Josh Mandel

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How Horror Star Vincent Price Eerily Predicted America's Culinary Future

I have my parents' old copy of the first printing of "TREASURY OF GREAT RECIPES," and I adore it. As a child, I loved to make the easier recipes like the Harvey Girl French Toast Santa Fe (which inspired me to read and love the book "Dining By Rail"). I still make, with regularity, the Cold Cucumber Soup (from Scandia), the Boccone Dolce (from Sardi's), and (when I really want to impress) the Baked Alaska. The barbecue sauce recipe that accompanies the Chez Ravine "Western Franks" is still one of my favorites to throw together. And I love to page through it with my daughter, look at the color plates and point out the amazing menus with the prices that would allow her to buy the most sumptuous lobster dinner with one week's allowance.

The one thing that always irritated me about it was that the measurements were not included in the ingredient lists; you had to find them in the body of the recipe instructions. That was especially troublesome when the ingredient would show up in more than one place in the recipe and you had to total all the quantities together and figure out by yourself what you'd need.

Baked Ziti With Two Mozzarellas and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Oh, and to answer my own question: NO, you cannot reheat the parmesan cream without it breaking. It's a little like hollandaise.

Baked Ziti With Two Mozzarellas and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Well, made this last night for some very demanding eaters, and it was an ENORMOUS hit. (In fact, one of the participants said of the parmesan cream, "Why isn't this served with every meal?" and the others agreed.) As I had a few leftovers, I'll be seeing how well the parmesan cream stands up to a night's refrigeration. THANK YOU, Daniel, for a spectacular recipe that will go right into our "rotation."

The Food Lab Pronto: Soak Your Pasta for Easy Skillet Baked Ziti

You and Daniel need to work side-by-side on a baked ziti recipe. I'm making his ricotta-free version tonight, which sounds marvelous, but I'd love to simplify it if possible using your presoak method. I'm leery of cobbling the two recipes together, though...I'd much rather have you two collaborate and develop the ultimate. (At least, until the next ultimate comes along, a lesson I learned from subscribing to Cook's Illustrated all these years.)

Baked Ziti With Two Mozzarellas and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Does anyone happen to know if the parmesan cream can be made ahead of time (say, a few hours beforehand, or a day) and refrigerated, and then warmed up just before serving?

Baguette Toast "Crackers"

I wonder if olive oil in a sprayer would be a good way to coat these crackers sparingly but evenly.

Charred Broccoli Salad With Sardines, Pickled Shallot, and Mint

@CreamyCheese, try and click on the "sardine list" at the top of the screen. I keep this link on my phone so that when I'm in a store, I can check out the list against whatever the store has and pick a highly-rated one to try. It's just one reviewer's opinion, of course, but he certainly has a wide array of experience.

The Food Lab: The Book Has Arrived

I ordered the book back in May (from Barnes & Noble), and on the 21st, they sent me an email saying the shipment had been delayed -- no estimated ship date given.

So I'm settling in for what promises to be weeks of delayed gratification, but at least I get to read the excerpts you're posting!

CONGRATULATIONS, Kenji! I've been following you closely ever since your work for CI, and you deserve every bit of praise! There is simply no chef who speaks to me the way you do.

The Food Lab: The Best Meatloaf

@starbuckscout, that sounds like a pretty ultimate umami bomb!

Sometimes Sweeter Is Better: Mini Hawaiian-Style Salmon Burgers

I don't want to be one of those people who looks at an online recipe and says, "Ooooh, man, that looks GOOD!", but ooooh, man that looks good.

The Food Lab: 5 Steps to the Best Grilled Shrimp

It also matters what *brand* of Kosher salt you use. Diamond and Morton are the two biggest brands by far, but while Morton's are flakes (and thus much more easily compacted), Diamond is still in a crystalline shape. A cup of Morton's salt weighs 8 ounces, but a cup of Diamond only weighs 5 ounces. Cook's Illustrated always specifies Diamond. Make something with Morton by mistake, and the dish will be WAY too salty. Perhaps that's played a role here?

