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A Serial Cereal Eater

Decoding Your Meat: A Guide to USDA Beef Labels

Interesting that the image of the grocery store beef comes from Wegmans, which I know takes great pride in labeling their ground meat "irradiated." I'm guessing this is a voluntary label too? I happen to buy Wegmans ground beef to make burgers and I've liked it over other supermarkets' 80/20 ground beef, although I'm not sure if that's because of the irradiation or just a more careful approach by the butchers. (And yes, I don't grind my own grass fed antibiotic free organic beef from the cow from the farm down the street. There are still some of us for what it's worth.)

Double Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

These are really excellent, even if you're indifferent to coconut. I made them for a Christmas cookie party but couldn't even stop my family from eating them. Super chocolatey would be an understatement, and I loved how they feature a toasted, crunchy top with an interior which still retains a bit of moist and deep chocolate richness. I actually subbed unsweetened baking chocolate for half the recipe and folded in 2 ounces of mini chocolate chips, and it still came out great.

The Glorious Return of French Toast Crunch

Seriously Leandra. Whether it be in the taste tests of every cereal I've wanted to try but haven't quite gotten to, or in your treatise of packaged, now-banned-from-public-school baked goods, keep writing. I love all the content here at SE, but a guy can only waffle so much :)

I really love that these are coming back. It's such a great snacking cereal and all due respect to General Mills, but this half-assed attempt with Frosted Toast and Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch wasn't going to cut it. This gives me hope with Oreo Os, although, sadly, I think part of the territory of discontinued cereals comes with having a passionate but very small niche market. It's like discontinued TV series'. For lovers of Frosted Mini Chex, Honey Graham Life, and Frosted Flakes Gold, our bittersweet purgatory endures.

Hopefully we get some other good cereals this new year. Always an exciting time for breakfast aisle fans.

A Cookie a Day: The Porky Pleasure of Biscochitos

This might be a dumb question, but is lard measured like butter? That is, by weight and not volume? If so, would I treat the solid lard as 14 grams = tablespoon as standard American butter?

How to Make the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers

Not to detract from a great looking recipe, but I don't understand the "point" of 85/15 Turkey, unless it's a cost-cutting measure (it is cheap pretty cheap preground.) I've made plenty of great and juicy 85/15 Beef burgers, but when I'm making burgers for a health conscious family on a budget, 93/7 Turkey works great on the grill. As long as you're watching the cooking time and don't use Turkey Breast, 93/7 seems like the ratio if you're looking for something healthier. Otherwise just go with beef.

How Thanksgiving, the 'Yankee Abolitionist Holiday,' Won Over the South

Another awesome story, Robert. Just wanted to say how much this history buff has been enjoying your features!

In the Midwest, Great Bologna Is a Way of Life

Count me as a reader who is really enjoying the recent emphasis on food history and anthropology. There are a gazillion websites out there trying to win people over with "food porn" (God I hate that term) and shock writing and reviews, but SE has really upped its game for those of us who actually want to learn something (and get a chuckle in from time to time.)

As far as bologna goes, "Trail bologna" sounds an awful lot like Lebanon bologna. I wasn't raised on any kind of sausage in particular, but discovered Seltzer’s a few years back and absolutely love it stacked between some Martin's potato bread.

Why Candy Corn Deserves Our Respect: An Appreciation

I think all the new flavor variations (I'm thinking of Brach's and the Pumpkin Spice, Apple Pie, etc.) have given some of us who thought we disliked candy corn a second chance, and speaking from my own experience, I now love the stuff. I think for some people the key is to eat it with a counter-balance of a salty flavor. Buttered popcorn works great.

Introducing the Ultimate Four-Layer, Candy-Packed Halloween Ice Cream Cake

You're doing this completely wrong, Max. Payday should go with Dulce de Leche!

In all honesty this is great. Makes me jealous of all the leftovers you guys have hanging around in your fridges (freezers).

A Day in the Life: Ed Levine, Serious Eats Overlord

Diet Barq's is without a doubt the most underrated diet beverage in existence. Love the bite on that.

10 Fall Vegetables You Should Put on the Grill

I would add Kabocha squash the this list. I think it takes high heat better than the other squashes in terms of its final texture and flavor, which is almost caramel like. I often grill it over high heat to get a nice crispy exterior and finish it indirect. The inside stays creamy (for lack of a better word).

Puppy Chow: The Must-Try Chocolaty, Peanut Buttery Midwestern Snack

As someone who blew my allowance on football cards, I feel ya, Carolyn. I actually never had this until my cousin's family put it out one year at Christmas. I assume the family had gotten the recipe from a gluten-free friend or source because of my cousin's celiac disease, but like everyone else who sampled it, I could have cared less if it was gluten free or not. It was just freaking delicious. I have to think similar cases have helped it go from gluten-free treat to more mainstream status.

So You Want to Pitch a Food Article? What to Do (and Avoid)

As an acquisitions editor for a university press, I can tell you Max's advice holds true for any proposal for an article or even a book. After establishing the market, I'd argue one of the most important things is to communicate an element of competency in execution and delivery. Most editors are overworked and the last thing they like is holding hands or arranging things for the writer.

