considerable work into it.

Otherwise? Live and let live, there are bigger battles to fight.

What are your home cooking goals for 2015?

To finally start using three gadgets I've received as gifts over a year ago and never taken out of the box (a deep fryer, a pressure cooker, and a smoker.)

Hey, I'm slow. It took me over a year to start using my sous vide equipment after buying it, and now I use it at least once a week...

Jan 09, 2015
sockii in Home Cooking

Your kitchen in a word (or two, or three...)

No sign but my SO always called it "Sockii's Laboratory" because of all of my gadgetry and constant experimenting with new recipes.

Jan 09, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Anything good at El Rey?

Another vote for the nachos!

Jan 08, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia

Bait & Switch Pork for veal [Moved from Boston board]

I love veal but it's something I've learned never to order out except at higher end restaurants I can trust. I've had some really questionable to downright vile "veal" at chains and lower-end Italian restaurants...either it was not veal, incredibly poor quality veal, or veal that had been sitting around way too long because it's not that popular a meat choice to a lot of restaurant-goers.

Jan 06, 2015
sockii in Chains

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy New Year January 2015 edition!

For Christmas my sweetie got me Marc Vetri's Rustic Italian Food and The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen.

I'm already in love with the Vetri book, it's the kind of in depth Italian techniques and info I need to expand my skills (I can't wait to start curing some lardo and other products, since I have a freezer full of pastured pork & fat). Also just enjoy the way he writers.

Not sold on Kimchi yet. I was hoping for more authentic Korean, not American dishes with a Korean twist. But, I wasn't familiar with the tv series the book was based on, perhaps I should have researched more first. Still there are dishes I definitely want to try soon to really make up my mind.

Jan 06, 2015
sockii in Home Cooking
1

Mainland Inn

There are some interesting sounding plates to be sure, but count me in among those who hate this kind of pretentiously-worded, modernist menu. As others said it definitely will require servers well-trained and ready to answer questions. The "hot dishes", I assume they are "small plates" style since listed separate from entrees? What's the deal with the "Roasts" - is it a sampling of each cut, a choice? There's also really nothing for vegetarians except, uncreatively, a soup, salad or pasta dish. Surely with all of the emphasis on farm-to-table there could be at least one vegetable-centric option per course.

Jan 03, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia

Are food allergies really hereditary, or is my SIL overly cautious?

I don't have kids but plenty of my friends do. And through them I have gathered that - allergic history or not - shellfish and a great deal of seafood in general is currently off the table while pregnant and then while breastfeeding. It's pretty much common advice these days, is it not? And not just because of allergies but because of toxins/other bad stuff that could be passed along. So no, I don't think SIL was being unreasonable asking for a portion without seafood. Perhaps she could have asked in advance what the menu was going to be, but given it's the holiday season plus the illness in the family issues you're talking about, I imagine there's a lot of stress going on and this should be a pretty minor point to squabble about.

(I do share a garlic intolerance with my father, for what it's worth.)

Dec 24, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

"Extra Virgin" on Cooking Channel

I enjoyed the earlier shows actually filmed in Italy, but when they moved to America? Not so much at all (and I've only made one recipe from their site/blog and it was a total failure, so. Not all that hyped at this point.)

Dec 21, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Lunch near Macy's...it's complicated

And those "upgrades" are dubious. About the only thing I've ever had there and thought was worth coming back for was the Bloody Mary.

Dec 21, 2014
sockii in Philadelphia

Restaurants not having websites only Facebook

Yep. People who are familiar with website design and programming, wordpress and other platforms, tend to forget what an alien language it can be to those who aren't well-versed in css or html. Plus, a lot of those kind of "plug-and-play" "free" business websites that get promoted as "easy" to set up are really actually a PITA to update...even for someone like me who has been running domains, websites, blogs, mediawiki installs etc on my own since the mid-90s when I set up my first site.

