November 2010

This Week in America's Test Kitchen: Which Premium Butters Are Worth the Premium Price Tag?

Nobody ever waxed poetic about margarine, but boutique butters get gushing reviews, with raves over their "subtle tang" and "grassy'' notes. Some restaurant chefs even list on their menus which butter they use. Is there more to these butters than hype? To find out, the tasting panel at America's Test Kitchen tried seven premium unsalted butters (both cultured and sweet cream, as well as their favorite supermarket stick), both plain and in simple butter cookies. The tasters' preferences boiled down to a matter of culture—both geographically and scientifically. Watch the video above for more about these picks, or read the full comparison on America's Test Kitchen (free registration required). More

Culinary Ambassadors: Bunny Chow, South African Street Food

For a true one-of-a-kind offering, look no further than our bunny chow — a loaf of cheap, white sandwich bread that's been hollowed out and filled with Indian-style curry. The loaf — which can be ordered in quarter or half sizes for those not inclined to hork down a loaf of bread for lunch — gets filled with a saucy curry and is then capped with the removed bread. More

Taste Test: Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is big with those in highchairs, nursing homes, and latke eaters. With Hanukkah starting at sundown on Wednesday, we decided to have an apple sauce tasting—it was either that or sour cream. Though we prefer the from-scratch kind, sometimes you just don't have the time or stovetop space to boil apples and deal with peels, especially when there are potato pancakes to worry about! We were curious, are there any good store-bought jarred ones out there? How do they compare in terms of sweetness, tartness, and chunkiness? We tried 11 brands—find out which placed in the top five. More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Win a Food-Themed T-Shirt and $50 Gift Certificate from Threadless

Looking to update your wardrobe? (At least, for the upper half of your body.) In honor of Threadless' "Tee Thousand 10: A Space Holiday" sale featuring $10 tees, we're giving away a $50 gift certificate and a food-themed tee to a Serious Eats reader. To enter to win, answer our space-related question in the comments: If you could bring any food with you into outer space, what would it be? More

Video: Pho vs. Faux

How do you pronounce the name of Vietnam's most famous noodle soup dish? Don't say "faux." New York City-based restaurant An Choi made this video to help you order phở responsibly. More

Food 52's Annual 'Piglet' Cookbook Tournament in Its Final Round

Over at Food 52, the annual "Piglet" cookbook tournament is coming to a close. Starting with their favorite 16 cookbooks, a panel of 17 judges (including Mario Batali, Corby Kummer, Chris Cosentino, and Ree Drummond) have whittled it down to the two finalists, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and Jonathan Lovekin, and Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce and Amy Scattergood. The final winner will be announced tomorrow. What were your favorite cookbooks of 2010, and which one would you like to receive as a gift this year? More

This Week in Recipes

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This Week in Eating Out

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This Week's Tasty 10: The Most Popular Non-Thanksgiving Posts from the SE Cornucopia

Every week for the Tasty 10, I normally list the 10 most popular items posted within the previous 7-day period. They were all Thanksgiving, no surprise. Have we had enough Thanksgiving? I think maybe we have, so here are the top 10 non-Thanksgiving tasty bites from the week. Maybe you missed some of these in the run up to the holiday.

1. Cakespy: Pie Fries »
2. Travelers: What's Your Favorite Airport Food? »
3. Top 10 Spots for Pumpkin Ice Cream in New York »
4. Gift Guide: For Healthy Eaters »
5. How About a Serious Eats Convention? »
6. Food Network Cancels Ace of Cakes »
7. Gift Guide: For the Hot Dog Lover »
8. The Serious Eats Barbecue Style Guide, Part I »
9. What Do You Eat for Breakfast the Day After Thanksgiving? »
10. Barbara Lynch's Tagliatelle Bolognese »
Bonus: OK, the unfiltered Thanksgiving-rich top-10 list! » More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Happy Thanksgiving, Serious Eaters

While the Serious Eats crew has been tirelessly toiling to bring you all the delicious, entertaining, and newsworthy Thanksgiving morsels we could come up with (it's actually been way more fun than toil, with what felt like at least three pies in the office everyday), we wanted to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a happy Thanksgiving. More

Recipe Inspiration: What To Do With Thanksgiving Leftovers

Ok, so a fourteen pound turkey probably would have been enough, but it looked wimpy, so you went with an eighteen-pounder. And your eyes were a little bigger than your guests' stomachs on that whole stuffing issue, so you have a whole panful in the fridge. Never fear, Serious Eats is here, and we've been combing the web for good-looking ideas for what to do with what's left from Turkey Day. More

Gift Guide: For The Griller

There's no shortage of grilling paraphernalia out there, but this list of eight items (condiment accessories, t-shirts, aprons, and more) represents that balance of practicality and awesomeness in a way that is sure to set any griller's heart aflame. More

Travelers: What's Your Favorite Airport Food?

Thanksgiving means family and family means airport security lines! Many of us will be boarding flights in the next 48 hours, and if you don't pack PB&J in your carry-on, the trip could involve some mediocre food court grub. But there are a few decent chains hiding in those airport terminals. Here are 12 pretty tasty airport bites. Do you have a favorite snack while traveling? More

Boston: Barbara Lynch's Tagliatelle Bolognese

There's no way to write a column about iconic Boston dishes without including Barbara Lynch. Needless to say, it's not your average bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce. For one thing, the tagliatelle (which, I was once told by Lynch's local contemporary, chef Dante de Magistris, who makes my other favorite bowl of Bolognese, is the traditional noodle on which this sauce is served in Bologna) is perfect: springy, eggy, and light, with just enough chew. It's my go-to pasta recipe. (Sorry, Marcella.) Meanwhile, the sauce is unctuous and complex, yet straightforward and clean-tasting. More

Poll: What Type of Turkey Are You Cooking For Thanksgiving?

For all of the Thanksgiving turkey testing I've been doing for the past few weeks (over a dozen birds now and counting!), I've been purchasing the natural, un-enhanced birds from the Whole Foods down the block (I've also worked with a few kosher birds). But in years past, I've generally gone for a slow-grown heritage breed turkey for my own Thanksgiving table. So what's going to be gracing your thanksgiving table this year? A heritage bird? Kosher? Or maybe just a plain old self-basting Butterball? Take the poll » More

The Nasty Bits: Cod Milt Season

It's that time of year again! Just a friendly reminder from your Nasty Bits columnist that cod milt season is in full swing, and there's no time like the present to scoot over to your local Japanese or Korean market to try the delicacy. Cod milt, the sperm sac of various fish, is actually one of the easier types of innards to cook. Milt is soft and creamy, yet does not easily overcook. More

A Historic Agreement for Tomato Pickers in Florida

Even in an era of heightened food awareness and activists fighting for sustainable food across the country, there are still great inequities in the American agricultural system. One of the most harmful is the plight of tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida. The Immokalee region has a $600 million tomato growing industry, and its workers are some of the most abused and poorly paid laborers in the country. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A 51¢ (10,000 VND) breakfast banh mi consists of grilled pork, fried egg, sautéed onions, cucumbers, pickled carrots & radish, and cilantro. A spread of pate with a squirt of sweet chili sauce and soy sauce season everything inside. Pork is grilled next to the cart and eggs are fried to order. The fresh ingredients are all assembled in a light crusty Vietnamese baguette right in front of your eyes. More

