I will be alone in Williamsburg for four nights next week, and need good dinner suggestions to cheer me up after a day of hard work. I will have a car. The restaurant I really wanted to go to--a cooking demonstration part of the meal-- will be closed for vacation. Bummer. Where else can I go for a good meal? Can be a dive or posh, as long as the cooking excels. Thanks in advance!
There are leap year bargains galore today. The two I've taken advantage of are King Arthur Flour (where all orders are 29 cents shipping, including their heavy bags of flour) and D'Artagnan, which has 7 pages of discounted products at $29.99. There are discounts today on lots of other food sites, too, so check out the ones you frequent!
Leah Douglas's Brown University CSA initiative has dropped below fifth in the vote to go to the White House. SE needs to rally behind one of our own. Cast your three votes for Leah! (Brown Market Shares Program) link: (you'll have to cut and paste)
A long long time ago, mr. teachertalk and I ate twice at Shun Lee Palace, and they were two of the best Chinese meals we'd ever had. Over the years, I carried the fond memories of Chicken Soong in lettuce leaves, hacked chicken, and a delicious sliced lamb dish. Last night I was part of a group that got takeout from the same restaurant, and we tried at least seven different dishes--all of which were bland and undistinguished. Even the chicken soong was not as I remembered it--although the diced ingredients and pine nuts elevated it above the rest of the fare. Has this been your experience? Shun Lee was one of NYC's iconic Chinese restaurants, and it makes me sad if it has slipped into mediocrity. Perhaps it's just the takeout that has gone downhill?
I know there are 800 of you out there who, along with me, asked for an SE bookplate to stick on our own copies of the new book. I received mine today, and think the signatures are very revealing. (btw, thanks, SE for the cool bookplates!)
Kenji, Maggie, and Erin are all perfectly legible--displaying their solid identities and ease with their positions as public personalities. Carey Jones? Almost illegible. And Robyn!--totally illegible. Hambone is Hambone---gosh, we love that wrinkly guy. What do you make of your own bookplate? If you haven't gotten it yet, you must live west of NYC. Hold tight--it's in the mail!
If you missed the Dining section of today's "Times," there's a lovely review of the new SE book:
And don't forget to post a review on Amazon.com so that others thinking of buying it, know what to expect:
Long live Serious Eats and its fine staff!
Hurricane Irene is still alive in New England, but has cleared out of the Carolinas, Washington D.C., and New York. Were your food preparations adequate? Too thorough? What would you do differently?
I overplanned because we usually lose power in storms, and I figured if I overprepared there was a better chance I wouldn't need to have been so cautious. The storm tracked slightly East of where I live, and the coolers packed with sandwich fixings, veggies, and meat didn't ever get put into use!
How did you fare?
I hope the management will lift the ban on website and Flickr links so we who are "inside" on this 100 plus degree day can vicariously enjoy the sandwich festival on Governor's Island with all the "Serious" SE staff and fans. I know many of us would love to hear about it, and see your photos!
I unpacked my volumes of Nathan Myhrvold's "Modernist Cuisine" yesterday, and spent an hour or two figuring out a place to keep it. Now what? Are those of you who own it using any of the recipes? (The first one I plan to try is parmesan creme brulees.) Do you simply leaf through and marvel at the photos and the science? Has anyone actually looked through the whole thing yet? I love the separate recipe book; the spatter-proof cover guarantees that it will actually get used, on occasion.
What have new owners been doing with "the greatest cookbook since Escoffier"?
I was reading the NYTimes on Justin Bieber this morning, and suddenly "conversation hearts" entered my brain. Madonna seems a bit more rich and complex--maybe a Ritter hazelnut. Colin Firth (OMG!) is a porcini mushroom--dried or fresh, depending on the role. Anne Tyler (love her novels) is the old-fashioned Mary Jane chewy candy.
What is the food or candy that would exemplify your favorite celebrity, singer, dancer, or author?
Also known as DINNER IMPOSSIBLE.
My daughter arrived with 7 friends tonight for her birthday dinner. They noshed on goat's milk cheese and veggie chips (the Trader Joe's equivalent of Terre Chips) and pistachios while they waited for dinner. No soy, no wheat, no onions, & no mushrooms in that!
The soup course was her favorite soup: fennel, leek, and celeriac from the Greens cookbook. I made the broth from scratch because it had to have no onions or mushrooms--and commercial vegetable broths always have onions. Plus, commercial veggie broth always tastes like cabbage to me.
