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tkalex9052's Profile

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First time at Del Posto

sgordon--i have no prospects of going to del posto in the imminent future, but i salivated through your description and recommendations. excellent food writing! :)

Mar 24, 2013
tkalex9052 in Manhattan

The Ultimate Eggnog Punch

palindrome, i think that cooking the custard gives it a, well, cooked flavor. i prefer it raw. if one buys fresh eggs from a reputable local vendor, it shouldn't be an issue. or, put another way, i've made an uncooked nog every xmas for the past 20 years, and i'm still around. cheers!

Dec 19, 2011
tkalex9052 in Recipes

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

add a scrape or two of nutmeg, too. yum!

Aug 28, 2011
tkalex9052 in Recipes

The Shame of the Dirty Martini Drinker

what the heck happened to people enjoying what they like to drink without hipster foodie snobs telling us what is and isn't proper?

May 26, 2011
tkalex9052 in Features

Make Your Own Dog Food

i know that people can get fanatical about this stuff, but i have to say that i think it's a real mistake to put grains in dog food. veggies, yes, berries, yes: those are things an ancient dog could pluck off of the ground. but grain wasn't cultivated for much of the canine evolutionary timeline. we feed our dog ground up critter parts, including soft ligaments and bones, and then supplement with a variety of plant items, such as sweet potato, tomato, cranberries, greens, etc. no grains anywhere.

Jan 26, 2011
tkalex9052 in Features

Stupid easy recipes you really love

i think that mario batali does an italian version called papa al pomodoro, which has a tomato base. i think it's a little more soupy, too. i saw it on molto mario.

Mar 17, 2010
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

True, especially given our sedentary lifestyle these days. I don't think so much in olden times, when people actually used their bodies to get around.

Nov 06, 2009
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Classic Tomato Soup

You can also add a bit of ground clove for more of the familiar campbells soup-type flavor. I like the clove, especially when used with good quality tomatoes and other ingredients. A crusty baguette and dinner's on the table!

Nov 05, 2009
tkalex9052 in Recipes

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

This is a Milwaukee staple--fatbrot. Dip your bread in bacon grease, salt lightly, and you are good to go!

Oct 21, 2009
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Virgin Drink Reminder

One of the primary markers of alcoholism is "needing" a drink. The person writing this article seems to need an awful lot of drinks. The fact that s/he cannot "party' without one is a sure sign. Plus, loss of basic motor skills (e.g., plate-breaking) is an indication that overconsumption is involved. Don't get me wrong; I love a strong martini or glass of wine, but just ONE.

Oct 21, 2009
tkalex9052 in Features

The Basics: How to Make Beef Stew

Need to cook the meat longer and with a mirepoix (celery,carrot, onion mix) to get the base of the stew going. The mirepoix will essentially vanish and be absorbed into the stew. Add the larger veggies toward the end and cook until tender. THAT'S how you make beef stew!

Oct 21, 2009
tkalex9052 in Features
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What are you making right now?

saturday morning, labor day weekend. enjoying homemade buttermilk doughnuts. used cooksillustratred recipe. nice and fresh and hot. not greasy at all. made about 18 doughnuts. family (5 ppl) ate half of them, gave the other half to next door neighbors. cooking is fun!

Sep 05, 2009
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Perfect Martini

I thought a perfect martini was one made with half sweet and half dry vermouth.

I cannot stomach gin--makes my skin crawl--so my martini of choice is a ketel one vodka martini with a generous amount of noilly prat vermouth and several jalapeno olives (plus a little olive juice). It is my friday night treat.

Sep 03, 2009
tkalex9052 in Recipes

Zapatos Nuevos

I think the stuff about agave necter's affect on blood sugar levels is bunkum. It is simply fructose, which is half of sucrose (table sugar). As for the taste of agave necter, it is perhaps a little "cleaner" (lighter) tasting, but not enough to warrant the extreme prices people are charging for the stuff. It isn't like using an artisanal honey or something. Simple syrup would be fine.

Sep 03, 2009
tkalex9052 in Recipes

Green Tea: Loose Leaf Versus Bags

I am a 90% loose tea drinker, except I simply will not put up with brewing my loose tea at the office. So I use whole leaf bags at the office. Harney & Sons, Mighty Leaf and Mariage Freres, among others, sell very nice single estate whole leaf teas in bags.

Aug 19, 2009
tkalex9052 in Features

San Diego - coleslaw without mayonnaise

why not go to a place that makes the mayo stuff and ask them to make a bunch of the non-mayo? They'll probably help. Or...you could ask for the shredded cabbage alone and simply add a vinaigrette of

- mostly seasoned rice wine vinegar
- some olive oil
- salt, pepper and sugar to taste. (amt. may vary depending on brand of seasoned rice wine vinegar)

This is my never-fail non-mayo coleslaw recipe. Hope this helps.