Thanksgiving Cocktail Inspiration

Whether you do an official cocktail hour or just want something festive to share with your fellow cooks in the kitchen, here are a few autumnal cocktails to help you celebrate Thanksgiving. A touch of ginger, a hint of apple, smoky liquor, tart cranberries...these drinks are a tasty start to Thanksgiving (and worth keeping on file for post-Thanksgiving parties.) More

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: The Ultimate Homemade Green Bean Casserole

The classic Campbell's Green Bean casserole is a staple on many Thanksgiving tables. But there are easy ways you can upgrade the out-of the can version. If you're intimidated by the length and number of steps, bear in mind that you don't need to use the entire recipe. Try canned fried onions instead of frying your own. Or, to make it even easier, stick with two cans of cream of mushroom soup instead of making your own creamy mushroom sauce. More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Cook the Book: 'Avec Eric'

The first season of Avec Eric took Eric Ripert on culinary journeys everywhere from hunting wild boar in Chianti to swimming with stingrays in the Cayman Islands, with plenty of guest appearances from food world celebs and enough recipes to make for a fantastic cookbook. The newly released Avec Eric is the companion cookbook to the series, complete with gorgeous photos, in depth info from the episodes and, best of all, recipes to recreate dishes that you've seen on the show. Enter to win a free copy here. More

Pioneer Woman's Tips on How to Control Saltiness After Brining

While brining definitely injects a lot of flavor into the bird and helps juiciness-retention, it can also mean saltier drippings—a potential problem when making stuffing and gravy. The Pioneer Woman to the rescue! She has a few tips on how to decrease the too-salty issue, like rinsing the turkey under cold water for a few minutes after brining and boiling the turkey giblets in water and using that giblet broth to thin out the gravy. More

Gift Guide: For Healthy Eaters

Healthy eaters: historically, they're pretty tough to buy gifts for. Popular cookbooks are chancy, Omaha Steaks won't cut it, and chocolate is out of the question (unless it's the good stuff). Never fear. From delicious dips to fun apparel, this guide should make shopping for your nutritionally minded loved one a little easier. More

This Week In Recipes

  • Thanksgiving with The Food Lab: Kenji and The Food Lab have you covered for Thanksgiving recipes this year. Check out two ways to cook your Turkey, and simple (yet delicious) recipes for stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, and turkey gravy.
  • Post-Thanksgiving Brunch: What better way to use up all of that leftover cranberry sauce than slathering it all over some delicious Cranberry Baked French Toast?
  • The Secret Ingredient Revealed: Cranberries, the secret ingredient of the week, pairs well with braised rainbow chard to make an unconventionally delicious Thanksgiving side dish.
  • Stir-Fried Fish Paste: It's what's for dinner, paired with some eggplant and squash, if the fish-y allure of fish paste compels you to give this recipe a shot.
  • Green Chile Hominy Casserole: While casseroles aren't usually on the top of everyone's mental "to cook" list, this Green Chile Hominy Casserole with Chorizo debunks the myth that the casserole is bland, usually unsatisfying affair.
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This Week In Eating Out

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Serious Reads: Keep the Change, by Steve Dublanica

Unfortunately for the tipping-averse, the practice has come to permeate all aspects of the service industry. From doormen to taxi drivers to furniture movers, tips do the talking in many lines of work. Steve Dublanica, author of the blog and book Waiter Rant, sets out to untangle this imposing knot of transactions in his new book Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper's Quest to become the Guru of Gratuities. More

The Food Lab's Guide to Thanksgiving Day Planning

The key to a successful Thanksgiving is planning. Know what needs to get done, when it needs to be done, and how much manpower and time it's gonna take you. There's no better way to derail a calm evening by scrambling at the last minute to make sure your turkey is cooked through, or the gravy isn't burning. By far the best way to make sure that your kitchen doesn't turn into a disaster site on the big day is to prepare everything as far in advance as you can. Some foods not only do well prepared in advance, but actually improve with a few days in the fridge. There's many theories as to when to prep each individual item, but here's my own schedule of events a few days before Thanksgiving. More

This Week's Tasty 10: The Most Popular Posts from the SE Cornucopia

The Serious Eats Barbecue Style Guide Primer

There are all kinds of barbecue varieties in America. Before we get into the regional breakdown, let's talk about the metrics of meat: you can buy it as sandwiches (both handheld and freestyle), plates and trays, rib racks, brisket by the pound, and how can we forget the Flinstonesian prehistoric barbecue (which unfortunately you need a time machine for). More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Seriously Asian: Fish Paste

Fish paste probably won't ever reach meat paste levels of popularity in Chinese and Vietnamese cookery—they rely too heavily on it for charcuterie and dumplings—but the pulverized fish and shrimp still plays a fairly prominent role. While the appeal of ground meat is universal, not everyone takes to the texture of seafood once it's been pounded into a paste: light and fluffy with a bouncy/chewy mouthfeel. More

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: Turkey 101

My Thanksgiving turkey usually involves some kind of acrobatics aimed at maximizing the juiciness and flavor of each individual part of the bird. Legs, breast, gravy, etc. And if that's what you want to do, we've got plenty of recipes to help you out. But sometimes it's nice to have an easy, simple recipe that you toss in the oven with little-to-no advanced prep so you can spend more time with guests and less time butchering, right? Here are some tips to make the most of your holiday bird with little-to-no effort. More

Winners of Our Store-Bought Thanksgiving Taste Tests

In a perfect world, all of your dishes would be homemade next Thursday. You'd toast the bread crumbs yourself, roll out the pie crusts, maybe even churn the butter (ha!). But just in case it's Wednesday night and you're having an I'm-so-screwed moment, or know that'll be you and want to stock up at the market this weekend, here are the winners of all of our taste tests for store-bought Thanksgiving foods: cranberry sauce, stuffing, frozen pumpkin and apple pie, pie crusts, gravy, chicken stock. More

Spice Hunting: Dill Seed

It's a quirk of edible herbs that they often taste little like their seeds. Dill is one of these, and one of the most recognizable herbs to boot. My inner Slav loves all things dill, which is why I was surprised to realize I haven't had much experience with dill seeds. Looking around, it seemed I wasn't alone in my neglect. But while it lacks the bright, lemony shot of heaven that is dill weed, it's a surprisingly versatile background player in recipes spanning cultures and diets. More

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: Why You Should Make Your Own Gravy

Well the short and simple answer to the titular question can be found right here. Store-bought gravies just don't taste right. Sure, some of them have that nostalgic cafeteria appeal, but unless you're seriously trying to relive middle school, you're much better off making your own. With a few store-bought staples, it's surprisingly easy, and worlds better than anything you'd get out of a jar. More

