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mmmmmmmmmmm gyro. now i want gyros but i can't go to aladdin's tomorrow for lunch sad.gif i'll have to go there for dinner, i guess!!

but, i don't have a crockpot anymore! boo!
oh msp, thank you SO much! i forgot about the crock pot! i'm all about appliances that i can cook out on the deck with. this heat is f-ing Wrecking me *melts*.

i'm picking up a george foreman grill this weekend before i just stop eating anything but salad all together.
am running in and out.....

yes, have lids for two pots and lid like objects for skillets.

yesterday, i made red thai curry with chicken, green beans and coconut milk. it was pretty darn yummy.

Q, if i couldn't get hold of wine there would be something DRAMATICALLY wrong with me. smile.gif

fresh rosemary would NOT be easy. would it work with dry?

coq au vin sounds yum.

i need to buy some more supplies. i would like a blender, more pans, baking stuff.....but the first things i will buy are things i HAVE to, because the plugs, voltage and rpms are all different here.


*heavily contemplates a crockpot*

i haven't seen one here. but there is doubtless one in south africa. le blerg.
oh yeah, babe, dried would be fine - i hate to admit this, but for 99% of the dishes i make, i use dried herbs. i just don't seem to be able to use fresh ones up fast enough to justify their purchase. BUT, my compromise is to replace them once a year. of course, i use so much of them, that that's about when they end up being empty anyways!
Q, fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, cilantro can be placed upright, stem-end in a glass of water (not full, like 1/2 full), and then cover it with a plastic bag, securing the bag with an elastic over the glass (or just fold the extra plastic under the glass's bottom) and the herbs will keep for a long time, like up to 2 weeks. Change the water once in a while and wash the herbs as you use them. Or you could just get a pet bunny (I know, not so compatible with kitties sometimes) who will fight you to the death whenever you bring something green and leafy into the house.
that actually works so well. i had cilantro like that for at least two weeks, it usually goes off in a matter of days.
i invested in some planters for the deck, just the long rectangular kind for hanging over the banister. i want fresh herbs all summer and i'm going to have them darnit! and baby lettuce too, it grows from seed all summer long, over and over again.

ok, the kitchen is overrun with fruit flies right now. one night of unrinsed wine glasses = a month of regret. i have a trick though, do you girls know this one?
put a cone of paper pointy end down into a narrow necked bottle with a little juice or a piece of fruit in the bottom, sit it on the counter and leave it be. the poor little things can't figure out how to get out once they get in. sometimes i take the bottle out to the trash and leave it there so they can get out and fly away. maybe that defeats the purpose but i have a Vegetarian kitchen so it seems fitting. (well, veg 'cept for the occasional bit of fish yo.)
so, Q, you going to post that recipe or email it to me or WHAT? oh, and could you translate it into portuguese first??? (just kidding. rolleyes.gif )

howling my ass off at the visual of Q and raisin grappling with pet bunny as they walk into the house with something green and leafy !!
QUOTE(quantumspice @ Jul 28 2006, 04:49 PM) *

i hate to admit this, but for 99% of the dishes i make, i use dried herbs. i just don't seem to be able to use fresh ones up fast enough to justify their purchase.

Another thing you can do with parsley, oregano, cilantro, basil - in fact, I think it'd work for pretty much anything but rosemary - is to chop the herbs up fine, put them in a ice cube tray, fill the tray with water, and freeze. When the cubes are frozen, pop them out and place in a freezer bag. Perfect for soups, stews, pasta, that sort of thing. Not as good as fresh, but better than dried.

Or, make pesto. I'm a big fan of parsley pesto since parsley is so cheap. I'll buy a bunch for a recipe and wind up with so much left over. (I originally started making it when I had an herb garden and WAY more parsley than one person could EVER use. That shit took over the world.) No difference from regular except you substitute parsley for basil. I often sub walnuts or sunflower seeds for the pignolis, too, since they're so much less expensive. Pesto freezes well, too.
QUOTE(tesao @ Jul 29 2006, 12:20 PM) *

howling my ass off at the visual of Q and raisin grappling with pet bunny as they walk into the house with something green and leafy !!

