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KitchenEncounters
Melanie's Kitchen, Boalsburg, PA 16827
Experienced cooking consultant, instructor and recipe developer. PS: The subscriber/follower feature on this blog does not work. I've tried to work it out with typepad to no avail. Every time I get several hundred, the system turns it back to zero. I have lots of followers. Life's a beach. Follow me, Melanie Preschutti on Facebook. Have a nice day.
Interests: Teaching and inspiring people of any level of expertise to enjoy cooking great food of any cuisine.
Recent Activity
Thank-you L.a. Licari for sharing that story. I've never heard of serving homemade noodles in that manner, but I can sure taste it in my imaginary head. Heaven on a plate! ~ Melanie
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We all have our quirks. I'm no exception. Today's example: I love Italian dressing, but I don't love creamy Italian dressing. I don't love Balsamic dressing, but I do love creamy balsamic dressing -- especially if it is mayonnaise-based. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike creamy Italian or regular balsamic dressings, I simply have my (quirky) preferences. While I often make my own, like most folks, for convenience sake, store-bought dressings have earned a place in my kitchen. There is always a bottle of Wishbone Light Italian dressing on the door of my refrigerator, and, for a time, I... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
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If you're one of the few, the proud and the many who adore Kellogg's raisin bran, this cookie recipe is for you. I'm sure the recipe is a Kellogg's original too, because I remember sitting at my mother's kitchen counter the day she made them, for me, the first time. It's odd, but, as a child, when all the other kids were reaching for the Frosted Flakes and Sugar Pops, the only two cold cereals I would eat were: Kellogg's Raisin Bran and Special K exclusively. That 1960's Winter afternoon, which was a snow day off from school, we decided... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
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Today is a glorious day in mid-September, but unless we get a wealth of warm weather and sunshine for at least two more weeks, it's probable that I picked the last substantive batch of our garden's tomatoes this morning -- and it's been a banner year. While walking my basket of dew-covered beauties back to my kitchen, I passed by my last full-leafed basil plant, the one I've been saving for that celebratory "last caprese day" of the season. Today ended up being the day. While I'm always, and I mean always, in the mood for a classic caprese salad... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
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Peanut butter? Yep. Pulverized wok-roasted peanuts are commonly served with or in Thai food, and: Oh my Thai -- if you love Thai food, as I do, you want this recipe in your recipe box. If you cook Thai food, as I do, even if only on an occasional basis, I'm guessing you already have everything you need in the Asian section of your pantry and refrigerator to make this meal without making a special trip to your local Asian market. Is this an authentic Thai recipe? Yes and no. Yes, in that the flavors are authentic Thai. No, in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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Write this list of five ingredients down. Why? Together, they are a stellar Fall sandwich (or salad) combination. Piled high between two slices of bread or tossed together in a bowl, along with some thinly-sliced onion and a few greens, they constitute a complete and salivatingly satisfying meal -- savory, sweet, and ever-so-slightly-salty, with plenty of meaty protein, tangy cheese, tart fruit and crisp vegetables. It all gets pulled together with a drizzly dressing made of honey, mustard and mayonnaise, which complements each and every component perfectly. I like to stuff everything into a pita pocket, but, I have been... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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Honey mustard. It's one of the simplest condiments in the food world to make, and, I bow to the mustard makers that invented it. In my kitchen, I use it as a salad dressing, a sandwich spread, a dip for vegetables, and occasionally, a glaze for baked ham. In the '80's, when my kids were in elementary school, there was always a jar of it on my refrigerator door. When we were traveling, if an eatery had chicken tenders and honey-mustard sauce on their list of menu options, my three boys were happy campers -- given the choice, all three... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Barbara -- I have prepped the components a day ahead and assembled the Wellingtons early the next morning and kept them refrigerated until cooking them for an evening dinner party -- it works fine. That said, I have never frozen them, as, I have reservations about what freezing and thawing would do to their texture, not to mention the cooking time if they were popped into the oven frozen.
Mary -- I roasted one this morning too -- it's out of the oven and cooling now. When I make hot roast beef sandwiches (posted here on KE as: Sweet Home Chicago: Italian Beef Sandwiches), I use an 8-pound top sirloin. They are melt-in-your-mouth tender. Past that, every now and then I roast an entire filet (tenderloin of beef) for a "special occasion" sandwich. Where's the beef!!! ~ Melanie
Will -- Any neutral-flavored oil will work: corn or vegetable oil are two fine options.
