KirkW Profile - (12173381)

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Member Since: Jan. 2011
Cooking Level: Expert
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Recipe Box 1 recipe
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About this Cook
I have been cooking for over 30 years and, although not a trained professional, have worked as a caterer before. I read cookbooks for entertainment and watch lots of cooking shows.
My favorite things to cook
I really like hearty "peasant" fare. Soups, stews, casseroles, etc. I like things that are relatively easy to make and have fresh, full-flavor ingredients. When I entertain, I like to have some energy left to spend on my guests so I'll usually pass on overly complicated meals.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday because of all the family traditions. It seems like everyone has a particular dish they are known for so when we all come together its a wonderful feast. We lost my 97 year old grandmother this year and nobody can make cinnamon rolls like her (and we've all tried).
My cooking triumphs
The salt content in most processed food is alarming so I am working on re-creating many recipes. I have high blood pressure so I'm on a mission to create low-sodium flavorful food. Latest triumph: Pasta sauce made with no salt added tomato products. I don't miss the salt at all!
My cooking tragedies
I once tried to make gnocci using rice flour because I had a friend who was alergic to wheat. It was a disaster.
Recipe Reviews 5 reviews
Firecracker Casserole
I am a little surprised this gets such good reviews. I made it tonight and found it quite bland - and I added garlic powder, black pepper and a little cayenne pepper. I might make it again but would make some changes. I'd try picante sauce instead of diced tomatoes and break up some nacho cheese Dorito chips and sprinkle them just under the cheese.

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jan. 3, 2012
Beer Braised Irish Stew and Colcannon
I followed the recipe exactly and I think it would have turned out really good except that I used an extra stout beer which made the stew really bitter. Fortunately, I found a nother recipe that called for extra stout beer + 3/4C chopped prunes to offset the bitterness. I had some prunes on hand so I added them and cooked it for another 45 minutes. Those prunes saved the dish and disintegrate into the broth almost completely. Next time I make it I'll use half beef broth and half beer + the prunes. Mmmm. A couple of reviewers have mentioned using Guinness beer without the stew being bitter. Don't make the mistake of thinking all Guinness is equal. There is a huge difference between canned/bottled Guinness Draught beer and Guinness Extra Stout beer (available in bottles only - without the little widget that makes the Draught beer foamy). Guinness Extra Stout has double the alcohol and significantly more hops than its Draught cousin. If you make this recipe with Guinness Extra Stout you WILL have a bitter stew on your hands. I am giving this recipe 4 stars because of the calcannon. 1/4 cup of milk was not nearly enough and I ended up using three times that amount to get the consistency I wanted. I also "made it naughty" by using 1/2 C butter + 2 teaspoons of the rendered bacon fat (I omitted the salt). Not exactly healthy but oh so good!

11 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Mar. 17, 2011
Chili Dog Casserole II
This was so simple and really good. Next time I make it though I'll make my own chili as the sodium content in canned chili is through the roof. It would also be really easy to cut the fat in this recipe by using reduced fat cheese and reduced fat hot dogs. I might also try using corn tortillas.

18 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Mar. 3, 2011

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