Miss Clare's Profile

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Brunch worth munching in the Northeast?

I have a friend visiting this weekend from out of town and I said I'd take him to brunch in Philadelphia. But he's staying in the Northeast and won't have a car at his disposal. Are there brunch places worth visiting on Roosevelt Blvd. or am I going to have to pick him up just to take him back to Sabrina's or Morning Glory?

Jun 29, 2010
Miss Clare in Philadelphia

Soupy Greek Restaurant-style Orzo

I'm looking for suggestions on how to achieve that soupy, almost creamy Greek restaurant-style orzo. You know, the unctuous, ubiquitous side dish flavored with lots of onion and the occasional whole black peppercorn or piece of canned diced tomato that accompanies lamb shanks or grilled fish.

I'd imagine you cook the orzo in chicken broth and then after it's drained, finish it with lots of finely chopped onion sauteed in lots of butter.

If someone has a recipe I'd appreciate it!

Jun 30, 2009
Miss Clare in Home Cooking

Why Are Some Dishes Better the Next Day?

I find saucy things improve significantly after they sit a day--chili, enchiladas, lasagna, spaghetti sauce, certain soups (pea soup or stew, good, clear soups, not good). Chili in particular really blossoms after a night in the fridge.

Jun 09, 2009
Miss Clare in Features

Citifield Chow

Yes, they came in a plastic tub, that's why I don't know what brand they are. I think they were sold by the quarter pound.

Apr 19, 2009
Miss Clare in Outer Boroughs

Citifield Chow

Sorry to repost this, but I am desperate for an answer:

Re: the outfield deli

Does anyone know what brand of gummy bears are available in the CitiField deli? A friend shared some of them with me at one of the on-deck series games and they were FANTASTIC. They're like Proust's madelines of gummy bears. I don't think they're Haribo, because there was a pale blue gummy bear in the mix and Haribo gummies don't include a pale blue bear.

Apr 14, 2009
Miss Clare in Outer Boroughs

CitiField Chow Preview

Re: the outfield deli

Does anyone know what brand of gummy bears are available in the CitiField deli? A friend shared some of them with me at one of the on-deck series games and they were FANTASTIC. They're like Proust's madelines of gummy bears. I don't think they're Haribo, because there was a pale blue gummy bear in the mix and Haribo gummies don't include a pale blue bear.

Apr 14, 2009
Miss Clare in Outer Boroughs

10 Things to Cook for One

Breakfast meats were a real boon to cooking for one when I lived alone. Bacon and any kind of sausage cooked fast and added depth to almost anything.

I'm a little chagrined to admit this, but I used to really like frozen chicken fingers heated up in the toaster oven and glazed with buffalo wing or barbeque sauce. Just bake the chicken fingers on tinfoil according to the package directions, pull the corners of the tinfoil together to make a little bowl, splash with sauce, crumple the packet closed and toss, and stick the chicken fingers back into the toaster oven to get glazed. I liked to top salads with them.

Feb 19, 2009
Miss Clare in Features

Winter Greens Lasagna

This lasagna was a VERY BIG HIT with my family. I substituted regular kale and red chard for the red kale and Swiss chard because those greens were what was available at my supermarket. I added some freshly grated nutmeg to the cream-braised greens, which was a fine addition. The greens were so tasty I couldn't stop picking at them while I was cooking!

Don't forget to spray the baking dish with non-stick spray before you build the lasagna--cleanup would have been 10 times more difficult if I hadn't given the pan a generous spritz of Pam first.

Feb 16, 2009
Miss Clare in Recipes

Do you enjoy rare-to-medium poultry?

Absolutely not. I cannot abide chicken that is not cooked all the way through. I even dislike the flavor and texture of brined poultry--even though it's cooked through, its juiciness is offputting.

Then again, I loathe touching raw chicken and treat it as if it's plutonium.

Feb 13, 2009
Miss Clare in General Topics

Restaurant Gift Certificates in Myrtle Beach?

My aunt and uncle have a place in Myrtle Beach, and I'd like to get them a gift certificate to a nice non-chain restaurant for Christmas. My first thought was Collector's Cafe, because I know they've eaten there before and enjoyed it.

Any recommendations?

Italian Chefs Won't Weep

Yeah, really, mwliechty.

Last night, I made cilantro shrimp. I simmered the shrimp shells and tails with water, parsley, half a lemon, and some salt and pepper to make shrimp stock. In another pan, I sauteed butter and flour for a roux, then I added finely diced onion, celery and garlic until they wilted, then I added the shrimp broth and a handful of chopped cilantro. I simmered the cleaned shrimp in the sauce until they were cooked (about 4 minutes) and served it over rice. It took a total of about 15 minutes from start to finish, but to someone who doesn't know how or doesn't like to cook, this would be interminably long and difficult.

Convenience foods are not going away. The best you can do is find the ones that taste the best and are made with the highest quality ingredients with the fewest industrial products.

