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What do you buy that can be made (somewhat) easily at home?

I was intrigued by the "where to buy schmaltz" thread.

I would never buy schmaltz but I buy beef stock from a local caterer. So good and so much more flavorful than canned. I often buy WF ginger/carrot soup and every year at Thanksgiving I buy WF turkey gravy.

What do you buy because it easier or better than homemade?

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  1. OOH OOOH OOOH!!
    Add-on question:

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    1. I buy:

      bread; I hate to make it, even when I had a breadmaker.

      fresh salsa; it's cheaper than the composite ingredients

      trail mix; it's cheaper than the composite ingredients and really it's a huge splurge anyway

      Half-hour mozzarella; when I make it, it never lasts long enough to go into a recipe--because we just nibble nibble nibble!!

      and spices/aromatics... I've killed 1,000 potted things. I do not have a chia thumb

      1. mustard
        ken's italian salad dressing

        2 Replies
        1. re: eLizard

          i also buy bread crumbs. i do make all my own stock though....

          1. re: eLizard

            i never buy pasta sauce.

            butter is stupid easy to make. always buy. always buy salsa too.

        2. I'm guilty of buying jarred pasta sauce more often than making it. Just for the easy factor. There are so many varieties, it's not hard to find one that's pretty decent. And I often buy boxed stock.
          And bread. I just have 0 interest in breadmaking.

          1. I make all of our bread, usually in the breadmaker. 5 lbs of flour makes 4 or 5 loaves of bread. It tastes so much better than stuff from the supermarket. I make white, wheat, 100% whole wheat, Hawaiian, sourdough, olive, french, onion buns, dinner rolls, raisin, cinnamon swirl, etc.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Antilope

              Well good for you!!

              Is there anything you DO buy that can be made (somewhat) easily at home?

                      1. re: Antilope

                        Not sure you understood the OP, Antiope, but it would surely be tough for any of us to do our own bottled water.

                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                            I love this technique for bottled water. Some times, I like to gild the lily a little bit with a squeeze of lemon.

                            1. re: alliegator

                              I so envy those of you with potable tap-water. (OK, I'm sure ours is technically potable, but...) We have to use a water delivery service.

                              1. re: shanagain

                                Yeah, I have been pretty lucky with my tap water. Too bad it's not the same for everyone.

                        1. re: Antilope

                          You make everything else from scratch? Holy moly. I'm jealous. I'd love to have the skill and motivation to do so.

                          1. re: Hobbert

                            The OP said what do you buy that is easy to make from scratch. Things like ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc. while possible to be made from scratch are hardly easy, IMO
                            To clarify, probably not technically hard, but time consuming, and not worth the trouble.

                            1. re: TroyTempest

                              Correct. Antilope answered that s/he makes everything from scratch and only buys bottled water as an assembled product. Impressive.

                  1. I buy tortillas because I go through so many, although I really enjoy making my own. It's probably 50/50.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JonParker

                      Agree. Especially when Trader Joe's offers packages of corn tortillas for $.99 per package!!!!

                    2. Pesto. I get large jars at Costco and freeze it in portions. Yes I could make it but it's so much easier to just buy the big jar.... plus I'm pretty sure it's cheaper or around the same cost once you factor in the cost of buying fresh basil and pine nuts. And, to me, they taste the same, especially since I use it to mix into things, I rarely eat it by itself.

                      Also hummus. I get Sabra hummus when it goes on sale buy one get one free, so it ends up costing around $5 for 2 of them. Cheaper than buying tahini and chickpeas etc., and I like the "supremely spicy" flavor.

                      Bread.... I know how to make my own but if I did I'd just sit there and eat the whole thing fresh out of the oven. Store-bought isn't as good, but I also won't eat it that much :) I guess that doesn't really apply to your question though.

                      Also like others, I buy stuff like salsa and jarred pasta sauce, only because it's quicker, and usually cheaper.

                      1. whole foods has carrot ginger soup? I'm going to have to look into that! I have a great recipe for it, but sometimes it would be nice to just have a couple servings instead of a whole pot!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jujuthomas

                          It is really good and I love it for jsut that reason. Easy, tasty and healthy quick meal!

                          This time of year they also have carrot/fennel/almond soup that is really good too!

                        2. Not for my use, because I don't eat them, but wife insists I buy her bags of Eggland's Best peeled hardboiled eggs.

                          $2.85 for a bag of 6 medium eggs.

