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Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a...vodka cream sauce?

I am cooking dinner this weekend for an old friend who has requested Italian, preferably pasta with a creamy sauce. I am not very well acquainted at all with cream sauces, apart from this very simple one. I have many extra hours to work on this, and access to several specialty markets and a Trader Joe's. Help me find a crazy delicious recipe! Special farfalle inside... [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Nov 14, 2013 - 16 answers

Where to get a gift card for cookware?

Since we are moving soon and already have tons of stuff to move, a couple of family member are considering getting us a gift card for cookware. We have a bunch of cruddy old stuff that we won't be moving, and it'd be great to replace some of these things with items of reasonable quality. However, places like Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table are very expensive. Is there another good choice for a place to shop in person with a gift card? We live in the San Francisco Bay Area. [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Nov 13, 2013 - 11 answers

I'm dumb. How many cups of beans?

The recipe says "2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight". Does it mean 2 cups of the beans after soaking, or before soaking? [more inside]
posted by under_petticoat_rule on Nov 13, 2013 - 13 answers

What is the best recipe for pecan pie without corn syrup?

What is the best recipe for pecan pie without corn syrup? [more inside]
posted by vincele on Nov 10, 2013 - 29 answers

How do I learn to be less squeamish about meat?

I love meat, but I hate its squishy, rubbery, gummy bits. [more inside]
posted by lollymccatburglar on Nov 9, 2013 - 19 answers

Convince me that kale can actually be tasty

We get a lot of kale from our CSA, and we pretty much know it's headed for the compost. Have tried many recipes that turn out nasty -- kale chips that won't dry, sauteed kale that's too bitter to choke down, etc. -- and have yet to find anything that gets us excited to use this vegetable, no matter how healthy. (Yes, I do make some green shakes, but one bunch in the freezer can fuel me for a year on that front! We have 3-4 bunches in the fridge right now.) I should say that the one exception was a recipe called "Carolina kale," which involves some stewed tomatoes and cumin, but our experience after making it a few times is that we love it on day 1 but then never want to touch the leftovers, so then that feels like a waste too.

So, metafites, convince me that kale is fit for human consumption! wow me with your best, genuinely delicious, kale recipes, before it's compost time again!
posted by acm on Nov 8, 2013 - 81 answers

Is there a multitasking kitchen appliance that actually works?

I have extremely limited kitchen space but consider both a food processor and a blender to be essential pieces of equipment, especially around holiday food prep time. I currently have a Cuisinart food processor I'm not unhappy with and a crappy compact blender that can barely handle making salad dressing, let alone crushing ice. I'd like to replace both with an all-in-one device, ideally a powerful base that I can put either a blender jar or food processing bowl on. But I'm wary of all-in-one devices because they tend to be not very good at any of the things they do. Are there any blender/food processor combos that are actually good at both? [more inside]
posted by rhiannonstone on Nov 5, 2013 - 16 answers

Help us up our taco game!

So the fiance (eee) and I are participating in a local food festival based around a particular brand of smoker. One of the recipes we'd like to try is detailed inside and I have a rough idea of how I'd like to present it but we need ideas for a sauce and/or slaw. [more inside]
posted by brilliantine on Nov 5, 2013 - 8 answers

Yule Be Swell! Yule Be Great!

We will be hosting a very large Yule gathering in our home next month, and I need ideas on ways to feed people affordably but impressively with simple but very elegant dishes. We set the bar pretty high last year, so the H is O. [more inside]
posted by evilcupcakes on Nov 3, 2013 - 22 answers

Best practices: awesome brunch edition

I am hosting a brunch at my house for...a bunch? probably at least 30? people on Sunday. What are your favorite reliable recipes and tips for this situation? Assume above-average baking/cooking abilities and a desire to do as much 1-2 days ahead as possible. [more inside]
posted by charmedimsure on Oct 31, 2013 - 21 answers

Recipe ideas for people who don't enjoy cooking

About 70% of the time, I do not enjoy cooking. The prep, the process, the cleaning up (oh God, the cleaning up). I feel like I have exhausted my repertoire of minimal-prep / minimal-cleanup weekday evening meals. Can you help me come up with some new ones? And it would be great if they were actually tasty and heavy on the vegetables as I am trying to get more of those into my diet. Bonus points for food that I can make ahead in bulk and take to work for a few days. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 on Oct 31, 2013 - 35 answers

Fictional characters who cook

I'm looking for examples from literary fiction where characters cook something or describe a cooking process or technique within the narrated text. I'm not looking for an entire recipe detailed. Rather, which literary characters have taught you how to hold a chef's knife, how to deglaze, how to spread icing on a cake. Example below of fire-roasting a bell pepper from John Irving's "The World According to Garp." [more inside]
posted by Jason and Laszlo on Oct 30, 2013 - 43 answers

And the sailors say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl..."

