Independence Day is all about the burgers and hot dogs for a lot of people, but that doesn't mean that vegetarians (or plain vegetable lovers like me) can't celebrate their independence with a whole mess of smoky, charred, grilled foods and delicious side dishes as well. I'm going to be out of the country this July 4th (I know!), but in my head, this is the menu I'd be serving at my backyard cookout.
What does it take to get grilled shrimp that are as tender and juicy as the most delicately poached shrimp? Shrimp that burst with a decisive snap in your mouth, all with a deep, sweet, crisply charred crust? These five steps, that's what.
It's difficult to type effectively right now, when your laptop is balanced on a single knee. Why don't I put my knees together and place my computer in my lap like a normal traveling-writer, you may ask? Well, if I were to do that, I'd end up putting my shoes in the puddle of human urine on the floor in front of me, duh. But we'll get to that.
Most of my many jars of sumac and za'atar are courtesy of a good Lebanese friend of mine (any friend who brings you jars of spices specially selected by their relatives in the Middle East is the best kind of friend)—the same friend who introduced me to the idea of halloumi pancakes. In fact, it was at that exact same breakfast that I was introduced to these scrambled eggs, which he flavored with toasted pine nuts, sumac, parsley, and olive oil.
With a brand new backyard and a brand new grill, I've been grilling pretty much all day every day. So it was only natural that when I decided to whip up a batch of scallion pancakes, my thoughts immediately turned to how I could incorporate the grill. Turns out it's as simple as it sounds: scallion pancake dough grills up as marvelously as it fries, getting crisp, bubbly, and nicely charred. Here's how to do it.
Want to know the secret to eating well and cheap in China without having to speak a lick of Chinese? Walk into any loud, raucous restaurant, look for the table that looks like its having the most fun (in this case it was easy, as one table yelled a toast at us as soon as we walked into the joint), point at what they're eating, and point at your belly.
I've been a fan of grilled potatoes ever since the first time I tried them, and a well-constructed, bright, fresh, balanced potato salad is one of my cookout go-tos. So I have no idea why it took so long to occur to me to put the two together. But making a great grilled potato salad is not quite as simple as throwing your potatoes on the grill, cutting them up, and tossing them with mayonnaise or dressing. Here's how to finesse it.
Grilling culture in Greece is inherently relaxed and groovy. More often than not, all it takes is a fire, a ton of olive oil and lemon, some garlic, and some herbs to transform meat and seafood into party-worthy fare. But with traditional methods, by the time the skin finally gets crisp, the meat is dry and overcooked. This double-marinade process for chicken delivers the whole package: crisp skin, flavor, and perfectly cooked meat.
Typically you'd use za'atar as a condiment, sprinkled over a bowl of labne cheese or made into a paste with olive oil for scooping onto bread. For me, it seemed only natural to use the mixture on grilled chicken.
Almost exactly a year ago today after three and a half decades of East Coast life, my wife Adri and I packed up our New York apartment and set out on the vacation of a lifetime. In the second installment of my Asia travel diaries, we learn that indoor voices do not exist in China, and that rou jia bing and liangpi are the Xi'an version of a burger and fries.
I've been to enough cookouts in my time to recognize the warning signs of tough, sooty, or downright dangerous meat to come. Here are some of the most common mistakes beginning grillers make and how to avoid them.
Vegans and vegetarians often get the short end of the stick when it comes to backyard grilling season. Sure, there are a couple of decent frozen veggie burger brands, but let's face it: Frozen pre-packaged food is never going to be as good as fresh, homemade food made with quality ingredients. Here are two recipes for burger patties that aren't just my favorite vegetarian and vegan burgers, they're two of my favorite recipes, period.
Even in this digital age, there are some things that are simply better done manually. Topping that list during the summer? Eating asparagus. It's not just that your fingers are the easiest tools for picking up long, slender grilled stalks, but I'm firmly convinced that the asparagus tastes better when you eat it with your fingers. Dip it into some fresh homemade garlicky aioli and you've got one of the greatest treats known to man.