Gadgets: Silicone Oven Shield

Next to the great eating that most of us associate with Thanksgiving, the biggest turkey day tradition seems to be the annual oven burn—often the hallmark of stuffing your roaster beyond its capacity with birds and sides and pies. But what if there were a gadget to prevent one of the most reliable Thanksgiving-related wounds? More

Bobby Flay Challenges The Pioneer Woman to a Thanksgiving Throwdown

Will Bobby Flay step in it? The celebrity chef and star of Throwdown! With Bobby Flay challenged home-cook and blogging extraordinaire Ree "Pioneer Woman" Drummond to a special Thanksgiving tête-à-tête. Drummond will have home-field advantage, as Flay traveled to her Oklahoma ranch to face off against her. Who's your money on? The episode will air on the Food Network next Wednesday, November 17, 2010, at 9 p.m. ET. We chatted with Ree about the whole experience. And how she froze Bobby's leftovers and may even serve them at her own Thanksgiving! Just kidding...she thinks. More

Mr. Peanut Gets a Facelift: Robert Downey Jr. Is the New Voice

Before Robert Downey Jr. lent his voice to the Planters mascot, the rakish legume spent almost a century in silence, ever since his creation in a 1916 drawing contest. But Planter's, part of the Kraft Foods company, was not satisfied with the silent flirtation of Mr. Peanut's monocled wink. "People weren't connecting with him," said Jason Levine, Planter's brand director, "We wanted to turn him into a real, authentic peanut. To do this, we had to bring Mr. Peanut into his natural, nut-sized world." More

Old Holiday Chestnut: Awkward Family Photos' Infamous 'Thanksgiving Letter'

If you haven't seen it (or haven't read it in a while), you NEED TO READ Awkward Family Photos' infamous Thanksgiving Letter: "Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything." Go. Read now, thank me later » More

Thanksgiving Recipe Inspiration: Soup

Your Thanksgiving table has room for more liquids beyond gravy—serve soup! Squash, carrot, celery, fennel, mushrooms, potato, and more combine for creamy fall-themed soups. Many of these can be prepared ahead of time and reheated when T-day comes. Do you serve soup at your Thanksgiving dinner? If not, maybe you'll feel inspired after checking out these recipes. More

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Goes to the Senate This Week

A recent string of highly-publicized food recalls have caused many Americans to question the safety of our food production system. From peanut butter to eggs, numerous everyday foods have caused salmonella and E. Coli outbreaks. Many activists, nutritionists and policy makers have been calling for the government to make some real strides in improving food safety. But finally, on November 17, the Senate will bring the Food Safety Modernization Act to the floor. Food Safety News credits Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for pushing the bill forward. More

This Week in America's Test Kitchen: Pumpkin Pie

One of the reasons people go overboard on the main dishes at Thanksgiving? Oftentimes, the desserts aren't worth saving any room for. Take pumpkin pie, for example. Too often, this holiday classic appears at the end of a Thanksgiving meal as a grainy, overspiced, canned-pumpkin custard encased in a soggy crust. The cooks at America's Test Kitchen set out to create a pumpkin pie recipe destined to be a new classic: velvety smooth, packed with pumpkin flavor and just enough fragrant spices. To do this, they concentrated the moist canned pumpkin, prebaked the pie crust, and relied on an unusual ingredient to boost the flavor. Watch the video here for step-by-step instructions or get the recipe at America's Test Kitchen (free registration required). More

6 American Cheeses You Should Have at Thanksgiving Dinner

We can only speculate, but it seems likely that cheese was a prominent part of the first few Thanksgivings. Many of the Puritans came from dairy farming communities in England. Some historians estimate that nearly half of the settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were dairy farmers. Thus, it's probable that the early dinners featured new world interpretations of Cheddar, Wensleydale and Cheshire. Let's look at six stellar American hand-crafted cheeses that should highlight your Thanksgiving cheese plate. More

The Nasty Bits: Bung

As the weather turns colder and soupy things become my default, I remember that one of my favorite toppings for noodle soup is, in fact, intestines. They are not the small intestines from which chitlins are made but part of the large intestines. At Asian markets you'll find this part of the large intestines labeled as bung. Its taste is meaty and porky and, because sometimes I am at a loss to describe that ineffably "gamey" or animalistic flavor of innards, let me just say that intestines taste "offal-y." More

The Crisper Whisperer: Gobble-Worthy Cruciferous Side Dishes

This week's column goes out to all you brave soldiers of turkey day who volunteered to bring the vegetables. Sure, you could have made the stuffing to end all stuffings, or the deep-fried turkey that blew a hole through the backyard shed. But you're making the vegetables instead. And with these recipes in your arsenal, you'll blow away your friends and family anyway. More

Should You Cook Your Turkey in Parts?

Here's the problem with turkey: above 145°F or so, white meat begins to dry out. Dark meat, with its connective tissue, on the other hand, has to be cooked to at least 165°F. How do you cook a single bird to two different temperatures? It's difficult at best, and downright impossible at worst, even more so when you consider the variation in shape and thickness of turkey meat, especially on the breast of a large bird. More

Book Review: 'Barbecue: The History of an American Institution'

If you've ever wanted to know why American barbecue matters, Robert Moss' new book on the subject is nothing short of essential. Documenting its subject from pre-Republic times to the present day, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution is an accessible foray into culinary evolution. In the process, Moss shatters several myths of barbecue—myths so dominant that they've come to define the food in American culture. More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

The New Yorker's Annual Food Issue Is Out

The November 22 issue of The New Yorker is the special food issue. Here is a peek at a few of the articles on April Bloomfield's gastropub revolution, the White House cuisine during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, the underground pickling movement, and more. More

Cook the Book: 'The Sweet Potato Lover's Cookbook'

A whole cookbook devoted to sweet potatoes? Beginning with a selection of appetizers and hors d'œuvres, The Sweet Potato Lover's Cookbook introduces the sweet potato into every course imaginable, from sweet and savory breads to soups and mains, even candy and cocktails. Enter to win a copy here. More

Video: The Sandwich Movie

"So, Courtney—tell us about the sandwich you made for your brother." This is the charmingly animated story of how far a big sister's love will take her when she has to make a sandwich for her little brother at 5 a.m. Answer: Not that far. But a crummy sandwich fueled by groggy love is better than no sandwich. More

This Week In Recipes

  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes: The secret behind the Best Roasted Sweet Potatoes is par-cooking them in water between 135 and 170°F. Read up to find out why.
  • Mashed Potatoes Two Ways: Regardless if you like your mashed potatoes ultra-fluffy or rich and creamy, The Food Lab has you covered with two great recipes for Thanksgiving and beyond.
  • Hot Slaw: While it might not be a traditional side dish, this German Hot Slaw, combining shredded cabbage sauteed in bacon fat, bits of onion, caraway seeds, and a healthy dose of apple cider vinegar, fits in well next to the mashed potatoes and stuffing on your Thanksgiving table.
  • Deep Fried Buffalo Birds: After several attempts, The Food Lab brings you not only safety tips and frying procedures, but a delicious way to spice up plain fried turkey via a little Frank's Red Hot.
  • Dok Boki: Glutinous rice is smashed into a gooey mass, which is then formed into a variety of different shapes and sizes for these Korean Rice Cakes.
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This Week In Eating Out

