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kimthaism

  • Favorite foods: Traditional Vietnamese and French foods!
  • Last bite on earth: A giant bowl of pho with everything

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@billy and @eliza - Kenji's traveling through Asia with his wife for a while. When he gets back, he should be writing regularly again from their new place on the West coast.

I am a little sad that there aren't any pet pics this week, but Mr. Bear and those shots from Kenji's trip nearly make up for it. I'm dying for those mangosteen!

The Nasty Bits: Bowl Steamed Pork Belly

If anyone has any doubts about going through all the steps for this dish or finding the ingredients, do it. I made a modified version (based on what I had on hand) today and it was a huge hit. It's delicious, decadent, and pretty impressive to bring to the table.
I didn't have black beans or jalapeños but I was still able to churn out a fantastic dish. I did have the pickled mustard greens, though, and it was a very tasty addition. I bulked up my bowl with extra glutinous rice (just thoroughly soaked, it'll cook through during steaming) mixed with chopped shiitake mushrooms and oyster sauce.
Yes, what I made was pretty much only inspired by Chichi's original dish but I made do with what I had and what I thought would please my Viet parents (whose palates are generally unaccustomed to some Chinese ingredients). But my point is, if you feel hesitant to make this because of the ingredient list, adapt to what you can get your hands on. We've just finished dinner and I already wish I could make another bowl (but I won't for a while, this is so decadent!)

Ideas in Food vs. Strawberry Shortcake: Reinventing the Berries

Yay! Welcome, Aki and Alex! I'm a big fan of your stuff and use your risotto and pasta methods all the time. :) I'm so glad to see that you'll be sharing your innovative ideas with the rest of SE now! :)

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

I'm a few days late on this but we're gonna miss you so much, Carrie. Some of the best sweets recipes that I keep on hand are ones I learned from you. Best wishes with your writing, you have a great style and I'm sure we all look forward to reading your future works. And who says you can't drop us the odd new sweets recipe once in a while? ;)

Sweet Technique: How to Make Italian Meringue

I always felt that Swiss was more involved due to having to monitor the temperature of the egg whites over the double boiler. I'm always afraid of scrambling the whites!
That shot of the torched meringue-covered whisk is gorgeous. Will you be exploring the other styles and explaining the pros and cons of and best uses for each?

Are the Rules of Big-Pot Blanching True?

Excellent! I usually use whatever pot is still available that would fit at least twice the amount of veg I'd need to blanch. And salting is a crapshoot with me depending on whether I remember. But I always use an ice bath and my mother is consistently amazed at the crispness and greenness of my vegetables. :P I put the ice in the bowl while waiting for the water to boil, add the vegetables to the pot, and add water to the ice while waiting for the water to come back to a boil. I think it's completely worth the extra bit of effort, but maybe it's easier for me because I have an ice maker instead of trays like some others?
Great testing, Daniel, this'll be the kick in the butt if I ever feel too lazy or rushed to skip an ice bath in the future. :)

How to Make Portuguese Garlic and Cilantro Bread Soup (Açorda à Alentejana)

Um, @Daniel, if you're not using that much breadcrumb, you're obviously not using enough in pasta! (Best pasta topping, ever)
I second @ericacbarnett's freezer idea. Whenever I have bread that I can't or won't (yeah, not all baguettes are created equal) finish, I leave it in a warm oven to dry out before I crumble it and keep it in a plastic container in the freezer.

I hate that this recipe is going to make me go buy chorizo, but I'm also super excited to make it. This is exactly what I need right now.

Robyn Lee Is Leaving Serious Eats a Mere 7 1/2 Years After She Got Here

I'm gonna miss Robyn so much. :( I'm dealing with my denial of her leaving by reading her blog from the beginning. I'm currently on 12/2004 and, basically, I'm pretty concerned with Robyn's eating habits even though I know she survives until now. . .

