cayjohan's Profile

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I eat it my way

Dear Tabby Twins: your AniseSpice is most definitely NOT stupid for not sharing! Behave and accept your lot! ;-)

AS, I should clarify that my cat guys get ONLY the olive oil (no oysters or stray bits of oyster), and then only about a scant 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for their lip-licking pleasure. Apparently oysters have an enzyme that is NOT feline friendly and can destroy the thiamine in a cat's body, with all sorts of drastic consequences. So: be aware. And selfish.

Got that, Tabby Twins? Free smells and maybe a schmear of oil, but the rest belongs to your Mom-cat.

Restaurants with good gluten free options

Thanks for the reminder! I hadn't checked lately to see if their brick-and-mortar was open yet. Any report on it?

Mar 26, 2015
cayjohan in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurants with good gluten free options

Foxy Falafel is a good bet (heck, they even not-infrequently have specials that are Autoimmune Protocol diet friendly!). Fryer is exclusively gluten-free. Good grub, and fried cheese curds (gf, crusted with rice flour and dill and served with local honey) are officially My Favorite Cheese Curds Ever.

The staff at Riverside Wine Bar seem very knowledgeable - I have never had any difficulties or reactions dining there. Last time I was there, the server warned me that the dish I ordered had some oat flour in it and he knew they didn't use certified gluten-free oats, so he warned me away.I was sort of shocked at (and grateful for!) that level of knowledgeability, frankly.

Obento-Ya seems to take their gluten-free sushi menu pretty seriously, and I have experienced no accidental glutenings there.

Signature Cafe does (or at least did) a gluten-free only night on Tuesdays; the kitchen is cleaned of any gluten to minimize cross-contamination. From what I gathered, the chef/owner's wife cannot have gluten, and he seems to take it seriously. The food is...fine, albeit on the higher side. Still, I can't complain, and it's a cute little neighborhood place.

I look forward to what others have to say about restaurants that actually seem to take gluten-free seriously, and not just in a cavalier not-another-special-snowflake way. Y'know...the places that one doesn't always feel like it's a big ol' spin of the roulette wheel.

Mar 26, 2015
cayjohan in Minneapolis-St. Paul

I eat it my way

mariacarmen, I feel obligated to forgive you, for you know not What. You. Have. Done. ;-) You see, it's around 2:30 am, and I am simultaneously hopelessly insomniac and irritatingly snacky. Reconnaissance of the larder indicates: ZERO smoked oysters; ZERO cream cheese; ZERO bbq chips. And now, of course, that is Exactly What I Want. I must try this. ASAP.

Since you tossed that one out, I'll toss this one out: try smoked oysters drizzled with dark maple syrup. Really. Try it.

Mar 26, 2015
cayjohan in General Topics
1

I eat it my way

I do drain, but not rinse. The saved drainings are destined for my cat-herd audience; they all get a spoonful of the oyster-oil as a treat. I am quite the popular Mom-cat when the oysters come out. Incidentally, my smart-aleck Hub calls the large and varied stash of canned fish things in the pantry "Mom-catfood." Happy snacktime here = Cay+cats+a tin of something fishy.

Favorite restaurants from the past

It's still there, but as the Little Venetian! http://www.littlevenetian.com/st-paul...

Mar 24, 2015
cayjohan in Minneapolis-St. Paul

garbanzo beans

And in Portuguese recipes. I love this salad: http://www.saveur.com/article/recipes...

Mar 24, 2015
cayjohan in Home Cooking

Poll: Favorite everyday glassware?

Heh...my relationship with my Duralex glasses is longer than either of my marriages. (Although marriage no. 2 is proving rather as durable as Picardie.)

Mar 24, 2015
cayjohan in Cookware

Poll: Favorite everyday glassware?

When this thread popped up it inspired an hour+ conversation with the Hub that was mostly me rhapsodizing about the glories of the Picardie. I get that way about design too often to admit, honestly. I TOTALLY get the "satisfaction just holding and drinking out of these glasses." I really admire a utilitarian object with such attention to how it works with the human using it. The grip just feels so nice, doesn't it?

Mar 24, 2015
cayjohan in Cookware

I eat it my way

Well, apparently my inner smoked oyster slut is more discerning than I thought. My late night oyster cravings had me comparing the Geishas to the Crown Prince I picked up on the TJ's run. The Crown Prince (packed in olive oil) were notably better to me than the Geishas (in cottonseed oil). The Crown Prince were larger and plumper as well. And if it matters to you, the Crown Prince are in BPA-free cans.