  • Riverpark: Tom Colicchio's new restaurant on Manhattan's East River may be out of most people's way, but it's worth the trek.
  • Slyce, Not Slice: This new Chicago coal oven pizza joint serves up some of the best pies in the city featuring "creamy house-made mozzarella" and a sauce that mixes four types of canned tomatoes.
  • Big Burgers: The secret behind the huge burgers at Zippy's Giant Burgers in Seattle is their meat, which is ground fresh everyday in-house. Left to cook on the grill "until the outside of the ground neck-off chuck roll forms a dark, crunchy shell," these are burgers to recreate at your next summer cookout.
  • Pumpkin Pie: Need pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving in New York? Serious Eats tasted their way through 20 to find you the best pumpkin pie in NYC.
  • Neapolitan In Arlington: This Neapolitan pizza cart-turned-restaurant cranks out "ethereal pies at earthbound prices."
  • A Burger with a View: The Ambrosia burger at Nepenthe in Big Sur, CA, is a "juice-bomb of a burger on a sweet and squishy bun" that comes with a breathtaking view of the surrounding trees, mountains, and ocean.
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Serious Reads: In-N-Out Burger, by Stacy Perman

I've always imagined In-N-Out Burger as a faraway heaven of savory deliciousness. While well-aware of many West Coasters' fanatical loyalty to the burger chain, I got my burger fixes at elsewhere and came to peace with my distance from what many consider the country's best fast food burger. But after reading Stacy Perman's comprehensive history of the chain, In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain that Breaks All the Rules, I don't think I can wait much longer before booking it cross-country for a Double-Double. More

In Season: Sweet Potatoes

You say potato, I say potahto. But the sweet potato is something different altogether. Despite the similar name, this orange tuberous root is only distantly related to the potato proper. In the States, they're often candied using brown sugar, marshmallows, maple syrup, molasses, orange juice, marron glacé, or other sweet ingredients. When julienned and deep fried, they become crisp sweet potato fries or chips, and when topped with brown sugar and butter, they can be a great alternative to regular baked potatoes. More

Meet & Eat: Carl Warner, Food Photographer

Carl Warner has made a living out of playing with food—and a good one at that. Originally a successful still life photographer in the advertising game of the late 1990s, the past ten years have been spent developing a body of work unlike any other: making lush and realistic food landscapes out of everyday foods. More

This Week's Tasty 10: The Most Popular Posts from the SE Cornucopia

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Five Nacho Variations

As editor of the site Nachos NY, it's obvious that I love nachos. But people always ask me, can one nacho really be that different from the next? Enough to inspire a whole blog? Oh, they absolutely can. Here are five variations on the nacho in honor of National Nacho Day (technically last Saturday, but it's never too late to celebrate) with cheesesteak, carne asada, buffalo chicken, pulled pork, and a dessert spin with Rice Krispies treats and brownies. More

Video: The Kobe Beef of Pork: Mosefund Farm's Mangalitsa Pigs

"It's not the other white meat—it's the other red meat, we like to call it," says Michael Clampffer, Executive Chef & Vice President of Mosefund Farm in Branchville, New Jersey. This farm specializes in raising Mangalitsa pigs, a rare pig breed that has gained popularity in the U.S. over the past few years for its rich, red, well marbled meat. Mosefund Farm currently raises about 150 pigs on a diet of barley, wheat, and acorns. Learn more about Mangalitsa pigs in the latest episode of Food Curated from documentarian Liza de Guia. More

Seriously Asian: Korean Rice Cakes

What is a rice cake? Glutinous rice is pounded to a gluey, sticky mass, which is then formed into a variety of different shapes and sizes. Shape-wise, there are chubby and skinny, tall and short, round and oblong. Color-wise, they can be pale (made with white glutinous flour) or tan (made with brown rice). You'll find freshly cooked rice cakes, most frequently in cylindrical form, sold at some stores, though all Korean markets will carry refrigerated, pre-packaged rice cakes that must be boiled before use. More

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: The Best Roasted Sweet Potatoes

OK, so sweet potatoes are sweet, but they're not that sweet, right? I mean sure, you could go add maple syrup or honey with marshmallows on top, but I wouldn't wish one of those monstrous casseroles on my worst enemies, let alone my own family (though come to think of it, there's some pretty significant overlap between those two groups). Much better than those casseroles are really well-roasted sweet potatoes. At their best, they're creamy, flavorful, and sweet with a slightly crisp, caramelized crust. Too often though, they end up mealy, starchy, and bland. How does one get a sweet potato to really live up to its name? More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 145: Pre-Holiday Diet Strategies, Anyone?

We all know the drill. The holidays are serious diet killers in so many ways. Let's count them. Pie. Gravy. Sweet Potatoes. Mashed Potatoes. Stuffing. Ham. Cookies. Egg Nog. Potato Latkes. Brisket. That's ten, so I consider this list to be the diet equivalent of the ten Passover Plagues. These are the ten plagues of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chanukkah. And if you've been reading Serious Eats you know that down at World HQ we've been taste-testing up a storm, which definitely does not help. In fact, taste tests can be the eleventh holiday food plague More

Taste Test: Chicken Stock

Not all of us have tubs of homemade stock hanging out in the freezer. So when your stuffing or sauce recipes call for stock this year, and you have plenty of other pans to dirty, it's alright to grab the canned or boxed kind. Surely Mark Bittman is somewhere shaking his fist right now. The New York Times recipe columnist pointed out in this piece from January of 2009 that the homemade version—just a half-hour of simmering a carrot, celery stalk, half an onion, and some chicken scraps in water—would be ten times better than any canned stock. But, we won't judge if you use one of these. The contenders: College Inn Chicken Broth, Emeril's Chicken Stock, Swanson's Chicken Broth, Swanson's Chicken Cooking Stock, Herb-ox Instant Chicken Bouillon and Seasoning, Glace de Poulet Gold, and Kitchen Basics Natural Chicken Stock. Find out who won. More

Gift Guide: Food-Related Graphic T-Shirts

I have trouble wearing plain T-shirts. They're just so...empty. But slap on a happy doughnut or sad taco and I'm good to go. If you or someone you loves feel the same way, get them a food-related graphic T-shirt for the holidays. Here are eight of my suggestions—admittedly, suggestions that skew towards the realm of the cute, colorful, and silly. Feel free to share your suggestions below! More

Celebrating Japanese Food at the CIA's Worlds of Flavor Conference in Napa

The 39 Japanese chefs who came to the Culinary Institute of America's Napa Valley campus joined other culinary experts to sell their love of Japanese food. Panelists included Ruth Reichl, Harold McGee, David Chang, Iron Chef Morimoto, and many Japanese culinary legends. Food is clearly serious business in Japan, particularly seafood. We learned that while Japan is smaller than California, due to its coastal jaggedness, it has fifty percent more coastline the entire United States. More

