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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
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Clams casino is considered a classic Italian-American dish. Interestingly, clams casino is also considered a clams "on the halfshell" dish, and, the name has little to do with the gaming industry per se, although every casino restaurant or restaurant in the vicinity of a casino seems to have their variation of the dish on their menu. Let's me put it this way, I've never been to a casino restaurant that didn't have it on the menu. Clams casino, which means "big mess" in Italian, is a basic concoction of clams, bacon, butter, and breadcrumbs that work spectacularly together. Onion, garlic... Continue reading
Posted 16 hours ago at Kitchen Encounters
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Steamed clams are one of my favorite Summertime treats. It's not unusual for us to pick up a few dozen, meaning three-four dozen. We mostly enjoy them as a quick pre-dinner snack, but, we've been known to make an entire meal out of them too. We simply sit around and fork-shuck 'em out of their open shells while they're plump and steaming -- as soon as they emerge from the liquid. One-at-a-time, each morsel gets dipped in some melted garlic-tarragon butter before eating. Clams come in many sizes, from quite large to quite small: The enjoyment of clams was an... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
Bob -- There is NOTHING confusing about the instructions for the 2-pound loaf, and, they are clearly listed.
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A couple days ago I restocked my supply of pasteurized crabmeat for the upcoming tailgate and holiday season. I do it every year around this time, and, I was down to my last can, so, I bought three more. Like most folks, I love to eat crabmeat, and, while fresh crab is indeed a delicacy, for my purposes pasteurized crab is my first choice. Like fresh crabmeat, it must be stored in the refrigeratory, but unlike fresh crab it has a very long shelf life -- up to 18 months. What's not to love about that. Because it's pasteurized, it's... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
Grieta -- If you are asking if this recipe will work in any brand of bread machine, the answer is: yes, as long as the bread machine can accommodate the size loaf you want to make. ~ Melanie
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Pepperoni. It's easy to assume it's 100% Italian, but it's as American as apple pie. Food writer and historian John Mariani writes, "like jazz and baseball, pepperoni is purely an Italian-American creation, like chicken parmesan." While it's exact origin is unknown, long story short, it's our spicy version of their salami (salame), and, no surprise to anyone, thinly-sliced or finely-diced, pepperoni is the most popular pizza topping in every pizzeria across the United States. That said, it's wonderful eaten in and on all sorts of other things too. It's made from cured pork and beef (in a ratio of approximately... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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I adore spareribs. That said, I do not like spending time outside in the heat or the cold tending to them for the lengthy period of time it takes them to properly cook (and, because of their fat content, they do require careful and almost constant tending to avoid fiery flare-ups). For that singular reason, I decided to figure out my own way to make perfectly-cooked babyback or St. Lewis-style spareribs in the comfort of my own kitchen. I am demonstrating with a rack of St. Lewis-style ribs today, but, trust me when I say: , this method works the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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When it comes to purchasing pork spareribs, we cooks almost always have a choice to make: babyback (sometimes labeled "pork back ribs"), or, St. Louis-style (sometimes labeled "breastbone-off, pork ribs"). To the eye, babybacks are smaller (which appeals to many home cooks because they're more manageable), but, please know, this has nothing to do with the size of the pig (meaning, for those spreading false information: they're not taken from baby pigs). Babybacks are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. Each rack weighs about 1 1/2-2 pounds and averages 10-13 curved, 4"-5"-long ribs.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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When I was growing up, in a saucepan, my mom would lightly-toast a cup or two of white rice in a few pats of melted butter. In went some diced onion, carrot. celery, salt and pepper. When the veggies began to soften, steaming hot chicken or vegetable stock went in, the lid went on the pot, then, the mixture gently simmered until the rice was cooked. After 20-25 minutes, and a quick "fluff", voila: our rice side-dish was served. Technically, our rice pilaf was served. That's my experience with pilaf, also referred to as pilau in many culinary circles. Pilaf... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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I recently purchased a countertop grill in order for me to grill a few things indoors -- not everything, just a few things. I am here to tell you, I love it. It controls the heat perfectly, it's easy to clean, and, most importantly, I am no longer at the mercy of, hot or cold, the weather, to grill a few of my favorite proteins -- boneless-skinless chicken tenderloins, whole pork tenderloins and shrimp. In honesty, I am simply not an outdoor kinda gal, so indoor grilling is perfect for me. A bit about indoor grilling on indoor grills in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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I recently purchased a countertop grill in order for me to grill a few things indoors -- not everything, just a few things. I am here to tell you, I love it. It controls the heat perfectly, it's easy to clean, and, most importantly, I am no longer at the mercy of, hot or cold, the weather, to grill a few of my favorite proteins -- boneless-skinless chicken tenderloins, pork tenderloins and shrimp. In honesty, I am simply not an outdoor kinda gal, so indoor grilling is perfect for me. A bit about indoor grilling on indoor grills in general:... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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How many of you have invested in an indoor countertop grill or are considering investing in an indoor countertop grill? I have one, and, I am here to tell you, I love mine. It controls the heat perfectly, it's easy to clean, and, most importantly, I am no longer at the mercy of, hot or cold, the weather. to grill two of my favorite super-tender proteins: boneless-skinless chicken tenderloins, and, pork tenderloins. In honesty, I'm not an outdoor kinda gal, so indoor grilling is perfect for me. A bit about indoor grilling on indoor grills in general: Let's start with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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I didn't invent adding cooked corn kernels, savory herbs and/or spices to pancake batter. Our Native Americans are credited with that, the precursor to our present-day pancakes. They were called "nokchick", translated to mean "no (or not) cake" by the European colonists (who arrived with a host of their own pancake recipes which had existed in Europe for centuries, dating all the way back to the Romans who called them "alita docia", which is Latin for "another sweet".) In the American colonies, pancakes were known as hoe cakes or johnny cakes, and, flapjacks or slapjacks, made with buckwheat flour or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
