Goodbye, Dumpling

I am so sorry for your loss. This was, however, a beautiful tribute to Dumpling, and I'll admit that I shed tears as I read it. It is clear from the responses of people in the SE community how many lives he touched.

Cook the Book: Chinese Roast Chicken Buns with Scallions and Spicy Hoisin Sauce

I was at a Chinese grocery store the other day and I noticed a bag of flour called "special bun flour"... out of curiosity, would this be a better choice than using all-purpose flour and cake flour?

Kind of gross, and I probably shouldn't eat it, but can't resist

Stouffer's mac and cheese, snyder's honey mustard and onion pretzel pieces, and cheetos flamin' hots.

Tacos: Crispy or Soft?

The Best Oatmeal in NYC: The 2011 Edition

This post definitely helped to make me feel less weird for adding butternut squash to my oatmeal.

Cheesecake that splits.

Like others said, definitely run a knife around the edge after removing it from the oven. Additionally, make sure to grease the sides extremely well. The cooling may also be an issue, so I sometimes will let the cheesecake sit in the oven for a while after I turn it off, with the door cracked open. If you do take it out of the oven, you can put a cookie sheet or something similar over the top of the springform pan in order to slow the cooling process. Putting it right into the refrigerator without allowing it to cool slowly may cause cracking. Finally, over mixing may lead to cracking- I think it has something to do with the incorporation of air into the batter. Hope this helps!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Truffle Lovers Pasta

No, I have not tried them. I hope to change that soon.

Your Honest Descriptions Wanted

oops, make that edamame*

Your Honest Descriptions Wanted

During the week, I tend to eat pretty light. A typical breakfast for me would be oatmeal with scallions and a dash of soy sauce, an omelette with whatever type of vegetables I have on hand, or some yogurt. For lunch, I typically have things like salads, vegatable soup (I'm a student with little time, so i often make a large batch and reheat it throughout the week for a quick meal), or roasted brussels sprouts- I know it may sound weird, but I never get tired of them and I can throw them in the oven and then resume whatever studying I happen to be doing. Since I live with my parents, I tend to then just eat whatever is for dinner, as long as it is to my liking. If I'm cooking, odds are it's some type of seafood with a vegetable on the side. I never really make sides like white rice; instead, it's always something like quinoa because that also helps to meet my protein requirements for the day. If I snack, it's usually something like cottage cheese, fruit, nuts, popcorn, or vegetables (especially edamama beans). I don't drink milk, but I will use it in recipes. I drink somewhere in excess of 10 cups of coffee per day, if not more, and quite a lot of water. As far as food "rules", I wouldn't say I have any that are set in stone. However, I really prefer not to eat processed foods, I typically don't eat much bread, and I always eat breakfast. On the weekends, I tend to be a little more relaxed about what I eat. Also, I take metamucil daily.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Southside Market Sausage

hog wild in midlothian, il.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Belle Farms Foie Gras

the way we have it for thanksgiving-- roasted, with an ancho chile sauce over it.

Purchasing a homebrewing kit in Chicago

Thank you all very much for the great advice. I feel much less overwhelmed now.

Poll: Are You Making Pie or Buying It?

I'm doing a pecan pie, a pumpkin pie, a vanilla bean cheesecake, and that triple chocolate mousse cake from Cook's Illustrated... it's going to be a busy day tomorrow!

How the USDA Is Making Us Eat More Cheese

As far as I'm concerned, the USDA is a complete joke... so this doesn't surprise me one bit.

I'm a Virgin -- a Quinoa Virgin

@MissBrownEyes, I've never washed it again if it says 'pre-washed', so I think you'd be okay if you don't. I like to cook it in chicken stock instead of water and then make a quinoa salad with it, using whatever combination of vegetables I have on hand. I eat both the red and white variety, and I honestly don't feel that there is a huge difference between the two. Both have a mild, almost nutty flavor... I think it is the texture and appearance that some people are put off by. I also agree with jo_wang about incorporating it into a soup as a gradual way of introducing it. Good luck!

