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One-Skillet Korean Nachos Will Shake Up Your Party Menu


"... and Asian pear. The pear is often used in Korean marinades because it contains an enzyme called calpain, which tenderizes the meat while adding sweetness. But if you can't find it, a Bosc pear will do just fine in its place."

I read this as indicating that the Asian pear is the only one with the enzyme. It's a bit confusing because it refers to "the pear" -- which sounds like pears in general -- but then goes on to say "if you can't find it," which brings the reference back to the specific pear already mentioned, thereby making me think that the prior sentence was referring to that specific pear rather than pears in general. But I can see that it could go either way!

One-Skillet Korean Nachos Will Shake Up Your Party Menu


Awesome, thank you! Will be interesting to do a bit of followup research and see if this is truly limited to the Asian pears.

One-Skillet Korean Nachos Will Shake Up Your Party Menu

Sorry, looks like I had a typo in my Google search on the second point. Still not seeing anything about pears though.

One-Skillet Korean Nachos Will Shake Up Your Party Menu

Can you provide a reference regarding the enzyme and its presence in Asian pears? I can't find anything except for two food blogs. And nothing at all related to that specific enzyme and meat tenderization. I'm wondering if this is a myth.

Taste Test: Cabbage Kimchi

Chongga is absolutely not a vegetarian "brand" as stated herein, even if that bagged version is. I'm eating some Chongga mat kimchi right now and the ingredients list include both anchovy and shrimp. And IMO it's far more delicious than any of the other kimchis listed here that I've tried -- every one except for the New York Kimchi.

The Comfort Food Diaries: All I Want Are Some Potato Skins

Damn it. An hour later and I'm going through my mind trying to think of something that DOESN'T sound absolutely delicious stacked on top of a potato skin. And I'm trying to watch my carbs at the moment. *sigh*

The Comfort Food Diaries: All I Want Are Some Potato Skins

Wow, captivating piece. I'm not much for potato skins, except for some super-crispy deep fried chaat style ones I had at a local Indian buffet. But now I want some melted cheese, bacon bits, and a sprinkling of chives...

The Comfort Food Diaries: Confessions of a Bed Eater

Bed+sandwich. Add in TV and you'll have George Costanza's trifecta!

Bake Better Bread With the Fourneau Oven

A) Baking cloche. ~$70? Solves ANY potential malformation and/or burn issues, and is not a unitasker. (e.g. I've roasted a chicken in mine and plan to use it for some other purposes soon.)

B) Dutch oven, parchment paper, and a pair of heat-resistant gloves. ~$60? Solves most malformation and all burn issues, and neither are unitaskers at all.

Either way, use the saved $150 or so and buy some nice cheese and cured pork products to eat with your homemade bread. Win-win-win.

By the way, when using a dutch oven I've achieved somewhat nicer results by pouring 3/4 of an ounce of water around the edges just before lidding up. Provides just a bit of extra steam power.

And on the topic of lidding up, come on, Kenji. There is no "awkward drop-and-slam step." If you're awkwardly dropping and slamming, you're doing it TOTALLY wrong. There is no need to rush and fuck up your bread. The few degrees you might lose by taking your time won't matter.

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

TBC hasn't been invited to any holiday parties.

Equipment: The Best Hand Blender for the Home Cook

In my humble opinion, it's better to spend more money upfront.

I think the biggest question is durability, especially with regard to the connection mechanisms for those models that have removable heads. I burned through three immersion blenders, all of which broke because they jammed on something and the gears in the connection mechanism sheared. One it was ice -- clearly not my best decision trying to grind that up. Once a thick puree. And another time, some ginger fibers left over in some soup.

I went to a cooking store and looked at every single model with a removable head. Every one I saw had plastic gears! So I did some research and switched over to a Bamix. No removable head means no plastic, which means no shearing even if something gets jammed. (Not to mention that from a raw power perspective it totally outperforms all other models I've personally seen.)

Bigger initial investment, but it will more than pay for itself if it lasts, instead of my replacing a cheap one every year or two. I think SE should do a second eval and look at Bamix, Waring, and other similar higher end models.

Great Gifts for Aspiring Sous Vide Chefs

Wow, Joule looks awesome! I'm still using my Sansaire, but I have major sousvide envy every time I see one of the newer/smaller units that have hit the market since then.

