I'm a housewife who got thrown into cooking in the deep end, so I figured I'd learn as much as I can to make it as fun as possible!

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  • Location: SoCal
  • Favorite foods: Bread. Sweets. Nacho Cheese Doritos.

The Food Lab: Slow-Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb With Garlic and Rosemary

I used this recipe yesterday for my first-ever lamb cooking experience. I substituted Italian seasonings for the rosemary and lemon, to go with roasted potatoes, and it came out beautifully.

Once again, Kenji, thank you for recipes that consistently produce fantastic results - can't wait for the book(s)!

Cook the Book: 'My Paris Kitchen' by David Lebovitz

Chain Reaction: We Try McDonald's Bacon Clubhouse Sandwiches

I wish fast food places would quit with the fancy buns. The food is tolerable as long as all the components are at the same level of mediocrity. When they take an old sandwich and try to fancy it up by replacing the bun, it messes up the equation. I'm looking at you, Burger King Tendercrisp!

Behind the Scenes in Robyn's Home Kitchen

Whenever I put fat in a skillet to heat, it all slides to the front, away from the hot center of the pan. It is a pain, and I hope that my next stove doesn't do that.

Are These the Top 10 In-N-Outs in America?

I recently visited the In-N-Out in Barstow, California, and it was HUGE (for an In-N-Out, anyway). I think it was the first time I've ever been in an In-N-Out and we were able to get a table before we got our food. That location even has a mention in this book for how big it is! There was enough room for the standard fast-food queue barriers.

Moving from SoCal to New England

I asked about all of New England because when I look at the map, everything seems so close! California is so big, and we're used to driving miles to get specific foods and restaurants. One of the things I am looking forward to is a more rural, small-town atmosphere.

It looks like we're going to be on the eastern end of the coast, near the Naval base at Groton; not sure yet exactly where.

I am really excited about being so close to New York and Boston! I've never been to either place, and I'm a huge history buff, so I'll be in hog heaven.

It's going to be weird to live in a place where the grocery stores don't devote whole aisles to hundreds of types of salsas, chiles, masa harina, and all the quesos.

Moving from SoCal to New England

Thank you all so much! This is exactly what I was looking for. SE-ers always come through!

As for why we're moving from sunny SoCal to CT, this.

Behind the Scenes in Carrie's Home Kitchen

I love the blue and hate the tile! It's a beautiful color, but my current countertops are broken, chipped tile with impossible-to-clean grout, and forget about wiping clean or rolling dough out on the surface - it just sticks all down in the cracks. Blech. But I'm remembering that color for when I get my own kitchen!

Where to eat in San Diego (4 days)

If you take the ferry across the bay to Coronado, there's lots of good food. Kinda depends on what type of food you're looking for. I really like McP's Irish Pub in Coronado. Lil' Piggy's Bar-B-Q in Coronado has okay food, but if I recall correctly, they have a lot of craft and local beers.

The Broken Yolk Cafe is probably the most famous breakfast place in San Diego, and there's one just a couple blocks away from the Mark. And there's a Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop down there, too.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Also, diluting Mountain Dew with orange juice is the best breakfast beverage ever.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

I love Taco Bell breakfast! The A.M. Crunchwrap is much better now that they've added the jalapeño sauce; it was pretty bland before that.

Behind the Scenes in Niki's Home Kitchen

I currently have about eight jars of different types of honey, all different flavors, and hardly ever use them... I have a pain d'epices recipe that calls for 1 1/2 cups of honey, which I plan to make to use them up.

Can I juice oranges in a food mill?

Thank you all, especially those of you who dirtied up an appliance for me! I will look into the vintage juicers, and that little electric one looks great, especially for the price. I will keep the food mill on my wish list, but will keep it near the bottom.

Behind the Scenes in Jamie's Home Kitchen

Butter bell: most awesome thing ever, except that now when we go out to dinner or to other people's houses, we've forgotten how annoying it is to try to spread rock-hard butter. Try to find one on sale at a Le Creuset outlet!

I had the same experience with my grains in glass jars, and ended up 1) writing some directions down in my kitchen-reference notebook, or 2) clipping the instructions off of the rice bag (or whatever), and just dropping it on top of the grains in the jar. Of course, since it's glass, the clipping is clearly visible, but it's totally worth it when I know how long to cook the stuff.

Ah, the spices... the weird stuff you pick up at the ethnic market and only use once, but which take up way more than their share of room because they only came in the half-pound bag...

Meat Lite: Polish Cabbage, Potato, and Bacon Casserole

Yay! I'm always looking for ways to use up cabbage, since my one cabbage recipe only calls for about half a head, and this looks wonderful! Great way to use up potatoes, too. Plus, BACON. That is all.

Bake the Book: The Irish Pantry

Flour, sugar, brown sugar, shortening, salt, baking powder, baking soda, rice, pasta = the stuff for chocolate chip cookies, plus things that don't get used up all at once. :) And here's hoping someday we get a real pantry, instead of a cupboard under the counter.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

I can't leave cupcakes to cool on the counter anymore because my cat steals them and drags them triumphantly through the house, leaving a trail of crumbs in his wake. He left the brownies alone, though, so maybe he doesn't like chocolate.

Supermarket Sweets: We Try the New Cherry and Red Velvet M&M's

The Ben and Jerry's Red Velvet is the only B&J's product that has ever disappointed me: all it tasted like was cream cheese. I love the cocoa-and-vanilla flavor of red velvet, and there wasn't any of that. There were cake bits, but they were overwhelmed by the cream cheese.

