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electricfish's Profile

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What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

I just bought "The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook" from America's Test Kitchen. I frequently cook for friends with celiac, so this will be helpful.

I haven't had a chance to bake anything out of it yet, but hoping to get to it this week.

Apr 07, 2014
electricfish in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? December 2012 [OLD]

My daughter has promised a "mystery fruit pie" as snack this afternoon for her debate club. I guess I'm off to the farmer's market to see if they have any unusual fruits. I kind of think all they're going to have today is apples and random citrus. Dried fruit of some kind is probably what I'm going to have to wind up going with.

I love weird, last minute requests. Sigh.

Dec 05, 2012
electricfish in Home Cooking

Near Tower Theater, Upper Darby

Pica's is nasty. People do seem to like their take-out pies, but I wouldn't eat in their dining room again if you paid me.

Apr 23, 2012
electricfish in Philadelphia

Co-workers who mess with your food.

I've been victim of over-zealous office fridge cleanouts. Every once in a while these two particular ladies would throw out anything that had been in the fridge longer than 24 hours. I would often bring in the large containers of greek yoghurt, and eat about a half a cup a day, so the container would last about 8 work days, if they didn't wander through and toss it. I'd also bring in 2-3 days worth of salad makings at a time and they'd toss all that stuff too. When confronted they'd always claim to have thought whatever I'd lost had been in there for a very long time. I don't do that. I'm on top of my fridge at home, and I was even more diligent at work. Very irritating, especially when they tossed my containers too.

Apr 20, 2012
electricfish in Not About Food

Cleaning up after dinner.

I used to be an "it can wait" person, but the past year or so out of necessity I've had to change my habits. A really stubborn ant infestation will change your mind about leaving things out overnight very quickly.

I find I prefer having the kitchen completely clean at night. I wash pots and pans as I go along as much as possible, so there's usually only one or two things still to clean after the evening meal is finished. Fill and run the dishwasher, wipe down the counters and stove and I can retire from the kitchen with a clear conscience. The ants are finally gone (yay!), but I'm keeping the good habits.

Apr 20, 2012
electricfish in Not About Food

What did you have for breakfast today? [old]

One fried egg with sauteed onions, over a bed of wilted spinach, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. And two big cups of coffee with cream.

Apr 20, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

What did you have for breakfast today? [old]

Fage 2% greek yoghurt with a packet of Trader Joe's O My Omega Trek Mix and a tablespoon of honey. And two big cups of coffee with cream.

Apr 19, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

Restaurant Secret Shopping

When I did it, I brought crayons and paper for my child, or used the ones provided by the restaurant, and made a few notes on names and timing hidden in the scribbles. Just made sure to take it with me when I left if I didn't think I'd be able to remember all the details.

It's interesting, but not very lucrative. Basically just a free meal.

Apr 17, 2012
electricfish in Not About Food

Impromptu Meals - how do I plan for them?

I rarely have a plan going in to dinner, other than a vague idea of what protein I'm going to use, and never precook meats. I will re-package fresh meats from bulk packs into meal sized portions and freeze them, but I regard that more the last step in putting away my groceries, rather than the first step in meal prep.

I rarely cook from it these days, but there was a year or so when I was setting up house with my now husband, working, and dealing with his erratic schedule that I heavily relied on this cookbook:
http://www.amazon.com/Monday---Friday...

It's all about pantry cooking and having the ability to throw together a good meal in a short amount of time. Apparently it's even a James Beard Award winner, which I didn't realize until I looked it up on Amazon just now. These days I follow the philosophy, if not the recipes.

Apr 15, 2012
electricfish in Home Cooking

10 Cosmetics Already in Your Kitchen

Waste of coconut milk. Add 1/2-1 teaspoon of coconut oil to your shampoo and then skip conditioning altogether.

Apr 12, 2012
electricfish in Features

What are you baking these days? April 2012 [old]

I'm about to attempt Smitten Kitchen's "Lighter Than Air Chocolate Cake"(http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/03/the...) for my kid's birthday. She said "surprise me" when I asked what kind of cake she wanted, so hopefully this will go over well.

Apr 12, 2012
electricfish in Home Cooking

This is CRAZY, but my dishwasher will not CLOSE. HELP!

I had a similar problem with my Kenmore dishwasher, which I finally determined was due to the position of coffee mug handles in the top rack. Somehow they were hitting up against the side rail and preventing it from closing fully. Now I'm obsessive about making sure all handles face towards the center of the machine, not out to the sides.

