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Mac and Cheese

My M&C recipe is modified from an old Cooking Light recipe (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cream...). I use about 1 1/2 C sharp Cheddar cheese, 2/3 C Fontina or Monterey Jack, and 1/3 C Parmesan or Romano - no Velveeta! I also just use seasoned bread crumbs on top. Oh, and it's fine with skim milk or evaporated skim milk instead of 1%.

We've added things like diced ham or (well-drained) tomatoes and spinach. And if you are impatient, it's fine right off the stove!

Jul 25, 2014
truman in Home Cooking

Introducing New Conversation Types

I completely agree with this. I refuse to use the badly drawn heart either.

Jul 25, 2014
truman in Site Talk
1

How can I use up massive quantities of alcohol in cooking?

Serious Eats did a series of recipes recently that used vodka in the batter for deep-fried Chinese chicken dishes, eg http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/07/fo...

Jul 23, 2014
truman in Home Cooking

Breakfast and lunch restaurants near the aquarium

We did this same trip several years ago (pre-kid) and had a great breakfast/brunch at Miss Shirley's, http://www.missshirleys.com/ (Inner Harbor location). Perhaps someone who's been there more recently can comment on whether it is still good...

Jul 23, 2014
truman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good and cheap with no fridge.

I've seen these meal/snack boxes at Target and BJ's, but haven't tried them. www.gopicnic.com They are not inexpensive (BJ's had a pack of 4 hummus meals for $12; they are about $5 from the manufacturer's website) but I wonder if the manufacturer might be willing to offer a volume or charity discount?

Jul 22, 2014
truman in General Topics

Amusing menu gaffes - what's yours? [moved from Boston board]

Not a menu item, but still food-related: I work in R&D in the pharma industry, and get a daily newsletter from one of the professional organizations for this field. Yesterday's newsletter included the following headline: "FDA Appoints Four New Leaders to Generic Drug Supper Office." So all the leaders in the office get together for dinner on a regular basis? Sounds pretty cool, though I'm curious about the menu... (mescaline salad, anyone?)

Jul 22, 2014
truman in Not About Food

Costco Food Finds - 3rd Quarter 2014

+1 to the peaches (also from Concordville) - the batch they had last weekend were amazing.

Jul 21, 2014
truman in Chains

Easy Slow Cooker Peach Crumble

oooh, I like that idea - thanks for the suggestion!

Jul 21, 2014
truman in Features

Easy Slow Cooker Peach Crumble

I made this on Saturday - cooked for 3:30 on low, removed the lid to pour off the water droplets, then let it sit (turned off) or about another hour before eating.

The good: It was really, really easy - and not having to peel the peaches was wonderful! The skins didn't quite "melt away" but did help hold the peach slices together (I cut each half in about 6 slices).

The not-so-good: It was not crisp. As others feared, it was quite gooey - more like a crisp cookie that has been dipped in milk for a few seconds too long. There were some "crispy bits" along the sides, but the overall texture of the crisp/crumble topping was gooey rather than crunchy.

So I'm not sure what to do next. I did like the texture of the topping before putting it in the crockpot, so perhaps I will use this topping recipe and then cook it in the oven? Or make "crockpot peaches" to use as a filling in some other dessert? Or make it again but cook with the crockpot uncovered? (is that even possible?)

One other comment: DH felt there was too much nutmeg and allspice - I would probably cut both back to 1/4 tsp next time.

Jul 21, 2014
truman in Features

Potential Move to PHI Area

Not to digress too much from the original post or food-related nature of Chowhound, but the NJ state government website has useful info about the paid family leave: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/form...

I can't comment on repercussions, but can share my family's experience: my company offered 12 weeks paid leave for maternity anyway, so the state money just counted towards that. My husband's employer offered zilch and so he was able to take 6 weeks with some income (his leave was FMLA-protected but unpaid by the company). But his team and boss knew well in advance that he was taking some time off anyway. Employers do not directly pay for this; everyone who works in NJ pays ~$30/year into the fund.

Jul 18, 2014
truman in Philadelphia
1

Potential Move to PHI Area

+1 to all that, but as a former Cherry Hill resident, I can think of three pluses to living in NJ:

1. paid family leave - 6 weeks at 2/3 salary (up to ~$600/week) - concurrent with FMLA-type leave but paid!
2. gasoline is cheaper and they pump it for you
3. easier to buy all kinds of alcohol, given PA's archaic LCB regulations

Jul 17, 2014
truman in Philadelphia
2

Potential Move to PHI Area

Amtrak's Keystone line also stops in Paoli - a little further west.

