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Meringues too sweet?

Yup. They are just sweet, IMO. I like meringues but I pair them with either something nutty, tart, and/or fatty like whipped cream.

I have had very good macaroons and no matter the flavor they are too sweet for me. But a pav with lots of cream and raspberries or strawberries can be a nice treat.

I'm not sure I'd devote a lot of time into making them something they are not--esp. since once you start cutting back on the sugar, you
will definitely affect structure.

Jun 06, 2013
dct in Home Cooking

Farm Fresh Eggs - use by date for best flavor/quality?

I grew up with homegrown eggs and my mother still raises them, so a couple of tips: one, they should easily last 4-6 weeks.

After a couple of weeks, texture changes are noticeable, and IMO, the eggs taste a tiny bit flat compared to fresher ones--but they are not "off" in any way. I tend to keep the fresh eggs for scrambling, frying, etc and use older eggs in baking. I keep them in separate cartons, FWIW.

If you like hard-boiled eggs, do NOT use your freshest eggs. You will have trouble getting the shells off and curse your desire for deviled eggs. You can "age" eggs faster for HB if you leave them out of the fridge for a day or two. It is safe.

If you are worried about freshness, place the eggs in water, the older they are, the more they will float point down. If they point straight down, you don't want to use them. It is unpleasant!

May 15, 2013
dct in General Topics

Food gifts from San Antonio

I'll be in SA this weekend and would like to take back a food gift for a friend. I will be in the Riverwalk without a car, but am willing to bus it or cab it for something special. I'd prefer nothing liquid since I don't usually check luggage. I'd be especially interested in fine chocolates and local coffee roasters.

Apr 15, 2013
dct in Texas

I'm an idiot-bad judgment in the kitchen

When lighting the gas oven, and you are having trouble getting the match to light, do NOT keep the oven door closed, building up gas, until you get your match lit. I've never moved so fast in my life. I was lucky and only lost a couple of eyelashes and a bit of brow (both grew right back.)

And fldhkybnva--I once drank a shot of vinegar, on advice of a doctor, to help stave off a cold. It nearly put me in shock!

Mar 05, 2013
dct in General Topics

A Simple Syrup Question

As others have stated--look for mold, but plain simple syrup should last weeks if refrigerated. It can ferment if not kept cold. If you have infused anything in it, that can change how long it lasts in unpredictable ways. I have some that had hard spices in it, and it's doing fine after several weeks. But the big batch of basil simple syrup that I made one year only lasted 2 weeks. It didn't mold, but instead became scarily gelatinous and primordial-soup like. I've learned to scrutinize and sniff before using ss.

Mar 05, 2013
dct in General Topics

How do you take your hard boiled eggs (when you eat them as-is)?

Usually just salt, but if I have some on hand, a spoonful of tapenade on each half of a HB egg is really good.

Feb 27, 2013
dct in General Topics

Paragary's Mushroom Salad

How's the Jarslberg done? Shreds or chunks?

Feb 27, 2013
dct in Home Cooking

What recipe is your Unicorn?

Me too. I always start slow, but then get impatient and whoops! burned to a crisp. I have many cooking skills--croissants from scratch, boning out a leg of lamb, a mean cheese fondue, but the simple grilled cheese is an iffy prospect.

Nov 12, 2012
dct in Home Cooking

Capon for Thanksgiving

My grandmother would roast it like it a chicken for my great-grandfather on Thanksgiving. This was in addition to a turkey for the family. The capon was just for him; and he would eat the whole thing!

She'd put a little carrot, celery, bay leaf and onion in the cavity, s&p, maybe some herbs on top.

Oct 29, 2012
dct in Home Cooking

Stale bread crusts

I just use the crusts with the rest of the bread for breadcrumbs and croutons. Doesn't bother me any. My mother saves bread heels in the freezer to make stuffing--the crust holds up better than just innards.

Oct 28, 2012
dct in Home Cooking

Food confessions you'd rather not make.?

How funny--Doritos GIVE me migraines, as do Cheetos :) Thank God there are health food store versions of both that I can snarf down.

As for confessions: Roast chicken skin. I used to work in a deli that roasted 10-15 chickens at a time and when they'd come out of the oven all crispy, the skin was fair game. When I make one at home I really do have to restrain myself from just eating the skin for one meal.

Oct 22, 2012
dct in General Topics

Black Onyx Cocoa Powder

I have used KA's black cocoa many times. I use it to "goose" the dark chocolate flavor and appearance. I have never used it just on its own in a cake, but swap out 2-4 tbs of regular cocoa for the black and the recipes have always turned out. People oooh at how dark the cake looks. I also use it roll Chartreuse truffles in as a way of distinguishing them from others.

