Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Cauliflower?

In line with the recommendations to cook it on the grill, I love it best when roasted at high heat with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Caramelized salty goodness.

It's also great as a substitute for mashed potatoes (steam until soft then mash with butter and seasonings of your choice, I personally like curry powder and a touch of tumeric).

Greek-Style Grilled Chicken With Oregano, Garlic, Lemon, and Olive Oil

Alternatively, Jacques pepin has a cool method for doing a spatchcocked chicken in the oven pressed between two skillets or a skillet and some bricks or something like that. I bet that would work here. You should be able to find it on google.

Greek-Style Grilled Chicken With Oregano, Garlic, Lemon, and Olive Oil

To replicate a grilled lemon in the oven, you can probably just split a lemon in half, give it a light rob with oil and roast in the oven with the chicken for the last 15-20 minutes or so.

Greek-Style Grilled Chicken With Oregano, Garlic, Lemon, and Olive Oil

Great flavor but I can't get the hang of grilling a supermarket sized chicken whole. I'll definitely make this again but I'll butcher the chicken first If I can't get a small 3 pounder or just roast in the oven. It should work out pretty much the same.

If roasting, I'd butterfly the chicken and throw it in a hot oven (400f-425f) until the breast measures 155 or so and the thigh measures about 165. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes and then carve. The flavor will be the same though the skin might not be quite as crispy as you'd get on the grill. It'll still be awesome.

Simple Grilled Potato Salad With Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette

@kvthames - the potatoes need a bit of time to set up, dry out, and cool after par boiling. The longer the better. If you try to grill/roast while they're still hot they won't form a crispy crust and will likely fall apart. If they do hold together they'll just turn out gummy/chewy.

I'm guessing it has something scientific to do with starch. Or possibly magic potato elves.

Simple Grilled Potato Salad With Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette

Really nice recipe. I followed the recipe as written but roasted the potatoes instead of grilling after par cooking (I used the method for ultra crispy potatoes from this site after tossing with the oil, oregano, garlic, and parsley).

Flavor is great and the contrast between acidic dressing and crispy creamy potatoes is awesome. The contrast is why it's good to serve immediately after dressing. You'll lose it a bit once the potatoes soak for a while. Still really good but not quite the same.

Order a Sloppy Joe in Jersey and You Won't Find Ground Beef

NJ native here and I love these things though I will admit to asking for the cole slaw on the side so I can put it on each bite with a fork. Removes much of the sloppiness and makes sure that each bite has an appropriate amount of cole slaw.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Why No One Opens on Time

As someone who has harbored thoughts of opening a small restaurant (or at least providing the funding and grunt work to run one), I can safely say that this series has absolutely changed my mind. I mean that in the best way possible.

Thank you for a very honest portrayal of what the experience is/was like. Reading this series has really made me understand how deep your passion has to run in order to make it worthwhile.

Should You Really Only Cook With Wine You'd Drink? The Truth About Cooking With Wine

@badseed1980 - you nailed it, though I will admit to swilling down my fair share of plonk because it was there and I didn't need it for cooking anymore.

Put Brown Butter to Use in This Moist and Tender Cornbread

The eternal 5 year old in me can't help but love sweet and moist corn bread. I call it cornbread but it's really more of a cake.

Beautiful lead picture but ugh. I always cringe when I see spilled honey. I pity whoever had to clean that up.

The Bird That Bites Back: How Nashville Hot Chicken is Made

I've longed to try authentic hot chicken but since I have no way to get some, I've resigned myself to trying to make a batch homemade. Problem is, I have zero point of comparison for what good should taste like.

Sounds like the spice is more of a straight cayenne with a little bit of sweet than it is a Szechuan type salty/numbing burn?

Can anybody point me towards a recipe that would give me a reasonable approximation of the real deal?

The Secrets of the Juiciest, Most Tender and Flavorful Italian-American Meatballs

No raisins? No pine nuts? That's ludicrous!

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Why Would Anyone Want to Open a Restaurant?

As someone who considered getting into the business before realizing that 1.) my lack of talent and 2.) my tolerance to have to support my family on a shoestring wouldn't allow it, I applaud your sentiments. It's a great point about the lack of separation between your 'work' and your 'real life' - well said and definitely not something that us non-entrepreneur types have an easy time grasping (I'm certainly one who appreciates being able to 'turn off' from my work for a while to recharge).

I've always appreciated the fact that most established chefs and owners are very blunt and realistic with their advice. They'll tell you that their experiences are ones they wouldn't wish on their worst enemies and yet they'll also tell you that they wouldn't have it any other way. The common refrain is that you know if you really have the passion and if you can't imagine sacrificing everything to fulfill it, then keep well away.

I'd love to see this series continue if for nothing else than to watch how your attitudes and mindset evolves with experience. It's really really cool.

Use Your Waffle Iron to Make Decadent Almond Sandwich Cookies

Macarons not waffling shouldn't surprise anyone. Anything French will naturally find a way to thwart innovation in the kitchen. Thank you, I'll be here all ze week...

