Blogger, healthy eating advocate, BBQ competitor and caterer (no really, you can do both).
I like to eat. It doesn't show because I was blessed with good genetics and was raised in a family that encouraged healthy eating and exercise.

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  • Location: Toronto, Canada

The Good Bagel Manifesto

*applause* I once told off a boss for toasting her bagel, a bagel that had been hot from the over when I bought it earlier that morning. What's wrong with people??
I'm Jewish. We take our bagels seriously.

The Serious Eats Mushroom Shopping Guide

To help eliminate the guesswork, we've broken down our favorite mushrooms and fellow fungi...

You ARE fun guys at Serious Eats.
(Had to say it.)
Great guide.

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Pickle Brine?

Those are fantastic ideas. And yes, pickleback.

Use Kimchi to Make a Light, Mayo-Free Chicken Salad With Kick

I've done this, because kimchi.

Vitamix vs. BlendTec vs. Breville: Who Makes the Best High End Blender?

Wow, that was eye opening. I've had a Vitamix for years that I got as a gift and love it. However, I've been saying for almost as long (after I discovered Blendtec) that if I had to buy another one I'd go Blendtec because, as you noted, it's significantly smaller and lighter, + the presets and the easier cleaning. You've changed my mind. Eventually I might buy the smaller, 32 ounce Vitamix cup because years into Vitamix ownership I still have trouble making smoothies that are under 750ml (25 ounces). I always hesitate at the price, even though I've seen it at Costco for $100 CAD.

Win a Copy of 'Marcus Off Duty'

Mac 'n' cheese, short ribs, potato salad with new potatoes. The list goes on.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: The Toll of Owning Your Business

Echoing what others have said, this series has been an incredible read. As a BBQ caterer myself, the series is inspiring. The Swine will be getting a visit from me the next time I'm in New York - and isn't that one of the reasons for this series (i.e. promotion)?

I wish you the best of luck and success.

Win a Copy of 'Plenty More'

I don't know what qualifies as "unusual", but what comes to mind is mashed cauliflower, parsnip fries and zucchini noodles - or any other vegetable spiral sliced for a pasta noodle analogue.

Win a Copy of 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

Mac 'n' cheese. Or a grilled cheese sandwich. Or chicken soup.
I can't pick just one!

15 Lesser-Known Berries You Should Try

I'd add Saskatoon berries, aka serviceberries. Where I live they are everywhere for a short time but most people don't know what they are. I often grab 'em off trees as I walk by. I know people who find them on public property and harvest.

Also, you made the lingonberry-IKEA connection but didn't mention that many people have only heard of elderberries because of Monty Python? :) "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

How to Pack For the Most Delicious Camping Trip Ever

Granted, I car camp and now have a small RV* but ideas for car or backwoods camping without electricity...

Korean BBQ is great for camping. Veggies, marinated meat, grill. The best cooking device for this - and one of the best cooking devices we've bought - is the COBB cooker. I'm not sure they do North American sales anymore but the Cobb America website is still up and running. It comes in a carrying case so it might or might not be good for backwoods camping but is definitely awesome for car camping.

Like DAFOXL, we pre-season/marinate but with our vacuum sealer. (How did I ever survive without a vacuum sealer?!)

Wine in a box is a must. Camping + glass don't mix. The box with the plastic bag inside can be burned when it's empty and the bag rolls up small. The internet once told me that people reuse those bags to make camp showers. For beer, take cans. Those beer ads on TV where they show people rafting and then pulling out glass bottles are infuriating. Someone's going to get hurt on glass, and cans can be crushed for less waste. Some people fill Camel Back type water holders with alcohol.

We sometimes take cartons of liquid egg instead of whole eggs. Lightweight and portable without worry about breaking eggs.

Take a good foraging book with you (or a foraging app, if you have cell phone reception) and forage your food.

*Two weekends ago we had an electrical site so we took a waffle iron 'cause we could.

How to Trim Pork Spareribs Into a St. Louis-Style Cut

Nice. We're on a hiatus from competing but maybe I'll meet you on the KCBS/NEBS circuit another year.

How to Trim Pork Spareribs Into a St. Louis-Style Cut

Nice turn-in box in the lead photo. Which contest was that? :)

The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

Great post! I've got the older one bookmarked and occasionally refer to it. It will be updated.
I still want to try hard boiling eggs in the immersion circulator. Haven't gotten around to it yet.

Grilling: MOINK Balls

I'm a big fan of the moink.

