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The Presbyterians are coming!

Thank you, Davy. :)

Jun 28, 2010
smr33 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Presbyterians are coming!

Will be arriving in Minneapolis for 10 days beginning this Thursday. Am looking for great lunch/dinner places near the Convention Center where the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church will be meeting. Staying at the Millennium.

We eat pretty much everything, but am most interested in things specially "Minnesota," great local joints, no chains, preferably within walking distance.

I was born in Wisconsin and also lived there as an adult for a brief time 20 years ago, but have never been to the Twin Cities. Can't wait to see this part of the country.

Jun 27, 2010
smr33 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

New Trader Joe's yea/nay thread 2nd quarter 2010

Can't believe nobody has mentioned the pimento cheese. Ate an entire container in two days (and am resisting the temptation to open the 2nd container lurking in my fridge). No, it's not real homemade pc, but it's mighty tasty and certainly much, much better than any of the store versions I've tasted.

May 20, 2010
smr33 in Chains

Lots of defrosting -- need advice

I am having a large gathering tomorrow night (December 23) and over the last few weeks I have created eight (8) different soups to serve. All of them are in large containers and frozen. What would be the best way to defrost all of them so they are hot and simmering by 6 p.m. Wed. evening? I could put them all in the refrigerator this morning -- too early? I'm concerned room temperature thawing is not a wise idea, but I also am try to avoid frantic microwaving an hour before the party begins. None of the soups are creamed based with the exception of one which is a creamy tomato basil and has a small amount of cream stirred in.

Some of the soups will be going into crock pots, and some will be served from the stove top.

Thanks for your help! We have a Festivus party every year and this year I'm playing the role of Soup Nazi.

Dec 22, 2009
smr33 in Home Cooking

Favorite Movies About Food?

I can't believe no one mentioned "Heartburn" in this list. Or did I miss it?

Jun 09, 2009
smr33 in Food Media & News

Left Over Collard Greens

I made collard greens with smoked turkey bones last night as part of a large dinner party. There was so much food, they were barely touched. Any ideas on what to do with the leftovers beyond reheating and eating (not that that's a bad thing). Just wondering if there's something creative to do with them.

Feb 08, 2009
smr33 in Home Cooking
1

What did your Mom always have on hand, that you NEVER do?

Iceberg lettuce.
Bacon grease

Jan 02, 2009
smr33 in General Topics

What's That One Thing You Can't Go A Week Without????

Diet coke.
Coffee.
Wine
Cheese.
Olives.
Pasta.
Bagels (daily)

Jan 02, 2009
smr33 in General Topics

wild and crazy "sampling" behavior..... what is your best story?

Here's a confession: I've timed trips to Costco to coincide with the end of the day for the demonstrators. If you hit it right, they give out multiple and/or full size servings of what they are sampling simply because they are about to close up shop and would have to toss the food anyway. BUT, in my own defense, I also do my regular Costco shopping while consuming what amounts to my (late) lunch. And I can also honestly say that I've made many purchases based upon what I've sampled in-store.

Am I a bad person to scheme this way? This thread is making me feel a little guilty.

Dec 06, 2008
smr33 in Not About Food

Leftover Costco chicken salad

That is exactly why we've never purchased it, although we have had the individual sandwiches and enjoyed them. Too much for our small family, although we love chicken salad!

Nov 23, 2008
smr33 in Chains

Anyone tried Starbucks' Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate yet?

The first few sips were quite nice. Then...way too sweet for me. I think if I added a shot of expresso, I would probably enjoy it more.

Nov 10, 2008
smr33 in Chains

Trader Joe's Frozen Biscuits

Someone posted a while ago about the new frozen biscuits at Trader Joe's and problems with the baking instructions. I had a box in my freezer and tried to bake them yesterday using the package instructions. Ugh. At 10 minutes, completely raw. At 20 minutes, sort of baked on the outside, but still completely raw on inside. At 30 minutes, pretty well burnt on outside, but still entirely raw on the inside. Has anyone cracked the code on this product, or is it just a dud? I am taking the box back to my TJ's today, so I'll get my money back, but I still am curious as to if there is a successful formula to baking these biscuits.

In general, has anyone else noticed that the instructions on Trader Joe's products usually need to be tinkered with a bit? Most of their products, particularly the frozen ones, need to be cooked/baked far longer than the package instructions.