You think I'm kidding?! (I swiped these pictures from the internet -- I am a bad, bad person to steal, but you just wouldn't see this kind of detail on my bunny's dark fur.)



Sorry to veer off-topic, but my goal is to make Tesao howl her ass off even more. Bwahaha!

ETA: One word for MsP about having lots of parsley: tabbouleh.
that rabbit looks SERIOUSLY deranged!!!!


sort of like a bunny vampire, with green blood dribbling down its chin.....

ms p, great ideas with the ice thing!! i have several problems right now:

oven hasn't worked in OVER a month.

don't have a car yet, and the markets with good dried herbs are not within walking distance.

i don't have even 1/8th of the kitchen stuff here that i have in the states. which i didn't bring on purpose because of the voltage/rpm differences. and....can't buy it unless i have a car to get to the few stores that have things like that to sell, again because they aren't in walking distance. it is weird living here. it is all so familiar, and i love it, and the things that i CAN buy on the street are amazing......but the things that aren't readily available in a developing country are numerous. and the last time i lived in one, my parents took care of all of this stuff. not complaining, though. just attempting to explain a bit.

so. again my plea: recipes for things that can be made with NO oven, with two pots with lids and a frying pan that does not have a lid but i could use something in place of one.

i have some so-so knives (should have good ones in my stuff sent from the states soon), a grater, a masher, a pounder and a cleaver. oh, and a drainer. (for pasta, that sort of drainer) i think that about sums it up.

i'm not starving by any means. right now, in the frigo, i have, already made and waiting for consumption: dolmades, pesto (made the way that gave it its name, with a mortar and pestle -- or pesto!!) fresh barracuda fish steaks topped with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and onions, green beans in a yummy fresh tomato sauce, red beans and rice (i always have this around, i love it. my maid -- sorry, again -- thinks i am odd because i prefer the beans without the meat. just plain beans. with garlic and spices and onion. okay. but no meat. fresh pineapple, skinned and cored and cut into pieces. fresh tangerines. fresh rolls from the bakery across the street (my maid also thinks i am odd because i prefer the cheapest rolls you can buy -- they are called pao de agua, and are just that: flour and yeast and water and salt. and they ARE NOT soft and white and doughy. they have character. smile.gif and NO preservatives!!! yay! nothing here has preservatives. OR that demon, high fructose corn syrup. BAH on that deadly dren!

Tes, it's funny you should mention the corn syrup. Ben has joined forces with me in our deadly battle against corn syrup. We read all the labels of stuff we buy and often have long conversations involving, "WHY? WHY would you put corn syrup in canned tomatoes? ARRRR! WHy is it in Stove Top Stuffing?!" (He only ate it cause someone left it here and we're out of groceries.)
raisin - two weeks still isn't long enough (sadly)! i think y'all give me way more cooking credit than i actually DO - there's just one of me here, after all, so two weeks is like four cooking events.

i actually planted a sizeable herb garden at my parents' this spring, but of course i couldn't take it with me... THEY enjoy it.

and YES! corn syrup is evil.

but oddly enough? i found a place here that sells coke WITH SUGAR rather than corn syrup! i think that's 10 kinds of cool, and it tastes sooooo much better.

i've been great about not bringing anything in with HFCS in it... now, if only it would stay cool so i can cook!! since i don't have real air conditioning (i have a window unit that blows cool air into my living room, but once you leave the living room - even to the foyer or dining room, the chilling effects are greatly reduced), my bedroom gets absurdly hot if i cook (i reheated a pizza two nights ago, and the bedroom spiked up 3F), and stays that way.

my only problem is ...
my pecan pie recipe calls for corn syrup ... which, of course, has HFCS in it...

and i loves me some pecan pie.

and i'm not sure if sweetened condensed milk has it in, or not.. i haven't bought any, but i'm thinking ahead (aka, THANKSGIVING!) ...
QUOTE(tesao @ Jul 29 2006, 12:20 PM) *

so, Q, you going to post that recipe or email it to me or WHAT? oh, and could you translate it into portuguese first??? (just kidding. rolleyes.gif )

howling my ass off at the visual of Q and raisin grappling with pet bunny as they walk into the house with something green and leafy !!

erm, well, i don't really HAVE a recipe. it's just your basic braise, but scaled to fit your equipment and number of people.

