Profile

FredipusRex

  • Favorite foods: Pizza, pizza, pizza. Fried chicken, burgers, steak, pasta, peanut butter anything. Ice cream, frozen custard, chocolate chip and molasses/ginger cookies, most anything with cinnamon (no tree nuts).

Why Sherry Vinegar Deserves to Be Your One True Vinegar

I love having various vinegars. I've always been partial to sherry vinegar - it's an upgrade to most wine vinegars. I've been using a lot of chinkiang vinegar in non-Asian recipes too - it's cheap *and* delicious.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

I am fortunate to live about 5 minutes from The Spice House, so I've got a cabinet full of their little glass jars. They put on labels that explain the spice (or spice blend) and how its used (helpful for those oddball spices you linger over and buy on a whim).

The one thing they don't carry (to my chagrin) is long pepper. Max must have another source for that...

The Best and Most Accurate Way to Measure Wet and Dry Ingredients for Baking

Caption: "Your eye should be at the same level as the line when measuring."

Me: I didn't realize how important proper eye alignment was for using the tare function on a scale...

How to Make the Ultimate Rich and Creamy Vegan Ramen

@erica - Kikkoman makes a nonalcoholic mirin (Koterri Mirin) but it's easy enough to make a substitute. Mirin brings sweetness and a little tang, so you can substitute some simple syrup with some rice vinegar and a pinch of salt (say, 1/3 cup of simple syrup, 1/6 cup of rice wine vinegar, add a pinch of salt if the vinegar is unseasoned to get you the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe). That'll get you in the ballpark.

You could potentially do a 2-to-1 white grape juice + vinegar (I'd do that for small amounts) but given the large quantity in this recipe, I think the flavor might be too strong.

Our Vegan Month Progress: Week 3, Checking Privilege and Staying the Course

@drmstwizard - I'm all for empathy. I don't find privilege checking especially empathetic - for instance, your assumption that I am unaware of or disinterested in extreme disparities. I grew up on public aid in the 70s - I know exactly what it's like to see your single mom struggle to buy food for the family using food stamps and the embarrassment of having to sort your groceries at the checkout aisle because some types of food and household goods could be purchased with stamps while others had to be purchased for cash.

I also know what it's like to eat Hamburger Helper for 6 nights in a row, broken up by the occasional Tuna Helper. To this day, the taste memory of Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni makes me tremble. I am also aware of the taste of squirrel, bear, raccoon, rabbit and other critters because, in my family, you had to get your protein in whatever way it could come. My mom lived in a cabin in the woods with three siblings and no mom growing up - no electricity, no car, no running water, no plumbing. I'm actually really well aware of deprivation - even teeth are in short supply among my mom's generation.

But to many of us who were raised in real poverty, the social justice mentality of "privilege" and "intersectionality" seems condescending and elitist - "I care more than you do".

tl;dr - Expressing "empathy" is appreciated by all, "checking privilege" is a marker that brings more baggage than needed.

Our Vegan Month Progress: Week 3, Checking Privilege and Staying the Course

@crystalbunny - My neighborhood grocery store (family owned) would be right up your alley - they have an entire case of pre-prepped veggies. Peeled garlic, diced onions (red or white), chopped or sliced versions of every type of produce they carry - all in small tubs (bigger ones for bulkier foods).

If I was truly feeling lazy, I could just buy 10 tubs of stuff and make a full vegan meal in 15 minutes.

How to Make the Ultimate Rich and Creamy Vegan Ramen

@dorek and @Kenji - Yeah, I know the difference (I make both - my son's birthday meal each year is tonkatsu - the cutlet - with homemade sauce and sticky rice). Just fat fingered it, like the "tokotsu" in Kenji's reply. 馃槂

In terms of vegan vs pork, I'd make a lousy vegan not because I like eating critters (I do but feel guilty about it) but because my mushroom allergy means I can't eat most of the good vegan stuff. Trying to get "meatiness" without mushrooms is hard - you can try kombu and soy but those flavors are very distinct. I generally end up using browned tomato paste plus a little soy but it's not the same. I also have a ridiculous number of bitter receptors (I once had it tested - it's like 10x more sensitive than normal) so eggplant is only good in small doses.

But for those of you who love and can eat shrooms and eggplant, buon gusto!

