junescook's Profile

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I need a veggie suggestion for Easter brunch

My sister is having the ham, scalloped potatoes and biscuits, so I'm bringing a broccoli salad with tomatoes and red onion..

Apr 18, 2014
junescook in Home Cooking

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Well, if you go to the grocery store to buy hot dogs, you have a lot of choices, but none of them come in buns.

Apr 13, 2014
junescook in General Topics

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Well, if the cheesesteak us a sandwich, why not the hot dog on a bun?

Apr 11, 2014
junescook in General Topics

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

A cheesesteak is on a split bun:


Mar 05, 2014
junescook in General Topics

Weekend in Branford

We make the drive down from Litchfield County just to go to Lenny's on Indian Neck for fried clams and oysters, and lobsters. Chowder's not bad either.

Feb 25, 2014
junescook in Southern New England

When a recipe calls for 'chili sauce,' what do you use?

As it happens, homemade. In late summer after cooking up and canning all of our tomato sauce for the year, DW makes up a batch of chili sauce and cans that in small jelly jars. She particularly likes it on hot dogs and burgers. I like it on things like meatloaf. And yes, it's kind of sweet and spicy like the old Heinz Chili Sauce.

Feb 22, 2014
junescook in General Topics

Are Microwaves Essential?

I use mine to cook most vegetables -- once you get the hang of it you can cook them precisly as you want them. Occasionally to cook eggs, "bake" potatoes, thaw lots of things, reheat. Also popcorn, heat tea, coffee, etc. I've also started using it to preheat casseroles that take too long to get hot heating in the oven.

Feb 17, 2014
junescook in Features

Best jar opener for larger diameter jars?

I have one of those Y shape ones and really dislike it, it has a tendency to slip off when I'm trying to open stuff.

Last fall I found a flexible, lightweight gadget in a cooking shop in an outlet mall in Lee, MA. It works so easily it always makes you wonder if the jar or bottle was sealed in the first place. It is made of light and darker green plastic and rubber, and, unfortunately, has no markings on it whatsoever. It cost $7.

Feb 16, 2014
junescook in Cookware

Help- sink disposal tug of war!!

We live in the country and have both a septic system and a disposal. The disposal supposedly is designed for septics, there is a little bottle attached to which you can add some sort of chemical. But since the CT extension svc, the NY extension and the US equivalent all recommend that you do not add any of these things to your tank we do not do so. (They tend to stir up the solids in the tank and clog the leach fields).

We do compost all of our large green waste and put large animal fat, bones, etc., into the garbage. At times I'll run chicken bones and ice down as recemmended by the manufacturer. We've had the disposal for about ten years and haven't had the tank pumped more frequently nor have septic people recemmended that we do so. It's simply handy to have when you're rinsing off plates and pans and things with little stuff on them.

Feb 15, 2014
junescook in Cookware

"These are a few of my favorite things..." - (Connecticut, 2014)

Unless you want to go looking for new yorkers and tv heads I wouldn't bother. There are better diners and coffee shops in Woodbury and probably regular restaurants where you'd spend less and get better food.

Jan 23, 2014
junescook in Southern New England

Does anybody LIKE their ceramic cooktop?

I've had a GE profile smooth top electric stove for about ten years now. I find it amamzingly easy to clean. I do keep a bottle of windex on the counter and after I sponge glop off after cooking, I give it a spray and a wipe with a clean towel. If there are serious burned on stains, I'll use one of those paste cleaners specifically made for glass cooktops. I guess I do put the lids to my pans down so they're not going to suck down on the glass, I never read that, it just seems logical and would on any flat, smooth surface. And while we live in the country, in the last few years we have installed propane on the property to run a generator for the house and barn and heat. But in spite of having grown up with gas, and having used it for years, I decided not to get a gas stove. They look very professional and all, but in the home (and especially in the country) they are very inefficient -- a lot of the heat goes out the side of the burner into the air. The most efficient, most responsive, and my next stove, will be an induction (Like c oliver has, I guess). And perhaps you should consider getting one of those -- since the stovetop itself does not get hot, it would be very unlikely to stain.

Dec 16, 2013
junescook in Cookware

Christmas dinner to go options Northwest/North Central CT

We have had George Noujaim in Torrington cater parties for us in the past with his mideastern food and it has been wonderful. He does have regular holiday menus available as well and I would not hesitate to recommend him. I drive from Woodbury to get his mideastern food -- there is nothing in the Waterbury area that is in any way comparable.


