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susanl143's Profile

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Farm fresh turkey NH?

I'm not raising heritage turkeys in NH right now but I did for quite a few years. The "smaller" issue with the heritage turkeys doesn't really exist. You'll feed as many people with an 18 pound bourbon red as with a 24 pound Butterball. Those supermarket turkeys are soaked in fluid before wrapping. By time you get done cooking, much of that is evaporated or left in the pan. The heritage meat, not having lost all this added water and/or oil, is denser and more filling. Between less waste and needing less meat to eat to feel full, not to mention the better texture and taste, the weight difference for a heritage bird isn't as great it seems.

Am I being too cheap? Splitting restaurant bill on family vacation

After reading this thread (and contributing) I've had another thought. If Dinermite is in a serious relationship with his GF his money concerns are going to get far worse than they are now for future family vacations. He is now being asked to pick up one person's share of the expenses. That means his GF is either picking up her own share or the family is paying for her. Once they are married, or at least formally living together, he will be expected to cover both their expenses. He really needs to find out now if she really will be happy for the rest of her life eating only the cheapest thing on menus whenever they go out or if she is just going along with him to impress him favorably. If there are children, things will get worse. Heck, the kids will order stuff and then not even eat it. Disneyland with the family may become a tradition. The share will grow. Dinermite, your personal habits and needs may be forced to change and your household budget become a matter of compromises rather than your personal domain. Are you up to all this? If you think you are, you might note that although your share this trip exceeds your personal consumption that as your family grows, you may actually end up getting some of your share covered by the others as your family consumes more. It could easily work out in your favor over time.

Oct 13, 2014
susanl143 in Not About Food

Costco Food Finds - 4th Quarter 2014

I loved the Nashua Costco until I saw the other coast. Also, I think my return trip to Nashua might be when they were changing over -- Halloween merchandise instead of garden stuff but the room has been made for Christmas goodies but those aren't going out yet. So the store was more bare of items than usual. Some areas where they usually have free standing displays of food items were simply empty space. It just seemed darker as well as barer too. than where I had recently been. Food items I did buy in San Mateo to bring home weren't particularly regional. I brought home an assortment of small Brie cheeses from France. If anything, Nashua, NH is closer to France than San Mateo. I buy the premium grain less dry dog food from Costco. They used to only have blue bag but then they added red bag recently. San Mateo had both of those plus yellow bag and green bag. I did buy organic soy noodles from Japan that were wonderful in San Mateo. I've not seen hide nor hair of those in NH. I wanted the P5opcornopolis popcorn. I've seen that in Nashua before but none to be had now and a few varieties available in SM. The coupon book offered a discount on Airwick holiday scents but the only scents they had were the regular ones. No variety of veggie patty was being offered. Usually Nashua has at least one. Chicken sausages only offered two flavors instead of their usual four or five. The cheese variety hasn't changed in near forever and now has dried sausages taking up a portion of the cheese space. There were four varieties of tamale in SM. Every so often they will have one type of tamale in Nashua. There was plenty of other mexican food items too. These were not replaced by different regional items in Nashua. Pretty much all the regional items they have in NH were in SM too. There just was much more of a selection. And there were so many more organic fresh and dried and frozen fruits and veggies than we see in NH. And I know it is state law that keeps sets the prices and keeps hard liquor out of the NH Costco but the selection and prices in SM were so incredibly better than I can get here. I am so jealous. The only good side I can see is that I won't spend as much money at Costco here as I would if we had a store like there.

Oct 12, 2014
susanl143 in Chains

Am I being too cheap? Splitting restaurant bill on family vacation

Admittedly, the airfare and trip to Disney is expensive. I say, if you can't afford the trip, don't go. Counting your pennies as part of a group isn't holding up your end. It also sounds immature. If you make a good living, you are coming off as a miser. If you are struggling with money, you should make your excuses and let the trip happen without you.

Costco Food Finds - 4th Quarter 2014

The only Costco in New Hampshire is the Nashua store. I am wishing for a better Costco. I just came home from the San Francisco area and visited the San Mateo Costco, which I was told was one of the smaller stores in the Bay area. It makes the Nashua store look like a dive with no selection. Besides lots of items I never see in Nashua, -- including many more organic and ethnic food selections -- which I would have loved to buy but couldn't manage to bring home on the plane, the store was brighter and cleaner looking. Adding to my sense of dejection (rejection?) when I next shopped in Nashua was that they didn't have a couple of items in their store which were listed in their current circular and which I had driven the hour and fifteen minutes
to get. Come on Costco, give us a real Costco in our state, please. And while you are at it, could you sell gas too?