Can you recommend ways for me to use up this brandy? [more inside]
posted by Dr. Wu on Oct 26, 2013 - 19 answers

Japanese (and Korean?) Home Cooking Techniques

Looking recently at home-cooked Japanese (and to some extent, Korean) meals, I notice again that they tend to be composed of several separate parts. I have trouble cooking multiple, separate pieces to a meal without creating exponential work for myself. I'm looking for videos demonstrating typical and/or efficient Japanese or Korean home cooking. Any language, with or without subtitles, is fine. [more inside]
posted by WasabiFlux on Oct 24, 2013 - 15 answers

Simple, tasty recipes for a nomad

For the next 8 months I'll be moving cities every 4 days or so and I'm doing a lot of couchsurfing. I like to prepare a meal for my hosts as a thank you and I'd like some suggestions for meal ideas. I can't travel with a fully stocked pantry, so meals that have few ingredients (preferably things readily available in South America, Europe, and Asia) are important. Advise me, culinary geniuses of mefi! [more inside]
posted by horizons on Oct 23, 2013 - 16 answers

Sort of Short Soup Recipes

I've about an hour, maybe 90 minutes worth of patience, above-average kitchen competence, and access to most ingredients. I'd like to eat soup for dinner at the end of this 60-90 minutes, and I don't like shrimp. Share your favorites?
posted by ersatzkat on Oct 22, 2013 - 26 answers

Help Me Learn to Cook!

I want to learn to cook. I'm looking for a podcast or a web series or something along those lines that will teach me the essentials of cooking, along the lines of a beginner's cooking class, but available for free online. [more inside]
posted by meesha on Oct 21, 2013 - 18 answers

Focused classes on ethnic food in bay area? (Or anywhere in US/world!)

I've taken cooking classes at some local places in the bay (tante marie, kitchen on fire), and in general I am a decently proficient cook. Definitely need to keep practicing and honing my taste and technique, but that comes with time. What I am interested in now are focused classes that dive deep into "ethnic" cuisine (I hate that term but I think it gets the point across). Cuisines I'm particularly interested in: Japanese, Argentinian, Peruvian, Vietnamese, French, Southern, Indian (all regions, esp. southern), Chinese... In the bay it'd be great to find a regular class or some weekend classes that dive deep into topics, but in general, I'd be interested if there are 1 or 2 week-long classes. For example, I'd totally be willing to go to city X for a week-long intensive course on stir-fry or something like that. Is this a thing? Does this exist, outside of culinary school?
posted by wooh on Oct 21, 2013 - 1 answer

How is an "induction interface disc" different from a magnetic fry pan?

I am thinking of buying a portable induction burner. (A built-in or gas unit is not an option.) Several of my cookware items are not induction-compatible, and I don't want to replace them. Must I purchase an "induction interface disc" or can I just get a cheap induction-compatible frying pan and put non-magnetic pans on top of that instead? How are these items different? Why is this a specialized product? What am I missing about cooking with induction? Nobody in my household is much of a cook, so we're not looking for incredible performance-- we just want hot food. If the burner heats the interface and the interface heats the pot, I get that there will be heat loss, but why is a special interface disc a $50 product?
posted by blnkfrnk on Oct 19, 2013 - 5 answers

Soup for Dummies

I love soup but stink at making it from scratch. Hit me with your best recipes and tips for making soup! [more inside]
posted by fox problems on Oct 14, 2013 - 47 answers

Oaxacan cooking class for an expert cook?

What's a good cooking class to go to in Oaxaca, Mexico in December, for people who can already cook? Or other food-related Oaxacan suggestions? [more inside]
posted by andreapandrea on Oct 11, 2013 - 1 answer

How do I level up in Cooking?

I am a moderately skilled cook, I rarely make mistakes or destroy meals and there are few dishes I do really well ( mostly roast related). I know my around around knives, understand the basic chemistry and flavor profiles going on, and can keep a large amount of things going at different speeds and heat until everything is ready. Since I've come into some free time, I'd like to up my game, go from moderate to skilled home-cooking of weekday staples to more difficult, labor intense, fussy, and visually appealing cooking. How do I go from " Beef daub served with fresh bread" to "slices of brandy soaked pears and quince elegantly arranged around applewood smoked tenderloin in a lavender sauce."? What should I be looking at, reading, listening to, and practicing? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 11, 2013 - 25 answers

The fan above my stove broke. Is inhaling cooking smoke dangerous?

