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Dinner Tonight: Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Corn and Cilantro (via Food52)

You could broil everything in a fraction of that time... who wants to keep the oven on for 60 minutes in the summer?

The Food Lab Lite: Five Minute Miso-Glazed Toaster Oven Salmon

Kenji, knowing that you live on the East Coast, I am super perplexed by your advocating of salmon as being cheap and sustainable over other kinds of seafood. The only sustainable kind of salmon is wild Pacific/Alaskan salmon which starts at 18-20 dollars a lb at my local Whole Foods in Boston(other supermarkets don't even carry it.) Not only is this not "cheap", it is hardly good for the environment as that salmon has to be flown cross-country to Boston. Atlantic salmon, which is farmed, is cheap, sure. It's also tasteless compared to Pacific salmon, dyed pink to mimic the brilliant color of wild salmon, loaded with antibiotics due to diseases growing rampant inside the crowded fish farms, and horrible for the environment because the antibiotic- and chemical-laden waste of farmed fish is released into the oceans. US-raised catfish, trout and tilapia are all certified to be environmentally safer choices. And US-raised catfish tastes wonderful when battered and pan-fried, or hashed into potatoes with plenty of mustard. Maybe not as fancy as your salmon dinner, but better for my wallet and for the environment! And if you think that salmon's the cheapest sustainable seafood option on the East Coast, you're missing out on mussels, clams, crabs, lobsters and squid, all of which are local and cheaper by the pound than even farmed salmon.
Sad to see such a misleading article appear on a well-regarded website like Serious Eats.

Ask A Bartender: What's Your Least Favorite Drink To Make?

I'm with bundito here. "We don't carry flavored vodkas so I pour in high quality fruit liqueurs in fruit martinis and people don't appreciate the quality." Ummm if it annoys you so much, why not start carrying flavored vodkas which is what people really want anyway??

Book Corner: 7 Cookbooks with Great Veggie Dishes

Can't believe nobody mentioned Nigel Slater's Tender. Beautiful prose and great tips for not only cooking but growing vegetables.

The Art of Eating's Sautéed Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives 

I would appreciate an answer to that too... I hate flabby skin so I usually skin my chicken for braised dishes. I suppose you could broil the chicken pieces skin-up after braising to crisp them up, but that's way too much work for me.

Persimmon Sour

They're called Hachiya persimmons, not hayachi.

What Cuisine Types Are Most Vegan-Friendly?

This doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone so far: any type of Middle Eastern/Moroccan/Turkish/Greek restaurant with a copious mezze selection will have a lot of vegan options. Unlike Europeans, these cultures don't have the tradition of finishing everything with butter. They also don't use many sauces/stocks with hidden animal ingredients like dashi, oyster sauce etc. You can just order a bunch of mezzes like hummus, baba ganoush, muhammara, orange-olive salad, stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh etc and make a meal of it. They will also have a lot of bean/lentil/rice dishes that are or can easily be made vegan.

Hidden danger in Mexican restaurants: both beans and tortillas might be cooked with lard.

Have You Ever Dry Brined a Turkey?

bowlofjesslove, it's definitely not too late. I salted around 5 PM on Wednesday last year and threw the turkey into the oven about 24 hours later - it was great.

Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas

This year, I'm making Dorie Greenspan's gougeres (cheese puffs). You can bake them at home, let them cool then take them in a tupperware to your destination. If you bring along a bottle of champagne like Dorie suggests in her book, you'll be super popular! ;)

Echo the spiced nut suggestion - I'm making some maple-rosemary-bourbon nuts that I found on Serious Eats.

Least favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Methinks all those who be hating on turkey have just never had good turkey.

I hate pumpkin pie. It's always overspiced and makes me feel like I'm chugging down shots of cinnamon and ginger. You can barely taste the pumpkin.

What's on Your Menu?

Wow, people's menus look amazing! Wish I could attend each dinner for a taste :)

I'll be cooking for between 10-15 people... I'm pretty much the only one cooking so I kept the menu pretty simple:

Pre-dinner nibbles:
Dorie Greenspan's gougeres
Serious Eats' maple-rosemary-bourbon pecans

Main course:
Dry-brined roast butterfly turkey (my own recipe)
Fresh cranberry sauce from Food and Wine
Truffled cornbread dressing with pecans (made using this awesome cornbread)

Mashed potatoes
Seared brussel sprouts

Buttery maple apple pie
Purple yam pie

Have You Ever Dry Brined a Turkey?

