Amateur Foodie

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Favorite foods: Mac and Cheese
    Creme Brulee
  • Last bite on earth: Tea Egg

The Snowball: A Baltimore Summer Classic

@bennyb, because Hawaiians don't have a lock on shaved ice. That's why it's noteworthy.

Manner Matters: Can I Bring My Own Tonic Water?

@sdfishtaco, I thought that there might be some kind of legality to a restaurant serving a product that they do not stock on their premises. Might also be a question of insurance too, i.e. the restaurant would void their insurance if they served something that a customer brought in.

For the Best Food in Bangkok, Hit the Streets

@Ultron, ain't no "thinly veiled" about it. This IS a "check out what I did on my awesome holiday" post. Readers have requested updates on Kenji's 10-week Asian Odyssey and here's one of the post (there have been posts about other places he's visited, you should check them out). So relax and enjoy the narrative (& food porn).

How to Make Extra-Tangy, Extra-Creamy Macaroni Salad

Only thing missing now is a hearty helping of loco moco to go with that good looking macaroni salad.

For the Best Food in Bangkok, Hit the Streets

@Ocean, no matter the height of the stove (and we had a portable gas stove outside that came to about my mom's thighs), mom always wore sandals like the lady in that picture. She never had any major food injuries/burns and no scars from oil splatters. And from what I can see, neither does this lady. It's all about the skill and experience of the cook.

For the Best Food in Bangkok, Hit the Streets

@Ocean, my mother & aunties always wore flip-flops when they cooked (actually they wore them all around the house), even when they were deep frying. Never seemed to be a problem. I think with frying, your hand and arms usually get most of the hot mini-grenades of splattering oil before they reach your feet.

@kenji, I never thought to deep fry preserved eggs and now I so want some...

The Serious Eats Guide to Shopping for Asian Noodles

Great Article! And thank you for following each noodle with recipes!

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

I think Korean food has gotten popular in recent years due to the rise in popularity of Korean Dramas.

Great article BTW.

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Honey?

I find that honey makes the best dipping sauce for chicken nuggets.

Molly Wizenberg's Favorite Cookbooks

Molly's a total hoot on the Spilled Milk podcasts.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Yes, you can eat the banana blossom. Just take the entire blossom and slice very thinly crosswise, so that you get paper thing rings. Put in cold water until time to eat. And since you're slicing the whole blossom, you'll get the very immature bananas which have no flavor and floating in water like little bugs.

The good news: its has the texture of cabbage and the flavor is mild and almost sweet. Use it in anything from salads (like Vietnamese chicken salad) to soups (like bun bo hue) to rice noodle bowls. Use it like you would beansprouts. It's all about texture.

The bad news: it can ooze a sticky sap that's annoying especially when you're trying to slice it paper thin and it makes the knife sticky too (ugh). And that sap turns blackish as it sits in open air, which is why it's sliced and put into cold water. My mother use to oil her knife while slicing up banana blossom to cut down on the stickiness. But that's really the extent of the bad part of eating banana blossoms.

Banana blossoms can be totally addictive and if you get a chance, try it.

Ideas in Food vs. S'mores: Meet the S'mores Cake

For those who feel a tad nervous about make dulce de leche in the pressure cooker, just pour the contents into a glass mason jar,screw on lid, and cook in a slow cooker (covered in water) for a day. I've made it this way and it works just fine, without the worry about explosions and BPA from cans (though I'm pretty sure the condensed milk cans are not lined with BPA).

PS. I don't understand the hostility for this column which is about ideas in food. Not NEW ideas, but great ones. Unless of course, you don't think the ideas are great and that's perfectly fine. If you disagree with their method, write about it, not about how someone else has already done this or how you miss what use to be.

Essential Buenos Aires: Where to Eat and Drink If You Go to Argentina's Capital

OMG, we need ice cream delivery service in the States!

Coconut, Vinegar, and a Whole Lotta Pork: An Introduction to Filipino Cuisine

My gateway Filipino food was cassava cake. One bite was all it took.