The Real Reason Sugar Has No Place in Cornbread

I love articles like this. Reminds me of the woman who was the Food Anthropologist on Good Eats. Thanks Robert!

Cheese 101: Why Imported Italian Mozzarella Isn't Always Better

Meant mozz...damn kindle autocorrect

Cheese 101: Why Imported Italian Mozzarella Isn't Always Better

Liz, any reason not to go for BelGioioso moss? Its always been the ubiquitous choice (not to mention affordable) for fresh moss in supermarkets from my perspective.

7 Ways to Use a Cast Iron Frying Pan (Besides Frying)

Whenever I think of alternartive uses for a cast iron pan, I can't help but think of baby Sicnlair from Dinosaurs :)

How Korean Cuisine Got Huge in America (And Why It Took So Long)

I live in a suburb of halfway between Washington and Baltimore, and I really never noticed Korean food until 2012 or so. Sure, there were Korean restaurants, but their signs were in Korean (for all I knew, Japanese) and always clustered in "Asian" plazas. Things started changing a few years ago when I noticed more and more Korean bakeries opening among more "mainstream" plazas. Then a Bon Chon opened and hit facebook with the express fusion thing going on, right on down to advertising to white guys like me who enjoy that hallowed combination of wings and football.

All I can say is gateway, and soon I started checking out some of those bakeries, finding myself delighted with the crunchy peanut-buttery topping of soboro bread. In fact, I think there's an equal place at the table for the sweet side of Korean cuisine in bringing people in. But more than anything else, I think social media plays a huge role, and a definite marketing attempt by chains like Bon Chon to reach out to people of all ethnicities.

Taste Test: 1 Day, 23 Pop-Tart Flavors

I could never get into Pop-Tarts, but when I had the Chocolate Frosted Peanut Butter ones, I was hooked.

Manner Matters: How to Order Pizza for a Group

I find one of the bigger issues for ordering pizza for a group is more related to the pizza cognition theory. There are some people who take it as a personal affront should a (gasp) Hawaiian pizza make an appearance, or if the crust is a certain way, or if basically it comes from a mainstream pizza chain in general. By the same token, I hate just ordering "safe"--cheese, pepperoni, and maybe a veggie. If I'm going the mainstream chain route like the idea of getting a non super traditional pizza like a BBQ Chicken (mainstream chain) or a White Pizza of some kind. I say play to the strengths of the location. It’s pizza, after all. Unless you’re a vegan, it’s tough to absolutely hate it.

10 Great Ways to Buffalo Sauce Your Food

Potato Chips + Cottage Cheese + Buffalo Sauce + Honey = Basically the best snack combo conceivable.

Giveaway: Win a Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer

Ice Cream, and red for strawberry :)

Giveaway: Win a Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer

Ice Cream, and red for strawberry :)

The Best Frozen Yogurt Is the One You Make Yourself

Max,

What's your opinion on using yogurt with added sugar and flavor (vanilla) as a base? If one decides to go that route, should we take into account whether the sugar source is an invert sugar or not, in addition to the amount of stabalizers? I know a lot of lowfat and fat free yogurts add pectin, modified food starch, etc. How does this effect the final product?

Likewise, with our mix ins, I've noticed a lot of recipes I've searched for avoid crunchy additions like chocolate chips, etc. Is there a reason for this from a freezing perspective, or is it just in line with the "ethos" of a product which isn't neccesarily meant to be a sugar bomb?

Cheese 101: Hard Facts About Hard Cheese

No questions on this one, but man, I love reading this column every week.

Baking with Cooling Racks -- What kind to get?

I've often seen recipes that advise cooking bacon or oven-fried items on a cooling rack set over a baking pan in the oven, and even received a rack over Christmas for this very application. However, after I got it I noticed the packaging said it was not oven-safe. I ended up having it returned, but looking online, I'm dreadfully confused. Reading reviews on Amazon show some buyers saying certain racks are oven safe and some aren't. Does anyone have any suggestions for purchase (preferably not on the expensive side of the spectrum?)

Thanks in advance!

Roasting Kabocha Squash -- Why So Moist?

Kabocha Squash was my big 'discovery' in terms of vegetables this past winter, but I've had mixed results when roasting it. For the most part, I've roasted it at 425 or 450, checking up on it after 20 mins or so (usually roasting for close to an hour.) I've been salting it maybe 10 minutes before cooking, and giving the slices (varying in size, oftentimes) a light coating of olive or canola oil. More and more, I've started using foil to both line the squash on the roasting pan, and also covering the slices for the first 20 mins or so of cooking (was inspired by advice from The Science of Good Cooking from America's Test Kitchen.)

My goal has been that creamy, non-fiberous texture that comes right off the skin when you cut it, with a concentrated and caramel-ey flavor that would basically make any kid olve vegatbles. But lately I've been getting slices that still retain enough moisture that the flavor just isn't there.

What am I doing wrong? Not enough salt? More oil? Smaller slices? Or is it something else? Is it how I choose the squash at the market or the inconsistancy of sticking to a standard recipe or direction?

Thanks in advance for any advice. As I'm sure you know, these things are too good when their good to waste on just being ok.