Like to read, travel and drink wine. Best place to be is the beach.

  • Location: Suburban Philadelphia (Bucks County)
  • Favorite foods: Fish & seafood, most all non-goat milk cheeses, really good bacon and nice, dry wines.
  • Last bite on earth: Icy cold vodka gimlet with a super-fresh seafood platter, baked potato w/butter and a big green salad. A nice dry French Graves to drink.

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo

@ohryan and Chemist ~ Are you using Kosher salt or table salt? Table salt will make the water too salty, perhaps.

The True Story of Traditional New Year's Lucky Foods

Growing up in the Philadelphia area, we always had roast pork with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes for New Year's Day. My sister's godmother was first generation Lithuanian and introduced us to the custom of eating pickled herring (on cocktail rye bread) at midnight on New Year's Eve.

I still do the pickled herring on NYE and sometimes have roast pork and sauerkraut on NYD.

Win a Copy of 'Marcus Off Duty'

Made from scratch Bolognese Ragu served with fresh fettuccine and a green salad after. Always have a batch of ragu in the freezer.

Helga's Meatballs and Gravy With Carrot-Apple Mashed Potatoes From 'Marcus Off Duty'

P.S. ~ yes, ask for meatloaf mixture. Equal parts beef, pork and veal. You could probably sub in ground chicken for lightness.

Helga's Meatballs and Gravy With Carrot-Apple Mashed Potatoes From 'Marcus Off Duty'

Carrots in mashed potatoes was something my PA Dutch (not Amish) MIL always did. I've done it for years and usually add garlic while cooking potatoes and carrots. Delicious.

Does Refrigeration Really Ruin Bread?

I've read a few times that professional bakers recommend that after bread is cut, just store it sit-side-down directly on the counter. I've done this and the bread is still good for a couple-three days. Never done it in the midst of a nice hot and humid summer, however.

Which Milk Is Best for Coffee?

Black all the way for me - no sissy sugar either.
I've never liked drinking milk, even chocolate - just do NOT like the taste. I do use lacktose-free skim for cooking and no-one ever seems to notice the difference.

The Best Baba Ganoush

My friend and I used to go to a very authentic Lebanese restaurant in Brooklyn (on Atlantic Ave. I think) and the owner/chef always used garlic in his baba ganoush. It was fabulous and his charcoal grilled chicken and kefta was delicious also. He wouldn't give us his recipe for couscous, which was the best I've ever eaten.

What's the Most Expensive Meal You've Had in New York?

Years ago at The Palm on 2nd Avenue. Cocktails and wines, lobster and steak, sides of potatoes and creamed spinach and cheesecake for dessert.

I didn't have to even think or fret about the cost as we were being treated by a very good, very wealthy friend. Heaven!

Have you ever been just a little sneaky?

I've always added American cheese to my mac 'n cheese sauce and chicken or beef bouillon to my gravy prep; adds so much extra flavor. And my homemade chili is started with "3-Alarm Chili" package for the spices. Also, I never, ever tell how much butter and cream goes into my mashed potatoes. You don't need to know ~ just enjoy!

A Beginner's Guide to French Wine

Very nice and informative post about my favorites ~ French wines. I especially enjoy those northern wines with that dry minerally taste. Rosés from Loire and Provence are probably my absolute favorites for warm weather.

Of course, the very best thing is to be drinking these wines while relaxing in France.

I feel a little dirty...but oddly, not guilty.

Ice Cream - Specifically HD and/or Ben & Jerry's. I only buy pints of the stuff and have been known to start out with a small custard cup and then finish off the whole thing, in one sitting. Waah! :))

Chicken for a Crowd

Thanks everyone. I'm still waffling back and forth between the boneless coq au vin and boneless lemon chicken; with a big platter of gussied-up rice.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@J. Kenji - Oops. I've never tried to cook Japanese rice at home. And now that I see how hard it is, I think I'll just eat it at Asian restaurants!

Chicken for a Crowd

These are all great ideas. I think it's going to be either Ina's lemon chicken (boneless thighs and breasts) or a modified coq au vin. Both with a big platter of gussied up rice.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Chicken for a Crowd

Thanks, these are both great ideas. I'm not sure about a curry - some very un-adventurous eaters among this crowd. I could make a VERY mild curry in advance and try it on the most picky eater. He'd probably not even know that it's curry!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@sourdough - my method is very much the same as your husband's. I was taught by a friend's Southern grandmother.

