Latest Comments

The Food Lab's No-Boil Baked Ziti

I made this on Sunday for a group and it was really easy- my only addition was a lb of browned and drained sweet italian sausage to the mix, and it turned out great. I used a jar of Rao's marinara (6 cups) and a large penne rigate pasta. The pan looked slightly watery when I first peeled back the foil, but after the final 15 min bake uncovered, plus the 10 minute post bake cooling period, it was awesome - gooey cheesy perfection. Also made Kenji's garlic bread (from the book) and that was awesome too.

Fresh Lemon Syrup

Thoughts on saving up lemon rinds in the freezer? I rarely have the opportunity to use 6 lemons all at once, but over the course of a few weeks or a month, I would get there.

Step-By-Step: The Best Gingersnap Cookies

These tasted delicious, but mine had the wrong texture. My cookies barely spread at all (they were comically golf ball like), and on my bottom pan the bottoms of the cookies started to burn at about 18 mins (I rotated and switched the pans from top to bottom at 11 mins). They were crisp most of the way through, but the centers were still a bit soft and cakey, whether that's from the lack of spread or the reduced cook time I'm not sure.

I'm guessing this is because my oven temp is off - we moved into a new house recently and I'm still learning its quirks, and I have an oven thermometer on my Christmas list. Or possibly my baking pans (also new, we accidentally left the old ones at the old apartment, oops), which are dark/heavy/nonstick. I still used the parchment.

But even with that, they honestly tasted good enough that I will try this recipe again, maybe once I get some new baking pans and an oven thermometer.

How to Make the Best Baked Jalapeño Poppers

These look amazing, and I really appreciate the non-deep frying adaptation. Two questions - 1) if I wanted a cream cheese filled popper, do you think a similar filling to the deep fried popper recipe would work for these baked guys? and 2) any thoughts on making and freezing ahead of time? I know you mentioned that the breading might crack after an hour in the fridge, but I wonder how they would fare if I froze them on a sheet tray then transferred to a ziplock bag for storage, then baked from frozen. That would up the convenience factor even more for me!

Sunday Dinner: No-Holds-Barred Lasagna Bolognese

I know this is an older recipe, but I am making this recipe for the 2nd time this week (made the sauce yesterday, will assemble and bake the lasagna today or tomorrow). I made it for the first time last winter and it was just as amazing as promised.

I did want to comment that in the past I have frozen individual portions of the leftovers (there are only 2 of us eating!!) - I baked the whole thing off, ate some the first day, refrigerated overnight then sliced it up the next day, then wrapped individual portions in foil then bagged for the freezer. The lasagna worked really well defrosted in the fridge overnight then unwrapped and baked maybe with a little marinara in the bottom of a dish for some moisture. Sure, maybe a slight drop in quality but still really really good on a cold winter night.

My second comment is about the instructions not to skim any fat from the sauce as it cooks – I’m not sure if I maybe had some really fatty ground meat, but I had a good inch or more of fat floating on the top of my dutch oven, which truly grossed me out, so I skimmed a good portion of it. I filled up a whole cereal bowl with skimmed fat, and I didn't go crazy at getting every last bit. And the sauce tasted still tasted rich and delicious in the end.

Breakfast of Champions: Why New Jersey is Crazy for Pork Roll

Grew up in south Jersey, so have always had pork roll. I'm always surprised when I talk to coworkers or friends who didn’t grow up around here who have no idea what this delicious breakfast meat is. My standard diner order is a pork roll, egg and cheese on a toasted english muffin with a side of home fries. If it’s lunch or dinner, maybe just a pork roll and cheese on a Kaiser. Tons of ketchup, always.

On a related note, my test of whether a diner is a “good” diner or just a poser is whether they have 3 things on the menu: pork roll, scrapple and real home fries (none of that cubed or shredded hash brown crap, I want boiled the night before, peeled and sliced, then griddled in tons of shortening or butter home fries). If a place doesn’t have all three, then I’m probably not coming back.