Then we started the Asian part of the meal. Summer rolls always use rice wrappers, so they're fine for gluten free diets. I stuffed them with strips of cucs, avocado, chopped scallions, fresh mint, fresh Thai basil, and spring lettuce. I made a peanut sauce to go with it--just omitting soy sauce and putting extra salt and some sesame oil to liven it up. That option was suggested by commenters on the site. Thanks!
Main course: vegetable curry with rice. I found a Mae Ploy Thai curry paste that had no shrimp paste, no soy, and no soybean oil. It was the yellow paste; green, red, and two or three others all have shrimp paste. I practically yelped in the aisle when I read the ingredients and saw I could use it! I sauteed garlic, ginger, chopped lemongrass, and the yellow curry paste in canola oil, added a couple of cans of coconut milk, then added both Thai and regular eggplant, zucchini, butternut squash, carrots, and leeks along with a few kaffir lime leaves. I served it with Jasmine rice. It needed a bit of salt, but other than that there was plenty of flavor. Yay for Mae Ploy yellow curry paste!
Dessert was 2 homemade sorbets: raspberry and mango, plus meringue coconut kiss cookies (no flour!) and some fresh raspberries.
A good time was had by all. No one knew I had been semi-hysterical for a week.
Thanks to the SE community for keeping my hysteria at bay!
The title about where to find "raw dog" and the trepidation a number of us felt when we first saw it (and before we realized it meant hot dog) has made me wonder: What Talk topic do you hope never to see on Serious Eats?
What comes to mind for me are the very general topic titles like "Help, I'm in trouble" when you have no idea what the subject is. Or perhaps the titles you've seen a million times like "What is your definition of Serious Eats?" Or maybe the ones that will get contentious like "Is eating meat ethical?"
What titles do YOU hope never appear as topics on Talk threads?
My daughter's birthday is coming up and we are having her friends for dinner. She would like an Asian meal (mostly Thai) but one of her friends is allergic to soy, another to wheat, and she is a vegetarian. So: no oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, or soy substitute made from reduced beef stock.
What can I use to flavor as the "salty" element? I'll use ginger, garlic, chiles, lemongrass, lime, lime leaves--all that good stuff (no onions or mushrooms--more allergies!) But I need that extra "oomph" that fish sauce or soy gives a recipe. Please help!
A number of SEers have referred to "fancy pants" recipes their families have made in the past. My family never used that term, although they did say something (with an expensive ingredient) was "fancy schmancy."
What was your family's "fancy pants" dish?
Hannah Howard's series, "Served," and a conversation on SE Day with John Edwards has made me think about first person accounts on Serious Eats. "Served" was initially met with some confusion where a few readers were expecting current news rather than reminiscence and past anecdotes. And the current site is mostly reviews, recipes, and present day accounts of food explorations and experiences.
Would you like first person accounts on this site that trace someone's "culinary journey"? (John Edwards' story about how he gained--qualified--respect for fast food is really interesting.) Would you like to hear more from Ed and Adam and others on how they got into this business?
I think a weekly column from SE staff revealing how they got where they are would be fascinating. What about the rest of you? Thumbs up or "not so much"?
There was a flurry of activity on meet-up SE about a month ago. But most of the gatherings still have only one guest (that's no fun!) and even NYC has only added one person in the past couple of weeks. Maybe we all need a reminder:
Gather with other Serious Eaters and swap stories/recipes/techniques/pet stories.
This morning I was cruising through past Talk threads and saw that Judith had updated her white truffle thread to tell us what she made with her remaining truffles. It was wonderful! That made me think that it would be great if there were some way on the site to allow the OPs of threads that ask advice about a certain occasion or event to let us know what they decided or how an event went. I was updated in a separate thread by carmason on her "Thai chicken" dilemma (the guests requesting a certain meal) and again wished everyone on that thread could be alerted to her update. Wouldn't you like to know what Mom's cookbook was finally named, or how grandma's recipes were changed (to mention two recent threads)?
If this would take too much work on Adam's or Alaina's part--let us know. But I'd love to be able to go to a section for OP Updates. Going back to old threads is so time-consuming, and it's hard to tell if they've been updated, or just have the original comments.
SEers--what do you think of the idea?
When I first began commenting on SE, I was worried that I was too much a home cook, not elitist enough, not a chef, not a REAL foodie (whatever that means.) But in the past few years, I've had so many of those stereotypes dispelled.
Have any of yours been dispelled for the better? (Let's make this thread positive!) I always assumed the SE talkers were women and those on Slice were male; not so. And Velveeta---who would've thunk? But the last thread "What's in it anyway?" yielded a "serious" Velveeta recipe by dmcavanagh.
And I never would have thought I'd fall in love with a dog-in-the-kitchen. (Oh that Dumpling!)