Last year, I salted the bird (also added a bit of baking powder, a tip I picked up from one of Kenji's posts about chicken wings I believe) then let it air dry in the fridge over night. The turkey ended up fantastic, very crisp skin and the meat was tasty and moist (I do butterfly the bird before cooking which prevents it from drying out)

Weekend Cook and Tell: Thanksgiving Pregame

OK, this gave me an excuse to get my menu and planning together! I try to keep the meal simple since I'm usually the only one cooking. I'm hoping to delegate the side dishes and get someone to bring an additional dessert. We are going to be 12 people. Here's the tentative list:

Appetizers, to be served with sparkling wine:
Dorie Greenspan's gougeres: These are already made and in the freezer, I will bake them on Thursday before the turkey goes in the oven.
Serious Eats' Maple Rosemary Bourbon Pecans: I'll make these on Tuesday or Wednesday to get them out of the way

Main course:
Turkey: I will make this 70 minute roast turkey which I blogged about last year. It really is a fantastic recipe. The turkey is simply butterflied and salted one night in advance, then roasts to a crisp-skinned, moist-fleshed marvel in just 70 minutes. I will buy a fresh turkey on Tuesday and have the supermarket's butcher cut out the backbone for me. It will be salted and will air-dry in the fridge until Thursday.
Gravy: Check the above link for the recipe. I will make a stock with the turkey neck, organs and backbone on Tuesday or Wednesday, then thicken that with a roux to make gravy. I can enrich it with pan drippings on Thursday.
Jellied Cranberry Sauce: Food and Wine recipe. This is already made and in the fridge, it just takes a few minutes of work anyway. (Any apple works, no need to go looking for Fujis.)
Truffled Cornbread Stuffing with Pecans: I will make this cornbread from my blog on Sunday or Monday. Either Wednesday or Thursday, I will make the stuffing from here, substituting cornbread for the white bread and adding in chopped pecans and a tiny drizzle of white truffle oil. I made this for Thanksgiving last year and it was a huge success!

Side dishes:
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Green beans in a vinaigrette with almonds
Brussel sprouts

All of these side dishes will be made on Thursday morning, although the green beans and mashed potatoes can be made ahead as well.

Purple Yam Pie: I just blogged about this twist on the classic south potato pie. I combined creme fraiche with purple yams (which taste like chestnuts) for the filling. Photo on Photograzing!
Maple Apple Pie: I normally make a single crust version of this but this time I think I will go for a double crust.
Both pies will be made on Wednesday, although the apple can wait til Thursday morning as well.

Whew! I really needed to write all that down otherwise I was going to forget something for sure! :)

Giveaway: Win a Free All-Natural Bell & Evans Turkey from Pat LaFrieda

I love a tart component in my desserts so I'll be going for the cranberry-walnut tart!

Bake the Book: 'Momofuku Milk Bar'

My dream bakery would have zero cutesy cupcakes!

Cook the Book: 'Plenty'

I once had a mixture of sauteed mushrooms, avocado and sesame oil in a fusion restaurant. Amazing!

What is your Favorite Pizza Topping?

I had a plain cheese pizza topped with minced black truffles in Italy once. Best pizza I have ever had, I still dream about it sometimes.

On the other end of the spectrum I love pineapple on pizza.

A new discovery for me - Gjetost Cheese from Norway

I love Gjetost. It definitely catches you off-guard at first. Pretty strong caramel flavor. But it grows on you. I usually slice it thin and eat it on toasted thin French bread which has first been spread with fig jam (try the Dalmatia brand if you can find it) - yummy!

Mussel Recipes w/out Wine!

Mark Bittman just cooks mussels dry :) Heat up a cast iron skillet, fit in as many mussels as you can in a single layer, cook until they all open. Add salt and pepper. Ta-da!

Another Boston Question - Rehearsal Dinner Clambake?

Jasper White's is good and they also have a branch in Cambridge, near the Alewife T stop. Anthony's Pier 4 is on the water near the Institute of Contemporary Art and they definitely do seafood. If transportation is not an issue, Anthony's has a restaurant (with the same name) up in Swampscott (about 30 minutes from Boston) which is on a cliff overlooking beaches, the sea, and a view of Boston. It's definitely big enough for 40-50 people.

Coffee Traditions: Turkish Coffee

@cookiequiz: The foam is the most prized part of the Turkish coffee. In fact the reason it's boiled three times is to build up more foam.

@samiamb: You can get good Turkish coffee in Manhattan at Turkish Kitchen. It's on 3rd Ave around 28th St.

Feuilles de brick

Yes, definitely different than phyllo. Phyllo is much thinner. It will also dry out much quicker and is more brittle as a result. If using phyllo to encase a filling, you have to use a few layers at a time. A single layer is too flimsy to hold the filling. Feuilles de brik (also called warka) is thicker and more supple, so only one layer is generally required. It won't dry out in a flash like phyllo.

If you can't get your hands on feuilles de brik, a very similar product is the Turkish "yufka" dough. You can get packets of it at many Middle Eastern/Turkish food markets for 3-4 bucks.

How to Make Crème Fraîche (in One Easy Step!)

That's great and I would try it just for the satisfaction of being able to say I made it. BUT, creme fraiche is widely available in supermarkets these days. Here in Boston you can get an 8 ounce tub of it for $3.49 and it would cost more than that to buy the buttermilk and cream seperately. (Yes you'd end up with more creme fraiche if you used all of the buttermilk and cream to make it, but who needs more than 8 oz of creme fraiche at a time anyway??)


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