One-Bowl Tiramisu From 'Paris Pastry Club'

@Emma: sugar and egg yolks were well mixed - light yellow, thick and ribbon-y. Everything was at room temperature prior to starting, or at least had been sitting out for a couple hours. I wonder if it actually may have been better if everything was COLD prior to starting, contrary to what I would have thought about whipping the cheese. I guess sometimes mascarpone can be delicate? My hand mixer is pretty powerful, even the low setting is some serious whipping, so maybe it just over did it.

After chilling the broken mess and remaining mascarpone in the fridge for a while, I started out with the beater again, but it did not seem to be re-homogenizing the mixture, and maybe breaking it further. So I hand-whisked the remaining cheese in (semi-gently). The additional cheese helped, and while the final mixture may not have been silky-smooth (looked kinda like a small amount of ricotta was mixed in, tiny lumps, but not greasy/broken which is where it started out), it was very tasty.

One-Bowl Tiramisu From 'Paris Pastry Club'

Just tried to make this, and about halfway through my mascarpone additions, the mixture broke/curdled! I have everything chilling in the fridge, hoping I can save it, time to do some googling. But I'm not sure where I went wrong? Too hot? Too cold? Too much high speed mixing? I don't have a lot of experience with mascarpone...

Giveaway: Win a Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer

Some kind of BBQ / grilled meat. Purple please.

Essential Tex-Mex: How to Make Cheese Enchiladas With Red Chili Gravy

I make a very similar recipe for enchiladas (the dried chile sauce component, at least), except instead of the ground beef, I will brown chicken thighs then braise them in the sauce until tender. I can mostly one-pot it using my immersion blender, no need to strain with well-soaked chilies and a high power blender. Shred the meat once it’s done and stuff into tortillas with a little extra sauce, cheese and onion. I also find that for an easier assembly, flour tortillas will hold up pretty well without the messy frying and sauce dunking steps. Blasphemy, I know, and probably not as good as well done corn tortillas, but quick and easy, especially if you freeze extra sauce/shredded chicken.

Ask a Bartender: How Do You Prevent a Hangover?

As others have noted, try and keep hydrated, or at least drink a bunch of water before you fall asleep. Now for the real method.

Set an extra alarm 2-3 hours before you actually need to wake up (set it before you start drinking, if you don't trust your drunk self). Also prep your bedside with the biggest bottle of water (or Gatorade for you electrolyte lovers, but water works fine for me) you can find, and 2-4 Advil ready to go (leave sitting out on your bedside table, drunk-you doesn't want to be messing with those childproof locks!). After you pass out and that early alarm goes off, chug all the water and choke down the Advil, you don't even have to leave your bed. Pass out again, ensuring that your real alarm for when you actually have to get up is still on. When you wake up the second time, you may not be 100%, but you'll feel ok. Chug some more water, maybe take more Advil, eat something greasy and delicious, and you'll be fine. Still works as well now as it did after my why-did-I-sign-up-for-a-8am-class-on-Friday-morning college days. It's the hydration plus giving that Advil a few hours to kick in plus tricking your body into thinking you get some extra sleep that seems to help a lot.

Culinary land mines

Bread and butter pickles are the WORST. Especially when I open a new jar only to find they changed their packaging so now the bread and butter label looks just like the old dill pickle label and it's too late I've contaminated my delicious sandwich with gross bread and butter juice.

Big chunks of raw onion. I can deal with thin slivers of red onion, but even then I usually pick half of them out.

Pineapple in unexpected places (Oh look at this lovely apple danish BLARG PINEAPPLE GROSS).

I also agree on the gristly-hard-chewy-fatty thing, at best makes me lose my appetite for whatever it was, at worst it literally makes me gag.

Same goes for sandy shellfish, it turns my stomach and I have to stop eating. Nothing worse than the first mussel in that giant, delicious smelling bowl being full of sand and gunk.

What To Do With Leftover Pork Roast

Tamale Pie:

We did this just last week with leftover slow roasted pork shoulder. I use the recipe more as a guide, and for the cornbread topping proportions cuz I suck at baking, but 'twas delicious.

I also find that leftover shredded pork freezes really well, we usually freeze portions in individual ziplock baggies, then defrost to add to whatever - tacos, enchiladas, pasta, sandwiches, where ever you may need a protein really.

