Commenter

NovaChild

Latest Comments

The Food Lab: The Best Southern Fried Chicken

@rbrock1225 I highly recommend you get a free Evernote account even if it just for recipes and food articles. The Evernote clipper (desktop version and mobile version) works great for serious eats articles and recipes and you can easily create a super organized tag system. It had changed my life.

Vegan Chorizo for Omnivores

Just finished making this. Luckily, I had some leftover chili paste in the freezer from the last time I made your chili, so that made it a lot easier. I know the blend is a tad different, but it worked great. (A BIG hint to anybody making this the first time: double or triple the chili paste and freeze the rest flat in plastic bags! It will make it much easier to make any of the Food lab chilis or improve any other chili recipe.)

My modifications, mostly to make it a little less spicy: The chili paste I used had none of the hot peppers and half the chipotle you call for. I still ended up using only about half of a full batch before reaching a limit beyond which my family (and obviously my toddler) would protest. I think I may make a batch of the chili paste that doesn't use chipotles at all, just a little liquid smoke, so I can make truly mild chilis, etc, for my family. In the same vein, I used one very small poblano from my garden (I've found my poblanos are more spicy than grocery ones) and half of an orange bell pepper. I like the bell pepper flavor in there quite a bit.

Notes: the recipe doesn't say to press excess water out of the tofu after it thaws (beyond what comes out naturally) but I think I probably should have done that. Mine definitely came out mushier than the pictures. I'm sure this is partially because my tofu was only firm, not extra firm (all my market had), but I think I should have pressed the water out too. I was able to get it to a good texture eventually with a longer cooking time, but the tofu is more pasty than crumbly. Still really good though!

As a side note, I used lentils I made from dried, and ended up with way more dehydrated ones than I needed for the recipe. Tossed them with salt and am eating them right now as a snack. They are kind of like less fatty nuts and I'm really loving them!

Pasta With Chickpea Sauce

I tried this tonight. Modifications: used a LOT of garlic and great northern beans I had frozen from a while back (because I was out of chickpeas and didn't know that when I went to the grocery store). It was extremely easy and extremely delicious. My toddler kept calling it macaroni and cheese - I only corrected him once, and halfheartedly, because he was inhaling it and anything to get that kid to eat protein. We will be using this technique over and over, with different beans, flavorings, and mix-ins. Thanks for the brilliant idea!

Taste Test: The Best Supermarket Bacon

I consistently find the fact that these tests include trader Joe's but not other store brands with arguably more national penrtration (Publix, Kirkland, Kroger/Ralphs, Wal-Mart Great Value, Target's brand, etc), but then I remember that though Serious Eats has national readership, it doesn't actually have national reporting for most things. The brands in taste tests are very New York and San Fran centric, and that is just how it is.

9 Fantastic Fruit Beers to Seek Out

I think every list like this would benefit from at least one honorable mention more mass market option, for those of us who may not have time, money, or opportunity to journey to the fancy bottle shops.

With that in mind, both the Abita Strawberry Ale and the new Shiner
seasonal Prickly Pear are quite delicious and refreshing. They actually taste quite similar to me; simple refreshing lagers with a hint of natural fruit sweetness that leaves them tasting like beer, but with fruit.

Excellent inexpensive summer session beers, both of them.

I am not a huge fan of the other Abita fruit beer, the purple haze, despite the convenience of its all year availability and the fact that it comes in cans which I love. It is too fruity - tastes fake sweet to me.

The Science of Pie: 7 Pie Crust Myths That Need to Go Away

Made a (Cooks Illustrated) blueberry pie pi with your easy recipe today; my first double crusted pie ever since I am usually a man of custard pies. I used frozen butter because I didn't want to wait for it to defrost, and after processing twice as long as normal still only had coarse meal texture instead of paste, so I went ahead and pulsed in the extra flour and continued. Rolled out with more cracking than the recipe normally has for sure but the end result was still wonderfully flaky and flavorful. Based on this article, looks like I accidentally made a traditional crust!

Better Than Parm? Dried Olive and Miso May Be the Ultimate Pasta-Topper

Every few months I try a new variety of olive, hoping to find one that doesn't make me gag. Thus far, no luck. Even particularly pungent olive oil make me feel queasy. Any chance this might work with capers, my usual replacement for olives in recipes?

Vegan Sweet Potato and Two Bean Chili With Hominy

I got second place in a chili cook-off last week with this recipe, in Tennessee. That's right, a vegan chili placed in a deep South chili contest, judged by, you know, Southerners! Not a professional contest by any means but nonetheless a sign of the quality of this recipe. And I tripled the chili paste so I have some frozen for later variants.