                          I think it's a huge waste of money, after all how hard is it to boil eggs?

                          Wife says that the peeling is the issue, and with what I opay for her weekly spa manicure, I should be grateful she used the already boiled and peeled eggs.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: bagelman01

                            We have a foodservice supplier near our home that sells 10-lb boxes of peeled hardboiled eggs (4 sealed pouches inside - last a). Very handy for the occasional large-batch of egg salad. It ends up being about 100 eggs (for about $25). Perfectly yellow yolks too.

                            1. re: ferret

                              That is also available in this area, BUT wife only will use Eggland's Best for health reasons

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                If she's using them for health reasons, she's not doing herself any favors. I stopped using them for those reasons a few years back. They're raised in the kinds of conditions that lead to ill health and squalor. All the major egg suppliers (and some smaller ones) are rated here: http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg...

                                Healthy eggs come from uncrowded sheds and grounds and chickens with access to the outdoors for sunshine and scratching around after feed and bugs, etc.

                                For the complete ratings: http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg...

                                1. re: mcf

                                  This is why I will not get caught up in the "organic" craze. I don't trust any of the companies who swear their stuff is organic. I'm not paying double for a "grass fed" steak if I didn't see the cow eating the grass. I'll take my chances with the same food I've been eating all of my life.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    I didn't say the eggs were healthy, but that she was buying them for health reasons (hers, not the hens). Less Cholesterol and fat than other supermarket eggs.

                                    Please keep free range, etc preaching for others, I don't mind locally grown/farmed eggs and don't care if the hens run fcree outdoors

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      The cholesterol and fat content of eggs (organic or else) is irrelevant to cholesterol / fat levels in the body.

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        Enough already. I DON'T CARE. This is not about me, it is about something I buy for someone else at their request that is easy to make.

                                        Personally, I don't care about the fat and cholesterol in eggs or the effect on the human body

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          Relax. Flipping out over two replies on a msg board that were meant to be helpful *does* have a bad effect on *your* body.

                                          Really.

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            letting it out avoids ulcers, keeping it in causes them

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              Letting it slide avoids ulcers too.

                                      2. re: bagelman01

                                        They aren't healthier than other eggs. Just sayin.'

                                      3. re: mcf

                                        The conditions may arguably lead to the ill health of the chickens, but nutritionally the eggs are fine.

                                  2. I buy herbs, mayonnaise, mustard, panko (instead of saving bread and making crumbs). All of these I have made, or grown in the case of the herbs - I brought home a giant plastic container of rosemary, so proud of getting it cheap, and then I went out back and noticed the huge urn with all that rosemary growing in it … I guess it's okay being of two minds, but I wish they'd talk to each other more!

                                    I've bought soups I can make just because it's convenient having some cans keeping forever in the cupboard instead of half a gallon in the fridge that MUST be eaten this week.
                                    After this jar of mayonnaise is used up I'll probably go back to making it regularly; I stopped buying Best Foods because it is NOT real mayonnaise anymore, but Trader Joe's (which is as real as bottled gets) just doesn't taste good to me, and there aren't any other egg-first brands in SoCal markets that I can find. I'm not much interested in baking bread, not when so much great stuff is in the stores, but I will not buy biscuits or cornbread, especially as the latter in these parts is more suitable for a dessert than a dinner bread. Yuck!

                                    1. Like other commenters, I do buy pre-made stock. What I can make at home is better, but at this point in my life it's effort I don't find worthwhile.

                                      I also buy bread because it's better than what I'd make, and jarred salsa because it lasts longer than fresh. But right now my big guilty premade purchase is tabbouleh. If I worked on making it at home more, I'm sure mine would eventually get better. But it's just so easy and cheap for me to now buy it premade.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: cresyd

                                        I always like to have a few cans of chicken broth around, even though I'm a broth/stockmaking fiend -- I use it so much that once in a while I get ahead of frozen homemade supplies. (I even have a jar of broth powder for dire emergencies - the horror!)

                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                          I kind of like using the powder as a subsitute for salt....but that's another kitchen perversion of mine.

                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                            I keep my stock in the freezer, so if I need last minute, the boxed is always waiting.

                                        2. Mayo, mustard, ketchup. Pretty much all condiments. I keep both seasoned breadcrumbs and panko in the house but I also have a container of stale bread homemade crumbs I use too. I have Boullian cubes but also make my own stock. I will buy canned/cartoned if I need it. I buy butter and all my cheeses too. My mother gave me a book call The Homemade Pantry for Christmas, but I have yet to use it.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: melpy

                                            ^^This. Also buy pickles/relishes.

