Our Authors

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

Do you remember how, when you first started drinking beer or wine, it all tasted more or less the same? Eventually you figured out which beers were more or less bitter, or what lies beyond those fruity grape flavors. And after a while you picked out a few styles that you really enjoyed. It's the same with tea. Developing a palate for it takes time—and practice. More

Your Ultimate Guide to Chinese Food in NYC

The are hundreds of Chinese restaurants in New York City, and they're only getting better. That's why I've compiled over 60 restaurant recommendations for destination-worthy Chinese restaurants, noodle- and dumpling-making experts, brunch-ready dim sum, quick, delicious snacks, and then some. More

The Non-Judgmental Guide to Getting Seriously Into Tea

Every year I'm left in the lurch wondering when tea will get its due. Delicious, ubiquitous, nourishing, gently stimulating, and rich with history and lore, to say nothing of glossy tools to drop money on, tea has everything you could want in an obsession-worthy drink. Here's why I'm so into it, and why I think you should be too. More

How Ful Mudammas Made Me Forget All About Hummus

Let's talk about ful (pronounced "fool") for a minute, because you might find you like it even more than hummus. Where the chickpea is a wan wallflower, the fava is proudly, robustly funky. And with its mashed-up beans and rich broth, ful takes common ingredients like cumin, garlic, and tahini to bolder places than hummus ever could. More

The Fastest, Freshest, Fluffiest Ice Cream Ever: 30-Minute Philadephia-Style Ice Cream

Most of the work in ice cream revolves around those egg yolks. Take them out of the recipe and you have an ice cream that doesn't need any time on the stovetop. And if your milk and cream are fridge-cold, you won't even need to chill your base. That means fresh ice cream whenever you want it, with ingredients you probably already have at home, and the easiest ice cream recipe you'll ever make. More

The Better Fruitcake: Baking Stollen at NYC's Bien Cuit Bakery

"It's like a yeasted fruitcake with all of the good stuff and none of the bad," says baker Zachary Golper of his best-in-class stollen. It's a dense, buttery loaf perfumed with citrus zest, orange blossom, and rum. The crumb is stuffed with a delicate almond cream, and the whole thing is "baptized" after baking in a bath of clarified butter, then finished with powdered sugar as fluffy as the season's first snowfall. More

The 100% Vegan Menu to Rock an Animal-Free Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving without dairy and eggs means you miss out on buttery mashed potatoes and custardy pumpkin pie. But skipping out on cream doesn't mean skimping on the comforting, carby dishes Thanksgiving is best for. Actually, it means you get to focus on bolder flavors brimming with spice and explore a spectrum of textures wider than the usual seven kinds of creamy. More

Staff Picks: The Pantry Staples We Can't Live Without

@AndroidUser Wouldn't YOU like to know. Fixed, thanks.

For the Best Oatmeal Pancakes, Toast Your Oats and Brown Your Butter

Looks like cloud-to-butt was being a cloudhead. Fixed, thanks all!

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

@maztec Ask and you shall receive. That post is more geared towards mass-market tea than the fine stuff, but the general points are universal.

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Sichuan Peppercorns?

Hey! We have an old roundup of more traditional Sichuan peppercorn recipes for a primer. It's old, though, so we've put an updated guide on our docket, which will bring in recipes like this awesome mapo tofu.

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

@maztec Have you tried diluted bleach?

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

@protorp Right with you. Mostly an oolong drinker here, but when I'm looking for a digestive aid after a heavy meal and don't want to devote two hours to an aged pu-erh, good genmaicha hits the spot.

@Rosaleen Yellow sugar is made with some molasses, right? (Sorry, ignorant Yankee.) That'll definitely be aromatic in tea, but it's not an aroma enhancer, and neither is unflavored sugar. Maybe she just really likes the taste of molasses.

How to Develop Your Tea-Tasting Palate

@moglichkeiten I'm by no means an expert on Yixing clay pots, but I think that point is debatable. It may be the case with priceless antiques that are hundreds of years old and never used to make tea anymore, but a practical pot that sees even irregular use gets plenty of water splashed on it, inside and out, just through the normal steps of making tea and cleaning the pot.