Apr 06, 2012
electricfish in Cookware

Knife suitable for Children

Starting at around 8 I let my daughter use a sharp knife, but only when very closely supervised. She's an exceptionally calm and coordinated child (not perfect by any means, but those are two of her good qualities), some kids I'd wait a lot longer before giving them a knife they could actually chop with.

I have a little 4.25" chef's knife (who knew they even made them that small?) in my knife block which I'd always thought was pretty useless, but it is the perfect size for a child's hand. Mine is an ancient Chicago Cutlery that I received in box of odds and ends years 25 years ago from my grandma when I first moved out on my own and needed to set up a kitchen. I assume it was some gift with purchase kind of thing.

My daughter is 12 now and I'm thinking of moving her up to a 6" knife.

Apr 05, 2012
electricfish in Cookware

Remembrance of Foods Past (it's NOT a madeleine)

My great-grandma's chocolate chocolate chip cookies. So perfectly chocolatey, and not too sweet. I've tried a number of recipes in an attempt to recreate them, and none come close.

Apr 04, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 1st quarter 2012 [old]

I love dark chocolate, almonds and sea salt, but I didn't really care for these. The balance is off or something. Part of it is the texture of the chocolate coating, the salt crystals are thoroughly mixed into the chocolate and it isn't luxurious, it's gritty. They will not go to waste, but I will not be rebuying.

Mar 30, 2012
electricfish in Chains

If all foods were nutritionally equal would you change your diet?

Assuming costs remained as they are now, probably not too much. My family enjoys lots of stereotypically "yucky" vegetables, so there aren't many we'd want to jettison. There would be some more bacon and animal fats in our diets, but probably not many more processed foods. We like to cook, I don't see that changing.

Mar 26, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

POLL: Can you walk to an actual grocery store?

I'm in suburban Philadelphia. I guess I could technically walk to the grocery store, but it would take about 15 minutes and there wouldn't be any sidewalks, and not many crosswalks.

It would be about half the distance to walk to my closest farmer's market, still without sidewalks, but they don't sell meat (except awesome turkeys and hams over the holidays), and thus don't meet your criteria.

Nobody walks around here except teenagers and our token homeless guy.

Mar 26, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

CSA - how many chowhounds use a CSA

I'd recommend looking into the management/ownership of the CSA. I made the mistake of unknowingly buying into a CSA "in transition" (original farmers left to start their own CSA elsewhere, replacement farmers took over at last minute), and was very disappointed with the meager results. Also ask them how long they've been farming that land and whether they've recently had any major personnel changes.

I'm happier shopping at the farmer's market. I get exactly what I pay for.

Mar 23, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

OrGREENic Cookware?

Updating my review. I would no longer classify this pan as non-stick. I tried re-seasoning it, and that didn't help much. It isn't a terrible pan, all things considered, but it does not perform as a non-stick pan. You need to use a good amount of oil or moisture, and things like eggs will stick anyway, usually. I'd rather use a pan that will build up a seasoned surface and become "non-stick-ish" over time. I don't think you can really season the ceramic in that manner, so this is not the solution I was looking for.

Mar 23, 2012
electricfish in Cookware

OrGREENic Cookware?

So I bought the pan through Amazon and I've been using it regularly for the past couple of weeks. It isn't a bad pan at all. I'd say it cooks more like a nicely seasoned anodized aluminum pan (most of the rest of my pans are Magnalites) than teflon. There is some stickiness, especially if you don't use much oil, or the food doesn't have a lot of natural moisture, but the surface is so smooth that if you rub at it with a plastic utensil it will come right off.

Overall, I'm pleased with the purchase. It is a very lightweight pan, but so far it cooks evenly with no hot spots. My one complaint would be that the first time I used it the gray paint? on the outside of the pan was scratched off in spots from moving it around on the burner of my electric stove. I wasn't being rough with it, just pan flipping some diced veggies, what I would consider a normal and expected cooking activity. So that was disappointing, but the green cooking surface still looks and feels perfectly smooth after a couple of weeks of near daily use. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Tentative thumbs up from me.

Feb 04, 2012
electricfish in Cookware

Food Waste - What have you wasted Today/This week/Last week??

We usually do pretty good, but I found forgotten containers of ricotta cheese and sour cream in the fridge yesterday. I had big plans for them over the holidays and they never materialized. Oh, and a small quantity of moldy okra that I never should have purchased because it is not something I ever cook with.

