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Staff Picks: What's Your Recipe Deal-Breaker?

I don't think I have any guaranteed deal-breakers, assuming I have some way to source the ingredients and the requisite prep time. I suppose if a recipe was centered around an ingredient that I really dislike I'd skip it, which would rule out, oh, natto and lutefisk, at least.

Ask a Cicerone: Your Favorite Pumpkin Beer

We did a pumpkin beer tasting year before last (all the beers we sampled are visible in this picture, and the Weyerbacher was the crowd favorite for us, too.

Lots of new pumpkin-themed releases in the intervening time; might have to do an updated sampling soon.

Poll: What Beer Do You Like to Drink With Your Pizza?

Depends on the topping. More fatty than spicy? Something hoppy. More spicy than fatty? Something malty.

Father's Day Giveaway: Win a KettlePizza Pro 22 Kit

Not putting enough newspaper down over the living room rug before the weekly "Mom's working, Dad's ordering pizza to eat in front of the TV" night with four kids in the house.

Father's Day Giveaway: Win a Baking Steel!

If my father were a pizza, he'd be a cracker-thin crust, sauce just slightly thinner than tomato paste with a ton of marjoram, barely able to support the toppings of ground Portuguese linguiça, green pepper, and onion, just like so many pizzas he ordered from Pa Raffa's in New Bedford, MA when I was growing up.

Great Pizza in New Bedford, MA: Who Knew?

Been eating there since it opened, always good pies. I'm a fan of the soppressata, myself, but everything I've sampled has been very, very good.

Win Pop Chart Lab's Triple Distilled Diagram of Alcohols Poster

This isn't comprehensive, but it's not too far off, either: Bulleit Bourbon, Makers Mark, Glenkeith 10, Aberlour 16, Laphroig 10, Lagavulin 16, Macallan 18, Mortlach 16, Hendricks Gin, Sazerac Rye, Tanqueray 10, Greylock Gin, vodka of some variety, Bacardi white rum, some Gosling's dark rum, Herradura Reposado tequila, Sambuca Romano left behind from a party, red and dry vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino, Lucid absinthe, some creme de violette, Allspice dram, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Godiva Chocolate, Bailey's, Campari, applejack (Lairds, maybe?), some Calvados, some Armagnac, various other flavored liqueurs (cucumber and a few tropical fruits), and assorted bitters. Plus whatever beer and wine is in the house. A bottle of St. Germain is on the shopping list, and I'm sure there's at least 2 bottles of blended whisky in the house, along with something Irish. Yes, we like to entertain.

How to Make Rummy Bears and Other Drunken Gummies

Simpler technique than what I've done in the past for drunken gummis, which is to make gummis from scratch in a mold with alcohol in the base (like these absinthe gummis.)

April Bloomfield's Fried Pig's Ear Salad

I haven't tried preparing this at home (yet; deep-frying calls for I-can-open-the-windows weather), but I did just have this at The Spotted Pig, and while it had some toothsomeness, it certainly wasn't chewy. And, certainly, don't let it being a "nasty bit" scare you: my two eight-year-olds sampled it and both loved it (they're adventurous in the sense that they'll try things, and like a broader range of things than many kids their age, but there's still plenty they don't like.)

Cook the Book: 'A Girl and Her Pig'

If you're forcing me to pick, belly, by a hair.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Korin Knife

I have a Wüsthof Trident Grand Prix 8” chefs knife that gets an enormous amount of use (just sharpened it today, in fact.) A close second is a smaller (6”?) Santoku-style knife, also a Wüsthof, which gets most fish duties and is my “travel” knife.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Bacon, followed very, very closely by the various forms of slow-cooked shoulder.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Korin Knife

My absolute favorite knife is the Victorinox Swiss Army knife I carry in my pocket, but it's not very useful in the kitchen. ;-)

My favorite kitchen knife is my 8" Wusthof Grand Prix chef's knife, with the matching santoku-style knife a close second.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Straight up, possibly with a little good balsamic to drag it through en route to my gaping maw.

Would You Rather Have Good Bad Pizza, or Bad Good Pizza?

Depends on the investment (both in time and money). If both cost the same as bad pizza, then I probably choose bad good pizza. If both cost the same as good pizza, then good bad pizza.

Which usually means good bad pizza.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Fondest pork memory? Easy. Portuguese pork caçoila, made by my former Scoutmaster's mother, every Christmas Eve at his annual open house. I've since taken over doing the open house, and after his mom passed, he graciously shared her recipe with me. I make it every year, where it sits right alongside French meat pies made with my own Grandmémères also-pork-heavy recipe.

What's Your Favorite Mexican Soda?

Funny… I have a bottle of Sidral Mundet on the shelf above the computer I'm typing this on.

Poll: Fruit on Pizza - Way or No Way?

Sure, but, other than fruits that a lot of folk think of as vegetables, not on their own. Has to counterbalance some other ingredient.

Canned pineapple on a pizza, though, is an abomination. Just sayin'.