                                            1. re: melpy

                                              Yes, most if not all condiments. Although I am interested to make hot sauce one of these days.

                                            2. My wife buys salad dressings. I make thousand island dressing at home using mayo, catsup and pickle relish. Sometimes I also add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and chopped stuffed green olives. All the ingredients of my dressing are ingredients used for other culinary purposes.

                                              1. I buy iced tea, my favorite is the Honest brand, so easy to make at home but I suppose I don't want to take the time and need smaller bottles so that I can take some on the go. Also, theirs just tastes so good!
                                                I used to buy hummus, but don't eat it much anymore.
                                                Also used to buy pasta salad and chicken salad from WF but have stopped since it is so much cheaper and healthier to make at home.

                                                1. Cookies. I have no interest in making them at home, though I'm perfectly capable of it. I just wait until Pepperidge Farm cookies go on sale and get a package or two.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                                    I also will buy cookies, since I don't eat them often. I rather like the Nestle's refrigerated dough chocolate chip cookies. A warm cookie in 15 minutes is a good treat when I have a sweet tooth.

                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                      I'm with you on the cookies. Although I don't mind doing the cut and bake.

                                                      1. re: Nayners

                                                        Yeah, I agree...that's about as far as I'll go :)

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          Yes it's in the cold case with the guacamole, hummus and such. I think it's really good.

                                                      1. I buy pasta sauce and doctor it a lot. Mayo, mustard, ketchup,pickles,baked things like cookies and bread( for some reason I have zero desire to bake) some salad dressings, canned tuna, chicken broth most of the time. Ice cream.

                                                        1. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Homemade certainly tastes better but I don't always feel up to making either one.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Nayners

                                                            I'd love to know what gravy you've purchased that you enjoy. I haven't found one that I can do.

                                                            1. re: Terrie H.

                                                              Whole Foods turkey gravy is really good. You can get it all year round but in the "off seasons" you might need to special request it.

                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                I love it!! Not on the shelf, but I've had to order it via catering. The mushroom gravy is also good, I'm not a big fan of the chicken gravy though.

                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                  You made me realize that I have never had their chicken gravy. Is it weird I only like gravy on turkey but never on chicken? What would Freud say?

                                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                                    Well, me neither it was an accidental discovery. I ordered 2 prepared ready to cook chickens for a birthday dinner (before I embarrassingly enough realized its easy) and inquired about gravy so they asked "chicken?" which seemed like a good idea. Then I asked if they could do any others as I really wanted the turkey gravy and he asked what kind to which I rapidly responded turkey and mushroom. The chicken gravy was much different in ingredients and flavor and reminded of the cafeteria style yellow gravy which I don't not enjoy at all. Also they put tomatoes in the mushroom gravy that time but it was still great.

                                                                    I think I am with you on the chicken and gravy though, I don't eat much of the chicken with the turkey gravy. But, we love it so much I ordered enough for a small family and for some reason never got around to freezing it and we actually use it a lot for random meats. It dawned on me that it was a month old as SO pulled it out last week and we tossed it but I'm sure the salt preserved it well :) I have yet to just try to order gravy but that'd be wonderful, maybe I'll tryz

                                                          2. Butter & ricotta jump to mind as well as most of the common items listed in other comments. Potato chips & pickles, also.

                                                            1. Rice paper wrappers, wonton wrappers, most shaped pasta, coconut water, taco shells.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                Considering how many foods I do make from scratch without thinking twice, the list of foods I buy is still pretty long.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  This is where my mind set differs. *To me* things like butter, cheese, pasta, wrappers and taco shells are not "relatively easy" to make at home, especially compared to the freshly made, local stuff I can find around here. I am always impressed with those that have the patience, the tools and/or the motivation.

                                                                  Maybe it's the time vs money aspect. For example we love homemade wonton soup and pan fried dumplings. The couple of times I made wrappers from scratch they took me over 45 minutes. That just isn't realistic for me on an average night. If I buy wrappers I can make either of those meals in less than 30 minutes and still have time to stir fry some veggies.

                                                                  Pasta I do make on "special occasions", my son loves my meat tortellini and lobster ravioli but it's not something *I* can do on regular basis, especially since I have fresh pasta shop near me.