so, if i were to make up a recipe, it would go like this:

start heating up your biggest frying skillet, on med-hot.

take your chicken piece(s), salt/pepper, dredge in flour, and be sure to pat off the excess flour.

heat up your fat (butter or oil) and brown your chicken pieces on all sides. it usually takes me 3-4 minutes per side to get it to a nice dark color over most of it for the first few pieces and down to 2-3 for the rest.

remove the chicken and put aside. let the fat heat up again.

per chicken quarter, chunk up 1/4 med onion and 1-2 med carrots and mince one garlic clove. if you like to skin the carrots, do that, but i just scrub them. toss in the skillet and let them soften.

if you have tomato paste, add 1tsp per chicken quarter and stir around. if not, think about making some DIY tomato paste -- the tomato paste isn't required, but it gives a GREAT flavor.

likewise, if you've got some brandy or other hard liquor, deglaze the pan with 1 tsp per chicken quarter. flame, if desired. this gives the

once deglazed, i'd add mmm 1/4 c chicken stock and about 180-190 mL of wine [red OR white -- i adore using pinot noir for this, though] per chicken quarter, and let reduce for about 15 minutes...

add the chicken back, and crank down the heat to low to medium-low... check occasionally to make sure the liquid's simmering, but cook on the stove for about 90 minutes.

add some parsley at the end... serve over mashed potatoes or whateva... mmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmm good.

and even though the carrots and onions are pretty soft, i love eating them that way.

i like to sautee up some shrooms to serve with this, too.. and if i've got 'em, some pearl onions... but eh, not a huge deal...
Quantum, where are you that you can get coke with real sugar? You're in the U.S., right? I heard there's only one bottling plant that still makes it that way, in Dublin, Texas. My parents brought back a couple of bottles from Ireland and it was sooo much better.

Damn, your recipe sounds good...I've got an unopened bottle of brandy sitting around because I was going to make Tom and Jerry's (I think sidecar talked about them somewhere here a few months ago.) We never ended up making them, so I could open it up for your chicken instead.
I am heartily enjoying the bounty of summer here. We've reached the point in summer when I barely cook any meat at all. This morning, at the farmers market, I came home with: the best sweet corn on earth, peaches, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, salad greens, kale, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, nectarines, bell peppers and portabellos....YUM! I do end up freezing about half of the fruits I buy so that I have a freezerful of fruit for smoothies all winter.

Tonight's menu: steamed kale, and brown rice, tossed with a little soy sauce, ginger and honey. YUM. And fruit for dessert.

Its so hot here, I can barely even consider Q's culinary ambition!

my company actually fills their vending machines with sugar-containing coke -- they won't carry any beverage that has HFCS if there are any available sugar alternatives, as part of their health program! it strikes me as rather ironic...

mmm that all sounds quite excellent turbo.. quite jealous, i was going to go to the farmer's market, but i had a migraine -- i occasionally get them when it's too hot and humid out (it was 95F WITHOUT the heat index today, and it was about 90% humidity), and i don't really have air conditioning... sad.gif
obrigada, Q, do chicken pieces have bones in or not? can get both. have THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE best butcher. to die for. everything so frelling fresh, everything CUT TO ORDER, they cut of all of the excess and don't weigh it till after, they give you free bones for stock or doggies, and it is TASTY. again, no preservatives. that means that they don't always have what you want, but they can get it for you.

wondering if that recipe would work with pork chops?


i'm sure that my maid thinks i am looney tunes because of all of the weird ass dren i make when i am alone. she had never had your basic bolognese (american style). blew me away. she had never seen pesto.

last week was her 14 year old daughter's birthday. she made her a cake. and home made chamussas (samosas) and rissois (ummm, can't think of an equivalent of these, but sure that there is one). AND BROUGHT ME SOME FROM HER HOME SO THAT I COULD TRY THEM. i really like laura. she takes SUCH good care of me!! and she thinks mimi the african attack cat is the smartest thing EVER. they are too funny together. so, i now have:

coq au vin
Q's braised chix and rosemary

anyone else want to give it a go????

dying to give laura more of a challenge here. or, heck, myself. i love to cook. i just want to make BREAD, damn it! (totally foolish, because i can buy fabulous bread across the street at the baker for MUCH LESS than i could ever make it for.....) bah.

but DO have some naners in the freezer that could be made into my mamae's yummy naner muffinks, if i had an over. oh, yes, AND muffink tins. suppose i don't HAVE to have the muffink liners.

