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alexcarlson

bread baker, guitar player, preservationist of artifacts of human automotion

Fried Sweet Cheese Pierogi

I wonder if these could be boiled, dried, frozen and stored, then fried from frozen - perhaps at a slightly lower temp to allow the filling to catch up to the dough? That would eliminate the two step boil-then-fry process in the future when the pierogi craving calls, and consolidate most of the labor to production day.

Staff Picks: What to Drink at a Not-Great Bar

I'm confused about the talk of dirty taps. Around here (midwest) taps are serviced by the distributor. Say AB has four handles, the driver will clean those lines with (just about) every delivery. Every other distributor does the same for their taps. It's in the best interest of the distributors to keep their product up to standards.

Are things different in NYC? Or am I being naive about the pride my drivers take in their work?

All that said, I'll take a double bourbon on the rocks. Whatever's on the rail is fine.

Shrimp and Grits from 'The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen'

Solid recipe. Making a quick stock from the shrimp shells is a legit technique, and it lends MAJOR flavor to the finished dish. I like a chunkier sauce so skipped the puree step and just built the sauce in the pan after the shrimp is cooked off. (I used canned tomatoes with their juice.) And I'd add a couple chilies, half an onion, and maybe a bit of celery to the aromatics as the base of the sauce.

Also, minor point in the procedure above - cool the 2T of stock down to room temp (just put it in a small dish for a few minutes) before making the flour/stock slurry. If the stock is hot, the heat will seize the proteins in the flour and make a smooth slurry almost impossible.

And for the record, I subbed andouille for the bacon (with added bacon fat as needed) to excellent result.

The Food Lab: These Are My Knives

Great piece. I love tools with stories, history and significance.

My knife collection isn't nearly as deep or broad, but I did just get one I'm really proud to have: the cleaver that my girlfriend's great-grandfather handmade. He was the epitome of the independent self-sustaining DIYer (before such a term existed) so when he needed a cleaver to butcher the hogs he raised for his family, of course he made it himself. It's a full 1/4" thick and weighs in at 2# 4oz, and although the handle needs a light sanding and oiling, it's in perfectly functional shape for being probably well over 50 years old. It's really an honor to have.

Here it is after it's maiden voyage in my home kitchen - sailing through a chicken carcass for stock prep: http://i.imgur.com/CuG2szN.jpg?1

9 Oscar Hot Dogs Inspired by the 2014 Best Picture Nominees

My vote goes to the Captain Philips Dog, only for the phrase "Stranded in a Sea of Popcorn Shrimp," which I intend to use at every opportunity henceforth.

8 Pizzas That Haunt My Dreams, 2013

Even though since I live in St. Louis I've only had one of the pies on this list (Motorino), this is thoroughly enjoyable reading. The inclusion of the larger emotional/personal connection makes this much more interesting than just a List Of Good Pizza. And even though I only know you both through your respective work, I find myself vicariously excited for both you and Paulie on the PGPDX expansion. I look forward to following the progress, and I hope to make it to Portland (now some friends have moved there with a couch for me to crash on) to sample your wares. The amount of your own self that you invest in what you do leads me to believe you're deserving of great success. Best of luck!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

A nice thick ribeye.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Baking Steel

Potato, rosemary and mozz.

What Happens When a Restaurant Celebrates Colonial Kitsch?

No, asterik and gaffer are spot-on. Acknowledging injustice is just more liberal limp-wristedness forced on Real Americans by tweed-jacketed intellectuals. /s

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Perfect Steak Set from Double R Ranch Co.

Hot off the coals, rested on herbs (it really works!) and topped with coarse sea salt. I'm not even that picky about the cut - have you found a part of the cow that's bad?

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

It would definitely go into a loaf of pain au levain, straight out of the box.

Serious Entertaining: Big Group, Small Oven on Thanksgiving

You had me at #6.

What's Your Local Cheap Beer?

Stag is the local beer of choice in St. Louis and Southern IL for those of us not really down with the A-B brews.

Staff Picks: The Best Things We Ate in September

We need to see a Steakcraft feature on that ribeye from Ox!

Staff Picks: The Best Things We Ate in September

We need to see a Steakcraft feature on that ribeye from Ox!

Staff Picks: The Best Things We Ate in September

We need to see a Steakcraft feature on that ribeye from Ox!

Serious Cheese: 3 Unusual Goat's Milk Cheeses to Get You Hooked

There's a great little operation in Bloomsdale, MO called Baetje Farms. They're winning awards all over the world, and I'd personally put their cheeses up against the best.

Ask a Bartender: What's Your Favorite Bitter Liqueur or Amaro?

Mr. Harris from Firefly is not alone in his proclivities. I developed a taste (and minor addiction) for Angostura bitters as a shot during my time working on Washington Island in Wisconsin. Nelsen's Hall, the oldest bar in the state, operated through prohibition by serving bitters as "medicine," and the modern tradition to initiate newcomers to the island is to have them down a shot of Angostura, after which the bartender dips her thumb into the dregs of your glass, then puts her fingerprint onto your new Bitters Club membership card. I got the impression that this was supposed to be a mild hazing ritual, but I fell in love at first shot. (Usually it takes several...)

New Johnnie Walker Platinum Hits the US

@RaptorEsq: Who you YOU think reads this website? And why do you presume to know more about this site's demographics than the site's owner? Because I can guarantee they've spent more time and money than you have doing the research on their own site. More being less than zero, in this case.