We're in West Chester - good access to Wegmans, decent access to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods (though we don't shop there), a nice selection of farmers markets, good restaurants, and good schools with lots of parks.

Jul 17, 2014
truman in Philadelphia
1

What is the Best Condiment You Ever Had?

I was going to vote for red pepper jelly! Not just on brie - try it on a grilled cheese sandwich (with sharp cheddar) or a monte cristo.

Jul 16, 2014
truman in General Topics

Memorable Quotes about booze

Oh, and there's an entire song devoted to it - "Alcohol" by the Barenaked Ladies.
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/barena...
or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kAJO...

(I am fairly certain this is not the only song we can think of, but it came to mind...)

Jul 16, 2014
truman in Food Media & News

Memorable Quotes about booze

I've always heard that as one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor. :)

Jul 16, 2014
truman in Food Media & News
3

Salad combinations for everyday...

Baby spinach (or spinach/arugula mix)
Diced red pears
Diced sharp cheddar or asiago cheese
Almonds (we use the roasted sliced almonds intended for salad toppings, but slivered almonds would work well too)
Champagne vinaigrette (2 T olive oil + 2 t champagne vinegar, + a chopped shallot if you feel so inclined)

Jul 16, 2014
truman in Home Cooking

Peaches! 7 Things to Make with Summer's Perfect Fruit

Can you please share the recipe? Thanks!

Jul 15, 2014
truman in Features

Easy Slow Cooker Peach Crumble

Looks like the peaches are not peeled - is this correct? I've never seen a peach dessert that used unpeeled peaches...

Jul 15, 2014
truman in Features

Book Recommendation

My library's July Biography/Memoirs newsletter included these as "Food and Memories" recommendations (I have not read any so can't comment on them):
As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto - by Julia Child and Avis DeVoto; edited by Joan Reardon
Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War - by Annia Ciezadlo
Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India - by Madhur Jaffrey
Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir - by Bich Minh Nguyen
Yes, Chef: A Memoir - by Marcus Samuelsson

Jul 15, 2014
truman in Food Media & News

How to transform awful Amazon sesame sticks

that was going to be my idea. I like the classic Worcestershire/season salt recipe, but also Worcestershire/hot sauce/Old Bay (kind of like the Serious Eats recipe for Old Bay wings).

Jul 14, 2014
truman in General Topics

Wegmans going downhill

I've gotten frustrated lately with ours (Malvern, PA) because of their increasingly limited selection of non-organic items. Yesterday I needed a 1-lb package of ground lamb, which I have gotten there in the not-too-distant past. After searching in vain, I found a meat department worker restocking the cooler shelves, who told me that they only carry ground lamb (and pork) in organic varieties. So my lamb cost $7.49/lb; pork was $5.49/lb. Prices are what they are, but I really don't understand the rationale for only carrying the higher priced organic items... oh, wait a minute, yeah, I DO understand: higher profit for the store. Sigh. I shop there because it's the closest decent store with good produce, but if this continues, it will no longer be a one-stop shopping trip for me.

Jul 14, 2014
truman in Chains
1

Domestically Disabled

OP, you said: "When I do have the time to cook, I usually don't have half of the ingredients needed for even really basic meals, which is why I asked what my staples should be."

Something that may help you in this respect is menu planning. The day before you go grocery shopping, plan out what you are going to eat for the next several days or week till your next shopping trip. Write it all down - Monday = sandwiches, Tuesday = spaghetti with salad, etc. Start small - plan to cook just once or twice in a week, maybe on a weekend when you have more time.

Once you know what you'll be cooking, plan your grocery list. For each recipe, read the ingredients list and see what you already have at home. (Salt? Pepper? Breadcrumbs? Parmesan cheese?) Anything you don't have goes on the grocery list. That way, when it comes time to cook from the recipe, you will already have things at home. Over time, your collection of "staples" will grow - the four items I listed above are ones I consider staples. Substitutions can be okay, but I'd suggest a quick google search to get methods, amounts, and a sanity check. (Milk + vinegar/lemon juice instead of buying buttermilk, for example.)

Good luck!

