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What is your funniest cookbook story?

OK this isn’t fall-on-the-floor funny but always made me smile: You know those Nancy Drew books – those 70s hardcovers with the yellow spines? Back in elementary school, I would just devour those things one after the other while snacking away. Bliss. Anyway the back covers of some of the books advertised a Nancy Drew Cookbook. What always struck me as funny, even as a kid, was the phrasing of one of the marketing blurbs: “This cookbook will just encourage young cooks” – as if that were a bad thing.

Jul 18, 2012
extrasalty in Not About Food

Holland's Best Bakery/Holland Pastry [San Jose] Reports?

Nope, haven’t tried their other baked goods. I usually focus on goodies that will travel well for Sinterklaas/Christmas care packages: hagel, stroopwafels, hopjes, and dubbel zout licorice. Haven’t tried that brown sugar version (tho used to live right by Reading Terminal) but this griotten may be it:

http://www.hollandsbest.com/licorice/...

Holland's Best Bakery/Holland Pastry [San Jose] Reports?

I've ordered from them several times over the years and only been disappointed once -- but it was with a kerstkrans that wasn't packed well; the licorice has always been great. Since they're a ways away from SF (hence my lazy mail-ordering), you might consider Haig's on Clement. Oddly, our Mollie Stone here in Sausalito has a great Dutch candy selection as well. Good luck!

www.haigsdelicacies.com/store/
www.molliestones.com/

Sardines and Cholesterol Mystery

That is a fantastic link! Thanks. (By the way, RDA is just the recommended daily allowance per the United States nutritional powers-that-be. I'm guessing you're in a different country.)

Jun 19, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

Sardines and Cholesterol Mystery

I’ve been eating sardines my whole life, happy that something so tasty could also be so good for you -- or so I thought. Now that the doctor’s got me keeping an eye on cholesterol, I’ve noticed something odd: if you look at the nutritional info on different cans of sardines, the cholesterol varies wildly. For instance:

Angelo Parodi, in olive oil: 7% RDA
Crown Prince, brisling, in water: 19%
Brunswick, in water: 33%!

The serving size is almost the same in all cases, so what do you think is causing the difference?

Jun 18, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

For me it was something called Hot Patty in the Bahamas. We had it years ago while waiting for a connecting flight in the Nassau airport. It’s just some sort of soupy ground meat, possibly with a little melted cheese, encased in a non-flaky pastry disk, but it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had (and no I wasn’t ravenously hungry or deranged with jetlag). I spent the whole vacation talking about getting another Hot Patty on the way home. My husband, who was not under the same spell, was patient. At the end of the week I pretty much burst out of the plane in Nassau, only to see the Hot Patty stand on the wrong side of a glass security divider.

May 19, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

Bad Hosts: Invites you and, after you accept, asks you to bring dessert for everyone.

I'm with you. It’s certainly a lot more fun to make a generous contribution or offer a favor, than give into an unreasonable demand. (Food for thought if any of us ever wind up being the one desperately needing someone to bring dessert for 19...)

May 19, 2009
extrasalty in Not About Food

Do You Tip Less in a Restaurant You Will Only Go To Once?

Couldn't have said it better myself.

May 19, 2009
extrasalty in Not About Food

Bad Hosts: Invites you and, after you accept, asks you to bring dessert for everyone.

It’s never fun to be ambushed, since you wind up getting irked with yourself as much as with the ambusher. My own irksome memory was being invited to a dinner party, then being asked to bring the entrée. I’m still a good sport but now think it’s perfectly acceptable to say right upfront -- and immediately so it doesn’t turn into a big production -- when someone makes a request of you that just seems too much. Bringing dessert for 19, even if it were just a couple of tubs of cheapo ice cream, just seems too much -- especially since you know a chowhound is going to feel compelled to bring something a heck of a lot better than that. You don’t need a big dramatic confrontation, just something like, “Hmm, that seems like a lot to ask of a guest, doesn’t it?” and then suggest something you’re more comfortable with. As long as it’s said with a smile and good intentions you shouldn’t cause too much offense. And frankly if they’ve already offended you, you’ve got a little wiggle room there, don’t you?

May 19, 2009
extrasalty in Not About Food

Do you use margarine?