Bring pot of water to a boil, add salt, add long-grain rice (Carolina type) and stir with a fork, so it doesn't stick. Bring back to a slow-boil for approximately 12 minutes. UNCOVERED. Stir with fork once in a while. At 12 minutes, taste. If cooked enough, drain, fluff with fork and eat. If you need to hold for a little while - put about 1 inch of water in the pot, bring to a low simmer. Place rice-in-the-strainer over the water, cover with a clean tea towel. When ready to serve, rinse rice with boiling water, fluff with fork and serve.

So simple. I've never had gummy, icky rice or undercooked rice or overcooked rice. Of course, this way of cooking precludes adding things that will wash away when drained.

Cold Weather Comfort Food

Right now I'm making a ham and bean soup. Will serve it tomorrow. Also, a pot roast with carrots, onions and mashed potatoes with gravy is a cold-weather comfort food for me. Almost anything that gets slow cooked in the oven qualifies.

Cook the Book: 'Feast' by Sarah Copeland

Baba ganoush with lots of garlic, olive oil and parsley with pita bread. Oh, and a glass of wine.

Open Thread: What's Your Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish?

It's stuffing for me. Mine is made from white bread, onions, celery, parsley, sage, chicken stock, a little white wine and a dash of garlic powder. Also, the cranberry relish; make a different one every year and I love the brown sugar and butter sweet potatoes too. I don't even really need the turkey to be a happy eater.

Joe Bastianich

Cannot stand him; comes across as arrogant and mean. Can't believe he's in a partnership with Mario Batali. He acts as though only his opinion is worth anything. Jerky guy! Bah!

Just the scent alone...

The smell of a good ragu simmering - I think it's the nutmeg. I do love the smell of cinnamon buns and sticky buns and bread baking. Used to drive by a Nabisco bakery at night and the smell of sweet things cooking always made me hungry. Also, I can be totally full after a meal and just the smell of meat grilling or onions frying gets the juices going again.

Amazingly, I have never had it...

For me also:
Fried Twinkie and Mountain Oysters
Energy booster drinks and flavored coffees
Most popular, sweetened cereals
Lots and lots of non-mainstream Asian dishes
Sea Snails and/or other odd sea foods
In 'n Out and Carl's Jr.

And, I didn't bother with Titanic - already knew how it ended.

Bottle of Marsala wine with no new ideas

I know you said no more meat, but Julia Child has a wonderful recipe for ham braised in Marsala and beef stock. So easy and hands off - covered and slow cooked for a few hours and you have meltingly tender ham with a jus flavored with carrots, onions and bouquet garni that is great with any kind of potatoes - mashed, roasted, gratin, etc.

Why Have I Never Tried: Chunky?

Chunky bar is a old favorite of mine. (Not as favorite as Peanut Chews) Loved the old version, but the new one is OK too. Cadbury Fruit and Nut is better, but I can't always find those everywhere. Raisins and chocolate together are great. Old movie theater favorite was a box each of chocolate-covered raisins and chocolate-covered peanuts eaten together. My cheapo version of Bridge-mix.

Chicken for a Crowd

I've been volunteered to make a chicken dish for a 90th birthday party. It needs to serve 25 approx. There will be other dishes; i.e., meatballs/sauce, pulled pork, for-sure a pasta dish (they are mostly Italians), rolls for sandwiches - see meatballs and pulled pork.
I'm thinking boneless chicken breasts/thighs and rice casserole. This should be easy to make in a larger quantity and pretty easy to serve.

Does anyone have any really good recipes or ideas. I'd like to stay away from canned soups, if I can. Lots of elderly low-salt people will be there.


Why does Pastrami have Such a Weird Taste?

What is the herb or spice that makes pastrami so rich? I can only eat a couple of bites of it, then it starts to taste cloying - way too rich and greasy. I've tried pastrami in NYC and Philly delis/sandwich shops and just can't get past that weird, greasy taste. Tried it with deli mustards, coleslaw, sauerkraut and nothing makes it taste less greasy. I love corned beef, smoked turkey and other smoked meats. Is it the smoking or some particular spice or herb?

Where is the Best Pizza in Naples, Italy??

We're looking for recommendations for the best pizza in Naples. We'll be in Rome and want to go to Naples for really great pizza.

