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Nachos for One? The Microwave Is Your Best Friend

I used to work at a high school that had as part of its 2-week rotating menu a Burrito/Nacho day in which flour tortillas, corn chips, black beans, refried beans, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, pickled jalapenos, and pico de gallo were just waiting to be piled high on the biodegradable paper plates. A bank of microwaves were there for the students and teachers to melt their nachos to their heart's content. After 5 years, most of the veterans had worked out their approaches, much like Kenji. Applying the cheese one or two layers. Beans over the cheese vs. under the cheese. Heat chips first, then apply the cheese and beans. Heating the beans separately and then pouring over the chips. Making individually topped nachos vs. a whole pile. One thing we learned is that melted cheese can fuse to a paper plate in the microwave, so a key innovation was to place a large flour tortilla under the nachos before microwaving the whole thing. This also meant that all the little bits of food that were too small to be picked up and eaten with one's fingers could just be rolled up in the tortilla at the end. No muss, no fuss. Needless to say, teaching in the afternoon after Burrito/Nacho day was a challenge.

The $7,000 Pizza Oven You Don't Need (But Really Wish You Had)

I also have a Blackstone. I agree about not baking bread in it, though I have done it successfully a couple of times. I have never needed to dome the pizza because I just jack up the flame as high as it will go for about 5-10 seconds to achieve the same effect. I also sometimes adjust the pizza on the rotating platter to get more leopard-spotting on the cornicione of smaller pies. Mine has started to rust after 2+ years of sitting outside, mostly uncovered, That, to me, is the biggest drawback - the cheaper materials. Of course, it cost me $350, delivered. I could get a new one every year for 20 years before reaching the price of the Kalamazoo...

The OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker Makes Me Eat More Salad

My problem with refrigerated pre-made vinaigrette is that it separates in the refrigerator, and then the oil solidified. So I have to put the container in warm water for awhile before I can use it. Should I be doing something different?

Use Your Cast Iron Pan and a Tortilla to Make World Class Bar-Style Pizza in Under 12 Minutes

I've been doing something like this for awhile, but I have covered the pan instead of putting it in the oven and just cooked it on low heat until the cheese was bubbly. I only used pre-cooked toppings. I will have to give this a shot.

Friday Night Meatballs: How to Change Your Life With Pasta

I don't know whether your choice of Friday night had anything to do with the Jewish Sabbath (I love that you quotes Heschel, by the way), but I think that there is something important about it being the meal that sits on the cusp between the traditional work week and the weekend. Unplugging may be harder during the week, when people have work the next day, or during weekend days, when people are making social plans. Shabbat meals were what "hooked" me into becoming a more traditionally observant Jew, and almost 20 years later it is still the tradition that most consistently delivers the goods. Back when we had one kid and most of our friends had none, the meals were more elaborate and everyone contributed a dish. Nowadays, we are more likely to eschew guests for more intimate time with the kids (and earlier bedtimes). Pasta, meatballs, and gravy are a standby, but most of the time we make a chicken-centric meal. Two whole chickens. Remove the breasts, thighs, and legs. Use the wings and the rest of the chicken to make chicken soup in the pressure cooker with garlic, onion, celery, carrot, etc. Serve the soup with egg noodles, matzoh balls, or kreplach (similar to wontons). Roast the legs and thighs and serve with a colorful vegetable. Breast meat is grilled for the next day's lunch. With some wine and challah at the start, and maybe some fruit or sorbet at the end, it is a simple meal that comes together quickly and makes everyone happy.

Leaf-Wrapped Salad Bites (Miang Kham) From 'Simple Thai Food'

First had this at Angkor Borei in San Francisco. It has been a go-to dish every since, as it completely surprises guests with the way the flavors come together, but take turns "popping" in your mouth as you crunch on this piece or that piece.

The Food Lab: 11 Essential Tips for Better Pizza

When I started I had a lot of trouble transferring the higher-hydration doughs onto the stone. I got a Super Peel, and it was a HUGE help. Nowadays, though, the only pizzas I cook inside are cooked via the skillet-broiler method. No need to transfer a fully made pie in that case, as the dough gets sauced and topped in the hot pan.

The Food Lab: For The Best Buffalo Wings, Fry, Fry Again

I should have asked this before...what temp/time for the water bath? The MC recommendation of 148 degrees for an hour seems low and short.

The Food Lab: For The Best Buffalo Wings, Fry, Fry Again

Kenji - My fryer setup is outside and I would rather not cook in the oil twice. But I get the general concept of cooking the wings lower and slower to render collagen and fat, rest, and then fry at a higher temperature. So, what do you think of doing that first cook in my: a) pressure cooker, b) slow cooker, c) water bath "dry" in a vacuum-sealed bag, or d) oven?


I'm quitting the site

As someone who keeps kosher (besides hosting vegans from time to time) I really appreciate the vegan recipes. Ironically, the vegan "cheese" sauce is something I plan to make to pour over some meat nachos! We regularly debate with others who keep kosher about whether we prefer dairy meals with non-meat stand-ins for meat, or vice versa. The vegan recipes vastly improve my ability to go either direction, or neither.

Can I juice oranges in a food mill?

We have a pink grapefruit tree and we use Kitchenaid mixer food mill attachment to make grapefruit juice. I quickly cut off the rind and section the fruit before passing it through the food mill. Juice and a little pulp comes through the screen, and the seeds and pith are expelled. Juice flies everywhere, and I have to clean the food mill, but it is worth it when I do a lot of grapefruit. Would it be worth it with oranges and/or to produce a smaller quantity of juice? Maybe not. And would it be worth it with a hand-cranked food mill, if I already had a hand juicer? Definitely not.