Bake the Book: Seriously Bitter Sweet

A straight up chocolate brownie, dark and fudgy.

Birch Syrup: A Secret Drink Ingredient You Should Know

A guy I know who sells birch syrup at farmers' markets describes it as "maple syrup's angry cousin." I like that. Birch syrup is a good ingredient for fish marinade.

Ask a Cicerone: What's Your Favorite Session Beer?

I came back to this post long after I read it just so I could recommend Stiegl Radler. 2.5%, half beer and half grapefruit juice. Sounds strange but it's brilliant and it doesn't get more sessionable or refreshing on a hot summer day.

A Fond Farewell To Google Reader

Feedly's good for Chrome but I find that on iPad I can't always get it to swipe properly. Still, a good reader. There's a good list of Google Reader alternatives on Listly, and anyone can contribute to it.

Ask the Critic: Are Cronuts Worth the Line?

Interesting. I rarely do lines. I'm also guessing that, with the usual lag, the cronut fad will hit Toronto in about 3-5 years.
(But now I'm curious.)

The Burger Lab's Toppings Week 2013: Poutine Burger

As a Canadian - and not even from Quebec - I have mixed feelings about this. It sounds like it could be really good but I want to dislike the idea more than I do.

A Fond Farewell To National Managing Editor Erin Zimmer

Ask a Bartender: What's The Most Ridiculous Drink Order You've Ever Gotten?

I like ifreefall's story.

Ask a Bartender: What's The Most Ridiculous Drink Order You've Ever Gotten?

Nice ones. I too like "The Green Douchebag". Our local (next door) makes awesome cocktails but it's fun to feign being a douchebag and order outrageous stuff. Because it's our local they can tell us to fuck off (or politely say no) and we're cool. It means they'll also indulge us occasionally.

What annoys me is when people walk into our local craft beer bar and order something like Corona, Heineken, Bud Light, Molson Canadian or Labatt Blue, none of which are on offer. "Craft beer" is in the bar name. It's fun keeping a straight face while the bartender recommends something "similar".

TL;DR version: Know your audience. Be respectful. Don't be a dick.

Farewell, Serious Eaters!

Sprouts (NOT Brussel sprouts)

I'm talking bean/vegetable/grain sprouts.

Other than in salads and sandwiches/wraps, what uses for sprouts are there? There must be a wider use for them.

Surprisingly, the supplier of the sprouts that I bought don't have any suggestions on their website. The next time I go to their kiosk I'll have to ask.

Bugs in the cupboard

This is pretty gross...
I noticed a couple of bugs in a cupboard where I keep empty jars, spices and extra bulk dried goods that didn't fit into jars. There were a couple in an empty jar. I don't know how they got there, as the jar appears to have been closed.

Then I pulled out a bag of brown rice and found little holes in it. There was a bug trapped in one of those holes. When I transferred the bag's contents to a jar I found a bunch wriggling around. Obviously I'm throwing out that rice. I'm disgusted now.

Does anyone have a solution to both prevent bugs and to get rid of the ones I've got? Is there some sort of trap?

I'll have to go through the cupboard carefully and throw things out and give it a good cleaning. I guess I'm getting rid of stuff for passover after all.


I'm putting this under "good and drink" although it's more miscellaneous.

Cooking with Quail Eggs

I recently bought some on a whim. They were there and cheap, it was a novelty. I've hard boiled them and scrambled them into stuff. Truth be told, they taste like hen eggs. I wouldn't buy them again, but they're cool to have now.

Any ideas for usage?

Help Me Perfect My Stovetop Espresso Maker Coffee

I recently bought a stovetop espresso maker. I read the instructions on the box and also searched online for tips. Instructions and online tips say to heat it on low heat. It takes at least 20 minutes to make the coffee this way, which I didn't realize when I bought it.

Is there a way to speed up the process? Also, how do I know that it's completely ready? I listen for it but there's always some water left in the bottom chamber. I use an electric stove, which might be the problem.

Advice on making the perfect espresso stove top?


Leftover salted caramel and salted caramel frosting

I made Kate’s Beer Geek Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel to take to a party tonight. I ended up with 18 cupcakes instead of 22-24, and my salted caramel didn't turn out well. I realized that something was wrong when I added the cream and it didn't bubble up. I think that in fear of overcooking/burning I undercooked. The caramel didn't turn dark enough, it didn't thicken enough, and it ended up a bit chunky (white chunks), which might have been from using too much butter (I eyeballed it).

