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How to Make Korean Stir-Fried Pork With Chili Marinade and Kimchi (Jaeyook Kimchi Bokum)

There are too many great meat dishes in the Korean canon to pick a favorite, but this one of stir-fried marinated pork with kimchi is definitely in my top five. Easy to make, it features thin strips of pork shoulder in a spicy-sweet blend of Korean chili paste, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil—plus a bit of Asian pear for both flavor and its tenderizing effect on the meat. More

How to Make Aguachile: The Chili-Spiked Mexican Ceviche

If you love ceviche, then Mexico's aguachile is for you. Traditionally made with raw shrimp, lime juice, chilies, cucumber, and onion, it's served immediately while still totally raw, unlike most other ceviche recipes. It's worth trying the original version, but the dish is a springboard for improvisation. Try the three recipes here, starting from the classic, and then proceeding with two increasingly untraditional versions. More

How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

However many ways there are to skin a cat, I'd wager there's fifty times as many ways to make tomato sauce from fresh—not canned—tomatoes. The best, though, comes from summertime tomatoes at the peak of ripeness, and layers the deeply sweet flavors of long-cooked tomatoes with the fresh, bright, fruity notes of barely-cooked ones. This sauce achieves that, and is so good, you won't even need to put cheese on top. More

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

I will say, I turn to the victorinox knives for my paring knives. They're inexpensive, sharp enough for my paring-knife tasks (and even shaper once I take them to the whetstone), and issues like balance and build quality don't bother me as much when it's a tiny knife used for small jobs. I always have a few in the drawer.

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

@akay1 I do think there's a trick to the grip on the peeler and also how you hold the vegetable that you're peeling...it's different with the y-peeler. Maybe we should do a how to peel with a y-peeler technique article. Also, I find the swiss y-peelers that Kenji linked to to be sharper than most other peelers, so you don't need much force when peeling...it cuts more like a very sharp knife. (I also throw away my y-peelers with some frequency and always keep a few new ones in the drawer to have on-hand when I decide the one I'm using is too dull.)

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

Wow, Kenji's list plus some of these comments make this one heck of an invaluable guide for people who need to buy their first set of kitchen gear. I might add a pyrex measuring cup or two and some measuring spoons to the list (though, honestly, when I cook for myself I rarely need them; I use them a lot for recipe development).

@akay1 It might just be an issue of practice and getting used to a new tool shape. I'm not sure I've ever seen a pro cook use a linear peeler, and the y-peeler has been my preference for a long time. I think once you get used to the y-peeler, you'll find they're much faster and easier to use. In other words, once you go Y, you never go I.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@lucien You've nailed it, and these definitions are helpful in understanding this. As you mention, acidity is also my hunch as to why tomatoes stored for too long in warmth start tasting worse than the refrigerated ones, but I don't have the tools to prove the theory. The ones left out seem to lose too much acidity and the tomatoes cross over into dull territory, while the refrigerated ones have been suspended and maintain some of those nice bright notes.

How to Make Aguachile: The Chili-Spiked Mexican Ceviche

@bearnaise From what I've read it's a texture issue with previously frozen shrimp, not a safety one. I haven't tried it out side by side, but that's the reasoning.

Cook-and-Serve Flour Tortillas From TortillaLand Are as Close as You'll Get to Homemade

Stupak says he uses lard, but he also has the recipe on his website, and it gives the option for lard or vegetable oil.

Cook-and-Serve Flour Tortillas From TortillaLand Are as Close as You'll Get to Homemade

@Kenji Hm, I actually don't know what Alex uses either. I assumed it was lard, but then again it would make sense to use something vegetable-based so that they work for vegetarian customers. I can find out though and report back!