Knife Skills: How to Chiffonade Mint and Other Leafy Herbs

Cutting a chiffonade (that's super-thin ribbons) of leafy herbs is a nice way to get their flavor evenly distributed around the dish. It's pretty too. The only problem is that a lot of these herbs like mint, certain types of basil, and sage have a thick stem running through the center of each leaf, which can lead to tough, stringy bits in your food. It's best to remove these. More

How to Spice Up Your Thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I tend towards tradition—it's just not Thanksgiving without stuffing, cranberry sauce, and all things pumpkin. But the same recipes, however welcome, can get tiresome year after year. New herbs and spices function as my compromise between tradition and novelty. Here are some ideas to consider while planning your menu this year. More

Gadgets: The Smood (Potato Masher)

Mashed potatoes are one of those side dishes that we eat—and crave—year round, but demand perfection from on Thanksgiving. So what makes the perfect mashed potatoes? That depends on who you ask. And what makes the perfect potato masher is clearly dependent upon that answer. More

Weekend Cook and Tell Round Up: Beyond Tofurkey, Vegetarian Thanksgiving Options

For last week's Weekend Cook and Tell challenge we wanted to make sure that none of our vegetarian friends had more to eat this Thanksgiving than a scoop of gravy-less mashed potatoes or even worse, the dreaded Tofurkey. We asked all of you to share ideas for meatless Thanksgiving mains and it looks like no one's going to be missing the turkey with these Venerable Vegetarian Thanksgiving Options. Let's take a look at some of our favorite responses. More

Nutty Cheese Balls

Cheese and crackers is always on the party potluck signup sheet; a boring ol' standby. Try the retro ball-shaped snack instead, and fancy it up with combos like cheddar and pecans, Stilton and walnuts, and chevre and almonds. They're fun to serve as bite-sized canapes or as a single large ball surrounded by crackers and crudite. Plus, they always make the vegetarians happy. More

Taste Test: Store-Bought Turkey Gravy

Of all the Thanksgiving taste-tests we've had recently at headquarters, the gravy one didn't exactly make our tummies grumble for joy.* Bowls of brownish to brownish-gray gloop all lined up. Shudder. Though many of us wouldn't even think to use the packaged stuff on Thanksgiving, especially when the bird naturally acts as a gravy faucet, sometimes it's nice to have around as an emergency back-up. And we were curious, do any of them taste homemade? We tried the following nationally available brands: Franco-American, Campbells, Heinz (regular and fat-free), Trader Joe's, and Williams-Sonoma. More

Video: OK Go's New Music Video Animated on Toast

Best known for their "treadmill video" as well as other impressively executed ones, the band OK Go has come out with their latest music video for their single Last Leaf. This time, it involves toast. Many, many pieces of toast. They designed images on each slice with laser cutters, which makes for a pretty entrancing stop-motion animation. And you might crave toast after. More

Holiday Wawa: The Turkey Gobbler

They say you know you're from South Jersey if you've ever slept behind a Wawa. The convenience store staple, beloved by many a New Jersey or Pennsylvania native, gets into the season with Thanksgiving-themed sandwiches. Punch in a "Gobbler," and you get a turkey sandwich with gravy, stuffing, and cranberry juice, on their squishy hoagie loaf. Thanksgiving on a roll. More

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: Ultra-fluffy or Rich and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

During Thanksgiving, that most divisive of holidays, mashed potatoes are perhaps the most divisive side dish of the lot. I like mine to be rich, perfectly smooth, and creamy with plenty of butter and heavy cream, loaded with black pepper, maybe some chives if I want to feel extra fancy. Somewhere between a dish on its own and a sauce, it should have the consistency of a pudding, slowly working it's way across a tilted plate. I like to pick up a piece of turkey and swirl it in my gravy-covered potatoes so that they coat it, their buttery richness working into the cracks in the meat. Sounds good, right? Who could possibly want it any other way? My sister. That's who. More

Gift Guide: Kitchen Equipment

We're kicking off our holiday gift guide series with 8 pieces of equipment that can help your loved ones (or yourself, if you're the self-gifting type) become better cooks. Whether it's something as fancy as a $96 thermometer (essential!) or an under $15 stocking-stuffer timer (also essential!), there's something here for everyone's budget. And I can almost guarantee that at least one item on this list isn't already in their kitchen collection. More

How the USDA Is Making Us Eat More Cheese

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has many responsibilities in overseeing the national agricultural industry. One of its most relevant duties is to provide accurate nutritional guidelines to Americans. The USDA formulates the food pyramid recommendations and oversees national food assistance programs. As an extension of these responsibilities, the USDA works to publicize healthier eating habits in an attempt to address our national health crises. Or at least, that's what we think they do. More

This Week in America's Test Kitchen: Oven-Roasted Salmon

The ideal roasted salmon is moist, succulent fish encased in a crisp crust. The problem is that one usually comes at the cost of the other. To achieve this elusive combination, the cooks at America's Test Kitchen developed a hybrid roasting method for the fillets, preheating the oven to an extra-high temperature and reducing it considerably just before putting the fish in. The initial blast of high heat firms the outside of the salmon, while the interior gently cooks as the oven cools. And while salmon is rich and flavorful on its own, America's Test Kitchen's cooks came up with a simple and flavorful no-cook relish that uses citrus fruit to cut the fish's richness. Watch the video here for step-by-step instructions and then get the recipe at America's Test Kitchen (free registration required). More

Taste Test: Store-Bought Stuffing

We should first clarify, this tasting was actually with "dressings" not "stuffings," since we baked them in casserole pans, not inside the turkey's hollowed-out body. But for the record, we'll probably just keep calling it stuffing since the proper terminology can cause confusion. Some people hear dressing and just picture a big bottle of Ranch—and we didn't eat pans of that. We tried nationally available brands: Stovetop, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods 365, Martin's Potato Rolls, Pepperidge Farms, and Canterbury Organics. Find out who won. More

The Nasty Bits: Salt Pork in a Jiffy

Most culinary traditions that use a lot of pork have some version of salt pork. There are few ways easier to preserve pork than to toss some salt into a container with meaty hunks and wait until the pork is salty and appreciably hardened. Salt pork is something I'd pack with me if I were embarking on the Oregon Trail. Today, though, we use salt pork as a flavor enhancer rather than a sustaining life force More

How Are You Making Your Turkey? Try Alton Brown's Recipe

What, you're not frying your turkey? You're opting for the traditional roasted route? Yeah, we don't blame you. In fact, we encourage you to try this recipe from our pal Alton Brown. He explains every detail, from the brine—a mix of vegetable broth, brown sugar, black peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger—to the roasting. Many of the SE'rs have used this recipe with great results.. "It makes a stunning bird," raved Bunnyman. However, as you'll find out in the recipe, Alton is a stuffing hater! He's all about cooking the "dressing" on the side. More

Market Scene: Xochimilco Market, Mexico City

For many foreigners, Xochimilco conjures images of an afternoon of beers and mariachi bands while soaking up the sun on one of the colorful boats known as trajineras that navigate the waterways here. But there's so much more to Xochimilco than booze and boats. There are the collectives that practice small-scale agriculture on the man-made islets called chinampas, the vendors that sell food that is as close to its pre-Hispanic roots as you can get and, of course, the market. More

Thanksgiving Sides: Gratins

I usually like my vegetables straight up, crisp-tender and green, but every autumn, I'm drawn to gratins (which tend to cancel out most of the nutritional value of any vegetables within.) Layered with cream and butter, sprinkled with something crispy and broiled until golden, the lure of the gratin is definitely decadence. Here are a few recipes for gratins to serve on Turkey Day. More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Cranberries?