Nov 10, 2008
smr33 in Chains

Best food finds at Costco? [old]

Just tried a pumpkin bread pudding which was delicious. It's probably seasonal, so it may not be in every store forever, but my it was tasty. Costco is our go-to for cheese, cereal, dry pasta, and canned goods like tomatoes. I am also a big fan of their store-made chicken pot pie, but don't get it very often as I am the only one in my family who loves pot pie (and the thing is so huge, I can't get through it myself).

Nov 10, 2008
smr33 in Chains

The Future of Your Dining Dollars

We have greatly cut back on eating out and ordering in. When we do eat out, we choose locally-owned and operated eateries that are likely to be more hard hit as the economy worsens. I'm also more careful to plan menus around items on sale at the local grocery and have begun to keep/clip coupons for items we use on a regular basis. Although we are financially stable and have a low fixed rate mortgage, we have seen our 401K and savings for my daughter's college tuition drop like a rock since September. We are cutting back in all areas in order to boost our savings as much as we possibly can in case things get worse before they get better.

Nov 02, 2008
smr33 in Not About Food

Waffle House! Are they any good?

I love them, but we only get to go once a year on our way to or from Hilton Head. Maybe it's because of that novelty that I love WH so much, but we've always enjoyed our big breakfasts there. I still am amazed at the number of plates a meal there seems to require, but if I'm not doing the dishes I don't much care! My only complaint has already been noted -- no real butter. Maybe it's a cost thing. Can't possibly be a health concern with all the grease that goes with the meal. But breakfast at WH is always a highlight of our trips south.

Aug 20, 2008
smr33 in Chains

Wine Prices

We're planning a vacation in which we will be leaving Pa. and lodging in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina (in that order). We want to purchase a case of wine at some point in our trip, and wonder which state has the lowest prices/best selection? It is certainly not here at home in Pa., so I'm wondering if we should wait until a particular point in our trip to purchase wine. We're leaving Pa. and spending one night in Ga. on our way to Florida, then seven nights in Florida, then seven nights in S.C. Any ideas?

Jul 28, 2008
smr33 in Wine

Leftover beef tenderloin. Ideas?

I have a lovely 1 1/2 lb. hunk of beautifully roasted beef tenderloin sitting in my fridge leftover from yesterday's final holiday blowout meal. I don't think I've ever had leftover tenderloin, so I'm not quite sure how to serve/treat it with the respect its price deserves. Any ideas for serving it cold? Warm? In a hash? It is cooked to a perfect rare/med. rare, so I hesitate to do too much to it, but would love to see it brought to life this evening for dinner on this snowy day in Western Pa.

By the way, happy new year to all you hounds. I've been largely a lurker/occasional poster, but have received many helpful tips and recipes here. This is a truly a wonderful site for dedicated cooks and foodies alike.

Jan 02, 2008
smr33 in Home Cooking

Turducken Advice?

After cooking for three days for a total of something like 50 people, I was really looking forward to my mailorder turducken. When I pulled it out of the fridge after 2 days of thawing at about 1 p.m. on Christmas day, the thing was still fairly frozen solid and required more than 7 hours of roasting. When finally cooked, the thing was dry, not at all tasty and a complete waste of time and $$$. I wish I had just done a turkey. Luckily, we had lots of leftovers from previous days, as well as some splendid mac/cheese and other sides, so we didn't starve at 9 p.m. on Christmas evening. But never again, even if the thing had thawed properly.

Dec 27, 2007
smr33 in Home Cooking

Inexpensive wine for large party.

Do they all have screw caps? :) Just kidding.
It has been my experience, as expressed above, that most wines that are really worth drinking are not bottled in sizes above 750 ML, so I think I'm going to take your list/advice in hand when I hit PLCB today. I've had many of the wines you've suggested, but the always-tricky part of living in PA. is inventory. Not every store stocks the same wine consistently. For example, I had the Pine Ridge you mentioned early in the fall and love it, and now I can't find it in any of my local PLCB stores. If one plans ahead (which clearly I haven't) you can request it be shipped from one store to another if it's available anywhere in the state. Anyway, I thank you very sincerely for your help. And I think I may teach my 16 year old daughter how to use a corkscrew this weekend.

Dec 20, 2007
smr33 in Wine

Inexpensive wine for large party.

