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Confessions of a Maple Syrup Smuggler

You don't take Parmesan to a pizza joint. The fancy restaurant will not appreciate your dime bag of finishing salt. But one of the other pacts you make with a diner is that as long as you don't set the place on fire, you're pretty much free to do whatever you want. Which is why I've started bringing my very own maple syrup. More

Think Inside the Bun: How to Make Your Own Taco Bell Cemita

It's strange how a fast food menu that's inspired parody videos about endlessly recursive foodstuffs and redrawn mealtime taxonomies has never ventured into serving something as simple as a torta. But we deserve some Taco Bell sandwiches to call our own. Fortunately, with a quick supply run to the grocery store, you can make that happen with the chain's very own menu. More

Your Tea Starter Kit: 5 Great Teas to Kick Off an Obsession

The road to drinking great tea, even at its most simple, gets complicated fast. On the one hand, you need some thorough guides to navigate the overwhelming diversity of styles, growing regions, and cultivars to have some sense of what you're drinking. But on the other hand, you just need to start drinking some damn tea. Here are five great ones to get you started. More

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

Confessions of a Maple Syrup Smuggler

@Nick P Cholula or bust.

@atombaby Whaaaaaaaaat??

Confessions of a Maple Syrup Smuggler

@stefanle That's why this is a story about diners, not those types of restaurants.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Just use the darkest you can find. I prefer grade B, but even American supermarkets often insist on only selling as low as grade A dark, which is what I used to make this ice cream.

How to Add Rich, Nutty Depth to Any Ice Cream Recipe

@Xianhang Not really, they get too soggy. Still totally edible as a snack or cereal accompaniment though.

Why a Bottle of Japanese Iced Tea is the Ultimate Summer Refresher

@monopod @Orchid Of course one can also brew their own from loose leaf, but sometimes you need a cold bottle on the run, you know?

@Orchid Oh yeah, that which is not sweet over there can get super-duper sweet. I love the canned drinks that are basically flavored syrup.

@PSFarm The preservatives in and of themselves aren't evil, but few bottled juices taste particularly good; that was merely my shorthand.

@ccbweb Try the Tejava. That liter cost me all of $2 in New York. Ito En also sells loose leaf bags for cold brew that will run you way cheaper per serving than their bottled teas.

@manhat In fairness, some of the American brands do make unsweetened, unflavored iced teas. They just taste really bad.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@rhallen Cold Stone is perhaps the worst example. Yes, it's rich and chewy, but it gets that way with an over reliance on stabilizers rather than good ice cream technique, so it doesn't taste or melt the way it should.

Where to Eat in Taipei in the Time it Takes to Wait on Line at Din Tai Fung

@NYCtea Though his English is solid some things got lost in translation, including the exact name of the tea. But it's the one he grows on his farm, I'd say medium oxidized, not very heavily roasted, but his roasting technique brings a ton of depth even without a lot of heat. I didn't have any dong ding on my visit, but my impression is that all the tea he sells is roasted. Not sure if he has any really dark roasts, though.

I was traveling with a tea friend who had it on her list. Dunno where she heard about him, though.

Where to Eat in Taipei in the Time it Takes to Wait on Line at Din Tai Fung

@JPET It's certainly a good chain. I really enjoyed my meal there, just wouldn't want to wait hours for it.

@NYCtea That roaster is incredible. Did you get a chance to try the tea he grows? Out of the many tea finds on the trip, my half-jin of that oolong and a gushu cake purchased there are two of the big highlights.

Think Inside the Bun: How to Make Your Own Taco Bell Cemita

@Moosefight That's an amazing idea.

8 Must-Eat Mexican Sandwiches in Chicago

@menkey Guadalajara is the capitol of the state of Jalisco.

Mexican Masa-Ball Soup, or, How a Silly Pun Led to a Really Tasty Dish

@badseed1980 I made tako tacos back in college. They were awesome. And the tentacles wriggle and dance as you cook them on the griddle.

Sherry Martini

@AMHA If you want to buy just one bottle of gin that'll work well in this recipe, try Beefeater, or one of these budget brands. Innocente fino isn't cheap at $20 a bottle, but it's versatile (drink neat! on ice! cook with it!) and worth buying.