The Food Lab: How to Make Creamy Vegetable Soups Without a Recipe

I love learning these technique recipes! One of my favorite pureed autumn soups is onion, garlic, red pepper, butternut squash, and an apple, with chicken stock. Sometimes I add cream at the end...

Also, I've always made leek and potato soup in the blender, and haven't had bad results with the potato. Is there something in the leeks that prevents it from becoming gummy?

Leftover Pizza + Waffle Iron = Delicious Crispy, Gooey, Cheese-Stuffed Snack

I love the French if only because their language has a word for the browned stuff around the edge of the pan. :)

As a denizen of tiny-kitchendom, I love the idea of that stovetop waffle iron! But I have come to hate my cast iron grill pan because it's impossible to season and clean in all the little tiny crevices. How easy is that one to clean?

New Ways to Prepare Oatmeal

Reality Check: Turkey Tacos from Del Taco

By the way, she is a beautiful cat. I love the white/tabby combination - so unusual!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

I found a doughnut bed here, but it's not quite the same one.

Reality Check: Turkey Tacos from Del Taco

I understand my cat stealing bits of meat and leftovers off the kitchen table. Here are the things I don't understand: cupcakes, apples, bananas and grapes. I think he genuinely believes he's a dog.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

BOOOOOOOK!!!! Bookbookbookbookbookbook!!!! Can we have a slideshow of just pictures of the book in different suggestive poses?

Moving from SoCal to New England

We just found out we're moving from Southern California (way, way southern) to Connecticut! I'm super excited, because despite having travelled overseas and throughout the US, I've never been to New England, and don't know much about it or its food and cooking culture.

I have three questions:

For New Englanders:

1) What is the food heritage in New England? I understand there's a lot of seafood, but was curious about the European influence, like is there German food, or English, or Polish, etc. I want to learn how to cook local food.

2) What New England restaurants should we go to to get a feel for the local cuisine?

And for Southern Californians:

3) Which restaurants should we make a point to go to before we leave forever? (In-N-Out tops this list. Probably every week, since we'll most likely never come back to California.)

Thanks for your help!

Can I juice oranges in a food mill?

I recently made the mistake of using a hand juicer to make orange juice, and now can never, ever go back to the frozen condensed stuff.

Since hand-juicing takes FOREVER, I was shopping around for an inexpensive electric model when I thought of using a food mill, something which was already on my kitchen wish list. I've only seen one used once, but it looks like a food mill should be able to handle peeled, sectioned citrus fruit perfectly.

Has anyone ever tried this? If a food mill will work for juicing, then I'll just get the one device in my tiny kitchen instead of two.

Thanks for your help!

Couscous smells musty

A while ago, I found a great deal on a bag of couscous at my Middle Eastern grocery. It looked exactly like the stuff in the Near East box, so I've been preparing it the same way: boil water with a little olive oil and salt, add couscous, and let it absorb off the heat.

Recently, we've noticed that the finished product smells musty.

Does couscous go bad? I figured that since it's pasta, its shelf life ought to be essentially indefinite. I keep it in an air-tight glass container.

If the whole thing is old, I really don't mind tossing it all out, since it was only about $4 for 2 pounds. But I hate to go back to paying grocery store prices for those teeny boxes of name brand couscous.

Am I preparing it wrong? Is there something I could be doing (rinsing, etc), to take away the musty smell?

Sweet vanilla butter

I had a ton of leftover whipped cream, and someone recommended continuing to whip it until it made butter, which freezes better than whipped cream. (I'm going out of town and can't eat it all.) The thing is, I forgot until I had finished rinsing the butter that I had added sugar and bourbon vanilla extract to the whipped cream for flavor, so now I have super-sweet, slightly alcoholic fresh butter.

So if anyone was thinking about using up extra whipped cream that way, bear that in mind... Alternatively, if you want custom-flavored butter, you could do it on purpose. :)

No-knead bread on a cast iron griddle?

I love baking free-form, no-knead bread, but I have yet to invest in a baking stone. I just got the Lodge cast iron reversible 20x10 griddle, and was wondering if I could preheat that in the oven just like a baking stone and then slide the bread on. Would that be too much thermal shock for cast iron? And would there be a sticking issue? The griddle is only lightly seasoned so far.

Glass or metal lids for pots and pans?

I'm looking to upgrade my cheap, non-stick pots and pans, and I'm looking at the Tramontina Tri-Ply line in 18/10 Stainless Steel from Wal-Mart. However, it looks like they're revamping the line; the main difference seems to be the old ones had glass lids and the new ones have stainless steel lids. Should I snap up the old glass-lidded versions, or wait and get the new editions with metal lids?

Eggs in a Hole + Grilled Cheese = Grilled Cheese Eggsplosion!

Like the infamous Fatty Melt (that's a burger made with two grilled cheese sandwiches as a bun, the brainchild of our own Adam Kuban), the Grilled Cheese Eggsplosion is a hybrid sandwich, combining elements from two or more sources into a single glorious dish. In this case, it's a simple grilled cheese sandwich between two eggs-in-a-hole (or bullseye eggs, eggs-in-a-basket, whatever you want to call it) replacing the plain old bread. More

The Food Lab: How To (Sort Of) Make Naan at Home

In many ways naan resembles really great Neapolitan pizza crust. It's a soft dough cooked at extremely high temperatures. When it's at its best, it should be puffy with a crackling thin, crisp crust spotted with bits of smoky char that breaks open to reveal airy, stretchy, slightly chewy bread underneath. Painted with melted butter (perhaps flavored with a bit of garlic) and sprinkled with good salt, it's so good on its own that sometimes I have to talk my curry down from its fits of jealousy. More