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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
B Bax. You are correct -- the toppings will end up on the bottom. Buy a tube pan if that is what the recipe calls for, or, live with the consequences. Good luck!
During the past few months, due to the illness of a family member, I've had to cook and eat more than a few meals in a hurry and on the run. Even with a sort-of unlimited budget, I found out quickly how time constrictions affect purchasing decisions. I'd never shopped the aisles of "quick cooking" or "instant" before. I'd always had all the time needed to leisurely cook breakfast, lunch or dinner, so, I admittedly found this frustrating. That said, I had decided early to look upon the drive-through windows as last resorts. Successes intermingled with failures, but, before long,... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Kitchen Encounters
While watching a late-night episode of "Locked Up" on MSNBC last night, I learned an interesting fact about those super-curly square-block instant ramen noodles: They are the #1 selling item in prison commissaries. That didn't surprise me as much as the reason: Prisoners buy them for the seasoning packets, not the noodles. It seems that prison cafeteria food is so lacking in salt, those packets get sprinkled on or stirred into almost everything. Get in my my soup! I learn something new every day (or night). In my kitchen, we use the noodles, not the seasoning packets. Amongst other things,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
Licia -- Thank-you for the kind comment. While my family adores meat, this is indeed one of their favorite meatless meals. Enjoy!
Tanto -- I couldn't have said it any better myself. Thank-you for the nice comment.
As an egg lover, for me, a frittata is a relatively-easy quick-to-make hunger-satisfying meal any time of the day -- for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack. It tastes great served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, and, leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave. A bit of slicing, dicing or chopping is typically required, but it's minimal, and, since frittata can also be a tasty way to use up leftovers from a previous meal, in some instances, no knife is required. In my food world, making individual-sized frittatas, a perfectly-portioned quick-as-heck protein-packed meal or snack that I... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
The Summer peach season is long over, but, in my kitchen, that is not a reason to not bake a peach pie. Yes, you can use canned peaches to make a peach pie, and, if the peaches are home-canned with love, the pie is just as good, if not better, than a pie made with fresh peaches. I'm not joking. Women have been doing it for generations. They water-bath-canned large quantities of fruits and vegetables so the family could enjoy them during the cold weather months. My mother's pantry was never without home-canned peaches. My grandmother had a green thumb,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
A steaming hot and hearty stew on a cold day. Almost nothing is more comforting than it, except perhaps, enjoying it in front of a roaring fire listening to the wind howl and watching the snow flakes fall. As a lover of sweet potatoes, I am always on the lookout for a scrumptious new way to prepare them, so, quite a few years ago, when I came across this recipe in January (amongst the pages of a in-flight-magazine on my way to a land of sunshine, palm trees and sandy beaches), I was intent on having it -- I'm the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Dave -- It never occurred to me to make French toast with rye bread, but, the more I think about it, the more I want to try it. It would pair well with a few strips of crisp bacon or a sausage link or two. ~ Mel.
Porcine arrived in the Caribbean (on the island of Cuba to be more specific) when Columbus landed in 1492. It's been a favorite meat ever since, and, if you've ever spent time on a Caribbean island, you know there are pork dishes galore to choose from on restaurant menus, and, to eat on the beaches. Ever heard of "Pig Beach", also known as "Pig Island", officially known as "Big Major Cay"? Located in Exuma, an Island in the Bahamas, a colony of feral pigs roam around, swim freely, and, are fed by the locals and tourists. One tale claims the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Rella -- This method works great with beef. That said, if you are not going to stir-fry it, what are you planning to do with it? I'll answer when I have more information. ~ Melanie
Rice is nice. I like rice -- a lot. Next to the earthy potato, it's one of nature's greatest gifts to my side-dish world, not-to-mention a staple food for a large part of the world's population. Extra-long-grain white-, basmati-, jasmine-, wild-, arborio-, and, Thai-sweet-sticky- rices are staples in my pantry. You'll also find a stash of Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice, Rice-a-Roni, and, Goya Spanish-Style Yellow Rice (all boxed-mixes complete with seasoning packets) in there too. Rice has always been a part of my life, but, growing up, my mom and grandmother didn't get too creative with it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
A quick-to-make sautéed mushroom and onion sauce, tossed into some buttered egg noodles was a childhood favorite of mine. Oddly, I was a child who liked mushrooms -- a lot. "Noodles & 'shrooms", that's what we called it. If there's an official name for it, I don't know it. Sometimes it showed up on our dinner table tossed together in a bowl, as a simple side-dish to a roasted chicken. Other times it was layered on a platter, as an elegant bed for "skinny" pan-fried pork chops. Sometimes my mom sautéed the sauce in bacon fat, other times she used... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Write this list of five ingredients down. Why? Because together, they make for some stellar snack sandwiches. Lightly-toasted French baguette slices, crisply-fried bacon, crunchy bread and butter pickles, roasted chicken breast, and, a drizzle of tangy honey-mustard salad dressing (which pulls it all together and complements each and every component perfectly). Feel free to put a thin slice or two of soft, mellow French Brie underneath the bacon, but, no ooey-gooey melted cheese please. These sandwiches are best with everything at room temperature. That said, "you only get out of something what you put into", so, for the best experience... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Good Morning Penny -- The brand I recommend is Wos-Wit, which I purchase on-line. If you click on the blue link (in this ingredients list of this post) and click into my pickle recipe, there is a photo of their pickles, as well as a description. ~ Mel.