I've not been to Big Lots; would be curious to know what brand they carry at what price - although I can't find it in me to complain about the <$3 price for the CP at TJ's. If Big Lots has Polar, though, I'll say this: approach with no high hopes. The (buck a can) Polar brand I had were mushy and fall-apart-y, with an unpleasant amount of grit. Will pass in future, despite what the inner slut says.

All this smoked oyster thinking makes me consider that the "My Way" about it is "late at night, as often as possible." Still, I might have to reign in the gluttonous tendency, as there are various admonitions on the interwebs about zinc toxicity from overconsumption (who, me?). Those little morsels are zinc bombs!

Favorite restaurants from the past

D.B. Kaplan's. All those punny sandwich names!

Poll: Favorite everyday glassware?

Ooo...I love the Gibraltar footed iced tea glasses! It is only for lack of cabinet space that I don't have them. Although...hmmm...I am ruthlessly de-junking the upper cabinets today, and a lot of space has magically opened up. And, y'know, that Nature-abhors-a-vacuum thing is rearing its ugly head. <sigh>

Mar 21, 2015
cayjohan in Cookware
1

Poll: Favorite everyday glassware?

Duralex Picardie tumblers.

My favorite glassware ever. Could not possibly be happier with them. Many of mine have been in service for over a quarter century. They're hard to kill. Space efficient in the cabinet, as they stack well. Comfortable in the hand; with an odd number of um... facets, I suppose, to the glass which is surprisingly easier to hold/use than the even-number-facets on the common knock-off Picardie-looking glasses. They look at ease in virtually any table setting. We use them for nearly everything: water and wine, coffee and tea, cocktails and some soups, a dessert like, say, kissel.

A number of years ago there was a span of time when they were out of production. There was something of an outcry! I mean, they ~are-~ a bit iconic. So happy they're back. Workhorse glassware.

Mar 20, 2015
cayjohan in Cookware
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015

I really should give a proxy YAY to the Flax and Chia Seed Peanut Butter on behalf of my daughter. I have spent somewhat foolish (softie Mom...) amounts of money shipping care packages of the stuff to her in Ireland over the past year! It finally occurred to us to try it ourselves. The Hub (a fan of all things peanut butter) gave it a YAY, with the possible gripe of not liking chia seeds stuck between his teeth, and the slightly sweeter flavor (despite no sugar in the ingredients). For me, I find the flavor very nice, but I'm not a really big PB fan, and am most definitely in the non-crunchy camp.

Mar 20, 2015
cayjohan in Chains
2

I Don't Like This; Giving it To My Kid

sunshine, boy-o-boy am I with you on that "enormous pile of stuff" issue, as we've spent the past year and a half dealing with a fifty year accumulation spread out over house and outbuildings after my father's death! Yikes and a half! My dad did have the "chuck-it mentality" enough to get rid of a lot of my mother's cookware and small appliance gadgetry after her death a number of years back...too bad, really, on that one, as there were a few things I might have liked to have snagged for myself. Still, we waded through enough Tupperware to make your eyes cross.

I am fortunate that both my kids love to cook and are good at it. The elder, while still a traveling kind of guy, can at least amass cookware that can stay in his housemates' care when he's trekking off somewhere. And I confess a soft spot for that kid and his love of cooking, so I've probably purchased nicer things for him than I have thought to replace for myself. The younger's travels generally involve her moving all her stuff home to store every time she's off for another extended stay, so she hasn't had the interest in accumulation. But since she's been overseas for the past year and cooking in whatever the furnished rental kitchen has to offer, she might be interested in beefing up her cookware when she returns.

I think I'll just cherry-pick a few things from the basement stash for possible hand-me-downs and donate the rest. And I don't even want to OPEN the boxes of kitchen wares that came with my Hub when we combined households; as I recall, most of that was, um, pretty dang bad! Ah...spring chucking is the best!

Mar 19, 2015
cayjohan in Cookware

I eat it my way

Honestly, I generally default to Geisha, as that is what my neighborhood market stocks. I have liked the Crown Prince brand as well. I suppose I haven't explored too many different options, although I did pick up a few tins of Polar brand at a sort of discount place when on a road trip and thought they were terribly subpar. I know I have had Roland in the past, but too long ago to remember any nuances of likeability. Mostly, I think I am a bit slutty when it comes to canned smoked oysters and go with what's most available.

Pwm, I think I recall you are in MSP as well? I just checked out the Lunds/Byerly's online shop and they have both Roland and Reese. I might have to give those a try and see what they do for me.