Our Vegan Month Progress: Week 3, Checking Privilege and Staying the Course

Oh no! "Check your privilege" has now filtered into food blogs.

How to Make the Ultimate Rich and Creamy Vegan Ramen

It may be the height of vegan deliciousness, but better than tonkatsu? I cannot believe that (primarily because I'm allergic to mushrooms, so I've never eaten a mushroom-enhanced broth and never will).

Pork rules!

Taste Test: The Best Fancy Drinking Chocolate

If they really want to avoid piling on the little guys, they could use a modified version of the CI template - recommended, with reservations and not recommended. Only write paragraphs on the recommended ones, a little blurb grouping the "with reservations" together and just a list of the "also rans". If the REAL issue is avoiding negativity, don't be negative about the also rans - just list them.

Taste Test: The Best Fancy Drinking Chocolate

Look, I love Kenji and he's definitely one of the good guys, but that explanation didn't fly then and doesn't fly now. It's rarely the "little producers" that fall to the bottom, it's the big (advertising purchasing) companies' cheap mass-market stuff that hits dead last.

Every one of these taste tests end up with a stream of dissatisfied comments - SE simply isn't reacting to them because we are not their customer - advertisers are. They need to find a balance between editorial content that does not offend potential advertisers and yet still draws eyeballs. In the early years, that balance was very much on the "eyeball/reader" side, which got them a loyal audience but lost money.

The balance has swung to the "make advertisers and sales" happy side, which makes the old readership grumpy but probably doesn't bother the new casual readers. I used to tease Kenji that SE was becoming a glossy and he'd scoff, but it has.

SE used to be the better, web-centric version of Cook's Illustrated - more open, more modern and more approachable with a small but devoted readership. That's hard to monetize (hence the CI model of "charge three times for the same content") especially on the web.

SE is now the better, web-centric version of Food Network Magazine - more in-depth and web-savvy than FNM but with an increasingly similar sort of "browser/grazer" readership. FNM doesn't have taste tests - they just recommend some products and give you a few paragraphs on them. Easy skimming material - quick hits mean more page views. This is a far more sustainable business model but is in serious tension with its historic brand. So us old timers see "taste test" as a betrayal of the original brand while editorial probably sees it as bridge from old (taste tests) to new (SE Recommends or What's Hot).

No one gets upset at the advertorial balance at FNM - that's who they are and what they sell and they get a readership that is fine with that. SE gets blowback because they are changing (fairly radically) while denying they are changing in any but the most benign ways.

In the end, it doesn't matter - SE needs to do what it must to survive. The grumpy old-timers will eventually leave and the comments sections will fade away or become the "OMG, SO YUMMY!" variety. Most articles are already that way.

SE used to really be "the destination for delicious" but now it's more of a "something pleasant to skim while waiting for a Food Lab article." At least, that's what it is for me - from a several times a day addiction to a check in occasionally habit.

Taste Test: The Best Fancy Drinking Chocolate

These taste tests where you try over a dozen brands and then just list the top three are really annoying. You have no idea of what was tested but didn't make the cut. The new Serious Eats tests are so much inferior to the old ones (with rankings!) that they're basically just advertisements.

Basic Chili Paste to Replace Chili Powder

@flukehawkins - Make soup! :)

Around the World in Hot Sauce: An Illustrated Tour of 18 Varieties

FYI - you've got Scoville testing almost exactly reversed. The Scoville test is done by extracting the capsaicin contained in a specific quantity of dried pepper into alcohol, which is then added, drop by drop, into a known measure of sugar water. The diluted capsaicin/sugar water mixture is then tasted by a panel of five tasters. Drops are added until 3 out of 5 tasters can detected *any* level of heat. The dilution level is then calculated and transformed into Scoville Heat Units (multiples of 100 SHU).

As for Cajun Pepper Sauces, the best is Bat's Brew. Made from habaneros and jalapenos, the addition of lemon oil enhances the fruitiness of habanero. It's spicy without killing you and not overwhelmingly vinagarey - perfect for a seafood gumbo.

Adam Kuban's '8 Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams,' 2014 Edition

Adam -

Great list as always and glad to see you back (however briefly). When I was in NYC this month, I dropped by Prince Street on your recommendation and loved the Spicy Spring. I'd eat it every day if I lived nearby - which is why I'm thankful it's about the one style of pizza I have nailed. My own spicy pepperoni (Vermont Smoke and Cure, whizzed 6-in-1 tomatoes with Aleppo and/or Calabrian chiles) is a near cousin.

