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You Asked The Food Lab 164 Questions. Here Are 164 Answers

Hey crème brûlée person - you're probably using too much sugar. Too much means the heat is distributed unevenly and the top burns while the bottom stays grainy. Smaller-grained, dryer sugar (like plain old white sugar) works best for that reason. You need only the smallest coating, like 1/2 tsp per ramekin (depending on size) so it will end up only being about 1 sugar grain deep. And if your custard has a layer of condensation from being chilled, pat it dry with a paper towel first.

Pan-Seared Steaks with Red Wine Pan Sauce

This sounds SO good that I bookmarked it earlier and I'm now cooking it. But I don't see the pan sauce instruction, and the "print recipe" button is unclickable. Is it just me; do I have the wrong browser or something? I'm going to follow kitchen intuition on the method and cooking time for the sauce, but I'd like to do the by-the-book version sometime.

One year anniversary dinner

Since you live near Lucali, you're also pretty near Prime Meats and The Good Fork, both of which are intimate, friendly, and have excellent food, wine and cocktails.

Good Ice Cream Cake Frosting Recipe?

Pretty much any butter- or cream cheese-based frosting you use will still be soft enough to cut when frozen. You can stick with your original plan, or make the butter+powdered sugar stuff, or a standard egg yolk (or white or custard) buttercream. The only kind of frosting that will not take well to the freezer is a meringue-y seven minute frosting.

My first cookbook...

What you want is the Fannie Farmer (Boston Cooking School) cookbook. It shows you how to make everything just the way your great-aunt would: patient but not condescending instructions on how to truss a chicken, fix broken hollandaise, or blanch broccoli. The recipes have a slightly old-timey Americana feel, which is totally charming.

Adding salt and/or sugar to coffee grinds = Tastier Coffee?

If I only have bad coffee available (like the Folgers my grandparents use), I add a pinch of cinnamon or some cardamom seeds to the grounds before brewing. This is only a last resort, though.

Cook the Book: 'Ready for Dessert'

My favorite dessert is homemade ice cream - vanilla, chocolate, lemon, basil, anything!

Australian Restaurant?

There's also Sheep Station in Brooklyn. They do a great burger with all the Aussie toppings like beet and egg.

Gluten-free Cheesecake Crust

You can butter the inside of the pan and coat the inside with chopped nuts of your choice. That is, if your friend can handle nuts. You should need about 1 cup, depending on the size of your pan.

Irish Potato Candy

I know what you're talking about, but I don't know where to buy it in the city. I thought Economy Candy would be a sure bet, but it's not coming up in their "robust search tool." That just means it's not sold online, so you could call to confirm.

Cook the Book: 'Forgotten Skills of Cooking'

I'm making colcannon, with lots of leeks and cabbage. If I manage to get a spare hour, I'll also make soda bread with caraway seeds and raisins.

How do you brew your coffee?

I have the stoutest little 6-cup Farberware percolator at home, which makes consistently great coffee. I use 1Tbs fresh-ground beans (usually something from Fairway, though I'm working through a gift pound of Kona right now) per 6-oz cup.

At work I either make "selfish coffee" with a small stovetop moka pot or a big, friendly pot of Mr. Coffee.

Grimaldi's to Open Manhattan Location in 'Limelight Marketplace'

Oh man, decent pizza in my work hood at long last! Wonder how they'll deal with competition from the two 6th ave dollaslice places?

@steelecity They were supposed to open a Grimaldi's on John St. The deal is supposedly still on, but they have to settle up with the landlord first.

Gadgets: Sodastream

How does SS compare to other soda siphons? I was looking at the iSi and Penguin products, but I haven't used any of these. I love carbonated water and I'm trying to find the most cost-effective/green solution.

Pizza Obsessive: Will Fain (with Recipe!)

I am going to be trying that home-oven pizza recipe very soon. Thanks!

Poll: What Do You Drink with Pizza?

@foodismylife Manhattan Special is VILE. It'll take a lot of marketing to overcome that. I can (and do) imagine a very good coffee soda that would be the result of adding carbonated water to a bit of syrup or liqueur made from high-quality beans, but MS tastes like someone slipped Taster's Choice into a store-brand cola. Whoa--I didn't even think I had such a strong opinion on the stuff.

And with that said, I usually have unflavored seltzer with pizza, or a hoppy beer.

First date spots...

Go to Momofuku Milk Bar, share a compost cookie and some soft serve, and if things go well, move next door to Ssam Bar for brussels sprouts, rice cakes, and pork buns.

Totonno's: REOPENED!

Are they still only open til 8? I have my heart set on one of those perfect pies tonight, but I have to work late.

Serious Efforts: Gluten-Free Cookies

I've seen xanthan gum at Whole Foods and other large supermarkets. It is kind of pricey, so unless you're planning on a lot of GF baking, you may not want to invest.

For a knock-out GF (and xanthan-free) chocolate chip cookie, try these, via GlutenFreeGirl.

Chain Reaction: Papa John's Heart-Shaped Valentine's Pizza

No haters - Papa John's gives you that garlic-margarine dipping sauce for the crusts. Now THAT is love.

Green Tomato Ideas Needed

Make Green Tomato & Lemon Marmalade. It's delicious, and with 15 pounds of tomatoes, you'll have enough to put in pretty jars for holiday gifts.

Win a Free Organic D'Artagnan Turkey

I love seeing turkey alternatives. While I will most definitely roast a turkey this year (and pretty much follow the Classic Menu), my vegetarian guests will also get to enjoy Spaghetti Squash with Ricotta, Sage, and Pine Nuts.

Tim Hortons Comes to New York

@SqueezeBottle Right, I'm not sure there will be much impact. I think it could be a minor trend if they play their PR cards right, but most New Yorkers aren't familiar with the chain. And regarding "the taste of the American public," ouch! But it seems to be the case most of the time!

@xwafflesx Good to hear they're clean, at least! And they're supposed to be making all food onsite, so that's a plus, even if it leads to inconsistencies among different locations.

Wine store recommendation?

Bottlerocket is great if you're looking for a really user-friendly, streamlined wine buying experience. The staff is helpful, and the wine is organized by food pairing (wines for BBQ here, wines for seafood there).

Astor Wines has a much larger selection, and their staff is really knowledgeable and can answer pretty much any question without making you feel dumb.

Both stores have classes, too, if you're into learning more about wine.


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