But typing in a Facebook status update or loading a current menu photo? Easy! So I have no problem with that. Especially in small towns, for mom 'n pop type restaurants where I'm just glad they are making an effort to be online, provide current specials information, and answer questions quickly if I might have them. That's more than I can say for some much fancier places in big cities near me, who have websites that probably cost them hundreds if not thousands to install and are just about completely useless for what I need.

Dec 18, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

I have NEVER had problems loading long threads on ChowHound, as primarily a laptop/MacBook user myself. Now I find the pagination just horribly awkward and unfriendly for following long threads I used to enjoy.

Any good seasoning blends out there without garlic?

Well, just suggesting, most hummus is made with raw garlic (which is why I avoid it unless I made it myself with sauteed garlic. Mostly I can't eat premade/restaurant Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food because of the raw garlic content.) Did you make the "40 clove chicken" yourself to know for sure how the garlic was cooked?

I'm not trying to be anal or dismiss your issue by any means, believe me. But this has been a problem I have suffered myself with for many years before figuring out what I can/can't eat with garlic - and it's definitely garlic for me too, but I'm fine with it if it's well cooked. But that's why I can't do restaurant Middle Eastern and also a lot of Italian-American which loads sauces up with barely cooked/almost raw garlic cloves. Those will leave me in gastro-intestinal distress for days, literally sweating garlic out of my pores. But I can do crushed garlic cloves heated in olive oil until brown, then removed from the pan, without any problem whatsoever.

Dec 15, 2014
sockii in General Topics

Any good seasoning blends out there without garlic?

I have a garlic intolerance myself so I feel your pain -- literally and figuratively.

One question for you is, have you determined for sure that you are intolerant to all garlic, or could it be only raw garlic? Because for me it's the allicin in garlic that causes a reaction; I can eat well-cooked garlic okay but not in its raw state (or undercooked). Allicin gets broken down in cooking so I just try to saute my garlic really well. http://garlic-central.com/allicin-che... And maybe that way you could use garlic-free dried spice blends and just add some sauteed garlic to your seasonings to get that flavor if you really want/need it? But I know some people can't handle anything in the onion/garlic family at all no matter how it's cooked.

Dec 15, 2014
sockii in General Topics

Time to Crown Chowhound's Best of 2014: Vote Today!

I'm sorry, but for Philadelphia you actually included a sandwich shop which was nominated only by the shop's owner, a one-time Chowhound poster? Seriously? I get it that nomination turnout was low, but come on...

Dec 15, 2014
sockii in Features
1

Blue Apron - Fresh ingredients, great recipes delivered weekly to your home

Personally it wouldn't be for me at all - I don't like the idea of all that wasteful packaging/transport/plus the issue of what if I'm not home for a delivery. I don't care if it's packaged in insulation with gel packs to keep cold - more waste - plus what if it's the middle of a hot summer and I'm unexpectedly away for a night or two? Or back when I lived in a condo and the package delivery room would close on a weekend? (One time this meant my grandmother thought she was doing something "nice" for me by sending me a delivery of gourmet crab cakes...without telling me in advance. And they sat in the package room all weekend and were a waste of a good $100+...)

I also like "winging it" more when I'm cooking, learning by improvising off recipes, not having a kit I have to follow step-by-step and having my meals "dictated" to me like that. But I'm someone who's been cooking for decades now and loves it, including the entire process of shopping, visiting farm markets for seasonal ingredients, etc. And I live in a farm-rich area. Maybe if I was a type-A living in the big city with no real home cooking experience it would be more interesting. But I'd only give a gift of this if you knew the person well enough to know they'd enjoy it.

Dec 14, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #7 – 12/03/14 (spoilers)

I've found this entire season a real trial to get through; what a terrible group of contestants, no one who really makes me want to cheer them on, uninteresting challenges in what could and should have been a much more interesting environment. (I spent a good number of years living in Boston/Cambridge and none of this is ringing true and unique to the experience I had there.)

Dec 09, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News
1

Uses for fish stock?

