arashall's Profile

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Me again with another tomato in container question.

Tomatoes outgrowing the cage is a good thing! Just tie them gently to the cage or stakes for more support. They are tougher than you think.

2 days ago
arashall in Gardening

Three chocolate pies and their crust: a cooking experiment

Thanks for the research!

I don't think I've ever had a chocolate pie that beats French Silk. My recipe sounds slightly smaller than yours, but the same idea. Eggs, butter, sugar, chocolate beaten to within an inch of its life! When I'm feeling lazy, I use a graham cracker crust (or whatever cookie is handy, gingersnaps are good). I've done this with raw eggs for years, served it to many guests, and never had a problem.

Jun 17, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking

The Latest "Yay Me" thread

Yeah, his head is fine. His grandson was on the beach to witness the incident :-)

Italian egg cream in Houston?

Kenny & Ziggy's has them.

http://www.kennyandziggys.com/

Jun 09, 2015
arashall in Houston

The Latest "Yay Me" thread

Family gathering last weekend at Galveston, TX. Mullet is considered a baitfish here, but since nothing else was biting, I talked my Dad into netting some, because they were jumping everywhere right near the beach. So many that one literally jumped up and hit him in the head! The group was skeptical when I insisted that they are eaten in other places and we should try them. Threw them from the water onto the grill in a matter of minutes. One batch with butter and lemon, the other with olive oil and Mediterranean herb mix. They were delicious! Firm white meat, no "fishy" taste. Even the pickiest about fish had to admit they were wonderful.

Jun 09, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking

grill grates

If it's still within warranty, Weber will replace all of those party. They overnighted them to me. The burners have something like a 10 year warranty. The grates and flavor bars are less, maybe two years? It's worth a call to the 800 number to ask. They have great customer service.

Jun 09, 2015
arashall in Cookware

Help us plan our meals in Arequipa & Cusco

La Iberica chocolates, sold around town and in the airport at Arequipa are amazing! Buy extras of the simple blue and red pastilles to bring home. They have a fruity, cinnamon, flavor that comes from where the beans are grown, not from additives.

grill grates

I'm also a fan of the enameled cast iron. I have a little Weber Spirit, but upgraded the grates after the original set rusted out. This may not happen to you. I live in humid Houston, so we have a higher than normal potential for rust.

Jun 08, 2015
arashall in Cookware

Sorbet, ice cream, and other frosty treats

I have a simple little ice cream maker that I received as a gift. I keep the bowl ready in my freezer all the time in the summer. I think it makes 1.5 quarts. A couple of days ago I threw the entire 1 pound container of overripe strawberries in the mini-chop, and then put them in a simple vanilla ice cream base. Fabulous! Very, very berry, and very, very easy. My recent favorite is using Penzey's cocoa and cinnamon in the same basic ice cream base (I don't measure - a couple of eggs, some sugar, a dash of vanilla and fill the rest up with cream). This makes a very rich, not overly sweet chocolate. I like your addition of orange to chocolate. I'll have to try that. This quick, easy ice cream is turning into a bad habit. Be warned :-)

Jun 05, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking

Do you make use of spice blends in your cooking?

Absolutely. I don't always have time for creative or precise use of spice. Like others who have replied, and Italian blend and herbs de provence are always in my cabinet. Also adobo and a Mediterranean blend from Phoenecia (a local grocery in Houston). Penzey's is a great place for getting blends, and their catalog and website have lots of recipe suggestions for how to use them.

Jun 04, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking
1

Modern Kitchen Outfitting on a Budget

You can get refurbished KA stand mixers from their website or amazon for a fraction of the new price. I have a lovely apple green one. Can't tell it's not brand new and have never had a problem with it.

Jun 03, 2015
arashall in Cookware

Hey Houston! BruceSW wants to know where to get a great sandwich!

The deli at the downtown Spec's does great sandwiches, for the very reasons that you mentioned.

Jun 01, 2015
arashall in Houston

Difficulty lighting my gas grill

As for the spark starter, check the battery. Lots of people don't realize it has a battery.

Coconut Ice Cream

May 27, 2015
arashall in Recipes

Taking 2 college guys to dinner help me please

What about a food truck tour instead of a sit-down dinner? That's very Austin, budget friendly, and probably fun for college guys.

May 22, 2015
arashall in Austin

Recommendation for a Grill and Where to buy it?

+1 on the Weber if your budget and grilling ambitions are just average. I've used a little Spirit for years, with excellent results.

If you do have a truck, Lowes will put it together for you, which saves some time. Weber customer service is great. It's like talking to your best friend's mom, in Minnesota :-)

May 21, 2015
arashall in Philadelphia
1

Pollinating Tomato Plants

You have plenty of advice on the tomatoes, but did anybody tell you to put the mints and oregano in their own separate containers (only as big as you want them to fill) because they will spread like crazy and take over your other herbs? The thyme will spread too, but not as wildly as mint.

I just stick the tomato in a big pot in full sun, water a lot if it's really hot, water less if it's not too hot, and give it some tomato food every so often. And fight pests if they appear.

