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How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: So I Failed My Construction Inspection

No matter the subject of each installment, I am always amazed at what a skilled storyteller you are. For you, the pen is as mighty as the pig!

Win a Copy of 'Huckleberry'

Steamed persimmon pudding

The Serious Eats Guide to Italian American Recipes

Suggestions for future themes:
Chinese American ( or Asian American)-- you've done quite a few recipes on this theme already, but we all would love to see more!
UK-American- now that the United Kingdom is united, at least in the near future, how about English, Irish, and Welsh dishes that were adapted by U.S. immigrants?
Provencale or classic French
Southern cooking
New York-- ( some people might think you've covered that enough, but what a goldmine of indigenous recipes!)
Greek American
So many other possibilities! There's an audience for every theme!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Remember Mark Twain's observation( which may not have been his after all, but it's still good): "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

The position of Yuba's back legs in the first slide is pretty awesome!

The Serious Eats Guide to Italian American Recipes

What a treat to follow all the Italian American love on this site. But when I saw this Appendix, my heart sank, since it marks the end of the SE ItalianAmerican focus. This has been a great venture. I'm with Ocean in wondering, "What's next?"

The Food Lab: For the Best Chicken Parmesan, Take a Lesson From the South

Every day I look forward to the next installments of Italian American cooking. You and Daniel have created a great bicoastal synergy whereby each of you is better from your interactions with the other's work. Kudos to you both, and a smug grin from me because I am the happy beneficiary of all your fine, innovative spins on beloved classics. The pounding thing I discovered myself for chicken parm, but the buttermilk: genius!

Insanity Burger From 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

@joy see is right, but I still want to taste a burger with that drippy sauce. It sounds like "special sauce" on steroids.
And I am a big fan of Oliver's school lunch campaign. In the UK, it made a huge difference in the school lunch program. And did any of you see his terrific stir fry "flash mob" staged in a city with high obesity rates? Great theater, with a constructive message!

American Chop Suey: The Cheesy, Beefy, Misnamed Stovetop Casserole That Deserves a Comeback

It looks like we were all eating a variant of American Chop Suey growing up! In San Francisco, I never heard the "Chop Suey" term for this dish, and when my mother made it, she called it "Glop." With mozzarella and parm it was "Glop I" and with ricotta it was "Glop II."

How to Make Quick and Easy Italian-American Red Sauce That Tastes Slow-Cooked

I agree, the Italian American theme is fabulous! Thank you, on both coasts!

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Mustering the Troops

Tyson, you continue to be my favorite writer at SE-- and that's saying something, because the standard is high on this site! This is not only humorous and quirky ( in a good way), it also reveals your wonderful humanity. Beneath each of these caricatures is a person whose good qualities we are able to appreciate because you see them so clearly. Yes, I can see why you have a hard time letting anyone go!

Win a Copy of 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

Spaghetti and my mother's recipe for meatballs.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

+1akay1. Haha! Lots of us are with you there!

Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Pernil With Pique Criollo

@Komix and Kenji
That's one of the funniest exchanges ever is SE!

The Friday Night Meatball Recipe That Changed My Life

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Echoing Max's explanation: Zabar's started as an appetizing counter at a Daitch supermarket at 80th and Broadway. For years, "appetizing" was part of Zabar's ads, but once readers no longer used the term, they dropped it.

The Friday Night Meatball Recipe That Changed My Life

I am on board with Kenji here. I loved the article, the idea, great grandmother's dishes, the pared down nature of the menu, and the participation of the children. I made meatballs the next week and invited two people who had never met each other before, and the evening was easy, fun, and decidedly not "gourmet." For me, it was a revolutionary occurrence because i usually prepare for two days and am exhausted during company dinners. This was fun, even for the person doing all the shopping, cooking and clean- up! There are so many things to love in this concept, which accounts for its broad appeal. I doubt i will change my own meatball recipe, but i was delighted to see Sarah's ( Joe's, that is) and i will rejoice every time i see her byline-- in another space, or on SE. Sarah's writing is about a lot more than meatballs!

Cast Iron Cooking: The Easy Pull-Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots That Will Forever Change How You Entertain

@simon and Kenji Haha both of you! I'm impressed that Kenji got the joke right away; often I forget to read who's made each comment so I didn't get it until Kenji replied.

The Picky Eater Challenge: Helping Kids (and Adults!) Try New Foods Without Tricks

This is a pragmatic and informative guide, Sarah. I remember how much despair I felt when, at the end of an exhausting day, the last thing I wanted to hear was grief from my children about dinner. Those years remain a blur to me because I was always tired and wishing I could just take a nap! But one day does stand out among the hot dog and fish stick nightmare moments: the day my daughter, who only consumed apple juice and cookies, first tried spinach quiche. Of course it wasn't something I made with her in mind; it was leftover from a Julia Child dinner I had for guests. But she gobbled it up and wanted more. My mother's comment: " of course she won't eat anything; you've never fed her anything good until this moment!"
She is now in her 30s and eats everything. The key seems to be not to get too bent out of shape at dinner time. Sometimes the little darlings will surprise you!