In Praise of Ugly Food

Well looks like scalfin's response was zapped. That's what I was referring to. I guess moderation is in full swing on these things. *yawn.*

The Millionaire's Turkey: A Father-Daughter Story

The issue with this essay, I think, is that it is pointless. If you consider "In Defense of Bad Coffee" and "Cooking With John," both of them are somewhat poignant and point to lessons learned and/or wisdom gained. Those are really great pieces.

This essay, on the other hand, does the opposite: It portrays a man who is tough to like, and a daughter who seems to have adopted all of his traits (women, drinking, inability to cook turkey). And that's that. I got neither a sense of movement nor emotion. It's just a simple collection of facts, and I'm sorry to say that said facts are not very interesting.

Lots of us have less than ideal relationships with our parents. That's not notable. What might be notable is how your less than ideal relationship made you grow and improve as a person. Still getting drunk at Thanksgiving, unable to figure out how to cook a turkey, even though you're supposedly a food writer? That's stagnation, and doesn't make for an interesting essay.

Ounces and Grams: Why Mass Is Not the Best Way to List Ingredients

@Bill Woods

"what kind of recipe uses gold measured in ounces?"

Clearly you've never been employed as Lil Wayne's private chef.

The Case for Bad Coffee

Wow. Coping mechanism? Fear of death? Methinks someone needs to go relax with a nice cup of coffee.

Get Yerself a Thermapen for $69 Before 11/1!


This one goes to 11.

Based on those Amazon reviews, it seems like Thermapen gives an improvement of 0.2 degrees of accuracy and maybe 1 second of read time vs the competitors. Neither of which is something the vast majority of people, even hardcore food geeks, will ever really notice.

I didn't know about these competitors until clicking your link. I've had my Thermapen for two years now. Do I regret not doing more research before buying it? Not at all. It works perfectly, it feels solid and I think it will last for a long, long time, and I have a high degree of confidence in its readings.

I think that like many luxury items, what you're paying for here is not necessarily a huge jump in performance or whatever, but rather just the knowledge that you have bought basically the best version of the thing you can get your hands on.

The Case for Bad Coffee

Great essay. And that last paragraph? Wow. Yeah, you're pretty much dead on there. But really, it's a generational thing. My mother drank Maxwell House, my father usually Chock Full O'Nuts. Like any other teenager in the '90s I spent an inordinate amount of time in crappy diners drinking crappy diner coffee. There was no Starbucks culture yet. Today, I use beans from Blue Bottle. I'm not planning to go back to the cheaper stuff, and the coffee chains ain't going anywhere. Hell, even McDonald's serves a drinkable cup these days. So it's unlikely that my kids will have many fond mental associations with truly bad coffee...

Also: "Goddamn, Jimmie! This is some serious gourmet shit! Usually, me and Vince would be happy with some freeze-dried Taster's Choice right, but he springs this serious GOURMET shit on us!"

The Varnish's Milk Punch


Interesting. I was thinking the same thing regarding resting and siphoning--and was even going to add some sparkolloid or some other fining agent to help--but then I read the following:

"The overnight steep of milk tastes really harsh by comparison. Strongly of booze and the fruit is not as clear. Also, it seems much thinner, more bitter, and kind of nasty. Basically, like a not very good day old plain punch you have chilled in the refrigerator."

Have you done a side-by-side?

Another twist, perhaps, would be the addition of some rennet to help with formation of a stronger curd. I'm not sure if that would influence flavor.

I have messed with the curds quite a bit and I think they're basically useless for human consumption, except from a purely nutrient perspective. (I presume they're almost 100% casein.) Mine are exceedingly granular and usually have a slight bitter note. Perhaps they can be dried and added to animal food or something like that? Composted?

The Varnish's Milk Punch


That's an impressive batch! How did you filter it? After making several small batches I did a two gallon batch this year for July 4 and it was something like 10 hours of work over two days; the larger batch size seemed exponentially more difficult to work with. Came out great, but unless I can find a more efficient method, I never ever want to do that again.

Why Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey Is the Best Deal In Booze

That's sad about Laird not being able to use the label given the increases in demand. It's an absolutely fantastic product. I hope they're not forced to skimp on quality.

Interesting that vodka and gin can be "BIB" as well. Seems entirely pointless, but has any producer ever done that?