Cook-and-Serve Flour Tortillas From TortillaLand Are as Close as You'll Get to Homemade

This is NYC-specific, and doesn't work for at-home dining, but I'm a big fan of Alex Stupak's flour tortillas at Empellon. Tasting Sue Torres' flour ones at Sueños, now closed, were the first time I realized flour tortillas didn't have to suck. In addition to the pre-cooking thing Kenji describes above, I wonder how much the lard in them has to do with quality. Maybe a lot of the bad supermarket brands use less of it or leave it out, both to appeal to fat-averse customers and maybe also for longer shelf stability, but that's just a guess (anyone taken note of this? Kenji?). Anyway, if you're in NYC and haven't been convinced of how good flour tortillas can be, I'd recommend trying the ones at Empellon.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@guy Thanks for the thoughtful response. When I started these tests, I was initially shocked by the results, because they totally defied my expectations (because, before I started this, I was also in the are-you-crazy-don't-ever-refrigerate-a-tomato camp). If for some reason new rounds of testing reverse my initial tests, I'll once again be shocked, and I'll also be intrigued and fascinated and will want to dig even deeper to figure out where things went wrong the first dozen or so times. The worst that happens from my perspective is I eat my words, and own up to it publicly, and we rework these articles to give the best info to our readers as we possibly can. Everyone who said I was wrong will enjoy a big I-told-you-so, but at the very least we will have demonstrated that we're not wedded to any position if better evidence/information comes along and are willing to question ourselves and listen to constructive criticism.

The only thing I'd disagree with you on is that I've violated some kind of journalistic integrity with the headline. I concede that it's brash and loud, but it's not inaccurate, and that's very important to me. Breaking it into two parts, it says "Why You Should Refrigerate Your Tomatoes" (being very careful not to employ exclusive words like "always" or "never", which is what many other publications do if you do a web search these kinds of topics), and then it says "and Ignore Anyone Who Tells You Otherwise", which is cocky for sure, but if I've found conditions in which there are reasons to refrigerate tomatoes, then I'm right to say you should ignore people who tell you to "never" refrigerate tomatoes. Putting aside accusations of trying to create a very clickable headline, which I'll own up to, I don't see how the headline is dishonest or an affront to journalistic integrity.

I'm happy to pull the curtain back further on this: We live in an age, and work in a field, where google search drives traffic, and traffic is the key to our business. I know there are some wonderful, longtime serious eats readers out there who don't need tempting headlines to click and read, but the truth is that the number of people visiting out site through web searches vastly outnumbers that, and we do therefore need to stay competitive by attracting the attention of those web searchers. We don't do a ton of obsessing about SEO here (honestly, we should do a lot more), but we do have to keep web searches in mind when constructing headlines. "Refrigerate" and "tomato" are pretty key words for this topic, and they need to be in the headline. Now, if you actually search those terms on google, assuming you see similar results to what I'm seeing, you're going to see one article after another titled something along the lines of "Why You Should Never Refrigerate Tomatoes". When a web searcher is scanning the results, it needs to be immediately clear that we have taken a different position on this, and this headline cuts right to the core of that.

Still, we hear your comments and we'll try not to go too far off the handle with attention-grabbing headlines, but you may have to indulge us a little given the current state of how these things work.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

Hi folks, quick update: Given all of the thoughtful (and a few angry) comments here, we're going to do EVEN MORE TESTING! This is clearly a topic everyone has passionate and strong opinions about, and while my tests have--I think--raised some very serious questions about how reliable the never-refrigerate rule is, there's no question that even more systematic tests will help settle this further. Here's our plan: here in NYC, I'm off to the farmers market to buy at least a case of tomatoes (whatever I can carry, and double checking with the farmer that the tomatoes have never been refrigerated), then take them to the office where I will refrigerate half overnight and the other half not. I will then bring the refrigerated ones back to room temperature, and then will have as many people as I can round up taste them all, in randomized order and blind, and evaluate each tomato on a scale of 1 to 10 on texture, aroma, flavor, and overall preference. I'll tally their ratings and see where things land. Meanwhile, in SF, Kenji is going to go pick his own because he's lucky enough to have access to that out there, and will do a temperature test: he will leave some tomatoes out and refrigerate the others, then take the refrigerated ones out and cut a slices off of each as the cold ones come back up to room temp to try to evaluate how flavor, aroma, and texture change as a function of temperature. We'll report back with our results as soon as we have them ready.