The fan above my stove broke. I cook on the stovetop often, I've heard that the smoke from cooking could cause health problems down the road - but it's all anecdotal evidence. I've tried looking up some concrete information online, but what I can find is sparse. I'm opening the windows at the moment, but it's going to be too cold to do that soon. Is a fan necessary, or is cooking smoke not as bad as it's cracked up to be? Anyone else not using fans?
posted by BuddyBoo on Oct 10, 2013 - 25 answers

What is Caribbean food and how do I cook it?

I recently moved to a neighborhood that is predominantly West Indian, and I see all sorts of new-to-me ingredients in my local grocery stores that I'd love to learn how to use. But I don't know the first thing about West Indian/Caribbean cuisine, so I'm not sure I trust myself to just pick out a cookbook and start. Can you recommend any resources like websites or cookbooks, or specific recipes, that will allow me to start investigating all these mysterious roots and jars of red-dyed lard and interesting spices?
posted by showbiz_liz on Oct 6, 2013 - 10 answers

Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream Pops?

This has been the Year Of Learning How To Make Ice Cream And Ice Pops. With certain holidays looming on the horizon, I have been searching to no avail, for a recipe for peppermint ice cream pops. I made a successful peppermint ice cream with crushed candy canes...but not sure if shoehorning the product of an ice cream maker into pop molds would really work properly. Do any MeFi Ice Cream Mavens have tips for me?
posted by dorgla on Oct 1, 2013 - 7 answers

Raita filter: what's the best way to thin a raita?

Usually when I make raita, I just chuck some mint and cucumber in with some yogurt and let it sit overnight. Tasty, sure, but when I eat out, their raita is *much* thinner. Is it a different yogurt? Should I just use water? (Lemon juice, even a little bit, seems to add an undesired flavor). Something else? Thanks.
posted by colin_l on Sep 28, 2013 - 10 answers

Cocktail advice for gorgeous white raspberries

I have gorgeous white raspberries around which I would like to craft a cocktail to celebrate my lady-friend's return from a week abroad. What do you recommend? [more inside]
posted by jrb223 on Sep 22, 2013 - 10 answers

What are some savory vegetables that can be prepared like sweet fruit?

What are some savory vegetables that can be prepared like sweet fruit? And vice versa? [more inside]
posted by minerthreat on Sep 19, 2013 - 43 answers

Do people MacGyver Alton's cooking contraptions

I've been watching a number of old Good Eat's shows and one thing that's really struck me is how over-the-top some of the contraptions he designs seem to be. Some almost bordering on the point of unnecessarily complicated. Are these truly something that people replicate? [more inside]
posted by Carillon on Sep 18, 2013 - 14 answers

Vegetable soup without immersion blender?

I'm looking for a recipe for a seasonal or all-season (for southern Ontario, and this week) vegetable soup recipe (potato, tomato, both, other--whatever) that does not need a blender (immersion or otherwise). Do you have any recommendations? [more inside]
posted by flibbertigibbet on Sep 16, 2013 - 14 answers

Squashes, how do they work?

There has got to be a better way to deal with winter squashes than the hacking/swearing/brute-force method I'm using right now. What is it? [more inside]
posted by Kitty Stardust on Sep 13, 2013 - 36 answers

Oh my darling, oh my darling mandarin

I have a small bag full of mandarins (clementines to you yanks) that are kinda past their prime. They're not completely off (ie not mouldy) and also don't have that semi-dessicated dryness that some mandarins get. They taste more like orange juice that is a couple of days past its use-by date: slightly fermented. I do not like this taste and don't want to eat them raw, which is what I normally do with mandarins. What can I do with them besides throw them away? I've never cooked with them before and also don't know what would work well to get rid of that slightly off taste. I don't have the equipment to turn them into mandarin marmalade even if I liked marmalade (which I don't) so I would appreciate non-jammy solutions.
posted by Athanassiel on Sep 12, 2013 - 15 answers

two damn tablespoons of olive oil...

I'm going car camping next week, and I'd like to bring a small amount of oil to cook with. I currently have a giant jug of oil and no desire to spend $6 on a tiny glass bottle of the same stuff. is there a container I can decant the oil into that WILL NOT spill in my car? I'm also looking to avoid a leaky container in an oily nasty ziploc. Clearly a cheap or recycled option would be best, but I'd be willing to buy something if it could be washed and reused and would never, ever leak.
posted by genmonster on Sep 9, 2013 - 31 answers

Source for myrtle leaves and berries

Where can I order myrtle leaves and berries online for delivery to the United States? [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Sep 6, 2013 - 6 answers

What you gon' do with all that pulp? All that pulp inside your trunk?