Nov 17, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

10 Reasons Why Whole Foods Is Annoying

The first time I ever returned something to a grocery store, it was a container of Valrhona dark chocolate buttons from the Shadyside (Pittsburgh, PA) Whole Foods. They didn't look right, but I brought them home anyway--maybe they had just gotten dinged up when they were being meted out to the container. I ate a button to test them and actually spat the thing out--it was so bloomy it tasted like ash.

Alice Q, though I am a skillful cook, there are some techniques that are beyond my ability, and tempering chocolate is one of them, particularly when I was planning to eat the chocolate as is. I don't think it's wrong to expect fresh, quality merchandise that I can use straight out of the package from a store that calls itself Whole Foods.

Oct 28, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Looking for a swank bakery near Perth Amboy, NJ

One of my girlfriends is celebrating a big birthday this January, and she's looking for a fancy, multi-tiered, fondant-covered cake for her party. She likes the work of Pink Cake Box bakery (http://blog.pinkcakebox.com/) but they're closed the week of her birthday.

Can anyone recommend a stylish bakery in the Perth Amboy/Red Bank/Westfield area that can do a tasty, pretty, glamourous cake for her?

Sep 09, 2008
Miss Clare in Mid-Atlantic

Booze-Flavored Munchies

You're right about those Beer Chips being addictive. My family picked them up on a road trip this spring, and when we cracked the bag open and tasted them, we all said, "These are weird. And gross. I have to taste some more of them." Soon we had polished off the bag, even though all three of us had said how weird and gross we thought they were.

We didn't buy a second bag, though.

Sep 09, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

10 Vegan Lunch Recipes

@c oliver: If you're a vegan, don't take this as gospel, but I believe Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry is NOT made with butter. I made cheese danish with them once, and they had that yucky Crisco-y mouthfeel that cheap pie crust has. So, ironically, if it's made with vegetable shortening, you're good to go.

p.s. If anyone's looking for good frozen all-butter puff pastry, Trader Joe's is exquisite. I made Palmiers with it last Christmas and they were delicious.

Sep 09, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Stealing Bar Glasses

Pffft. Stealing pint glasses is nothing. Call me when you lift an unopened bottle of Cabernet (which I've done).

Seriously, though, grow up. Get a sleeve of keg cups from the 7-Eleven to tide you over until you can get to Ikea, Goodwill, or Purple Heart and buy some real grown-up glasses like an adult.

Sep 03, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Hot or Not: Fruity Beer

I really like Harpoon Brewing Company's Raspberry UFO. It's wheaty with a lovely pale pink color and tart, not terribly sweet raspberry flavor.

Aug 27, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Dude, Where's My Drink?

If you really wanted to be helpful, instead of assessing the party and deeming it not up to your standards, you could have called the host on your way to the party and said, "I'm on my way. Is there any last-minute thing you need me to pick up? Limes, mixers, ice, keg cups?" I do that before any party I attend. Usually, the host has everything under control, but sometimes I've been asked to stop at the grocery store, and the host is very appreciative that I thought to call and save him or her a trip.

Furthermore, who makes simple syrup? If someone showed up at a party I was throwing and started rummaging through the cabinets of my very tiny kitchen to make simple syrup on the stove, I would be absolutely livid, and that person would likely not be invited to my house again.

Aug 27, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Guilty Pleasure

Orange Fanta soda from the Dominican Republic. Made with real cane sugar, so you know it'll rot your teeth good.

Funfetti frosting. (Get the Betty Crocker kind. Pillsbury changed the recipe and it's not as good anymore.)

Gardetto's snack mix.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Queso fundido from Tijuana Taco Stand in Wilmington, DE. A crock of melty cheese that comes adorned with roasted poblanos, mushrooms, or chorizo. I ask for all three and smear great gooey gouts of it on hot tortillas.

The supreme nachos platter, also from Tijuana Taco Stand. A mountain of house-made chips, covered in cheese sauce, crumbles of chorizo, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, more cheese, etc. I have been known to run my fingers across the bottom of the plate and lick them clean to get the last of the chorizo-and-cheese goo.

Hot dogs and baked beans with white bread smeared with lots of soft, salty butter and a glass of milk. I make it for dinner every year the night before my birthday (it's what my mother ate for dinner the night before I was born).

French toast made with just eggs and milk in the batter, served in a pool of butter and with ketchup on top.

Aug 06, 2008
Miss Clare in General Topics

Caramelized Onion and Chickpea Burgers

I couldn't find panko crumbs at my supermarket so I substituted part of a packet of fried chicken coating. I have to say it gave the burgers a bit of heat and extra toasty flavor from the garlic and onion powders in the packet. If I make these again (I have to admit they were a lot of work) I will add a knife-point's worth of cayenne pepper or a big splash of Frank's Red Hot--they could use a bit of heat.