                                                                  I am very impressed with what folks never buy on here!

                                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                                    I guess I was thinking of the homes where making pasta, taco shells and wonton wrappers (to name a mere few) is second nature. I go to an Indian friends home and what comes out of her from scratch kitchen differs from mine.

                                                                    I am equally impressed no matter what from scratch item we're talking about tho.

                                                                    My friend says "so easy, so easy"--easy for her to say though because she's been making these dishes since she was a very young girl. I could say the same about foods and dishes I was taught to make; now 2nd nature.

                                                                    And, foodiex, I have no rebuttal to the time vs money vs ability combination-it varies for every home cook.

                                                                    But I also think of my homemade green onion pancakes or naan which once took me considerable time to make but now take me considerably less--I also realize practice makes perfect.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Wasn't arguing with you! I was agreeing.

                                                                      I have friend who makes baking elaborate cakes and pastries, all kinds of pasta shapes and other things SO easy. That's why I said *To Me* they aren't relatively easy because I know to others they are. She is always telling me "Oh you can do it! it's so easy!" too. (grrrrr! Hate her and love her, LOL!)

                                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                                        oh no I didn't think we were arguing, ha!
                                                                        don't we all have friends like this!!

                                                                2. Nut & seed butters. It's too hard to find organic shelled peanuts for a decent price, so I buy Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted PB. I buy Trader Joe's Raw Almond Butter because I can't find a source for "raw" almonds that taste as good as the ones they use. And I buy jarred tahini because sometimes I just don't have the patience to grind it fresh with my mortar & pestle.

                                                                  I prefer homemade yogurt, but I buy it when I'm feeling lazy.

                                                                  I buy mustard & hot sauce too. I never buy salad dressing, and I don't use ketchup but I do buy a bottle if my sister is coming to visit because she puts it on everything.

                                                                  I can't stand commercial jarred mayo, but I do love it fresh/made from scratch.

                                                                  I don't eat bread, pasta or cookies so those are moot, but when I did eat them once upon a time, I preferred to make them from scratch.

                                                                  1. are you telling me that people really make stock, bake bread, grate their own cheese, and grind their own beef?

                                                                    are you saying its possible to make spaghetti sauce, cream of mushroom soup, and chili from scratch rather than opening a can or jar?

                                                                    are you suggesting that you can actually make things like ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard at home? That these things aren't patented by Heinz, Best Foods, and French's?

                                                                    Next thing you know i'll be hearing that cake from a box mix, dinner rolls from a refrigerated tube, and fish sticks from the freezer isn't 'cooking from scratch.'

                                                                    Preposterous

                                                                    1. bread, butter, breadcrumbs, condiments, stock

                                                                      1. I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that I buy frozen premade steel-cut oatmeal at Trader Joe's. I just pop one of those pucks in a Pyrex custard cup and nuke it.

                                                                        It would be pretty easy, a lot cheaper (and better oatmeal), to make a big batch of oatmeal and freeze individual portions, but I never seem to get around to doing that.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Steve Green

                                                                          My son also likes the frozen premade steel-cut oatmeal from Trader Joe's.

                                                                        2. Fried chicken and Pizza. Both take time to make correctly and you need to plan ahead.

                                                                          1. Rotisserie/roasted chicken or turkey from the grocery store. So easy to make - don't even have to watch the baking, but sometimes I just want it hot and ready to eat RIGHT NOW, LOL!

                                                                            1. Trader Joe's frozen mashed potatoes... saves so much time and they are really quite good.
                                                                              Canned beans... I get 10-12 cans at a time (Goya brand, I've gotten them as low at $.59/can) when on sale and I never have to remember to soak them. Makes weeknight chili on a whim a reality.

                                                                              Rotisserie chickens are so convenient too! I sometimes grab one from our local deli on the way home.
                                                                              I have also bought cut and bake cookie dough for when my nieces want to "decorate cookies"--which to them means making a huge frosting mess in the kitchen. And I don't mind one bit.

                                                                              1. Right now, I guess I'd have to say hamburgers because I haven't made one in a very long time. I also do not make fried chicken and in spite of my low carb ways, I am a sucker for fried chicken if I see it on a menu.

                                                                                I use an awful lot of commercial chicken broth, even though I also make it from scratch.

                                                                                And I've never made pickles, although I do enjoy eating them.