Dec 12, 2013
junescook in Southern New England

Gas Smoker Beginners

Hi ADavis,

I've had a $200 Smoke Vault propane smoker for the last couple of years and in that time have probably prepared at least twice as much food in it as I have in my $800 Weber grill. I have learned a lot from Meathead's AmazingRibs.com web site. I regularly make up batches of and use his Memphis dust barbecue rub, plus I like the usefulness and scientific slant of the information he gives on every topic however remotely related to bbq.

My smoker has a decent size pan for wood in the bottom, and while I'll throw in a few wood chips to start, I like to use the gourmet wood chunks I get from Vaughn Wood Products. They are available in several different hardwoods and come in perfect, clean 1 1/2" cubes, not like the uneven junk I've gotten from other purveyors.

Above that is the water pan. After a couple of uses I learned that it made sense to line that with heavy duty alum foil so I didn't have to spend a lot of time cleaning it after every session.

Now most smokers come with built-in thermometers, but you really need to know what the temps are in the area around the food, and within the food. So I use a dual probe remote thermometer (Maverick et732 long range bbq thermometer). With the gas smoker it is very difficult to regulate the smoke temperature, and I find I'll be out there every few minutes trying to tweak the dial a tiny bit higher or lower as the air temp increase, etc. And, since opening the door to check by hand with an instant read will release the smoke and the heat, the remote is the only sensible way to monitor the temp and know when your food is done or needs attention. (I should note that at $60 the 732 is not cheap though the best tool for the job. Plus, in less than two years, both of the probe cables shorted out requiring replacement at about $20 each).

Then comes the fun. My smoker has three shelves. I usually figure if I'm going to prep and rub and babysit something to go in it, I might as well put more than one. So I'll do a couple of racks of ribs plus a chicken, or a turkey breast, or maybe some turkey thighs. Plus I also have a third rack at the very top, and occasionally I'll season and throw a lb of chicken livers in an aluminum foil tray on that top rack. If they don't het eaten on the way into the house, they'll get made into pate.

But you'll find lots of books and lots of sites. Over time we've found that we can add great flavor to even less fatty cuts of meat and make it delicious -- and even stay within our Weight Watchers points guidelines. Plus, now, on the rare occassion we visit a barbecue restaurant, we find that theirs simply can't compare with what we make at home.

Btw, last Christmas I smoked a turkey per the instructions on the Amazing Ribs web site and the results were excellent.

Nov 11, 2013
junescook in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

PLEASE ADVISE - I accidentally spilled some of the juices from the plastic of the roasting chicken into my soup!

Once it's come up to temp, your crock pot going to maintain at between 210 and 215 whether on low or high. It just will take longer on low to reach it's maintainance temp.

Nov 04, 2013
junescook in Home Cooking

Best Burger in CT

You will meet the ladies who provide for all of the products of their dairy. I don't believe they have any beef cattle.

Oct 26, 2013
junescook in Southern New England

Best Burger in CT

It's on 202 west of Litchfield and just past the light at the road that goes to Lake Wauramaug. (You could stop in Bantam on the way back and get ice cream at the Arathusa Dairy).

Oct 24, 2013
junescook in Southern New England

Best Burger in CT

The last couple of times I've been there, I've been enjoying the Signature Burger at White Horse Pub in Marbledale. They make it with a mix of sirloin, brisket and short rib and top it with bacon and a nice blue cheese sauce. The only thing I do not prefer about it is that they put it on a brioche bun which I'm really not crazy about -- just taste bland to me somehow. Next time I'm going to request it on one of their regular rolls.


I order it medium rare to get it nice and pink throughout.

Oct 22, 2013
junescook in Southern New England

Food names for pets

Here's our newest arrival, Juniper, just a month old. His older brother is Nutmeg. (In hindsight I think he was only a week or so old in this photo).

Oct 10, 2013
junescook in Not About Food

How to get my significant other's adult children to pick up a check??

Dear EE,

I think your situation is not so unusual. Your SO's children feel that you are threatening "their" inheritance and want to flaunt their currrent insider status regarding the family wealth. Your SO can't formulate a sufficient rationale (at least in his own mind) to refuse them, but may feel that if you were married he could tell them that new financial responsibilities no longer allow those kinds of splurges (i.e., your step-mother says "no".).

Sep 12, 2013
junescook in Not About Food

Litchfield CT Restaurant recommendation


al tavolo brings a twist to Bantam




828 Bantam Road, Bantam 860-567-0043
What was once a desolate street corner in Bantam has come to life under George Malkemus and Anthony Yur­gaitis, the owners of Arethusa Farm in Litchfield and two of the largest stake­holders in Bantam’s com­mercial revival.