Mul Naengmyun: The Cold Korean Noodle Soup Perfect for Summer

@joonjoon That's amazing, thank you for posting that. It's funny, my stock was very good, but I have to admit it didn't taste *exactly* like the ones I've had in restaurants. I think you may have just explained why.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@Primi Timpano You make a good point about the tomatoes in the photo which is worth pointing out: None of the tomatoes pictured (except the rotten one) were from my tastings described here. The ones up top and the sliced ones were from my initial round of crappy supermarket tomato tests, and the box is of sauce tomatoes that I used for my sauce article. I needed tomato photos, so I just pulled those in here, but they aren't if the actual good ripe tomatoes I describe in the article.

As for the rest, it's pointless to argue. All I can say is that when I started these tests I was as convinced as you and everyone else that the refrigerator would do terrible, terrible things to the tomatoes and that the counter ones would be clearly superior. But in actual blind tastings, that wasn't the result I got at all. I can lie and pretend that what I always believed is still true, but that'd be ridiculous. At the end of the day, I'm open to further study and more observations on this, but I think I've done enough to very seriously throw the absolute, inflexible insistence on never refrigerating tomatoes into serious question. Anecdotal evidence isn't enough, other people need to do similar side-by-side blind tests to see if my results are repeatable.

Just one more point though--bringing up pico de gallo storage is comparing apples to oranges. Once a tomato is cut open, it deteriorates in an entirely different way than a whole tomato, at least from my observations. I'm not at all surprised that your refrigerated pico is terrible...I didn't do much testing with this over the summer, but the little I did suggests that refrigerated cut tomatoes are pretty terrible (but so are cut tomatoes kept at room temperature overnight!).

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@Seattle Food Geek

It was a straight A-B blind comparison, not triangle. My goal over the summer was to squeeze in as many tastings as I could, with as many different tomatoes (both in terms of variety and overall number) as I could manage, to try to eliminate the possibility that, say, I just happened to be putting better ones in the fridge. But it would be great to design more stringent and elaborate tests.

I didn't think to measure mass because water loss hadn't occurred to me as being a potential culprit. I'm curious what your observations have been. The thing that really stood out to me was the dullness that a lot of the counter tomatoes seemed to suffer after spending 1+ days in the heat...either they lost acidity, or it became more difficult to taste the acidity, leading to a duller flavor. Any thoughts on that front?

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@Rsmurf You'll have to take my word that the tomatoes were good quality, and very ripe. I agree that the refrigerator is not ideal for tomatoes, but based on my tastings I have evidence that heat can be even more damaging to a tomato's flavor. One of the first things to go with exposed heat, based on my tastings, is any appreciable acidity. A good tomato, just like any fruit, should have a sweetness that is balanced by some level of tartness, whether an apple, a peach, or a tomato. I think most people will know what I'm talking about: you bite into that apple, and it's sweet, but it's missing that top note, that brightness, and it just tastes dull. Well, test after test with my tomatoes at home, I found prolonged exposure to high temperatures did exactly the same thing to tomatoes. In many cases the ones that sat out in the heat ended up insipid and dull, which the refrigerator managed to preserve some of those good qualities. That doesn't mean a refrigerator is good for tomatoes, it just means that in certain conditions it's arguably better than the alternative.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@SonVoltMMA You're absolutely right that the primary concern with picking tomatoes early is damage that would happen if they were riper and softer, but damage and spoilage are intrinsically linked: the same processes that make a tomato soften and thus prone to physical damage are also responsible for eventual breakdown and spoilage; it's no accident that the sites of initial spoilage on a fruit like a tomato tend to be where damage has first occurred (a tiny bump or bruise, or crack in the skin provide exactly the open door bacteria, molds, and other microorganisms need to get in there and do their thing). I'm with you though, even with spoilage, there's no reason not to cut out the bad spots and eat whatever's left.

