smittys's Profile

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Banh Mi Saigon --- Gone

Great news on the front page of the Gazette this morning: Banh Mi Saigon is moving in to the space that's currently Pho Vietnam! YAY!

Jul 09, 2014
smittys in Southern New England

Anyone tried the Smithsonian in Greenfield yet?

you'll be glad to know they're opening another place in Northampton - in the Roundhouse!

Nov 28, 2013
smittys in Southern New England

Too much chicken stock!

Cool! How do you store it so you can use it 1/4 tsp at a time?

I just rearranged my freezers (after bringing home my annual quarter cow this morning!) and I only have 15 quarts of stock after using some ideas from this thread!

And I never salt my stock or add anything at all other than the chicken bones. If I want it to taste like onion and carrot and stuff, I can add that later!

Nov 23, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Too much chicken stock!

Thanks very much for all this detail!

Nov 16, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Too much chicken stock!

Yeah, it's definitely occurred to me. I'm heavily reliant on my freezers --I have two in addition to the one attached to the fridge--because I buy all my meat as whole (or parts of a whole) animals. The slaughterhouse cuts up and packages all my pork and beef and it's frozen when I get it, and along with the aforementioned chickens, that's all the meat we eat all year. I'm not too worried about the power going out for too long because I live on a main road. I actually bought a generator just in case after too many scary storms, entirely because of my freezers! But anyway, after all that meat and the vegetables and fruit I freeze every summer, there just isn't a lot of space for the stock and soup and everything else I want to freeze. It would definitely be good to branch out into pressure canning...hmm.

Nov 09, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Too much chicken stock!

I'd love to know what kind of canner you recommend. I'd love to get an American but I just don't think I can justify the expense. At this point I'd just be buying it for chicken stock!

Nov 09, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Too much chicken stock!

Yeah, I need to get a pressure canner! Until then, your point about concentrating it further is a good one. It's definitely jello like but not at room temperature. Next time! Thanks.

Nov 08, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Too much chicken stock!

Most of it is already super-concentrated. I just put 6 quarts in the freezer and that was from about 8 chickens' worth of backbones and wing tips!

Nov 07, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Too much chicken stock!

I buy 10 chickens at a time from a farm a couple times a year. I cut up the chickens and vacuum seal them, and then make a giant batch of stock and freeze it. The problem is that I'm not using the stock fast enough and now I've probably got 25 quarts in the chest freezer.

So, I'm looking for ideas about how to use chicken stock without necessarily including chicken meat. What can I make other than:

-risotto
-soup
-rice/grains cooked with stock instead of water

Extra points for anything that uses a quart at a time! Thanks.

Nov 07, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Banh Mi Saigon --- Gone

They set up a site where you can contribute to their rebuilding fund! I miss them so much already.

http://www.gofundme.com/51yeqk

Nov 03, 2013
smittys in Southern New England

Salvaging Thai curry mashed potatoes?

Thanks! I think I'll do this with salmon, cilantro and scallions.

May 25, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Salvaging Thai curry mashed potatoes?

I was making chipotle mashed potatoes last night in a big rush. I grabbed my frozen ziploc bag of chipotles and broke off a few chunks into the pot of cooked potatoes and started mashing away...only to smell the distinctive aroma of Thai red curry paste. Oops.

I just blended half of the potatoes into a rather large batch of soup with some chicken broth, coconut milk, and vegetables. It's OK, but I'm not sure if I'll even be able to finish the soup--it came out to almost 3 quarts of soup, and it's really thick.

So, I still have about a pound of half-mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with curry paste mixed in. Any ideas for using this up so I don't waste the food?

May 25, 2013
smittys in Home Cooking

Pho Vietnam opening tonight in Northampton!

I went on opening day at lunch and got the vermicelli with fried tofu to go. I've had pretty bland vegetarian food at Vietnamese restaurants before, but this was pretty great. The vegetables were great, the tofu was crispy, and the sauce was flavorful and spicy. I would have liked more herbs and bean sprouts, but I think I would have said that no matter how much I got! I'll ask for extra next time.