Oct 10, 2014
susanl143 in Chains

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

My Kelt bottle is low. The fact that the Brandy in your link is on closeout makes me think that if I want any, I'd best buy some soon. I certainly don't remember seeing it in my supermarket sized local store when I pondered at length the offerings of the Brandy section. I'll try a few other stores in the area. I'm probably heading to NY next week so I might also look for the Germain-Robin.

During the long NH winters, with the thermostat kept low, sometimes nothing but a bit of a good cognac can make the cold bearable.

Aug 17, 2014
susanl143 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

I'd probably have bought the Korbel if the store had it. I was put off by the inexpensiveness of the Paul Masson but fortunately that did not indicate relative quality. The lightness of the PM was exactly what I was seeking plus a decent base flavor. I am sure this will be a huge improvement over those awful and sickening sweet commercial blackberry brandies. I couldn't believe the horror of my other purchase, the E & J ammonia flavored brandy (finally have those initials right -- my brain wants to forget all about that stuff.)

I've often found the recommended Cognacs on this list unavailable in NH. For now, I'm pretty happy with the Kelt for the money but would gladly seek another good value Cognac for variety -- although its purchase might require an out of state trip. I love good wine but I don't drink enough alone at home to avoid wasting half the bottle or more so a less perishable drink like Cognac is my home tipple. I have followed the Cognac threads in the past but new offerings often come along and I like to keep up.

Aug 15, 2014
susanl143 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

I exchanged the brandy I had bought. The manager wasn't going to take it back since it had been opened but I said, "it smells like ammonia. That isn't the way brandy should smell." He opened the bottle, took a whiff, and promptly offered to refund my money. I took Paul Masson instead and when I got home, opened and tasted it. This was a whole different type of brandy and actually not too far off some of the big three cognacs. Certainly as good as their VS versions and a lot less expensive -- on sale for $7.99 for the 750 size.As the brandy had a pleasant taste and aroma, I simply added it to the blackberries without anything else. I think it is going to be really good.

Oh, can't edit the post above. The awful brandy was B & G.

Aug 14, 2014
susanl143 in Spirits

Lots of wild blackberries

Many, many thanks for your great suggestions. I didn't get to making jam with this first batch of berries but I did try Maglesmom's berry crisp using almond flour instead of wheat flour. I was surprised at how much of a normal but delicious taste and texture it had. I did add some oat meal and also a bit of ginger liquor to the topping. I also sprinkled a little maple sugar on it before sticking it in the oven. I made two pans -- one for a pot luck where it was very well received and the other for this household. The two crisps didn't use all my previously picked berries. The rest went into a large jar with Paul Masson Brandy. It looks, tastes, and smells yummy so far. I didn't add any sugar or other sweetener. I'll add that later if it tastes like it needs it but I doubt it will. My next blackberry brandy jar will be a spiced version.

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Aug 14, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

If you were trying to impress, what would your dinner party menu look like?

There are essential differences between restaurant fine cooking and fine home cooking. The big one is that restaurants can and do prepare sauces that can take days and many sub sauces to make. Doing this for many people and many meals makes sense. It is really not practical for a single meal. I think elaborate dishes should be left to those chefs. For me, the best home cooking consists of the finest local ingredients prepared simply and well. Two of my out of the park hits served for dinners meant to impress was a grilled fresh whole salmon (not farmed) with a good salad and fresh home-made bread. I did a creme brulee for dessert. Another dinner centerpiece was a thick sirloin, so tasty that I kept slicing of little pieces to eat raw. That also was cooked on the grill. With meat that tasty there was no way not to have it be wonderful. The advantage of these meals is that it was the shopping that took the effort. The local supermarket was NOT the supplier. I had a chance to relax between the shopping and fixing the dinner. Preparation was simple and I got to enjoy the company enjoying my meal.Of course, the wines and cocktails were carefully selected and served.

Aug 11, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

I went to the NH liquor store yesterday only to discover that virtually all the brands listed as good while not cognac weren't carried there. I bought a large bottle of Band J XO because the description on the bottle said ultra smooth. The clerk said I could bring it back if I didn't like it. Well, it was disgusting. The main aroma was ammonia and it was rough indeed. I think I spotted Paul Masson. I'll try that next. No Korbel, no Presidente. I swore off Vodka decades ago when it bit me from behind and kept me ill for most of the next day. I'm pretty sure I had an allergic response to the filtration stuff as I was far to ill for simply a hangover. I haven't touched the stuff since. Cognac is my go to drink when I am feeling ill so I figured combining brandy with healthful blackberries would be the get through the winter sniffles drink. I'll use rum if brandy doesn't work.