                                                                                We also buy baked chicken at the grocer's from time to time. Occasionally I'll pick up a whole chicken at WF. But I don't really like most of those as well as my home made roasted chicken.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                  fwiw,
                                                                                  imho the roasted chicken they sell at costco tastes better than the roasted chicken they sell at whole foods.

                                                                                2. I buy a lot of things which can be made fairly easy. This is mostly driven by time-saving or energy-saving.

                                                                                  There are too many to count, but here are some examples.

                                                                                  Hamburger
                                                                                  Marinated eggs
                                                                                  Peanut butter
                                                                                  Chinese congee
                                                                                  Carrot juice or any juice really.

                                                                                  Many many others.

                                                                                  1. Box macaroni instead of homemade egg pasta--not quite the same, but I'm too old and arthritic now to make egg pasta the way I used to do.

                                                                                    Though I make my own chicken stock most of the time, I keep Penzey's on hand, too.

                                                                                    Some canned soups, just in case: Progresso Hearty Tomato -- *not* Tomato Basil, which is dreadful -- and Split Pea w/Ham. Somehow I can't not make homemade chicken soup.

                                                                                    Bread. I have no interest in making bread whatsoever, though I love to bake cakes and make other desserts. I bought and made two TJ's box cakes this winter. I was not impressed enough to stop making scratch cakes, just as I've done for 40+ years now. But I will always buy my bread.

                                                                                    I recently started buying mayo in the jar for making 1,000 Island. Unfortunately, my interest in 1,000 Island has waned, and I'm left with a jar and a half (big size) of mayo. I should give it to my friend who eats it on everything (even eggs).

                                                                                    1. Pasta sauce
                                                                                      Soups
                                                                                      Graham cracker crumbs
                                                                                      Cornflake crumbs
                                                                                      Breadcrumbs (sensing a trend here?)
                                                                                      Condiments
                                                                                      Canned beans
                                                                                      Chicken nuggets (to have around for the kids in a pinch)

                                                                                      1. Forgot one...

                                                                                        Cake and brownie mixes

                                                                                        1. I'll be honest, at some point I have tried making most things (except cheese, butter and yogurt) and at some point, I have purchased most things. I love baking bread, but at this point, it's just not convenient for me to make my own. In fact, for most things, the 30-45 minutes I have between getting home and getting dinner ready doesn't allow me enough time to make my own. So yes, I buy stock, condiments, salsa sometimes, tortillas, pesto, etc

                                                                                          Really there are only 2 items I never buy pre-made:
                                                                                          -Pasta sauce, because I don't eat pasta that often, so when I do I find the cost and taste of homemade make it the better option
                                                                                          -Salad dressing: I don't like creamy dressings, so I'm only ever using some form of a vinaigrette and they're so easy to make it's not worth investing in a bottle. Not to mention, I like variety and wouldn't use the same dressing over and over until it was gone.

                                                                                          1. pico de gallo.

                                                                                            i buy it in the produce area refrigerated section. when i have it in my fridge, i use it in so many ways…in omelets, on top of soup or tacos, on black eyed peas, salads….

                                                                                            1. Hummus is so easy and cheap to make at home.

                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                  Nope, tahini is available in most super markets.
                                                                                                  Toss:
                                                                                                  Canned Chick peas
                                                                                                  Tahini
                                                                                                  Garlic cloves
                                                                                                  Salt
                                                                                                  & Lemon juice in a blender and turn it on for 45 seconds.
                                                                                                  Hummus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                                                                  Garnish with olive oil and parsley flakes if you want fancy schmancy!

                                                                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                    Tahini is pretty easy & cheap to make at home too. I'm not above buying it when I'm feeling lazy, but homemade is so much better. If you're making your own hummus, why not make the tahini as well?

                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                      I make my own hummus, I think it's better than anything you can buy. I was just curious about how you handled the tahini.

                                                                                                    2. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                      i have lebanese friends and even they don't make their own tahini. ;-).

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        In my experience in the Middle East, the quality (and price) of store bought tahini is such a great value - that it's not very common to make your own. Also, making your own tahini requires toasting a relatively large quantity of sesame seeds and the US standard large oven is not widespread in all homes. That means a lot of trips to the toaster oven....

                                                                                                        However, the other day I was at a restaurant where on the menu they listed a dish with "raw tahini" - which opened a discussion with our server about various ways tahini gets treated. And apparently the lighter the tahini is in color and texture, the more water has been whipped in - which I'm sure has an impact when determining what kind of hummus you want to make.