Generally a seafood soup should be easy; it really doesn't need more than one good piece of fresh fish or a bunch of different pieces of odds and ends to use up (I make fish soup when I want to clean my freezer out of some frozen shrimp or scallops, different fish filets that aren't enough for a meal on their own, etc.)

Just start with some chopped up classic veggies (onion or leek, celery, carrot, garlic) sauteed in olive oil. Sometimes I like fennel if I have it, too. Add stock and chopped (canned) tomatoes, a little wine, some spice or herbs. Cook down for 30-45 minutes or so until the broth has a good flavor. Throw in some soup pasta if you wish, or rice or potatoes if you add them early enough to get tender. Add fish chunks, finish cooking for 5-10 minutes. Serve with some crusty bread and fresh herbs on top. Yum!

Dec 08, 2014
sockii in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? December 2014 edition! [Old]

I bought Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking hoping it would be a good gift for an in-law who is not much of a cook but (reportedly) wants to learn. But looking through it, I may end up giving it to someone else. It's still too advanced (ingredient and otherwise) for the kind of food I know this person would be ready to tackle cooking. Instead I got her a copy of Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta--which I already have and like for when I need a simple, fast and fresh recipe.

For myself, I recently bought an older title used from Amazon: The Shun Lee Cookbook by Michael Tong. I am in love! It is all the flavors I remember from when my mom used to take me to Shun Lee West when I was a kid, and I can see already it's a cookbook I am going to get incredible use out of (made 6 recipes so far and all have been excellent.)

Dec 06, 2014
sockii in Home Cooking
2

Holiday Gift Baskets

I don't usually give gift baskets per se, but I will give some food gifts of specialty items I prepare myself to people I know will appreciate them (I make my own flavored dried pasta and some herbal liquers, for instance.) Sort of like my sister-in-law who is a fabulous baker, so we always look forward to her box of Christmas cookies and sweets every year.

I think it can be a tough issue to give a basket unless you know someone and their tastes really, really well. I don't like or eat a lot of sweets so when I've gotten cookies and chocolate gift baskets, most of the sweets end up being put out at parties for other people to enjoy (I appreciate them in that regard since baking isn't something I am big on anyway!) Actually, I think a basket geared toward general entertaining (crackers, mustards, cheese, etc.) can be the best way to go in general because there will usually be a chance to use and enjoy them over the holidays or soon thereafter.

I would certainly appreciate a locally-made, quality ingredient basket more than a generic one, though, that's for sure. If I received one like that I'd definitely try to find a way to use the ingredients included or at least pass them on to others, if I couldn't use them myself.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Holiday Gift Baskets

Jeez, okay! Nevermind. If you'd mentioned it was just $5 my advice would have been at least partly different.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

How can we say no to a dinner invitation? We don't want to appear ungracious even though we don't really like the boyfriend!

At some point you have to realize that your friend is going to make her own decisions about who she wants to be with in a romantic relationship and accept it or not. Is he actually abusive to her, that you know of or have seen evidence to support? If not, I suggest it is really not yours or anyone else's place to pass judgement on why she chooses to be with him, just because he apparently doesn't fit with your and your friend's social circles and expectations. If you can't accept it, then you may have to let go of the friendship. Or at least make it clear to her that you only wish to spend time with HER and you are not comfortable around her partner. And then let her make the choice of how comfortable she is remaining YOUR friend.

Maybe I'm a bit tetchy on the subject as I've been dealing with 8 years of my mother hating my chosen partner in life. I can never expect her to not be critical, but I can hope that she understands that it is my life and my choice to make. And that her criticisms aren't going to affect my decisions since I'm an adult and happy , thank you very much.

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Holiday Gift Baskets

I got a few like that for housewarming gifts a few years ago. MONSTROUS basket! Looked huge! Probably cost the gifter at least $50-75! And it was about 90% wasteful packaging and cardboard. :(

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

Holiday Gift Baskets

Gift cards can be easily regifted or even sold on eBay to people who would actually enjoy them instead of simply wasted...

Dec 04, 2014
sockii in Not About Food