We're leaving for Rome on Monday, 12th; we have a one day-cooking class on Wednesday and will have a little extra time before we take the train to Florence for Thanksgiving.

Any pizza recommendations for Naples are happily and hungrily received!

Thanks for "The River Cottage Fish Book"

I just received my big, beautiful copy of the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nick Fisher book "The River Cottage Fish Book" and it is wonderful. It's big, heavy, loaded with gorgeous pictures and so many techniques and recipes for preparing fish. I can't wait to get started.

Love these contests, especially now that I've finally won!

Oatmeal Cookie Recipe for a Key Lime Pie Crust?

I recently shared a slice of Key Lime pie with a friend who fell in love with the crust - tasted just like oatmeal cookies. She's not fond of graham crackers and I'm not a baker.

So, I'd like to know if I can substitute an oatmeal cookie recipe for the graham crackers? Would anything need to be added/deleted or can I do a straight exchange? The pie was delicious, by the way!

Mealy Chicken in Wendy's Cobb Salad

I just had a Wendy's Cobb salad for lunch (bows head in shame) and really couldn't eat the chicken chunks and there were a lot of chicken pieces. They had a weird mealy texture and really detracted from the salad. Everything else was pretty ok; could have used a little more bacon and a LOT less mealy chicken.

Has anyone else had the same reaction? Are any of the other salads a better choice?

Philly Restaurants in the University City area

On Saturday a week, I'm driving with a friend to HUP (Hosp. of Univ. of PA) so she can have a special heart test. I'm not super familiar with that part of the city - I'm better in Fairmont section - and need a couple of good restaurants that we can go for lunch after the test.

She doesn't have a very sophisticated palate and doesn't like "hot" or "tart" foods, but does love both Chinese and Japanese foods.

Any ideas would be welcomed. I know Saturday lunch may present a problem.

Looking for Hong Kong-style Hot and Sour Lobster recipe

We used to go to a Chinese restaurant near Princeton, NJ; the owner/chef was from Hong Kong and made the most delicious Hot and Sour Lobster. The shell-on chopped lobster was in a scary-looking orange sauce that was just fabulous - hot and sour with just a very little sweetness.

I've Googled and Binged, but can't find anything that looks familiar. Any help is appreciated and I'm sure this would be a delicious recipe with almost any seafood.

Banging Knife Blades on Cutting Board

Lately, I've noticed that a lot of chefs on TV have this habit of rapping their knife blades on the cutting board, after they've finished chopping. Wouldn't this knock the blade out of whack? I have enought trouble keeping my knives in good shape,without banging them around...

Adding Links to Comments?

I can't figure out how to pull a link into my comments and there are times I'd really like to bring in a link. Obviously, there a lots of you who know how to do this. I've tried googling and asking "help", but to no avail.

I have to state that I'm a "manual illiterate". Show me once and I'm good to go, read from a manual - I'm not getting it.

Is Kosher Salt Kosher?

Is kosher salt, in of itself, kosher? I know kosher salt is used to kosher meats and poultry, but what is the process that makes kosher salt kosher? I checked my kosher salt box, but it doesn't provide any info that I can find on this subject.

Thanks for any feedback.

SICK of Scoundrels Advert

Enough Already! I'm getting really sick of that big, fat ad at the top of the page for "Scoundrels". Especially, since I need a new battery for my mouse and have to use the annoying pad on my laptop.

Eating Out in Myrtle Beach

I'd appreciate any good suggestions for eating out in Myrtle Beach. We'll be there the first week in May and I've never been to M.B. before and my friend never had the chance to go out to eat while there, so we need some ideas. Would prefer to avoid national chain restaurants, if possible.


To Peel or Not To Peel Fava Beans?

I don't cook fava beans because I'm too lazy to bother peeling them after I've shelled them.

Last night I was watching Giada on FN and she was making something with fava beans (didn't catch the whole show) and she didn't peel the fava beans.. She said that if you cook them thoroughly (8 to10 minutes) in chicken stock, they don't need to be peeled.

Does anyone have a definitive answer to this? Plus, any good/different recipes for favas.

Freezing Cooked Corned Beef?

How do you all think a cooked corned beef would freeze? I'm the only one who eats it now and can only eat so much in a short while. I've never thought that baked ham froze very well - gets a funny texture, imo.