Seriously Asian: Durian

I've never had it fresh before, but durian popsicles are delicious!

Weekend Cook and Tell: What I learned in Home Ec

I took a class called food science, which was the closest thing to home ec that was offered by my school. It was the best class I ever took in high school. For the first hour we cooked and learned about kitchen/food safety, and for the second hour we learned about the scientific aspect of food and tasted different things that my teacher brought in. We made wine (yes, in a high school), beef jerky (the old fashioned way), artificial flavorings, and also did plenty of normal cooking (risotto, for example). It was there that I discovered a love for alternative grains like hempseed, quinoa, and buckwheat, learned how to decode wine labels, and learned everything I know about cheese. In fact, it was probably this class that made me realize that I love to cook.

Does food obsessiveness give you a trivia leg up?

I am an obsessive watcher of Jeopardy!, and I will say that my food obsession has helped me upon occasion. My boyfriend and I watch it regularly and compete (yes, we're nerds- but we both plan on trying out for the show, so we can say it's practice, lol)... anyhow, he always hates when there are any food related categories, because he knows I will destroy him.

The one food you are SICK of this summer....

I'm with everyone who said squash. At first my family was excited about how well the plants were doing, but now we're just buried in it and no one wants to eat it anymore.

Hey SE'ers-What do you do for a living?

Soon to be nurse- hopefully, a Pediatric Oncology nurse, although I am not through with school yet, so I have to consider that I may change my mind still... but I doubt it. As for right now, I go to school and work part-time at an auto glass and upholstery shop. In my spare time, I'm passionate about cooking and gardening... but most of all, cooking what I grow.

Cook the Book: 'The Heirloom Tomato'

Roasted with other home-grown vegetables and made into a sandwich with good, crusty bread. Often with fresh mozzarella on top.

strawberry shortcake

Although it's been years since I've tried the store bought ones, I remember not being a fan- something about them just tasted very artificial to me. However, I definitely agree with those who say that a buttery biscuit is the way to go. Also, if you're ever looking to change it up a little, I'm a big fan of making miniature buttery tart shells and filling them with whipped cream or pastry cream topped with strawberries. It's not a shortcake, but it is very delicious.

The Ants are Marching...

We have problems with ant invasions every year because of where we live, so we've had to try a multitude of approaches. Although we can't stop them from coming in, we have had luck controlling the numbers by using ant traps that we buy at hardware stores. I don't know exactly what they're called though, but they're just little tiny things that you stick in the corner of the room.

Indoor Fruiting Plants?

I grow a multitude of different peppers in pots outdoors, and I imagine that it could be easily done indoors as well. The main consideration is making sure they get enough light. If that proves to be a problem, inexpensive flourescent shop lights can be used to supplement the natural light.

Serious Eaters / Gardeners: What's doing with your tomatoes??

@MadelynRodriguez, I bought a topsy turvy planter this year for an experiment, but unfortunately, we got one storm with very high winds and the plant's stem was snapped in half. Additionally, the hole that the tomato plant's stem goes through has some rather ragged edges which did cause some damage to the stem even before the storm. Many people also say that they do require much more frequent watering than plants grown in a conventional manner. Although I have heard some positive reviews, it seems that many people say that you're better off making your own than buying that one. My advice would be to read the reviews on, they are very informative.

Purchasing a homebrewing kit in Chicago

This Christmas, I've decided that I want to purchase a homebrewing kit for my boyfriend. However, I am finding that the number of options are somewhat overwhelming, and I just don't know where to begin. Therefore, I'm looking for a little advice- anyone out there have experience homebrewing? What kits would you recommend, and which should I avoid? He'll be needing everything as he currently has none of the supplies, and since he is rather serious about beer, I want to find the best one out there. Thank you.

A question about durians...