                                                                                                        1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                          water whipped in? never heard of that.

                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          "what is tahini?"

                                                                                                          """ Think peanut butter, only made with sesame seeds. To make tahini, sesame seeds are soaked in water for a day, then crushed to separate the bran from the kernels. The crushed seeds are put into salted water, where the bran sinks, but the kernels float and are skimmed off the surface. They are toasted, then ground to produce their oily paste. There are two types of tahini, light and dark, and the light ivory version is considered to have both the best flavor and texture.""" http://www.ochef.com/235.htm

                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          here is a company's description of their process,
                                                                                                          ""The highest-quality sesame seeds from Ethiopia are selected and stored in containers located in computer-programmed and controlled storerooms under special conditions. Afterwards, the sesame is selected and prepared for the tahini production process.

                                                                                                          In the factory: The sesame is sifted through and cleaned of any dirt or dust particles so that it is as clean as possible and ready for the production process.

                                                                                                          Then, the sesame is rinsed in water and peeled.

                                                                                                          After being peeled, the sesame is roasted to elevate its taste, which also gives the tahini a longer shelf life.

                                                                                                          The sesame undergoes another cleaning process and is then ground in special and large millstones, while maintaining appropriate temperatures and high-quality production conditions. This entire delicate process is done mechanically without any human interference. It is all carried out by sophisticated, precise, computer-programmed machines.""""

                                                                                                          at http://www.helal.co.il/English/Page.a...

                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          for the really interested reader…. http://humus101.com/EN/2007/05/07/wha... ""The best tahini: in the holy land
                                                                                                          I eat tahini since I was an infant, some 30-somthing years ago. In recent years, I tasted (and sometimes documented) some 30-40 varieties and brands of tahini. Most of theme from Israel and “the territories”, and among them I found the best brands. Most of them were Arab, specifically from Nablus and Galilee.
                                                                                                          I also tried several Lebanese, Greek and Turkey brands – which I understand are the only ones you can find in Europe and the states. Some where good, but hardly as good as the Palestinian tahini or even Israeli tahini.
                                                                                                          As for myself, I believe that “Yonah” brand from Nablus is the best (I was told the Lebanese Al-Wadi, which can be found in the US and some European countries, is a bit like it – though not as good).""""
                                                                                                          ~~~~~~
                                                                                                          by the way, this "hummus blog" has terrific med/mid-eastern recipes!!!!

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            Whipped in, whisked in, stirred in - sorry for using a poor cooking techincal term. But the idea being that water changes the consistancy and color of the tahini.

                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                              the addition of water is the issue to me, not your terminology. sesame seed paste doesn't have added water.

                                                                                                              hummus, too, doesn't have added water, unless you use some water from your chick peas in addition to the lemon juice.

                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                              edit: i think the dip tahini -- described here, is what is the source of (my) confusion with what your waiter said. http://humus101.com/EN/2007/07/30/qui...
                                                                                                              """"Tahini is very simple and easy to make. Do it for a few times and you’re bound to get to the desired flavor and texture. Only make sure you are using the best raw tahini you can.
                                                                                                              Tahini is a thick dip, made of raw tahini which is a sesame paste. It is eaten with hummus, all sorts of salads, burgers and meet, and go wonderfully with many kinds of casseroles."""

                                                                                                          2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                            to summarize:

                                                                                                            raw tahini = sesame seed paste (what i buy in glass jars as "tahini" -- the oil floating on top.

                                                                                                            tahini (dip/sauce) = raw tahini plus lemon juice, water, garlic, parsley

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              Yes, my original post wasn't very clear. The prolonged discussion was about that a dish that had "raw tahini" in it, was strictly the paste as opposed to the tahini that is more frequently seen served in a variety of mezze.

                                                                                                              So when I was talking about the lighter the tahini is - I was referring to it in a served/prepared form. From a language standpoint though, "tahini" can be confusing because I never say "I'm going to buy raw tahini to later use in a tahini sauce/dip" - but rather "I bought tahini (which is raw) to make cauliflower with tahini (in a sauce form, not raw)".

                                                                                                              Additionally - I have seen hummus made with adding a little water (or tahini sauce which has the water already added). Just depends on the creaminess factor you're looking for.

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                To take this further far afield - in the Middle East there are marketed brands of tahini that are not as thick as the raw paste, sold with oil on top. There is a thinner variety sold that has no oil added and is the consistency of chocolate sauce. Next time I'm shopping, I'll check the ingredient list - but I'm pretty sure that water is added to this. And not the full "sauce" items including any flavoring ingredients.