To directly answer @Rainbow Unicorn's question, in some tea-making processes hot water is poured over the outside of the pot to "bake" particular types of leaves—dry, no water inside yet—which some say makes their flavor more palatable. That's what was happening at this tea-tasting at a teahouse in Singapore. I think the practical value of this baking is questionable at best and is generally not necessary. But I did like the photo.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

@fwilger There's always some residual "spice" aroma that's more or less unavoidable, but rice works best for me.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

@Kenji MAYBE YOU SHOULD EAT MORE HERRING. But yeah, also a big fan of the deli containers.

@Ms Kerr This is really Martha, but lots of dried herbs are nice when wrapped in cheesecloth and put in the backs of closets, drawers, etc. Turmeric also makes a really nice tonic with ginger or ginseng, honey, hot water, and the like.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

@selyar As always, the best home-organization practice is to live alone or Be The Boss.

@Tyler Jackson It might help, but the problem with short-lived spices is evaporation and dissipating essential oils, which even air-tight seals can only help so much.

@elangomatt The important thing to keep in mind re: containers is shutting out light and air. I use mostly glass jars but in a closed cabinet.

@hat19 You can certainly freeze as long as there's no moisture that would get into the spices. But if I froze my bulk spices I'd probably a) forget they're in the freezer, and b) fill up freezer space quickly. Would rather buy small amounts and use them up more quickly.

@ExNYer in SF Cop out answer, but have you considered making your own? Most blends are easy to figure out with some trial and error, and it's a lot of fun. Agree with you that salt shouldn't go in a spice blend.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Yup, there were more posts in the past, but we've found that by dramatically decreasing the number of posts we run a week we can focus more on higher quality features. The strategy seems to be working well; unique visitors to the site have doubled in the past year.

@joe ho On hiatus but not dead. Baker Max has been swamped, well, baking at his day job, but keep an eye out for more stories in the future.

Vegan Mint Chip Ice Cream

@NorrinRazael I wouldn't recommend it. For one, it'll add lots of molasses flavor you don't want. Corn syrup is also only 1/3rd as sweet as sucrose and it has superior texture-building properties—it adds more body and chew.

Beyond English Breakfast: An Introduction to the World's Great Teas

@purplenoon Oolongs are grown everywhere, particularly Taiwan (and the ones there trace ancestry to Chinese varieties), but you raise a good point. Pollution and water are big problems in Chinese agriculture, tea included, but that's also true in some other tea-growing regions. It's particularly an issue for teas grown near large cities; more remote regions fare a little better.

This is why I think it's so vital to know your tea vendor and for them to know where, exactly, their tea is coming from. Good farmers treat their land and tea well, and good vendors seek those people out. I have a recommended vendor list here with a bunch of oolong specialists to get you started.

Quick and Easy Drop Biscuits

You're right, that should be 2 teaspoons of baking soda, not 2 tablespoons. Fixed!

The Secrets of Aging Cheese: A Tour of Murray's Cheese Caves

Nope, it's just production. West Village and the Grand Central annex are the two shops.

3 (More) Great Vegan Ice Creams With 1 Easy Master Recipe

Was betting on golden syrup because of the British connection, but glucose would work great too!

3 (More) Great Vegan Ice Creams With 1 Easy Master Recipe

@Sunny cooks and how Can you get golden syrup? That'll work, though it'll be a little sweeter.

3 (More) Great Vegan Ice Creams With 1 Easy Master Recipe

@VeganWithaYoYo Worth a shot with puréed fruit, just may get a little icy (same thing happens with dairy ice cream, though). Start with high-pectin purées like berries.

@nightpunkster05 If you bothered to read the post or check my byline, you'd notice I'm both decidedly not a vegan and am a frequent [dairy] ice cream maker. I also think I make it clear that this ice cream doesn't taste like dairy, and that it's best appreciated as its own thing. But thanks for the ice-cream-splaining.

@christycreme The mint green one you mean? It's awesome, right? Our photographer Vicky found it at the Salvation Army. The brand is The Monkey and the Peddler and you can find similar dishes online.

Vegan Mint Chip Ice Cream

@arielleeve Depends on the extract, but start with a quarter teaspoon and build up from there.