Only thing I did was add three squares of unsweetened chocolate during the simmering, mostly because I personally found it just a hair too spicy, even after reducing both the hot peppers and Chipotles. I am a heat wuss. The chocolate helped and conveniently added some nice richness.

The Best Mashed Sweet Potatoes

These look good. I had already settled on mashed sweet potatoes this year as my starchy side, so maybe I'll go ahead an do them this way. I like plain old boiled-and-mashhed sweet potatoes just fine, but, hey, it's Thanksgiving. Why not try something new?

For those struggling with recipebox/etc, Might I suggest getting a free Evernote account and using it to organize recipes from all over the web. My "Recipe" notebook has over 500 recipes in it, organized with various tags, and both the desktop and mobile web clippers work great on Serious Eats. I have tried dozens of recipe-keeping systems, and I keep coming back to that one.

Grilled Spatchcocked Turkey

I'm doing this this year. After finally grilling a spatchcocked chicken this summer to rave reviews I know it is time. My question: briquettes or lump? I use the Kroger brand charcoal which has few additives so I am not looking for flavor arguments just heat ones.

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

My dad always ordered the supreme pizza; he is a fab of the hodgepodge apparently. He always got pickled jalapeños on the side.

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

My dad always ordered the supreme pizza; he is a fab of the hodgepodge apparently. He always got pickled jalapeños on the side.

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

My dad always ordered the supreme pizza; he is a fab of the hodgepodge apparently. He always got pickled jalapeños on the side.

Silken Tofu With Spicy Sausage

The silken tofu I buy is usually in cardboard tetra paks rather than packed in plastic like yours. Any hints on extricating it without destroying it?

What Happens When You Add Olive Oil to a Cocktail?

I have been watching the olive oil shelves at Kroger for months for some Corto Olive and you tell me the Private Selection is what I was looking for? Crazy. I have been getting the California Olive Ranch oil, which I like quite a bit, but choices!

Crispy Buffalo Fried Cauliflower (Vegan)

This was astonishing. One of my favorite things I've ever cooked. My wife preferred the broccoli I fried in the same manner but both were good restaurant quality. I didn't bother with the sauce: salt was plenty!

Great Deviled Eggs

Okay, I should have waited to make my first comment until after tasting it, but I didn't. Mix this yolk mixture with chopped whites (and a little paprika - I ended up skipping the pickles due to laziness) and it makes an amazing egg salad. It holds together really nicely because of the emulsifying I guess and has a texture similar to guacamole (with the yolk mixture as the avocado and the whites as the tomato). My two-year-old and I dipped crackers in it for lunch and between the two of us had no problem eating 6 eggs' worth in about 10 minutes.

They're awesome as actual deviled eggs, too, but for situations where something more mashable is your preference, try these as a salad!

Great Deviled Eggs

I'm making the yolk mixture today, then simply mixing it with the whites chopped to make a deviled egg salad. I may add some chopped dill pickle to the salad as well.

The Vegan Experience: Triple Garlic Pasta With Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Bread Crumbs

Personally it is the olives that kill this for me. I'm sure I could just leave them out but any suggestions for some of their key flavor points in this pasta? Salty and cured seems like it would go well here but... Olives. Shiver. I hate that I don't like olives but I just can't do it. Capers?

Vegan Crispy Stir-Fried Tofu With Broccoli

This was great! I need to fry the Tofu a little longer next time (or use smaller batches so I don't lose as much oil heat) but that's normal for me; I almost always under fry the first time I try a new frying method. And I need to stir fry the broccoli in two small batches next time too. Otherwise, excellent. I used a chili bean sauce instead of a regular one and the heat was nice but I think I might like it better without; must get bean sauce next time I am at the International market.

I had extra batter so I coated a few small florets of broccoli and fried them with the second batch of tofu. Utterly amazing and possibly the best part. My two year old gobbled the "Broccoli bread" up so you better believe we will be doing that again.

The 10 Best Budget Bourbons

4 roses is the only Bourbon I buy, as I'm not a huge Bourbon drinker and want to have something inexpensive that works with anything. I have found it to work very well in juleps and with ginger cocktails - my favorite being a simple one where I pour it over homemade ginger ice cubes and drink in the burn. Got that recipe from a local cocktail bar.