Walk into any Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch grocery store or a market that caters to a region with a large Amish population, then, walk up to the refrigerated deli-case. There you'll find several traditional, high-quality side-dishes: eggy-rich macaroni- and potato- salads, creamy cole slaw, sweet 'n sour slaw and pepper-cabbage. Next, take a stroll down the condiment isle and gaze at the array of honey-mustard- and sweet and sour- salad dressings, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, vinegar-marinated vegetables or mustardy chow-chows (a crunchy vegetable medley in mustard sauce). Lastly, check out the sweet treats: streusel-topped Dutch-apple, rhubarb-streusel and shoo-fly... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Marilyn -- HaHa -- I try not to think about it too much. The parsley, sage, thyme, mint and oregano come back every year. Joe brings our rosemary into the heated garage in a giant pot and puts it by a big window. If I manage to use up the basil, which is my favorite, I consider it a victory. Oh, yea --my hubs doesn't like pesto -- go figure. We're a chimichurri kinda family. ~ Mel
"M" -- We visited there yesterday. We ate one there and took six home with us! ~ Melanie
Almost all famous sandwiches got their iconic status thanks to the working class people -- Cuba's Cubano is one such sandwich. In the early 20th Century, vendors who were stationed inside the workplaces, sold hot meat and cheese sandwiches to the workers. When these workers made their way to the USA, usually to regions in Southern Florida, they, like all immigrants, brought their recipes and traditions with them -- that included their institutional but beloved Cuban sandwich. A bit about the Cubano: Like all sandwiches, it starts with the bread. Cuban bread is light and crusty -- alot like a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
My experiences with Cuban food, all good ones, are limited to a few trips to Miami. "Mojo (MOH-hoh)" means "sauce" in Spanish, and, throughout the Caribbean, depending on where you are in the Caribbean, this sauce, from place to place, is very different. In Cuban cooking, it's a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, fresh cilantro, mint and oregano leaves, cumin and Seville (bitter/sour) orange juice. Thanks to great recipes in the seven Cuban cookbooks I purchased in Florida, I've very-happily been able to bring the unique taste of Cuban spice into my home kitchen: Mojo is a common marinade... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Roast requires a side-dish. Beef, goat, lamb, poultry or pork -- it's kind of mandatory that a side or sides be served with it. Think about it, even if you're just making sandwiches out of the roasted meat, you still want some sort of side-dish (a soup, a salad, a starch and/or a vegetable, or, something as simple as a some potato chips and a pickle). If the roast is a dish you've been making for years, the accompaniments require little thought -- you know the options, your family's preferences, and, you choose from recipes you know. That said, if... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
My experiences with Cuban food, all good ones, are limited to a few trips to Miami. I know that "mojo (MOH-hoh)" means "sauce" in Spanish, and, in Cuban cooking, it specifically applies to a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, fresh cilantro, mint and oregano leaves, cumin and bitter orange juice. I also must say that without more than a few well-written recipes in the seven Cuban cookbooks, that I purchased during my visits to Florida, I'd stand little chance of bringing the unique taste of Cuban spice into my home kitchen -- they've all contributed to my recipes: Pulled... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
How 'bout them Yankees? Even though my sandlot days of being the only girl (and a lefty batter) in a neighborhood of boys are a far and distant memory, I still chuckle that, when they were choosing sides way-back-when, I was always one of the first. I couldn't throw or catch for crap, but it never seemed to matter. I typically hit the ball head on, strong, and long, and, I ran fast. I am typically not an avid watcher of America's favorite past-time (because college football is my gig this time each year), but, plenty of my family members... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2017 at Kitchen Encounters
Thanks for sharing that Michelle!
Jen -- i want to say "yes, it will be fine", but, I hesitate in that his cake requires quite a bit of cooling time prior to transfer to a plate: 20 minutes in the full pan + 1 hour on the tube. If you do bake it in a bundt pan, I suggest you cool it for 30-40 minutes in the pan prior to inverting it onto a platter. If you do bake it in the bundt pan, please report back -- the info will help the next person! ~ Mel.