I also wanted to mention that there's a new banh mi and pho shop opening on Route 9 in Hadley! I noticed the sign yesterday. It's in the same strip mall as Mi Tierra. Yay for Hampshire County Vietnamese food!

May 13, 2012
smittys in Southern New England

Soup from leftover pork shoulder?

Hi--I'm trying to figure out how to use a chunk of pork shoulder in my freezer. It's a chunk of bone with a bit of meat left on it. I originally roasted it with garlic, oregano and vinegar. I'd like to turn it into soup but I'm not sure how. I have lots of chicken stock, herbs, vegetables and beans. How would you do it? Thanks!

May 16, 2011
smittys in Home Cooking

For Us Cooks: As You Cook Up A Storm, How Do You Keep Your Kitchen Clean?

I have the same problem and I love that you started this thread! I'm trying, trying, trying to train myself to clean-as-I-go--a skill I never learned as a kid.

I've realized that part of my problem is that I don't see the mess until it becomes overwhelmingly bad. I'll unwrap something and throw the wrapping on the counter, or spill something on the table, or whatever, and I just forget it. It's right in front of me and I don't see it!

The thing that works for me is to be obsessive about keeping the kitchen clean. That's right. Either I obsess and keep it really clean, or it becomes a complete disaster.

So, this means that I clean-as-I-go as much as possible, AND that I try to create rules like:

1. you can't go to bed if there are dirty dishes in the sink (most would not consider this rule obsessive, but this is a pretty new concept for me).
2. if there is one dirty dish in the sink, clean it. Otherwise it will multiply. Serious.
3. Is the kitchen clean already? No it's not. Find ten things to put away or clean.

This might sound nuts, but it works...for as long as I decide to be obsessive. As of today, my kitchen has been clean every day for more than a week. And I don't have a dishwasher!

Jan 23, 2011
smittys in Not About Food

Braising "London Broil?"

When I was a kid my parents cooked London broil pretty often. I made it last night for the first time and remembered why I never liked it. Whatever cut of beef I had was full of sinews, which made for an unpleasant experience.

I realize that beef labeled "London Broil" is any of a variety of cuts that are too tough to cook as steaks. I'm wondering if anything labeled LB can be braised instead. I make great pot roast. I'm asking because I'm buying a 1/4 cow this fall and expect to get a lot of steaks labeled as LB without any information identifying the actual cut. Can I just pull a couple LBs out of the freezer and cook them as pot roast instead? Should I be worried if they are only an inch thick?

Thanks!

Apr 25, 2010
smittys in Home Cooking

Pepper-Roasted Cauliflower

I've made this recipe a number of times. It's really delicious. I just made some and am waiting for the rest of dinner to cook. I think I might eat all the cauliflower while I wait.

Mar 31, 2010
smittys in Recipes

Potluck chickpea salad

Jul 19, 2009
smittys in Recipes

quick & dirty Thai coconut curry

Thanks so much, everyone. This is really helpful!

Apr 07, 2009
smittys in Home Cooking

quick & dirty Thai coconut curry

I need a method for a quick Thai-type curry. I just made one and the sauce separated into watery and grainy and so I'm obviously doing something wrong. Keep in mind, I don't want anything time-consuming and complicated; I'm looking for something I can throw together quickly, and in this instance authenticity is not a priority.

Here's what I did: fried some Thai curry paste in a bit of the coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk can. then I stirred in the rest of the coconut milk, and added some brown sugar, salt, and a dash of fish sauce. The sauce was creamy and delicious.

Then I added some chicken, let it come to a boil, turned it down and covered it and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. When I came back to it, the chicken was cooked and the sauce had separated.

It still tastes okay but the texture is awful. Where did I go wrong?

Apr 06, 2009
smittys in Home Cooking

Homemade corned beef: what can I expect?

Thanks everyone--those linked recipes will definitely help me. I need to do some more digging, though--I'm not sure if store-bought CB has sugar in the brine and if not, I'll probably leave it out.

Mar 01, 2009
smittys in Home Cooking

Homemade corned beef: what can I expect?

I have two small cuts of flat-cut brisket in my freezer and I am considering making homemade corned beef for St. Patrick's Day. I have never had CB other than the mass-produced cheap pink stuff that grocery stores sell by the ton every March, but I am definitely interested in avoiding all those chemicals this year (as well as the hormones/antibiotics/whatever else in mass-produced cheap meat).

