CindyJ's Profile

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Heritage Radio Network, food & culture content

My favorite food podcast is Lynn Rossetto Kasper's "The Splendid Table."

about 2 hours ago
CindyJ in Food Media & News

French door refrigerators...

I can relate -- we had a plumbing leak about two years ago, and we ended up renovating three bathrooms. When life gives ya lemons... :-)

about 19 hours ago
CindyJ in Cookware

Wegmans going downhill

You really like that ShopRite in WC? If I were to rank all the supermarkets in the area, I think ShopRite would be very close to the bottom. The only time I go there is when they have live lobsters on special, and the odor around the seafood department is a very "special" mix of fish and bleach.

That said, I'd agree with you about the downward slide of Wegmans in D'town. BUT, I still like their produce department, and their breads, and I don't go there to shop for canned and packaged foods or paper/cleaning products.

Have you been to the Giant on Rt. 202 in Dilworthtown?

about 20 hours ago
CindyJ in Chains

Would Someone Please Explain Why Cream Costs SO Much More than Half-N-Half And Butter?

We really appreciate and enjoy having this great resource just a short walk from where we live. Visiting there is like traveling back in time -- help yourself to whatever you need (besides the milk, cream, butter and ice cream from the dairy farm, there are also eggs, cheese, some produce items and a few other products from nearby farms), leave your money in the cash box on the counter, take whatever change you need from the box.

1 day ago
CindyJ in General Topics

French door refrigerators...

You're right about buying locally. The local appliance dealer was very happy to negotiate based on the prices I had found online. Not only that, I live only 3 miles from a sales tax-free state, and that's where I shopped, and the salesman helped arrange a legal way for me to avoid paying sales tax.

1 day ago
CindyJ in Cookware

French door refrigerators...

Your design sounds just like mine. How about a few drops of WD-40?

2 days ago
CindyJ in Cookware

Would Someone Please Explain Why Cream Costs SO Much More than Half-N-Half And Butter?

Equality AND quality! I get the BEST half & Half. It's on the shelf a day after the the cows were milked, and it's not homogenized, so thick globs of heavy cream enhance my coffee.

2 days ago
CindyJ in General Topics

French door refrigerators...

Your comments about the KA are interesting. I chose KA because the others I looked at (Samsung, LG) seemed so similar, but KA offered the best warranty. It wasn't until it was delivered that I really noticed how flimsy the drawers seemed -- at least in comparison to my 15-year old KA which had "rollers" on the sliding shelves and drawers. But I've been pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the drawers, even the full-width one, open and close in the new KA, even when they're filled. And I store beverages (mostly wine bottles) in 2/3 of the wide drawer, so it does get pretty heavy. Yes, it still feels cheaply made -- but so did all the others in that category.

2 days ago
CindyJ in Cookware

Which of these pans should I use to pan sear salmon?

I realized, as I read your responses, that there was no single right answer, and I thank you all for your well-reasoned suggestions.

Any of these could have worked given the appropriate cooking technique. I chose to go with #2 for two reasons: I wasn't planning on using smoking-hot heat, and I didn't want the fish to stick. The pan worked well, and the fish seared nicely, with no sticking. The problem I did encounter was that the salmon (Wild-caught at $16/lb) was not cooked to my liking. My husband, who likes his salmon seared on the outside, barely cooked on the inside, was very happy with the result. I, OTOH, like my salmon thoroughly cooked, so I ended up putting my portion back into the pan for a few minutes more, and still wasn't happy.

Lesson learned. Next time I'll use #1 or #4 and I'll pan sear then finish in the oven. Thanks for all of your input. I learned a lot from all of you.

2 days ago
CindyJ in Cookware

Which of these pans should I use to pan sear salmon?

So much for consistency! :-)

I'm about 30 minutes from cooking. I was planning on pre-heating the pan over med-high heat, brushing the fish with EVOO, seasoning with S & P, and searing, skin side down for ~ 3 minutes, flip, cook on second side for 4-5 minutes.