The Subtle Secrets to Making the Best Ice Cream Mix-Ins

@RobC_: Jeni, of Jeni's Ice Creams, always adds melted chocolate in a thin stream during the last couple minutes of churning. We've followed her directions (as in her first ice cream cookbook) and never had anything less than ultrasmooth, superior results. My guess is that if you add the warm chocolate as it's churning, yes, you melt a little batter, but as you're still churning, the ice cream is re-frozen in the proper manner, preventing crystallization. It's not the same as putting a warm ingredient into already-frozen ice cream and having it refreeze into rough crystals.

Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

@Kenji: Thank you kindly for the clarification. It's difficult for me to believe that this version could be that much better than the full-buttermilk, unseparated eggs version that's taken its place, but I'm certainly game to try it. :-)

Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Waitaminnit, I'm SERIOUSLY confused.

This was not at all the recipe it was a week ago. I have the printout. Even the name has changed from "Light and Fluffy Pancakes" to "Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes."

Moreover, the original recipe -- the one I printed out a week ago -- did NOT call for sour cream and did NOT call for separated eggs and whipping the whites. It called for 16oz of buttermilk, and you simply whisked the eggs 'til frothy and then whisked in the melted butter, and finally the buttermilk.

What the heck is going on here? The recipe I made this week (twice now) and adored has mutated to something significantly more complicated (making a meringue!) and requiring more ingredients.

VERY confused!

Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

@Kimin Kim: you need an acid, such as the buttermilk contains, to activate the baking powder and baking soda. This is baking, so the recipe is finely tuned to each of the ingredients. You can't really just substitute ingredients in baking and expect a similar (or even acceptable) outcome. You'll want to find a recipe that's already tuned not to use an acid if you don't like buttermilk or any of the substitutes.

Just made this for the first time today, for my 9-year-old daughter and her friend and myself. Fantastic. My daughter was reluctant, because she's used to diner-style pancakes, which she finds inedible after the first couple of bites. She snarfed up seven of these without blinking, and loved them. So did her friend and I.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Scrambled Eggs, Your Way

My wife likes her scrambled eggs with all the life cooked out of them: very dense, without a hint of moisture anywhere. I hate them this way, but now I know the best way to (shudder) achieve it!

GREAT article, Daniel, as usual.

The Ultimate Mad Men Finale Dinner Party

+1 for dpnash. My first thought was, "Rumaki."

Ricotta and Black Pepper Gnudi With Sage and Brown Butter

My situation turned out close to AnitaW's. A skin never really formed; the balls were moist and pliable, even on the surface, even after sitting in the semolina in the fridge for a full 48 hours.

As a result, when I cooked them, most of them burst, a few of them held together in the cooking water but burst by the time they finished cooking in the butter sauce.

Still delicious, but really, no skin at all. Followed the directions to the letter.

The Best Matzo Ball Soup

By the way, I just finished making this recipe! (I had to cheat a little on the chicken soup aspect as I don't have the ingredients to make homemade stock handy.) It's fantastic. I opted for almost-impossibly-light balls; I used seltzer and 3/8 teaspoon of baking powder.

The only thing I would say is: the balls were absolutely done after 30 minutes. Didn't need a whole hour.

The Best Matzo Ball Soup

@Lxsinmarin: Streit's isn't closing. They're just moving out of their old, outdated facility to a new one (probably in New Jersey).

The Best Matzo Ball Soup

Two huge thumbs-up for this article, Daniel! I've been waiting for it! Matzoh balls TODAY!

Do the Hokey Pokey: How to Make Chocolate-Coated Honeycomb Candy

@sbp123: I would buy one of those metal ice cube trays, line the bottom with parchment and spray the insert with cooking spray, and pour the molten mixture into that! Voila, perfect cubes!

Make Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi in Less Time Than it Takes to Cook Dried Pasta

Absolutely wonderful recipe. Made these for dinner tonight. Even my 9-year-old, who normally eschews anything in tomato sauce, devoured as many of these as she could. Thank you, Kenji!

Taste Test: The Best Fancy Drinking Chocolate

I heartily agree with the sentiments of those who say that taste tests that omit comparative reviews of all the entries are FAR less useful and FAR less enjoyable. We have to see what you thought of the others to really understand what YOUR benchmarks are and see how they match up to our own experiences.

Otherwise, just call it an advertisement and be done with it.