Aug 11, 2014
susanl143 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

I think the blackberry brandies made by the three companies you list above are awful. I love the idea of blackberry flavored brandy but hate the taste of those I can buy. They are too sweet and too rough and the berry flavor tastes artificial. Little wonder as they all list artificial flavor as one of their ingredients. I want decent brandy as the base and wonderful berries as the flavoring and sweetened to my own taste which may or may not include much sugar at all.

My tenant, who is Polish in background, likes the commercial blackberry brandies which is why I've tasted them all. I kept hoping one of them would be good. I have something different in mind. Maybe what I make will end up like those but I am hoping not. I also saw a recipe for wild blackberry brandy that included spices and ginger. I'll also try that -- thinking that come winter and come colds, that would be a very satisfying pick me up with a cup of hot tea.

I th9ought the infusions with vodka or grain alcohol counted as eau d' vie mostly due to a friend who told me that was how she made such. I now know better and won't call my fruit infusions that. I certainly drank some wonderful eau d' vies when last in France. I'll try the California ones. Setting up my own distillery is beyond my present ambitions.

Aug 10, 2014
susanl143 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

Indeed I meant infusing a fruit into a brandy. In this case, wild blackberries. If El Presidente is both hard to find and expensive, I need another suitable brand, please.

My sipping Cognac these days is Kelt. Using it as a base for fruit flavors would offend me, not to mention destroy my budget.

Aug 10, 2014
susanl143 in Spirits

Are there brandies/cognacs/armagnacs as good as French ones made elsewhere?

Slightly off topic, but would El Presidente serve as a substitute for cognac in making a fruit brandy? I need something decent tasting but preferably a whole lot cheaper than good French Cognac. I'd prefer a smooth finish and fairly light taste.

Aug 09, 2014
susanl143 in Spirits

Lots of wild blackberries

Here in New Hampshire the winters are long indeed. Summer fruit preserved is precious and cheering. My little farm is marked in the history books as being on some of the most fertile land in New England. I keep it clear of anything not organic, and it was pristine land before I moved here, at least since the days of the sheep bubble in the early 1800s. Old stone walls tell me the land was used for the sheep back then.

Yes, I can buy good liquors or jams but frankly find the commercial blackberry brandy far too sweet and the flavor off. I long for the healthful tonic I know it can be but isn't. I do have a treasure in my basement for making the eau d' vie, bought back from Mexico years ago, of 200 proof neutral spirits. I'll soak the wild fruit in some of it and then thin to a more reasonable proof. I will head to the spirits board as I progress.

The jam hasn't been made yet. The berries are refrigerated and hopefully will be turned into good jam tomorrow. I figure the worst that is likely to happen would be a lot of wild blackberry syrup. I can live with that if my jam doesn't turn out as I hope. I will definitely report back on how it comes out. I am so grateful for the help and suggestions I've been given here.

Your jam and loaves are beautiful.

Aug 09, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Lots of wild blackberries

I was chatting with a friend while drinking our martinis. She has a ton of wild blueberries. Mine are either out of reach or gone to the birds. She agreed to pick four cups of the wild ones at her house and I will make two batches of wild blueberry Eau d' Vie. Our Christmas gifts will be very popular this year, I suspect. I'm also set to try a recipe for wild blackberry spiced brandy I saw on-line. My next step is to find a decent brandy to use for making it. I think my really fine cognac would be wasted in this recipe but I want something better than rotgut.

Aug 09, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Lots of wild blackberries

This recipe looks really easy. I hadn't a clue how to go about making the crisp topping so I am really grateful that you sent it. I've got some coconut oil I bought at Costco and have been wondering how to use it. This will make a start on the large jar. Thank you. I'm getting really excited about how yummy this great berry harvest is going to be.

Aug 08, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Lots of wild blackberries

This was wonderfully helpful. Thank you. I've put the berries in the fridge for tonight-- went out for a martini rather than making jam tonight -- but tomorrow, I'll be jamming. Day after tomorrow, I'll start the blackberry brandy. The local store wanted $90 for the canning kit so I passed and bought pretty much what you recommended for far less money. The jars cost me four bucks more than Target but I did get to skip the forty mile round trip to the nearest Target which is worth something.

Aug 08, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Lots of wild blackberries

Okay -- lots of almond flour for sale around here (Peterborough, NH). How would I make the crisp part? Guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Aug 08, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Lots of wild blackberries

There are going to be a lot of blackberries before this crop is done. I'll try this sorbet. Thanks. I like all the ingredients and love a good sorbet. I also am keeping every ingredient organic which would be hard for me to find to buy.

