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

Ed Levine's Golden Rules of the Perfect Pancake

This is my favorite pancake recipe ever. Flours: half all-purpose and half whole wheat, and buttermilk for the liquid. The whole wheat flour doesn't weigh them down at all, but gives them a more substantial flavor. I don't think I could go back to all white flour.

Cemitas (Mexican Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns)

I have a question about the kneading: lacking a large food processor, what is the best method for combining the ingredients?

I have a stand mixer, but not with a "normal" dough hook (it has two twisty-hooks that twirl around one another; they work but it doesn't seem like the same thing as a Kitchen-Aid dough hook).

I also have a dough whisk; would that approximate the effect if I stir quickly? (I like my cooking to be as much of a workout as possible. :)

Incidentally, said lack of food processor is the only reason I haven't tried the pizza dough recipe yet.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

I am sad that the logo is changing. I keep having to squint, otherwise the new one looks like a suitcase. As Stewie said, I don't like change!

Sweet and Moist Northern-Style Cornbread

Absolutely perfect; this is the cornbread recipe I've been looking for for years. My husband ate about three times the amount he normally does! I can't wait to try it with bacon drippings.

Upgrade Your Tamale Pie With Braised Skirt Steak and a Brown Butter Cornbread Crust (Plus: A Quick and Easy 45-Minute Skillet Version!)

Great, now I'm starving. But this is definitely going on the list of things to try as soon as I get over my fear of cooking with real chilies.

The Food Lab: How to Make Potato Leek Soup the Easy and Easier way

I am also in love with Julia's version. It breaks horribly and looks awful after it's been frozen, but with some heat and vigorous whisking you'll never know the difference. The creaminess of something that has so few ingredients was one of my first epiphanies when I started learning to cook.

The Food Lab: Rethinking Beef Stroganoff

@ Kenji,

Condolences. RIP, Yuba.

The Food Lab: Better-Than-Twix Chocolate-Covered Caramel-Filled Shortbread Cookies

This is the perfect Christmas present! I used to love Twix, but all cheap chocolate candy tastes weird to me now - a sour or bitter aftertaste. Now I can have my favorite again! As always, a heartfelt thank you, Kenji. Still anticipating the book(s)!

The Food Lab: How to Roast Fall and Winter Vegetables

I have to link to the roasted Brussels sprouts recipe that changed my life. Important: I always used toasted sesame oil instead of peanut or canola - the flavor is amazing!

Introducing the Ultimate Four-Layer, Candy-Packed Halloween Ice Cream Cake

My old grocery store carried the Famous Chocolate Wafers on the special little shelf for ice cream toppings; check there if you can't find them with regular cookies. Or, chocolate graham crackers make a good chocolate crumb crust!

How to Make Sweet and Moist Northern-Style Cornbread With a Crust a Southerner Would Be Proud Of

This is exactly what I've been looking for! My favorite cornbread is from the Jiffy mix, but I wanted a way to make it from scratch. All the "real Southen cornbread" recipes I've tried were too dry and bland, although I'm sure very authentic.

Use Your Potato Masher To Break Up Ground Meat in the Skillet

I used to have a potato masher that shape but plastic, and I got rid of it because it wasn't strong enough to squash anything. I usually use my Kwik-Kut chopper for breaking things up in pans and for pureeing tomatoes.

The Food Lab: Make This Crisp-Skinned Chicken and Roast Vegetables in One Cast Iron Skillet

Ditto arbeck's question: is this recipe the long-awaited excuse I need to buy a 12" or 15" cast iron skillet? I just don't see all that fitting in my 10".

Also, just moved from SoCal to Connecticut and am loving the fact that seasons exist here! And temperature variations!

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies From 'Baked Occasions'

I am always nervous about pumpkin and chocolate combinations; the Pumpkin Spice M&Ms were terrible, but the Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milanos were pretty good. The cheesecake flavor might make it a little better.

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.

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