(someone PLEASE tell me that i am NOT sounding like paris hilton!!! PLEASE!!!)
QUOTE(quantumspice @ Jul 29 2006, 07:22 PM) *

think about making some DIY tomato paste

When I need tomato paste in a pinch, or don't want to open a whole can for one tablespoon, is blend up some sun-dried tomatoes with water/broth/other liquid. I usually have those sun-dried that aren't completely dry - they're more like raisins. Or, if you have the really dry type, soak in hot water for ten minutes or so, then put it in a miniblender or use immersion blender with the chopper attachment. I mean, obviously, you don't wind up with tomato paste exactly, but it works.

I also keep meaning to pick up the tomato paste that comes in a tube. I hear it's really good, and it eliminates the problem of having to open a whole can when you don't need it all.

Oh, and I just realized - Tes, you can probably get teff there no problem, right? There was a place in Pittsburgh that sold it in bulk, but I've yet to find it here - even in the Ethiopean groceries. I can find injera, obviously, and teff flour, but no whole grains. In the winter, we used to make teff porridge all the time. It's so good, and it's really, really good for you.

(In looking for a link, I just found that Bob's Red Mill sells it - I'm going to see if Whole Foods will start ordering it! And this Morrocan chicken stew recipe looks pretty fucking good, too - Tes, check it out, you might be able to make it. It calls for a Dutch oven, but maybe if you halved it...)
Tes, I was thinking that with all the wonderful fresh veggies and seafood, you could throw together a paella. I have seen several "paella" type recipes that do not require a special pan and some variations even use coucous or orzo, substitute tumeric for the saffron and use smoked ham instead of sausage.

Risotto is also a nice stove top dinner with about a zillion variations.

Do you have access to capers? I make chicken piccata as a quick standby. You can also make it into chicken marsala by using marsala instead of dry white wine (or sherry, if you can't find marsala) and sauteed mushrooms for the lemon & capers. It's pretty quick, easy and tasty and is all done on the stove top as well.

Cioppino is another dish with a bunch of variations. Really, it's just a tomato seafood stew with whatever you have on hand. So, a few other recipes for it here and here. I've made it myself, and found that a little pesto like mix (minus the pine nuts), a pinch of cinnamon and little brown sugar make it extra yummy.

Here is a site with a bunch of different skillet recipes. I don't know what is available to you, but figured you could browse through here and also here to get some ideas too.

QUOTE(yuefie @ Jul 30 2006, 02:09 PM) *

Risotto is also a nice stove top dinner with about a zillion variations.

MMmmm. Polenta would be good, too, and also with the zillion variations. Stir in some shrimp or chicken in the last few minutes and you've got a meal.
QUOTE(msp @ Jul 30 2006, 11:42 AM) *

MMmmm. Polenta would be good, too, and also with the zillion variations. Stir in some shrimp or chicken in the last few minutes and you've got a meal.

Oh yeah, yumminess! Now I want polenta with sundried tomato pesto for dinner.

tes, don't see why it wouldn't work with pork chops!

and, bone-in FOR REALZ.

omg, yuef, cioppino with all of her fresh seafood? it'd be to DIE for!

my chicken marsala recipe doesn't have capers in it - just marsala, chicken, shrooms, and cream. though the last time i made it, i added a pinch of truffle salt at the end, and mmmmmmmmmmmm.

dinner tonight? date night! going to a brewpub with this engineering guy...
I wanted to have a nice baguette with olive oil tonight but it's too hot to bike all the way to a big store to get one. I went to a nearby bakery but just got a big crusty loaf of bread that I'm planning to toast in the oven. But does anyone have any good ideas for making the olive oil tastier? I tried some that had truffle oil mixed in with the olive oil and it was delicious but I'm not spending $15 on a bottle of oil. I mixed some red pepper flakes and garlic with my extra virgin oil and I'm letting it sit for a while to see how that goes.

Aside from the bread and oil, I'm also making roasted zucchini because I love it so much.