12 Fresh Plum Desserts for Summer

You should add Marian Burros' Plum Torte to your list,

It's now my go-to cake for any occasion. Easy and the finished product will make you look like a rock star!

Ideas in Food vs. Linguine alle Vongole: Part 2

Looks so good. God, I'm hungry now.

Chinese Aromatics 101: Stir-Fried Tripe With Pickled Mustard Greens

@Sethonius, the tripe in the picture is called bible tripe. I've only ever seen it in Asian supermarkets. The other type is called honeycomb tripe, for obvious reasons. Unless your tripe comes already blanched/cooked, you will need to do so. It will help remove the 'offal' odor which can be truly awful (sorry, couldn't help it). Here are instructions in prepping tripe,

You can usually prep a lot of tripe in advance and then freeze until you're ready to cook it, like this stir-fry.

Chinese Aromatics 101: Stir-Fried Shrimp With Eggs and Chinese Chives

Love the tip about soaking the shrimp in baking soda. Will need to try this method soon.

Eating Along the Orient Express: From London to Istanbul

Food looked amazing. Dang, now I'm hungry...

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Love love love that underbite on Toby!

The 11 Best Things I Ate During My Cross-Country Road Trip

@kenji, have bookmarked your 'blog' and am totally enjoying the food and journey vicariously through you and Adri. Thx!

Chinese Aromatics 101: Kung Pao Fish With Dried Chilies and Sichuan Peppercorns

@VeganWithaYoYo, try cooking the vegetables first, in smaller batches if you need to, then return all of it to the pan and add the sauce. Then it's just a matter of heating the sauce.

Cook the Book: 'The Nourished Kitchen' by Jennifer McGruther

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Soy Sauce?

I've always used soy sauce to season fried eggs, any eggs really. One of the simplest meals, and my comfort food, is a sunnyside-up egg over rice, drizzled with (a lot) of soy sauce. I think it's an Asian thing because my caucasian friends always looked at me weird when I did this.

Chinese Greens 101: Three Basic Cooking Techniques for Chinese Greens

@VeganWithaYoYo, dashi is not vegetarian or vegan. It is made with fish. A good veggie broth would probably do just fine.

Sorry can't think of any similar substitute for oyster sauce. However, I recommend trying spicy fermented tofu for the steamed vegetables, like this one:

Just take cube and mash to make a paste. You can thin it with a little water or lemon juice. Drizzle over the steamed vegetables. It's also good with fresh vegetable crudites. The tofu is very salt but has loads of umami. My mother use to make up a dish of this 'dip' to serve with steamed cabbage. And I still love to mix a small cube into hot cooked rice.

Suggestions for a Thank You gift (food)

Just got back from a trip back East. My friend and her husband hosted 4 adults and 2 babies. I wanted to bake/make something special for them as a gesture of gratitude (2 babies is alot even for experienced folks). The only requirements are that it needs to survive a few days in the mail and not melt into a puddle in the current heatwave that's hitting the Northeast US.

Any ideas? I'm sort of stumped because what I know they'll like (e.g. chocolate) is just too fragile, perishable, or meltable.

Would this work?....

Last night I made carnitas. In addition to some good meat, I also have quite a bit of salty rendered fat. It seems a shame to throw it out, so I was wondering if I could roast some potatoes in this rendered fat. Any reason this wouldn't work?

The Sprayracha

Ok, I saw this and had to post it, because it's kinda cool.

Your next food project

My next food project/challenge is tempering chocolate. I am totally intimidated by it and I would really like to make chocolate covered truffles for this year's Xmas care packages.

What's your next food project or challenge?

Meyer lemon marmalade

What can I do with a Meyer lemon marmalade that's a bit more bitter than expected? I made a batch this weekend and while it's not bad, it's more bitter than I like. I can give it as gifts, but I would still have about 4 half pints. Any cooking ideas?

multiple posts

Looks like I posted something 3 times. I swear I only hit the submit button once. Anyway to remove the extra posts?

