Win a Copy of 'Pitt Cue Co.: The Cookbook'

Win a Copy of 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen'

Cook the Book: 'The Nourished Kitchen' by Jennifer McGruther

Sauerkraut, preserves, pickles.

Cook the Book: 'Simple Thai Food' by Leela Punyaratabandhu

Any notable meals in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest?

It's not a meal (although it was for me :-)), but do yourself a favour, stop by a Viennese cafe (any of them that looks good to you) and have some apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce. I don't even normally eat any pastries/pies with cooked fruit, but that was just impossibly good.

Cook the Book: 'My Paris Kitchen' by David Lebovitz

I think of croissants and other delectable pastries.

What is your favourite kosher food?

It's a bit of a weird question. Many foods can be made kosher (e.g., you could make kosher Chinese meals, kosher Japanese meals, etc.), but I guess that's not what you mean. So, do you mean Jewish? Israeli? The ones that appear in the "kosher" isle in ShopRite (which is mostly Manischewitz)?

Falafel Help- Mostly The Forming of..

I don't add flour or corn starch to my falafel mix (to me, they ruin the flavour of the falafel, but tastes differ), but I do two things: chill the mixture before rolling it into the balls, then chill the rolled falafel before frying it. Lower them gently into the hot oil, then turn just as gently, they never fall apart. As for the texture of the processed chickpeas, I process them (in the FP, pulsing)until they look very much like couscous.

Bake the Book: The Model Bakery Cookbook

Sweet and savoury pastries, various bread and rolls, mini tarts...

Cook the Book: 'Spain' by Jeff Koehler

The Best Valentine's Day Giveaway Ever: Lobel's 4" Prime Dry-Aged Heart Shaped Steaks for Two

Super hot cast iron, medium-rare.

Looking for Kuwaiti Schwarma Recipe

@brusto -- I was talking about how they do it in Israel :-). You will absolutely never see a shawarma sandwich on a baguette; lafa is more often used for specialty wraps (like "Jerusalem mixed grill"), and most regular shawarma and falafel stands just use pita bread.

When I make it at home, I use lettuce leaves more often than not.

Bake the Book: Puddin'

Looking for Kuwaiti Schwarma Recipe

When re-creating shawarma spice mix (I missed Israeli shawarma but couldn't find anything similar around here), I ended up with a mix of cumin, coriander, garlic powder, sweet paprika, turmeric, cayenne, allspice, cardamom and fenugreek. To me, it's as close to the real thing as it gets. I'm not sure how different the flavours are in Kuweit, but this could be a good place to start.

@brustro -- shawarma is often served in a pita pocket.

Super Bowl Party Giveaway: Pat LaFrieda Sliders

Not sure yet, but there will be lots of snack foods. And wine for me.

Super Bowl Party Giveaway: 17th Street BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Pulled Pork

I've never done anything crazy for BBQ -- anything I may have done (road trips in the middle of the night, eating entirely too much, perfecting a dry rub, etc.)seems perfectly reasonable!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Phantom of the Fridge Secret Stash

Bake the Book: Seriously Bitter Sweet

chocolate mousse.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Phantom of the Fridge Secret Stash

Ice cream. Unless I'm looking for something savoury...

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

ribeye, medium-rare (err on the side of rare)

Cook the Book: 'Japanese Soul Cooking'

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Phantom of the Fridge Secret Stash

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

"Bring your own dish" wedding - what to bring?

We've been invited to a casual wedding with "covered dish barbecue" (the wedding is to take place in late June, and I understand that there will be about 40-50 people), and were asked to bring a dish "to share" (needs to be something "down home", things like hummus are not going to fly). My in laws are invited as well, and since my MIL doesn't cook, I offered to cover the food both for us and for them.

So far, I'm planning to bring:

*pulled pork
*coleslaw - not sure which would be better: mayo based or oil & vinegar (my personal favourite)
*potato salad - mayo or vinaigrette? I, again, am leaning towards vinaigrette (roasted reds with kalamata olives, red onions and red wine vinaigrette), so does my OH. FIL, on the other hand, wants the mayo one.
*homemade hamburger buns

Does it seem like enough from two families, or should I add something else? (It reminds me of that "envelope pusher" thread from yesterday...I always think that I should add something else! But seriously, I really feel that it's not enough) Any comments, suggestions, recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

Pantry 'Ghosts': Do You Have Them?