Nov 22, 2011
dct in Home Cooking

Another canning question -- specifically about head room

I think you are fine--that's no much difference. You just don't want to try to process a 3.4 full jar or something.

Can you give more details about zucchini marmalade? My zukes won't be ready until August, most likely, but I can dream...

Jun 15, 2011
dct in Home Cooking

canning questions

I agree with rasputina that it's not worth canning such a small amount. If it's too much for you it looks like it would freeze well.

I emphatically think you should look at tested recipes to get a sense of how much acid is needed. 2 Tbs seems very low to me for a canned product. This is also a thick puree--it may require a longer processing time to get to the proper temperature. Check with your (or another's) County Extension office for some guidelines. You may to look at those in SW states,where tomatillos are more common.

I know Blue Book recipes can be dull, but this isn't like jamming, where there's a bit of leeway. I am not a big member of the food police when it comes to canning, but botulism is absolutely no joke. Botulism spores are in the earth and can come in on both the tomatoes and garlic--and probably the tomatillos. Normally this is not a problem because botulism needs a low-acid, low oxygen environment to thrive. Canning creates a low oxygen environment, and if your mix isn't acidic enough you could be asking for trouble.

I know someone who had botulism--it's not like a bad meal where you get sick and it's over. It affected her health the rest of her life.

Jun 13, 2011
dct in Home Cooking

Does plastic change the taste of mayo? [moved from General Topics]

I've noticed a slight difference in beverages packed in glass vs. plastic, so there may be a tiny difference. I was worried when I saw my beloved mayo move to plastic, but it still tastes like Hellmans/Best Foods to me.

Jun 13, 2011
dct in General Topics

Need recipe for plain India cilantro sauce

Think of it this way--if you don't cut it, it will bolt and be harder to use--so clip away--You can easily cut off two thirds from the top and it will be fine. It will send up new leaves, though I find subsequent harvests are skimpy compared to the first flush..

Jun 12, 2011
dct in Home Cooking

Freezing Fresh Rhubarb

yes. I just chop it up (half to one inch pieces) and lay it in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze until hard (only about an hour or two in the deep freeze). Then I portion it into cups into ziploc baggies and throw back in the freezer.

Jun 08, 2011
dct in Home Cooking

Marks Cart's - Ann Arbor [DTW]

I've been a couple times now and I love it. But is it worth a long drive? That I don't know. Here are some highlights and lowlights:


The food has been very good to excellent with a wide variety of options.

I've had paella, pork confit sandwich, carnitas tacos, and whitefish salad. Typically there is a Spanish cart (paella), EAT (Pork confit and other sandwiches--my friend had their bulgogi beef with kimchi sandwich--she wanted more kimcheem but she is a spice head), a sausage guy (My next trip will be for his headcheese hoagie), a vegan cart (Haven't tried it yet), and Darcy's Cart (Carnitas and wfish salad, usually something like a breakfast burrito.) Just opened is an Asian bun cart (not my thing) and I hear pierogis are on the way.

It's fun to graze and eat outside. Lots of people watching at lunch.

I like supporting local business (most of whom use local suppliers) and the creativity is great.


Long waits for some carts, esp. at lunch, so this is not necessarily a quick option. Personally I am fine with waiting for good food, but I know some people find it frustrating. I suspect that the vendors will get more efficient with practice and seeing what dishes are practical for the venue.

Conversely, when I popped in around 2 the other day--there were only a couple of carts still open--everyone else had run out of food. So I think they are still working out some of the supply/demand bugs.

They are still constructing the seating courtyard so seating is limited. They did put up some shade sails which helps with the sun issue, but I bet they are broiling today--it was pretty fierce in the cart area on a day in the 80s.

I would say if you are in the AA area, check it out by all means!

Jun 08, 2011
dct in Great Lakes

Father's Day at the Primus household [DTW]

Tell me more please!

Jun 08, 2011
dct in Great Lakes

healthier cream of crab soup?

You may want to replace some of the cream/milk with either potato or rice that has been cooked in the soup base until very tender. When you blend it, you get a nice texture without as much dairy, though i think you still need a little cream. Julia Child has written something about using rice as thickener in soups, but I can't find it now,sorry.

Jun 06, 2011
dct in Home Cooking

Decaf iced tea ideas?

You can make decaf ice tea out of any decaf tea--My mom uses red rose decaf when she makes sun tea, which i find doesn't need sweetening (but that's me). I've also made it with other black decafs, like Irish/English breakfast and been happy. I can get a good vanilla decaf tea--I wonder how that would do--esp with some mint?

