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BostonAdam

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11 Kitchen Unitaskers That Are Worth the Space

Pizza wheel, if you have young children who like to have their food cut up, is anything BUT a unitasker. It's quick and easy for large tasks that don't require precision, I don't mind using it on a plate if necessary, and it's much safer to use near kids who might reach out and grab it, than a sharp knife. Excellent all purpose cutting tool!

As for that tea thing... come on. A tea kettle and brewing cone are 1/5 the cost together, can do a lot more, and the ONLY time that thing wins is the one out of 100 times you really, really need to walk away right as the timer is beeping.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Miso Butter and Maple

@Emily and Matt Clifton

I used the one here, with the blue label: http://www.hikarimiso.co.jp/products/miso/maru_yu.html

It is neither "red" nor "white" but falls somewhere in between the two in terms of intensity. FWIW it has 560mg of sodium per 12g serving size. I also have white and red misos in my fridge, from different producers. Based on the same serving size, the white has 540mg, and the red only 460mg. So maybe I should have used the red in this case after all!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Miso Butter and Maple

@Emily and Matt Clifton

I used the one here, with the blue label: http://www.hikarimiso.co.jp/products/miso/maru_yu.html

It is neither "red" nor "white" but falls somewhere in between the two in terms of intensity. FWIW it has 560mg of sodium per 12g serving size. I also have white and red misos in my fridge, from different producers. Based on the same serving size, the white has 540mg, and the red only 460mg. So maybe I should have used the red in this case after all!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Miso Butter and Maple

@editnat

Nope, I didn't add any extra salt. My issue with the flavor was at step 2. Did you taste the sauce at that point?

Agreed, mine reheated quite well.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Miso Butter and Maple

Made this tonight. The flavor combination worked pretty well but the ratios were WAY off. It was fairly disgusting as written; total salt lick flavor. I probably tripled the vinegar and at least doubled, maybe tripled the maple, to get it into balance. After that it worked out pretty well -- although the cook time was also way too low. It took about 1h20m.

Good flavor combination, awful recipe as written.

Crisp and Fluffy Dinner Rolls by Way of Japan...and Bagels

Wow! This is fascinating stuff. Can you elaborate on the yukone math? It looks like you've created it in this recipe using half the water and 20% of the flour. Is that an established ratio, something you found experimentally, just arbitrary, or..? While your rolls certainly look great, I'd like to understand how to apply this technique to a wide variety of bread formulas.

3 Roast Turkey Variations That Are Anything but Boring

@Daniel: Thanks for confirming that. I'm thinking I can pre-salt with soy sauce (and maybe a bit of baking soda to enhance the crispiness of the skin) and then putting less into the final glaze. Same salt level that way, just shifted a bit?

@hh deluxe: Google "evergreen content"

3 Roast Turkey Variations That Are Anything but Boring

I'm a big fan of Chinese flavors so I might have to try that version. However, the lack of pre-salting concerns me, as I usually find turkey meat to be pretty bland.

You mentioned that there's enough salt in the shellac to season the entire bird, but does it really penetrate, or is it more of a surface effect? This is an especially important question for leftovers, I think -- usually the skin doesn't reheat well and we end up discarding it.

Equipment Review: We Put ChefSteps' Joule Sous Vide Circulator to the Test

Wow, lack of display is a total bummer. A little LCD screen or something, even non-backlit, would have eliminated this issue and would have taken up almost zero real estate. (Think of any flat pocket calculator you had in the '80s -- this is not cutting edge tech.)

Why Anything Slow Cookers Can Do, Others Can Do Better

The safety information you posted suffers from a major form of selection bias: Namely, the fact that everyone has been told for years not to leave the oven on unattended, and so the vast majority of people don't.

I would personally agree that it's fairly safe, and would feel relatively comfortable with leaving it on. After all, I've never had an issue leaving it on for 8-10 hours while I'm in the house. Not like it knows when I step out for a bit. But I don't think the evidence is quite there.

30-Minute Pressure Cooker Split Pea and Ham Soup

I've never thought about peas in the pressure cooker, but I do chickpeas all the time. And have some on hand right now. Is that a really weird substitution? Seems like it might work...

We Aged Eggnog for 1 Year to See if It's Worth the Wait

@ryuthrowsstuff

Agreed in general, but to be fair the bottle might say "no added sugar" and could be referring to the practice of adding sugar and/or caramel color AFTER distillation and aging. It's quite common. Some rums don't, including some rhums agricole, and they tend to be more interesting and flavorful -- they don't have added sugar because they don't need to cover anything.

I don't think you'd notice the difference in eggnog, in any case. The other ingredients in the mix aren't exactly going to allow a lot of subtlety through.

BTW, I think you meant "cachaca and pisco" -- I can't find any reference to "pusco" via Google so correct me if I'm wrong. But pisco is a grape distillate -- basically unaged brandy -- so it's not related. Good stuff none the less!

We Aged Eggnog for 1 Year to See if It's Worth the Wait

I totally agree that one year old nog is worse than fresh nog -- harsh and boozy. But after TWO or more years, it mellows back down, smooths out, and I think becomes much more interesting. Kenji, please hold on to some for another year, come back, and let us know if you agree! I've done 3 years twice and was very pleased with the results on both occasions.

I also discovered that adding just a small amount of fresh milk -- even 1/8 by volume -- totally erases the booziness in the younger aged nog. Maybe this is just due to dilution but it's an interesting and profound effect.

Unfortunately, while I am a fan of long aging, it definitely does strip some of the interesting "fresh" characteristics, as mentioned. For example, I like my nog with a bit of peach liqueur in the mix, and aging makes those flavors completely vanish. Spiking a bit of fresh dairy and mixing the two, however, seems to bring about the best of both worlds. Next step, Solera method nog!