This is my first time posting and I was hoping someone might be able to help me. Recently, my boyfriend and I purchased a frozen durian. After bringing it home, we did a little research and the general consensus seemed to be that it is ripe when it splits open. However, we waited a few days, and this did not happen. Instead, we checked on it one morning to discover that it was partially covered in a cobweb-like mold, at which point we realized that we had missed our window of opportunity. Since we intend on purchasing another, I'm hoping that someone out there has experience with frozen durians and can answer the following things for me...
- Is the process for determining ripeness different if the durian is frozen? Or were we just misinformed?
- It didn't smell foul as we read it would (just somewhat fruity)- does this also have to do with the fact that it was frozen?
Hopefully someone knows about this because we definitely want to purchase another, and not waste this one. Thanks in advance!

Cook the Book: Chinese Roast Chicken Buns with Scallions and Spicy Hoisin Sauce

David Chang of New York's Momofuku has proved that pretty much anything is delicious when served inside a steamed bun with sliced cucumbers, hoisin, and Sriracha. At Momofuku, the buns are stuffed with pork belly (the classic), shrimp, or shiitake mushrooms. These Chinese Roast Chicken Buns with Scallions and Spicy Hoisin Sauce from Mindy Fox's A Bird in the Oven and Then Some are obviously inspired by the Momofuku buns, but are filled with slices of smokey Tea-Brined Roast Chicken. More

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas are to tapas bars what chicken wings are to sports bars. Every single one has got them, but other than a few basic similarities, they can vary wildly from spot to spot. Though many feature a spicy, dark red sauce, my favorite version consists of crisply fried cubes of potatoes served with a garlic-laden allioli with a dusting of hot smoked paprika taking the bravas sauce's place. More

Cook the Book: Coconut Bebinca 

When thinking about Indian desserts, a delicately layered cake of crêpes and custard isn't the first thing that springs to mind. But according to Anjum Anand, author of Anjum's New Indian, a bebinca is a classic Goan dessert. Traditionally made up of 16 layers of coconut milk pancakes layered with ghee, Anand lightens it up ever so slightly by replacing the ghee with coconut custard and cutting the number of layers in half. More

Dinner Tonight: Mussels in Goan Sauce (Thisri)

Sometimes I crave simple mussels preparations like this one, where all you need is a hot iron skillet, a few cracks of a black pepper, and salt. But just as often I crave something complex and fiery, like this incredible recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail. To be sure, this is no tame dinner. Between the seven cloves of garlic, the wallop of cayenne pepper and paprika, and the earthiness of cumin, coriander, and tamarind paste, this ended up being one of the most flavorful bowls of mussels I've ever encountered. More

Irish Coffee Caramel Ice Cream with Shaved Dark Chocolate and Candied Pecans

It has buttery, smoky caramel, a dash of coffee grinds, and a generous helping of whisky for good measure. It's a bracing combination, but oh does it work. First you taste the coffee, roasted and rich, with the pleasant bitterness of an actual cup of joe. Then comes the caramel to sweeten things up just a tad, melting to sweet buttery goodness. Then the whisky: the more ice cream you eat, the more you taste it. More

Scooped: Black Sesame and Orange Ice Cream

In Asia, black sesame ice cream is as classic a flavor as vanilla in the States. There's not much to improve on it—it just works. Ground black sesame seeds take on the texture of tahini in that "so creamy it changes your perception of what creamy can be" sort of way. The rich, roasted flavors of the seeds, which give off an aroma as complex as fine chocolate, are a perfect match for a light custard. More

Dinner Tonight: Fried Rice with Shrimp and Bacon

I have what could be called an infatuation with fried rice, but have never stopped and thought through every step until I came across this recipe from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking. It's one of the most meticulous accounts of fried-rice-making I've ever seen. It features a marinade and a sauce, and a fairly complex set of instructions, which has you turning the heat up and down often. Luckily the results were worth all of the fussy instructions. More