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Standing Before the Community Board

This continues to be a great series. I can't wait for the next installment!

How the New York City Meatball Helped Build Italian-American Cuisine

@Kenji...So exciting! I never thought I could get meatball obsessed, but recently I have been.
My other obsession is how much better Filotea dried pasta is compared to any other dried pasta. ( Gotta have something good to put meatballs on!) But that's a subject for a future thread!

How the New York City Meatball Helped Build Italian-American Cuisine

@Maggie. Thanks: As usual, SE aims to please! My freezer is now chockablock full of meatballs, thanks to this recent theme...

How the New York City Meatball Helped Build Italian-American Cuisine

This is a nice follow-up to the ever-popular "Friday Night Meatballs" column. But the next follow- up should include several recipes ( or links to them ) for Italian-American meatballs. Readers have been asking for those recipes in their comments, and although there is a link to Frankie's meatball recipe ( previously published on SE), it's clear there is lots of room for others using different meat/ ingredient profiles. Fall is nearly here and, with it, a hankering for spaghetti and meatballs!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@Balmagowry. One year was probably too brief a time to discover the first chocolate covered ice cream sandwich made with oatmeal cookies! That was the It's It-- the only thing sold from a small storefront along the beach. It closed in the 70s, I think, but a version of that original cookie sandwich is still sold on the West coast. SE did a story on the modern version of It's It some years ago. Back then an ice cream sandwich at the beach was as good as it got! Needless to say, choices were limited then.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@Balmagowry. Did you drive the Mustang to the beach for an " It's It"? Back then there were fewer eateries in S.F., and also fewer people eating out. And the rent was cheap!

Using Chinese chives

I love shu mai and pork dumplings made with chives, but every time I buy them, I chicken out and substitute mild chives or scallions in my filling. The smell is so strong in my refrigerator, that it scares me from using them! Today I've decided to be bold and figure it's like strong cheese-- smells bad but tastes great. Is that correct? Can I use as much as I would using the milder version of chives? What else do you use them for besides dim sum?

Baton Rouge Restaurant Recommendations?

I will be in Baton Rouge--staying at the Renaissance in the southern part of town--for five days in June. The workshop I'll be attending will provide all lunches, but I am on my own for five dinners. What Cajun/Creole and seafood restaurants do you recommend? I might splurge once, but mostly I'm interested in mid-priced restaurants. I want to sample the best of Baton Rouge since this will be my first visit; I plan to rent a car so transportation is not an issue.

Restaurants in Williamsburg VA

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!

Take Advantage of Leap Year Discounts on Favorite Food Sites

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!

Vote for SE Columnist Leah's CSA initiative

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)
http://campuschallenge.uservoice.com/forums/148562-campus-champions-of-change-challenge

When did Shun Lee Palace go downhill?

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?

Deconstructing the Bookplate

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!

Check out the NY Times Shout Out to SE!

If you missed the Dining section of today's "Times," there's a lovely review of the new SE book:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/dining/the-serious-eats-book-stuffed-to-the-cover.html?_r=1&ref=dining
And don't forget to post a review on Amazon.com so that others thinking of buying it, know what to expect:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/030772087X/?tag=serieats-20
Long live Serious Eats and its fine staff!

Your Storm Preparations: Too much? Too Little?

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?

Show and Tell for the Serious Eats Sandwich Festival!

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!

Reports from New Owners of Modernist Cuisine?

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"?

What Candy or Food is Your Favorite Public Figure?

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?

Update on Veg Asian Birthday Dinner with No Soy & No Wheat

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!

What Talk thread title do you never want to see on SE?

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?

Vegetarian substitute for soy sauce?

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!

What is your family's "Fancy Pants" dish?

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?

Would you like first person columns on SE?

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"?

Would you like an OP "Update" section on former Talk threads?

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?

Has SE dispelled any of your foodie stereotypes?

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?

Sponsor Recipes Cont.: Did they listen?

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?

Ft. Lauderdale/ Sunrise/Plantation restaurants

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.

Blizzard cooking with sterno?

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!

Will you miss Gourmet magazine?

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?

Ruth's Tamale Pie

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!

Chinese soup - Egg Drop Soup

Chinese soup has lots of various. Every Chinese soup have its characteristic. Today we share one of most popular Chinese soup in China - Egg Drop Soup. It's delicious and full of nutrition. And most important is this Chinese soup... More

What To Expect at Franklin Barbecue in Austin (Besides The Finest Barbecue in All The Land)

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. More

The Food Lab Lite: How To Put Spring On A Plate

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. More

Providence, RI: Al Forno's Other Greatest Hit: Free-Form Tarts

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. More

Pre-Order the Serious Eats Book by October 31, Get a Free Tote Bag and Pawtographed Bookplate!

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. More

Sunday Brunch: Focaccia

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. More

Homemade Crunchy Nutella

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. More

Cookie Monster: Grammy Howard's Molasses Cookies

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. More

Cook the Book: Boston Cream Pie

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. More

Beet Tzatziki

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. More