We'll be serving primarily seafood appetizers (smoked salmon, crab, shrimp) with a dinner of tenderloin and appropriate sides. My guess is that folks will drink white with the pre-dinner food and switch to red with dinner. The price isn't as much a concern, but given the crowd I don't necessarily want to spend more than $10 - 15 per bottle (750 ml) which is why I wondered if quality wine can be purchased in 1.5L bottles. And, frankly, I don't want to open a whole bunch of smaller bottles as I'm dealing with the food.

Dec 19, 2007
smr33 in Wine

Inexpensive wine for large party.

A mix of red and white, as there will be both seafood and beef served, although I'd probably heavy up on white. No sparkling wine.

Dec 19, 2007
smr33 in Wine

Inexpensive wine for large party.

I'm hosting a party on Sunday evening for 25 - 30 people. I'd like to buy larger bottles (1.5 liters) since most folks will be grazing on many different sorts of food and won't be matching or really noticing a wine that's high quality. But at at the same time, I don't want cheap stuff that will give everyone a headache. I wonder if there's a wine that can be purchased in quantity that is of decent quality? I live in Pa., and our local Trader Joe's does not sell wine. All I have is PLCB, but I do have a high end store near me.

Many thanks!

Dec 18, 2007
smr33 in Wine

Eggs Benedict for a Crowd

We are having approximately 12 people over for brunch on Sunday and wondered if anyone has ever had success in serving Eggs Benedict to a large group. My anxiety is primarily centered on the poached eggs; is it possible to cook and hold approximately 2 dozen eggs until serving time? Any hints?

Oct 26, 2007
smr33 in Home Cooking

What's with Panera Bread?

We used to love Panera years ago when it first opened here, but agree that the place has gone downhill. The staff is surly, the food is not so good, and the whole experience has become less than pleasant. I think they have become victims of their own success.

Oct 26, 2007
smr33 in Chains

Ideas for lots of rosemary

I have a beautiful rosemary bush that is producing like crazy. Any great ideas for using it up before the first frost?

Sep 07, 2007
smr33 in Home Cooking

Portion size in a restaurant...do you ask??

In a tapas place, you can always order more (in fact, we usually begin with what we think is the minimum number of dishes to satisfy our appetite; if we love something in particular or find that we're still hungry, we'll order more). It seems more annoying to end up with more food than you can possibly eat.

Jun 16, 2007
smr33 in Not About Food

Portion size in a restaurant...do you ask??

Actually, the more I think about it, I think the problem lies in calling their dishes "tapas." The restaurant is not a true tapas place. It seems to me (at least judging from the portions we received) that the restaurant is calling what would normally be considered an appetizer, a "tapas." Thus, my confusion.

Jun 16, 2007
smr33 in Not About Food

Portion size in a restaurant...do you ask??

My daughter and I just had the experience of ordering "tapas" in a local restaurant. When I think tapas, I think of a plate with several small bites on it. So we ordered six plates for the two of us for lunch. Each portion was HUGE; easily enough for 3 or 4 people to share as an appetizer. While it was my fault for not asking, I also wonder why the server didn't warn us when we ordered? We wasted a huge amount of food (weren't headed straight home, and most of the dishes wouldn't keep). I have to admit that, although the food was wonderful, I would think twice about eating there again simply because I felt as though we were taken advantage of.

Jun 16, 2007
smr33 in Not About Food

Looking for a French Toast recipe - challah bread, orange juice, soaked overnight - sound familiar?

I got this in December 2006; no orange juice, but I'm sure you could add it instead of the booze. BTW, we made this on New Years and it was fabulous!

Baked French Toast.

8 T. butter
1 C. packed brown sugar
2 T. corn syrup
1 large loaf challah bread
5 eggs
1 1/2 C. half and half
1 T. vanilla
1 T. grand marnier (orange liquoer)
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon

Melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Pour into a 13" x 9" pyrex dis. Cut bread into thick slices and lay them in a single layer on top of the brown sugar mixture (you need to squeeze them in). Whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, grand marnier, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bring the bread mixture back to room temp. (I didn't do this, but it worked anyway...may have to bake a bit longer if it's ice cold). Bake at 350 degrees until it puffs a bit and is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Jun 13, 2007
smr33 in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's

Agree about Wegman's. Visited a N. Va. store while visiting relatives and fell lin love with the place. We just got a TJ's here in Pgh., so I shouldn't complain, but would be at Wegman's everyday if they ever come this way!

Jun 08, 2007
smr33 in Not About Food