May 21, 2015
arashall in Gardening

New Orleans to Austin

I second the recommendation to avoid 290! Just before you get to Columbus is a quirky place call the Industrial Country Market. It's a great place for kids. There's and outdoor art installation that constantly changes, a fish/lotus pond, and lots of etcetera. Not for a meal, but a fun stop. Lots of people pass it by because they don't realize what's really there and how amusing it can be. They have a green house with fabulous homegrown tomatoes and herbs for cheap.

May 20, 2015
arashall in Houston

New Orleans to Austin

Also on the way through town on I-10 (at Blalock) is 99 Ranch. It's a big Asian grocery store with a food court that would allow everyone to choose their own meal. It has a very popular Vietnamese crawfish place, as well as traditional Chinese offerings, Korean, and probably some other stuff I am forgetting. There's a smoothie shop, and an in-store bakery. Very economical choice, and the kids can run off some steam looking and interesting things in the market.

May 20, 2015
arashall in Houston

New Orleans to Austin

HUGE new Buckee's on I-10 in Baytown. Clean bathrooms, and tons of stuff for the kids. Not necessarily cheap, though. All of those goodies can add up fast.

May 20, 2015
arashall in Houston

Breakfast service near the Houston Convention Center

Breakfast? That's a tough one. Almost has to be a hotel, but I wouldn't call that fun. The Four Seasons does a really good job on meeting breakfasts. You might try Phoenicia Specialty Foods. They have a little bistro in the store. They might work something out with you, since it's family owned they can do whatever they want.

May 12, 2015
arashall in Houston

What to do with tough skirt steaks

Can I asked how you cut it? If you're not familiar with skirt steaks, be sure to cut across the grain, in thin pieces. As others mentioned, marinades (think fajitas) and a little rare also help.

Instacart

I don't know if the business model will hold up as they grow, but I've used Instacart in Houston several times, as have co-workers, and we have all be thoroughly impressed by the level of service. You pick which of several local grocery stores to use for the order, and then you can get anything in the store. They have even called to ask about a substitution when a certain flavor was out of stock.

May 07, 2015
arashall in Food Media & News

Restaurants near Magnolia Hotel

Just FYI - the Magnolia has a courtesy SUV that will take you just about anywhere nearby.

You are close to the Hubcap Grill, which is known for fabulous burgers. The newly opened Jackson Street BBQ is nearby, but I haven't been yet. It has a good pedigree, so I anticipate good BBQ. Irma's Tex-Mex, by the ballpark is popular with lots of folks, but not a big favorite of mine. Not to be confused with Irma's Southwest Grill.

Bombay Pizza company is about 2 blocks away. It's a good example of Houston's multi-cultural outlook, combining Indian flavors and pizza. Of course, there are all of the requisite steak houses nearby. For ethnic, and lots of Houston's better restaurants, you need to get out of downtown. Lots of discussions on the Houston page.

For a step up, Ibiza, is just outside of downtown, and the Magnolia car could take you. Also Charivari, which is traditional continental fine dining. It's often overlooked and looks like nothing from the street, but this husband and wife team do really great quality food.

Tons of food options here. I hope you enjoy your time in Houston.

May 07, 2015
arashall in Houston

How do I keep chocolate desserts cold while traveling?

I live in Houston, so I feel your pain. Unless there's a really important reason why you have to have chocolate frosting, it would be much easier to switch to brownies, cookies, or even a chocolate cheesecake that could be kept cool. The advise already given about frosting onsite is good, too.

May 05, 2015
arashall in General Topics

Colorado camping / grilling service and assistance

LurkerDan makes a good point about the possibilities of fires being banned. Also, a large percentage of campsites are in state and national parks. These will all tend to be full of mostly families. You might want to consider something like renting a cabin or campsite on private land if you're not wanting to share your bachelor party.

May 04, 2015
arashall in Mountain States

Colorado camping / grilling service and assistance

First question, what part of Colorado? I'm thinking this sounds more like a dude ranch experience.

May 04, 2015
arashall in Mountain States

Children of the Corn: Baby Corn, Demystified

I love it when I lived in Thailand and could by it fresh, for cheap, in the produce section of TOPS.

Apr 30, 2015
arashall in Home Cooking

Steak near Houston airport

Definitely faster to go downtown. If you're going to Vic & Anthony's, take the Highway 59 South exit out of IAH. Follow 59 south to the "Downtown/Jackson Street" exit.

Go down the long ramp that will take you into downtown. You'll be facing Minute Maid Park (our baseball stadium). Jackson will end at Minute Maid and Congress. Turn right on Congress. Go 2 blocks and turn left onto LaBranch. 3 more block to Texas Avenue. Vic & Anthony's is in a red brick building.

For any other downtown destination, you can take the same Jackson Street exit.

To get back out of downtown, go one block over to Crawford, and head back along side the ballpark. Turn right on Franklin, then turn left on CHENEVERT. You'll see signs for Hwy. 59. This take you back up the other side of the same ramp you used to get into downtown, and you are pointed back toward IAH.

Hope you enjoy your short visit to Houston :-)

Apr 24, 2015
arashall in Houston

Steak near Houston airport

There is always more potential for traffic problems on I-45, and ongoing construction right before the mall (which is the area where you'd be going). But if you have 5 hours, you should still be OK. Time and day matter, too. It will be more congested on the weekends because it's a popular location for shopping and dining.

Apr 24, 2015
arashall in Houston