You can also quasi-decaf tea yourself, by letting the tea steep for 30 seconds to one minute. Then pour off the tea and re-pour fresh boiling water over the tea. I do notice some caffeine content, however, so this might not work for you. You'd be better off with the commercial decaf stuff.

May 31, 2011
dct in Home Cooking

Is there such a thing as decent American schnapps?

Clear Creek is wonderful. I have their kirsch, poire william, and pine. Highly recommended.

May 31, 2011
dct in Spirits

Anyone starting any summer time liqueurs and cordials?

Well now I don't feel so bad for ignoring my rhubarb vodka for 3 years until last night. I did remove the fruit back then, but it still needed another round of filtering. Flavor was mild, but it blended into a nice drink with lime and cassis. I also tried my 3 year old raspberry aquavit and that is fantastic. Why haven't I drunk it up yet? Lesson to everyone out there, by the way--Label your bottles!! Trust me, you won't remember years later which is which.

May 31, 2011
dct in Spirits

DTW: Anyone tried The Raven in Ann Arbor?

I went this weekend after a long day of gardening. I had the braised short rib with potato gratin and sauteed snap peas. Good bistro food. My friend had the West Indian Pepper Pot which she liked very much, but it was a tad healthy for my taste. We had pommes frites with our drinks--the cocktails were really good. Best-balanced Sazerac I've had since I visited New Orleans. I definitely want to go back and try other items.

May 30, 2011
dct in Great Lakes

Purple Asparagus, sweet?

Purple asparagus tastes like green to me. And once you cook it--it will turn green as well.

Very fresh asparagus (like that from my mother's garden) is slightly sweeter than the store-bought stuff, but it's not actually sweet like candy.

May 30, 2011
dct in General Topics

Solo dining Providence

Just wanted to give a belated thanks for the reccs. I had a great time at Tini, Pastiche and Gracies. Just what I needed after a long couple of day of conference-going.

May 18, 2011
dct in Southern New England

Solo dining Providence

That looks fun and the location is certainly convenient! Thanks!

Apr 27, 2011
dct in Southern New England

Solo dining Providence


I've enjoyed getting some ideas for places to go in Providence from this board, but I haven't seen a thread that addresses where a solo diner would be comfortable. I'll be at the Hilton for work, so I know I can walk to Federal Hill--but there are almost too many choices! I like bar dining if possible, but cafes are good too. Some of the names that have come up on this board are: Siena, Pane e vino, Andinos, Zooma, Mediterrano--any that would fit the bill for me?

And it doesn't have to be Italian! I am open to all foods, except maybe Middle Eastern, cause I can get plenty of that in the Detroit area. I really like a nice cocktail too :)

I won't have a car, so that limits things I know.

245 Atwells Ave., Providence, RI 02903

171 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903

Apr 26, 2011
dct in Southern New England

U of M Graduation dinner

If you want to stay in Ann Arbor, I'd just call around to some of the places most frequently recommended on this list. Depending on the size of your group, you can probably still get a reservation. Trying to get in on the day can be rough though. Some suggestions:

West End Grill (most likely to be booked up)
Cafe Zola (I love their bstro evening feel--but not their breakfast/lunch service--completely different)
Logan (really great food, but it's not big)
Pacific Rim
The Earle (solid and dependable and suits a wide range of tastes)

Those are all downtown. Aldo downtown, but not quite as good, but very popular are
Gratzi, (italian)
Real Seafood

They are certainly a decent place to get a meal.

Zingerman's Deli is usually packed during the day of graduation, but not always at night--still no reservations possible there. The Roadhouse is very popular, some things are hit or miss, but the drinks are great and it is a fun place.

You could also rock it old school and go to Knight's steakhouse or Weber's Inn.

One warning about the Common Grill (Chelsea)--it is very loud, so it may not be the best choice if you have older guests. I always feel like have shouted my way through dinner.

Cafe Zola
112 W Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Common Grill
112 S Main St, Chelsea, MI 48118

West End Grill
120 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Apr 13, 2011
dct in Great Lakes

Recipes to use up Cream Cheese (besides frosting)?

Cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread are a fave of mine--best made with a smear of mayo between the bread and cukes.

Rochester dip: my family's holiday chip dip. It sounds scary, but it's actually good. Mix the cream cheese with ketchup, grated onion and grated horseradish. We eyeball it, but the proportions are 8 oz. cream cheese, 2 Tbs. ketchup, 1 Tbs. horseradish, and 1 Tbs grated onion. Adjust to your own tastes. The color should be sort of salmon-y. We usually make this in the food processor with regular cream cheese, but since yours is whipped, you could just stir it together. Best with ridged potato chips.

Jan 03, 2011
dct in Home Cooking