Profile

MrsSell

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!

  • Website
  • Location: SECT
  • Favorite foods: Bread. Sweets. Nacho Cheese Doritos.

Bacon and Avocado Take Your In-N-Out Animal-Style Double Double to the Next Level

Great: mere days after we move from California to Connecticut, Kenji starts on the In-N-Out posts. Like the withdrawal wasn't bad enough already. :P

Manner Matters: How to Deal With Lateness

Is it still done to issue invitations with the phrasing "dinner will be served at (time)" or am I remembering that from a really old etiquette book? Presumably, if there was an invitation (even in email or text) that stated, "Come for drinks starting at seven, and dinner will be served at eight," it would imply "whether you're there or not."

Of course, some people will be horribly offended that everyone didn't wait around for them, but that's their problem and unfortunately there's nothing you can do.

Manner Matters: In Praise of Place Cards

I think it's wise to consider the temperaments of the guests: extroverts vs. introverts. Extroverts tend to talk with their neighbors, whether their neighbors talk back or not, while introverts will wait patiently for hours for other to initiate conversation. I would seat people introvert/extrovert, so as to evenly distribute the conversation. If all the extroverts are at one end of the table, none of the conversation will make it to the other end.

The Food Lab: Use the Oven to Make the Best Darned Italian American Red Sauce You've Ever Tasted

I haven't bought canned pasta or pizza sauce since discovering Kenji's New-York-style sauce, and now I can't wait to try this one! I'd try it today if I wasn't house-hunting from a hotel room... It's probably a bad sign that I'm actually miss my enameled cast iron pots.

Once again, this article makes me impatient for The Food Lab book -- and don't tell me it's coming out this fall; that's been the story since 2010. ;)

Seriously, though, when it does come out it's going to be Christmas presents for everyone in my family.

Lunch Hack: Use a Pizza Wheel To Chop Your Salad Directly in the Bowl

I've been coveting this for a long time, but I guess it would be easier to just use the pizza cutter and bowls that I already have... :)

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

I once experienced the Gilroy Garlic Festival as a volunteer inside a blistering hot concession tent. It was miserably hot and exhausting, but it smelled SO GOOD.

The Palestinian Summer Feast: Salads, Flatbreads, and a Big Pot of Lamb

This looks amazing! We're moving to the Northeast this fall, and we'll go to NYC for the first time. I'll definitely make a point to go here! I've tried lots of different Middle Eastern foods, but never Palestinian.

Giveaway: Win a Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer

I would do the steak recipe my husband loves, and I would get yellow because when I worked in a kitchen all the thermometers were that color. :)

Do You Dukkah? All About the Middle East's Addictive Blend of Nuts, Seeds, and Spices

This looks great! I recently learned to make lebne dip by spreading it on a plate, then covering it with cumin, s&p, garlic powder, and a little paprika and sesame seeds. I'll try this for an alternative flavor!

Light and Tender Cream Biscuits

These came out very tasty, but they hardly rose at all; they were basically flat. The taller ones were the ones at the end of the cutting, when all the pieces had been worked and mixed more. Should I mix them more next time, or could it be my baking powder was too old?

Win a Serious Eats Edition KettlePizza Baking Steel Combo for Father's Day!

Meat, meat, and more meat.

Does Refrigeration Really Ruin Bread?

I also refrigerate all my bread products, not to keep them from getting stale, but because they mold within a few days otherwise. It's not great, but I prefer cold and stiff over having to throw it all way.

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make The Best Egg Salad

@ lemonfair

Do you mean this? I have both the straight and the serrated edge, and the straight one is what I use for egg salad. It's great because you can chop in a bowl, which keeps the eggs from rolling away. It's also good for breaking up whole tomatoes in a sauce pan while they're cooking down, and for browning ground meat. Anyplace you want to chop something up, but don't have a large flat surface for a knife.

Manner Matters: The Finer Points of Eating With Your Hands

It's interesting that cultures that do normally eat with their hands still eat very tidily. When we eat with our hands, we just assume that it's going to be messy, so we don't try very hard. If you still follow the general rules (small bites, use only your fingertips, etc), you can still appear fairly civilized.

The Best Food to Order at Panda Express

I will always love Panda Express because it was the first Chinese food that I ever ate. Orange chicken and half fried, half steamed rice all the way! (Half white rice to cut the spiciness of the orange chicken.)

Also, thank you for acknowledging that we don't eat the steamed vegetables. We could nuke a bag of frozen vegetables at home if that's what we wanted.

Also also, the great thing about SE is that they cover all types of food: from Pop-Tarts and fast food to authentic ethnic and high-end fare.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Can anyone help me with this idea of finishing pasta in the sauce with a little water? I am unfamiliar with this concept.

An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

Very sad that Talk is gone away! It's like being told that your evening cooking club won't be having meetings anymore, but it's okay because you can still see each other at work and around town. It was nice to have a dedicated place to pick people's brains.

On that note, thank you to everyone who has assisted me with my novice cooking questions - you've been so helpful! I'll just have to rely on Google from now on...

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!

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