But I feel slightly guilty because the bakery had eclairs and I've never had one before and the lady gave it to me for $1 when they were really $2.50. I hate half and it was amazing! The other half will be eaten after my tasty dinner.
QUOTE(quantumspice @ Jul 30 2006, 01:20 PM) *
omg, yuef, cioppino with all of her fresh seafood? it'd be to DIE for!

my chicken marsala recipe doesn't have capers in it - just marsala, chicken, shrooms, and cream. though the last time i made it, i added a pinch of truffle salt at the end, and mmmmmmmmmmmm.
I know, I can only imagine how fantastic it would be! The first things I thought of when reading her initial post about all the seafood readily available were cioppino and paella. Bouillabaisse would be good too, or something similar to it. Really any seafood stew. I guess it would depend largely on what herbs, spices and other ingredients are available.

I don't use capers in the chicken marsala either, just the piccata. I don't usually make the marsala because while I love the flavor of the mushrooms, I have a bit of an intolerance. Yesiree, the fungus among us don't like me at all wink.gif

QUOTE(erinjane @ Jul 30 2006, 04:46 PM) *

But does anyone have any good ideas for making the olive oil tastier?

Others might have some more creative ideas, but I tend to stick to the basics. Some combination of the following:
  • parmesan, romano, or other grating cheese
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs - or dried, but in that case I'd let it sit for a while so the herbs aren't downright crunchy
  • red pepper flakes
  • anchovies
  • garlic - roasted is the best. Or if you just want to lessen that raw garlic bite, poach it for minute in boiling water. I do this in the microwave.
  • chopped capers
  • lemon, juice and/or zest
  • balsamic vinegar
  • minced olives - something relatively pungent, like oil- or salt-cured
That's all I got off the top of my head. Hope it helps!
Thanks! The garlic and red pepper flakes turned out reallly good actually. The cheeses sound like a good idea to me. I was worried the bread would be no good with the olive oil but I sliced it really thin and toasted it and it was deeeelicious.
Here's a recipe for Skillet Lasagna from America's Test Kitchen. They have lots of other recipes on their site.

I haven't tried it yet, but it looked really good when they were making it. I don't know how many of these ingredients would be available to you, Tes, but maybe you could alter it a little.

Skillet Lasagna

Meatloaf mix is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal, sold pre-packaged in many supermarkets. If it's unavailable, use ground beef. Use a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe.

Serves 4 to 6
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion , minced
Table salt
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles , broken into 2-inch lengths
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 additional tablespoons
Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

3. Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.
I saw that episode, too - it was just on this part Sunday. America's Test Kitchen is, without a doubt, in my top five favorite cooking shows. The recipe looks great, but I'd probably use half the meat and more vegetables. Otherwise it was too chili mac for my tastes. But I love the idea, and at some point I'm definitely going to give (some variation of) this recipe a whirl.
hahahaha it's funny you mention the chili mac, msp, because i was thinking that it reminded me of that!

on the note of tomato paste in a tube, with the advent of 4oz disposible tupperware, i usually plop the rest in a container and freeze it. thrifty? moi? never!! but in all seriousness, i'm trying to cut out HCFS from my life, and some tomato paste actually CONTAINS it, so i have been looking into DIY recipes that are HCFS free. since i'm freezing the leftovers, the lack of preservatives shouldn't be an issue, and i'd way rather put a HCFS-free variant in my mouth than the alternative.

for the longest time, i've been doing food blogging at my LJ, and i think i'm going to switch over to a proper blog in the near future. any name suggestions?
Q - I'd recommend cutting out the tomato paste altogether, and order up some "Tomato Powder" from The Spice House ( - it is a brilliant substitute, nothing in it but tomato, and its good for lots of other things - like making vinaigrette or sprinkling on a good, and bright, fresh tomatoey taste.
MsP, my PBS station played a completely different episode of ATK this week. Strange! I got to see the one where they make brisket & smashed potatoes. When are they finally going to get around to inventing Smell-O-Vision? We needs it! wink.gif