Every time I open one of my cupboards, I see two small jars of maraschino cherries, looking at me with sadness and despair. I didn't buy them, I got them as a part of a "cocktail gift basket" I received a year or two ago. Those of you who know me, know about my aversion to any dried, cooked or candied fruit, so most likely, these poor cherries don't have a chance to ever be used. But I cannot bring myself to just throw them away, so there they are.

Another "ghost" living in my cupboard is a jar with about a cup and a half of barley. I bought it once to use some in the cholent I was making for my father in law, and was left with this 1.5 cup. I don't eat barley, so it will probably live there until next cholent.

Do you have any pantry ghosts that just stay there, unused? What are they? Did you buy them hoping to "get to like them" one day or was it a gift?

Kitchen Smells - Your Favourite and Least Favourite Ones?

This morning, I woke up to the smell of a freshly baked loaf of bread that I started at 4 am (thank you, insomnia and Panasonic!). As tired as I was after a nearly sleepless night, this wonderful smell immediately put me in a good mood.

The smell of freshly baked biscuits or cakes reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen. I'm mad about the smell of fresh produce and fresh herbs (especially if it's a variety of fresh herbs together, like an herb stall at an open market). Freshly brewed coffee smells like heaven (if heaven has any smell, that is). And I absolutely love the aroma of onions being fried/sauteed - it's probably one of the best kitchen perfumes, as far as I am concerned. These are just a few of my favourite smells, and I'm sure there are many, many more.

On the other hand, I think that the smell of microwavable popcorn is possibly one of the worst kitchen smells, if not the worst one. I'm also not a big fan of the shrimp or fish stock smell...actually, I really can't stand fish smell at all. My OH doesn't fancy the smell of cheese, so when I, say, grate Pecorino over my bowl of hot pasta, he usually runs away from the kitchen.

What about you?

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't?

I always feel like a nut. I love them everywhere - salads, rice, couscous, pesto, bread and rolls, cakes and muffins, cookies and ice cream... oh, and on their own!

I love them all, but my absolute favourite can't-live-without nuts are:

* pistachios - best "on its own" nut as far as I'm concerned. And who could forget pistachio ice cream!

* hazelnuts - one word: Nutella! Quite spectacular in biscotti, too.

* pine nuts- salads, couscous, tartlets, even sprinkled over hummus!

* walnuts - one of my favourites in salads and muffins

* almonds - oh so many uses! Great on their own, sliced and toasted in nearly anything almondine, crushed in cookies, slivered in salads...

Cashews and Brasil nuts are also right up there...ironically, the only nut that I wouldn't miss all that much is peanut (I know, I know, it's a legume, but it can be called a "nut" for the purpose of this thread).

So are you nuts about nuts? Which are your favourite and which ones you don't care for? Are there any foods where you find nuts objectionable?

Food Slogans and Jingles That You Just Can't Get Out of Your Head

So I just caught myself singing (all right, it was more like hissing since my throat is sore), "You don't have to be a man to love Manwich, you don't have to be a witch either, it's true..." again! I don't even buy Manwich...nor do I know how this jingle ends, but I just can't get it out of my head! You don't have to be a man to love Manwich...

My OH astonished me the other day when he performed a full version of ShopRite "Can Can sale" jingle - he says they have the same jingle every year, and 'tis the season. So every time they play two lines of it on telly, he keeps singing the entire thing to the end. Although his favourite is clearly "I wish I were an Oscar Myer wiener..."

Do you have one? Or two?

You don't have to be a man to love Manwich...

If you had to choose just three vegetables... could eat for the rest of your life, which ones would you choose?

And which ones will you not miss at all?

I'll make it both easier and tougher for you: leafy greens, bulbs and herbs don't count as "vegetables" for the purpose of this question (if it seems arbitrary - well, it is), but botanical fruits (such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, etc.) do, along with various roots, flowers, buds, stems and legumes.

Dressing ideas for broccoli salad?

I'm going to host a big Hanukkah dinner tomorrow, and since I have plenty of broccoli in my fridge, I was thinking of making something different with it. So I decided to make a broccoli salad - for now, I'm thinking it will consist of:

* broccoli florets (blanched)
* thinly sliced red onions
* (halved?) cherry tomatoes
* kalamata olives
* slivered almonds or sunflower seeds (I have plenty of both left from my almost-finished baking marathon)
* possibly, crumbled bacon?