Good morning Gayana -- nice to hear from you. The loaf pans I use are standard-size (8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2", 1 1/2-quart). I prefer clear glass because I can keep an eye on the meatloaf as it bakes, but, metal pans work just fine too. The only pans I do not recommend are the disposable aluminum type. As for the gravy, it is difficult to get enough drippings from meatloaf to make more than a small amount of gravy from scratch -- hardly worth the effort. What I do is separate the the grease from the actual beef drippings (I use a fat/lean separator for that) and add the drippings to a large jar of (Heinz) store-bought beef gravy. In restaurant kitchens, meatloaf is almost always served with gravy because in a restaurant kitchen, they usually have an abundance of beef drippings and beef stock (from making other beef-based dishes) to make gravy in large quantities. Enjoy your meatloaf! ~ Melanie
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Blueberries are one of seven native North American food plants grown on a large scale and cultivated commercially. Before I go any further, I should mention the other six: concord grapes, cranberries, strawberries, corn, beans and squash. This means these plants were in existence before any of our immigrant ancestors arrived in this new world and the Native Americans were eating them and creating their own uses for them long before they introduced them to the original Colonists. That said, blueberries were domesticated entirely in the 20th century and it did not take long for this "very American berry" to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August, when local sweet corn is in season, and sweet apple fritters in September and October, when local apples are in season. I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on Doughnut Day, and, even though they're deep-fried, we don't call them fritters either. Why? Like their precursor cousin, the beignet, they don't contain any chopped protein, fresh or dried fruits and/or vegetables, and,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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Lox, gravlax and smoked salmon -- they are all cured salmon products, and, while they look similar, they are all distinctly different. For lovers of cured salmon, we all have a favorite. For example, I prefer smoked salmon to lox and prefer lox to gravlax. There's more. In my food world, I tend to serve one or the other for breakfast or brunch -- I don't think of it much as a dinner fare. For lovers of cured salmon, the good news is, they can, for the most part, be used interchangeably in recipes, and, they can be served any... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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Crème caramel is a sophisticated dessert that is eaten around the world, but, was made famous in the later part of the 20th century in French restaurants. It is a silky-smooth custard that is gently baked/steamed in a caramel-coated mold or in individual porcelain ramekins. When slightly warm or room temperature the delicate custard is turned out onto its serving plate. It emerges elegantly-glazed and exquisitely-sauced with the caramel from the bottom of the mold. In the French language, the word crème means custard. In French, crème means custard. It's worth mentioning that making crème caramel in individual-sized ramekin is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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A twice baked potato is exactly what the name implies: It's a potato that gets baked in the oven twice. After the first bake, the potato is sliced in half and the light, fluffy soft-center is carefully scooped out, leaving the shell/the potato skin undamaged. The cooked center is then mashed, mashed-potato-style, with butter, salt, pepper and/or various seasonings or seasoning blends, and, creamy options like sour cream, yogurt and/or cream cheese. Then the fun begins: Add-ins, absolutely anything you want, usually family-friendly favorites (like the combination of bits of crispy chopped bacon and blanched chopped broccoli topped with shredded... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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When it comes to hamburgers, as long as mine arrives steaming-hot and medium-rare, I don't much care what you did to get it there. Cook it anyway you like or know how -- gas-grill it, charcoal-grill it, grill-pan it, pan-sear it, flat-top it, or broil it. Flip it once or flip it twice, that's fine with me too. Steaming-hot and medium-rare -- that's all I ask. I'm flexible about condiments too. Lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo? Awesome. Ketchup, mustard and pickles? Count me in. With or without cheese -- it matters not to me. Steaming-hot and medium-rare -- that's all... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
Margaret -- I've heard the same thing from other folks. Trust me when I tell you, if you try my recipe, you will be very, very pleased!
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Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken wings. Why? Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo. Fast forward to present day -- Simply wander into a bar, any bar, anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. It's remarkable. No description is necessary. You know you're getting unbreaded, deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and butter sauce. There are three stories regarding the invention of Buffalo wings and all come... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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I never met a pizza I didn't like, and, pizza is one of my favorite subjects. That said, a great pizza starts with a great crust, but, finding a pizza dough recipe to suit your requirements is not as easy as the ingredients list indicates: flour, water, salt, yeast, and sometimes sugar and/or olive oil. Cooks who take pizza making seriously have more than one pizza dough recipe in their repertoire because certain pizzas require a certain type of crust -- there's no getting around it. Beyond that, within each type, everyone who takes pizza making seriously, professionally or at... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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Long story short, Detroit-style pizza is a rectangular-shaped deep-deep-dish pan pizza -- it is a descendent of the rectangular-shaped Sicilian-style pizza. That said, in the case of this specialty pizza, it really is all about the pan -- the man pan. Without the pan, one can't really appreciate the full experience. Luckily, the pans are easy to fine online and very affordable too. Read on: Lloyd Pans & Kitchenware, a Wisconsin-based company, manufacturers several styles of pans for pizzerias all over the world, including all of the top 10 pizza chains in the USA. Their pans revolutionized how pizzas are... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters
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Say cheese please -- lots and lots of hot and bubbling, oooey, gooey cheese please. If those words got you salivating, try these on for size: a savory cheese sauce made from sharp cheddar cheese, egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, English mustard and beer slathered onto thick-slices of toasted bread and broiled until bubbly. Here in America, when a cheesy craving hits us, we treat ourselves to an all-American grilled cheese sandwich. The British have a different twist on it, and Welsh rarebit is referred to as the original cheese toast (or cheese on toast). Welsh rarebit (pronounced rabbit) is a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2022 at Kitchen Encounters