What recipes do you have for the leftover pulp from a juicer? [more inside]
posted by karathrace on Sep 6, 2013 - 14 answers

That taste nasty

From Star Trek (original series) to this evening, I have a burning food prep question? [more inside]
posted by silsurf on Sep 3, 2013 - 10 answers

1) Hunk o meat; 2) Cook; 3) ??; 4) Profit!!

I'm a big fan of the cook-a-big-hunk-of-protein, turn-it-into-dinners-all-week thing. I need more ideas! [more inside]
posted by peachfuzz on Sep 3, 2013 - 17 answers

Your tried-and-true vegetarian Southern food recipes?

I have been tasked with cooking or baking something for the regular themed potluck at my husband's workplace tomorrow. The theme this time is (American) Southern cooking, but I don't cook or eat meat so this is a cuisine to which I have paid zero attention previously. What should I make that would come out nicely if done vegetarian? [more inside]
posted by charmedimsure on Aug 31, 2013 - 30 answers

When do you need to pre-heat the oven?

Is it always necessary to pre-heat the oven? [more inside]
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 on Aug 30, 2013 - 21 answers

I have time and tamarind paste

I would like to make worcestershire sauce in my kitchen. I have an extensive spice cabinet and I can get my hands on anything and everything else necessary. I'm willing to toast, mince, simmer, ferment, and strain for as long as it takes. [more inside]
posted by mgar on Aug 26, 2013 - 4 answers

Name this plier-like culinary tool!

I was at a vacation home recently and came across this cooking impliment. It had a corrugated stationary anvil and a flat (IIRC) moving head. When closed the device has its drainage off to the side of whatever's being squished, sugesting that the juice is the thing here and the flesh of whatever's being pulped is neither desirable, retained, nor delicate enough to require much straining past the rather large holes. What's it for?
posted by Ogre Lawless on Aug 24, 2013 - 11 answers

Does anyone know of any good cooking classes in SF?

I'm looking for cooking classes in SF. My ideal would be a multi-week, multi-day-a-week type course, but I'd also be open to one off, or maybe a weekend series. The only things I've been able to find online are "make pasta then eat it!" type things which are fine, but ideally I'd like something a bit more serious oriented towards teaching people who to make delicious, repeatable, high-quality food. Anyone have any suggestions?
posted by wooh on Aug 21, 2013 - 5 answers

A few questions about my first curry.

Earlier this week, I made this 'Asian-Style Chicken Curry', and it was delicious. I just have a couple of questions on altering the recipe. [more inside]
posted by graventy on Aug 17, 2013 - 13 answers

Can I eat it: stanky milk custard edition.

My sweet boyfriend just cooked me some delicious Bird's custard. I learned (after it was cooked) that the milk he used was the old one - the date on the container is 7/29. I sniffed it and it smells stinky to me. It is not lumpy. When you make the custard you do bring it up to a low boil, not sure if that will be a factor. Should I eat it? Would you eat it?
posted by sleepykitties on Aug 15, 2013 - 11 answers

stone cold soup

Please share your favorite chilled soup ideas. [more inside]
posted by lalex on Aug 11, 2013 - 19 answers

What side dish should I serve with spicy sausage?

I'm looking for a side to go with spicy sausages. My imagined dish must be relatively inexpensive (I am a bit short at the moment) and easy to prepare (cooking is not my strong suit). Should serve two (leftovers are fine), and contain no fruit or fish. What's the first thing that pops into your head?
posted by Gin and Comics on Aug 8, 2013 - 44 answers

Where can I buy recipes & photographs?

I'm looking for a publication ready recipe/photos to buy and share on a site for a food brand I'm working with. Unfortunately time rules out working with our own team and recipes. I've found snapandstir.com which is perfect but pricey - is there anything else out there? A large archive would be ideal!
posted by teststrip on Aug 7, 2013 - 4 answers

Calling liver lovers

Today I was given a whole beef liver from a hormone free, grass raised calf. [more inside]
posted by BlueHorse on Aug 6, 2013 - 11 answers

What is the best way to preserve cinnamon buns for a several mornings?

Make, freeze, bake? Make, bake, freeze? Make, bake, refrigerate? [more inside]
posted by moxie_milquetoast on Aug 4, 2013 - 6 answers

Healthier PBJ equivalents

Hi! What is as easy to throw together as a PBJ sandwich, but healthier? You can answer the question without reading what's below if you want! I eat most things, though functionally I am vegetarian at home. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Aug 4, 2013 - 49 answers

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