Nikki Goldstein

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A Sandwich a Day: Flour Bakery's Roasted Lamb with Tomato Chutney and Goat Cheese in Boston

this sandwich is my favorite -- but i always order it toasted and pressed! makes it even better :)

Gadgets: Tea Infuser Mug by Aladdin

@Donnelle - glad you like it! always great to hear :)

Cool Drinks, NY: Kombucha Brooklyn

I've never had kombucha, so I can't comment on taste, but I did extensive research on the health "benefits" while writing a tea trends/nutrition article and was able to speak to a large handful of nutritionists and ADA spokespeople about the studies I found.

The overwhelming result: there are no proven benefits, and several risks to outweigh possible benefits, primarily for anyone who is immunodeficient, because of the presence of a particular fungus called aspergillus, that can cause major infections in weaker systems. There have also been numerous recalls for anthrax contamination (not sure what brands), so enjoy with caution! (Ick, sorry to be a buzzkill!)

Gadgets: Custom Loaf Bread Maker by Breville

@ erin & lorenzo - depending on what you're going for, you can get really different effects. Braided loaves and rolls, loaves with slits, etc., come out looking great. I'll try to upload a pic later of some rolls I made that looked just like the ones at my fave resto. Crusty loaves lack the "artisan" crackle and crisp, but then again, there's a reason why professional bread bakers don't use machines--there are certain limitations that the machine inherently implies. This machine does better than any other I've seen to that regard, though!

Make Almond Joys from Scratch

i love the idea of making these in a square mold with two almonds that are positioned to look like a heart. might be my friday night project!

Gadgets: The Smart Grinder by Breville

@Malecki -- I'm sorry, I don't have experience with the Baratza machines, but I'm sure some super geeky (read: awesome) coffee forums would be able to get to that level of specificity for you. All I can say is that I've gotten pretty spoiled with my coffee quality intake as of late, and I've been brewing the best stuff I've ever made at home with this grinder!

Gadgets: The Smart Grinder by Breville

@MoEats -- it's the simplest thing. They literally slide in and out. Wouldn't be any harder than pushing a button!

Gadgets: The Smart Grinder by Breville

@onepercent99 -- thanks for the love! Glad you like the column :) To answer your question, I think this machine does a better job with espresso than any other home grinder I've seen, in large part because it's designed with espresso in mind. Hence the two portafilter cradles and 10+ grind settings for espresso alone. Feel free to jump back here and let me know how you like it if you buy it!

Gadgets: Salad Shooter by Presto

@ galadiman - if that's your main purpose, i might go for the professional model which is a few bucks more but gives you more cones for different thicknesses (and one with ridges!). I haven't tried making potato chips with this, but I did think about it while testing, and I think it would work well for really thin chips. let us know how it goes if you try it!

Gadgets: Salad Shooter by Presto

@wunami, I opted to cut cheese down a bit to better control how much I'd end up with, and there are a few things that you'd probably use less often (like chocolate, or maybe apples) that you'd also want to cut into chunks. To give you a more concrete idea, smaller cucumbers can go in whole, but fatty ones can't!

Gadgets: Salad Shooter by Presto

@sirrix - they won't work any differently than your food processor, really, but i find two advantages. first, i don't have to take out my food processor and have it take up valuable counter space (i have very little of that precious commodity!). it's also much easier to clean up, as Peggasus says. there are fewer parts involved, and by not shredding into a unique bowl, you can skip cleaning that and aim directly into the salad bowl/whatever other container you're using. if your food processor has a permanent home on your counter, I'd assume you're probably already taken care of, but if you find yourself too lazy to deal with it on regular occasion, this is a great option!

Daily Slice: Gnocco, East Village

I'm biased because I've worked with these guys, but I'll add another shout out for the tartufata. Mmmm....

Gadgets: Layer Cake Slicing Kit by Frieling

@secondtimearound -- I looked around for just that and found nothing, but I agree that would be a great idea!

@arwenc -- Even with $12 shipping, that link is still cheaper than the $60 base cost at most other stores. I agree it's a little on the steep side--it would be so much more worth it if the slicing guide actually snapped into place.

Yearning for Moroccan breakfast in NYC

I found this thread late, but my very first brunch column here was on Casaville's Moroccan brunch. The chef is from Morocco and has many familiar comforts on the menu, from harira to briwatts.

It's under-rated, under-known and quite good, though they don't have many of the breakfast breads I miss from Morocco myself. If you've found good semolina breads a la Marrakesh since your post, please do let us know!

Gadgets: Martha Stewart's Pie Gate

@wunami -- it's just the juice. whatever damage happens when you cut a slice, it won't undo :)

Ajiaco: Colombian Chicken and Potato Soup

my family--and most of the versions we find in miami--include yuca as the starchy potato, which I personally love. it gets soft and almost mushy in the best way as it cooks in the soup. having a recipe actually written down is a huge convenience though--the fiance would never know how to make this on sick days otherwise! hah!

@kitchengeeking - kenji's spot on with his cartagena recs. the islas are a total must. there's also a restaurant in the old city that's beyond a tiny, tiny door (the space was preserved from original spanish colonial days, when people were a lot shorter) that has incredible seafood, but i can never remember its name. might be worth asking around though--i'm sure someone can point you to it!

Gadgets: Deni 15-Blade Meat Tenderizer

that's totally fair--there are so many ways to test each gadget, and only so much time! i'd encourage you to go ahead and grab one--they're really only about $10 and so far the "all kinds of meat" claim has lived up well!

Gadgets: Deni 15-Blade Meat Tenderizer

@elangomatt - the deni claims to make a difference on "all cuts of meat," which is why i chose a cut that might not be the obvious choice. i did, however, test on other cuts as well! either way, it did work with the chicken breasts, and did help the marinade absorb faster, so i'd hardly call it a fail!

Barbecue and Fried Fish: Foods of the Colombian Llanos

if you ever go to miami, there are places that crop up (illegally, often) specializing in ternera a la llanera--they're accordingly very hard to find, and often change location when they're discovered, but they're one of the most exciting hole-in-the-wall dining experiences i've ever had. and addictingly delicious, which is clearly a problem.

Gadgets: The Cook-Zen Microwave Pot

@Mhays -- A quote from above, and a little more explanation.

"And while you're definitely sacrificing something in terms of texture when it comes to certain proteins—I wouldn't attempt lamb chops or filets, which are nothing without a crusty sear and rare interior—the recipes I've tested are timed perfectly to retain juiciness and flavor."

Chicken and vegetables have come out great, no sign of the microwave at all in terms of texture. Ribs were tender and fell off the bone--you wouldn't have ever guessed that they were microwaved, but with cuts like that, you also lose the nice sear that you want on ribs. That's fairly obvious. Stews, stir-fry style recipes, simple things you'd make on the stovetop--all perfectly fine. I've never had that rubbery effect, miraculously--the recipes are well written to suit each protein--but there are still things I simply wouldn't make in the microwave at the end of the day.

Gadgets: The Cook-Zen Microwave Pot

@chiffonte - so were my friends, and then I served them ribs out of the microwave. I think 3 of them went home and deeply considered the purchase. Will you use it for a nice, fancy meal? I sure hope not. But will it enhance the range of what you can do in a pinch? A million times over.

Bread Baking: Savory Monkey Bread

well, this sounds delicious. unfairly so.

Gadgets: Top 5 Favorites From a Year of Reviews

@rincewind - is there an easy way to take things down if you use that method? or are they basically stuck there for good? seems like a great idea if you own your place, but maybe not the best for a rental... if there's a way to take things down eventually, it's something i'd be interested in trying!


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