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  1. National Food Days

    March 11, 2009 by admin

    If you are wondering what to make for dinner or dessert on any given day, let this list of national food days inspire you:
    Today, for example, is Oatmeal-Nut Waffles Day.
    Is this list real? Who knows? Who cares? (though being how idiotic our Congress is, it may very well be real). The point is that it gives you a reason to celebrate something yummy almost every day 🙂

  2. Spices at home

    February 22, 2009 by admin

    Once again, here is a list of the spices I have at home, so I don’t go buying s/t I have when I need it. What I know I don’t have is:
    -Onion Powder
    -Cumin seeds
    -Ground nutmeg
    -Garlic salt
    What I do have:
    Herbes de Provence
    Rubbed sage
    Ground Spices
    Garlic powder
    Seeds & Berries
    Cardamon pods
    Star anise
    Sweet basil
    Kosher salt
    Table salt
    Sea salt
    Crushed red pepper
    Black peppercorns
    Indian red chili powder
    Piment d’espelette
    Red pepper flakes
    White peppercorns
    Chicken masala
    Curry powder
    Mild curry powder
    Garam Masala
    Madras Curry
    Spice Mixes
    Chili powder
    Bay leaves
    Cinnamon sticks
    Cream of Tartar
    Dried chilis
    Dried tamarind pods

  3. Xmas gifts 2008

    December 25, 2008 by admin

    In previous years I got all the hardcore kitchen equipment I needed – a good quality food processor (though I came to discover, while I was cooking Xmas dinner, that it has a crappy lid), a good quality blender and a good quality mixer – so my cooking items request for this year was much less greedy. And alas, I got the most important things I wanted.
    My mother gave me her old (but barely used) toaster oven. It’s a Black & Decker and small enough to fit in our very limited counter space. It’s great because our old one is probably over 10 years old and had not been working well (i.e. burning toast) for quite a while. Now I can finally get rid of it! The only problem with this toaster oven is that it doesn’t come with a baking sheet – and I doubt I can find one small enough for it. That doesn’t matter for toast – but it makes it hard to use for things like toasting nuts. Hmmm – perhaps I could find a very small aluminum pan to put there? Or use tin foil to make a little mold? Any ideas?
    bowls.jpgAlso from my mother, a set of pyrex mixing bowls I had asked for. All my mixing bowls are plastic and old – and I wanted something better quality (so, at least I can feel more luxurious when I cook) that had lids – so I can put whatever it is directly in the fridge. I haven’t opened these yet, but they look very nice and got good reviews.
    Mom also got me a small (10″ x 14″) cookie sheet that comes with a matching silicone mat. It’s Cooking with Calphalon brand. I’ve never used a baking mat, and I’m hoping it’ll be good – it’d beat having to use expensive parchment paper or cleaning baking sheets. The cookie sheet is on the small size, but I think it’ll fit in the oven along side my regular large baking sheets.
    Finally, my sister Kathy got me a set of CorningWare. It includes a 2.5qt casserole, a 1.5 qt one and a 16 oz one. Only the bigger one comes with a glass lid, which makes it appropriate for baking in the oven – but that’s the one I really needed. Alas, CorningWare has the weird pricing scheme in that it’s often cheaper to buy a set of dishes than just one. I’m not sure what I’ll use the little ones for. The little one would work for hot artichoke-spinach dip (I made some last night for Xmas dinner, and as I didn’t have one that size I divided it into smaller ramekins). Any ideas what the 1.5 qt one (which only has a plastic lid) could be used for?
    And that’s it – not many food gifts this year, but then I didn’t ask for many 🙂 I did ask for a dutch oven, but I’m not really disappointed that I didn’t get one, as I’m not sure that I’d use it very often.
    Could it really be true that I don’t need/want anything else for the kitchen? Nah – I did notice while cooking Xmas dinner that I do need more wooden spoons.
    Oh, and I forgot, I need a butcher’s knife, a carving knife and kitchen shears.

  4. Restaurants I want to try

    September 13, 2008 by admin

    Paragon @ the Claremont
    Rendezvous Cafe – French
    Unicorn Pan Asian Cuisine
    Cocina Poblana
    Nan Yang
    Pizza Rustica
    Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana
    Hayward/Castro Valley
    Bijou Restaurant & Bar
    Sampan Kitchen

  5. Spices @ Home

    July 27, 2008 by marga

    Allspice, ground
    Allspice, berries
    Bay leaves
    Cardamon, ground
    Cardamon, pods
    Cayene pepper
    Celery salt
    Chicken Masala (box)
    Chili powder (box)
    Cinnamon, ground
    Cinnamon, sticks
    Citric Acid
    Coriander, powder (box – buy more)
    Coriander, seeds
    Cloves, ground
    Cumin, ground
    Curry powder (need to buy more)
    Curry powder – mild (box)
    Fennel seed
    Fenugreek seed
    Garam Masala
    Garlic powder
    Ginger, ground
    Herbs de Provence
    Mace, ground
    Mustard, ground
    Nutmeg, berries
    Parsley flakes
    Peppercorns, black
    Peppercorns, white
    Poppy seed
    Red pepper flakes
    Sage, rubbed
    Sesame seeds
    Star anise
    Sweet basil
    Thyme (need to buy more)
    Cajun mix
    BBQ mix
    Need to buy
    Cumin seed, curry powder, green cardamon, thyme