Mar 19, 2015
cayjohan in General Topics

Hola Arepa

Brad, I do agree with the challenging pick-up-ability of the arepas; I tend not to like the awkward disaster-waiting-to-happen with such things. Like you, I opted for knife and fork without a qualm. But here's where I have to ding the presentation a bit: the size/shape of the smallish bowl-like plate made wielding the knife and fork a little less than ergonomically optimal. I would prefer a plate that's a little flatter and larger to get a better angle with the utensils. Yeah...picky-picky, but there it is.

I had good ol' regular ice cubes in my tea, thankfully. I hate those huge designer ice cubes too. I just don't need to be impressed by ice, I guess!

Mar 18, 2015
cayjohan in Minneapolis-St. Paul

I Don't Like This; Giving it To My Kid

I always had an affection for my grandmother's wooden spoons, silky smooth and deep nut brown after years of use. They never did come to me, but after 30 years (gäh, has it been that long?!), my once new wooden spoons have acquired that same beautiful dark patina. And wouldn't you know it? My kids keep angling for me to pass them on to them now. Alas for them, I'm just not yet willing to divest on that front just yet!

Mar 18, 2015
cayjohan in Cookware
1

Tomatoes 2014 - Variety Experience Yea? Nay? Meh?

I had to Google these...wow, how beautiful! I might have to get back into starting my tomatoes from seed again just for these.

Mar 18, 2015
cayjohan in Gardening

Vegetables that aren't necessary to grow at home?

I've read that it works for the other root vegetables as well, yes. It might prompt me to give beets another go. I have no intention of pickling beets, and my freezer already groans at harvest time with everything else we shove into it, so storing the beets in the ground sounds really appealing. The thought of a nice light spring borscht with fresh-from-the-garden beets sounds wonderful about now!

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Gardening

Hola Arepa

The Hub and I were in the neighborhood running errands last Saturday afternoon and stopped in on a whim at about 4:15. The patio and bar seats were at a serious premium (hello 60s and sunny!), but since we're largely indoor eaters, we had a very calm dining room for our meal. Hub had the chorizo arepa with the yuca fries and I had the chicken adobo, swapping out the fries for a green salad (upcharge of $2, but worth it; fresh and nicely dressed). Not one complaint from either of us. Agree with the yuca fries lauds; I hate using the word amazing too much, but my arm can be twisted in that direction thinking of those fries! (We got both the aioli and chimichurri sauces; high marks on each.) I was happy to have the option of hibiscus ice tea. Wonderful meal, great service.

Since Celiac+dining out is generally a giant hassle, I find it beyond wonderful that nearly the entire menu is gluten free (including the fryer!). They note on the menu that all items are gluten-free unless marked as containing gluten, and I saw none; I understand that those are pretty much only on the dessert menu, which we did not check out. For those of you that need a gluten-free haven where you can relax that dratted and exhausting constant vigilance, I couldn't recommend this place more highly. I was so nice to enjoy a meal without what feels like a pre-dinner interrogation session (I hate that). Already looking forward to a return visit.

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Ideas for Buckwheat Groats (aka Kasha)?

I like my kasha seasoned with the sautéed onions (I tend toward more onion than less), lemon juice and grated lemon zest, and plenty of fresh parsley. Gives it a sort of *warm tabbouleh-ish* taste, in a way. And my opinion? Don't be shy with the salt; buckwheat seems to want more than a pinch to have the flavor brought out.

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Home Cooking
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015

New to me: the Seasoned Kale Chips. These started as a knee-jerk MEH, because the weren't at all what I expected. The real nuttiness surprised me, although they shouldn't have as I am literate enough to had read the "DRESSED WITH CASHEW BUTTER AND TAHINI" on the package (durrrr...). A few more tastes and hey, whattaya know: YAY.

I really like the texture, but they aren't really like kale chips one would make. They're more like "clusters." In a nice way - I really enjoy the texture, as it makes me think of some impossibly crisp tempura. In fact, I think they would be great with some sort of light Asian-inspired dipping sauce, but there is NO WAY these things would survive a dunk without collapsing.

It's too bad about the likely no-go on a dipping sauce, since the only points I would take away from my YAY is on the seasoning. They contain both lemon juice concentrate and salt and I think they could use a boost on both those flavors to balance the sweet nuttiness of the cashews and tahini.