Mul Naengmyun: The Cold Korean Noodle Soup Perfect for Summer

@surcredibility Yes, Kenji's pickling brine would work great if you want to make your own pickled daikon, it's spot-on for this! Here's a recipe you can use, substituting the radish for cucumber: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/10/quick-pickled-cucumbers-rice-vinegar-recipe.html

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@SunVoltMMA We all have different bodies and experience temps differently, but by my standards, if I can wear a sweater in an air-conditioned house in the summertime without sweating, the thermostat is pretty darn low. Anyway, the article is clear: If your home is that cold, the counter is probably fine. If it's not (and many aren't), then the fridge is often better. Also, 1-2 weeks for fully ripe tomatoes with no loss in quality? I have trouble believing that. I've worked on farms and harvested ripe tomatoes by the thousands in Italy and they simply don't last that long; if they did, big-ag would be harvesting tomatoes a lot closer to ripe than they do. You may have a very different idea of what ripe is than I do.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@tofof I can clarify more on my kitchen temp. Of course, because it's real-world, it varies quite a bit, but on any given day it can swing from the high 70s to the mid-to-high 90s during the summer. Based on industry studies of early-picked tomatoes, the storage sweet spot seems to be somewhere in the 55-70 degree zone (one study I saw actually indicated that it's more granular than that, with different levels of ripeness performing better at slightly different temps within that range). I had no way to create multiple climate-controlled rooms for this test, so I can't draw a firm line, but my advice, just based on my experience, is that if your kitchen is starting to creep over the 75F mark, I'd seriously consider refrigerating the tomatoes. That's ballpark. Also, tempt fluctuation would be interesting to study, but very difficult to set up without some special space to do it. For instance, if you have a kitchen that is mostly under 75F, but peaks for 2 hours during the day, is that not such a big deal, or is it better to refrigerate to avoid those 2 hours of higher temps? I have no idea...

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

@guy I'm sure I'll eat my words plenty in the future (and already have plenty of times in the past), and I'm always happy to see people contest anything I write and am open to considering counter-arguments. But just to clarify, my tastings over the summer didn't contradict my earlier piece, they've actually bolstered it. My tone may be a little bit blustery, but that's just dramatic effect because I'm taking on a piece of dogma that a lot of people are totally inflexible about, and am instead offering a more nuanced way of understanding tomato storage. With much more controlled settings, and fancier tools and instruments, it's definitely possible to get even more specific about the hows and whys of this topic, and someone else's tests may challenge some of what I've written--BUT, if there's one thing I'm very confident about, it's that the "never refrigerate" rule does not stand up to taste tests.

Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise

I'll cop to the link-bait accusations, but I'll also defend my reason for the dramatic headline: Do a google search for refrigeration and tomatoes and you'll see one article after another, all titled something like, "Why You Should NEVER Refrigerate Your Tomatoes". The only way to stand out and have my point heard when people are searching for answers on this topic is to counter that with a very clearly contradictory headline. Of course the issue is more complex than the headline suggests, but that's what happens when you only have a handful of words to work with in a headline. Second, I don't agree with those who have said the headline is wrong: What I'm contesting is the inflexible rule that you should always leave tomatoes out at room temperature, and what I'm offering is an explanation of why you should often refrigerate them in conditions that are actually very common for people at home (especially in tomato-growing regions where temps tend to be high in the summertime...Bay Area is one exception, clearly). Note in the headline that I didn't say "Why You Should ALWAYS Refrigerate Tomatoes". That, indeed, would be wrong.

