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word, chacha

Turbo, I almost forgot about Michael Chiarello! Oh, I have such a crush on him. I really liked his show on the Fine Living network, "Napa Style."
QUOTE(quantumspice @ Mar 15 2007, 09:23 AM) *

That's not really "the pork industry" as much as it is about factory farming hogs ... one does not equate the other. There's plenty of pork out there, if you know where to look, that isn't factory farmed. (Or maybe I just know more places because hog farming is so common in my state.)

Apologies quantum, I shouldn't have said it was the pork industry - I should have been more specific with my description. I'm quite aware there is a difference between the pork industry and hog farming, I was in a hurry when I linked that article. And yes, I do know where I can purchase pork in my area from family farms not factory farms. I just thought it was an interesting article.
It was an interesting article--and farmers in Canada (lots in my area especially) have really made efforts to organize and fight large scale pig farming as it is so threatening. We've had water contaminations take place in Ontario which actually made over 3000 people sick in one town, and killed about 10% of that number too--no "official" explanation was made as to how the town's water became so contaminated, but everyone knows there's a huge pig farm right there...and it's obvious.

Again, it's a situation where we no longer have the right to control our own food and living environment safety.

Anyway, years ago I was at a Mr. Bungle concert (oy, that's a long time ago) and a band opening for them played a lot of animal slaughterhouse and agribusiness footage as a visual behind their music. It was the thing which made me undeniably aware of the kind of practices involved. That night was the beginning of vegetarianism for me...just because I was so revolted by the information. I didn't know then that I had other options, but I think people are more aware now. So sometimes information like that is exactly the thing that can "radicalize" someone enough to act on what they know.
(flails into thread* after week vacation and bust hiatus)


i got a real, working fridge and stove!!!!! the fridge is full size! it has a real freezer! all four burners on the stove work and OHMYGOD SO DOES THE OVEN!!! i came home from a week away and immediately smelled gas--noted that my pilot light had gone out and immediately was just like "that's it, enough is enough. i am done with this" so even though i haven't slept for about thirty hours i immediately went out to the little appliance store around the corner and bought a REAL fridge and a REAL oven and they delivered them an hour later and now i actually can COOK THINGS.

my question is, what's a good, basic, beginner's cookbook? before i'd occasionally look things up on the internets or sort of play it by ear, but get depressed at my lack of resources if i ever really researched anything. but now, no need to get depressed, so i want a good food bible! i'm thinking either joy of cooking or how to cook everything to start with.......any suggestions?

*rose, i stole your term, because i loved the visual so much
Mousie!!!! Welcome home!! Now get over to okayland and tell us all about your adventures! tongue.gif

Congrats on the new appliances! That's so exciting! One day, I hope to have myself a real nice stove with 4 burners too!! I only have 2 burners on mine - very annoying! I'd go with "How to Cook Everything" as a good, basic reference....its a little more contemporary than Joy, and everything in there is pretty simple, and I like how Mark Bittman suggests variations on alot of the recipes.

Enjoy your new purty appliances!
yay! i probably wouldn't have done it if i wasn't sleep deprived! but i'm so glad i did. REAL OVEN REAL OVEN!!! the idea of okayland sounds so intimidating right now; i'm sure i've missed about seven million new things. i may lurk and get my thoughts together
Thanks for reminding me about this, turbo- an old friend gave me a few cookbooks and I didn't scope them out before I took them, but after looking through them, I'm just not that interested in them. One of them is "How to Cook Everything", then there's one of Mark Bittman's other ones, "The Minimalist Entertains" and the third one is "Sara Moulton Cooks At Home." They're all in perfect shape and I'd rather see them being put to good use somewhere, so Mouse, you can have first crack at any/all of them, but if you're not interested, anyone else can have them and I'll ship any/all of them to you, no charge!
wow! for reals? i'll totally paypal you postage and send you a mix cd or a drawing or something in return!!
Hmm, if you can figure out a way to ship me an In-N-Out Burger, fries and a strawberry shake without it getting icky, I'd take that tongue.gif Otherwise, don't worry about it. PM me with your info!
Congrats on the new stove & fridge, mouse!! Woo hoo!
Hey Mouse!!! I am so happy for you.