The bigger problem (?), however, is that I have both too much frosting and too much caramel.

*Any ideas of what to do with leftovers?*
*Can frosting be frozen?*

I don't have an ice cream maker, so that's out.

I hope the cupcakes taste good. I topped each with a bit of salt, a drizzle of caramel, a chocolate chunk and a dried cranberry. My other party treat is "matzoh crunch" made from the original recipe on David Lebovitz's website (+pecans and dried cranberries). In the summer heat I've had to refrigerate it, as the chocolate was still not hard hours after I made it.

Wanted: Quick and efficient tips for chopping chocolate

It seems like a simple thing, and yet I can't seem to get it right. I'm currently making a mousse cake the requires chopped chocolate*. I didn't have the patience to chop with a knife so I tried chopping in my Magic Bullet (flat blade) because according to the infomercial, it can do that. Like the previous attempt, it failed (previously I'd also tried freezing the chocolate first, and that didn't work either). Then I tried a plastic bag and hammer. Failed.

So, back to the knife and chopping board, chopping roughly with my palm pressing down on the back of the knife. I cut my hand and the process was messy with chocolate chunks flying over my counter.

Any tips? Is the secret to chopping chocolate a good knife?


*I'm making a chocolate espresso mousse cake recipe that I found at David Lebovitz's blog awhile bag, replacing some of the espresso with Kahlua.

Vegetarian Crock Pot recipes

I've just bought a 4 quart slow cooler on sale, as I've heard positive things about slow cookers and I once had a friend who raved about them. Now I'm looking for recipes. I searched the Serious Eats site and found a Moroccan Jewish dish in comments (November 2007) and I will definitely try it some time, being Jewish. I know that baked beans are an option.

Other ideas?
Can I cook soup in it? I'd use it for the tortilla soup that I'm making for Friday evening (see my previous post) .

Small Mexican themed potluck ideas

Ideas? Recipes? It's "potluck" but I think that there's less than a half dozen of us in attendance so "Mexican fiesta dip for 20" is overkill.

One idea I had was something chocolate. One person won't eat anything custard-like or anything with cooked fruit.

I prefer vegetarian but can work with meat if I make it myself.
(Explanation: I prefer organic meat and have access to a suitable butcher but eating vegetarian is easier and cheaper.)

Tools at my disposal include a rice cooker and a Magic Bullet, if that helps.


Favourite food blogs?

Over time I've been pruning my online news reader (Google Reader, if you're wondering). Even on my slow work days it can take hours for me to get through my feeds, despite skimming headlines. I've removed a lot of recipe blogs because of the tendency to print out recipes that I never use.

Besides Serious Eats, what food blogs/food-related RSS feeds do you like the most? Let's compile a "must read" list.

The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

The secret to peeling hard boiled eggs? Well "secret" might be a bit of an exaggeration. Here's the truth: there is no 100% fool-proof method I've found, and I do believe I've tried them all, many, many times over. That said, a bit of the old scientific method has helped to greatly increase my success rate. I can now pretty routinely produce perfectly boiled eggs with clean-peeling shells, and you can too! More

The Food Lab: Vegan Burgers That Don't Suck

Personally, I do like a good veggie burger. And I'm not talking one of those hockey puck, soy protein, faux-meat, painted-on-grill-mark atrocities aimed at vegetarians who secretly (or publicly) miss meat. I'm talking a veggie burger that actually tastes of grains and vegetables. A veggie burger that celebrates its veggie-ness yet can stand up to and be complemented by the typical toppings and condiments you'd find at a backyard cookout. I'm talking a veggie burger that even a meat-eater would happily eat—topped with cheese and bacon, if they want. And heck, just for the fun of it, why not add an extra challenge here and make the burgers 100 percent vegan as well? More

Mezze Place: The Neighborhood Middle Eastern Restaurant That Astoria Deserves

Mezze Place is a Middle Eastern restaurant in Astoria with a quirky talent for vegetables, a friendly, romantic vibe, and one of the greatest chandeliers in New York. In many respects it's an archetypical neighborhood restaurant—welcoming, affordable, often quietly delicious—with some gems worth bragging about to those in farther zip codes. More

Kale and Cabbage Gratin

This recipe is a great example of a rich, comforting vegetarian dish. Sure, it's loaded with healthy cabbage and its dark green cousin, kale. But it's also topped with cheese and butter. Vegetarian? Yes. Meager? Certainly not. More

