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40th birthday party at home -- menu suggestions needed!

I actually think we've decided on a taco bar.

Grilled lime chicken (made ahead and sliced, and kept at room temp)
Black bean salad (for the vegetarians)

Tortillas (hard & soft shells)
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
and Chips
Cabbage Lime Slaw for topping the tacos too.

Set everything out and let people fend for themselves. I plan on purchasing about 20-25 lbs of chicken, but how much beans will I need? The ratio of vegetarians is slim, but the meat eaters all love their veggies. What do you think? Thoughts, suggestions, concerns?

May 17, 2012
alexia in General Topics

Pitting cherries without a pitter?

Curious as to how long it took time wise to pit 60lbs? I have a (new-to-me) tree in the backyard that supposedly got 75-80 pounds last year.

May 11, 2012
alexia in Home Cooking

40th birthday party at home -- menu suggestions needed!

I forgot to mention that the guest list is reaching 100, only a minor detail! I'm not sure that grilling burgers and dogs for 100 is the way to spend your birthday...

I like the tri-tip idea a lot! I also thought about tacos ...

May 03, 2012
alexia in General Topics

40th birthday party at home -- menu suggestions needed!

I'm throwing a 40th birthday party for my husband on the first weekend in June -- he wants to grill burgers and hot dogs, etc. But I think that might be too much work for him and he won't enjoy the party.

Any menu suggestions? So we aren't spending the time cooking and he gets to enjoy himself?


May 02, 2012
alexia in General Topics

"Cooking" with a toddler?

My 2 yr old and I made French Toast last week -- i cracked the eggs, he helped whisk them with the milk and sugar. I poured, he stirred. And he was super excited to eat the French toast once it came off the griddle.

I think any dinner can be modified to have a toddler help -- just have to let them!

Apr 03, 2012
alexia in Home Cooking

How to make roasted potatoes crispy - help, please

there's a greek recipe that i make all the time with fantastic results. i start with 3lbs of yukon golds, washed and dried, unpeeled and cut into eighths. put in a big bowl with olive oil, the juice of two lemons, a couple of cloves of minced garlic, about a tablespoon of dried oregano and stir it all to combine. let these marinate for about an hour.

put them on a big sheet pan in a single layer (important!) dot with cubes of butter (about 3 or 4 tablespoons) cover with foil and roast at 375 for an hour. then take off the foil and flip the potatoes and roast again for another 30 minutes -- maybe more. it takes a long time but is so so worth it.

Apr 03, 2012
alexia in Home Cooking

Favorite Greek Recipes

I would make a roast lamb leg and crispy, lemony roasted potatoes. YUM YUM. that's what's on the menu at our greek easter celebration.

Apr 03, 2012
alexia in Home Cooking

Are Manners Getting Worse?

I would also maintain that people just don't know how to RSVP anymore. Out of 21 invitations sent two weeks ago for a party next weekend, I have received 3 RSVPs. And of that number, two are from my siblings.

Mar 06, 2012
alexia in Features

Alevropita/Flour Pie

hi elizabeth,

thanks for all of the information about the alevropita. my yiayia (from yiannena) used to make that many many years ago and until now i have no idea what it is called. she also used to make a similar pita that my family calls batsaria, but has spinach and feta in the batter. so delicious. is that the right name? i cannot find any recipe for it, nor anything with that name.

any ideas? thanks so much,

Feb 04, 2009
alexia in Home Cooking

In Athens Dec 30 - Jan 4

thanks Elizabeth!

all of those recommendations sound great - thank you! we are definitely staying over in Galixidi, and I think that Hotel Ganimede was the place my parents stayed last time they were in Greece ...

we'll be in greece for about ten days, in ioannina for about 2/3 of the time, so i think that the kaimaki will definitely make the list. yum!

if you can find your notes, i'd love the name of the other taverna in galixidi. (ooh, stuffed onions!)

might as well pass along the zagoria recommendations too ...

this is great, thanks! my family will be so happy...

May 06, 2008
alexia in Europe

In Athens Dec 30 - Jan 4

** We are leaving for Galaxidi in the morning and will be hiking a path that goes through Delphi, I have a great recommendation for a Galaxidi taverna but think it may be out of your way! **

My parents are taking my sisters and our husbands to Greece in September. It's my dad's dream to go with his whole family to our family's birthplace (Ioannina) We are going to stay over in Galaxidi one night - what is the taverna you recommend? I can put it on the list of restaurants to try.

We will probably need many more ... so I will be back!


Jan 16, 2008
alexia in Europe

bakery supplies in philadelphia

hi y'all...

i'm looking for a cake / bakery supplier in philadelphia. specifically i'm looking for royal icing flowers or candied flowers to decorate the tops of cakes and would like to purchase them locally, not online.

does fantes - in the italian market - carry such decorations? or is there some fab little bakery shop tucked away in a neighborhood somewhere.

i'm baking cupcakes for a baby shower - and want to put candied or sugared violets on top. please advise! thanks in advance....

Apr 11, 2007
alexia in Pennsylvania

Standard Tap or Ludwig's Garten

check out n.3rd too - it's in northern liberties at 3rd & brown.

Feb 21, 2007
alexia in Pennsylvania

need restaurant suggestions in philly

i have friends coming in from out of town - she's a vegetarian (no meat, no fish) and i'm not sure where to take them for dinner on saturday night.

i'm really into gastropubs and ethnic and i think that might be the way to go. but standard tap definitely doesn't cater to vegetarians. vietnam/chinatown might be okay, but too far from no.libs.

any ideas?