Don't get me wrong, I love me some gravy. But a gravy quiz would be less exciting, eh? After roasting a turkey, it deserves a nice pick-me-up beyond just gravy. And what's better than the pucker-inducing tang of plump, juicy cranberries? We've deemed today unofficial cranberry day, starting with the results from our cranberry sauce tasting. Now it's time to find out how much you know about cranberries. Take the quiz! » More

Cook the Book: 'Good Eats 2: The Middle Years'

Last year we started our own Thanksgiving tradition here at Cook the Book: sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving-centric recipes from Alton Brown's first cookbook, Good Eats: The Early Years. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Brown is back with a sequel, Good Eats 2: The Middle Years, which picks up where The Early Years left off, with recipes from seasons six through ten. In typical Brown fashion, The Middle Years is filled to the brim with equal parts science and silliness, photos and techniques, and tons of Brown's fail-safe recipes. Enter here to win a copy. More

Video: Finale of 'MasterChef: The Professionals' Edited to Look Hilariously Lame

"This is it guys—treat us today. Spoil us." Here's a look at how the contestants on the finale of UK-based reality TV show MasterChef: The Professionals probably didn't wow the judges, unless pineapple and cheese skewers or a raw apple topped with butter is the new face of British cuisine. [SPOILER ALERT: The video reveals the winner and the winner is announced in the post.] More

In the Kitchen with Jam Guru Rachel Saunders, Author of 'The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook'

I have never met anyone more passionate about jam and marmalade than Rachel Saunders, and pretty sure I never will. She recently came out with her first book, The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, which includes nearly 120 recipes for jam and marmalade. It's a comprehensive how-to that answers every question you've ever wanted to ask Grandma about how to make jam that puts Smuckers to shame. More

Taste Test: Store-Bought Cranberry Sauces

Making cranberry sauce from scratch isn't too hard. But going the canned (or jarred!) route saves a few steps on the crazy T-Day, and some people even prefer the taste. And I'd argue that a subset of others just buys it just for that priceless plop noise the gelatinous cylinder makes when it enters the world. We tried nationally available brands (Ocean Spray, Whole Foods 365, Trader Joe's, and Williams-Sonoma) in both the jellied loaf and whole-berry categories. Find out who won. More

This Week In Recipes

  • Layered Rice Sweets: Khanom Chan, layered rice sweets from Southeast Asia, aren't your typical dessert. With a taste and texture similar to mochi, the snack is great served with tea or as a treat to those vegan, gluten-free folks in your life.
  • Even Cheesier Mac 'n Cheese: As if mac 'n cheese weren't cheesy enough, along comes Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara from the evil, brilliant mind of Bobby Flay. Using seven cheeses, a stick of butter, three cups of half-and-half, and some pancetta for good measure, this rendition isn't for the faint of heart (or those on a diet).
  • DIY Stuffing: In our eyes, stuffing in its raw form is great no matter the time of the year. This stuffing bread, with a pinch of sage, poultry seasoning, and chive-infused olive oil, however, might just be better (and more convenient). Say it isn't so!
  • Kimchi Jigae: The magical warming powers of kimchi shine through in this Korean soup full of kimchi, silken tofu, and soybean paste. Quite possibly the best and only thing you'll need to get through these upcoming winter months.
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In Season: Fennel

The bulb, foliage, seeds, and even pollen of the fennel plant is used in a variety of world cuisines, especially those of the Mediterranean variety. Fennel seeds are often dried and used as a powerful, anise-flavored spice; it's commonly seen in Italian sausage, Greek artichoke dishes, and numerous spice mixtures such as the Bengali panch phoron and Chinese five-spice powders. People in Pakistan and India even use the seeds as an after-meal digestive and breath freshener. And the crispy bulb can be sauteed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. More

19 Days Until Thanksgiving

Today's Thanksgiving Planning Tip: Preorder your meats to guarantee the best cuts and birds. If you're getting one at your local farmers' market, start talking to the farmers and reserve one. You should average about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of meat per person. More

Serious Reads: American Wasteland, by Jonathan Bloom

There's no easy way to say this: Americans waste a staggering amount of food. Some studies estimate that we discard nearly 50% of available food resources nationwide. Who's to blame for this waste? How have we come to produce so much excess food? What are the solutions? Jonathan Bloom takes on these questions and more in his excellent book, American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food (and what we can do about it). More

This Week In Eating Out

  • Kin Shop: The delectable Thai fare at this new West Village restaurant in New York proves that Top Chef alum Harold Dieterle is a champ on and off screen. The Goat Massaman Curry, "rich with shallots, toasted coconut, dry chile," and melt-in-your-mouth braised goat neck, was one of the night's many hits.
  • San Francisco Neapolitan: Flour +Water are only two of the many ingredients that go into the pizza at this San Francisco "Cali-politan" restaurant of the same name.
  • Oddly Specific Pizza: Daniel Zemans has labeled the pies at Joe's Italian Villa in Bridgeview, IL "Midwest tavern thin crust." Similar to Chicago-style thin crust, the shredded in-house mozzarella and "crisp, cracker-thin, yeast-free crust" make the oddly specific pies at this 60+ year old institution worthwhile.
  • Pastrami Burger: The epitome of excess, the gigantic pastrami burger at The Hat in Pasadena, CA, takes a bland patty and turns it into a "salty, rich mess of flavor that delivers one of those deeply satisfying, over-the-tip mouthfuls that define great burgers."
  • Spicy & Tasty: The food at this Flushing Sichuan restaurant in Queens mostly lives up to its name. While some of the dishes lacked sufficient Sichuan peppercorns, the Shredded Dry Beef with Spicy Sauce, "stir-fried with fermented soy bean, celery, chili peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns," was nothing short of "sado-masochistic capsicum-powered self-flagellation."
  • Good Burgers In Chicago: The burgers at Stable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago are more than decent, but the greatness that should come with a $15 burger just isn't there.
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Mixed Review: Crate & Barrel vs. Trader Joe's Cornbread

Two years ago, I did a roundup of standard supermarket cornbread mixes for this column and was generally unimpressed with all of them. They were gummy, thin, and cloyingly sweet. I called Jiffy, my top choice, "solid, if not sensational" and recommended doctoring it up with add-ins like sun-dried tomatoes, poppy seeds, and pecans. This year, I thought it was time to revisit the cornbread basket by comparing two readily available specialty mixes: Crate & Barrel's Buttermilk Cornbread Mix and Trader Joe's Cornbread Mix. More