  6. Xmas presents

    December 26, 2007 by marga

    Most of what I asked for in my Christmas list was cooking stuff, so it’s no wonder that lots of my presents (from both DH and my mom) was kitchen stuff.
    Mike got me a Wüstholf Classic Ikon 6′ cook’s knife. It’s small because he didn’t trust me with something bigger. I can also tell you it’s very sharp – I cut my finger just trying to get it out of the box. I’m now deadly afraid of it. And I need a sheath! I don’t know where Mike thought I’d store it!
    He also got me a 250w Kitchen Aid mixer. I saw it as a deal in (it was $110, I think) and he said to go and buy it. I still have it unwrapped it as I know what it is, and I would prefer to clean the kitchen and figure out where I’m going to put it first. Meanwhile it looks nice as a present 🙂
    My mother got me a Nonstick Aluminum 5Q Tools of the Trade “Chef’s Pan”. It sort of looks like a paella pan, but with a long handle. I’m not big in nonstick or aluminum. Well, I’m not big on cheap pans in general, but I guess I should find some use for it. Not sure for what, given that it’s not too different from a pan I already have and love – but we’ll see.
    She also got me a cheapy nonstick aluminum skillet. That should be more useful, though what I really wanted was a good quality frying pan. But my mother believes one shouldn’t buy good quality pans because their bottom will turn dark anyway, so it’s better to buy cheap ones and then replace them. I don’t agree, but you can’t look at a gift horse in the mouth.
    I’ve been looking for a spice mill, and she said she couldn’t find one so she bought me a salt and pepper set instead. And she got me a huge bottle of black pepper. I can’t imagine I’ll ever run out of pepper in this life time – specially considering that the children don’t like spicy food. But I think my mother may have been confused when she bought it and thought the flimsy plastic container of pepper was actually a pepper mill.
    She did better with a very nice set of mixing tools from Kitchen Aid. There is a heavy plastic bowl, a whisk, measuring cups and spoons, and a spatula. I did need a spatula, and a mixing bowl is useful (though what I wanted was a set of larger mixing bowls with lids) – but I got set of whisks last year and THREE sets of measuring cups/spoons. Now I have four.
    On the plus side, she did get me a tureen before Xmas, which I really wanted and was really useful for serving soup at Xmas dinner.
    So that was it for this year, next I think I’m asking /Mike/ for a good quality blender 🙂

  7. Spices

    February 15, 2006 by marga

    I’m cleaning up my spice rack, throwing away old spices. There are some I’ve had since I got married, over a decade ago. Granted, I’ve seldom if ever used them since (like fennel seeds, what do I need fennel seeds for?) but I figure if I do need them again, I can buy them anew. The list below are the spices I have – most in good quantities. This way next time I come across a recipe that calls for something I can check it against this list rather than having to go through the whole rack.
    Black peppercorns
    White peppercorns
    Powdered Cayenne pepper
    Piment d’espelette
    Ground chili de arbol
    Sweet paprika
    Chili powder
    Herbs d’provence
    Ground sweet basil
    Saffron threads
    Bay leaves
    Ground allspice
    Ground cumin
    Mustard seeds
    Curry powder
    Mustard powder
    Ground ginger
    Cinnamon sticks
    Ground cinnamon
    Ground cloves
    Nutmeg pods
    These are spices I probably should buy to replace the ones I threw away. Any other suggestions:
    -Red pepper flakes
    -Ground black pepper (for when I don’t have time to grind enough)
    -Allspice berries
    -Regular paprika
    -Hot paprika
    -Garlic powder

  8. Restaurants I want to try

    March 4, 2005 by marga

    San Leandro
    Saigon Palace on 17580 Hesperian
    Grand Taipei on 25036 Hesperian
    Hawaiian Sista’s Cafe ( 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat.)
    Halan (vietnamese on Lewelling)
    Vietnamese place by Pak n’Save
    Ozeki Sushi
    Castro Valley
    Sazio Ristorante Italiano
    Doug’s Place (breakfast)
    Dolci Amore
    Hong Kong BBQ Restaurant (chinese)
    Le Maconnais
    East Harbor (hesperian & west a)- good chinese
    New Hong Kong on Mission, dim sum
    Berkeley Oakland
    Taste of Africa +
    Museum Kitchen +
    Priya (indian buffet) +
    Han’s Big Burger +
    Vik’s Chaat Corner, Berkeley +
    Kabana, Berkeley+
    Addis +
    Caribbean Cove
    Tsing Tao (dim sum) +
    Restaurant Peon (dim sum) +
    Kensington circus pub +
    Phnom Penh House
    Italian Colors (Montclair) +
    Breads of India – (no res)
    Soi4 – college, upscale Thai
    Taste of the Himalayas
    Locanda Olmo – college, Italian
    Chez Simone (piedomont ave, t-f-sa nights)
    Zaika (indian)
    Bucci’s (Emeryville)
    La Belle Creole
    Zax Tavern (closed Su/Mo)
    Chef Paul’s (pied)
    Trio (grand ave, closed M/Tu)
    La Rose (small, french fusion, closed mondays)
    La Note (provencal, dinner Th-Sa)
    Le Theatre (French/North African, closed mondays)
    Chez Panisse
    Mariam- Persian
    De Afghanan Kabob House (fast food)
    Shahnawaz – Indian
    San Francisco/Peninsula

  9. Things I want to cook

    October 23, 2004 by marga

    This is a list of dishes that I want to make sometime soon. My memory is terrible so this list should help me remember the dishes and inspire me.
    Bread Pudding
    Pork & Tomatillo Stew (Craigslist )
    Estifado (Craigslist )
    Mac & Cheese Casseroles (Saveur)
    Canneloni a la rossini
    Beef stroganoff
    Chicken/Veal Marsala