Jan 25, 2007
alexia in Pennsylvania

Place to meet for drinks in the Springfield, VA area

after work we used to go to mike's on backlick rd. sometimes.

also, there's kate's. never been there, but my co-workers used to hit there all the time.

we always used to have after-work happy hours in shirlington - either at guapo's or capital city brewing company. shirlington isn't too far a drive from springfield, which is where i used to work.

Best Ice Cream Shops in the US?

my absolute favorite ice cream is from Four Seas ice cream in Centerville, Ma - just outside of Hyannis on the Cape. I lived there for a summer and I still dream about the coconut ice cream with hot fudge sauce!

Jan 16, 2007
alexia in General Topics

The perfect chewy brownie

i baked mine in a glass pan lined with parchment and i took them out at about 53 minutes. the edges weren't crispy and the centers were perfectly fudgey. i didn't know you were supposed to lower the temp for a glass pan...

maybe my oven runs a little cool?

Jan 16, 2007
alexia in Home Cooking

good eats in chinatown

my husband and i are going to the troc tomorrow to check out a movie - and want to catch a bite somewhere afterwards. we've been to vietnam thousands of times and i'd really like to check out somewhere new.

how's the thai scene nearby? any fantastic standouts for chinese?

Jan 16, 2007
alexia in Pennsylvania

The perfect chewy brownie

Being the minority seems perfectly OK to me - more brownies for me!!!!

Jan 15, 2007
alexia in Home Cooking

red lillet

i bought a bottle of red lillet after reading an issue of living - and have yet to open it. what should i expect?

any tips/suggestions for mixing? or should i just drink it straight & chilled. also, food pairing ideas???

Jan 15, 2007
alexia in Wine

The perfect chewy brownie

i made nick malgieri's supernatural brownies over the weekend - and boy, were they delicious! exactly what i was looking for. chewy, dense and a super-chocolately flavor. i used 4 oz. ghirardelli 70% extra bittersweet and semisweet bars. i've been making many brownie recipes trying to find one that wasn't goopy in the middle or too cakey or not chocolately enough and this was it!

Jan 15, 2007
alexia in Home Cooking

Also looking for good bakeries in Delco or nearby

i hear that traub's in prospect park is pretty good.
also, my MIL goes to orlando's in collingdale - but i find their desserts too sugary sweet.

Jan 12, 2007
alexia in Pennsylvania

Dinner in the Main Line Area

there's a little thai place in wayne - not on n. wayne but right next to the great american pub - i think its called mayuree. my mom says its fab.

and i would also recommend teresa's - a BYO on n. wayne - but it tends to get crowded and is noisy.

my all-time fave thing to eat in wayne is WAYNE'S BIGGEST BURGER at the wayne beef and ale.

Jan 12, 2007
alexia in Pennsylvania

Fishtown or nearby rec's?

i would probably eat at johnny brenda's - they are the same owners as standard tap - currently in this month's bon appetit as great pub fare. but the bar can get pretty crowded so i like to eat elsewhere on show nights.

if none of the above suggestions arent' to your liking - there's las cazuelas (authentic BYOB mexican) at 5th & girard - tiffin (new - fab! - indian) at 8th & girard

Jan 12, 2007
alexia in Pennsylvania

grains of paradise - anyone use them?

so - would you get a separate grinder for them?

or just use them as they are?

Jan 12, 2007
alexia in General Topics

grains of paradise - anyone use them?

i've been hearing a lot about grains of paradise lately - in amanda hesser's cooking for mr. latte and in alton brown's episode about okra.

i went to my local fancy market - they sell them - but almost $10 seems a little pricey for something i've only read about or seen on TV.

any tips? food pairings? ideas? throw 'em my way....

Jan 12, 2007
alexia in General Topics

Married a Meat and Potatoes Man....Help!

as someone with a former (yay!) meat&potatoes man, all i can say is don't give up hope. my husband's mom is a terrible cook - and she has such a limited palate that it is astonishing. and her mother is even worse - won't eat poulty, let alone anything more "exotic." and only eats sweets. i grew up in a greek household where nothing was off limits - we had to eat what was on our plates - and everything was homemade. and my mother/grandmother/aunts are all exceptional cooks. needless to say - i was spoiled.

some of my techniques:
1. introduce more exotic foods with comfortable ones - grated zucchini into pasta sauce that went into a lasagna.
2. cut up the fruit, put it on a plate in front of him.
3. bolognese sauce with lots of veggies
4. mince those onions and garlic so fine they can't be picked out
5. roast those veggies. with salt, garlic and lots of evoo.
6. always always combine things they love with new things.

Jan 12, 2007
alexia in Home Cooking

Favorite Cheese?

french sheep's milk feta - double creamy

Jan 11, 2007
alexia in Cheese

Your favorite sandwich. Ones you make at home.

ok. its my first post. i've been lurking for a few weeks and this thread inspired me to join.

here are the sandwiches i love (in no particular order):

1. turkey breast with thinly sliced red onions, avocado and a generous pile of sprouts on a tortilla

2. a fried egg (or two, if i'm feeling decadent) on toasted rye with pork roll and freshly ground pepper.

3. pean-but-ban-jel (my dad's name for it, from my childhood) natural peanut butter with homemade quince jam and bananas. alternatively, honey subs for the jam.

4. a crusty baguette with leftover easter ham, cornichons and liberal amounts of sweet butter.

5. oh yeah - salami and french double cream feta on whole wheat.

Jan 11, 2007
alexia in General Topics