What pleasant surprises have you experienced on Serious Eats?
The latest Campbell's sponsor recipe did, as predicted by a number of people in yesterday's Talk thread, close comments. (No one likes to be bashed!) But they seem to have read the comments because several SEers said that the sponsors were missing an opportunity to upgrade their recipes to appeal to more of us on his website. The chicken recipe has balsamic vinegar, baby spinach, garlic, and white beans as well as the de rigueur canned soup.
What do you think? Are sponsors listening and changing their recipes? Or is this one just an anomaly?
I am running a workshop for 30 Advanced Placement teachers just outside Ft. Lauderdale, and will have a somewhat limited budget for lunches and dinners for five days--$45 for lunch and dinner combined. (I will need decent food since I am away from my family, including my one-week-old grandchild.)
The workshop site is near Sunrise and Plantation Florida. There's a big mall (Sawgrass Mills), but do any of you know any local Cuban restaurants? Or other ethnic restaurants? I know a few of you must live near there, and somehow TGIFridays and Cheesecake Factory is not going to do it for me! I need good comfort food to erase the memory that everyone else is with my new grandchild.
Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse--when the power goes out and you don't have gas or an outdoor grill, can you cook with sterno? The D.C. area is getting ready for another blizzard, and last weekend I had the worst (frigid) dinner of my life when I put sliced ham (expiration date '06) in between two slices of light bread. This week, in preparation for the next bout, I bought sterno and the racks to hold foil pans warm, but I don't know if it's only designed to keep already warm food warm. Can you actually cook with sterno? When our house was 49 degrees, we would have loved some scrambled eggs or canned food warmed up. Any advice before this next power-busting storm would be most appreciated!
I have years of old "Gourmet" magazines and especially cherish the ones with the "centerfolds" that epitomized the regal table that we all aspired to. Will you miss Gourmet magazine? Why or why not?
I hope you SE'ers will know what my friend, in her 90's, means when she asks me to bring a recipe for "Ruth's Tamale Pie." I think it might be from a book by Ruth Glick--but somehow I missed the Tamale Pie craze in whatever decade it occurred! Alternatively, I'm sure she would be happy with a more contemporary recipe that one of you has tried and liked. Thanks for your help!
My husband and I will be in Oxford for over two weeks. I searched on SE to find threads on restaurants there, but I didn't see much. Have any of you visited friends at Oxford, or studied there, and discovered great fish and chips, or Indian, or Thai, or British restaurants? Jamie Oliver opened an Italian restaurant here a year ago; have any of you eaten there?
Does anyone have the link to the recent recipe that has made the magazine and newspaper rounds for crisp-skinned roast chicken rubbed with baking soda and salt? I thought I saw it in Serious Eats or in Cooks Illustrated, but I've searched both websites and come up empty. I know it needs to air dry in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Thanks!
At Charles Siegel's new cafe and chocolate shop, you can watch one of the oldest candy making techniques in the world while digging into a salted caramel and chocolate tart.
Hummus with pita chips is my go-to snack (anyone else?). Until recently, I lived off the storebought variety, with my homemade hummus never being up to snuff with the likes of Sabra. But then I had a revelation in hummus-making.
It was only through your hearty Tweeting that I decided to bite the bullet and jump in line at 9:30AM on overcast Saturday in front of Franklin Barbecue when I was in Austin last week. Man, oh man, am I glad I did. What I found at the end of that line (about 2 1/2 hours later) was nothing short of barbecue nirvana. Sweet, succulent pulled pork. Turkey as moist as a prime rib. Snappy sausage as juicy as you'd like, and brisket that defied everything I ever knew or thought I knew about brisket. I can't tell you with 100% certainty that this is the finest brisket in all the land, but it's certainly the best I've ever had. Better than Black's. Better than Smitty's.
I'm pretty blessed to live in a Philly neighborhood where a new taqueria or Mexican grocery store with couple of tables in the back seems to appear out of thin air every few days, all well suited to treating hangovers: dirt cheap, unpretentious, and close enough to my house that I can walk there still smelling like whiskey and beer.
Here's a game: go up to any chefs and ask them what their favorite season of the year is. Chances are "Spring. Right now," is the answer. Why is that? Well, they might get all poetic and claim that it's because of what spring represents—those first shoots of tender life that burst forth through the ground after the long, cold winter and all that. But here's the truth: Chefs love spring because it makes their job easier.
A variation on pound cake that uses ground almonds and flour and a little more than a pound of butter, this nutty cake is studded with chopped pine nuts and is refreshingly lemony with just a hint of vanilla that can only come from using real vanilla beans.