That pepperoni and vodka pie will be on my list for next time - the pie that consistently haunts my dreams is the vodka Sicilian at Artichoke (I know it's a controversial place but man does that pie mainline my pizza jones).

I've had the pleasure of eating at Caleb's Pizzicleta - it's fantastic. It was the last pizza I ate before destroying my knee in the Grand Canyon - in a weird way, a major before/after of my life took place there.

The pizza I haven't eaten that haunts my dreams is Margot's Pizza. But one day, one day...

Good eats, Adam.

The Food Lab: The Secret to Perfect Beef Tenderloin? The Reverse Sear Strikes Again

You had me until horseradish cream. For some reason, I've never liked the sulfuric astringency (mistaken for heat) of horseradish. Must be the same reason I only like mustard as a flavoring agent and not as a condiment. Isothiocyanates just seem irritating rather than spicy.

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

I just bought a Vitamix 750 for my wife's Christmas present (good thing my forum name has no connection to my real name). I considered the 5200 (it's cheaper) but reviews I read seemed to indicate the shorter, squatter jar on the G-series Vitamix + the tamper fixed the few problems (like ice crushing) that you saw in the 5200. It's a little more powerful too - supposed to be better for grain grinding.

But we'll have to see once it gets unwrapped...

The Glorious Return of French Toast Crunch

Oh, if only the article was about TEAM Flakes... I miss that cereal every time I go down the aisle.

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Prime Rib

So, without any pan drippings to speak of, how would go about making a good jus to go with the meat?

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Prime Rib

The Q: Does it really matter when I salt my meat? section, the text and the pictures don't align. The text describes three pictures, all above the text. The (newly repurposed, I assume) section intersperses only the first and third picture within the text.

#corrections

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Prime Rib

So, what's the "blood" that comes out when you slice an unrested piece of beef? Is it simply intercellular oxymyoglobin + water/"juices"?

The Ultimate Guide to Eating in NYC, All in One Place

If you want stark proof of the change of focus, look no further than your Chicago page. The last review was in September and then you scroll back and see a few more in the summer. There's a marked uptick in May and then you come to the "An Open Letter to Serious Eaters" on May 5. And before that, a daily explosion of reviews and content.

Which means that you had a recipes and reviews site with a strong "review" side until the Open Letter. Then, the handful of reviews that were "in progress" prior to the open letter trickle out over the next month and then reviews stop. SE simply isn't relevant as a review site anymore. Sad, but true.

The Ultimate Guide to Eating in NYC, All in One Place

How is this guide going to be relevant in the future when SeriousEats simply doesn't do reviews any more? The linked guides are all from the previous SE regime - most of them are well over a year old and one of them is from 2011.

In the past year, the restaurant reviews have gone from well over a dozen per week, to the occassional "roundup" to none at all. The product reviews went from in-depth reviews and ratings of an entire category to the highly controversial "best 3" from a category to none at all.

SeriousEats is a recipe site now. I happen to like recipe sites, so I'm fine with it, but at some point you've got to make the decision as to what you want to be. I'd love to see a return to the old concept of a guide to food both inside and outside the home with some special focuses (Slice!), but I certainly don't want to see half-hearted attempts to placate that demographic with pretty links to 4 year old roundups.

(I just check the last full month's posts, and there are two "restaurant" reviews - one for Philly Cheesesteaks and one "where to eat at the Atlanta airport". There are also two single-item equipment reviews for the Thermopop and the Oxo Salad Dressing container.)

The Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago

@Dom - I'm not a big fan of Malnati's in general (cpd007 was the resident Malnati's enthusiast). That said, I don't think the frozen pies accurately represent the style. Once upon a time, the frozen pies were made in the same kitchens as the regular pies - they just par baked and froze them in house. Those pies were better. Now, all the pies are made in a commercial kitchen - they need a more consistent product that is designed for mechanical production. They really aren't the same - they have the basic contours but lack the thing that makes it special. Like the difference between a good Brooklyn slice and Domino's Brooklyn style - squint and they look similar, take a bite and be depressed...