Chik-Fil-A suing over kale claim

Anyone seen this yet?,0,6755981.story

Since everything tastes like chicken, I guess I can see why people would confuse kale with chicken...NOT.

Non-chocolate desserts - ideas needed

My BFF is having her annual holiday party in about 2 weeks. While I don't hate chocolate, I know from past years that most of the desserts will be some form of chocolate and I wanted to bring a spectacular dessert that did not have chocolate in it. Something that has be bit of "Wow" to it. Any ideas?

Sticky toffee pudding - without the dates?

This past weekend, I ordered a sticky toffee pudding from a restaurant. My friend asked what it was and I told her it was made with dates. The waiter than informed me that this sticky toffee pudding didn't have any dates in it. it still sticky toffee pudding if it does not have any dates in it?

Salted Fish - where is it?

I've got a major craving for salted fish and chicken fried rice. Where in the Asian supermarkets are they located? What is it called or labeled? I'm not Chinese so I have no idea what it's called. I'm in the SF Bay Area and have great access to Asian ingredients, but this one is giving me a headache. Looked all over 99 Ranch Market and am about to venture into Marina Foods. Does anyone know what and where I should be looking?

Shrimp stock - other recipes?

I have a ton of shrimp shells in my fridge and am planning to make stock this weekend. I usually use the stock in my gumbo. But got to thinking about what other recipes use shrimp stock. Any ideas?

The Shrub

I went to the San Francisco Street Food Festival on Saturday. Had a terrific time and ate until my belly was bursting. One of the highlights was a little drink called a Shrub N' Soda. It was so good (and non-alcoholic too) that I had to search the web for a recipe. Turns out it's a vinegar based syrup which would account for it's lovely tang. And it seems easy to make, basically simmer fruits in a sugar syrup and then add the vinegar. Serve up with club soda or seltzer.

The festival was great and hope you were able to attend. I avoided the long lines by going way early and doing recon on the trucks that I wanted to hit. It was a blast! See you guys at the festival next year!

Infused alcohol - how long does it last?

So last year, I had some very ripe, but delicious white peaches that I had to do something with quickly. So I threw them into some vodka and then totally forgot about them until yesterday. I've filtered out the spent peach and now have a yellowish, but clear liquid that still smells fruity. Haven't sampled it yet, but I read somewhere that infusions of this sort don't last beyond a few weeks. Something about the taste of the fruit would be gone quickly since this is just an infusion and not a liqueur.

Is that true? Or should I sample and see if the stuff is still drinkable?

Chinese Comfort Food

I'm in need of comfort food and it has to be Chinese. Not sure why, but that's what I want. For all you Chinese/Asian lurkers out there, what's your Chinese (or Asian) comfort food?

Irish Cream recipe

Does anyone have an Irish Cream recipe that results in a very white liqueur? I met an Irish woman who had made her own Irish cream liqueur. Hers looked like no Irish cream that I've seen before - it was snow white suggesting just alcohol and cream, and sugar. I don't think it had coffee or chocolate syrup in it (these ingredients seem to be on all the recipes online). Does anyone have a recipe that sounds like this?

Vegetarian Entrees w/o mushrooms - any ideas?

I have a friend who will be visiting me in about a month and I wanted to make some vegetarian entrees that do not include any mushrooms or too much cheese. She's open to tofu provided it's well prepared (i.e. not just thrown into a salad or on top of pizza). I've a lot of recipes for pizzas, stews, soups, and salads, but it feels like a limited menu, I really need an entree. She's Punjabi and has access to excellent Indian food at home, so I want to give her something different, but just as delicious. Any ideas? I'm kind of stumped.

Cream Cheese Frosting - can it be piped?

My cousin and I are planning a baby shower for our best friend and she's requested a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. My questions are: will I be able to pipe a simple border around the cake with the cream cheese frosting? Is it firm enough to hold for a few hours? We won't be outside and the shower is in early April so it will not be hot either. Or should I use a buttercream for the decorative piping?

