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BostonAdam

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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.

Muffin Myth-Busting: Don't Waste Your Time Tossing Berries in Flour

"Boom. Problem solved."

Actual LOL. This might be my favorite piece on SE, ever.

New England's Greatest Contribution to the Hot Dog

As a Boston transplant somewhat later in life, I have plenty of context with which to compare. And in this case I can actually distinctly remember the first time I experienced a hot dog with a buttered/griddled Massachusetts-style bun. And it was incredible. So much better than the standard buns I was used to.

Agreed that New York dogs are nothing special from a culinary perspective. They're certainly not bad in any way, but just nothing amazing. I can boil a cheap hot dog at home and come up with the same end result. What's great about the New York dog, for me, is where I'm eating it: in New York, which creates its own impact and memories.

And sending out my love to the butthurt New Yorkers already out in force saying that this is all a bunch of crap.

Foraged Flavor: All About Sumac

These things grow like weeds all over my neighborhood and I just discovered today that they're edible! Amazing! Can't wait to try this. The fruits are still a bit pink at the moment.

Olive Brine + Mezcal = Your New Favorite Martini

@ryuthrowsstuff

"I'm not talking about historical time line, or actual evolution from one drink to another. I'm talking about categorizing things as they exist now"

Exactly. It doesn't really matter how it was created or what its lineage happened to have been. But that was your argument, not mine.

What matters is how it is categorized, and categorization reflects what the customer expects. If a customer orders a Martini -- which is a rather unique drink in the cocktail world and probably its own category -- I believe the expectation is a cocktail which is neither sweet nor sour. Do you concur?

Olive Brine + Mezcal = Your New Favorite Martini

@selyar

Check out this new version of a quesadilla I just created. I call it Quesadilla with Jelly and Peanut Butter:

Take two pieces of white bread. Spread peanut butter on one side, and jelly on the other. Put them together, cut in half, and serve.

Based on the logic presented here so far by the non "judgey" types, that's gotta be the same thing, because it's just a simple evolution of a quesadilla:

Start with a regular quesadilla. Substitute bread for the tortilla. Still the same thing, right? We just made a simple substitution that evolved it into a grilled cheese. Now just substitute some peanut butter for the cheese. It's still the same thing...right? Now make another minor change and don't grill it anymore. Still the same? Now just add some jelly. There! We've created a brand new version of the tired old quesadilla.

Clearly it doesn't work there, and for the same reasons it also doesn't work for drinks. We name things to set expectations and ideas. It's not judgey, but rather a fight against complete bastardization of the nomenclature.

Olive Brine + Mezcal = Your New Favorite Martini

It's not a Martini at all. Not even slightly. It shares no qualities or components with a Martini. It's got sweet and sour components, neither of which are ever present in a Martini; it's got olive brine, which is only ever present in the barely-a-Martini "dirty" version; and it lacks any form of fortified wine.

Bad form, SE.

@ryuthrowsstuff That is a creative timeline but it's much more straightforward to argue that the Cosmopolitan evolved from the Sidecar via the Daisy, which is an older cocktail than either the Gimlet or the modern Martini, and which contains both Curacao and citrus.

Israeli-Style Extra-Smooth Hummus

Thanks to everyone who commented! I just made this with several modifications:

A) Soaked chickpeas exactly as called for here.
B) Cooked the chickpeas without adding any additional salt. This worked out perfectly -- they were quite salty from the large amount in the soaking water.
C) Only used enough water to barely cover. This was plenty. And I only needed to cook them maybe 45 minutes before they were completely falling apart.
D) I used the lemon juice/garlic technique as written, which worked out very nicely. But I discovered at the last minute that my tahini was much older than I thought and perhaps a bit rancid. A bit of quick googling and I discovered a Turkish variation on hummus that uses yogurt instead of tahini. So I subbed some Greek-style yogurt, which made a very tasty sauce. A bit different than intended, but I think equally good.

Blending the chickpeas in my VitaBlend was a bit of a PITA. The mixture was extremely thick and I actually could have used a bit more water than I had left from cooking. But in the end everything came together beautifully and I have an extremely smooth, light textured, and bright hummus. I'm thinking of sticking with the dairy route when I serve it tomorrow and baking it in the oven with some butter on top, which I read is another Turkish hummus technique.

Despite the issues I think this recipe has some great basic techniques, i.e. for the chickpeas and the garlic.

The Best Sautéed Broccoli Rabe Is Overcooked Broccoli Rabe

I love the notion of ditching the "everything must always be al dente" ideal. However, I feel you're doing yourself a disservice by using the negatively connotated term "overcooked." If cooking more is what's best, doesn't that imply "properly cooked?" Maybe better to differentiate using "long-cooked" or "slow-cooked" or similar.

How to Make Rich, Flavorful Caramel Without Melting Sugar

@GoCleanYourRoom:

The convection oven works more quickly by constantly moving the air around, in order to improve heat transfer. But to compensate for the air movement and to help users avoid burning things, most convection ovens drop the temperature.

In the case of this recipe, I don't think the additional air movement buys you anything. Sugar is not, e.g., like a big piece of meat with a cold core that takes a bunch of time to heat up. You're talking about a thin layer that should come right up to temperature. So you're moving air over the sugar that's already up to temperature, but the temperature is lower than your target -- meaning, much slower caramelization.

At least, that's my theory. If you can't turn off convection mode, maybe try boosting the temp by 25 or 30 degrees. (Or, better, look in your oven's manual and find out how much it compensates.)