The Best Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken in Washington, DC

@Sean in NY We have a Peruvian chicken recipe that may help.

Everything You Can Do With a Can of Chipotles in Adobo

@adnan To be honest they taste pretty similar to me, though I've never done a side by side comparison. My guess is by the time you add them to a recipe any subtle differences will disappear.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@ResearchChef OH GOD *hides head in pit of copy editor shame*

Thanks for the correction. Fixed now!

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@Kevin Konjac is one possibility, but I'd be more into Dave Arnold's use of guar plus gellan.

@atombaby The slowest speed on the Kitchenaid is still pretty fast, about the same as the Cuisinart.

Dense, Chewy, and Rich New England-Style Ice Cream

@Brew The ice cream doesn't need any softener; it's scoopable straight from the freezer. Adding alcohol would make it melt faster and freeze (and refreeze) more icy.

Where to Buy Amazing Tea Online

@Nate I brew gyokuro with very cool water, around 140 and a relatively high concentration of leaves. You want a dense, brothy, soupy feeling in the mouth and a powerful jolt of umami.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@Adamvs I've used that method in the past. It gets the job done but just isn't quite the same—sticky and a little icy. Also ice cream needs some air so it's not crazy dense.

@Katie Potato Yes, I don't think the Jeni's base captures the style I'm looking for.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@M.Birman Clarification: I topped out at 5 yolks per pint, so 10 per quart. It was reallllly eggy, basically eggnog ice cream. But yeah, Stella's an ice cream genius, and I can't wait to see what frozen stuff goes into her book.

Dense, Chewy, and Rich New England-Style Ice Cream

Yes, rich, not rice.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@PSFam Check the ingredient list on the salep you get at Middle Eastern markets. It doesn't actually contain salep root; it's milk powder, sugar, and flavorings to make a creamy drink also called salep, but it's an ersatz product that won't yield dondurma-like chewiness. Real salep only leaves Turkey via smuggling. It also makes for a different kind of chewiness than what this recipe calls for.

@badseed1980 I did a shorter Boston trip last fall and got to hit up some great shops. Really enjoyed Lizzy's in particular. Hopefully more to come with warmer weather.

@BostonAdam That's the recipe I linked to in the article! Yeah, gelatin is a popular stabilizer, but I find it gives ice cream a kind of slick texture. Definitely handy for eggless ice creams like the recipe in that link, particularly if you're using a hand-crank machine for low overrun. I also use it in my Mr. Softee recipe.

@illone Frozen custard is a fresh soft serve that emphasizes higher butterfat, more eggs, and more dairy taste upfront. New England ice cream is served hard, usually not as heavy on eggs (I'm using them here as a workaround) and butterfat, and churned in a conventional batch freezer as opposed to custard's super-low-overrun continuous freezer.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@sbp123 Mastic isn't actually what makes Turkish dondurma chewy; it's a flavoring. Salep is the chewy key ingredient, but it's illegal to export and thus nearly impossible to find outside of Turkey.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@scalfin Condensed milk, even when diluted with fresh, adds a distinct condensed milk flavor to ice cream, much more than evaporated milk. Corn syrup also has different chewiness properties than the sucrose in condensed milk.

Re tapioca vs arrowroot, I'd say they're equally available, as a store that carries the Bob's Red Mill brand of one likely carries the other, but like I said above I went with arrowroot because it's a popular ice cream stabilizer that handles cold temperatures very well. Didn't do a side by side comparison with tapioca starch, but I suspect it'd also be good.

Corn syrup doesn't introduce the same honeyed cane taste that golden syrup does. It's also less sweet, so you can use more of it for added chewiness without killing the ice cream with sweetness.

How to Make Your Ice Cream as Dense, Rich, and Chewy as a New England Scoop Shop's

@John I considered hacks like that but didn't want to pursue things likely to void a warrantee, at least for something I'm doing for an article when there were other avenues to explore. There was also the hidden motive of showing how you can alter the ingredients of an ice cream recipe to manipulate its texture, but that's its own thing. But it sounds like you have a great rig! How's the resulting ice cream?

@Grease I wouldn't say dry ice is super common yet—even in New York Citythere's only a couple places to get it—but stay tuned, as I've been aiming to do a dry ice cream for a while and this is likely the year.

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