Aug 08, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Lots of wild blackberries

One jam recipe I read simply said add a couple of tablespoons of brandy to the cooking berries in the last five minutes of cooking.

Aug 08, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Lots of wild blackberries

It's been a banner year on my farm. I just picked about 8 cups of perfectly ripe wild blackberries. Now I need to do something with them before they spoil. I am gluten free so things like cobblers and such are out for me. I'm thinking jam and brandy but I lack equipment and experience. I'll head to the store if the recipe sounds yummy enough. Years ago, I let a professional jam maker harvest my crop of berries and she made Wild Blackberry Jam with Brandy. She gave me a bunch of jars in exchange for the berries and it was yummy. She also sold out quickly.I was thinking of making that if you can come up with a way to sterilize the jars and avoid botulism without investing in a canning kit. I've got a lot more berries coming along which will be ripening later so I really could use some help with enjoying and preserving the riches here.

Aug 08, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Is anyone going to boycott Market Basket?

Market Basket has been my main grocery store since moving to NH ten years ago. I. and everyone I know, are boycotting MB to try to get back the store we know and love. We know that if the present management stays, the store will become just another grocery chain if the chain survives at all. Meanwhile, I am shopping at Trader Joes and Costco although they are very inconveniently far. Actually MB is also far but not as much so. If MB does not return to Arthur T, I will not shop ever again in those stores, no matter who owns them. I'll continue using the stores I'm using now although I will terribly miss MB. I went there for items I used regularly and I simply can't find those items elsewhere.

Aug 07, 2014
susanl143 in Greater Boston Area

What gives some red meats that horrific "smell/aftertaste"??

I've been reading this thread but haven't seen anyone mention meat that is improperly bled out. The taste definitely goes to very gamy when the carcass isn't hung to drain right after slaughter.

Aug 03, 2014
susanl143 in General Topics

Costco Food Finds - 2nd Quarter 2014

At my Costco in Nashua, NH the price of the salmon treats has just dropped to closeout levels. They are being discontinued. I stocked up and enjoyed the low price but am sad to see these go.

Jun 18, 2014
susanl143 in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 2nd Quarter 2014

The "American" rawhide treats are from Mexico when you read the fine print. I don't buy dog treats from Mexico. I do love the new wild salmon treats from the USA, however and so do my doggies.

May 22, 2014
susanl143 in Chains

Would this rub you the wrong way? (House Guests selectively picking up the tab) and questions on house guest expectations

I've been disabled for a long time and money is very tight. That being said, I would never be a guest and not do something to hold up my end. If I am visiting people away from home, I pack a bag of goodies from my home state (NH) that are hard to find elsewhere. The cost isn't high but the time and thought can be. The cost compared to a hotel stay is minimal. If we are going out I love to treat everyone to breakfast as usually the bill isn't overly high and I can manage it better than dinner. I'd be mortified to act like a free loader knowing that my presence requires extra time, money, and trouble and also knowing that without the hospitality, my costs would be far higher. If my hosts don't go out a lot, I'll pick up a grocery bill if I can -- if it isn't supplies for their household for the next month but a trip out to pick up food for the next few days, for example. It just seems right to me.

Why would someone decide to avoid all food products made in the States?

Every time I think I understand what Agrobusiness is adding to the food they sell, I discover they are doing something not labeled and not anything I wish to eat. An example is the additive they give to pigs right before slaughter that causes them to have more lean meat and less fat. It also turns out to cause their bones to break if they aren't killed right away. That is just one chemical in a horror of chemicals that are used in our food supply. We aren't told about it and we aren't given the choice not to eat them unless we opt out of the commercial mainstream all together. I remember the days I could shop in a supermarket and all I worried about was how the food looked and the price. Now I worry that the food will slowly kill me. I barely shop anywhere but at local farms these days. I miss the convenience. I miss the sense of safety. I think the mother of that Canadian child is doing the right thing and I live right here in the USA.

Feb 18, 2014
susanl143 in General Topics

Help! I'm having a party for 40!

I, as well as many other people, try to stay gluten free. The broccoli salad recipe was sounding perfect until the dressing. White vinegar is not good for gluten free. A simple substitution of cider vinegar for the white and the recipe would still be yummy and now safe to eat.

Feb 15, 2014
susanl143 in Home Cooking

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2014 [OLD]

If you need a coupon for one of the few items that requires one, I was told -- at the Nashua Costco -- to stop by the membership desk and they'd give me the coupon.

Feb 12, 2014
susanl143 in Chains