Best of luck, Robyn! Check in frequently! We want to know how you're doing! :)

Brandied Cherry Clafoutis

This was my most successful clafoutis ever. That is to say, my only successful clafoutis ever (I have terrible clafoutis mojo, no idea why).
My only problem was that my flour had a lot of difficulty incorporating into the batter since it was so liquid. I ended up having to push all of it through a strainer. That bit aside, this was fantastic and went over really well with everyone. The cherries (I made mine with rum) added a nice boozy bite and the texture and flavor of the custard was satisfying even with small servings. I swore I'd give up on clafoutis if this one didn't work, but now I won't have to! Thanks, Carrie! :)

How to Clean Soft-Shell Crabs

I resent this article for making me want crabs. But that Hulk factoid is awesome.
I haven't had any in years! I think I'm going to have to finally pick some up this season.

Salt-Cured, Soy-Marinated, and Fertilized: A Guide to Asia's Amazing Eggs

@Pintchow - that's so cool. I've never thought to put goat cheese in brownies before. But I do love a bit of dark chocolate with certain cheeses. I must research. Thanks for the idea!

@Irene- - I completely forgot about the unlaid eggs! I used to get them all the time when ordering chicken pho. So good. Excuse me while I reminisce fondly again.

Olive Oil Cake with Roasted Grapes & Chocolate Ganache

@Carrie - Ooh, pizza sounds great. I'd pair it with a more aggressively salty cheese that's still a bit creamy. Stuff that you'd pair with dried fruit or preserves on a cheese board, since these grapes are pretty much halfway to preserves!

Olive Oil Cake with Roasted Grapes & Chocolate Ganache

My mouth fell open when I saw the first picture. I'm making this cake when my sister comes to visit next week. She's gonna love it! It looks delicious, I can't wait. :) I have everything except the grapes and the cream already on hand.
And it might be because it was paired with a picture of such a great cake, but the article seems particularly eloquent today. Thanks for sharing, Carrie!

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

Personally, I'm really glad for this post and the information it has provided. Sure, if I want the taste of real butter, I'll probably make my own puff than spring for Dufour. I have the time and space and know-how. But in terms of when my sister (who works an exhausting 8-5 in a semi-rural area where protein is crazy expensive and, between her and her roommate, her freezer is COMPLETELY full at all times) calls me from the grocery store for my opinion on whether it's worth her paying for the more expensive brand, I'm really thankful to SE that I'll be able to help her out.

I love that SE has always felt accessible since I first started learning to cook to now that I've advanced somewhat. If I'm looking for a recipe that is more complicated, I'll always check SE before anywhere else, often finding links through photograzing. But if, when I began reading SE as a novice, the writers had insisted that not being able to make pastry made me a dummy, I'd never have been able to establish confidence in the kitchen. I have plenty of female relatives who are incredible cooks but can't demonstrate proper use of a rolling pin. My older sister is a much more experienced cook and can kick my ass with her knife skills but I can still impress with my penchant for baked sweets. We all have our strengths and for some, puff pastry really is that difficult.

Salt-Cured, Soy-Marinated, and Fertilized: A Guide to Asia's Amazing Eggs

I haven't had duck balut since I was very young and I only remember sipping the hot, concentrated, ducky broth and gnawing on the hard "stone" albumen, my family liked ours with salt, pepper, and vietnamese coriander. And whenever I see a soft boiled chicken egg eaten with a spoon in an egg cup, I'm reminded of how we ate our baluts. I think ours were younger than 20 days, though.
And when I was 8 and visited my relatives in Vietnam for the first time, my cousin bought me a bunch of quail baluts that we hard boiled, peeled, and dipped into salt, pepper, and lime juice. Like the duck baluts I'd had here in the states, all I can remember of those is salty, poultry-ish, bites of deliciousness.
Being older and more aware of the contents of those eggshells now, I don't know if I would eat it if presented with the opportunity. But thanks, Kevin, for the great, thorough article and the prompting of fond childhood memories. :)

For those afraid of trying century eggs, yes, they can be strong and sulphuric, but I learned to love them by stirring bits of the yolk into my egg noodle soup (mì) growing up. I find it mellows out the taste of the sulphur and makes everything around it richer and delicious! But the lingering taste can clash with certain fruits, so wait a bit before dessert. :P

@Pintchow - salted egg whites into brownies??!?! Ridiculous! Brilliant! How?! :D

Trader Joe's Kouign Amann is Almost as Good as Dominique Ansel's

I keep putting off making my own KAs and now it looks like it's never gonna happen. . . On the other hand, whoohoo! Thanks for pointing these out!