Q, I don't have a name suggestion, but if you create a food blog, I would really love to read it. Think youll use Typepad or Blogger or what?
turbo, is there any rough approximation between the tomato powder and tomato paste? or just 1-1 substitution? i miss the spice house... though, i was using penzey's for awhile. i need to do a ginormous (well, ~$40-50) order soonish because i'm down to rosemary, thyme, and crushed red pepper.

rosey, probably nucleuscms, because it's stupidly easy to skin (compared to other self-hosting blogging software) and it can be hosted with everything else smile.gif
I think it says on the bottle what the rough approximation is for substituting, but I'm not sure. Since I rarely ever measure, I just shake it on in, and taste as I go. Penzey's and Spice House are equally fine companies...I'm just lucky enough to work near the Spice House!
Penzey's has great spices! My bro and I shop there alot.

Just made a wonderful fresh summer meal last night:

BLT Panzella Salad
Sweet corn on the cob
Fresh blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream (i didn't make the ice cream i'm not that ambitious)

We ate ourselves stupid biggrin.gif - Gawd I love all the garden freshness that is summer!
Figs are in at work. Anyone have some good desserts involving figs? I make a honey-custard tart with figs and sheep cheese, but I would like some other ideas. Our other pasty chef, my pastry partner wants to make a fig and goat cheese and prociutto tart as well.
I tried a really good spiced fresh fig cake at a party recently. Let me see if I can track down the recipe.

I also recall enjoying these fig crumble bars:

3 c Chopped fresh Figs
2 Eggs
1/3 c Orange juice
1/2 c Packed brown sugar
2 tb Flour
2 ts Grated orange zest
1/4 ts Baking powder
3/4 c Chopped walnuts
1 c Regular rolled oats
1/2 c Flour
1/4 c Packed brown sugar
1/4 ts Salt
2/3 c Butter
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and 8x8x2" baking pan. In a medium bowl, stir together oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle 1/2 of mixture in bottom of greased baking pan. Press down well. Bake crust about 12-15 minuts or until lightly browned. Set aside remaining crumb mixture. In medium bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add orange juice, brown sugar, flour, orange peel and baking powder. Beat about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in figs and walnuts. Pour mixture over baked crust. Sprinkle on remaining crumb mixture. Continue baking for 30-35 minutes more or until mixture is set in center. Cool and cut into bars. Delicious topped with ice cream when slightly warm.
zora, really easy (I imagine) but the dessert I always have at a favourite Italian restaurant is Caffe Reale: baby figs in a cinnamon and white wine spiced syrup with a dollop of mascarpone (I looked that up and could have sworn it was honey!) I always intend to make it as so simple and delicious but I never remember to buy baby figs.
martha actually has a recipe for that bunny.

and, i'm working on moving LJ posts over to the newly minted blog. slooooooooooooowly it goes, because i'm trying to add some more context to the recipes (which is what i'm adding first) - why i was making it, how it turned out, that kind of thing.
OOH thank you Q'spice!!! I think I'll try to pick up some baby figs and make that this weekend. Mmmmm.
Ohhh that recipe sounds divine! The vanilla mascarpone mingling with the warm spiced figs, how can that not be good?

Q, I will be adding your blog to the folder of other foodie blogs I keep an eye on, most of which are locals. Have you ever visited Chow Hound?

Does anyone have a recipe for Mexican-style black bean soup?
Thanks for the fig ideas. We have a meeting this week and I think I'll present the poached figs for a sale item when we have fig week. ( I work in a grocery store, for those who don't know.) Next week, I think I'll make fig and mascarpone turnovers. We buy in all-butter puff pastry and it's so nice. I talked to the produce monkeys today and they said the figs we have right now suck. So they recomended that I wait until next week when we get the good varieties in. They're getting in Kadotas and other types. I can't eat figs so I have to rely on the other people to try them.
I made a chocolate mousse cake today with these blackberries that we have now. They are the most lucious, amazing berries in the world. They are huge and plump and sweet and full of flavor. We're also doing marionberry rosewater pies and peach pies, now that we found out we can get IQF peaches. Made some grand cherry cobblers today as well. I really love my job.
Hehe, I really love your job too Zora tongue.gif

Mmm, mascarpone & fig turnovers sound fab.

i have visited chowhound before, and it absolutely drives . me . NUTS.