Israeli-Style Extra-Smooth Hummus

I've made this twice more, both times with high quality tahini (Soom). See my post above about my earlier mods, and not having any fresh tahini on hand.

Both times I actually found it was a bit too thick -- probably because I was so stingy with the water for fear of making soup. And both times I went back to the Greek yogurt. Just a small amount stirred in really adds a nice lightness, a bit of tanginess, and takes any remaining edge off of the texture.

Also I'm happy to report that hummus freezes beautifully. I noticed absolutely no degradation after a month in the freezer.

The Best Salad Spinner

Since there are no other spinners listed I can only assume that this is in fact an advertorial. Weak.

8 Easy Upgrades for Better Banana Bread

Fewer nuts. More chocolate chips. Done :-)

BraveTart: DIY Fudgsicles Are Even More Intense and Refreshing Than the Real Deal

@Timpenin

Xanthan will not give you a gel texture. What you want to look at is "kappa-lbg" -- kappa carrageenan plus locust bean gum, mixed 60/40. It's tough to say exactly how much you'll need but I would start on the low end, maybe 0.2% or 0.3% of the mix, as a percentage of the total liquid.

Note that you'll need to make several changes, as opposed to what's listed in the recipe: For example, you have to heat carrageenans to get them to fully mix and gel. (You'll want to get the mixture over 158F.) You'll also need to add some calcium salts (calcium chloride, calcium lactate, etc), as I presume you're going to be using a nut milk or some other vegan sub, and carrageenans work best in the presence of calcium. You'll want to do the heating step using liquid that doesn't yet have the calcium salts added, in order to control the timing of the gelling.

You can get all of the chemicals on Amazon. Buy small packets, as you really don't need much. Good luck!

The Food Lab's BLT Manifesto

@Kenji

Interesting. My experience with Benton's is that it has a much higher fat-to-lean ratio than most bacons, and if cooked in the oven it's not chewy or meaty at all. On the contrary, it's extremely tender and so fatty it almost melts on the tongue. Of course this works only if you don't overcook or over-render it. You have to be open to the idea of eating some softened fat.

That version of bacon, to me, is perfect inside of a BLT. You get crunch from the bread, crisp texture from the lettuce, juice from the tomato, mild sourness and creaminess from the mayo, and melting smoky richness from the bacon.

The Food Lab's BLT Manifesto

*sigh*

Your bacon is just so utterly overcooked. Crispy?? No. It should be tender and yielding. It should not be fully rendered, and should have enough fat left to pop and melt as it hits the tongue. Benton's, oven-roasted until JUST sizzling. That's where it's at.

The Best Pressure Cookers and Multi-Cookers

Did you test any Fissler models? Just curious as that's what I own and I would be interested in knowing how it stacks up. (Not that I'll be replacing it anytime soon; it's quite solid in my opinion.)

Make a Splash With Bukkake Udon (Japanese Cold Noodles With Broth)

@BillyZoom

I think the other thing is named after this thing. In any case, yeah. It's forever ruined.

Japanese Oyakodon: Chicken + Egg + 15 Minutes = Dinner

Probably my favorite dish of all time. The egg yolk on top is an interesting idea I've never seen before. Kind of gilding the lily though!

I really like making this with shiitakes in addition to or even completely subbed for the chicken. Also works nicely with pressed tofu (brown it first to give the dish some additional texture).

Also personally I half caramelize the onions, and then add the liquid. Get a bit more depth that way.

And finally, a little bit of toasted sesame oil stirred in with the egg adds a really nice touch in my opinion.

Equipment: The Best Manual Citrus Juicers and Reamers

I've tried several handheld squeezers:

A) Enameled aluminum: The enamel chips. They're also difficult to clean -- the oils from the peel really crust on to the enamel.

B) Stainless: Works great, easier to clean than enamel. But the cheaper models use shoddy metal that bends out of shape. And another model I had relied on a pin that held the two halves together. The pin fell out after a while and that was that.

C) Chef'n: Works as well or better than the other two options. As easy to clean as stainless, no concerns about metal bending, and unless you've had too many drinks I don't understand how you're going to snap the handles. I've squeezed hard enough that the ends touched, and they certainly didn't snap. And the whole point of the design is that you're not supposed to have to squeeze as hard. I've had mine for a few years and it's held up very well.

BTW if you want to increase yield from any of the above, first go cut side down, then flip the half (cut side up), give it a gentle squeeze to break up the flesh a bit more, and then flip it back over again. Sometimes I can get up to an extra 1/8oz from a lime this way. Which is important if I'm trying to make a couple of drinks and didn't realize that I only had one lime left in the house.

Equipment: The Best Manual Citrus Juicers and Reamers

I've tried several handheld squeezers:

A) Enameled aluminum: The enamel chips. They're also difficult to clean -- the oils from the peel really crust on to the enamel.

B) Stainless: Works great, easier to clean than enamel. But the cheaper models use shoddy metal that bends out of shape. And another model I had relied on a pin that held the two halves together. The pin fell out after a while and that was that.

C) Chef'n: Works as well or better than the other two options. As easy to clean as stainless, no concerns about metal bending, and unless you've had too many drinks I don't understand how you're going to snap the handles. I've squeezed hard enough that the ends touched, and they certainly didn't snap. And the whole point of the design is that you're not supposed to have to squeeze as hard. I've had mine for a few years and it's held up very well.

BTW if you want to increase yield from any of the above, first go cut side down, then flip the half (cut side up), give it a gentle squeeze to break up the flesh a bit more, and then flip it back over again. Sometimes I can get up to an extra 1/8oz from a lime this way. Which is important if I'm trying to make a couple of drinks and didn't realize that I only had one lime left in the house.