Aug 06, 2009
tkalex9052 in San Diego

Bees!

I'm sorry to say they are probably wasps and not bees.

Jun 23, 2009
tkalex9052 in Gardening

Baby on Board, Drink in Hand

I had three kids, and I loved my friday night margarita while I was preggo. My kids are all thankfully normal.

If you think about it, the only time one knows to attack a pregnant woman about putting her baby at risk through alcohol consumption is when the mom is showing her pregnancy. However, the real risk of alcohol consumption in pregnancy is when the fetus is tiny--i.e., when the mom is hardly showing her pregnancy, if she's showing at all. So this is a case of misplaced anger. The questioner should instead be giving all of the "normal" looking women pregnancy tests to make sure that they are damaging the microscopic embryos in their wombs, rather than focusing on the visibly preggos.

When the baby gets bigger, most OBs will not protest too much if the mom wants a tiny bit of wine every so often. My OB said that he could not find any research that would conclusively determine that light alcohol consumption would ever affect a mid-to late-term fetus.

My mom worked at a WIC clinic, and she saw lots of FAS. Not coincidentally, the moms who had children with FAS were falling down drunks most of the time. I think that is where the greatest risk of FAS arises. Of course, we Americans with our Calvinistic backbone, will take that risk and extrapolate it to any potential source of enjoyment.

May 20, 2009
tkalex9052 in Features

A Round-Up of the Best Vegan Cookbooks

I am telling you, this cookbook is BOGUS and not worth the money. Case in point: There is not a single recipe using cabbage, except for one recipe that uses sauerkraut. How can someone make a vegan cookbook without including cheap, flavorful and nutritious cabbage? Oh, but there are recipes involving the use of all sorts of arcane ingredients like agave syrup and freakish fruits that most of us can hardly purchase. This was a fluff vanity publication in my opinion and not a legitimate vegan compendium, as it sets itselt out to be. Far better to buy Bittman's vegetarian cookbook and substitute for dairy whenever it arises in a recipe.

Feb 27, 2009
tkalex9052 in Features

10 Homemade Pizzas

I really like homemade pizza, but I find it very elusive. The quest for a perfect crust--which is, after all, what homemade pizza is all about--is near impossible, in my opinion, unless one cultivates an obsession about it. The combination of crackling crisp-yet chewy crust plus non-soggy toppings is very difficult to achieve without an actual brick pizza oven. I am sure others have succeeded, but I gave it one year of fridays, first in my oven with a pizza stone, and later on a gas grill, even later on a charcoal grill. Ultimately I gave up. And I consider myself a pretty accomplished home cook. So...good luck to anyone who attempts this!

Aug 20, 2008
tkalex9052 in Features

The Basics: How to Make Baked Breaded Salmon

Why aluminum foil? It is a completely non-essential item in this recipe that takes a tremendous amount of resources to manufacture and is usually tossed out rather than recycled when used one time. I mean, this is salmon. I would suggest some parchment paper instead, but that isn't really needed, either--after serving, scrape the pan out, wash with soapy water and you're done. Just because we are cooks doesn't mean we have to be piggys with the environment.

Jan 25, 2008
tkalex9052 in Features

Looking for exciting Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I make a version of this that's more on the sweet side (see above). Our Thanksgiving is tomorrow (we visit relatives for insipid T'giving on Thursday), and I made half sweet and half using your recipe. I fresh ground the cumin, and it seems a little strong now, but I am sure it will marry well. Thanks for this recipe!

Nov 24, 2007
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Foods not worth cooking at home

But hummus is so easy: a can of chickpeas, some tahini, lemon juice and salt & pepper. I find if I buy hummus pre-made at the grocery I don't always use it before it expires. Better to keep the cans of chickpeas around--the rest of the ingredients are always in my pantry.

Nov 19, 2007
tkalex9052 in General Topics

Foods not worth cooking at home

I have to disagree on item #3 (fancy cakes). I find that many bakeries, even the best ones, occasionally rely on shortening, which I rigorously avoid in my/my family's diet. I think it's just the nature of commercial baking that shortening's stability & shelf life are an important ingredient, and I just can't stand the stuff.

Nov 19, 2007
tkalex9052 in General Topics

What causes dry fudge?

I remember from a past "Good Eats" episode that the corn syrup is needed when making fudge in order to stop the sugar from re-crystalizing, which would probably make the fudge grainy and dry-ish rather than creamy.