6 Unique Nachos We Love in Chicago

In terms of the "sour cream" on the kosher nachos, I assume it was something like Tofutti. IMHO non-dairy "sour cream" is a lot closer to the real thing than non-dairy cheese because you avoid the whole melting problem. There is a vegan Mexican joint in San Francisco that doesn't do cheese, but puts a cashew-based crema on everything.

The Complete, No-Nonsense, Slightly Neurotic Guide to Making Great Latkes

Also from Cleveland. We grew up eating our latkes (shredded, of course) with homemade strawberry jam. This came from my mother's side, and my father thought it was an abomination, so he used apple sauce. We never did sour cream.

5 Things We Love at the New Local Mission Market, San Francisco

Maggie - can you explain more about what makes this place different from BiRite? Or is the difference primarily a matter of location?

Equipment: We Test the $199 Sous Vide Circulator From Anova

Kenji - do you know if the Anova or Sansaire can be used overseas with 220V?

Baking Steel Placement

I will look into the oven calibration and see what can be done. Have others found that continued use of the baking steel makes it better? If this is indeed the case, what would be the science behind that? Something do to with the seasoning?

What's Your Favorite Hot Dog Topping?

Sauerkraut, chopped onion, and Stadium mustard.

Knife Skills: How To Trim Skirt Steaks

I am not sure the photo that fwilger posted is going to be all that helpful. They use the exact same photo for the entry about inside skirt.

The Pizza Lab: Three Doughs to Know

Can anyone explain how the Lahey No-Knead dough compares to these three dough recipes? See question above for more specifics about why I mean. Thanks.

The Pizza Lab: Three Doughs to Know

Kenji - I started off making pizzas using either your or the CI NY Style pizza dough. Food processor, cold ferment, etc. But then I started going with the Lahey No-Knead. As of late, I've been doing Lahey No-Knead, but putting it in the refrigerator for at least 2 days after a 9-12 hour room temperature rise for proper gluten formation. You didn't include the Lahey No-Knead dough here. Can you please explain how it compares to the other doughs / where it fits in? What would happen if you use it for a high temp bake a la Neapolitan? What about a slower bake? And what if you made it thicker and cooked it in a sheet pan that wasn't preheated? Thanks.

Classic and New Classic Vegetarian Pizza Toppings

It is funny that you posted this combination. Right now I am in the middle of making a similar pizza (pan is heating up).

Lahey no-knead dough (18-hour bench rise, 6 hours in the refrigerator, 2 hour proof), a base of caramelized onions and potato sauce (onions, potatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil, and white wine vinegar), aged mozzarella, Parmesan, blanched broccoli, thinly sliced garlic, aleppo pepper, and olive oil. I cook it using the skillet-broiler method.

My wife has declared it her favorite pizza so far. It would be interesting to do the same with either blanched green beans, asparagus, or cauliflower.

The Joy and Economics of Cooking Pizza At Home

Granted that overall specialization and division of labor leads to greater (material) quality of life. But I think that specialization, taken to the extreme, damages the human spirit. Being capable in only one domain, but being dependent in every other, can lead to anxiety. We only feel secure in certain environments, places that value the one thing we offer, and where the other things we need are available. And we avoid everywhere else. There are MANY things that I find fun, but part of the reason that I cook is that it is both fun AND productive. I get better and better at being able to provide something of value to myself and my family. When I lived in Manhattan or San Francisco, perhaps it made less sense. But now that I live in a literal and figurative culinary desert (Beer Sheva, Israel), I am so glad I invested the time and money that I did. The best pizza (and some of the best food in general) in at least a 60-minute drive radius comes out of my kitchen. And just last week I started a workshop in my house where 6 people are learning, one night per week, how to make pizza they and their families will love. 5 more are already signed up for next month. I would not have been able to do this, but for the exponential growth in my own knowledge and skills due to Kenji, Slice, etc. Soon, I will have many places to eat great pizza - the kitchens of my friends and neighbors. (I just need to find somewhere here that can cut us some baking steels - no way I am going to schlep 10 of them in my suitcase).

Skillet Neapolitan Pizza (No Kneading or Oven Required!)

Thought I'd try to ask this questions again - Kenji, it sounds like you like these results as much, if not more, than the skillet-broiler method. I always thought that putting sauce on cooked dough, rather than raw, would cause the texture of the dough-sauce interface to be "off." (I've felt the same way about grilled pizza.) Why isn't this the case?

The Pizza Lab: How Long Should I Let My Dough Cold Ferment?

Good to see that this thread has gotten some action more recently. I was hoping to get an answer about cold fermenting no-knead dough.

The Lahey recipe calls for an up to 18 hour ambient ferment, during which time the activity of the yeast "chemically kneads" the dough. But I remember reading somewhere that the slower cold fermentation MAY cause there to be less-than-ideal "chemical kneading" because the dough is firmer in the refrigerator.

So, has anyone tried this?

And using this method (Cold Ferment + No Knead) when would be the best time to do the cold ferment - right after mixing, after 4 hours, after 8 hours?

And would there be a problem with a longer-than-4-hour ambient ferment AFTER a cold ferment?


Best Burrito, San Francisco

Cancun. Like the griddled tortilla and whole chunks of avocado.


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