                                                                                                                This version of tahini is quite cheap to buy and sold in very large quantities as it is commonly used in homes in a variety of dishes. I lived with a roommate who ate this variety of tahini with nearly every meal - but she had it every morning drizzled on her oatmeal.

                                                                                                          3. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                            I don't use tahini in my hummus; it's not required. but you could just puree the seeds when making the hummus, maybe?

                                                                                                        2. Chicken salad from the deli I love it. I can and have made but it never seems as good. Canned beans are another thing I could make but like the canned better. I'm sure there are other things but, that's all I can think of.

                                                                                                          1. I guess there are several things I buy that I can make at home. Sometimes I do make them at home but not always. The list includes:

                                                                                                            Bread -- I like to make homemade bread but sometimes I just don't have the time. I also usually get frozen dinner rolls/breadsticks instead of making my own.
                                                                                                            Pizza Dough & Pie Dough -- I prefer to make my own homemade but sometimes I keep the pre-bought stuff around for a quick fix. The frozen pie shells are especially fine for baked one-crust pies like pecan & pumpkin, and are a great time saver for Thanksgiving dinner.
                                                                                                            Marinara Sauce -- I make my own about half the time. Sometimes for a really quick meal, though, I'll just combine a pound of browned ground sausage with a jar of marinara sauce and throw it over some spaghetti noodles.
                                                                                                            Baked Beans -- I have a killer crock pot baked bean recipe but it makes a lot and my husband and I can't eat all of it ourselves. I'll make it if I'm bringing it to a cook out or something, but if it's just my husband and I, a can of Bush's baked beans makes a fine side dish to bratwursts or hotdogs.
                                                                                                            Macaroni & Cheese -- I usually make my own homemade and I have several really good recipes, but I do keep a box of Kraft in the pantry, usually for a really quick side dish or just for a comforting lunch.
                                                                                                            Boxed cake mixes -- Rarely rarely do I use these and my husband always asks me if I'm alright when I buy them, but I do keep one in the pantry for the last-minute poke cake dessert.
                                                                                                            Stock/Broth -- I have made my own chicken stock before but not very often. I find the store-bought stuff adequate for everything I've needed it for.
                                                                                                            Soup -- I keep a couple cans of chicken soup for when one or both of us are sick.
                                                                                                            Butter, cheese, condiments -- I always buy these. I HAVE made my own homemade butter, cheese, mayo, salad dressing, etc. but usually they're either too much work or we just don't eat them often enough to be worth it.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                              Yeah, I love homemade mayo but don't use enough of it to be worthwhile most of the time. However, I haven't used canned/boxed broth since the first time I made my own. It's SO worth it.

                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                Good one! That is a great buy at TJ's! It is often cheaper to buy one of those containers to make and chop your own.

                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                  that's exactly the store from which i buy it.

                                                                                                                2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                  Yes, this! Last week for some reason I bought celery, carrots and onions just for mirepoix and now am stuck with celery and carrots that we rarely use and probably wasted a few $.

                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                    Use the carrots in Moroccan carrot dip, and the celery in one (or both) of these dishes:
                                                                                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/hea...

                                                                                                                    http://www.agirldefloured.com/2011/12...

                                                                                                                    Problem solved :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                      I make soup called Bolognese Leftover Soup. I buy an extra onion, chop up the leftover onion, carrot, and celery, saute them in a pot, add stock, cook 'til tender, puree to the degree of "cream soup"-ness I want. I season one batch differently than the next.

                                                                                                                      Tomorrow's (I made Bolognese today) will be curried cream of vegetable. In addition to the battuto, I'm adding curry powder, green and or red peppers, a little ground ancho chili, and a couple of potatoes. I'll puree it to a complete "cream" consistency. I'll probably finish it with cream, just because that's what I have the right amount of in the house.

                                                                                                                      Remember how you were feeling uninspired a couple of days ago? Why don't you try this?

                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                        Carrots and onions never go to waste in this house but celery? ugh crunchy stringy water when raw.

                                                                                                                        There was a brief period when my son loved "ants on a log" and it was only during that 3 week period when we actually could use up a bunch of celery.

                                                                                                                    2. Veggie burgers. I know I can make good ones at home, but I find it time consuming, and nothing I make comes out as good as the Annie's veggie burgers I buy anyway!