coz first of all, its pretty much impossible to find things - people use all sorts of local names for the city (like, for albuquerque, they'll say abq or duke city or the burque, etc)...

secondly, people there seem to have no taste in food. at least, not in san diego OR albuquerque OR cleveland. seriously, all of the bad eats i've had in those three cities came from chowhound recs. i find waaaaaay better recs in local weekly zines like the scene and the duke city and the alibi. and when i say bad? i'm talking food poisoning bad, or so grody on the inside that i couldn't force myself to eat there.

and even their "new and improved" forum has WAY much to be desired.

and since so much of the site, at least originally, was devoted to that portion of things... and things like the features are usually rarely updated (right now, the most up-to-date feature is more than a month old)...

well, i just don't go there very often.

and, they don't have an RSS feed for the features (a feature - no pun intended - sorely lacking). i really enjoy the fact that most of the food blogs (or local food things, like the dining sections of the plain dealer & the scene) i enjoy, i can add to my lj and read with the rest of my f'list.

anyway! i giggle every time i see the logo my friend made when he heard about the new blog. i teased him and told him he now needs to come up with a layout to go with it. i've got about half of the recipes off hte LJ up now, but still have about 20 recipes that are currently on my website to add... and theeeeeeeen i have all sorts of other LJ posts to move over! it goes slowly because i keep looking for photos and adding random commentary...
I actually just discovered it recently myself. I was pointed there when I asked for some recommendations for the area I moved to. I really needed some help, as it is a gastronomical wasteland here. Of course, those who know the area agreed with me there. Seriously, it is the land of chain places and fast food, with lots of taco shops and several mediocre pizza joints. People out here get all gussied up to visit the Olive Garden or Orginal Road House Grill. I did get a few very decent rec's though, one being the place I tried the lamb chops that inspired me to try preparing them at home. I would say it is one of the two places that even come close to being fine dining establishments in my area.The other tip was on a very good Italian place that serves things other than the pizza/spaghetti & meatballs/lasagne, red & white checkered table cloth, americanized italian every other place out here does. The tipster recommended I try the osso bucco and said the desserts are divine. Not that a place must be fancy to have good eats, not at *all*. But when you think Hungry Howies pizza is the best, you don't really have a refined palate, do you? Oh wait, and I did also find that there is a decent Sushi/Japanese/Thai combination restaurant out here that at least has decent Tom Kha soup. How the rest of the food is remains to be seen.

I did notice that a lot of the posters in San Diego seem to be gung ho on some places I know to be mediocre at best, and that they shoot down places I thought were good. I suppose it's all subjective, but there are a few people who's rec's I will take to heart there. And yes, the layout does leave much to be desired!

that's right, you're in san diego, aren't you? so you understand my pain and frustration with chowhound.

if you're looking for some serious food, and are willing to outlay serious cash for said food, there are some excellent restaurants by the cliffs/beach in la jolla. but omg, it will cost you. and quite frankly, perhaps before my visit to new orleans, i would have rec'd them highly, after NOLA... well, they were good, but not that good, and i can't justify telling anyone to spend that kind of money on something that way.

but that said ...

trattoria acqua in la jolla owed me. it was fabulous food, though i'm not sure it was worth the price of dinner time admission ($15-35 for an entree). if you can get over there on the weekends and hit them up for lunch (where it'll still cost you $10-20 for an entree), or for bunch. in all seriousness, though, lime [my now-ex fiance] and i had hit them up for a fancypants dinner, and we easily spent $150.

(actually, there are a bunch of haute-cuisine restaurants on prospect that i would say the same about: great food, not necessarily worth the price of dinner admission but if you're in the mood for a splurge for a weekend lunch, a good place to go. top of the cove is another one.)

george's at the cove was pretty decent, too. if you're wanting a fairly reasonablely priced meal ($15-20/entree), their ocean bistro room is fab. you get the same food but at half of the price of the main restaurant.

but of the places i actually went back to, and multiple times:

down on turquoise, you'll find one of my favorite restaurants, chateau orleans. it's another $15-20/entree place, and has got some fairly authentic cajun/creole going on.

