Dinner Tonight: Ensalada Rusa

To be honest, I chose this recipe specifically for that gorgeous picture- all the others I'd found for "Russian salad"/"Salad Olivier" looked basically like boring smashed-up potato salad. I even went to extreme lengths to pull out the ruler whilst cutting up the veggies, the better to get a uniform size (although I will note that I wonder if those in the picture are actually 1/2"- they seem a bit smaller and closer to the peas). And dang, those jewel-like beets on top are just gorgeous.

But gosh, looks aside, you were not lying about its deliciousness. It's ridiculous- it's so plain!- but oddly addictive. Both myself and my mother ate multiple helpings on consecutive days until it had disappeared. I did swap out half the mayonnaise for sour cream, but that's only because I'm not a huge mayo fan.

Basically, I'll definitely be making this again!

Pickled Mushrooms From 'Bar Tartine'

These are incredibly delicious- savory but so bright and lemony! I kind of just want to always have a container on hand for snacking . . . they're that addictive.

The recipe didn't specify, so I added the liquid from the mushrooms into the mix, so mine wasn't a paste, either- didn't seem to affect the flavor.

I'll definitely be making these again; hopefully next time with fresh marjoram.

Saffron Chicken and Rice With Golden Beets From 'The New Southern Table'

This dish is absolutely delicious, far moreso than I thought it would be- the vegetable puree coated the rice with fantastic color and flavor. The only issue I had was like you- the beets were still not fully cooked through, even in spite of me cutting them into smaller dice. I'm thinking they might benefit from a par-boil (perhaps in the water that's brought to a simmer in the first step?) prior to adding them to the pot to finish with the rice.

Easy Sweet Potato and Pepper Hash with Eggs

I wish the picture did this dish better justice, because it was fantastic.

The Food Lab: How to Make Potato Leek Soup the Easy and Easier way

Yes! I got a Vitamix for Christmas (thanks, mom!), and the ability to make hot, silky smooth soups from cold/room temp ingredients in a blender is kind of blowing my mind. I've still been too reticent to use raw potatoes (microwaving them first), but I definitely need to give this a try.

Gramercy Tavern's Must-Eat Lemon Sherbet

How did this review not mention how it looks like a poached egg topped with hollandaise?

Any love for soggy fries?

Like someone else said, I'm actually charmed by the odd limp McDonald's fry amidst all the crispy ones . . . it's not to be avoided, but slurped up happily. That said, if someone tried to give me a bag of only those, I'd be disappointed.

The Best Delivery Snack Packages in the U.S.

I just bought a Nature Box subscription for a friend's birthday last month . . . dang, I wish I'd had that 50% off the first box code then!

How do you like your hummus?

As smooth as possible and very lemon-forward.

What's for breakfast these days?

These muffins.

I make a batch, throw 'em in the freezer, and then take two every morning to defrost in the microwave.

Cold cereal and milk when I have time to sit down for breakfast in the morning.

What's For Dinner- Sunday Edition

@Dandbuilder It's basically just fresh ricotta (well, technically paneer, since it's made from milk, not whey- just milk + heat + acid until it forms curds, then drained), and then add half-and-half or heavy cream to the desired texture.

What's For Dinner- Sunday Edition

Sundays are usually my day to cook stuff for the rest of the week, so I can't be arsed to make something amazing for myself. However, I did make homemade cottage cheese to use up some probably-gonna-expire-soon milk (remarkably easy and so delicious), so it's cottage cheese and tomatoes on toast. And microwave mug cookie for dessert.

How Do You Make Crispy Bacon?

I've never had a problem with the microwave . . .

Trader Joe's is Like a Bad Boyfriend...

I feel like mine isn't very well-stocked? A few times I've gone there because I've seen that some obscure ingredient I need was found by someone else at their local Trader Joe's . . . and I then spend an embarrassing amount of time scouring the aisles looking in vain.

Total fun for snack foods and trying new stuff, but I just don't do that very often.

Although I will say it's the only place near me that has mochi ice cream, so that's strongly in its favor.

savory or sweet breakfast?

Savory tends to be more appealing, but then again, I also love a good dutch baby pancake with fruit, too, which made me realize I couldn't completely discount the sweet stuff.

Then again, fruity-based breakfast stuff (with yogurt or cottage cheese, fruit cups, etc.) seems in its own category apart from serious sugar bombs like donuts, syrup-drenched french toast and pancakes, and other pastries.

Poll: What Do You Do With Your Crusts?

Not eating it feels wasteful to me. But sometimes I'll work on the crust while I'm eating the rest of the slice, so that it's just a bite at the end, rather than a whole big pizza bone staring me down.

The Food Lab: Escarole and Parmesan Soup With Chicken Meatballs

Absolutely delicious! Escarole isn't stocked at my local store, so I subbed in some kale with no complaints . . . and it was quite fun doing the meatballs this way with a helper, too. They were fantastically light and flavorful.

How do you make your Hollandaise Sauce?

I usually do the same in a double boiler, but I need to try Kenji's immersion blender version , because it sounds way faster and easier (and the mayonnaise emulsion by the same method works perfectly for me).

Chain Reaction: Taco Bell's New Triple Steak Stack and Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla

As someone who understands Taco Bell's crappiness and sometimes craves it, I didn't mind the Salisbury steak filling, but the openness of the steak stack was unexpected and terrible . . . it was super-messy.

Taco Bell, you have the grills to seal your stuff shut into neat and tidy bundles. Do it.

What words are great for describing food?