This Week's Tasty 10: The Most Popular Posts from the SE Cornucopia

Best Bites of the Southern Foodways Alliance 2010 Symposium

The Southern Foodways Alliance hosted their thirteenth annual symposium, "The Global South" recently (from October 22 to 24) in Oxford, Mississippi. Chefs from all traditions poured their interpretations of a "South" without geographic borders into inventive dishes that defied common notions of Southern foodways. Take a look at the 11 best bites from the SFA 2010 Symposium. More

Thanksgiving Sides: Salads

Salads are a light spot at Thanksgiving, a palate cleanser between turkey and stuffing and, well, more turkey and more stuffing. They're also an opportunity to get a little creative, since tradition is a little looser when it comes to fresh lettuce (though lots of us like to include fall specialties like pears, apples, and nuts in the mix). Looking for some Thanksgiving salad inspiration? We've got it right here. More

Becoming a Certified Barbecue Judge at the Kansas City Barbecue Society

"Would those of you who can tell the difference between a McRib sandwich and real barbecue please stand up and raise your right hand?" At the behest of the Kansas City Barbecue Society and by invitation from the Jack Daniel Distillery, I pushed back my seat and joined a sizable crowd of barbecue lovers in Lynchburg, Tennessee, to become a newly minted KCBS judge. With hands in the air, we took the oath. More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekend Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Hot Dog of the Week: Alligator Coney, Northern Kentucky

The standard Cincinnati Coney is about four inches, only slightly bigger than the Troy NY Mini-Dogs but smaller than a Southern ten-pound hot dog, and covered with heavily spiced Cincinnati Chili. The Alligator ($1.59) starts with the same small pink hot dog, but it's covered in a massive pile of shredded neon yellow cheese, and instead of chili, a crisp pickle spear and plenty of mayonnaise. Sound weird? It was great. More

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: Brussels Sprouts Worth Eating

After they're done charred in the bacon fat, I season them with plenty of salt and pepper (I don't like to do it before because I find the salt from the bacon fat penetrates the sprouts as they cook, making it hard to judge salt level), then toss them back together with the crisp bacon. If you're feeling extra plucky, you can go for a full half-and-half bacon-to-sprout ratio. Trust me, you'll be popping them like scrumdiddlyumptious bars. More

Seriously Asian: Tea Smoking

Though I never went through a rebellious stage, where I took up vices like drinking and drugs, I have gotten in trouble in the past for smoking. Smoking fish and meat, that is. The first time I tried smoking a fish in a wok, the fumes from the kitchen crept underneath my front door and attracted the ire of my passing landlord, who wasn't even the least bit assuaged by offerings of smoked cod perfumed with the scent of charred jasmine tea and jasmine rice More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 144: How Do You Avoid a Halloween Candy Diet Disaster?

As a serious eater I have a reputation to uphold. We can't be giving away just any candy at our house. The problem, of course, is that invariably we have a lot of candy left over, and I have an unfortunate tendency to eat a lot of that good candy. This causes me to gain weight, which makes me unhappy, which in turn causes me to eat more candy, and gain even more weight. Yup, Halloween is bad news when you're on a serious diet. More

Congratulations to the SE Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners

We received many impressive entries for the SE Pumpkin Carving Contest this year. Twas a very tough call. But as pastafarians who have been known to participate in the religion of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, we had to give first place to Pasta is My Homeboy by pomme. Snaps also to our runners-up: Brains are Delicious by maddoghoek100 and Last Voyage of the Whaler Recompense by stike. Thanks to everyone who entered! More

Thanksgiving Sides: Onions

I didn't grow up with creamed onions, but they seem pretty luxurious to me— little orbs bathing in rich liquid, cooked until the sweetness has been coaxed forward. Of course, I wouldn't turn away a sweet-and-sour vinegar-basted onion, or a roasted, caramelized one, either. I've often felt that the humble onion doesn't get enough respect. Incorporate onions into your Thanksgiving dinner with these recipes. [Photograph: ilovebutter on Flickr] More

Scandinavian Streetfood: Rød Pølse, the Essence of Danish Hot Dogs

Hot dogs. Probably the world's most popular fast food, and by far the ruler of Scandinavian street food. The three Scandinavian countries all have their own varieties and local traditions, but they all have one thing in common: They absolutely love hot dogs. From boiled to grilled, with or without condiments, homemade or bought at the local hotdog pusher; Scandinavians jump on every chance they get to grab a dog. More

Gadgets: Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer Express

I picked up my Jack La Lanne Power Juicer Express ($99 at powerjuicer.com) a few months ago, and while I only broke into it after summer berries started disappearing, I've found myself eyeing fruits and vegetables a little differently in the store since christening it. That's the point, nutritionally speaking, and it works. But how does the juicer stack up, exactly? More

How Restaurants Deal With Angry Customers

Conflicts with customer, even disappointed patrons are unavoidable. Even at the greatest restaurants in the world, occasional gaffs in service are inevitable—the steak that comes out a shade overcooked, or the forgotten appetizer. But how restaurants deal with these problems is what separates good service from excellent, and what ultimately can convert an unhappy guest into one who leaves with a good experience to relate to his friends. Over at the AmEx OPEN Forum, we talked to a few chefs around the country known for the excellence in service to figure out the best way to deal with these inevitable run-ins. More

Thanksgiving Sides: Green Beans

Green beans: love 'em or hate 'em? Some folks have a soft spot for old-fashioned green bean casserole, while others prefer a lighter lemon-juice-and-toasted-nuts preparation. Here are a few recipes for inspiration. Will you be eating green beans this Thanksgiving? More

Boston: Jasper's Pan-Roasted Lobster with Chervil and Chives

Jasper's, the eponymous North End venue on the water owned by chef Jasper White, became a family favorite growing up, and for one dish in particular: the pan-roasted lobster with chervil and chives. When we'd been storing up our annual excitement for a typical Yankee platter—boiled with drawn butter, baked potato, coleslaw, plastic bib, wet naps—this interpretation was shellfish nirvana. But in the mid-1990s, disaster struck. Jasper closed his restaurant, and with it, I figured, went the greatest lobster dish there ever was. Until 2000. More

Video: Fried Turkey Disasters

Ice and vats of boiling oil don't mix. Some people find this out the hard way: when they're deep frying a turkey. In front of their families and friends. On camera. Here's a compilation of fried turkey disasters to show you what not to do, unless you want to spend your Thanksgiving in the burn ward. Hell, you probably shouldn't fry a turkey at all. More

We Tried Popeye's Fried Crawfish Special

The last time I went to New Orleans, my buddy and I ate a pound of crawfish while sitting on the hood of his car. They're like little Southern lobsters: little red crustaceans with small, but deliciously meaty tails. Throughout the month of November, Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen is offering fried crawfish as their "Popeye's Crawfish Special," a limited-time promotion. (Today, November 3rd, they're offering a free taste of fried crawfish to anyone who walks in.) More

Road Trip: Breakfast at Stanley in New Orleans

Stanley was the first restaurant to serve fresh-made food after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. Chef Scott Boswell, who'd been running the highly acclaimed, upscale Stella, had been planning the unveil of its causal counterpart Stanley (and the "Stanley Burger"). But when the storm left Stella in shambles and the dining market in disarray, it became his only option—and Stella's saving grace. More

Do You Do a Thanksgiving Dress-Rehearsal?