Or should I just go to the deli and get a great big hunk and then warm it up in the oven, with some additional spices and liquid?

Tony Bourdain Talking to Food Bloggers and Chefs

Did any of you watch "No Reservations" on Monday night, when Tony was interviewing chefs and food bloggers about their obsessions? I was waiting for someone from SE to appear, especially when he was talking to food bloggers. One the founders of eGullet (don't remember his name) explained why he gets upset over a mediocre dish - "I quit a $400,000 a year job a Lehman Bros. to devote myself to food.....for this?" Tony was laughing his head off. He seemed to think that the bloggers were basically a bunch of nutjobs. So combative - "You don't like what I like, then I want you dead!" Whoa...

Jumbo Lump Crabmeat

I just got a pound of beautiful, very fresh, jumbo lump blue crab and I'm trying to think of something special to do with it; don't want to just make crabcakes or crab salad. I'd like something different and special. Maybe something towards the Asian, but I'm open to all thoughts.

Any cool ideas are greatly appreciated and I will report back.


Authentic Chicken Tacos

Does anyone have a good, easy recipe for authentic chicken tacos? I have soft corn tortillas and boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a craving for something a little different.

Saving Sauces

I've made much too much bechamel sauce for a lasagne and don't want to toss it. Can this be frozen or should I just use it up in a few days?

Restaurants/Drinking Establishments in Asheboro, NC

I'm going to be traveling down to Asheboro,NC in a couple of weeks to do the NC Pottery Trail and I'm curious about places to eat that also serve alcoholic beverages. Just looking on line, I can't tell if this is a dry county or what.

Any info is greatly appreciated. This way, I'll know whether to stock up on wine before I leave home!

Substitute Self-Rising Flour for AP Flour

I am NOT a baker and wondering if I can substitute self-rising flour for AP flour in most recipes. For some bizaare reason I have 3 lbs. of self-rising flour and hardly any AP flour.
Baking help or suggestions are very much appreciated.

Cleaning Coffee Grinders

What's the best ~ and easiest ~ way to clean the grinding section of my electric coffee mill? Sometimes, I grind very aromatic; i.e., smelly spices and find that afterwards, other, less aromatic spices take on the previous tastes and smells.

Substitute for Hated Sour Cream

I absolutely HATE sour cream. Can't stand either the taste or the smell. Both make me gag! And yes, I can usually taste/smell it, if it's in there! I also don't like cream cheese - it's a texture thing. Is there any consistant substitute for s.c, in baking especially? I've used plain yoghurt, but is there anything else I can use across the board?

Sunday Supper: Sloppy Joes

Each Saturday evening we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow. I don't know what did it, but this past week I'd been craving a good sloppy Joe.... More

Cook the Book: Smoky Oven-Roasted Spareribs

As one might expect, in a book called Pig: King of the Southern Table there's a lot of talk about barbecue. But for those of us who live outside the realm of real barbecue, and might not even have the luxury of an outdoor space to grill James Villas has kindly shared this recipe for Smoky Oven-Roasted Spareribs. Yes, they are oven roasted, and no, they are not real barbecue but, for coming out of a conventional oven these ribs are pretty spectacular. More

The Secret Ingredient (Dijon Mustard): Simple Vinaigrette

You can be as fancy as you like in the kitchen, but if you don't know the basics, you'll never get anywhere. And one basic I have been working on for a long time is the perfect basic vinaigrette. I've written a million and one times about the restaurant Le Relais de l'Entrecôte in Paris, which now has an outpost (as yet untested by me!) in New York. It's a steak frites place, but they bring you this amazing green salad with mustard dressing and walnuts to start, and it was that dressing I was dying to emulate. More

Sunday Supper: Rubbed and Roasted Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is a luscious fatty cut that does very well in a low temperature oven for a long time. When picking out your shoulder, make sure that there's a nice piece of skin left on it so that once it's roasted, there is enough crackling for everyone to have a piece. The onions that the roast sits on become soft and coated in pork fat, so make sure to serve them alongside the roast. More

The Complete Guide to Ribs of the World

Ribs are central to barbecue, but they're also part of cuisine traditions all over the globe. The SE team wanted to stop and appreciate all the ribs out there, from Pinnekjøtt in Norway to Cantonese char siu spare ribs to baby-backs (I want my...). Here are the international highlights. As it turns out, the world is boned. More