Note that mint leaves vary in quality! Some are definitely more grassy while others are more herbaceous and sweet. May be worth trying again with mint you love?

3 (More) Great Vegan Ice Creams With 1 Easy Master Recipe

@VeganWithaYoYo I wouldn't say every recipe on the site, but yes, this is a good starting point. The base has trouble with high alcohol amounts; anything over the 2 tablespoons of 80-proof booze in the rum-lime recipe causes it to run into freezing problems. I'd also be wary of adding high-water ingredients like puréed fruit since the base has no protein-based binder (I'm not a fan of starch binders in vegan bases) and may get icy. It's also sensitive to added fats in substantial volumes (see: olive or sesame oil).

But assuming your flavorings don't wreck with the general ratios, you should be fine. The results won't be exactly the same—this is not a copycat for my general base and shouldn't be seen as such—but to my mind that just makes vegan ice cream more delicious as its own sui generis thing.

Staff Picks: The Cheeses We Go Crazy For

@sar_t That was a stupid, stupid brain fart on my behalf. Completely agree with your point, and the text is fixed now!

Where to Buy Amazing Tea Online

@NateHevens That taste test was less about saying "choice of water doesn't matter" and more about how complicated the answer can be. In my experience, using a Brita filter doesn't add much marginal benefit to NYC/Long Island tap water, which is pretty high quality as far as municipal water sources go. But even that might depend on the state of your pipes, which is why I use the general rule of "if you wouldn't drink the water on its own, don't brew tea with it."

Your best option is the large-format water filters favored by tea shops like Fang Gourmet, but those can cost several thousand dollars. Worth it for some, but I'd rather spend the money on tea (and, erm, rent). Like you I try to avoid bottled water, so I just use straight tap most of the time. But it's an edifying experience to blind-taste the same tea brewed with a variety of waters. Trying it for yourself is the only way to see how it works for you.

Beyond English Breakfast: An Introduction to the World's Great Teas

@StephanieL I haven't had many Kenyan teas that I adore, but that's as much for lack of exposure as anything else. The good ones are definitely on par with India's, though.

@punchjc Like anything organic, it depends but I wouldn't call it a guarantee. There's plenty of non-organic tea that's amazing and plenty of middling organic tea. Definitely something to be said for farmers treating their land well, though.

Beyond English Breakfast: An Introduction to the World's Great Teas

@bdb318 I considered doing so, but for people just getting into tea it's not a hugely actionable nugget of knowledge. It's true, for instance, that Darjeeling teas owe some of their distinctness to their var. sinensis origins as opposed to the assamica leaves that dominate the rest of India. But you'll also find assamica leaves in pockets China. So while it's certainly valuable information, it doesn't neatly enlighten a new tea drinker to some of the broad divisions between tea styles, which was the thrust of this article.

More tea pieces to come, though! Plenty of room for a discussion of it in future installments.

The Non-Judgmental Guide to Getting Seriously Into Tea

@MDinMD I usually brew one or two batches of leaves a day, re-steeping each batch five to however many times they keep delivering flavor, and usually dump at the end of the day. But I've certainly paused a steeping session, leaving my leaves right in the drained gaiwan, and picked it up the next day. No worries there.

@NateHevens Someone upthread mentions Finger Lakes Tea, which grows tea in upstate New York, so it may very well be possible! I don't know much about starting your own tea estate, but check out the League of U.S. Tea Growers. Sure they'll have plenty of advice.

Dulces: Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

I couldn't help but think of the stereotypical fiery Latin temperament when I was making this recipe. Arroz con leche (riz au lait or rice pudding), is such a languid, drowsy, gentle thing, so tender it's even suitable for those with smooth gums and weak constitutions, and yet, it is among the most well-liked and frequently made desserts throughout Latin America. Maybe we're all bark and no bite. More

How to Buy, Store, Use (and Re-Use!) Spices

It continues to baffle me how little attention is given to spices today. Maybe it's because we're told to eat local (they rarely are) or organic (they're usually not). Spices seem to still have a reputation of being slapdash cover-ups for mediocre chicken—and far too often they are—but they don't have to be. Yes, spice hunting requires a little time, effort, and money (though less than you think), but once you start using fresh spices in you're cooking, you may just find yourself addicted. More