The Comfort Food Diaries: My Coke Habit

Great piece, and there is truly nothing better on a hot day than Coke poured over crushed ice and then sipped through a straw. I don't drink it much (health, blah, blah, blah), so I savor every drop when I do.

I'm still not sure why US Coke doesn't jump on the "corn syrup sucks" bandwagon and make a more expensive pure cane sugar version like Pepsi has had for years. I'd certainly buy it and, I think, consume more Coke than I do today. (And I'm totally uninterested in the version with stevia and cane sugar. I want pure, real, unadulterated, beautiful sugar. Not that I think it's any healthier than HFCS. I think it tastes a lot cleaner.)

Why I Take My Asparagus out of the Fire and Into the Frying Pan

Another vote for roasting -- mine come out looking about the same as the ones shown here. Very easy to do larger quantities. Only issue is that very thin spears can VERY quickly go from perfectly done to winkled, dry, and stringy. Heat control is even more important when something is in the oven, out of sight and out of mind.

How to Make Rich, Flavorful Caramel Without Melting Sugar

@gg4465a

I don't think there's any reason to exceed 100C or even go as hot as 300F called for in this recipe -- if you're willing to take the time. Consider dulce de leche made from condensed milk by boiling the can for several hours. Same reaction, I think; just lower temperature and more time.

Pilsner's New Golden Age

I love the current craft beer situation. Some brilliant lagers, session beers so I can actually enjoy more than one, and cans! Where have you been all my life, beer that I can stack!?!? Good times.

The Benefits of Eating Without a Map

I have to agree with XXDavidsonXX.

It's not just about budget in terms of dollars, but also budget in terms of time and enjoyment. Even ignoring the idea of wasted money, consider that many people simply don't get a lot of vacations or nights out. If you're able to have a nice meal out only once a month, you're not going to waste it on some random experiment. You're going to read some reviews and try to increase your odds. It just makes sense.

As for New Orleans, I think that's a great example of a city where you ABSOLUTELY should research! There are a ton of hidden gems you probably won't stumble upon by wandering randomly, and a much higher number of crap places that you almost certainly WILL find. And I don't think most people will find any sense of enlightenment in a plate of overcooked rice and undercooked beans. They'll just feel like they've wasted time and money.

The Mad-Libs Method for Perfect Fruit Salad in Any Season

I thought this was a great piece and a good reminder that it's important to break the mold on some dishes.

Serious Eats Recommends: 5 Food-Focused Books, Podcasts, Movies, and More We Love Right Now

Any recommendations for really good food (or drink) content on Netflix? I've watched pretty much everything decent I've found to date -- need more!

Stuff I have found that stands out: Chef and Haute Cuisine, both pretty good on the fictional (or fictionalized) end. (Have had Today's Special on my list for a while but it doesn't look nearly as promising.) Kings of Pastry, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and Somm, all excellent documentaries. Aside from those films, the Chef's Table series was pretty good, as was Cooked. Mind of a Chef is available and usually delivers but Netflix doesn't have the most recent season up yet.

The Best Way to Cut a Mango

I cut the lobes off, then cut each one into three pieces lengthwise. To peel them I leave them skin-side down and slide the knife between the skin and the flesh. Usually this results in a nearly perfectly peeled slice. Sometimes a bit of additional cleanup is needed. In any case, it's a safe and effective method and then you can cube the pieces from there. Works really well IMO!

More Than Magic Mushrooms: Playing With Food in Video Games

The Burger Time type game has evolved in the mobile age into a number of very popular food service/assembly games, e.g. Diner Dash or My Coffee Shop. I think they're an important element of the overall universe of food in games.

Why Preserved Lemons Belong on Your Shelf

I've also seen them used in Vietnamese restaurants as the base for salted lemonade, which can be surprisingly refreshing as compared to the fresh version.

Emergency Pancake Syrup, a Simple Hack You'll Actually Use

@gearskin

I think if some store is selling you a product labeled as "maple syrup" that's actually corn syrup, you need to start shopping at a new store. Not sure where you're located but I'm pretty sure that at least in the US and Canada, federal labeling requirements explicitly prohibit that.

Emergency Pancake Syrup, a Simple Hack You'll Actually Use

This looks tasty. Even though I mostly ate Mrs. Butterworth or similar growing up, I am a huge maple fan now. But when I have none on hand I tend to reach for the condensed milk. IMO it has all of the attributes I want from syrup; essentially lots of rich, sugary goodness. Look forward to trying this one out too.

The Food Lab's American Omelettes (and Why You Should Salt Your Eggs in Advance)

@kenji:

"the salt must have time to dissolve and become evenly distributed through the mixture"

I generally season my eggs with soy sauce rather than crystallized salt. Since it's already dissolved, does that mean that soy sauce will not require a 15 minute wait? Or is there some denaturing going on as well that takes some time?


@Blaise Pascal

My wife came home with one of those hinged pans a few weeks ago and made something she called an "omelette" by putting eggs and cheese in only one side and then flipping the thing over. The result was a nicely circular puck of eggs with cheese mixed in. I didn't think that qualified as an omelette so I tried putting eggs in both sides, adding cheese to one side after some cooking had taken place, and then in one quick motion marrying the two halves prior to either completely setting...which naturally resulted in a gigantic mess and my swearing to never touch that piece of crap again.

One Bowl, No Fuss: My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles

@Stella Ah, that's what I get for not reading the recipe first. Thanks for clarifying!