Have you guys tried the newer TJ macarons? It's the same price as the vanilla/chocolate box with 2 each of fig, lemon, salted caramel, pistachio, apricot, and coconut. I've only tried the lemon and salted caramel (my brother scarfed down the rest in one sitting, uninvited) but I think they're marvelous for the price and availability. I think they warrant an SE review! :)

Weekend Baking Project: Lemon Chiffon Cake

Ah, great minds! I was already planning on using this recipe as a base for a sort-of-upside-down Charlotte. I'm going to bake it in a normal springform and layer it with strawberry mousse (with gelatin) and tons of fresh berries for a strawberry lemonade cake.
For anyone that hasn't tried this recipe yet, do it! It's so easy and impressive. It's my go-to cake base for pretty much everything (even pineapple upside-down) but it's also light and delicious all on its own. I can't wait to eat it again. :P

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

I love the picture of Pixel reaching for the chicken. I'm such a sucker for animals standing on two legs like those people who stand on two legs.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Hello Daniel!
Rawr! Wait, Yuba doesn't have vocal chords?
Cricket and Pixel are ridiculously cute. I'm too overwhelmed with cuteness to compose a proper comment right now. Sorry!

Serious Entertaining: Ramps Ramps Ramps Ramps Ramps

It's like you guys KNEW I had to fly home to CA right before the start of ramps season! Now I'm sad. :(

No, but seriously, I'm gonna adapt these tasty recipes to stuff I can get out here. Thanks for the reminder to cook spring veg! :)

The New Ben and Jerry's 'Cores' are Pretty Mindblowingly Delicious

Oops. Re-read more carefully. It's the karamel sutra. It wasn't mentioned in the first article I saw in the huffington post. :P

The New Ben and Jerry's 'Cores' are Pretty Mindblowingly Delicious

I picked up the salted caramel and jam ones about a week ago (target). The peanut butter fudge core pints were all out.
Holycraptheyresogood. I love how salty the caramel really is, I'm such a nut for caramel. But the jam blew me away. It tastes exactly like homemade jam. I just wish the cores were bigger, they're so good.
I'm currently in the Midwest, I swear a saw another caramel core flavor that hasn't been mentioned in the early articles. I wasn't seeing things, right?

Ed's Final Vegan Diary: Reflecting on Vegan Month

I was a vegan for six months before switching to vegetarianism for a few years and dairy (mainly cheese) was my big weakness, too. I'm an omnivore again now and still only buy cage-free eggs and try to limit my meat purchases to humanely raised stuff.

@gargupie - if you feel that your body needs it, I think you should try in small amounts. If you have no allergies to them, eggs are a good source, too. I didn't have any physical reactions, but I did feel guilty at first. With time, I realized how much more aware I was of what I was eating and their origins and I'm much more comfortable with it now. I've noticed that I'm more informed and at ease with the realities of animal-based foods than other meat-eaters who are afraid to consider that their dinners weren't grown on styrofoam plates. Yes, I sometimes feel a twinge of guilt and go back to a mostly plant-based diet for a while, but when I do eat meat again after that, I'm ok with myself because I can make informed decisions.

The Serious Eats Guide to Conquering Eataly Chicago

I went for the first time two weeks ago and I think the caramel gelato was the best sweet I've ever tasted with incredible balance between the sweetness and bitterness of the burnt sugar, I'm still thinking about it. My sister was very partial to the coconut. It was so crowded on a Sunday night that it was warm enough to enjoy the gelati. Haha.
The sweet sausage focaccia was good but nothing to write home about.
We also had the daily specials at Il Pesce of grilled shrimp and grilled razor clams. The clams were a bit sandy but well executed, crisp and cooked just right. The flavors of the accompaniments for the shrimp were so clever, I found the shrimp the least exciting part, though also well executed.
We picked up a few oysters from the counter and shucked them at home and they were fantastic. There were only beavertails left by that time but still very good.

Vegan: Stovetop-Style Macaroni and Cheese

@hillymae - I'm with you on everything. 'Cept, um, being in Papua New Guinea. . . I'm not there. :)

Anyone have a sub for cashews? They tend to make my throat close up in super uncomfortable ways (just typing the word makes me cringe a little). I'm not very familiar with the taste or texture of cashews so I have no idea what other nuts would act the same.

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