Serious question. Has anybody tried waffling macaroons? I bet that those would be awesome but you'd probably run into the same belgian vs. traditional waffle issue.

The Best Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia

I'm native to the northeast and am a tried and true cheesesteak fanatic. That said, even I will admit that the meat is usually less than stellar and mostly anonymous. It's really just a neutral binder to hold everything else together.

For me, there's just something about the wonderfully warm, soft, and greasy (in a good way) combination of meat, cheese, and fried onions bound together in a roll that's the perfect combination of chewy, crusty, and soft.

I'm happy to see that provolone is the fan favorite as I've always found cheez whiz to be too salty and not quite sharp enough to get the job done. If you're going the processed cheese route, it's better to go with american or munchee cheese. They're rich enough to satisfy without being overwhelming or cloying and both integrate well with the other flavors.

Also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking for extra fried onions and/or layering on some hot peppers to provide a little cut to the richness. Forgive my trashiness but ketchup is also a must.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Changing the Menu and Considering Feedback

Banana pudding is delicious and if more people knew what it was, they would buy it.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

@fwilger - since you're pre-slicing, there's no reason you need to cook or keep the birds whole. You can separate the turkey into legs/thighs and breast before cooking and separate the skin from the meat (at least from the breast meat).

I'd most likely sous vide the breast meat and roast the legs/thighs but you could also roast the breast meat if it's easier (maybe just layer some bacon over it to keep in some moisture). After cooking the meat, let it rest and cool a bit, then carve as normal, put into a bag, and hold in a water bath. If you cook the breast meat sous vide, then just keep in the water bath until you need it.

Cook the skin by itself (a la the sous vide turkey recipe) and hold in a warming oven until you're ready to serve.

To serve, place the carved meat onto a warm platter straight out of the bag, chop the skin into small pieces and scatter over the meat (or just pile it up and let people take what they want).

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Does this article factor in that the cook (me) tends to get drunker the closer we get to dinner? That always seems to be the issue for me.

@fwilger - do you hold the turkey for a couple of hours because you have other things to finish right before service or because you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen once your guests arrive?

If the former, the battle isn't how to hold the turkey, the battle is how you can rearrange your cooking schedule so the turkey is the last thing done. Casseroles, gravy, etc. all do great in a warming oven. Meat is one of the few things that won't and even a short amount of time at 175 will kill it, regardless of what happens to the skin (especially if pre-sliced).

If the latter (i.e., you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen when guests are there), then you might want to explore sous vide. Cook the meat and skin separately a la the sous vide turkey recipe posted last week. The crisp skin should do fine in a warming oven.

Meat can be held in the water and kept at temp until right before service. If you don't want to cook the meat sous vide, you can still cook in the oven, let it cool off, put it into a bag, and then reheat in the water bath right before service (sous vide is wonderful for reheating meat).

If you cook the turkey sous vide, you could even cook the meat days ahead of time and keep in the fridge until T-day. Keep in the bag and then reheat in water right before dinner.

How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey: The Fastest, Easiest Thanksgiving Turkey

I love this method - don't let the prep scare you but it does require a really good pair of shears and a bit of fearlessness. Don't worry about perfection, just get in there and do it. It might seem like a mess while you're cutting but you won't notice in the end result.

Besides the amazingly short cooking time, the thing I love about this recipe is that it's easy to get every nook and cranny seasoned. Between a good application of salt and a day or two in the fridge to let the spatchcocked bird dry out a bit, the skin comes out so crispy and delicious. The fridge time also acts as a dry brine so you don't have to worry about a waterlogged bird.

Only word of caution. Definitely use a thermometer to monitor progress. This sucker cooks faster than you think and since every oven and bird is different, it's hard to rely on 'X minutes per pound'. My bird last year was about 18 pounds and it cooked in something like an hour (starting from room temp).

What's Better Than Cheddar on Apple Pie? Cheddar Ice Cream

It might be because I'm from the northeast but I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Classic Sage and Sausage Stuffing (or Dressing)

Love this recipe - it's so straightforward and results are great. I'll be using it again this year.

One question. I'll be using bagged pre-dried and cubed bread this year (don't hate, I'm cooking for 40). Any tips on what to watch out in terms of conversion (pre-bagged cubes are about 0.5 inch instead of 0.75 and I'm guessing they're much drier than would be produced from fresh).

Assuming I do 3 batches of the original recipe and keep the non-bread ingredient measures the same per batch, do you think that scaling the bread back to something like 1.75 to 2.0 pounds per batch would be a decent guess?

How to Make Queso Fresco, the World's Easiest Cheese

I love queso fresco but for some reason, my mind went directly to 'queso' when I saw the headline (i.e., trashy nacho cheese dip).

Now I'm disappointed though I'm sure this is a great receipe for queso fresco.

How to Crack Eggs Like a Badass

I forget where I saw the tip but should you get pieces of egg shell into your eggs, fish them out with another piece of egg shell. I have no idea why it works, but it's almost like the egg shells are magically attracted to each other. None of that stupid painful chasing of egg shells around the bowl.