I must credit my Hub for what I think is a great idea: we could sprinkle them on soup...thinking a creamy red lentil soup with a little zing of citrus and ginger and some coconut milk, or something in that general flavor neighborhood. Sometimes that guy is a keeper! ;-) Now I just have to refrain from eating them all until I can get the soup made!

I Don't Like This; Giving it To My Kid

I wonder if they are actually using them? Of the two, I would guess my younger is, as she's mostly a traveller and minimalist and somewhat of a cheapskate (so as to afford all the travel!), and would consider, say, a "just okay" skillet perfectly suitable for this stage of her life. The kid is somewhat of an aesthete, though (oh, those art history majors!), so once the wanderlust has settled down and she settles in, she's not going to be looking for any of my old orphans! I think either kid would chuck it or pass it on if they hated a passed on item -especially since we have a No Backs policy around here. If I manage to give the heave-ho to something in this over-somethinged house, I do not want it to boomerang its way back!

Come to think of it just now, the kids might be in sort of a better position to pass on unwanted cookware/gadgets, as they probably know a lot more people who might want the thing than I or they do - most of my peers are up to their eyebrows in kitchen equipment. Hmm...must think on that one.

I was far too polite to my mom when she would shove her "crystal" pieces on me. She went to all those "crystal parties" in the seventies and eighties and being more-than-bit impulsive about shiny objects, managed to amass an amazing amount of really horrible stuff. And it came to live with me, bit by agonizing bit. When queried, my kids just gave me that eyebrow look, as in no-way-not-even-for-the-love-of-grandma. I finally donated it last year and it was truly a relief!

I haven't been able to get rid of the oodles of little crystal salt cellars she gave me. I just love them.

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Cookware

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015

Isn't it? I am having a big love affair with the stuff right now. But then, there's no such thing as "too much cilantro" in my world. (I, too, use it as a salad green.)

Right now I am mulling over some sort of peanut butter+cilantro salad dressing alliance for a sauce for chicken. And making myself crave the dressing all over again, dang it.

On the hummus dressing front (thanks for the heads-up on the bottled stuff): I have used TJ's beet hummus in a sort of vinaigrette to tasty effect.

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - March 2015

Yep, same here on the grape leaves! Always in the pantry. They've been added to my vast and ever-growing list of things I like with cottage cheese, and we've liked them alongside scrambled eggs with a healthy dose of feta.

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Chains

ISO: pâté & terrine cookbook

I completely agree on your recommendation! I, too, have only made a few of the recipes, but love studying the techniques. I confess to surfing through it quite often just for fun.

To the OP: If it's a "fascinating little corner of culinary traditions" is what you're after, you definitely want this book! The how-to photography is standard-setting, the instructions clear, and the array of funky paste-y, loaf-y treats presented is fascinating. I mean, there are TWO recipes for brain terrine! A whole sucking pig stuffed with forcemeat and glazed with cream aspic! And I think one has to admire a book that calls a meat terrine "The Apotheosis of Meat Loaf." It really is an engaging book, even if you never cook a thing from it. While it may not have the old-schoolish-ness of some classic <insert venerable French chef's name here> treatise (it was published in 1981), it certainly treats the subject seriously. The front of the book is focused on general terrine et al. information, technique and how-to photos, while the back is the recipe collection, many (if not most) are attributed to <insert important or venerable chef's name here>.

Absolutely worth seeking out if you have an interest in the topic!

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Home Cooking
1

Tomatoes 2014 - Variety Experience Yea? Nay? Meh?

Thought I'd toss this out there for all you tomato lovers. We recently picked up the book "Epic Tomatoes" by Craig LeHoullier and found it to be absolutely delightful. Loaded with information, and some truly mouthwatering photos. It's been rather sustaining as we've slogged through late winter and dreamed about the coming year's tomato plot. I had thought I was pretty sure about what varieties would be going in our garden this year, but now I am doing a little rethinking (read: I sort of want ALL of them!) Anyway, great read; I've learned a lot.

Here's the Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Epic-Tomatoes-S...

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Gardening

Vegetables that aren't necessary to grow at home?

Here's a photo of the digging. The crazy monster-sized carrot in the foreground is showing some sprouting. Can't wait to dig that one up and see what kind of behemoth we'll uncover!

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Gardening

Vegetables that aren't necessary to grow at home?

They're the Danvers variety - they seem to love our garden soil, so I've been pretty loyal to the Danvers in return! They seem not to tend toward "forking" or splitting so much, and the flavor is intensely carrot-y. Even the cores are more flavorful than what I find in supermarket carrots.

Mar 17, 2015
cayjohan in Gardening