Can you tell that we're getting giddy about Thanksgiving around here? Fried turkeys and sides galore! I'm so excited that I've decided not going to wait until November 25. For the past few years, we've held a "Fakesgiving" celebration with friends in early November. It's a chance to share a meal together before we all split up to mark the real holiday with our families, and an opportunity to do a dry-run with new recipes and vet them for the real thing. Besides, I pretty much never get tired of stuffing, and one day of Thanksgiving just isn't enough. Do you plan to practice your Thanksgiving cooking? More

Thanksgiving Sides: Rolls, Breads, and Biscuits

There may be enough starch at the Thanksgiving table once you have stuffing and mashed potatoes. But really, who stops at enough? Here are some bready bites to complement your Thanksgiving spread. What breads do you like to serve on Thanksgiving? Pull-apart rolls? Crescents? Cornbread? Popovers? More

This Week in America's Test Kitchen: Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

When pork tenderloin is done right, nothing can match its fine-grained, buttery-smooth texture. But even when it's perfectly cooked, this piece of meat can be sorely lacking in flavor. The cooks at America's Test Kitchen knew that a glaze was the perfect way to enhance this bland cut—but only if you could get it to stick. To ensure their coating stayed put, they used a cornstarch-and-sugar mixture to create a textured crust that could hold the sweet glaze. And to make sure the final veneer was thick enough, they borrowed a technique used by professional painters, applying it layer by layer after the previous one had dried. The result? Moist, tender meat burnished by a thick, flavor-packed maple coating. Watch the video for step-by-step instructions or get the recipe at America's Test Kitchen (free registration required). More

The Future of American Cheesemaking Is in Vermont

Twelve years ago, two brothers, Mateo and Andy Kehler, bought a farm in Greensboro, Vermont and set out to make beer; it's a good thing they failed. Then they tried their hand at tofu, and it's a good thing that didn't work out either. This isn't schadenfreude; what happened next is that the Kehler brothers turned their attention to cheese. That worked out really, really well. In a mere decade, they have gone from novices to leaders in one of the one busiest cheesemaking states in America. More

The Nasty Bits: Pickled Feet

For many people, the passing of Halloween signals that it is time to start fretting about the gift-giving season. For the offal lover on your list, consider this: pickled offal and animal parts. Nothing says, "I care for you. You are a special, appreciated person in my life," like a jar of pickled feet, and if you've gone through the trouble of pickling the parts yourself, all the better. More

Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in Greece

Greeks tend to need a breakfast that will jumpstart their day. Serious coffee is in order. Opening your bleary eyes after a long night out to see a briki, the typical Greek bronze coffee maker, bubbling away on the stove is a glorious sight. Along with their small but potent coffees, Greeks like to have a small biscuit, a koulouraki or, even better, a foinikaki, a Phoenician biscuit made from honey, orange juice, and flour. More

Fresh Food on TV: Weekday Edition

With all the channels on broadcast TV and cable and the inevitable episode repeats, it's hard to sort out what's new or worthwhile. Let us sort it out for you so you don't miss anything worth watching. Times may vary with region; check your local listings for exact hour and channels. More

Midterm Elections: Who Will Be the Next Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee?

The 21 members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are arguably some of the most powerful players in our nation's food system. Most of the senators on the committee come from states that focus on industrial crop production and agriculture. These states are also the primary recipients of high subsidies for crops such as corn, rice, wheat, and soybeans. Among the Agriculture Committee's most important duties is oversight of the Farm Bill. The next Farm Bill will be voted on in 2012, and public hearings have already begun across the country. Find out how the midterm elections tomorrow could affect farming subsidies, agricultural research, and nutrition programs. More

Cook the Book: 'Bobby Flay's Throwdown!'

Like any good food show, watching Throwdown! inevitably leaves you not only hungry but curious as to how the winning and losing dishes taste. For all of you Throwdown! fans out there, Flay along with his support team, Stephanie Banyas and Miriam Garron have recently released Bobby Flay's Throwdown!, a best of cookbook including recipes from some of the best challenges of the last 8 seasons of Throwdown!, with both winning recipes and the losers side by side. Enter here to win a copy. More

Video: The Secret Life of Beef

The latest video from environmental non-profit INFORM, Inc, "The Secret Life of Beef," gives an overview of the cattle industry's negative impact on the environment, along with a look at how farmers, restaurants, and schools are trying to make improvements with sustainably-raised beef and lowered meat consumption. The video includes interviews with Cliff Miller, farmer at Mount Vernon Farm, Hans Hess, founder of Elevation Burger, Sean Rembold, chef at Brooklyn-based restaurants Marlow & Sons and Diner, and more. More

The Food Lab: How to Fry a Turkey (and Is the Whole Thing a Sham?)

The concept of frying a turkey simply doesn't make sense. How is it possible that after 45 minutes submerged in 350°F oil that the turkey breast will emerge anything but dry? Is there some kind of magic going on inside the pot that prevents the turkey from drying out? The answer is that it's not possible, and there's no magic. Fried turkey is dry. More

Market Scene: November Markets in Boston

Living in the heart of Boston has plenty of advantages for the food lover. This time of year, we can celebrate the fact that many of our farmers' markets are popular enough and supported well enough to stay open until Thanksgiving week. With this year's extended growing season, we're not only enjoying fall crops, but also a return appearance of favorites like scallions, baby bok choi, baby turnips, lettuces, and radishes. More

Road Trip: Liuzza's New Orleans-Sicilian on the Block

After a long day of eating on the road, we pulled into New Orleans around dinnertime, looking forward to a relaxing sit-down meal and a chance to stretch our legs. We met up with local food writer Pableaux Johnson and headed over to a funky neighborhood joint called Liuzza's on the corner of Beinville and S. Telemachus in Mid-City. Serving New Orleans-style Italian cookery since the 1940s, Liuzza's has a chill-spot ambiance that invites you to kick back with a frosted schooner of Abita ale—just what we needed. More

Day of the Dead Treats: Pan de Muerto

There are so many beautiful aspects to Day of the Dead, but for me this holiday means one thing: Pan de Muerto, a special bread available during autumn weeks surrounding El Día de Muertos. Growing up on Mexico's Pacific coast, I didn't see much pan de muerto. In fact, I wasn't exposed to many traditional Mexican breads other than bolillo, birotes and conchas. My first taste of pan de muerto didn't come until much later when, as a university exchange student in Mexico City, my host family, teachers and friends fed me the stuff until I was nearly muerto myself from overeating. I quickly fell in love with the seasonal treat. More