Meet & Eat: Gail Simmons

"There is nothing I truly won't eat, but a few foods I prefer not to eat if given the choice. Veal is one of them. I will not refuse to eat it if someone cooks it for me but will never choose to buy or order it. It just does not appeal at all. And black beans. I have a strange aversion to them. A black bean soup made me sick once when I was younger. Oh, and I despise root beer. It makes my skin crawl." More

Why You Should Become a Regular at Jodie's in Albany, CA

The joint's six seats place everyone a good word's length from the griddle, the prep counter, the other customers, and Jodie himself—and Jodie Royston is not a man who takes money from strangers. Naturally, it takes only one meal to become a regular, especially when one takes hunger into account. The restaurant's sprawling menu—over 64 specials splayed across two walls in the form of cheeky laminates and repurposed receipts—offers a bounty of flavor beyond the fried chicken leg. More

The Food Lab: The Best Vegetarian Bean Chili

Why does vegetarian chili get such a bum rap? Beans can taste good in chili. Tomatoes can taste good in chili. Heck, even pork and tomatillos can taste good in chili. So why shouldn't we be able to make a completely meatless version that tastes great as well? My goal this week is to create a 100% vegan chili recipe that has all of the deep chili flavor, textural contrast, and rib-sticking richness that the best chili should have. More

The Vegan Experience: Say No To Faux

I can't stand faux meat. I just can't abide by the stuff. I understand the appeal, and it's precisely because veganism is a diet of moral rationale that mock meats exist. Folks don't want to eat animals because it automatically implies exploitation, yet they grew up with delicious bacon and don't want to give it up. It's a trade-off that some people are willing to make, yet deep down (or even just below the surface), I think pretty much every vegan knows that no matter how great those new soy-burger patties are, they'll never compare to the real thing in flavor. My question is, why even bother? More

The Vegan Experience, Day 0

I eat meat, a lot. It's my job. I write about burgers. I tell people how to cook steaks. I fry a half dozen turkeys at a time. It's just what I do. Granted, on a day to day basis outside of work, I consume mostly vegetables accented with a little bit of meat here and there. But when I tell folks that I'm going vegan for a month (starting tomorrow), I get a pretty wide array of responses. This is precisely why I feel like it's an interesting project to take on. More

The Food Lab: The Best Guacamole (and the Science of Avocados)

Guacamole was the very first dish I learned how to make, unless you count heating up a frozen chicken pot pie or pouring hot water into a Cup of Noodles. The best guacamole is the simplest. What's the best way to incorporate aromatics? Does the seed really prevent it from browning? What's the best way to mash your 'cados? We'll answer all of those questions today. More

From Behind the Bar: So You Want to Open a Bar

Your life sucks. Sure, you make good money, but you're never home, you hate your boss, whatever industry you're in is either uninspiring or downright evil, and you want to take your ill-gotten gains and leverage them in to something that gives you the lifestyle you've always wanted. Do you open a Subway franchise? No way. Where's the fun in that? You want to do something fun. You want to open a bar. More

Grocery Girl: Identifying Yourself as a Food Person

We plot what we will eat next. We daydream about what we ate yesterday. We set our sites on the perfect ice cream cone, the ideal curry, the ramen to put all other ramen to shame. A great meal brings brightens us down to the soul, inspires us, elates us. And we delight in its details and myriad components—the shopping, the planning, the prepping, the cooking. The sights and smells and flavors; the conversation and nuance and joy and possibility. More

So Long, Folks (and See You Next Week)

Well, folks, are you sitting down?* This is it for me. The end of an era. After four and a half years at Serious Eats/SENY, almost eight years of blabbing on Slice, and six years of intermittent burgering on A Hamburger Today, I'm bidding a fond farewell to you all. Today's my last day at Serious Eats, a site (a group of websites, really) that I'm happy and extremely grateful to have had a part in shaping. More

The Nasty Bits: How to Make Chicharrones

When I asked Kenji if he knew of any good recipes for chicharrones, he instantly thought of a technique he learned in Colombia. The method seemed too good to be true: place segments of pork belly in a wok with a bit of water, set it over the stove, and let the fat render out over the course of a few hours. Towards the end, turn up the heat, thereby using the fat in the wok to deep-fry the belly. More

Nutritional Yeast- How do you use it?

I often read recipes calling for nutritional yeast. Most often they are vegetarian or vegan recipes that look interesting to me but I have not tried them because I know little about the ingredient. I know a good number of... More