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Kumiko Mitarai

  • Website
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Favorite foods: Any pastry with frangipane or sweet chestnuts, all roasted vegetables, slow-cooked meat of any kind.
  • Last bite on earth: Surprise me.

Sprouted Chickpea Hummus

After an initial overnight soak, I sprout the beans for about 2 days, until they have sprouted little tails of about 1/2 inch.

Technique of the Week: How to Beat Egg Whites

Thanks for your comment, Gourmand de Plumetot. Since this problem seems happens to you only sometimes, could it be on humid days? If so, leave the meringues in the turned-off oven a little longer than usual to dry out. Also key to getting the right consistency is beating the whites until they are truly stiff. Good luck!

How to Make Marshmallows

Hi Alya: Agar won't work, unfortunately. The protein in the gelatin is critical in getting the sugar to fluff up. If you want to avoid animal products, you might try the vegan marshmallow link above.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Frickafricka: If you like a flat cookie that spreads a bit more rather than puffing up, I'd suggest reducing the baking power and soda. (I've been working on a peanut butter cookie recipe lately, and I keep increasing the amount of baking powder and soda because I'm going for the opposite effect.) I love a somewhat cakey cookie so I really like to cream the butter and sugar thoroughly to incorporate air into the batter. But if that's not your thing, you might also try creaming the butter and sugar a little less.

Vegan Marshmallows

@JenGon: I'm the one who should feel really dumb -- thanks for pointing out the confusing instructions. I've made the corrections in the recipe. I had kind of driven myself nuts coming up with the recipe, my head must have still been spinning when I wrote it out.

Fresh Silken Tofu

I haven't used liquid nigari myself – not sure what the concentration is – so I'm afraid I'm not much help there. But to prevent the tofu from curdling right away into clumps, start with a cool temperature, stir very gently, and try not to agitate it.

How to Make Fresh Silken Tofu from Soy Milk

@Teahlo: Gypsum is calcium sulfate, which can be for tofu-making though I haven't yet done it myself. Using the Book of Tofu as my guide, I'd say substitute the Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) or magnesium chloride with 1/2 teaspoon of calcium sulfate. I saw your comment on the tofu recipe page -- we must have been cooking up batches of tofu at the same time! How'd it go with the gypsum?

Vegan Marshmallows

Greengrl -- I haven't tried it, though I see the appeal of avoiding the soy and sticking with rice-based ingredients. My concern would be the protein content. The rice protein powders that I have seen contain less protein than soy isolate powder. To make this work, you need something that will replace the high protein content of animal-derived gelatins. If you find something that works, please come back and let us know!

How to Make No-Cook Freezer Jam

@cjoesgirl: Yes, thanks for bringing that up! Splenda can be used with the two brands that I wrote about (Pomona's Universal pectin and Ball instant fruit pectin). Check other pectin labels -- not all them work with sugar-free sweeteners.

How to Make No-Cook Freezer Jam

Avocado: Yes, oddly enough, calcium water. If you are using Pomona's Universal, a little packet of calcium powder and instructions on how to mix it come in the package. This pectin is activated by calcium, not sugar.

How to Make No-Cook Freezer Jam

@samiamb: I don't know if this really helps, but Amazon sells the Ball pectin for $1.99/packet (makes 5 cups). Of course then there's the shipping charge...

How to Make No-Cook Freezer Jam

@nyc_Hugo: I'm guessing by your name that you're in NYC. If so, I've found that Whole Foods carries Pomona's Universal pectin here (At one location I was told that Whole Foods outside the Northeast may have other brands). Other major supermarkets should also have pectin, though possibly different brands.

@somechick: It does need to defrost before spreading. Straight out of the freezer, it's kind of like a really chunky sorbet.

How to Make Spätzle

@philandlauren: thanks for the comments, both here and on my site. Wow, that is some speedy spaetzle spatula work in that video! Interesting how much he develops the gluten in the batter.

How to Make Spätzle

@mikebmassey: My oma lived more in central Germany and I don't recall her making potato dumplings. Sorry I don't have a specific recipe for Bavarian-style Kartoffelkloesse but I believe the dough is prepared much like gnocchi and then the meatball-sized balls are filled with buttered breadcrumbs and simmered in water for about 10-15 minutes (kind of like matzo balls). Another delicious, hearty German specialty!

@Tony jaguar: I'm glad you mentioned the soda water. I know my grandmother used it in keeping her pancakes light (she'd fold them in half, with some creamed chicken tucked in the middle). I have my suspicions that she used seltzer in spaetzle, too, from time to time.

Why You Should Eat Brazil Nuts on Earth Day

I've heard that eating one Brazil nut a day will provide you with a daily dose of selenium. That's been my excuse for keeping them stocked in the fridge. Not at all a bitter pill :)

Sprouted Chickpea Hummus

Hi Samiamb: Start with 1 cup untreated dry chickpeas. Once they are sprouted and you've sorted out any duds, you should have about 2 cups.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache Truffles

Jeffdwisc: I think you should be ok. Once the ganache is set, it can be chilled or even frozen without damaging it.

Potato Gnocchi with Sage Brown-Butter Sauce

Thanks, Guy. I just revised that step. Scoop the flesh out of their skins and leave the skins behind.

How to Make Potato Gnocchi

How about passing the potatoes through a sieve instead of ricer or food mill?

Potato Gnocchi with Sage Brown-Butter Sauce

Gluten helps the gnocchi hold together. I've never made a gluten-free gnocchi, so I'm not sure how it well it would work, but you might try experimenting with gluten-free flour plus a small amount of xanthan gum (1/2 teaspoon for a batch this size), which has some gluten-like properties. If you do, please let us know how it turns out!

Potato Gnocchi with Sage Brown-Butter Sauce

Thanks! Yes, I love making ricotta gnocchi too and they do have a different quality to them though I think both types of gnocchi can be light. In case anyone's interested, there are a few different ways of making ricotta gnocchi, but I like to use well-drained ricotta instead of potatoes and then proceeding with the same method as above.

Snapshots from Germany: Swabian Maultasche

I love the sweet Maultaschen filled with poppy seeds.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache Truffles

Riftvalley: I was thinking about making peanut butter truffles, too, but haven't done it yet. I would mix the peanut butter with the ganache, rather than trying to fill it, which I imagine would be a very messy process. My plan was to use peanut butter in place of regular butter, and depending how much I needed to get that peanut-y flavor to come through, I'd reduce the amount of cream accordingly. I guess I'd start with 2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter and maybe reduce the cream by 1 tablespoon.

How to Make Onigiri

Gargupie -- Thanks for posting the onigiri mold link! About your salt question, it's really about adding flavor. I like the touch of saltiness on the outside of the onigiri that you get from the salt water. Of course, anyone wanting to limit their salt intake could skip it.

Dinner Tonight: Roasted Garlic Soup with Chorizo with a Poached Egg

Sounds like a perfect soup to warm up with. And so simple. I'm hooked on smoked paprika these days -- will definitely be making it this week. Thanks!

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The Best Restaurants We Reviewed in 2010

It's been quite a year for restaurants in New York. In fact, though it's hard to believe, some of my very favorite spots in the city have opened their doors within the last year. And others just came to our attention in the last twelve months, reminding us how very much exists in the world of New York restaurants. Here's a recap of my favorite eight reviews this year. More