Dim Sum Classics: Braised Chicken Feet (Phoenix Claws)

Interesting to see the different reactions to this. For me, gnawing cartilage off bones is one of my favorite pastimes. I never understood how people can eat chicken wings, for instance, and leave so much meat and cartilage on the bones. That's the good stuff in my eyes!

Dim Sum Classics: Braised Chicken Feet (Phoenix Claws)

This, along with tripe with turnip and star anise, is my all-time favorite dim sum dish. So psyched for the recipe!

So You Want to Pitch a Food Article? What to Do (and Avoid)

To respond with one more example to @ocean's question, at some publications it can happen that when a writer pitches an original, good idea, but isn't the right person to write the piece, the publication will offer an "idea fee", essentially paying the person for the idea with the understanding that it will then be assigned to someone else to write.

And to weigh in on the copy-editing question that comes up again and again in the comments here, I think it's important to explain very briefly how editing usually works. At old-school print publications with big staffs and big budgets (yeah, you know, the ones that are hemorrhaging money and failing as businesses), they have a dedicated team of copy editors whose sole job is to read for spelling, grammar, and clarity, as well as fact-checkers and researchers who make sure all facts in a piece can be backed up and defended. That job is different from the main and top editors, who read for content, tone, structure, voice, humor, etc. Of course, all editors, if they spot grammar and spelling errors, should fix them, and all should require backup from writers to support facts. But it's not possible to read a piece with big-picture questions in mind and also simultaneously read it for all the small details like spelling and grammar, and do a perfect job on both fronts. It requires very different parts of the brain, and very different ways of reading. You might say, "Well, if you don't have a dedicated copy editor, then why doesn't an editor read it once or twice for the big picture stuff, and then again for the small copy-editing details?" And the answer is we do. But there's a problem: once you've read a piece too many times, you start to not see things that are there, you develop blind spots. That's why you need fresh eyes. Plus, for most editors, those of us who are good at the big picture questions aren't always as good with the detail stuff, and those who are good with the detail stuff aren't always as good with the big-picture stuff. This, in the end, is why big publications have dedicated copy editors, researchers, and then main and top editors. But a website with a small staff like SE can't afford to hire that many editors full time. And frankly, a lot of the publications that traditionally do hire that many editors and are able to publish a product with fewer mistakes, are having such a hard time in the new, digital economy. Here's the bottom line: In an ideal world, we'd have a copy editor on staff, but at the moment we don't, so we do the best we can and try to catch as many of the small details as possible while still working on the big-picture stuff. Still, we're never going to catch it all, and whenever anyone points out a mistake in the comments, we're quick to correct it (one bonus of the digital space is that corrections can be made nearly instantly, unlike print). We really do appreciate it when folks point mistakes out. Given the above explanation about how all of this works, my only hope is that folks can point out errors in a nice, helpful way, if they take the time to do it at all, instead of being nasty about it, which sometimes happens. There's no reason. And we should all love and appreciate the work that good copy editors do, because it's a skill few have.

As for pitches, they're short and it's your one shot to impress an editor. Cruel as it may seem, errors in the copy are not going to win an editor over, even if that editor sometimes makes mistakes as well, even on this site and in an article that discusses the importance of not making said mistakes. That's life!

Deviled Eggs Carbonara (Crispy Pancetta, Pork Fat, Parmesan Crisps, and Black Pepper)

@mofish Thanks for pointing out the missing cheese in the recipe. I just fixed it (the remaining cheese should be blended into the yolks). Glad you liked it!

From the Archives: The Key to Perfect Ceviche

@peter I clearly state above that it's Kenji's recipe and in no way have taken credit for it. It's standard practice here to highlight recipes from the archives, and because I wrote the above words, my byline is on this piece of text.

The Ultimate Fully Loaded Nachos

What does it take to make an incredible plate of bar-style, fully loaded nachos? For starters, at least three kinds of cheese, two kinds of beans, and two different applications of creamy, tangy dairy. It may sound like overkill, but there's a method to this madness. More