Nov 19, 2007
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Looking for exciting Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This is the only way my kids will eat whole cranberries, otherwise they only eat the super-sugary jellied stuff. This relish is super easy, yummy tart/sweet & doesn't involve any cooking, but it requires that you prepare it at least a day ahead so the flavors can marry.

1 bag cranberries
1 whole orange, quartered and seeded (I use navel, so there are no seeds). Do not peel.
1 cup sugar

Put into food processor and pulse until you get the right texture. I really let it go for about a minute. Then place in glass container and store in fridge for a day or so. Additional herbs, such as rosemary, or other flavorings can be added, but I've found that there's no substitute for the original and best.

Nov 15, 2007
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Food mill for mashed potatoes - what do you think?

I find the food mill too much hassle for what you get. I find a good old masher gives you nearly the same end results with a lot less hardware to clean up. Plus, mashed potatoes actually benefit from a few lumps--makes them homier, in my opinion.

One other negative re the food mill: Unless you have a state of the art stainless steel one, the tin plating gives the food a "tinny" taste. I had this problem when using my old food mill to puree some tomatoes. Granted, tomatoes are more acidic than potatoes and thus more likely to cause the metal to rub off, but why risk your potatoes when a masher is so much easier? By the way, I tossed my old food mill and got a stainless steel one from Oxo. Much better & no tinny taste. But I still just mash them.

My mother in law gave me a great hint for keeping mashed potatoes warm when I first got married: Season and mash them with lots of butter and milk, and then return them to the saucepan with an extra pat of butter. Cover them over the lowest possible heat setting on your stovetop--anything higher might scorch the potatoes. (You can even turn the burner off periodically if they stay there longer than a half hour or so). The potatoes will actually puff up ("souffle") a little in the pan, and they might even develop a pretty crust on top. This has been a lifesaver for me when executing a big meal with lots of sides.

Nov 14, 2007
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Heritage Bronze: to brine or not to brine?

Our local paper ran its Thanksgiving recipes today, and they had a recipe for a Heritage Bronze turkey. It said that the Heritage Bronze should not be brined b/c the brine masks some of the subtle unique flavors of the Heritage Bronze turkey. I don't get this--isn't brine just some sugar and salt? I've always brined my Heritage Bronze turkeys (I've only done two before), because I thought they'd need the moisture, being free range and all. I'd love everyone's thoughts on this, especially those of you who have roasted a Heritage Bronze without brine. Is it dry? I'll be roasting my turkey on the grill, if that factors into your recommendations (not enough oven space for both turkey & sides). Thanks!

Nov 14, 2007
tkalex9052 in Home Cooking

Debate: tea at your workstation?

Yes, yes yes! I have been drinking looseleaf tea (Upton Tea and Specialteas) for about 7 years at the office. I made the switch solely because office coffee is so yucky and insipid in general, and it was too much hassle to walk to the local coffee house. My tea of choice is high end oolong, which, as you tea connoiseurs may know, is getting increasingly difficult to find these days.

I have an office where I can close the door, which makes things considerably easier. In the past I simply had bags of loose leaf tea, the Teeli basket infuser and a teaspoon, which I would use with a huge (20 ounce) mug. I also have a stainless steel teakettle that I have perched on a small credenza. Recently I switched to a 4 cup Chatsford tea pot, which I've found easier to use and easier to keep warm, and I've purchased a tea thermometer, too.

I recently went to 100% tea, save for the occasional freshly-ground and -brewed cup of coffee that my hubby makes for me. I find the caffeine buzz from tea to be a much better experience--much more ethereal, much less of a jolt to the cranium. As a result, I think I'm more relaxed at home and at work.

My teas of choice: Any high end Ti Kuan Yin (right now I'm sipping the Monkey Picked from Specialteas); Bai Hao Special Grade oolong; and special grade Tung Ting oolong from Upton (an older bag, but still very flavorful).

One last comment: If you are a serious tea drinker, I highly recommend the stainless steel tea caddies from Upton. They have two lids, and so you are guaranteed that your tea stays fresh and flavorful for a long time.

Enjoy!

Nov 14, 2007
tkalex9052 in General Topics

Noodles and Company?

My kids love Noodles & Co. I think that their price matches their quality--i.e., mid-end fast food. On the plus side, they serve noodle dishes from around the globe and most dishes include lots of fresh veggies. On the minus side, it's an awful lot of starch to eat in one sitting and their menu doesn't change very often. I usually get a noodle dish plus the chinese chop salad, eat half of each and then save the other halves for another meal.

Apr 12, 2007
tkalex9052 in Chains