I know you're going to love cooking and having an oven!! Yay!
Mouse is passing on The Minimalist Entertains and Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, so if anyone's interested in one or both of them, PM me.

hee-hee....I have both of those cookbooks, and yep....never used them once, sadly, as I like both chefs, just not those two particular cookbooks. smile.gif
I just tend to use cookbooks that are ingredient, course, cooking method or ethnicity-specific. The only general cookook I think I really use is Betty Crocker.

I got these from a friend who joined a cult and gave away all her worldly possessions, and I haven't used them at all in the 4 or so years I've had them. Maybe if she had better cookbooks she wouldn't have joined the cult tongue.gif
Oh, wait...I have Sara's new one - Sara's Easy Weeknight Meals...and while its a fine cookbook, like you, I use my cuisine-specific cookbooks a lot more...or How to Cook Everything for my basic reference.

And I could definitely see how bad cookbooks could lead to cult membership. tongue.gif My mom was just purging her shelves yesterday, and I assured her that I did not need any of her classical ancient texts...I just don't cook that way.
*Peeking timidly around the corner, anticipating possible rotten tomatoes or unwanted cookbooks winging at my head...*

I've recently been reading through this thread, as I LOVE to cook. I'm vegan, and I've been interested in the discussion about vegetarianism, large-scale factory farming, and sustainable vs. unsustainable food production. I was hoping you all (chachaheels in particular, since you seem to have a wealth of knowledge) could point me in the direction of some further reading/research on the subject?

I'd love to join the general foodie-ism around here (if you'll have me!)
Hi Sesame!

I think anyone would love to have you here! Welcome.

Here's a website that's a good start for some recipe ideas--vegan and vegetarian friendly, and I just love this woman's writing. I'm always recommending this site but it's so good! Take a look

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Sites featuring information on farming techniques: a great site for all kinds of information on traditional foods (but the content includes meat, poultry, dairy, etc) I love this site for the top notch, completely independent research they conduct and amass--and there are some good recipes and other information on this site (warning: they are not very vegan oriented, so take that with a grain of salt or consider adding a few of their suggestions if you wish, if ever and whenever you wish)

and I love Molly Katzen's site: (eek! she's gone grey, and I remember buying her cookbooks when she had long, curly brown hair...I'm getting old!!!)

anyway, she's open to vegans, vegetarians, and nonvegetarians alike--and always combines awareness about health and politics with her writing.

Last September 11, the Nation magazine did a whole issue on food, directed by Alice Waters. They featured a large number of various articles on sustainable agriculture and farming, food sources, cooking, food and nutrition, etc. I looked up the issue in their archive and parts of it are available for reading online free of charge. You can find the Nation at

and Pepper had some great sites with lots of information too! Maybe she'll drop by and help us out.
hey sesame

check out some books by joanne spepaniak. vegan vittles and the uncheese cookbook. they are great, for a while i cooked almost all of my meals out of those books. they have info and recipes. they are mad cute too, vegan vittles has a common saying on every page and a "vegan version" of each.

Instead of:Someone is no spring chicken
Use: someone is no spring onion.

i dont know, maybe im a geek but i find those things so funny.

i also read a great book called "the way of compassion" which is a collection of essays on sustainable lifestyles.

also if you are looking for recipes try they have some great resourses there too
*peeks in around the corner and whispers*

I think I'm going to bake some cookies this weekend. My friends are moving into their first house and I thought some awesome chocolate chip cookies would make it a great day. Just wanted to share because I haven't baked in a while and I’m kind of excited.