Oct 18, 2014
CindyJ in Cookware

Would Someone Please Explain Why Cream Costs SO Much More than Half-N-Half And Butter?

I get my H&H at the dairy farm down the road. Their heavy cream, H&H and buttermilk are all the same price -- $2/pint.

Oct 18, 2014
CindyJ in General Topics

Searching for 10" stainless fry pan

I'm just wondering how you burned your LC making sugar syrup for your hummers. I boil the water, add the sugar (4 parts water to 1 part sugar), bring to a simmer, stir until the sugar is dissolved, and let it cool.

Oct 18, 2014
CindyJ in Cookware

Which of these pans should I use to pan sear salmon?

I don't think I've ever pan seared salmon, but I'm going to do it tonight. I've got a variety of pans I can use, but I might as well use the one that will do the best job.

Here are my choices:
(1) All Clad stainless steel saute pan
(2) Calphalon "slide" non-stick skillet
(3) Bourgeat copper saute pan (also called a brazier) (stainless interior)
(4) Le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet (not non-stick)

I know -- I ought to have a well-seasoned cast iron pan, but I don't. So which pan should I use? Thanks!

Oct 18, 2014
CindyJ in Cookware

Spence 312 in West Chester...?

I wasn't a fan of the former Spence Cafe, which to me was more about the bar scene than the food. It'll be interesting to see what the new rendition is like.

Oct 18, 2014
CindyJ in Philadelphia

French door refrigerators...

It's really a matter of personal choice, based on the way your fridge gets used. We recently bought a Kitchen Aid french door, bottom freezer model. Ours is a full-depth model because we had the space for it. I opted for the water dispenser on the inside rather than on the door because the models with the ice/water dispenser on the door sacrificed too much inside space for my liking. With no kids in our household, there was no need to consider a door that opens to the drinks area. If there's one nuisance thing about the french door design, it's that both doors on mine have to be opened in order to access the full-width tray. I use 2/3 of that tray for chilling wine and sodas, the other 1/3 for deli meats, cheeses, etc.

Oct 17, 2014
CindyJ in Cookware

Need ideas for cooking meals without a kitchen

More for cleanup than cooking -- use disposables wherever possible. But also, get yourself a large-ish plastic dishpan at Target or Walmart. Use it to hold the dirty dishes, glasses and utensils and to tote them to the bathtub for washing. After the dishes are washed, wash out the dishpan and tote them back to wherever you'll be using them.

I bought a Cuisinart Griddler and used it a lot during our kitchen reno earlier this year. It's great for grilled sandwiches, but I also used it for eggs, burgers and even for small, boneless steaks. I also bought an electric burner (Waring, I think) that I used for cooking all kinds of things, one pot at a time.

I used bags of fresh veggies that go right into the microwave with no prep that are sold in the produce department. The potatoes really weren't bad at all. The other veggies were also quite edible -- certainly better than frozen vegetables that might be nuked.

Will you have access to a refrigerator? If not, see if you can borrow a dorm-size fridge from someone. (Where do you live? You're welcome to have mine if you're anywhere near Southeastern PA.)

Eat out, do take-out, use an outdoor grill -- anything that keeps home cooking to a minimum. I know there are plenty of folks here who would just rise to the cooking challenge; I'm just not one of them. I say simplify, simplify, simplify. A kitchen renovation can be quite stressful.

Above all, try to keep a sense of humor. It may be rough-going for a while, but it'll all be worth it.

Oct 16, 2014
CindyJ in Home Cooking

Difference between Chowhound and Yelp?!

Unfortunately, in some locations, Yelp is the ONLY resource. Is Yelp better than no resource at all...? Maybe, depending on the location.

Oct 15, 2014
CindyJ in Food Media & News

Substitute for mushrooms...

"This is going to sound weird, but try a dab of anchovy paste."

...or a few drops of fish sauce.

Oct 15, 2014
CindyJ in Home Cooking

Substitute for mushrooms...

Truffles are like cilantro -- either you hate it or you love it.

Oct 15, 2014
CindyJ in Home Cooking

Substitute for mushrooms...