Crabby Falafel 'Sliders'

These crab and chickpea "sliders"* start with a slightly streamlined, miniaturized version of Mantuano's Falafel Crab Cakes (I use canned chickpeas, tweak the spice blend to make it more sandwich-friendly, and add a tiny bit of flour to help the patties hold together more easily during the frying stage), which he describes as from "southern Spain, which owes many culinary inspirations to the Moors of Northern Africa." More

Dinner Tonight: Sichuan-Style Chicken Noodle Soup

This is the kind of chicken noodle soup I can get into. It's warming and comforting, with hunks of chicken meat and slinky noodles suspended in a rich stock. But this isn't some bland rendition. No, this soup is imbued with the haunting aroma of star anise and cinnamon, and tickled by the numbing sensation of Sichuan pepper. A sprinkling of chopped chile completes this assertive bowl of soup, which comes together surprisingly fast. More

Cook the Book: Cornmeal Biscuits with Honey Butter

These Cornmeal Biscuits with Honey Butter from Eric Ripert's Avec Eric are a biscuit-cornbread hybrid and just the kind of Thanksgiving bread that's quick enough to be totally doable. The dough comes out of the food processor moist enough to shape but thankfully not at all sticky. They're simple to roll out and shape, and out of the oven in a little over 10 minutes. They are light and fluffy with a great cornmeal crunch, and when spread with the sweet-salty honey butter, totally irresistible. More

Cook the Book: Coffee Cake with Espresso Glaze and Cardamom Crumble

Although this Coffee Cake with Espresso Glaze & Cardamom Crumble doesn't really have all that much to do with seasonal cooking or local purveyors, it's just too good of a cake not to share. The cake part is perfectly flavored and textured with a moist crumb and slight tang thanks to the sour cream in the batter. After the cake bakes and cools, it's finished with a coffee glaze that seeps inside, acting as a glue for the cardamom-scented crumble topping. It's one of those wonderfully deceptive recipes that at first looks like nothing fancier than your run-of-the-mill coffee cake, but one bite and the rich coffee flavors and aromatic cardamom are instantly apparent. More

Dinner Tonight: Summer Succotash with Bacon

It's the kind of meal you eat on a table on the back deck, or makes you wish that you had a table on a back deck, a glass of wine in hand, sort of eating it like an open-faced sandwich, sort of eating it with a fork, sort of spilling it on your shorts and sort of not caring. In other words: summer. More

Sunday Brunch: Cherry Clafoutis

I was truly sold on this cherry clafoutis the next day, when I had a sliver straight out of the refrigerator; the flavor and texture of the custard were best when it was cold. Pitting the cherries takes some time, but otherwise this is truly a lightning-fast batter. More

Grilling: Beef Satay

I love peanut butter, I love meat, but for some reason if the two were put together, it's not going in my mouth. It came time to crush this peanut sauce aversion into oblivion, and these beef satay skewers did just the trick. More

Dinner Tonight: Pasta with Bacon and Corn 'Pesto'

When it comes down to it, my favorite food is pasta. And if you held a gun to my head, I'd probably say that carbonara is my favorite pasta. I love its creaminess-with-no-cream, the chewy, salty bits of bacon, the roundness of Parmesan, the bite of black pepper. So it's not with any flippancy that I say that this recipe reminds me of carbonara, and in the best of possible ways. It's creamy, bacony, and satisfying—yet it's also a lot lighter and more fitting for summer. More

Dinner Tonight: Crema De Chile Poblano (Roasted Chile Poblano Soup)

This unique, full flavored soup is another winning recipe from Susana Trilling's Seasons of My Heart. Her Oaxacan recipes use humble and simple ingredients, yet create incredibly complex and refined dishes. The roasted poblanos add some heat to this soup, but also a gorgeous smokiness to every bite. Requesón, a delicate fresh cheese, calms the spiciness. A good ricotta can stand in for the requesón. More