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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.

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

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: 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.