What is Goya Sazon?

Oct 15, 2014
CindyJ in Home Cooking

Children in fine dining restaurants? Watch this video

When my son was in second grade, he and his classmates (in two separate groups) took a field trip to a local "white tablecloth" restaurant for the purpose of learning how to conduct themselves in that kind of setting. It was less about the food and more about the table setting, the service and their behavior. They were taught which forks to use for the various courses, how to use their napkins, how to cut their food, etc. That experience left a long-lasting impression with my son.

Oct 15, 2014
CindyJ in Food Media & News
1

Beef stew

No, no need to use a sieve. The liquid and veggies become one smooth, delicious entity.

Oct 15, 2014
CindyJ in Home Cooking

Six Second Graders Go To Daniel...

I loved the accompanying video!

Oct 13, 2014
CindyJ in Food Media & News

Why Is Carla So Loud On The Chew?

The better cooking shows have ALWAYS been on public TV.

Oct 12, 2014
CindyJ in Food Media & News
1

Beef stew

I'll add my opinions to the others.

(1) I wouldn't use boullion. A rich, homemade veal stock would be even better than beef. If you're thinking of using store-bought beef stock, I'd suggest "enhancing" it. Get some meaty beef bones or oxtail. Roast them in a hot (425 degree) oven, along with some chunked onions, carrots and celery, until they're all nice and brown. Add the roasted bones and veggies to the stock and simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain the stock before adding it to your braising pot.

(2) I like to use a nice chuck roast for stew. I also love braised short ribs, which I always get from Costco, but that's a different recipe.

(3) Those are two great choices.

(4) I wouldn't bother. I would cut the meat into large cubes, season the meat with S & P and then brown it in batches (avoid overcrowding).

(5) Tomato paste can definitely be a flavor enhancer -- it adds umami to the flavor profile. Here's how I would use it: First I'd brown all of the meat in batches. Then I'd remove the meat to a platter, and remove all but a few tablespoons of the accumulated fat from the pot. I'd brown my veggies (1" pieces of carrots, celery and onions) and a few crushed garlic cloves in the fat. Then I'd add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pot and cook it for a minute or two, stirring it into the veggies. I'd add 1-2 tablespoons of flour and stir that around for a minute or two.

(6) Definitely add wine -- you don't have to spend a lot, but don't use anything labeled "cooking wine." A "bottom shelf" Zinfandel, Cabernet or Merlot would work just fine. Depending on how much meat you have, you can add anywhere from one cup to a full bottle of wine. Deglaze the pot with the wine, scraping up all of the "brown bits." Then bring it to a boil and let it reduce by about a third. Then add your stock (4-6 cups), add the meat and any accumulated juices, and a bouquet garni. Cover the pot, put it in a 325 oven, and let it braise 2-3 hours, until the meat is fork-tender.

For gravy, what I usually do is to remove the cooked meat and bouquet garni from the pot, spoon off excess fat, then use the immersion blender to puree the veggies into the gravy. The veggies thicken it without having to add more flour and it's absolutely delicious!

What time is dinner?

Oct 12, 2014
CindyJ in Home Cooking

Food mythbusters . What's your belief or not ?

When my oven was brand new, the first time I baked potatoes, one exploded. It hasn't happened since. I don't do anything differently and I don't prick them with a fork.

Oct 11, 2014
CindyJ in General Topics

Embarrassing question

Thanks! My husband and I were both born in Brooklyn, but he's retained his accent whereas I've been told mine sounds "east coast" but not specifically New York. To me, the "LawngIsland" accent sounds like the Brooklynese of the neighborhood I grew up in.

Oct 10, 2014
CindyJ in Site Talk

Embarrassing question

Can you recommend a good book on that subject?

Oct 10, 2014
CindyJ in Site Talk

Embarrassing question

I've long been fascinated by the differences in "accents" from one borough to another.

Oct 09, 2014
CindyJ in Site Talk

Embarrassing question

That book would make an interesting read. :-)

Oct 09, 2014
CindyJ in Site Talk