I can safely say that I've tried bagels from every single shop that bakes their own bagels on premises in San Francisco and East Bay. I didn't begin this quest hoping to find greatness, but a few bagels stood out from the pack. Bagels that are more than just bits of round bread. Bagels with properly crackly-crisp crusts with dense centers. Bagels that have soul.
Almost exactly a year ago today after three and a half decades of East Coast life, my wife Adri and I packed up our New York apartment and set out on the vacation of a lifetime. Here is the first in a series of travel pieces tracking my three-month trip around Asia.
True bang bang ji si gets its name from the sound that a mallet makes when beating the tough chicken breasts of yesteryear into tender submission before dressing them in a sauce flavored with Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, sesame seed, Chinkiang vinegar, and roasted chili oil. But with today's tender chickens, the actually banging part of bang bang chicken is nothing more than a relic of the past. Let's bring this dish into the modern age, shall we?
It's easy to see why chicken gets a bad rap in the grilling world. Most of the time it's dry, bland, or stringy with burnt skin. But when I visit my mom or head to family reunion cookouts, chicken is what she asks for. Not out of masochism, but because after spending years grilling hundreds of chickens, I've learned how to do it right.
The other day I discovered that the secret to making the best chicken salad is to cook that chicken in a sealed bag, packing the bag with aromatics to infuse the chicken with extra flavor. The method works great in a classic mayo-based chicken salad but I hate to see a good technique relegated to one single use, so I decided to adapt it a bit. This Japanese-inspired chicken salad with a creamy miso dressing, avocado, and corn is a winner.
Sous-vide often gets touted as a technique to guarantee moist and tender pan-roasted chicken. But why limit sous-vide to hot applications? Doesn't cold chicken deserve to be just as juicy and flavorful as hot chicken? A couple dozen chicken breasts and a few days of tinkering later and I had the tastiest, juiciest, most flavor-packed chicken salad ever. Here's how it works.
Serious Eats and The Food Lab Have Teamed Up With Anova to Bring You the Best Sous-Vide Guides On the Planet
I've long been a fan of Anova's line of precision cookers for sous-vide cooking, so when they approached me about working together with them on their mobile apps to develop a brand new set of sous-vide cooking guides, it seemed like a no brainer. The new apps are a completely free to download and will feature all-new content to guarantee that even a complete sous-vide noob will get perfect results from the get-go.
Steak is one of the most popular foods to cook for first-time sous-vide enthusiasts, and with good reason. It takes all of the guesswork out of the process, delivering steaks that are cooked perfectly to precisely the temperature you like each and every time. This complete guide will take you there.
It's been a full year since I first announced the new Baking Steel Griddle. Since that day, I've received almost daily emails and Tweets inquiring about when it will be released to the public. It's one of my favorite bits of kitchen gear, providing the best surface for baking pizza and breads in your oven, as well as the ultimate stovetop griddle surface for cooking eggs and pancakes or searing steaks, burgers, and pork chops. I'm happy to announce that today they are finally ready to start taking discounted pre-orders from the public, with delivery expected to begin on September 19th.
For the past couple months I've been on a quest to find the best bagel in San Francisco. This led me to a shocking realization: there are really, really bad bagels everywhere, and I'm not just talking in the convenience stores or supermarkets—places you'd expect bad bagels. I'm talking at honest to goodness bagel specialty shops. I wanted to share with you guys my thoughts on what makes a great bagel great. Word of warning: I'm about to get as opinionated as I ever get. You will most likely be offended by at least one or two things I say. Your concept of what is good and bad in the world of bagels will be challenged. You may even feel like I'm personally attacking you for your preferences. That's because I am. This is far too important an issue for live and let live to apply. We're talking significance of a which-side-of-the-bread-do-you-butter level here, so I I'm not holding back any punches. Feel free to come right back at me. I will defend myself to the bitter, un-toasted end.
I've always maintained that good technique is the key to creativity and freedom in the kitchen—once you learn the basics, you have the tools to start cooking the way you want, whether that guiding principle is history, family, tradition, Pastafarianism, or in the case of this simple pan-roasted chicken with morel mushrooms, seasonality. This recipe combines two simple techniques into one brand new dish.