Reality Check: McDonald's New Quarter Pounders

The same $3.99 buys you a double Steakburger with cheese and your choice of toppings (including a whole range of ambitious but likely disappointing "fancy" stuff like chipotle mayo, bleu cheese, "jerk" sauce, et cetera) in my local Steak 'N' Shake region. And that includes their pretty solid fries. That seems like a much better way to spend my hard earned dollars.

Father's Day Giveaway: Win a Baking Steel!

If my dad were a pizza, he'd be a good one. (D'awww.)

AHT Giveaway: Case of Pat LaFrieda Burgers

There will be a band, there will be beer and burgers. What else do you need?

I Fell for a Shameless Hussy

Life's too short to take it too seriously. I like that Hard Road to Hoe has the confidence it takes to be a little silly. I'll be keeping an eye out for this.

Shredded Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Parmesan

@Joseph L. - I strongly disagree. Given the proportions of a standard vinaigrette, 2 tablespoons of balsamic would be appropriate for this recipe. Two cups and you'd basically be making vinegar soup.

Holiday Giveaway: The Amazing Thermapen Thermometer

My latest loaf of improvised bread

Just harvested 40 quarts of green tomatoes - now what?

It was a weird summer here in St. Louis, and among other anomalies, our tomato plants went crazy, but the fruit refused to ripen. So, facing a solid week of frosts, I pulled up the boxes today and salvaged as much as possible. Now, like the title says, I have about 40 qt. of green tomatoes and I'm short on ideas.

Pickling/canning is an obvious one, and I'm thinking about making up a batch of green chili and subbing the tomatillos for green tomatoes.

Any other thoughts?

One-Pot Wonders: Coconut Rice With Chicken Thighs

Why I don't cook everything in coconut milk is beyond me. It adds a rich flavor, creamy texture, and a sweetness that's perfectly at home in savory dishes. This particular one-pot recipe, made with tender chicken thighs, fresh, crunchy snow peas, and lightly spiced rice cooked in coconut milk is not from any particular tradition, but it sure is a tasty way to make a quick, weeknight meal. More

The Food Lab: Bringing Home General Tso's Chicken

If the British can proudly call Chicken Tikka Masala their national dish, then surely it's time that General Tso got his chicken in our national spotlight. Everybody knows the candy-sweet take-out joint version, but I firmly believe that it has the potential to be so much more than that. How great would a homemade version of General Tso's be, with a flavor that shows some real complexity and a texture that takes that crisp-crust-juicy-center balance to the extreme? More

Easy Stir-Fried Pork With String Beans

Pork loves sweet, snappy counterparts—think pulled pork and cole slaw, or pork chops with sautéed apples. Maybe that's why pork and beans are such a classic Chinese combination. In this version, I use sliced marinated pork loin stir-fried very quickly with some blanched green beans, all flavored with ginger, garlic, and a simple marinade. It comes together in just about the same time that it takes to steam a batch of rice, making this a perfect weeknight meal. More

Grilled Moroccan-Spiced Rack of Lamb

Inspired by the deep, rich, and balanced flavors of Moroccan dishes, this delicious grilled rack of lamb is rubbed with a complex spice mixture that includes paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper, then crusted in a bright and fresh pesto-like blend of fresh cilantro, parsley, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. They're flavors that can both stand up to and enhance the strong flavor of lamb. More

Tzatziki

I like tzatziki alone or spread on pita, alongside fish or with an assortment of vegetables. Cucumber makes it light and refreshing, while garlic adds bite and olive oil imparts just a hint of fruity richness. More

Jeff Varasano on Baking, Branding, and the Business of Pizza (Part 1)

Jeff Varasano's pizza recipe went viral in the mid-2000's, and he opened up his own shop in Atlanta a few years later to critical acclaim. Then he went quiet...and we decided to find out why. Varasano had a very candid chat with us about his victories, his setbacks, his big plans coming down the pipe, and his newest location: the airport in Atlanta. If you ever wanted to open a pizzeria (or any a business), this is must-read stuff. More

Spicy Peanut Caramel Corn

This snack has all the traditional elements of Cracker Jacks—peanuts, popcorn, and caramel—but the flavors are kicked up a notch. Each little peanut nugget is an addictive combination of spicy, sweet, and salty flavors. It will keep for up to... More

Serious Heat: Chocolate-Chile Icebox Cake

I have a love affair with icebox cakes. A tower of cookies layered with whipped cream or custard sits overnight in the fridge. After the stint, the cookies have absorbed the moisture, turning into a cakey consistency. Hands down, it's one of the simplest ways to create a cake, which comes in handy after a holiday season full of frenzied baking. And since I add a blast of heat to everything, the whipped cream for this chocolate icebox cake is flavored with cocoa powder, New Mexican chile powder and cayenne. The result is a chocolate-chile slice of heaven that has never been easier to create. More

Quick Indian Cabbage Salad

This salad of crisp cabbage, carrots, and coconut is one of those Indian dishes that takes minimal effort, doesn't involve a whole range of spices, and is ready in minutes. Dressed in an infused oil, it's the perfect side dish for a meal of rice and chicken. More

Vegan Quinoa, Broccoli, and Kale Curry

When I'm in the mood for a big bowl of flavor-packed vegetables, this is the recipe for me. Curried quinoa with caramelized broccoli and cauliflower makes for a high-protein meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes and makes me feel great. It's a perfect weeknight dinner. More

Macaroni and Cheese Waffles

Waffled macaroni and cheese might not rank quite as high on the list of "things you must try before you die" as, say, a fresh-from-the-water oyster, or a sliver of Parmesan sliced off of a wheel that has just been opened in front of your eyes, or skinny dipping in mixed company, but it's certainly good enough that it should immediately make your list of second-tier priorities. That is, of course, if you do it right. More