*runs away to go find her chocolate chip cookie recipe*
As it's coming up for Summer (I'm being optimistic) I'm wondering what everyone's favourite salads are to eat/make? I'm looking for ideas... I especially love salads that incorporate cheese and fruit (i.e. pear and gorgonzola or feta and pomegranate).
bun, my dad makes a pear, arugula and parmesan salad that's to die for

on a different note, i am beginning to doubt that i will ever cook a successful meal. tonight was a disaster. i was so excited about my oven that i ran out and bought some chicken and veggies to roast before realizing that i didn't have a roasting pan. no worries, i thought, i will use this cheap pan i got at the mexican discount store down the street. i preheated the oven, chopped everything up, made my glaze, and popped it in, only to realize at the last second that the pan had plastic handles. so, frantic, i transferred as much as would fit to a small cast iron frying pan i found in the old oven. i originally was very excited about this pan as cast iron pans are so nice to have and cook with and it was a free present from my failed old oven. but this pan's handle is one of those wooden ones that are sort of loose around the metal handle, and i guess there must have been something caked on inside because now my apartment is full of smoke and the alarm won't stop screaming, even though i have a sheet tacked up over the kitchen doorway (i don't have a door to the kitchen), all the windows are open, and my fan is on full blast. and yes, it's california, but it's fuckin cold tonight. and i hate myself, and am going to wallow in it and watch tv and eat my dinner of popcorn and carrot sticks.

QUOTE(mouse @ Mar 20 2007, 11:18 PM) *

i am beginning to doubt that i will ever cook a successful meal. tonight was a disaster. i hate myself, and am going to wallow in it and watch tv and eat my dinner of popcorn and carrot sticks.



aww...mouse sad.gif

*hugs* smile.gif

cheer up sweetie! wink.gif

I love to cook and 80% of the time I fuck up dinner. I have timing issues. It seems like when I cook a big cut of meat it's never fucking done when my sides are ready. I even predict that it's going to take longer then the package calls for and the fucking meat still isn't ready when I want it to be even with the extra time added on. Sometimes I think my oven hates me. Then my sides dishes are cold when my meat is still cooking. Pisses me off. Ruins my whole night and meal when it happens. Of course this NEEEEVER happens to Mr. Pug's mom when she cooks. mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif
Oh Mouse, don't give up!

You just got a brand new oven when you didn't have one before, so you weren't prepared--it's okay, and it'll only happen once.

Maybe the "gift" from the old oven is perfect for stove-top use only; you should treat yourself to a nice roasting pan that makes the whole process easier.

Everyone has kitchen disasters, so don't think it's just you. Did I ever tell you about my ambitious attempt at baking a hand-made, pear and chocolate tarte because my really good friend was moving away from Toronto and going back home to live in France? It would be my last meal with her in the city, we were having a dinner party with just the closest friends, and I was supposed to bring the dessert...and I convinced myself that I should make the thing with my own effort, instead of using my real skills to locate a good pastry chef or bakery.

So...I got as far as getting the best ingredients, buying the appropriate tarte pan with a removeable bottom, precisely measuring the chocolate, sculpting the sliced pears, carefully putting together the ingredients to make the custard in the dessert...and I put the whole thing in the oven at precisely 100 degrees F higher than it should have been. It bubbled and hissed loudly for about 15 minutes before I stopped wondering what that odd noise was (oh, yes! I was in another room! Such false confidence), and realized the damned thing was practically liquid fire and carbon in my oven.

It was officially pronounced "La tarte de désastre". My friend's husband, who's actually quite a nice man if you get to know him but initially presents himself as the original french bastard stereotype, a stance to which he often returns as he thinks I get a kick out of it, asked sweetly, "You made this yourself?" and then continued to ruminate, out loud, on the word "Catastrophe". Oh, I didn't want to bring it (I was making it right at the last minute--typical great planning on my part) but the host insisted it would be fine.

To this day my friend tells me that chocolate and pears together always reminds her of me, and I apologize.