Use This Stovetop Method for an Easy, No-Bake Fruit Crisp

@Kenji - I knew she had left a while ago but the two recipes were so similar in concept (although quite different in details) that I wondered if she might be freelancing. The ways of the Chris Kimball empire are mysterious and opaque - I assumed he owned your soul/intellectual property while employed but didn't know if he allowed freelancers.

The more you know... (Cue NBC music)

Broken Leg in Flagstaff = More Pizza!

So, I took my son in a Boy Scout trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. This would be my one opportunity to check out Caleb's Pizzicletta. I took my son and in-laws there the night before the trip. The pizza was delicious, the space was small but charming and Caleb was a gracious host (I let him know I was a Slicer). Great start to a trip.

4 days of rapids later, I suffered a severe break to my right tibial plateau and had to be air-lifted out to Flagstaff. Worst pain I can even imagine. Had two surgeries a week apart (an external stabilization followed by a knee reconstruction). (My son finished the trip with his Scout buddies and got home safe and sound).

I'm in a rehab center/nursing home until I get well enough to fly back to Chicago. A combination of pain meds and hospital food has seriously suppressed my appetite. Caleb's pizza isn't really deliverable, but I found salvation in the place right across the street from Pizzicletta - a place called Fratelli's.

Completely different style from Caleb's - this is 'American' or 'New York' style pizza. But it is excellent too! They take their pizza seriously - Stanislaus tomatoes, whole milk mozzarella, what seems like house made Italian sausage. Very tasty crust with good bones.

I have ordered pizza from Fratelli's twice now - its delicious (they've won Best of Flagstaff for 10 odd years). While I can't wait to get back to Chicago, Flagstaff is lucky to have two such great pizzerias.

I highly recommend Pizzicletta (get there early!) and Fratelli's.

Lime Meltways

Meltaways were one of the first cookies I made when I began my professional baking career. They're incredibly easy and their delicate, crumbly texture makes them terribly addictive. In this version, I made them with lime zest. But if you'd prefer another flavor—like lemon, vanilla bean or even black pepper—go for it. More

The Best Chicken Tikka Masala

The secret to our Chicken Tikka Masala is a salty yogurt-based marinade followed by intense charring on a hot grill. We purposely undercook our chicken so it can simmer in a creamy spiced tomato and cream sauce before serving. When done right, the sauce should be a multifaceted affair; a balanced blend of intense spice flavors with a gingery kick rounded off by the richness of cream and butter, with a splash of freshness and acid from tomatoes and citrus. As you bite into a chunk of chicken, the smokey char should work its way though to the forefront, to be slowly replaced by a new layer of spicing, this time intensified by its time on the grill. The chicken chunks should be juicy, moist, and tender. More

Philadelphia Butter Cake

Philadelphia Butter Cake is almost indescribably rich: if you can imagine Gooey Butter cake but minus the cream cheese, and with a base that is somewhat like a crushed, compressed danish, you're getting the right idea. More

My Pie Monday: Potatoes, Deep Dish, Eggs, and More!

Today we've got a gorgeous potato and thyme pie from Scott D, a Pequod's-style deep dish pizza from FredipusRex, and a seriously delicious-looking pie from Pizzacommander's pizza party (why didn't we get an invite?)...But that's not all—Norma's working her milk kefir starter, Professorplum shares a nice Margherita, Patrick B made a ham, egg, and cheese pie, and there are more tasty pizzas from FoolishPoolish, Bartonkt, dmcavanagh, Tdpl, TScarborough, ESNY1077 , thearrogantchef, and first time MPM'r Soles. More

The Pizza Lab: No-Roll, No-Stretch Sicilian-Style Square Pizza at Home

The ideal square pie needs a soft, moderately chewy, and pliant crust, with an almost fried crispness to the bottom. The layer of cheese should be thicker than on a traditional pizza, and as for the sauce, I like it with a hint of roasted garlic, a touch of herbs, and lightly cooked with a distinct sweetness and overt tomato flavor. I know—I'm a demanding guy, but I'm also willing to work for my pies. 23 takeout containers worth of leftovers,** 8 pounds of mozzarella, 16 pounds of flour, and more tomatoes than you can shake a stick at later, I finally achieved the pie of my dreams. Let me walk you through it. More