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Spice is nice, particularly in spice cakes and spice cookies, and, when Summer turns to Fall, I find myself gravitating to spiced sweet treats. I generically refer to them as the "apple pie spices" -- you know the ones -- spice rack essentials. They're exotic and aromatic, and, they play oh-so-well together: allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg. Sometimes I choose just one or two, other times I use three or four, occasionally I use all five. That said, I'm always reminding folks to use them judiciously, as, too much of any one, is overpoweringly wrong. These spice cookies are... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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Scrootch over homemade mozzarella and ricotta -- make some extra space in the cheese section of the refrigerator. Two days ago, my friend Teresa shared "a link to a link" for today's recipe on Facebook. I could barely compose myself. I, Melanie Preschutti, almost always being of sound mind, always have, and always will be: a Velveeta cheese lover. Everything from its pale-orange color to its squeaky-smooth texture and tangy American-processed flavor appeals to me. Teresa's Facebook share couldn't have been more timely for me. The college football season started this week, and, living in one of our nation's premier... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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During the college football season, I add a few staples to my pantry and refrigerator lineup. When you live in a college town, you never (and I mean never) know when you're going to need to fix a quick appetizer. I make sure I'm never without pasteurized crabmeat in my refrigerator and Kraft Old English and Pimento Cheese spreads in my pantry. If the doorbell rings or the fans on the couch run out of wings, I can have crab dip on the cocktail table in about five minutes. Give me five minutes, I'll make you some great crab dip:... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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As unappetizing as the two words chicken carcass sound, culinarily, those are the words that describe what's left of a boned chicken (what's left after the meat has been removed from the bones), and, truth told, whether the carcass is raw or has been roasted, there is a ton of flavor in those bones. There's more, and this is important: Discarding a chicken carcass without extracting the flavor from it is such a waste it should be a crime. Whether I have raw ones (which I rarely do) or roasted ones (which I often do), even if I don't have... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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These appetizers were one of our Happy Valley tailgate traditions. I fondly remember one of our members, Joan Reilly, making them for our early AM pre-tailgate tailgates -- prior to leaving for the stadium. She and her husband Joe lived close to Beaver Stadium, and, it was not unusual for us to meet, as a group, on the cul-de-sac in front of their house, to wait for our friend with the RV to arrive from Harrisburg. While we were all chatting and sipping Stan's Bloody Mary's, Joan would pass around a baking sheet full of her cheesy English-muffin-based crabmeat canapés.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Ha Ha on me Penny -- If it had been "Mento Cheez" I might have guessed that, but, Minter? Still chuckling.
Penny -- I've never heard of Minter cheez. What is it?
Thanks Dave -- you are going to love it -- everyone does! We are --
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When I was a little kid, pimento cheese spread was a staple in our refrigerator -- right next to the Old English cheese spread. I had absolutely no idea it was Southern. I thought it was Kraft. To this day, if someone puts a jar on of the store-bought stuff on the table next to a box of Ritz crackers, I'm more than happy to sit down and dig right in. Slather it between two slices of white bread and make me a pimento-cheese grilled-cheese sandwich and I'll follow you anywhere. Known as "the caviar of the South, or, "Southern... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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At 6:30AM I took my poodles outside and turned the sprinklers in our vegetable gardens on. As the water droplets hit the leaves, I watched as the red tomatoes, green basil, purple eggplant and other prime produce started to glisten in the early morning sun. While walking my pooches back to the house, I decided to bake cookies today. A girl cannot live on tomato sandwiches and caprese salad forever. The eggplant will live to see another day too. It's cookies I crave. This is the paragraph where I am supposed to divulge where I got this recipe, share a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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Nice and easy, no-nonsense, quick-to-mix. One bowl, a whisk and a spatula -- no mixer required. Yep. Those words accurately sum up this recipe, and, the end more than justifies the means, meaning: it's hard to believe something this easy can taste this divine. While apple bread isn't the the most photogenic (brown food in general isn't), don't let its monochromatic appearance fool you. It's dense but not heavy, has a delicately-moist crumb, and, it's bursting with apple flavor -- perfect for any Fall breakfast or brunch buffet table. Me? I love it toasted (on the rack of my toaster... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
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High-quality made-from-scratch crust, a fresh or slow-simmered sauce and some great melting cheese -- the three components of a well-made pizza. I'm no slouch when it comes to making homemade pizza, it's one of my favorite past-times for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon -- especially during the football season. That said, when I've gotta have "a slice", unfortunately, the world will only deliver the entire pie. That's why I've come up with a few creative ways to make what I refer to as "snack pizza", aka snack-sized pizza, using pita bread, naan, or, flour tortillas. Mexican-style snack pizza -- Taco... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Lynn -- I hope your soup turns out exactly like you remember it, and, I am pleased to be a part of it. This is indeed a vintage recipe that should not be lost or forgotten. Let me know how it turns out after you make it! ~ Melanie
aleenhimam -- Thank-you for the kind comment. When I set out to write a blog, I decided to write one that "isn't fake". I photograph what I am actually making, and, what the photos depict, is indeed what the finished product looks like. ~ Melanie
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When it comes to worldly or exotic recipes, I always do my research and my best to keep them as close to authentic as I can. When it comes to Indian food, I always reply upon the advice of my four Indian girlfriends, and the woman who owns Krishan, Happy Valley's Indian grocery store, because you're all such good cooks. That said, when it comes to kheer, a delicately-spiced addictively-rich rice pudding dessert, if you're one of my Indian girlfriends, you might find yourself wincing in one or two spots while reading my recipe. Why? While the flavors in my... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters