Josh Mandel

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 They're just moving out of their old, outdated facility to a new one (probably in New Jersey).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.

Better Than Parm? Dried Olive and Miso May Be the Ultimate Pasta-Topper


I'm with you. Cannot find an olive I can stand. The only one I've tried that I kinda almost like -- and you might want to try this if you haven't already -- is the oil-cured kind. They're small, black, wrinkly...and very meaty. I use them chopped in a pasta salad, and they're more than endurable, they're almost enjoyable. :-)

The Vegan Experience: How to Make a Rich and Creamy Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Patrick, King Oysters and Royal Trumpets are exactly the same thing. I think the article or recipe even mentioned that. So you're all set!

How to Make Dulce de Leche From a Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

If the pot is large enough, can you do two cans simultaneously? Or is this, for some reason, not a good idea?

30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken With Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Chorizo


Presoaked chickpeas are still uncooked and aren't like the ones you'd get from a can (which are already cooked and tender). But if you soak them overnight, just drain them, put them back in the pressure cooker with a tablespoon of oil and the appropriate amount of water, and bring them up to low pressure and maintain it there for five minutes. Let the cooker cool off for about 15 minutes naturally, then release any remaining pressure and remove the lid. If they're not done, simmer them on low for a few more minutes. And then you've got cooked chickpeas which can THEN be used in the recipe!

Making Panela at a Colombian Sugar Mill is Still a Low-Tech Affair

With over 20,000 producers, they must eat a LOT of panela. I would be so interested to hear about whether or not they suffer from the same health effects that we Americans do from our high-refined sugar diet, or whether the nutrition from the added plant material ("impurities") helps circumvent those conditions. (But I know that there may be many other factors at play...and that one doesn't come to Serious Eats to read about nutrition!)

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

Hey...jnj2 is right, "egg and milk-soaked bread have no place in meatballs or meatloaf," and, absent a couple of hundred years of established tradition, I guess that's correct. Hey, if you go back far enough, neither garlic nor basil have any place in Italian cooking, either.

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

Niki, fantastic!! I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to the definitive matzoh ball exposé!

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

Now that Daniel has tackled meatballs, I find myself fervently wishing he'd take up a similar (in form, if not in function) task: figuring out matzoh balls, a topic that the Food Lab seems reluctant to approach. "Floaters" and "sinkers" use identical ingredients (matzoh meal, eggs, and oil), yet are miles apart in texture and flavor. Why the differences? How can you dependably create one or the other? This is another culinary "ball" mystery that has yet to be solved!

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Temper Chocolate

Hi, Iluvtoeat,

Great discussion, thank you! One website here says that milk chocolate wasn't even invented until the advent of powdered milk. But later, it goes on to say that sweetened condensed milk is sometimes used (and they don't explain what it is about sweetened condensed milk that allows it to liason with chocolate, whereas regular liquid milk does not).

I will continue to research...

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Temper Chocolate

BTW, Kenji, this technique, right here, is the kind of thing you're teaching us to expect from you: brilliant and enormously useful. If I'd paid a year's subscription to some magazine (say, this one), and this was the only item in the whole year's worth, I'd have considered my money well-spent.

Thank you, and congratulations.

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Temper Chocolate


I belief that milk chocolate uses dried milk solids.

Perfect Apple Pie

I had the same experience as Steffano2 and several others here. The apple flavor (I used Golden Delicious exclusively, as the recipe calls for) was significantly weaker than I'd expected. I was reluctant to serve it because the apples just weren't very flavorful.

Other than that, it was just about perfect, indeed. Pretty as a picture, didn't fall, didn't leak a lot of juice, and the crust turned out beautifully even without the shot of vodka I've come to depend on. :-)

Forget Pumpkin Pie: Use a Waffle Iron for Quick Pumpkin Custard

Daniel, I have your book and love it! (I've also given copies as gifts.) Much success to you and I'm really glad to see you're here!

I may try this recipe tonight with the family, to get us in the pumpkin mood. Thank you!

Ultimate Birthday Cake From 'Baked Occasions'

Frenchsoda, sounds fantastic, and thank you for the advice re: vanilla. What brand did you use for the jimmies?

The Rise of Awesome Milk Chocolate

I'll put in a good word for Green & Black's milk chocolate as a fine entry point for those who are just dipping their toes into the world of dark milk chocolates. It's the first one I tried several years ago when I made up my mind to give milk chocolate another chance, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Introducing the Ultimate Four-Layer, Candy-Packed Halloween Ice Cream Cake

I don't think plain chocolate wafers are at all hard to find. Just about every sizable supermarket I've been in carries Nabisco "Famous Chocolate Wafers." It's just that the box is hard to SEE since it's so small compared to its neighboring packaged cookies. They should pack 'em in a Pringles-like can instead of that long low box.

Substitutes for conventional gelatin?

So there are a lot of dishes I'd love to make that call for gelatin. Trouble is, there are members of my family who Will Not Eat Pork (not for religious reasons, but because pigs are so intelligent). What do I do?

I remember well the big Emes Kosher Gelatin scam, so "Kosher Gelatin" is probably out. I've heard of "fish gelatin," which I'd be happy to use, but I haven't heard anything about how well it does compared to pig- and cow-based gelatin, or how to substitute it.

I've also seen carrageenan-based gelatin subs. Do any of those work, and, if so, how do you substitute?

Any guidance would be appreciated. I'm happy to place a big order for one of the so-called Modernist ingredients...