Philly Eats Downtown/Logan Circle Area

Center City tends to have a pretty busy happy hour crowd, expeically on a Friday night, so unless you have a reservation, it might be tough. Maybe check Open Table to see what you could get? Or else plan to go early or late. Osteria would be a bit of a walk, but does have really good food. Alla Spina is a couple blocks closer than Osteria and I actually tend to like it better, a more relaxed/casual atmosphere, great beers and cocktails, but again will likely be packed on Friday night. Doma is my favorite sushi place in the area, a couple blocks north of Logan Square, but is BYOB.

I have had some luck walking through one of the more restaurant-dense areas (say the Market East/Avenue of the Arts area, or Rittenhouse, just google them, both probably a 10-15 min walk from Loagan Square) around 7:15ish, and just going from place to place looking for a no-show on their reservation. Good option if you are not set on one specific place/cuisine. I can recommend Barbuzzo or Jamonera for tapas/small plates. Had a christmas party at Garces Trading Co that was awesome, but haven't been there for dinner. Most of the Stephen Starr restaurants are decent. It's hard to pick without more details on what you are looking for!

A Very Unofficial Snack Cake Field Guide

My whole family is from south Jersey, right across the river from Philly (my current residence), so it is Tastykake all the way for me. We always had either butterscotch krimpets or tandy kakes (are they still a thing? Did they just change the name to kandy kakes? My mom still calls them tandy kakes) were a staple of our lunchboxes growing up. Something about them is so nostalgic to me, and I still think all other snack cakes are way inferior. We had a Hostess outlet/discount store in town growing up, and I still remember the one time my mom brought home snacks from there, trying to save a little money, but everything was sooooo gross and disappointing that she never made that mistake again (and my mom was a super frugal coupon clipper, so that really says something). A few years ago, I convinced a friend who had moved to the Philly area from Texas to try something Tastykake at a convenience store, and I remember feeling actual ANGER bordering on RAGE that he did not agree with me that they were the best things in the world.

Tea taste test/brand preferences?

I think it is a personal taste thing. My dad drank a cup of Lipton pretty much every day of his adult life, and my mom would make it for us when we were sick as kids. Now that I am an adult, there is nothing better than a cup of Lipton when I’m feeling a little down or under the weather (or hung over). It has to be prepared with a small amount of sugar (my dad used sweet-n-low, but I like real sugar) and lots of milk, the milk should be 1/4 to 1/3 the total volume. The milk cools the tea down to the perfect sipping temperature. It is seriously divine. I don’t really like Lipton otherwise, it hast to be this way this way. Half and half is no good, it’s gotta be milk, and I can 100% tell if it’s another cheapo store brand, it has to be yellow box Lipton. It’s just one of those things.

Otherwise I prefer breakfast blends, but brands are hit and miss for me. I don’t like Mighty Leaf, something tastes too sweet/perfumey to me in there, and I find Stash is too bitter. In general I’ve never gotten something from Teavana that I’ve been really pleased with, mostly just meh tea, which for the price turns into a no-way. Tazo and Harney and Sons are OK, and right now I’m working on a Christmas gift from a company called Steap (I think they are new-ish, located in Philly) that is really good. When I brew loose-leaf, I like to throw in a couple cinnamon chips (from chipped up cinnamon sticks, not the ones like chocolate chips that you put in scones), which add a subtle spice to the tea, really good.

Cast Iron question.

I had a cast iron skillet that I found in my new apartment. I stripped it (cuz it was exceptionally gross looking) using the self-cleaning oven cycle, then reseasoned a couple times with shortening in a hot oven. I did a bad job on the initial seasoning (I think I applied the shortening too think/unevenly, so it was spotty/gloppy looking), but after ~6 months of using the pan 5-6 times a week for everything from Sunday bacon to pan pizzas to normal sauté’s it was looking really good and becoming more and more non-stick.

Then horror-of horrors, I cooked some kind of super sticky sauce-like thing (I don’t remember what, but the pan was seriously a mess), and put the half eaten sauce back on the accidently-left-on burner for an hour while we ate. So it burnt/stuck even more, and no amount of my scrubbing/soap was getting hardly any of it off, so I decided to soak it with some hot water for a couple hours. Then life happened, and 2 days of soaking later my pan was an awful looking mess. A couple little rust spots, but generally just dull/spotty looking, not the slick black awesomeness it was on its way to becoming.