No no NO margarine for me, thank you very much. Growing up we always had these scientific-looking margarine tubs on the dining room table and it drove me CRAZY. (Having plastic tubs on the table also drove me crazy aesthetically but that's a subject for another day.) It felt like smearing plastic on your bread. Butter was the forbidden fruit and I now happily wallow in it every damn day. The only health concession I've made recently is to stop keeping butter at room temperature, because that just makes it a little TOO easy to wallow in.

BTW my husband also grew up in a margarine family and once got a wrong answer on a German vocab quiz that asked the word for what happens to butter when it’s left out. He thought butter would dry out, and then had to argue with the teacher that he was culturally disadvantaged.

May 19, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

Quiche Emergency!

Way back when I first started making quiches, I used frozen crusts (Nancy's all-butter) all the time (shh!) and never pre-baked or even thawed them first. In retrospect it does sound odd but it worked just dandy. Anyway since the timing and temperature of your recipe sound fine, I would guess the problem was that the veggies simply gave off too much water, as cimui mentioned. Next time, try draining off any excess water before adding the flour and milk. (If you want to be extra-finicky like me you could even press the vegs a bit with some paper towels to absorb as much water as possible.) In the meantime though just think of your quiche as having a little "special sauce!"

May 19, 2009
extrasalty in Home Cooking

Reusing plastic water bottles

Natch!

May 16, 2009
extrasalty in Not About Food

Somethings Shouldn't Be Made "Vegan"

Thanks. You can tell this touched a nerve.

May 16, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

Reusing plastic water bottles

The cheapskate in me likes this, but doesn't the bleach degrade the plastic?

May 16, 2009
extrasalty in Not About Food

Somethings Shouldn't Be Made "Vegan"

The word “vegan” really needs a marketing overhaul! I sympathize with the difficulty of cooking for vegans, but as with so many things in life, the difficulty often has more to do with the personality of the person making the demands, not the actual diet. But man just the thought of cooking a vegan meal gets me all tense and paranoid that some whey or gelatin sneaks its way in. There are few things more frustrating than knocking yourself out to produce a meal to satisfy all sorts of parameters, including keeping the non-vegans happy, and then finding out that some minor ingredient (say maple syrup, which apparently is made with a drop of beef tallow) doesn’t pass the test. Sigh…

Much better to meet them at a restaurant! I’ve had plenty of vegan friends over the years and thus eaten more than my share of pressed nut cakes, etc. The key to enjoying the “faux-meat” portions of the meal is to view them not in comparison to the meat they’re trying to replicate (since they’ll invariably be off), but as a substitute. After all in a non-vegan meal, if you replace shrimp with chicken, you don’t spend the whole meal thinking, “Damn this chicken doesn’t taste like shrimp” – you just accept the new protein. It’s a subtle but important difference.

May 16, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

Reusing plastic water bottles

The argument about not reusing the bottles is probably spread by the bottlers. (Just as the superstition about not opening umbrellas in the house was probably spread by manufacturers who wanted them to get all moldy and disintegrate…) Anyway crackpot conspiracy theories aside, I reuse bottles constantly. I actually justify the cost of buying a bottle of water by viewing it as buying a temporary canteen. Of course as theredmenace points out, they’re a pain to wash, so after a couple of weeks they get tossed but that’s due to the threat of scum (the green menace!), not plastic contamination.

May 16, 2009
extrasalty in Not About Food

Gonna eat a lot of peaches

I'm jealous! Have you tried poached peaches? The resulting color has a big “wow” factor – it’s like a sunset in a bowl. Cut your peaches in half, removing the stones but keeping the skin on (the skin coloring will transfer to the peach flesh). For the poaching liquid combine: 3 cups water, 3 cups sugar, 2 tbsp vanilla, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 2 cloves. (If you’re feeling fancy you can add a cinnamon stick, 2 long strips lemon zest, and some red wine in place of the water.) Once your liquid has simmered for 5 min, carefully add a few halves at time and simmer 4 mins/side. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool then peel. Serve over ice cream, ideally with a drizzle of warm maple syrup. Gah!