First it was Arethusa’s creamery and retail store that put another jolt of life into Bantam’s newfound sta­tus as a destination for trav­elers in Litchfield County.

This summer Malkemus and Yurgaitis have managed to do it again with the opening of al tavolo, a fine dining restaurant next to the cream­ery and retail store.

Al tavolo, which means “at the table” in Italian, has been a success since the day it opened and routinely fills up with diners looking for a great meal and fine wine.

“More than we ever antic­ipated,” Malkemus said of the volume of business that passes through the restau­rant during the four nights a week it’s open. “It’s scary opening a restaurant, espe­cially your first restaurant.”

But Malkemus and Yur­gaitis, who achieved fame and fortune as dealers of the Manolo Blahnik brand of women’s shoes, have proven to be quick learners of the restaurant business.

“We are learning on the fly, but we had a vision of how we wanted things done and that made it happen quite seemlessly,” Yurgaitis said of al tavolo. “We are what we wanted to be.”

And that would be a bistro that reflects the character of an intimate tavern in Italy, where Malkemus and Yur­gaitis have traveled exten­sively.

Dining plates bearing the Arethusa and al tavolo names were made in Puglia, Italy, as were the large china bowls lining the walls.

The original plan was to have a wine bar featuring pre­mier Italian wines accompa­nied by appetizers and light fare, including Arethusa cheese. That all changed when Malkemus and Yurgaitis se­cured the services of Dan Magill as the executive chef.

Magill, with experience in New York City, is too good at what he does to be limited to appetizers and light fare, ac­cording to Malkemus.

The owners scored anoth­er coup by hiring Marwan Idris to be their general man­ager. Idris worked at the On 20 restaurant in Hartford and his bosses in Bantam call him an expert in wine and customer service. He also shares their vision of an al tavolo that is unique in what it offers diners.

“We’re here not to com­pete with other restaurants, but to do something a little different than what people are accustomed to,” Malke­mus said.


Al tavolo’s menu is new American in style with a Mediterranean influence and will change regularly to re­flect the season. What won’t change is the use of Arethusa Farm butter and cheese with the entrees and ice cream and yogurt with the desserts.

Patrons can choose from appetizers such as Arethusa Farm’s deviled eggs, a Maine lobster and avocado salad, French kiss oysters from New Brunswick, Canada, a roasted beet and green apple salad, an heirloom tomato salad made with local toma­toes, crisp squash fritters and a beef crepe. Appetizers are price from $9 to $13.

Entrees include prime strip loin that comes with po­lenta, broccoli rabe, hot house tomato chutney and mustard creme in a red wine sauce, and pan-roasted boat scallops accompanied by parsnips, sea beans, roasted cauliflower, bacon and almonds.

Salmon, pork tenderloin, grilled yellow fin tuna, roast­ed rack of lamb, butter­poached Atlantic grey sole and roasted breast of duck are other choices. All entrees come with a creative assort­ment of fruit or vegetable.

Prices for the entrees range from $25 to $31.

The wine list is huge in featuring selections from Italy, Spain and California.

Wine comes by the glass and by the bottle and patrons can spend from $11 for a glass of red, rose or white up to more than $1,000 for a bottle of aged red wine from France.

There are seven varieties of domestic and imported draft beer, all priced at $6, and 10 selections of domestic and imported bottled beer, all priced at $7. Five lager beers, domestic and import­ed, are available for $5 to $7.

All desserts are home­made using Arethusa Farm products and are $9.

Choices include a honey yogurt panna cotta, Arethusa sour cream coffee cake, pas­sion fruit custard cake, a chocolate tart, and honey­roasted peaches with vanilla ice cream.


 Mastercard and Visa ac­cepted

 Reservations recom­mended

 Outdoor deck open for dining.

 Vegetarian entrees available upon request.

 Valet parking


Open Thursday through Saturday, 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9:30.


al tavolo is located in the center of Bantam, near the intersection of Route 202 and Route 209.


PHOTOS BY JOHN MCKENNA REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN Anthony Yurgaitis, left, and George Malkemus, owners of Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, have opened al tavolo in Bantam.


Eggs from Arethusa Farm are turned into a deviled egg appetizer at al tavolo.

Sep 08, 2013
junescook in Southern New England

Chow Supertaster cancelled

I have to agre with DKrik, that while it is unlikely that I'll ever run out and buy whatever James has been tasting, I look forward to his "reviews" and find them really enjoyable. I think that Supertaster is to Chow as the cartoons are to The New Yorker. While not essential to the literary content they certainly add to the enjoyment of the whole.