Do I need anything else there? I thought of feta, but it's out of the question since OH is lactose intolerant. But more importantly, I've been thinking of a dressing to tie it all together and here's where I hit the wall. All I can think of is simple olive oil/lemon juice dressing with garlic and parsley. My brain (or what's left of it) completely refuses to cooperate with me on this (possibly detesting lack of sleep and food I've been putting it through lately), and I'm not sure what to do. I have a huge arsenal of vinegars and oils, fresh herbs are not a problem. Do you have any ideas?

If you were to subscribe to one food magazine, it would be _____

Ever since I came to the US a bit more than 6 years ago, I've maintained my subscription to BBC Good Food. I really love this magazine but the price is rather steep ($140 or so for 12 issues. Back home, I used to pay slightly more than £2 per issue. sigh) and there has been a serious problem with delivery lately - to the point where I am seriously considering cancelling my current subscription rather than simply not renewing it next year.

So I've also started wondering if I could find, perhaps, an alternative that would be as engaging and wouldn't have to be shipped from across the pond. I know there have been threads about food magazines before, but still - if you were to choose just one, which one would it be?

Are you a tyrant or a democrat in your kitchen?

*Disclaimer: despite the title, this post is not related to politics in any way whatsoever - other than the kitchen politics, that is.

As I was replying to Heart's question about Thanksgiving prep, it occurred to me that I don't really like people in my kitchen. It's not that I want my kitchen completely devoid of any human contact, no. For instance, we have an open floor plan, so I often have my OH kind of around when I cook, as he may be in the lounge or the dining room. I don't mind talking to him, but I don't really want him (or anybody else, for that matter) underfoot. So yes, I guess I'm a kitchen tyrant. I love cooking for people, but not necessarily with people (unless those people are just there for a conversation. Then they can stay, as long as they sit at the counter and don't get in the way).

It's my kitchen, and I happen to have a very strong opinion about the way things should be done (the right way, of course:-)), and that includes actual cooking as well as organising things around. I don't want to look for a ladle or a colander all over the kitchen, I know where they are. Or I did until the OH emptied the dishwasher and put them elsewhere (don't even get me started on the dishwasher, I constantly have to re-arrange the dishes there or we would be running a full cycle for 3.5 plates and 2 bowls every time). I don't want to reach for cumin and wonder why there is garlic powder in its place. Kitchen Rule #1 says, "if you don't know where it lives, ask me!", but people tend to ignore that rule.

You want to help? There is always a table to be set and drinks to be poured. But don't get underfoot when I cook or mess with my stuff. It's my territory, and I'm the queen, the police and the jury, all in one.

What about you?

What's the best dinner anyone has ever cooked for you?

Last night my OH cooked for me.

He doesn't really cook. Granted, in the last 6 years, he's learnt how to make a good breakfast (which includes a killer sweet potato hash and scrambled or fried eggs - we haven't gotten to poaching yet), cook very decent pasta and make a sandwich exactly the way I want it. Yes, it took some guidance and patience (all right, lots of patience). As I said, he is not a "darling, I'll cook a gourmet dinner for you tonight" type. He certainly did not learn to cook growing up (my MIL's signature dish is "pineapple chicken": chicken pieces, tinned pineapple and a bottle of generic BBQ sauce, baked until thoroughly charred and painfully dry).

Which is precisely why last night's dinner was absolutely mind-blowing. Here's the menu (other than dessert, everything was made from scratch, sauces and all!):

-an amuse bouche of maple-seared scallop

-a salad of mixed greens with strawberries and raspberry-shallot vinaigrette, served in a bacon bowl

-prawn, scallop and crab ceviche (He served it in margarita glasses, which made for a lovely presentation)

-prosciutto wrapped prawns

-oven-baked crab cake with cocktail sauce

-seared tuna with sweet & spicy sauce, on a bed of julienned cucumbers

-"chocolate ecstasy" - yes, he bought it, but he bought the dessert for me: a thin layer of chocolate cake with a mound of dark chocolate mousse, encased in dark chocolate ganache - a chocolate ecstasy it was!

I cannot tell you how impressed, proud and flattered I was! Yes, he had a small glitch with the crab cakes - he forgot to spray the baking sheet with oil:-), and the sweet & spicy sauce could use a touch of soy sauce, but he does not cook! By his own admission, he was "way out of his comfort zone", which made it all the more impressive. And it was the most delicious, elaborate and thought-through dinner anybody has cooked for me in my adult life.

So, what's the best meal anyone has ever cooked for you?

Best way to eat ice cream?

Do you have to have a waffle cone or will a paper cup do? Or would you rather have a bowl at home? Are you fond of various ice cream toppings or do you prefer your ice cream "plain"? Do you match toppings to ice cream flavours, or do you have favourite toppings no matter what the ice cream is? In short, what's your favourite way to eat ice cream?