Aug 06, 2008
Miss Clare in Recipes

Pomegranate Raspberry–Flavored Beer

If you want a light-ish raspberry beer, Harpoon Raspberry UFO FTW. It has a lovely pale pink color, tart raspberries in the nose and on the palate, and goes with ANYTHING you put it with--mac and cheese, calamari, salads, shrimp and grits, barbeque, burgers. I liked it so much I bought a mixed case of Harpoon's summer brews and gave all of them except the Raspberry UFO to my dad.

Jul 28, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

BEST PHILLY CHEESE STEAK

In the city: Tony Luke's, though I admit I'm more a fan of the roast pork sandwich with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe.

In the suburbs: La Spada's in Aston, PA. They use a better quality american cheese than most places I've been to and it gives the whole steak a luxurious creaminess. Throw in the deeply caramelized onions, and you have a winner.

Jul 22, 2008
Miss Clare in Pennsylvania

Good bakeries in the burbs?

I heartily second the recommendations for The Bakery House in Haverford and Aux Petits Delices in Wayne. For about ten years in a row, on even years I'd get the raspberry genoise cake with raspberry buttercream from Aux Petits Delices, and on the odd numbered years I'd get the chocolate mocha cake from The Bakery House. My family augments our Christmas cookie tray with two pounds of the Christmas butter cookies from Aux Petits Delices and a pound of a mix of the fancy cookies (palmiers, almond lace cookies, meringues, etc.) Aux Petits makes absolutely phenomenal homemade candies and truffles as well; their vanilla caramels are full of deliciously runny, buttery caramel and you can feel the tiny vanilla seeds crunch in your teeth.

The Bakery House is justifiably famous for their beautiful fruit tarts on a shortbread crust filled with homemade pastry cream and adorned with an assortment of fresh fruits. I have already talked about their magnificent chocolate mocha cake. Their muffins are very good as well, though I was not a giant fan of their cookies (but I'm not much of a cookie person). Beware, though: The women who own the place have A LOT of attitude. My family refers to the place as "The Bitches of Bryn Mawr."

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Aux Petits Delices
162 E Lancaster Ave, Wayne, PA

Bakery House
604 W Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA

Jul 22, 2008
Miss Clare in Philadelphia

Shaved Ice Treats

I went to Hawaii for vacation last year, and I regret not getting a real shave ice while I was there. I kept seeing shave ice trucks on the beach and I was in Hale'iwa one day, and I kept saying, "Oh, I'll get it, I'll get it," and I never did. I'm sorry I missed it.

Jul 02, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Soy sauce + butter = yum!

One of my favorite vegetable side dishes is broccoli roasted with red peppers and garlic cloves. I dress the veggies with cubes of cold butter, some liberal splashes of soy sauce, and red pepper flakes, and roast the whole mess in a hot oven, turning everything a few times. Fantastic on its own or served with soft, cheesy polenta and some roasted Italian sausages.

May 16, 2008
Miss Clare in Home Cooking

Surprise Guest: Mom

This query reminds me of one of the funniest phone calls I ever received.

When I graduated from high school (10 years ago...ugh, I'm old) my parents hosted a graduation party for me at our country club. I didn't invite everyone from my graduating class to the party, mostly because I hated most of my classmates, but I did reciprocally invite the girls who invited me to their parties. I'll never forget the irate phone call I got from one of my classmates (a girl I'd known since kindergarten, but who didn't like me very much) who I didn't invite.

"Uh, Clare, your graduation party is today."
"Yes, Classmate, it is."
"Well, Other Classmate got her invitation in the mail. Why didn't *I* get one?"
I had to think quickly and come up with a tactful answer.
"Well, Classmate, that's because I didn't send you an invitation. But if you'd like to attend, I can give you directions to the club. Do you have a pen handy?"
*click*

Still gives me a chuckle.

(Oh, and to address the original question, I'd only bring my mom to a friend's party under extreme duress. My friends know too much incriminating stuff about me to be trusted not to tell my mom.)

May 14, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Dour Cookies for a Desert Island

DON'T FRONT on Voortman Windmill cookies. They're deliciously crispy, studded with lots of flakes of almond, and are assertively spicy for a commercial cookie.

May 13, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

Canouflage

Can cozies! Doesn't anybody use can cozies anymore? I keep a few at our shore house because there's nothing nicer than sitting on the beach on a Sunday afternoon listening to a baseball game.

May 08, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

A New Healthy Chip Concept

James, I have to ask: Do companies send you samples of the products you test, or do you just stumble upon them in your local supermarket? I'm not trying to call you on the carpet or impugn your journalistic integrity, I am genuinely curious.

May 05, 2008
Miss Clare in Features

How Does Plastic Wrap Cling?

Joe Blowe beat me to it--give me Stretch-Tite or give me death.

Apr 25, 2008
Miss Clare in Features