Sep 03, 2013
junescook in Food Media & News

Litchfield CT Restaurant recommendation

Funny, somebody asked me yesterday if I'd been to the restaurant but we haven't yet. We drive by often but haven't stopped in. Brousing, it looks like drinks and apps, and open on a limited number of evenings per week.

But everything these two gentlemen have done, they have done to perfection. I have been to their farm where they had the three top dairy cows in the country, jersey, guernsey and hostein. The farm itself is a showplace. I took a class with their dairy manager just after they purchased the old Bantam fire house, now the location of their dairy. We have had their dairy products available for some time in our local stores, and though we don't have as much of a choice of ice creak flavors as you find in Bantam, the quality is excellent, as are the cheeses. The owners are also very active in local FFA student groups, and have taken groups of FFA kids to Europe to compete in dairy judging competitions.

Anyhow, I don't think you'd be disappointed in the quality of anything you'll get at an Arathusa restaurant.

Sep 01, 2013
junescook in Southern New England

I hate this place!

I'vw been doing WW for just a year. I've found that lean protein has worked best for me. We have a jumbo egg (often with veggies in an omelet) 2 pts, with a piece of lite toast (1) plus fruit for breakfast most days. The rest of the day I go heavy on the proteins that are most satisfying (chicken, beef, pork) with plenty of veggies and light on the carbs, If I do cook shrimp, 1 lb. = 8 oz pp = 4 pts each if you don't glop it up or add a lot of carbs. Same if you go out. In a lot of restos, a small sirloin with a baked potato and a steamed veggie will be fewer cals (& pts) than a dinner salad, and way more satisfying. Btw, I've lost 75 since I started and am still on track. I might also recommend that you sign up for the "Eat This - Not That" daily email. You'll learn some of those surprising restaurant cal count comparisons.

Aug 24, 2013
junescook in New Jersey

Master Chef 8/21

I didn't see it but I think they may be talking about a glimpse of a preview that showed a coming episode with Paula Deen.

Aug 22, 2013
junescook in Food Media & News

Litchfield CT Restaurant recommendation

We live fairly close to Litchfield, and I'm not familiar with the Seafarer. I have been to West St. Grill several times and find it pretentious and overpriced. The Village is cozy but the food is nothing special. The last time we had dinner at @ the Corner, both the food and service were very good. But our currently favorite place in the area is the White Horse Country Pub in Marbledale. Comfortable place along a brook; nice indoor and outdoor seating.


There is a seafood restaurant in Litchfield, Saltwater Grill. Three of us went for lunch recently and each of us was disappointed. I don't recall what the others had but I had a lobster roll and I got what I would take to be frozen lobster (small claws, knucles and chopped up bits, with a lot of celery in a roll). Though we love seafood and travel to several shore towns to get it, I'd not be inclined to return there.

Aug 21, 2013
junescook in Southern New England

Where is the BEST Thai Coconut Curry dish??

Being a curry lover and a naif, I posed a question about the different types of curries and got a lot of help from fellow CHers that you might appreciate as well. Simple answer, they all mix well with coconut flavor:


Aug 14, 2013
junescook in Dallas - Fort Worth

The psychology of distrusting GMOs.

Just as it took time for people to accept and even prefer hybrids, it will take time for them to accept GMOs for exactly what they are, and not some grand conspiracy to wipe out humanity.:


Aug 10, 2013
junescook in Food Media & News

Oh, those BEEF RIBS!

I love them done in the smoker too, but they're hard to find without all the meat cut off of them or cut into single bones.

Aug 09, 2013
junescook in Home Cooking

Victorinox Fibrox on the chopping block

That's interesting. If that's actually the case maybe I'll pick up another or so. I've got three now. We use them for a lot of things during the day and especially we're cutting a protein, we'll put the knife in the dishwasher.

Aug 08, 2013
junescook in Cookware

I don't own a crockpot...

When I bought my Crock Pot I emailed the company with exactly that question. The customer service rep relied that at both settings the top temp was 215 but that in the case of low heat, it took longer to reach that temp (a smaller coil I would surmise). By chance, this past weekend on one of Chris Kimball's shows on PBS, either America's Test Kitchen or Cook's Country, they did a new rating of slow cookers and top rated those that achieved something like a top temp of 210 and held it steadily. I think the top rated one may have a digital Crock Pot but someone with a subscription to their site could provide that info.

I guess the advantage of the crockpot (Ipaid less than $20 for my 5 qt at Macy's and it came with a mini one for dips) is that you don't need to keep the oven heated for all those hours.

Aug 07, 2013
junescook in Cookware