May 09, 2009
extrasalty in Home Cooking

Jacques Pepin's crispy kale

Hot damn this is good! The first batch didn’t even make it from the baking sheet to the serving bowl. I agree about going easy on the salt since the kale volume decreases so much in cooking. Definitely don’t skip the oil. This was such a hit that I kept the oven on and tried it with rainbow chard and bok choy (and had spinach and parsley on deck but ran out of energy): still excellent but not a total homerun like the kale. The only problem was that the kale got a bit too crumbly so I wouldn’t recommend serving this at a party, at least not in the living room. More of a gobble-over-the-sink treat.

May 09, 2009
extrasalty in Home Cooking

Crab Roll Recipe - Fish in Sausalito

We were just talking about their crab rolls the other day. You're right that there is a truly ungodly amount of Clover butter in them -- I find it's almost to the point where it overwhelms the crab (sacre bleu!) -- but I also get the impression that there’s quite a bit more sugar than in a typical roll. Doesn't it seem a little sweet? Must do more research at lunch today...

Dinner Entree Featuring Fresh Asparagus

I second the asparagus omelette. Your ham addition sounds wonderful (my husband is Mr. Ham) but thus far we’ve been using the Cooks Illustrated asparagus/parm version, where you first sautee ¼” segments of asparagus in butter, then toss them with fresh lemon. The lemon makes the whole thing sing.

Apr 26, 2009
extrasalty in Home Cooking

What would pulverized pistachios enliven?

These all sound fantastic but the fish/chicken crust idea is probably what we’ll be having tonight. To keep the nuts from overwhelming things I’m thinking of first doing a coating of buttermilk (possibly with Dijon or Colman’s mustard) instead of the usual milk – unless anyone has any other ideas.

Apr 21, 2009
extrasalty in Home Cooking

Tipping a Caterer?

I also worked for a caterer for several years during college, but don’t recall hearing a peep about tips. As servers we earned a more-than-reasonable hourly wage (and got to take some truly astounding food and drink home). The contract must have reflected our compensation structure – i.e. if any sort of gratuity were required to give us a reasonable wage, as in a restaurant, it would have been noted up-front.

Of course none of this definitively answers the OP’s question. Frankly I would just ask the friend.

Apr 20, 2009
extrasalty in Not About Food

What would pulverized pistachios enliven?

I have just under a cup of pulverized pistachios, left over from making goat-cheese-swaddled grapes. I’d love to try incorporating pistachio flavor into other savory dishes, but am at a loss, aside from possibly trying them as a stew thickener in place of hazelnuts. What do you think could use a hit of these gorgeous, nutty crumbs?

Apr 20, 2009
extrasalty in Home Cooking

Fluffernutter?

Haven’t had one since leaving New England umpteen years ago and can’t recall ever seeing marshmallow fluff here in crunchy NorCal. But oh good God now I’m dying for a fluffernutter!

Apr 20, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

Family foods I thought was normal

I’m actually getting some intriguing ideas here, what with the fried pasta and the tuna fish pancakes. My own mother would make these health drinks of raw egg, OJ, milk and honey. They were supposed to be smoothies but since she made them without a blender, or even a beater, they were more like gloppies. Also, ravioli always had to be served in multiples of 3. And on Christmas, when other kids got candy, I was unwrapping anchovies and pistachios.

Apr 17, 2009
extrasalty in General Topics

Noooooo - Sweden House in Tiburon closed

This is such a shame! Thanks for the heads-up – at least it’s better to find out now vs. after making the trek over there, all eager-eyed. This happens so often these days, where you hear of a beloved place having gone out of business, and as you’re reminiscing you realize that well gee we haven’t actually given them much business lately. Sigh. Wish there were some sort of alert system so you could see if any of your favorites are faltering, and then rush over and give them some love.

Help me impress my cousin from NY! - In North Bay

Here's another vote for Sushi Ran.

Black Pepper–Manchego Cheese Puffs

Gah these sound good, but awfully salty even for me. I'm curious about the milk since I've always been taught to make puffs w/ water instead so as not to make the dough too soft.

Apr 17, 2009
extrasalty in Recipes

Black Bean Cakes with Fried Eggs and Avocado Crema

The crema was a home run, as was the overall combo of flavors, but the beancakes weren't cohesive enough. Normally I'd add another egg, but don't want eggy overload here. I'll try cdnexpat's cornstarch suggestion.

Apr 17, 2009
extrasalty in Recipes