If I eat ice cream outside, I'll definitely go for a waffle cone. But I'm more of a "bowl at home" person - give me a bowl of plain pistachio ice cream any day, no toppings needed! I seldom take toppings, but I'd choose butterscotch or caramel sauce with vanilla or mocha ice cream, and sprinkle it with some walnuts or almonds for good measure.

What should I smoke?, I don't mean Pineapple Express kind of smoke:-). I'm a proud owner of a new stove-top smoker and I can't wait to use it! Since I have zero smoking experience, I'm not sure where to start: shrimp? Scallops? Fish? What kind of fish would be best for smoking? I don't eat cooked fish, but I'm willing to try it smoked. Chicken? Pork? Hamburger? Brussels sprouts? French toast? I'd love to hear your ideas, Serious Eaters!

Tea or coffee?

I often wonder which one I would choose to keep if I had to give one up. I grew up drinking tea, but discovered the wonderful world of coffee quite early as well. And I've never been a very clearly defined "tea person" or "coffee person".

Of course, I make the choice even more difficult by including a very broad definition of tea and coffee:

*Tea - includes all kinds and colours, as well as iced tea, tea smoked chicken or shrimp, tea jelly, Earl Grey truffles, and so on, and so forth.

*Coffee - includes all kinds of hot drinks (espresso, latte, cappuccino, etc), iced coffee, chocolate espresso cake, mocha ice cream, etc., etc.

If you had to, which one would you rather keep?

Are you an impulsive cook?

Let me tell you first that I'm a planner. Which means, during the weekend, I more or less plan our meals for the week (or at least, Monday through Wednesday/Thursday) and shop accordingly, if necessary. I usually pretty much stick to the plan, although it's not written in stone, of course. That said, funny things happen to me from time to time.

Last week, I had an army of washed and dried blueberries lying on my kitchen counter, waiting to be vacuum packed and frozen (yes, I know that their skins supposedly become tougher if they are washed before freezing. Since I never eat frozen blueberries straight up and use them for either shakes or syrup/sauce or muffins/cakes, I've never felt that extra "toughness" if it, indeed, exists. So I'd rather wash them). But as I was taking out my newly acquired food saver, a sudden urge struck - I wanted, no, absolutely needed a blueberry muffin so badly, I could not think of anything else. An hour later, there I was - a pint fewer in the freezer but a whole platter of freshly baked blueberry muffin heaven readily available for immediate consumption.

The other day, I bought sweet potatoes, meaning to grill them. As I was transferring them to their potato basket, I had an idea for a dish. It did not include grilled sweet potatoes. In fact, it would be a perfect dish for a cold winter day, and it's been 90+ outside longer than I bother to remember. But I really loved the idea and just couldn't get it out of my head. Plus, you know, my house is air-conditioned. So yesterday I gave up and made a batch of pierogi with sweet potatoes and roasted garlic, with the sauce of caramelised onions and balsamic reduction (and yes, they were every bit as good as I imagined they would be!) I'll have to buy more sweet potatoes now.

You got the idea. My name is Brooke, and I'm an impulsive cook. No, I did not mean to rhyme that, but it just so happened. In any case, here's my question - has something like that ever happened to you?

Potato salad

I'm about to make one of my "go to" potato salads - roasted red potatoes, skins on (relatively large chunks), red onions, kalamata olives, asparagus and red wine vinegar dressing with garlic, black pepper and rosemary. Asparagus can be optional; sometimes I may use green beans instead, or just omit the "green" part altogether.

My second favourite potato salad is entirely different - boiled, peeled and cubed (small cube) white potatoes, red onions, gherkins, capers, dill, smoked paprika , freshly ground black pepper and dijon-mayo dressing.

So, what's your favourite potato salad?

What kind of food do you go out for/order in?

Following dbcurrie's post about meals per month not cooked at home - when you go out or order in, what kind of food do you go for? Is it something you never make at home or familiar comfort food? Do you go out/order in because you just don't feel like cooking (or don't have time to) on that particular night or because there is a specific meal you know you can only enjoy at a particular place? I'm not talking about special occasions, rather about your "regular" meals not cooked at home. Is it a diner or a Japanese restaurant? A pizza place or a burger joint?