Jul 11, 2014
truman in Home Cooking
3

Domestically Disabled

One caveat to some of her recipes, especially the more recently published/posted ones: they seem VERY disorganized to me, and I'm a relatively experienced cook! I find that I have to read through them once or twice, sort out the directions in my head, and then make some margin notes to keep everything straight. OP, I suggest you do the same if you find a RR recipe you like. (She has a ton of different kinds of meatball recipes - we really like the chicken parm meatball subs; you can use jarred spaghetti sauce or skip the sauce entirely if you are anti-tomato: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ra... )

Jul 11, 2014
truman in Home Cooking

Instant Breakfast Cereal

Last weekend I made a double batch (2 servings) of steel-cut oats, plain. I ate one and put the second in the fridge. Pulled it out today, added a little milk, heated it for 30 sec, added blobs of almond butter and peach jam, heated for another 30 sec, and ate it. YUM. I think this will be my go-to plan now, as eating freshly made oatmeal (regular or steel-cut) in the summer makes me too hot. :o

Jul 09, 2014
truman in General Topics
1

Switching from side-by-side to french door fridge... help wanted!

And the verdict is...
On Friday, we purchased this Whirlpool model: http://www.whirlpool.com/-[WRX988SIBM...
On Saturday, it was delivered; the plumber came yesterday and hooked up the water line (long story...).

We have moved almost all the fridge stuff over, and it is SO nice to be able to see everything in the fridge! We're still trying to sort out where to put the abundant condiments since we have fewer (but deeper) door shelves.

We are moving freezer items over as we fetch them from the garage, so I can't really comment yet on our adjustment to the drawer. It does have two shallow inner drawers in addition to the deeper main drawer, so I think that will help keep things well organized. The "pizza cubby" has been designated the "ice pack cubby" since we don't generally buy frozen pizzas but have a ton of ice packs for our lunchboxes. :)

Thanks again for the input, CHers!

Jul 09, 2014
truman in Cookware

Book Recommendation

I recently finished "Mastering the Art of French Eating" by Ann Mah - absolutely loved it. Her husband's in the diplomatic corps, they finally get a posting in Paris, and then he gets shipped out to the Middle East - so she's on her own for a year, eating her way around France.

If you're open to fiction, "The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris" by Jennie Colgan was a light and entertaining read too.

Re. chef lit, I read, but did not care for, "Sous Chef" by Michael Gibney. I think I read it originally when it was called "Kitchen Confidential!" I read Alton Brown's "Feasting on Asphalt" a while ago and enjoyed his road trip stories.

FWIW (and sort of off topic), Goodreads is pretty useful for finding books in a specific genre, e.g. https://www.goodreads.com/genres/food .

Jul 03, 2014
truman in Food Media & News

Super simple recipes/ideas to involve kids in cooking

One of my almost-4-year-old's favorite meals is breakfast for dinner. He helps measure ingredients for the pancake batter, cracks the eggs (into a separate bowl!), melts butter in the microwave, and stirs. And while I manage the griddle, he is responsible for making fruit salad: washing grapes and berries, peeling and cutting (using a table knife) bananas, and slicing strawberries (also with a table knife - I cut the stem ends off).

Also, don't forget to let the kids have some input into the menus. They'll be more engaged in cooking if they cook/assemble/otherwise contribute to dishes they want to eat!

Jul 02, 2014
truman in Home Cooking

Switching from side-by-side to french door fridge... help wanted!

trolley, which model do you have?

Jul 02, 2014
truman in Cookware

Where do you keep your kitchen garbage can?

Ditto, but ours is on the left. It's perfect for keeping the trash out of reach of the dog.

In our previous homes, we kept the trash can under the kitchen sink.

Jul 01, 2014
truman in Not About Food

Switching from side-by-side to french door fridge... help wanted!

Wow, thanks everyone for the responses! I'm now feeling better about the french door prospects. We're looking at models with water and ice in the fridge door (no icemaker in the bottom freezer compartment), so hopefully we won't face the ice woes some of you have mentioned.

I do worry about the level of organization required to keep the freezer from turning into the Pit of Despair. I'm pretty good about putting things where they go, but unfortunately DH likes to improvise (I play "where the heck did he hide the salad spinner?" at least once a week). So it sounds like we might need a freezer map, and we'll have to be careful not to just toss things in on top (as autumn mentions below).

Jul 01, 2014
truman in Cookware