Want to know how to grill a steak? Here's my advice: DO NOT DO IT THE WAY THEY DO IT AT STEAKHOUSES. It seems counterintuitive. Surely a restaurant with years of experience cooking hundreds of steaks a day knows a thing or two about how it's done, right? Well, yes. They know how to cook a steak in a steakhouse setting where their goal is consistency, quality, and more importantly—speed. At home, on the other hand, consistency and quality are important, but speed? Not so much. The fact that you can take some time to treat your meat right means that it's possible to cook a steak at home much better than it can be done at any steakhouse. True story. Here's my complete guide to buying, storing, cooking, and eating the very best grilled steak.
What kind of turkey should I buy? What size? How far in advance? And what the heck do I do with it once it's at home? All of these burning questions and more, straight ahead.
Here's one late night sandwich that isn't a greasebomb. Good for lunch as well.
A few months ago, my wife and I spent all of 24 hours in Naples on our way home from Sicily. It was probably the second-most pizza-packed 24 hours of my life (the first being when I took my Colombian brother-in-law on a whirlwind pizza tour of New York). We hit over a half dozen pizzerias over lunch alone, and a few more for dinner. Here now, I present to you the Serious Eats guide to Eating Pizza in Naples.
Ever made a traditional Peking duck? Turns out it's a pretty involved process, requiring not only multiple steps but multiple days, cooking apparatuses, and spices. The end result: an incredibly crispy, juicy bird that's seriously delicious. Come along with Serious Eats's own Carey Jones as she learns how to make Peking Duck. Chef Brian Ray of Buddakan gives us the grand tour.
We're looking at what I like to call the "Big 3" of Cheerios: Original, Honey Nut and MultiGrain. Any die-hard original Cheerios fans out there? Can we talk about the awesomeness of Honey Nut and MultiGrain?
Last week, we examined the distinction between single malt and blended Scotch whiskies. Today, we'll step back a bit and take a more detailed (much more detailed) look at the single malt. I'll describe what single malts are, explain how they're made and aged, discuss the concept of Scotch terroir, and explore some of the regional variations. Grab a tasting glass and let's get started!
Uh oh. The buzzer rings. Friends are coming over to spread holiday cheer and you panic. Serve frozen dumplings...again?! You can do better than that. Print out this list of easy-to-assemble, stress-free, mostly-sub-20-minutes-to-prepare munchies and paste it to the fridge. Here are 60+ dips, hors d'oeuvres, small bites, toasty snacks, sweet nibbles, appetizers, and more festive munchies to prepare in a snap.
The Serious Eats Cookie Swap has become an annual tradition. We break out the Duane Reade tinsel and twinkle lights, and are forced to do a major office detox to make room for cookies. Many, many cookies. (OK, maybe a dozen doughnuts snuck in this year too). It was our third year swapping, and as per tradition, the tables were covered with butter-laden treats. Our NYC-based contributors really pulled out their ninja baking skills. Get all the recipes here.
Our recipe for Bacon Banh Mi brings our favorite Vietnamese sandwich home, swapping out the usual array of cold cuts and charcuterie for bacon but staying true to the other elements that make this sandwich so balanced and irresistible.
When you think about Thanksgiving and you think about various elements of the Thanksgiving meal, it seems like you're just waiting through the big meal to get to the pie. I really believe this, which is why I always fantasized about an all-pie Thanksgiving. (Anyone with me on this?) At an editorial meeting about a month ago, we were at the office talking about Thanksgiving coverage and I shared this fantasy with the team. Knowing how much I adore and obsess over pie, the Serious Eats editors weren't too shocked, so we did the only thing we know how to do: make it happen.
Urban legend has it that some industrial candy snafu botched the names of 3 Musketeers and Milky Way. The tale has a certain logic. 3 Musketeers doesn't have three ingredients but Milky Way does. And the very name Milky Way recalls the smooth, uninterrupted creaminess found in 3 Musketeers. Those kinds of wonky urban legends ran amok in the eighties, but we have the internet now, so let's clear this stuff up. It's not a tasty tabloid tale of "Switched at Birth!" but rather "Murder, She Wrote."
