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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

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

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.

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

@TommiFromKiel Not the stuff you buy at the grocery store, which is different from HCFS. Karo corn syrup is a 47% dextrose equivalent syrup, though the exact composition is a company secret.

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

@botdx Arrowroot freezes really well, so it's actually a pretty common ice cream stabilizer. I find it lends bigger chewy body to ice cream than cornstarch; the latter brings a puddinglike texture that I don't care for.

Digging your suggestion but that's a pretty big topic to cover—lots of different uses and properties to investigate. What particular uses are you most curious about?

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

@Steven Totally, and cheaper, too.

@banzai I don't but would like to some day!

Where to Buy Amazing Tea Online

@NateHevens I haven't done a cross-vendor gyokuro tasting comparison so I can't point out a particular favorite, but "best" is a really personal question, and there are different styles of gyokuro like anything else. I'd suggest you keep trying samples and see what you like most, and don't worry about getting one that's objectively the "highest quality." Also try brewing each sample a few different times before passing judgment on it. Sometimes a brew might be off, or you might be in a weird headspace, or you ate something that affected your palate. When you're just starting out, the only way to decide if a tea is right for you (and priced for your budget) is to keep tasting wide across samples and deep within them.

Tencha is shade-grown like gyokuro but usually processed into matcha. It may be worth trying for curiosity, but whether it's worth that price to you is something only you can answer (I haven't tried that particular tea). That said, it's priced at about $1.60 per gram, which is pretty darn high even in the realm of high-end Japanese greens. The Japanese vendors here offer more competitive prices without the Orientalist ad copy.

For the Deepest, Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream, Add Cocoa Nibs

@BrooklynBabette There are many, many free bookmarking services out there that we recommend with way more features than our recipe-saving button had. And every web browser has the exact same capability built right in.

For the Deepest, Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream, Add Cocoa Nibs

@scalfin I don't think I'm ragging on Hershey's; I just think it serves a better purpose as a vehicle for milk chocolate. Can you share what medium the Cook's team used for this test? What type of flavor they were going for? Were they looking for a dessert as dark, fruity, and bitter as this? Hershey's unsweetened may be a fine general purpose chocolate—their cocoa has many uses at 1/4 the price of Valrhona—but it's not the best for this kind of recipe.

As for carob, I wouldn't recommend it—it'll add carob flavors, not chocolate ones. Re: cocoa butter, virtually all cocoa butter is deodorized to be flavorless, so it wouldn't add anything to the ice cream. And the amount of fat you'd be replacing by going from whole milk to skim would be minimal considering the amount of cocoa butter already in the recipe in the form of chocolate.

The Darkest Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

@lil_brown_bat I tested out some higher butterfat versions and the resulting ice cream was way too thick to eat, more like frozen ganache frosting. All-milk gets you a scoop that's full flavored and plenty creamy but not overwhelming.

For the Deepest, Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream, Add Cocoa Nibs

@lil_brown_bat Spent cocoa nibs get too soft and boiled peanut-like to make good mix-ins. If you want nibs embedded in the ice cream, I'd use fresh ones.

@VeganWithaYoYo Gonna put that one under Probably Will Not Suck. My bigger concern is fat content—coconut cream may be overboard in this case. Notice the recipe here has no cream.

For the Deepest, Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream, Add Cocoa Nibs

@karen Thanks for pointing that out! Silly mistake of mine. I've updated the text.

The Best Gin for a Martini

@Kathemenos We tasted many more gins than what appears here. These are our top five rankings. I think that's clear if you read the story.

Why Great Tea Doesn't Come Cheap: Digging Into the High Mountain Economy

@Dbyerlee Thanks for that article! It may be more accurate to say that producers of Western tea, big and small scale, both operate with the same commodity market in place, and thus prioritize efficiency over quality. They feature the same processing techniques, the same itinerant pickers, and the same auction markets that make wholesale prices pretty standard. I'd also argue that the prominence of the large estates sets the tone of business for most of the smaller ones as well.

Why Great Tea Doesn't Come Cheap: Digging Into the High Mountain Economy

@Matthew Thanks, and absolutely agree. I figure the "cost per serving" calculation has been done enough times that I didn't want to include it here, but a good point to make. At the office I typically drink one batch all day long.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@Katie @Joe Stella's been working on her book, which unfortunately sucks up a lot of time. But I'm betting you haven't heard the last of her. (And the book's gonna be AWESOME.)

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@Ocean Nothing fancy, just the dishwasher plus communal elbow grease.

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

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

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