Jan 27, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

Online Italian Food Store?

Jan 14, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

Mexican Coca-Cola [moved from New Jersey board]

The big difference is in satiety. You won't want to drink a whole liter of Mexican Coke, you will want to stop at 8 - 12 oz. We switched a couple years ago, and my husband the Coke drinker dropped 20 pounds with no effort.

Jan 13, 2012
electricfish in General Topics

OrGREENic Cookware?

The single 10" pan is currently available on Amazon (and, most importantly, fulfilled by Amazon) for $19.99. That may be an option for people wanting to try the OrGREENic cookware without dealing with the scam artists. My husband saw the infomercial and sent me on a mission to buy the pan. I'm thinking twice about that, given the mixed reviews here on pan performance, and the overwhelmingly negative opinions on their business practices. But, I'll probably order one anyway, just to shut him up. If I do, I'll add a review.

Jan 12, 2012
electricfish in Cookware

Internet or Your Cookbooks - Which are You Using More ?

I'm about half and half. I made a conscious effort a few years ago to get rid of all the random cookbooks that I would never actually want to cook from (or had found to have faulty recipes), so now I have solid, basic reference texts for the types of cooking my family and I usually like to do. I look to my cookbooks first, and then the internet if I can't find exactly what I'm looking for. For ethnic dishes, or dishes featuring an unusual ingredient I've happened across, I'll turn to the internet. There are also a few blogs and websites that I'll occasionally get inspiration from.

My husband is almost totally internet these days, with mixed results since he doesn't read reviews. When I do use the internet for recipes, I pay attention to user feedback and either make adjustments accordingly, or move on to a different recipe.

All in all, I prefer having a paper copy to work from, and I don't like having to worry about a phone or laptop in the middle of the cooking mess. Once they perfect a waterproof, washable e-reader, cookbooks may become obsolete, but until then I definitely prefer books.

Jan 11, 2012
electricfish in Not About Food

Panko Bread Crumbs a Must?

Panko crumbs are superior, in my experience, so if you keep breadcrumbs on hand, why not keep the best ones? If you never use breadcrumbs of any sort, then obviously you don't need them.

I usually use them to lightly coat pork or chicken cutlets before sauteing. They are good in meatloaf, etc. too, but it's harder to discern the difference from regular breadcrumbs in that sort of application.

I've been following the Primal/Paleo diet and Panko crumbs are one of the few grain items I've decided not to give up (figuring a tablespoon of crumbs every once in a while won't hurt me), so they are definitely a must have item for me.

Jan 11, 2012
electricfish in Home Cooking

Please tell me if you have experience with a CSA?

We belonged to one 2 summers ago. I was not satisfied. The return on investment was very poor. We were promised enough for 4 people and rarely received enough for 2. I know "stuff" happens, but it was a perfectly normal growing season and the harvest shouldn't have been that poor week in and week out (in volume, variety and quality). We found out too late that the farmers everyone raved about had left the farm to start their own CSA operation elsewhere. The new people were not up to the job and/or they didn't get access to the farm until planting season was well underway (we never got a straight story on what the problem was). They couldn't even keep the wasps cleared out of the childrens garden.

If I were to consider a CSA again, I'd do a lot more research and I'd be very hesitant to join a brand new one. Unless you can afford to potentially waste the money, you'd do better shopping farmer's markets. With a CSA you're (sometimes literally) putting all your eggs in one basket.

ETA: Our agreement was $750 for an approximate 4-person share, no labor commitment, but many of the crops were pick your own.

May 02, 2011
electricfish in General Topics

Are there dishes that are "restaurant menu immune"?

Tuna Glunk? That's my DH's family's name for the recipe. Tuna, celery, onion, elbow macaroni, mayo and spices, served cold. My family made the same thing, but sometimes added apple or grapes.

Oct 20, 2010
electricfish in General Topics

Eating free-range, corn-fed leg of armadillo - One of the tastiest things I've tried in my life

Does cooking kill whatever causes leprosy?

Oct 15, 2010
electricfish in General Topics

Can i make pizza at home without a pizza stone ?

I have a cast iron pizza pan that I got from Crate & Barrel a few years ago that makes awesome pizza. I had a gift certificate and bought it on a whim and have never regretted it. Cast iron is the shiznit for crispy crusts.

Oct 12, 2010
electricfish in Home Cooking