There's so much going on in Talk and the comments week to week that we almost can't keep up. If you're in the same boat, here's a small selection of topics and responses that have piqued our interest this week.
This recipe skips the oven and instead calls for each tortilla to be fried, then dipped in a red chile sauce. Second, the sauce is utterly amazing. Made with New Mexico chiles, Mexican chocolate, oregano, cinnamon, clove, garlic, and saltines, it is rich, red, and dark. It will make anything taste better.
This week, with holiday celebrations looming, we'll cover essential fizzy cocktails. Whether made from cava, prosecco, American bubbly, or the venerable Champagne, sparkling wine-based cocktails are a treat for any party, from the large to the intimate.
Al Forno's grilled pizza needs no introduction, but the restaurant's desserts—particularly the free-form tarts—don't get the chatter they deserve. Chef/owners Johanne Killeen and George Germon run three or four of them at a time, filling the same ultra-flaky tart dough (flour, sugar, salt, water, and lots of butter) with a variety of produce: apples, peaches and raspberries, plums—and during the fall months, sugar pumpkins.
The anticipation of our book being in stores in time for the holiday season has put us in such a good mood, we're feeling very generous. We're going to reward anyone who pre-orders the book (or books, surely you have many people on your holiday shopping list who would be thrilled to receive one of these puppies) by October 31 with not only a sweet royal blue Serious Eats reusable shopping bag but also a bookplate, signed and pawtographed by our unofficial mascot Jamón (aka Hambone) and the entire SE team.
On its own focaccia makes a great morning nibble, but put wedge of gooey cheese and a few bits of fresh fruit next to it, and you've got a serious brunch. If you're a late riser, put the dough together the night before and pull it out of the fridge early the next morning to come up to room temperature and go through its rise. Fresh strong coffee and a bit of wine work well with hot focaccia.
I love this smoky, spicy, chunk guacamole, especially with warm black beans on corn tortillas.
Making the hazelnuts into a brittle means every bite has a subtle crunch, but even after grinding in a food processor, lots of big, chunky hazelnut bites will remain. Don't hesitate to substitute corn syrup for honey if that's what you have on hand, or do so for a vegan variation. And as long as we're talking substitutions, you can use toasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil (or another oil of your choice) to make a nut-free version, should you suffer from a nut allergy.
Sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreas (neck and stomatch sweetbread, respectively) of a calf. They are subtly flavored and have a delicate texture, and are an excellent introduction to those who are a little wary of offal. Sweetbreads are a treat.
I don't think plums see enough action as a pie filling, which is a shame because they are perfect for it. Tart and sweet plums taste amazing baked, and lend tons of great juicy flavor and color to your pie.
The paper was brown and faded and stuffed in the back of a drawer. A long time ago it had been torn out of a small spiral notebook and now my mother smoothed it between her fingers, brought it close to her face, and smiled. It turns out that crumbled piece of paper held a recipe for spiced molasses cookies. Once upon a time my grandmother would bake them for my mother, who hadn't had them in over forty years.
While Boston Cream Pie does in fact hail from Boston (from the Parker House Hotel to be exact) there are a few other inconsistencies to this dessert. You see, it is neither cream-filled or a pie and if we're getting technical. We should probably be calling it Boston Custard Cake since that's exactly what it is. But when you're met with a big slice of chocolate glazed vanilla cake filled with an eggy yellow custard, arguing semantics just seems kind of silly.
Tzatziki—that cool, creamy sauce-salad of yogurt and cucumbers—has become synonymous with Greek cuisine. And while the Greeks do their fair share of tzatziki eating, it's worth noting that nearly every country in the eastern Mediterranean region boasts their own take on the yogurt-based dish, ranging from soups and salads to sauces and refreshing beverages. Tzatziki (or talattouri or cacık, depending on who you ask) plays a huge role in Eastern Mediterranean fare.
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] Note: small chickens can be used in place of the cornish hens. After initial charring steps on the grill, transfer chicken to cooler side of grill and cook covered until center of breast registers 140 to...
You could go out and buy yourself a tandoor oven (small ones run about $200 or so), but here's a better suggestion: Just grill it. It works so well for pizza, why shouldn't it do just as well for naan?
These chocolate chocolate chip hazelnut cookies are filled with Nutella.
Prior to the invention of refrigeration, a shrub syrup was a means of preserving fruit long past its picking. Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, mixed with cool water to provide a pick-me-up on hot summer days. Today they're still delicious in cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks alike.
There are many disagreements out there about the future of fishing and shrimping in the gulf. This episode shows one perspective, as well as some awesome food too.