When you first joined me in my quest to unlock the secrets of culinary time travel, I told you it would take equal parts science and magic to make the foods that could power the flux capacitor of the mind. I said, "leave the DeLorean in the garage, preheat your oven to one point twenty one gigawatts, and rev that Kitchen Aid to eighty eight mph. We're going back to the Eighties." And we did. But while there, what if some careless action altered our timeline? Could we, like Marty McFly, inadvertently create an alternate universe? One where the Keebler Soft Batch Cookie tastes freaking delicious? Friends, this isn't speculation. I have done such a thing.
Dried mango was matched up with cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno to make this juicy chicken link. It's bright, fresh, and fruity.
[Photograph: Kenji Alt] Want more details? Here are the ins-n-outs. Follow Kenji on Facebook or Twitter....
This week we survived a salt and vinegar chips tasting (try feeling your tongue after one of those!), played fetch with Hambone, special-ordered the semi-discontinued Rice Krispies Treats Cereal, and more. And if you're wondering, yes, RKTC would be RK cereal that turned into treats then transformed back into cereal again (full circle!).
This week at Serious Eats World Headquarters, we ate loads of chocolate sandwich cookies for our Oreo/Faux-reo taste test, filled up our office with Sandwich Festival goods, watched Ed attempt to feed Hambone, and more (and by "more" we mean "Hambone Hambone Hambone").
I'm not sure how else to break this except to just come out and say it. On Wednesday morning, my French bulldog Dumpling was struck by a bus outside of my apartment building. He died in my arms on the way to the emergency room.
This week at Serious Eats World Headquarters, Dumpling napped and drooled, a swarm of bees took shelter in a nearby mailbox, I confirmed I don't like absinthe, and a few of us met some cows (ok, that last one happened far, far away from SEHQ). The slideshow is 75 percent Dumpling in one way, 125 percent in another. Enjoy!
This "Memphis-style" is my favorite to make at home—it takes the aspects of sweet tomato-based sauces I grew up on, but by dialing back the sugar and amping up the vinegar, creates a sauce where seasonings and spice are more defined and achieves a pleasing balance between the main defining aspects of a barbecue sauce.
These are the only fancy-restaurant fried clams I think are really worth the cash ($14 half/$26 full). That they start with Ipswich bellies makes all the difference; these juicy, sweet, whole-belly behemoths are harvested from the mud flats off Ipswich, where experts claim that the particularly nutrient-rich soil gives the bivalves their superior, almost nutty flavor.
Sherbets and sorbets require a spoon, but they date back to the Persian Empire, when vividly flavored fruit- or flower-based syrups were mixed with snow to make a cool, refreshing drink called sharbat.
Last Thursday morning, Dean Sparks, a dairy farmer from upstate New York stopped by the office with some cheese, eggs, and milk. They come from nymilk, a New York state consortium of around 35 upstate organic dairy farms that...
As food aesthetics go, the murky, rust-brown, pebbly lalla musa dal at Tamarind Bay Coastal Kitchen can't compare to the restaurant's other specialties like the fennel cream-sauced cauliflower dumplings or the spiced lobster tail. But famed Indian chefs like Julie Sahni don't consider this dish "the most exquisite of all dal preparations" for nothing, and speaking in terms of decadence, it outclasses the rest by a long shot.
For all that I've grilled (150-plus recipes and counting), there's always plenty of uncharted territory. One of those areas: planking. There aren't usually many planking recipes in cookbooks, save the ubiquitous planked salmon. Put simply, planking is cooking food directly on a piece of hardwood. When cooking this way, the surface of the food touching the wood picks up some of the plank's natural flavors.
I don't use the word magical lightly, but there really is something wondrous about making bagels at home. Maybe it's the shape. I think most everyone understands a loaf of bread, but the round shape with a hole ... well, it seems like a whole lot more work than simply plopping some dough in a loaf pan. But it's not. Really. Try making just one batch of these, and I'm sure you'll have the process down pat. Put on your sorcerer's robe and follow along!