Not oven related but one of my first cooking attempts I was trying to recreate a mixed bean casserole I had enjoyed at a friend's dinner party and I confused two cloves of garlic with two bulbs. I've never lived that one down.

mouse, that salad sounds lovely! I love cutting the taste of cheese with something sweet.
Welcome, sesame!

((mouse)) Like pugs said, and many things I make don't turn out. As long as they are edible, I just blow it off. I get more upset when they are not edible, b/c of the $ waste, but what can you do. I am sure your next attempt will turn out great.

I am soooo excited about summer coming! Can't wait for good tomatoes. Will check to see if I've got any good salad recipes.
QUOTE(bunnyb @ Mar 21 2007, 08:55 AM) *

Not oven related but one of my first cooking attempts I was trying to recreate a mixed bean casserole I had enjoyed at a friend's dinner party and I confused two cloves of garlic with two bulbs. I've never lived that one down.

laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif

Bunny -

I wouldn't have wanted to talk to you after you ate that salad. LOL Thank you for sharing that. It was funny and cute.
OMG, mouse, I could make a list a mile long of my kitchen disasters....I have the same problem, LMP, trying to get everything out at the same time. It's those pesky big cuts of meat.

Mouse, BREATHE!, keep at it, keep experimenting, buy what you need (even those disposable aluminum roasting pans are pretty good, unless you think you'll be roasting a lot; then it's better to get a real one.) Invest in a good meat thermometer, and an oven thermometer; I'll be sending your cookbook out by the end of the week, I promise.
Mouse - really don't freak out. I made a cake one time and used rotten eggs, yep somehow I didn't smell those suckers when I was cracking them into the bowl. It came out all flat and weird smelling. I'm still living that one down. But don't despair, I think I turned out okay as cook. Start easy, don't try to be super chef.
well actually, after sulking for a while, i didn't give up! i found a cake pan with no loose, potentially flammable parts, transferred what would fit and wasn't charred from the smoke (i ended up with about a third of the vegetables i started with), and threw it all back in the oven. and remarkably, what wasn't burnt ended up pretty delicious! it's a pretty decent recipe (here) and i'll definitely try it again in a proper pan.

tonight, though, is $2 margarita night at one of the mexican restaurants (yes, there are about 12, i live in a predominantly hispanic area of LA) around the corner from my house so i think dinner tonight might be some booze and chicken flautas, definitely not cooked by me.
Thanks so much for all the info everyone. I've been poking around a bit at 101cookbooks...sigh. That's the kind of cook I aspire to be. I'm such a recipe-follower: find a recipe, purchase the ingredients, cook the food. I dream that someday I'll be able to look around my kitchen and make something fabulous with whatever I find, Voila!

tankgirl, I'm on all the time - there's some great stuff there. Having a 2-year-old, I also love the Vegan Lunch Box blog.

bunny, it's more of a fall salad than a summer one, but I made a great salad for a Thanksgiving pitch-in with asian pears, watercress, fennel, red pepper, green onions, and pistachios. It had a very light dressing of just lime juice and vegetable oil. Mmm. I think I just gave myself an out-of-season craving.

mouse, I hope the margaritas gave you courage to go a second round with your new oven! smile.gif

We're planning to join a Community Supported Agriculture program this summer for weekly shares of local organic produce. Have any of you ever done that? I'm sure I'll be in here begging for ideas on how to use 8 lbs. of turnips!
sesame - glad you're enjoying bith our conversations here, and 101cookbooks - its truly a beautiful site, eh?

We don't really have any CSAs in the city of Chicago, but I do get a weekly produce box subscription from the local organic produce shop in our neighborhood, and I love it! In the summertime, they do focus on local farms, but obviously, in the wintertime, that's not possible so far north. I love the suprise of what I find in my box, and cooking things I wouldn't normally pick in the store on my own. I feel like I definitely eat more veggies and a wider spectrum since I started getting the weekly boxes. Go for it!!
I need a little recipe assistance – I’m making 2 Italian Easter pies, 1 sweet, 1 savory, and the recipes I’ve found are not giving me what I want.