I tried cooking bacon in it the next day, thinking that would help save it, and the BACON was sticking horribly to the pan. So I scrubbed the shit out of it, attempted to reseason it in a 400 degree oven with vegetable oil. I didn’t strip it down again, just put in a hot oven with a light coat of oil for an hour, twice I think. Now it is back to looking spotty/gloppy/uneven (think a bad coat of oil paint that has kind-of run a bit. That’s what the bottom of my pan looks like).

So roundabout way of getting to my question, is this seasoning worth saving? Should I strip it and start again? Is there something else I could do to save this pan, or should I just go back to using it often? I had been following many of the tips above prior to “the incident”, washing with hot water only (I used soap a couple times when water alone wasn’t enough), drying thoroughly on a low burner, cooking in it often, bacon, etc. sorry if I am high jacking this thread…

Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

We had a lunch truck that made "fat" sandwiches at Drexel's campus in Philly. The truck parked right behind my department's building, which lead to way too many of them being consumed by me. For $5.25 I would get one sandwich and have half for lunch and half for dinner. If I remember right, the truck also made their own hot sauce, which was awesome. I would order a Fat Cat Chicken (I think it was marinated grilled chicken, mozz sticks, french fries, lettuce tom) with hot sauce and mayo on the bread, then Cajun spices (generic McCormick bottle) sprinkled on top of the fries. Good times.

Green Chili Queso Dip

Thanks Josh. Like I said, flavor was awesome plus it was really smooth, and those quesadillas I made were amazing. I did crock pot it, and it was still super thick even when molten hot. I wonder if it was due to my cheese, which was admittedly crappy uber processed store brand Jack and Kraft singles American, now that you confirm the ratio is correct. Oh well, guess I'll just have to try it again!

Green Chili Queso Dip

Is the ratio of cheese to milk correct in this recipe as written? Kenji’s original cheese sauce recipe calls for 8 oz of cheese, and 8+ oz of evaporated milk. This recipe is calls for a full pound of cheese (16 oz) and only 5 oz of evaporated milk. The peppers add some moisture, but it can’t be that much, right?

I made this recipe last week. I really liked the flavor, and it came out silky smooth, but it was way too thick. Like non-dippable, breaking tortilla chips thick. I thinned it with some 2% milk (cuz I only bought the little 5 oz can of evaporated milk), but I ran out of milk and it was still really really thick. So thick that we spread it on some flour tortillas for cheesy quesadillas, and it didn’t turn to complete goo when toasted. I’m thinking of doing this or something similar again this weekend, but definitely will buy more evaporated milk.

Low and Slow: Braised Oxtail and Gruyère Sandwiches

The sandwiches were good (I followed the braise recipe pretty exactly, even got mini ciabata rolls and Ementaller cheese), but honestly not that amazing.

What WAS amazing was the ragu I made the next day with the leftovers – a little sautéed fresh onion and garlic, homemade tomato sauce I had frozen from September (fresh raw tomatoes crushed thru a food mill to remove skins and seeds, then cooked until saucy with onions/garlic/carrot/pepper, but I think canned crushed tomatoes would have been just as good) and the leftover pulled oxtail/stock. Really quick, it was a 20-minute meal. Served over egg noodles with some Locatelli on top. It was SERIOUSLY the best pasta sauce I have made in a long time. Super rich and savory, but somehow not heavy. Even the BF who is usually not that into Italian food or pasta was raving about it. I honestly think I’m going to remake the oxtail braise just so I can reproduce that pasta, forget the sandwiches.

The Food Lab: Easy Red Lentil Soup With Curry Yogurt

This is an awesome, awesome recipe. Made it for dinner last night, and I am eating the leftovers for lunch right now. I cooked the lentils an extra ~10-15 mins or so until they were really falling apart, and used my new stick blender (Christmas present, and it has a tiny food processor attachment, so I already had it out from chopping the initial veg). Super easy, and it was just as velvety and smooth as the picture! The curry yogurt is not too strong, just a perfect little pop of flavor.


eam492 hasn't favorited a post yet.