However, I will be incredibly disappointed if I brine my own beef, spend time cooking it with all of the vegetables, and end up with meat that is tough or not well-seasoned (or cooking water that is insufficiently flavors my potatoes, cabbage, and carrots--the best part of the meal!).

I saw this recipe on the front page (http://www.chow.com/recipes/18629) and am worried that a 3-day brine won't result in flavorful and tender beef. I've got plenty of time (16 days until St. Patrick's Day!) so a longer brine would work--I just want to make sure I choose the best one.

Does anyone have experience making CB from scratch? Any tips to share? I'd really appreciate it.

Smitty

Mar 01, 2009
smittys in Home Cooking

Local Burger and Fries - Northampton

I disagree! Big burgers are too much for a lot of people to eat, and it is incredibly wasteful (in terms of the amunt of energy it takes to raise beef cattle) to by default give people more food than they can eat. But I agree that they could add something to the menu like "add $2 for a half-pound burger."

Feb 22, 2009
smittys in Southern New England

Do you use cloth napkins?

I am an extremely messy eater. What can I say? At the burrito place I go through a giant pile of flimsy paper napkins. At home my one cloth napkin lasts me a few meals (or until the dog decides to grab it off the table and carry it off). I own 8 of them, wash them when they're dirty, fold them when they're clean and throw them in a bowl I keep on the table, and never run out (there are 2 of us). I am morally opposed to ironing anything, including napkins.

Feb 04, 2009
smittys in Not About Food

Strange Holiday Food Gifts

A gift box that included:
--a miniature wooden spoon, like 7" long
--a 2 oz. bottle of garlic flavored olive oil
--dried-veggie-'n-herbs-pack
--approximately 1 oz. of handmade-looking dried penne

all packaged in a box with a faux-handmade label with a recipe for cooking everything (in a miniature pan? to feed a small rabbit?). It was obviously purchased at a fake country store or maybe a discount store. I wanted to salvage the oil, at least, but threw everything out, because I was suspicious that the whole thing was made in China and 10 years old.

Jan 27, 2009
smittys in Not About Food

Food that Most People Love and You Don't...

Asparagus. I feel deeply ashamed about it because I pride myself on eating everything. There are a few other foods I dislike, but to despise something so widely adored just makes me feel like I'm missing something. And I try to like it, I honestly do, and I just HATE it.

Jan 14, 2009
smittys in General Topics

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

They are indeed magical. Use them to remove coffee stains from the inside of coffee mugs. And they also instantly take off that gross combination of grease and dust that can sometimes accumulate on objects in a kitchen. This does tend to ruin the eraser, though, so I keep an old crusty one around for this purpose. I really look forward to having a range hood (we are in year 7 of our kitchen's pre-renovation phase) so I can clean off the greasy dust with that thing!

Dec 31, 2008
smittys in Not About Food

Local Burger and Fries - Northampton

I just got home from my first Local Burger meal...YUM. We got a burger with cheddar and mushrooms and a turkey burger with bacon and cheddar, plus fries on the side. It was about $18 with a soda. It was all really tasty and my burger was made with Chicoine Farm grass fed beef (Easthampton). The "local farm" burger is $5.99 and the regular burger is a dollar cheaper. Both types of beef are hormone- and anti-biotic free, and I am so happy to be able to get that quality of meat in a restaurant.

The onion rings looked ridiculous--obviously freshly made, not pre-made and frozen. Next time I'm getting those!

Dec 18, 2008
smittys in Southern New England

Food Banks..do you give?

As an administrative nonprofit employee, I give money to my local food pantry. Food pantries can't operate if they can't pay their staff. Volunteers go a long way, but every food bank/pantry needs to pay its staff, buy copier toner, pay the electric bill, etc.

Nov 28, 2008
smittys in Not About Food

Food Banks..do you give?

Ask first. Some places don't want single-use items; their clients are not usually homeless and have a shower like you and me, and those single-use things can be annoying to use.

Nov 28, 2008
smittys in Not About Food