The savory one is giving me the most difficultly. The way I’ve eaten them in the past, it’s been more calzone-like (except with a flakier pie-type crust as opposed to pizza dough) and filled with ricotta cheese and various Italian meats. The recipes I’ve found make it like an actual pie – in a pie plate or springform – and call for 2 lbs. of ricotta and a dozen eggs. This seems a little crazy to me. I think it’s intended to be more custard-like, but if I where to make a calzone out of it, I would just have a big mess on my hands. Any ideas on how I can make this work?

I have a good recipe for the sweet one. It has a phyllo crust and the filling is sweetened ricotta custard (like cheesecake) with pine nuts and orange zest. It calls for vanilla extract, but I was thinking of using almond to give it a more Italian-desserty flavor. Do you think I can replace the almond for the vanilla completely, or should I do half and half? Maybe the custard needs a little vanilla left in?
On the second question, I'd put in whatever extract you prefer--either one will be excellent. I love almond with cherries--especially if you can get the Amarena cherries (the wild, sour cherries from Italy--expensive, but so worth it). But it will be excellent in your recipe too. Totally up to you.

On the first, one way to use ricotta in a savoury pastry like this is to drain the ricotta for a few hours so that it's drier--it won't make such a mess and the pastry will also bake completely. You can do this with some cheesecloth (a coffee filter works well, too) and a strainer or sieve placed over a bowl. Just put the ricotta in the cloth or filter, close the cloth around it, and place a weight on top of it so that it encourages the pressing. The water and whey will collect in the bowl, and your cheese will be a lot drier and easier to work with.

But it sounds to me like the recipes you've got for the savoury pastry are more like "torta rustica" recipes--they are supposed to bake up a kind of bready, layered, "pizza bread", for lack of a better description. It's usually sliced and served like a cake, but it's got the layered meats and cheeses and eggs (which become like hard boiled eggs when the torta's baked). Are these what you have?

I have made many sweet and savory dishes with ricotta, so the draining is a given, but many of the recipes call for a dozen eggs to be beaten into the cheese - seems like it would be very wet and not hold up in a calzone. The recipes do sound more like the torta rustica you described. Maybe I should just go that route and skip the calzone thing?

Though, I suppose I don't really need a recipe to make a calzone - it's just dough with a tasty filling smile.gif I just like to have a good recipe on hand for reference . . .
The torta rustica type dishes have one advantage--you make one dish and it feeds everyone. Calzoni always strike me as an "individual's" food--you have to make one for each person. A little more work involved with that! But I have seen quite a number of "bread" recipes which involve all the eggs and cheese your recipe calls for as well. The dozen eggs per "bread" is pretty much a standard (and it dates back to a time when spring was the time of year chickens would begin to lay eggs, they weren't available year round).

It sounds like you will be spoiling everyone you know!

I miss the food talk, guys!

Last night I made pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes and walnuts. Crusty garlic bread and a huge salad. Apple pie a la mode for dessert. Yum.

Making grilled chicken salad with pecans today. I've noticed that lately I put nuts in everything. (har) Wanted to put in grapes but the selection was terrible.

What's cooking lately?
Fondue tonight! I haven't had fondue in over a year.
Kel, I'm a big fan of using a lot of nuts and seeds too, and I eat nuts almost everyday as a snack!

I just stocked the house this morning, and made a giant pot of chicken stock so I can freeze some, and made a big pot of 16 bean soup tomorrow for lunches this week.

And, I'm back in salad mode, I I bought a buncha different greens and toppings for some interesting salads this week.