Throw Away Your Blade Coffee Grinder

I have moved up the ranks from a blade grinder to a hario slim hand grinder (which didn't work as well for me as it seems to for other people) to a capresso infinity. I will not be going any higher - the infinity has helped me make perfectly consistently excellent coffee. I definitely think the burr grinder is worth it for anybody who is bothering to buy good coffee. Mine cost $100 - my decision to start buying freshly roasted coffee will cost me more than that in less than 4 months. If I hadn't made the good coffee decision, though, I wouldn't make the burr grinder decision.

The Best Chili Ever

This was one of my Food Lab mountains, so I'm glad I finally got around to cooking it today. Definitely learned some things. I followed the recipe exactly as written (except I used pre-ground cumin and coriander, because I forgot to buy the whole spices) , and ended up with something very, very good, but not perfect to my taste. My beans did not all soften (despite allowing the maximum amount of time written in the recipe at all stages), I wanted more cumin flavor, though it's probably reasonable to blame that on using pre-ground spices, and I wanted more broth; this gave me something similar to the consistency of canned chili, but I realize now that when using chili as a main course and not a topping I prefer something closer to the soup end. I also wanted more tomato flavor - adding more cider vinegar would probably have upped the acid to the same level, but it was really the tomato flavor I missed more than the acid.

Next time, I will make several changes to more fit my preferences:

1) I will use chuck (or possibly brisket) instead of short ribs. This is mostly to save money, not time - I plan to brown it in large cuts, as described by an earlier commenter. I will, however, only brown half the meat on one side, like (later?) recipes in this column suggest provides a good amount of browned flavor, so that should reduce prep time. I liked the texture of the hand-chopped meat and will keep that aspect. Short ribs are $8/pound at my local butcher, and chuck is also $8/pound, but I should be able to get away with 2-3 pounds instead of 5 and I don't think the bones added that much.

2) I will use 2-3 cans of canned beans. Probably one of kidney, one of pinto, one of black. Adds variety, and saves the worry about the softening. If I do go with dry I will cook them separately, and probably in advance.

3) I will add an extra 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice, as well as two additional cups of chicken broth. I may skip the tomato paste in the puree, since I'll have the extra tomato flavor, but if I've got an open tube I'll probably squirt some in.

4) I will puree with an immersion blender instead of a regular blender.

5) I may use a beer earlier in the process instead of the bourbon at the end. Should have a similar effect re: the odor, and I like the flavor that a lager adds to chili.

6) Unless I still have the anchovies I bought today, I'll probably skip the anchovies. I will throw a squirt or two of fish sauce in instead. Should have a similar effect, and anchovies are not a pantry staple for me.

7) I will think ahead and buy the chiles when I'm at the big international market that is far(ish) from my house. Had quite a hunt for Ancho/Pasilla/etc this morning - my local supermarket has 8 varieties of chiles but they're all smoky or hot, and I had to go to three smaller mexican markets (progressively far from my house) before I found one that wasn't sold out of them. On the plus side, I got some tacos at one of them, so, lunch.

On the whole, very glad I did it, glad I learned this stuff. Thanks as always, Kenji.

Mexican Fried Eggplant Sandwich (Vegan Tortas and Pambazos)

I finally got around to making these, months after the recipe was released I know. It was easily the best sandwich I have ever made - though admittedly I rarely go to this much effort for a sandwich! Since the pickled onions, bean sauce, and poblanos could all be done in large batches and saved for a whole, the recipe may become a regular for me. Utterly delicious.

11 Essential Thanksgiving Tools

You slam the Fibrox knives a lot, which is fine because you are right that they don't fit your list, but maybe your list needs to be adjusted a bit to take into account the "everybody is different" thing. Personally, I have three chefs knives that do fit your criteria and have used many more at other houses and tested more at retail establishments, and I keep coming back to my fibrox for reasons you are explicitly saying are bad: mainly the heft thing. I Like my chefs knife being really lightweight. I keep a big heavy ten incher around for watermelons and pumpkins but if I didn't have it would just use my bread knife. I have also never found a handle I like as much - it may feel cheap, but sweatpants are cheap too, as are reditainer containers. Cheap can be both comfortable and serviceable. And if the handle falls off after five years I will buy another one. Ten $30 knives over fifty years cost the same as one $300 knife. Plus, since it is cheap, I don't feel the need to learn to sharpen it with and pay for a stone. The Accusharp may really suck compared to a stone because it removes a lot of metal and doesn't get as fine an edge, but it let's me cut ripe tomatoes paper thin with almost no resistance and shave hair off my arm so I am satisfied.

I am not you. I cook one meal a day every day. And for my needs the fibrox is awesome. I agree with almost everything you say on this list and others, but not that point. Most people's cooking lives would be vastly improved if they picked up a fibrox, an accusharp, and some reditainers.