there's a great bakery/sammich shop on rosencrans called con pane. OMG SO GOOD. it makes subway and quizno's look sad and pathetic as far as the sandwiches go. this is serious food, in a sammich, and at a very reasonable price. i worked down at topside (which is further down), and i would go there for lunch seriously every day. EVERY DAY! and i never got tired of it. so many variations! and all of them good!! there's also an italian joint across the street from con pane that is aight, but .. eh. not worth the trip from far away. con pane? worth it. grab a sandwich and drink to go, and then go down to the park/pier/whatever you want to call the area down the stubby street, on the bay side. it's got a nam,e but i can't think of it. it's a great time. i don't think they have sammiches at dinner time, but it'd be a good weekend picnic.

i also enjoyed the dumpling inn, a lot.

as far as restaurant recs in SD? city beat is where i got alot of my best recs.
I'm not familiar with Chowhound, but maybe you should try It was started by foodies, Jane and Michael Stern, and there's a lot of good info on there. People on there are interested in finding off-the-beaten-path type places, places with a little grease on the walls, places with character. I post there all the time (as "abe_froeman", Sausage King of Chicago). They've got a pretty extensive Where to Eat section and they're not too touchy about starting new threads, so if you don't want to search, just start a new one.
Polly, I've actually been meaning to thank you for linking to that site a couple weeks ago.

Q, thanks for the rec's. I agree about SD being way over priced for good food. Did you ever have the chance to try Cafe Chloe or Cafe Cerise? The Linkery or Region? These are the places that have been recommended to me repeatedly. Also, Con Pane was highly recommended by a few people on the Chow Hound board as well. I am seriously going to have to head over there soon. I agree that Trattoria Acqua is a good find. George's Ocean Bistro room is the way to go, and Top Of The Cove was good to me but I've only been there once. Never been to Chateu Orleans. I'm most interested in finding hole in the wall, mom & pop run, grandma's cooking in the back style establishments. I like supporting those and honestly, those are where the really good every day eats are usually found. I know where to go for some prety decent indian, a bevvy of middle eastern places, of course mexican food, but chinese, vietnamese, and thai elude me so far. I know where to go but none of them wow me. I've had some damn good thai in L.A., chinese in San Francisco and my beloved Cheu Ahn closed down leaving me with nowhere to feast on decent shrimp on sugar cane. I'm armed with some rec's, but not the budget nor the stomach to start out on any real adeventures just yet. But I will be going to try one of those delightful sammiches at Con Pane!

Sorry for the thread derailment, ya'll.

i don't remember the prices for the dumpling inn (so they probably weren't more than $20 - not quite cheap, but if you've been to convoy, you know that some of those places are kind of hole-in-the-wall ish!) ... and i heard really good things about the dim sum at emerald but never had the chance to check it out...

cheteau orleans ... is a weakness. i adore cajun n creole food. smile.gif

i went to a decent vietnamese place that was kind of in the convoy area, too, but for the life of me, can't remember what it was called. def not wow worthy, though. the best vietnamese i've ever had? france. go figure, right? i suppose it makes some amount of sense with vietnam being a former french colony...

i don't believe i tried cafe chloe or cerise or the linkery or region - and truth be told, i didn't eat out *all* that much when i was in san diego. not with a chance to glut myself on TJ's! i went to cafe on ob that i remember liking a great deal, but for the life of me, can't remember the name...

but, you wanna talk about a foodie town? there are SO MANY restaurants here in cleveland, it's insane. because of the heat, i haven't cooked in about a month (5th floor apartment with a window unit made to cool just one room? yeah, i'll be happy when it's sept).... and i haven't gone to the same one twice, yet.
You know Q, my beloved Cheu Ahn was a heavily french influenced vietnamese place. It was a very small, family owned and run little joint that took such great care and pride in the freshness and quality of the ingredients used and the preperation was top notch. Ohhhhh lordy was it good! I once had this ginger soy steamed sea bass with baby bok choy that was out of this world. So simple yet SO delicious. Sadly, they could not afford the rent on the store front they had in Rancho Bernardo and went back to Orange County, *sniff sniff* sad.gif I've had some really good stuff in the Convoy area, but then returned and it wasn't anywhere near the same. But therein lies the huge issue with SD dining, consitency. And if I have occasion to visit Cleveland, you best believe I will be hitting you up for some rec's!

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