I totally know what you mean about "plenty of". I usually get hungry and lip-licking when it's followed with "crusty bread", as in "serve with plenty of crusty bread", because it usually indicates that it's got a delicious sauce or broth perfect for dipping.

I'll also be pretty into stuff described as "buttery" or "tangy", or where one component of a dish is on "a bed" of something else.

Go-to "impress your date" recipe

As someone who makes absolutely delicious food about 75% of the time and creates dismal failures the other 25%, I tend to go for "safe" when I'm trying to impress others. I personally like the humble panini- more impressive than the basic grilled cheese, eminently customizable, and hey, you really can't go wrong with crispy-buttery-oozy, can you? And there's very little work involved, too. Paired with a fancy salad or soup, and it seems way nicer than it has any right to.

Breaking Bad Eats

I was thinking of picking up some Curaçao and other fixings just to make a blue drink . ..

Poll: Is Okonomiyaki "Japanese Pizza"?

If you're describing it to someone to urge them to try it, then no- it's not like pizza at all and shouldn't be described as such. If we're talking more generally, I think it's an apt descriptor- popular, round, communal, can be made to your personal topping desire just like a pizza. They're similar in spirit, but not in the things that matter to someone who's just looking to eat.

Do you Dress it up? Or Leave it Alone?

I like sliced bananas in my cereal, although I don't have Cheerios all that often any more (when I did though, a light sprinkling of sugar, always). Other fruits always seemed wrong to me- like, the banana-cereal combination uplifts both parties, while sacrificing delicious strawberries to a bowl of cereal would degrade and waste them on the unworthy.

zuchini bread help!

I pack mine tight- and I haven't even noticed any real problems with doing so or even adding a little extra (as you'll often be tempted to do if you're trying to use up waaay too much garden zukes).

Surf & Turf Broth?

Is there some unwritten rule about not combining flavors for one's stock or broth? I recently had just a few chicken bones and a few shrimp shells, so I threw them in together to make an impromptu broth for wonton soup. Tastes more than fine, but it still felt wrong . . .

Anybody else combine various bones, or am I right that you ideally oughtn't mix them?

How To Serve Confit'd Meat?

I made a beef heart confit last night and plan on enjoying it tonight, but I've never actually had confit before- is it meant to be served chilled or room temp? Or is hot okay? And if so, how to heat it?

What sort of preparations is the meat usually used in, or is it just eaten as is?

Thanks for the help and any suggestions!

Summery Sage Recipes?

The sage plant is doing abundantly . . . but it usually evokes fall and winter dishes in my mind. Any suggestions on more summery fare that the herb would suit?

Fast food mix 'n matching

How often would you say you mix and match items from fast food joints? Only asking because I was given instructions last night to get sandwiches from one place . . . and Mcdonald's fries. I personally would just suck it up and get everything at one place. What about you?

Best fictional foods

I was watching a little "Psych" last night and it featured "Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos"- to quote the episode, "the ones where they inject potatoes with a four-cheese mixture, fry them three-quarters of the way, pull them out, batter them, fry them again, and serve them with bacon and an ancho-chile sour cream".

It got me thinking to the best fake recipes from TV, movies, or books that you can think of (another one that comes to mind is the "Meatsiah" from "Bob's Burgers"- beef tartare inside a burger medium well inside a burger Wellington).

What's your favorite fictional recipe?

What to do with too-thin mayonnaise?

Welp, I finally managed to get my several-times broken mayonnaise to emulsify (with an additional two yolks more than the recipe called for), but it ended up requiring me to work in some hot water- and now it's simply far too thin for a spread, and I don't want to try to thicken it up by adding yet *another* egg yolk.

So what could I do with it? What sort of recipes are there that I could use it in?

Overcooking Chicken and Internal Temperatures

I know there are plenty of things that affect meat's (in this question's case, chicken) juiciness and texture, but how much of a difference does the internal temperature make, and by how much?

I was aiming to hit 165 for some roasted birds last night but they were pulled out of the oven at 185 degrees instead, and seemed absolutely fine (yay!).

So was I lucky or would you have to have a bigger difference (like 20+ degrees from the recommended safe internal temperature), or did my brining step save it from drying out?

Food Cinemagraphs

As seen here:

Thoughts? Kind of hard to imagine movement could really be an element of food imagery, but I have to admit, they were very creative and the pictures are just gorgeous!

Basic Sherbet Recipe

I want to make sherbet, but it seems like there are so many different recipes, not to mention people defining what makes sherbet . . . I've seen recipes that use buttermilk, that use just milk/cream and sugar (which sounds more like ice cream to me), those that who use gelatin, those that add egg whites, and those that use just sugar and lemon juice, which definitely sounds more like an ice/sorbet to me.

All I want is creamy deliciousness that is just the right consistency and taste between ice cream and tart fruitiness . . . can anybody share a standard or basic recipe for sherbet?

Crunchy Pickled Bell Peppers?

There is a sausage-tossed-with-pasta dish I've had a couple of times at an Italian restaurant, where the green bell peppers in it almost taste like they've been very quickly/lightly pickled- they simply don't have the normal flavor I'd associate with fresh sliced and sauteed bell peppers.

Looking around on the Internet, though, most of the recipes talk about a different kind of pickled pepper- one where the skin has been blistered and charred off and which are pretty soft.

I doubt it's traditional Italian fare, but either way, I'd love to recreate it at home, but I don't know much about pickling- any suggestions on how to pickle bell peppers with their skins on, so that retain their shape and a decent crunchy texture?

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