Homemade Marshmallows

Last week, I was looking at recipes for marshmallows and encountered 2 types of recipes: recipes that include egg whites and recipes that did not contain egg whites. My question: Is there any detectable difference in final product between the 2 recipes? Just wondering.

I did make marshmallows using a recipe that did not use corn syrup (I ran out). Delicious and reminded me why I preferred homemade marshmallows.

Made Green Tomato what?

I spent the weekend cleaning out my garden, pulling up the tomato plants that were still hanging on. There were a lot of green unripen tomatoes that would have killed me to throw out, so I made a simple green tomato jam (actually I had enough to make to batches) seasoned with cinnamon and allspice. I plan to give some away as Christmas stocking stuffers, but I know that I'm going to get that "What the heck do I use this jam for?". I'm sort of stumped myself. I've read that it's good with meats, on sandwiches, and with cheese and crackers.

What kind of sandwich would benefit the most from a smear of GTJ? What kinds of meats (e.g. roasted, baked, etc)?

Any other ideas, SErs?

What's the trick for a perfect looking cheesecake?

I have a great recipe (from ATK) for a pumpkin cheesecake, but haven't been successful in getting that perfectly smooth looking cake, i.e. on the sides. Am I not greasing the springform enough? Should I be using greased parchment? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Pomegranate Molasses question

I was thinking of drizzle pomegranate molasses on some bacon wrapped dates (cooked and warm from the oven). I should not have to do any additional cooking to the molasses, right?

The Serious Eats Guide to British Sweets

We Brits love little squares of things on bone china plates served of an afternoon following a game of cribbage. We love puddings that steam like a behemoth emerging from a sauna, made from beef fat, treacle, and shrivelled fruit. We love sugared, crunchy things from packets. It's no overstatement to say tea and biscuits are our actual lifeblood. More

Where to Buy Mexican Ingredients in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has the highest population of Mexicans in the United States, with the eats to prove it. When you're done completely redefining your regional Mexican food palate by taco touring your way through this sprawling city, there may come a time when you will want to start experimenting with your very own carne asada and long-braised lamb barbacoas at home. When this time comes, you can rest assured that the hundreds of Mexican markets, corner stores, and even some major local supermarket chains will have your back. Here's where to go for the best tortillas, produce, meats, dairy, and more. More

Chinese Cooking 101: How to Marinate Meat for Stir Fries

Anyone who's read our Wok Skills 101 Guide knows that with a stir-fry, having all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go is of utmost importance. Meat should be sliced. Vegetables should be chopped, sauces should be mixed, and aromatics should be minced before you turn the heat up. But there's another secret that will improve both the flavor and the texture of your proteins: proper marinating. Here's how you do it. More

The Food Lab: Bringing Home General Tso's Chicken

If the British can proudly call Chicken Tikka Masala their national dish, then surely it's time that General Tso got his chicken in our national spotlight. Everybody knows the candy-sweet take-out joint version, but I firmly believe that it has the potential to be so much more than that. How great would a homemade version of General Tso's be, with a flavor that shows some real complexity and a texture that takes that crisp-crust-juicy-center balance to the extreme? More

The Food Lab Turbo: Super Simple Gazpacho

A couple of years ago, I produced what was possibly the most time consuming gazpacho recipe ever. It was damn delicious—the best gazpacho I know how to make!—but took in excess of two hours from start to finish. Today, I'm going to share with you the version of gazpacho I make when I'm feeling lazy. Don't worry, it's still knock-your-socks-off tasty. More

How to Make Juicy Chicken Green Chile Tacos

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of great chicken tacos I've had in my life, and I'd still have one finger left to point accusingly at all the people who've served me dry, bland, flavorless meat in tortillas past. See, chicken tacos don't have to be dry. Just ask the lady who serves up the incredibly juicy chicken tacos at the El Gallo Giro truck in San Francisco's Mission district, or the slow-roasted pick-it-yourself affair from the Los Potosinos truck in Columbus, OH. Here's how I make mine. More