To answer my own question - I usually don't order something that I can easily make and/or often cook myself - for some reason, I always end up being disappointed. When I eat out, I like to enjoy the experience, even if it's not the most expensive restaurant. For instance, if we feel like pizza or Chinese - I will most likely cook myself (although it may depend on what kind of Chinese food we want). But we'll always go out for sushi. And if I feel like wings, I'm more likely to send my husband to Cluck U than to take out my deep fryer (easy to make, but I inevitably have to dispose of all that oil, and I never know how to).

How do you eat your hot dogs?

When I was replying to Perky's question about favourite nearly-charred-grilled foods, I realised that while grilled hot dogs may be a common favourite, there are so many ways of eating them!

Like I wrote in Perky's thread, I like mine grilled, with Coleman's mustard or ketchup. No relish, no sauerkraut, not even a bun. Just a charred hot dog and some Coleman's mustard or a charred hot dog and some ketchup (even though I've heard that in some places eating a hot dog with ketchup easily qualifies as an offence punishable by public hanging!)

So, how do you eat your hot dogs?

A "Get Well" baked gift?

A friend is coming home from the hospital (tomorrow) after a serious surgery. I'd love to bake something for her as a "get well" gift. I sent my hubby to ask hers if there are any dietary restrictions or any personal preferences, and the answer I got back was "nothing healthy please!" :-) I was thinking about a banana bread (I have a great recipe - Cooky's Steak Pub banana nut bread) or, maybe, pear muffins that were suggested a couple of weeks ago by kathyvegas. Any thoughts or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

California Eatin': Dutch Crunch in the Bay Area

Growing up in the Bay Area, there was a single bread of choice for sandwiches. No, not San Francisco sourdough--lunches came on Dutch Crunch, a dense, doughy bread with a moist crumb. But what sets it apart from other breads? The crackly top, with crunchy little bits growing from the paler crust underneath. More

SE'er Food Blogs

Ok, so I already pulled a few of bitchin camero's recipes into my regular rotation, as briefly I mentioned in another thread. I know there have been other threads on what your favorite food blogs are, but I want to... More

Serious Eats City Guide: Los Angeles

We've updated our Serious Eats City Guide Los Angeles to include even more delicious bites in the City of Angels, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times' S. Irene Virbila. Best Bargain Lunch Photograph from In Praise of Sardines on Flickr Loteria Grill is a retro Mexico City-style taco stand with zesty soft tacos, chilaquiles, huevos rancheros and aquas frescas in the Los Angeles Farmers' Market at Fairfax and Third Street. For a down-home taco truck experience, check El Matador, which stays open past midnight.... More

Coconut Candy Recipe Help

Valentines Day is coming up and my boyfriend is getting a big box of homemade treats. He's requested that I make a coconut chocolate candy similar to Almond Joy's. I have a few ideas in mind, but I've NEVER successfully... More

Banh Chung for Lunar New Year

In areas with a sizable Vietnamese community, you can find banh chung around Lunar New Year. Stacked in neat bricks, sometimes even warm, the sign of a good banh chung is one that's meaty, hefty, and tightly rolled. Here's a recipe and how-to. More

Salted Water for Boiling Is Most Commented-on Recipe on Epicurious

Photograph from notinponce on Flickr Salted Water for Boiling is easily Epicurious' most commented-on recipe, with 801 responses at last count. The thread has become a treasure trove of sarcastic comments: I am frustrated with these "advanced" recipes. Does everyone think we're ALL professional chefs?? I can't tell at what point to add the salt, and what kind of salt? Kosher? Fleur de Sal? Iodized? And then what kind of water? Tap? Distilled? Artesian? How long do I boil it? I am so confused. Please, Epicurious, screen your recipes better. Don't waste your time on this one. I substituted leftover hot dogs for the salt, and used a combination of maple syrup and salsa instead of water, and it didn't... More

Restaurants Cook in Advance Secrets

Elizabelle's question about risotto got me to wondering. For those of you in the industry, what do you know about advance cooking or prep that might be a surprise and help to the home cook, especially for harried entertaining and... More

Pork and sauerkraut

I need comfort food today. For me, that's pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes. I see that Jerzee Tomato and PerkyMac named pork and sauerkraut as their traditional New Year's food last year. So, how do you cook it? Years... More

What are you known for?

I am going to two housewarmings this weekend and have my second of three types of cookies in the oven (butterscotch brownies, chocolate chip shortbread, and next is double chocolate). I can't open the balcony door because they are working... More

SE users: please introduce yourselves.

I feel like it's been a while since we've had a little SE-user roll call. I'm always interested in who's out there asking, answering, and commenting. So, who are you? What are you all about? I'll start: I'm 24, working... More