Kel, your dinners always sound so good!!!
briefly popping in to ask kel to post her recipes for the chicken salad with pecans and the feta/walnut/herb spread.....i have to agree with turbojenn! kel's food always sounds so YUMMY! (course, so does jenns!)
Tes, with all your fabulous mangoes there, you should make *this* salad, courtesy of rick bayless:

The body of the salad is: sliced mango, avocado, bibb lettuce. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, bacon, and bleu cheese. (also terrific with some perfectly grilled shrimp on top)

The dressing: toast 1/2 c. raw pumpkin seeds in a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. When they all look toasty and have puffed up, dump 1/4 of them into a blender with 1/3 c fresh squeezed lime juice. Return your skillet to heat, and pour in 1/3 c veg or olive oil, two peeled, smashed garlic cloves, and one jalepeno cleaned, and sliced in half. Heat the oil mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until the garlic is soft and lightly browned - about 5 minutes. Scrape the oil, garlic and chile into the blender, add 1T honey, and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend until smooth, adjust seasoning for good balance of salty/sweet/sour flavors. Toss the salad with the dressing, and enjoy!!

This is my new favorite salad...soooo good. But then, with bacon and bleu cheese, how bad could it be? If you can't get pumpkin seeds, I imagine other toasted nuts would work fine too...I be pine nuts would be amazing.

that salad sounds so scrumptious, jenn, i am sitting here reading about it and drooling.

re the jalapeno -- i can't get fresh ones here, do you think that a pickled one would work? i have some of you take the seeds out, or not? re the mango and avocado -- slices? thick? thin? would chunks be better? certainly easier to eat....

and i don't have pumpkin seeds, but you are quite right, i bet that pignolias would be dynamite!! i am SO going to make that salad THIS WEEK!!
tes, you could use any kind of hot chile you can get there...I'm not sure I'd go pickled, but if you've got any other chiles growing down there, use one of those...or dried chile flakes would probably work too...spice it to your tastes. I sliced my mango and avocado in 1/4" slices, just to be pretty, but chunks would work fine too.

ETA: Oh, I did seed and de-rib the jalepeno. smile.gif
question for y'all... I had a flat fritatta today. Only 2nd time made this, and the first time was fluffy, but overcooked. This time, was perfectly cooked, but flat. Anyone got a good trick?

Now, off to make balsalmic marinaded chicken with pasta and tomato sauce. Yum. Leftover choc. fondue from last night and strawberries for desert! Yum again.
what are your fritatta ingredients, mox?
the one i made yesterday (roughly):

4-5 eggs
Handful shredded cheese
1/4 C diced Ham
1 diced tomato
Salt and Pepper
Butter for the pan.

I beat them all together...I'm thinking I should have maybe beat the eggs with a little milk before adding the other ingredients?
yup. milk and if you want a little flour, and just pour it over the veggies in the pan, no need to pre-mix. here is my mom's famous fritatta recipe:

place 2 cups any veg, chopped, in a greased pie plate. sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese of your choice. mix together 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour, 2 eggs, salt and pepper and herbs of choice and pour over veggies. bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour.
I got back into my cooking groove last night and made Moroccan skirt steak with yogurt sauce:

Skirt Steak with Moroccan Spice Rub and Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4

1 1/4 pounds skirt steak, cut into 6-inch lengths
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Moroccan Spice Rub (see below)
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 large pita breads, for serving (I used some onion naan)
Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving


1. Preheat grill. Rub the steaks all over with 3 tablespoons of the spice rub and let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, scallions, garlic, jalapeños and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice rub. Stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare meat. Brush the pitas with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steaks across the grain. Transfer the steaks to a platter and serve with the toasted pita, yogurt sauce and lettuce leaves.

Moroccan Spice Rub

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

And I made a couscous salad with pine nuts, feta, tomatoes, onions, a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


Mouse, did you get the cookbook I sent a couple weeks ago?
polly, i haven't gotten it but i do have a note from the ups saying i have a package waiting, so i'm assuming that's it! biggrin.gif
hmm, do you mean the post office? I sent it through them....I think I heard UPS and the post office work together on some stuff, though. I hope that's it!
How long can you really keep hard-boiled eggs? (and, of course, still want to eat them)
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