Breakfast of Champions: Why New Jersey is Crazy for Pork Roll

NJ native here and pork roll is worth the hype. Best sliced thin and griddled with egg, cheese, and ketchup on a kaiser roll (the egg is optional as a plain pork roll and cheese sandwich is also a standard diner order in these parts).

Just as acceptable when served withed pancakes. Just like bacon, pork roll does really well with maple syrup.

By itself it's actually kind of meh. It doesn't really work well as a standalone breakfast meat for some reason. Best to stick with bacon (or scrapple if you're so inclined) for that purpose.

Also, because I have to defend my state's integrity - regardless of that deli sign above, I can assure you that we normally spell potato without the E just like the other 49 states.

How to Make my Mother-in-Law's Ultra-Crispy Fillipino Fried Spareribs

Delicious but be warned, you'll smell like garlic something terrible afterwards.

I've done these with ribs before and the 'gnawiness' of the end product is part of the appeal. That said, you can also use boneless pork nuggets and get a great result (cut-up country ribs tend to work really well due to the mix of fatty and lean).

The end result when using boneless cuts is really tender and soft since the marinade/batter/fry process mimics the velveting process used in chinese stir fries.

Spring = Pig Roast!

Got my in-laws a "chinese box" roaster for Christmas and we're celebrating spring with a pig roast.

The hog has been ordered (80 pounds hanging weight) now we just need to decide how to prepare it.

Right now I'm thinking that we'll just do a simple adobo type rub (salt/pepper/garlic/onion) since I'm not a huge fan of citrus-based mojos (though my experience with it is fairly limited).

What are your favorite methods of roasting a whole pig? Any tips or advice for a newbie?

Counter top Combi Oven?

I've been wanting a combi oven at home for a while now but can't get myself even close to justifying thousand of dollars to install an in-wall unit.

I just noticed that a small countertop combi oven is on the market. Does anybody have any experience with it? Is it worth the spend?

Perhaps an equipment test is in order...

Thankgiving recap

I'm calling an end to the T-day leftover season. Generally, two meals of sandwiches and one 'new' dish from leftovers are all I can stomach.

The overall day of went very well, I only ran about 45 minutes behind schedule and that was because the bread I had purchased for stuffing three days before turned out to have mold on it and necessitated an unexpected trip to the store on the morning of.

All food came out awesome - thanks mainly to the recipes on this website.

We even managed to use up almost all the leftovers with the exception of stuffing. I drastically overestimated how much I would need by about double. At least it was relatively cheap - I'm estimating total wastage from Thanksgiving to be about $10 worth of food - not too bad in my eyes.

How your holiday turn out?

Roasts - rest time impact on carryover?

A quick question on roasting meat and resting time - I always let my roasts rest for at least 30 minutes before carving and count on about 5 to 10 degrees of carryover during the rest, depending on size.

If I know that I'm going to finish the roast early and give it a 60 minute rest instead of 30 minutes, will the carryover impact be more than I'm used to?

In other words, is 30 minutes the point at which roasts will generally hit their 'terminal' temperature or will temps continue to rise with a longer rest?

Better to...

Get a 'boring' meal on the table prepared via traditional means 10 times out of 10 or to risk a spectacular crash and burn by trying an as yet unproven (but potentially better) cooking method for an important part of an important meal?


Speaking for myself, I will be butterflying my bird this year before roasting but can safely say that grilling, confitting, steaming(recommended by Jacques Pepin in the NY Times), or turduckening will not be anywhere close to my radar screen this Thanksgiving.

What's your appetite for holiday experimentation and risk? Any good stories to tell?

Sous Vide Smells?

I've been playing with my new SVS for the past few weeks - definitely worth the hype. That said, I've cooked beef a few times and experienced an odd odor every time (both while the bags were in the bath and after I took the beef out of the bags). It didn't really smell bad, it just smelled a bit metallic and chemically. The smell only seems to manifest with beef - pork and chicken have been fine and odorless as you'd expect them to be.

Seasonings or marinades don't seem to make a difference. Food safety isn't an issue as I've been following the existing charts religiously. All instances were cook-serve, so no problems with cooking or storage. All beef tasted normal despite the smell.

Anybody else experienced this? I've found a few references on the internet for off-smelling beef that sounds very similar to what I'm experiencing but no real answers.

My thoughts on what could be causing it:

1.) Beef is the only ingredient I've cooked for longer than 3 hours. I wonder if the bags that come with the SVS machine release sort of odor after an extended period in the bath? Also, it seems odd that I'd be able to smell the food through the bags while still in the bath so maybe the bags themselves are generating the smell.

2.) All beef was previously frozen before being prepped for the SVS. All in vacuum packs directly from the butcher and defrosted at safe temps in the fridge. I put them into the freezer pretty much directly from the butcher case but I wonder if they might have begun to spoil before they ever hit the deep freeze. I've used beef this way in non-SV applications before and never noticed a problem - I wonder if the long time in water tends to magnify a spoilage issue or if the smells created by other high heat cooking methods have been masking it?

3.) The smell is just the smell of beef. I'm just not used to it because other cooking methods tend to hide the smell.


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