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Josh Mandel

Taste Test: 1 Day, 23 Pop-Tart Flavors

Why You Should Stop Boiling Your Oatmeal and Start Baking It

Yvonne, many years ago, CI (while you were still there, I think) printed a recipe from a subscriber that described steaming oatmeal. Put a steamer insert in a pot, then fill the pot with enough water to submerge the steamer. Bring to a boil, add the oatmeal to the steamer, allow the oatmeal to boil in the steamer, for two minutes, then remove the steamer insert and pour out enough of the water to be below the steamer line. Put the steamer w/oatmeal back in the pot, cover, and let steam for 10 minutes (no need to put the heat on under the pot).

Oatmeal cooked this way is so fluffy and light that we've never gone back to regular oatmeal. I'm going to try this baked oatmeal, but really, it's gonna be hard to beat the steamed!

Taste Test: 1 Day, 23 Pop-Tart Flavors

I'm holding out for a tasting of all the varieties of Kellogg's Danish Go-Rounds.

Taste Test: 1 Day, 23 Pop-Tart Flavors

Why buy them when you can make them yourself? http://josho.com/schnooks1.htm

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

Having at last tried an egg cream made with Fox's U-Bet, can somebody PLEASE explain to me the fondness for that particular syrup? Is it just because it's made in Brooklyn? The chocolate flavor is negligible; it's mostly just sweet. Is this a triumph of tradition over taste?

Classic Egg Creams

After decades of hearing about the Fox's U-Bet, I finally tried some. The flavor is about as far removed from chocolate as I think a product can get before simply being called "chocolate-colored sugar syrup." Despite being untraditional, I think even Hershey's syrup (or, better yet, Hershey's Special Dark syrup) would bring an egg cream a lot closer to being identifiable as chocolate.

Win a Copy of 'Sweet and Vicious: Baking With Attitude'

Marcel DeSaulnier's recipe for "Death By Chocolate," seven layers of brownies, ganaches, and mousses. I pull it out when I need to absolutely blow away everyone and the arteries they rode in with.

Bake the Book: Vanilla Cream Cheese Cupcakes With Black Raspberry Buttercream From 'Fruitful'

They look and sound delicious. Can't wait to try these!

Where to Find the Best Ice Cream in Chicago

Sigh. I miss Zephyr.

How I Got My Degree From Hot Dog University

Do the students at Hot Dog U ever play against the Hamburger U students in Oak Brook?

Win a Serious Eats Edition KettlePizza Baking Steel Combo for Father's Day!

My father's fave is duck sausage! (Preferably that he made himself.)

One-Skillet Crispy Salmon with Mustardy Lentils

Westbrae makes canned lentils, but I'm almost certain they're not Puy. I've never seen Puy lentils canned. Kerry has used them in more than one recipe, though. Kerry, where do you buy them, and who makes them?

The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

Kenji addresses sous vide earlier up in the comments; just do a search on the page for sous vide.

I tried Kenji's 11-minute steaming for HB eggs yesterday and had the same experience as KillerB above: definitely undercooked yolks.

Maybe there's too much difference in the properties of eggs to come up with a one-size-fits-all recipe.

Teeny Lamothe's Pear & Goat Cheese Tart

Making this tonight!

I am stymied by one little detail. I don't have a baking sheet large enough to fit two 12"-diameter tarts -- at least, not until after they've had their edges folded in. I suspect this calls for a baking sheet a lot larger than standard at-home equipment.

Gadgets: Colorful, Disposable Paper Bakeware That Works Like a Charm

I would also be concerned about the coating on the inside of the paperware, which is most likely plastic.

A Brief Guide to the Wonderful World of Entenmann's Doughnuts

I'm astounded that *anyone* likes the coating on the "Chocolate" donuts. Every few years, I succumb to the excellent-looking donuts and buy a box. Then I'm inevitably astounded at how waxy and UNchocolatey that coating is. When you said you were "waxing poetic" on snack cakes, I thought, "Oh, she's talking about that sweet, almost unflavored coating on the Entenmann's Chocolate Donuts!"

Back Of The House: The Life of a Cook's Illustrated Test Cook

I've been a subscriber to CI since the first issue, and I love it. Even though some of the recipes have been done to death (roasting turkey comes to mind), I still learn new techniques from every issue.

Two things I don't care for. One is Chris Kimball's editorials, which I gave up reading after about Issue 3. If I wanted to read old-timey memoirs, I'd subscribe to the Farmer's Almanac. The other is the marketing department's heavy-handedness. I used to give CI subscriptions as gifts, but not anymore, because I know that anyone I give the gift to is going to get flooded with try-this-book-and-send-it-back-if-you-don't-like-it postcards, repeated offers for free issues, emails, and renewal notices up the wazoo. In a couple of cases, my gift recipients started receiving these offers even before they received their first issue! I ended up embarrassed to have gotten my friends on the CI mailing list, when all I was trying to do was to send them a gift.

Perfect Quick-and-Easy French Toast

We don't always have white sandwich bread on hand, but we do always have whole wheat (usually %100, sometimes not) on hand. I'm wondering if there are any special changes we'd need to make for WW (especially as far as stale/oven-dried/fresh goes).

Thai Tea Cake with Condensed Milk Custard Sauce

@BostonAdam: I finally broke down and bought a "mix": http://www.amazon.com/Original-Number-One-Restaurants-Authentic/dp/B00712N6II/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1396486226&sr=8-2&keywords=thai+iced+tea+mix. The ingredients list ONLY the tea leaves and some food coloring, so it doesn't contain dried milk, sugar, or anything else that might ruin the recipe. (I haven't made the cake yet, though!)

Thai Tea Cake with Condensed Milk Custard Sauce

@BostonAdam: this has been a problem for me, too. Checked all the local supermarkets, and although we have an enormous Asian supermarket, nobody there speaks English, nor are the packages labeled in English. Even on Amazon, all I see are mixes.

Foraged Flavor: How to Tap Maple Trees (And What to Do With the Sap)

Have you ever experimented with the "new" method of tapping maple trees, that allows you to tap much younger trees? (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/23/new-discovery-about-maple-trees-could-change-syrup-industry/)

4 Close-Up, High-Def, Insanely Awesome Shooter's-Style Sandwiches

They look delicious, but when I try to make them, all the pieces fall down into a stack together and squeeze out the air in-between the layers.

Samantha Bee's Salty Caramel

Matthead, I suspect that measurements won't help you much with that. Depending on the size/shape of your preferred brand of flaky salt, equivalent volumes can vary tremendously in the amount of saltiness they confer. (This is why, for instance, swapping Diamond Crystal Kosher salt with Morton Kosher salt will drastically change the overall saltiness of a dish.) I think this is where "to taste" has to be the determinant.

Chocolate Storage Mishap?

They won't be ruined by any means, but they may "bloom." This just means that some of the cocoa butter will rise to the surface, resulting in a very thin grayish coating. It won't taste any different, and there's nothing inedbile about it, it just won't look as pretty.

Vegan Crispy Stir-Fried Tofu With Broccoli

Made this last night, it was an enormous success (even with our 8-year-old, who normally eschews sauce on ANYTHING). As Chellomi says, the tofu did not stay crispy once sauced, but nobody minded (or said a word). Truly delicious! Thank you!

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...