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eam492

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.

Win a Serious Eats Edition KettlePizza Baking Steel Combo for Father's Day!

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: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/03/eat-for-eight-bucks-tamale-pie-recipe.html

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.

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.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Cacao Drinking Chocolate Basket

More chocolate. Or cinnamon.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

probably bread.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Baking Steel

really good pepperoni.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Cacao Drinking Chocolate Basket

more chocolate.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

We Try All the Desserts at the Olive Garden

Lol. Refried. Silly iPhone.

We Try All the Desserts at the Olive Garden

@Erin Jackson: Chi Chi's was the best! I am on a quest to find a fried ice cream that lives up to my memories, no place has really ever come close. For some reason I always thought the refrained beans were awesome too.

We Try All the Desserts at the Olive Garden

I love how people always hate on the OG. For me (and a lot of other people I know) it still holds a fond, nostalgic place in our hearts. When I was growing up and it was my birthday/special treat day, meaning I got to choose the restaurant for dinner, I always chose Olive Garden (at least after Chi Chi’s went out of business), and I always loved it. Even now that I’m grown up, walk to the local co-op for groceries, subscribe to an organic CSA, eat at the fancy-pants trendy restaurants around town, etc, I’ll get a craving and go to the OG maybe 1-2 times a year.

So I like these kind of articles - now I can make an informed decision on what to order. I probably would have gone with the lemon cake, thinking it was “light”-ish, good to know it is decidedly not, not that I ever have enough room to order desert after all the salad, breadsticks and pasta. It’s nice to know that the seasonal pumpkin desert is actually pretty good, cuz I love pumpkin flavored things, so now I actually might want to stop in sometime soon, try and save room for desert and order it.

I wish people would get off their judgey high horses and realize that these restaurants are popular because people (even some people who read this site! Gasp!) actually like the food. Stop trying to make us feel bad for liking the DISGUSTING crap.

Skillet Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Kale

Made this for dinner with a few subs - added mushrooms cuz i had them and some beet greens with the kale. Was very tasty! Only comment I have is that unless I was stirring constantly, and I mean constantly, the pasta stuck like crazy to the bottom of the pan. And I was using my big cast iron skillet that is pretty much non stick by now. Maybe it was the cast iron? I also needed to add another cup-ish of water because the pasta was no where near done when all the water was absorbed. But other than that a good meal.

Wild Side: Silkworms and Frog Legs at Four Belly

Neat new column!

The most interesting thing I have every tried (outside of "normal" offal i.e. sweet breads, tounge, heart, trotters, etc) was grasshoppers – I had them at an upscale Mexican restaurant in Philly, they were an appetizer special served up in taco form with some kind of sauce. I did not care for them – the grasshoppers were chopped up (I guess to make them look less like bugs) and baked I think so the texture was sort of crunchy but not like anything I had eaten before, and they had a distinct “grass” flavor, not like good grassy but like I just shoved a handful of dirty grass in my mouth. It wasn’t terrible, I ate my whole taco, but not something I would ever want to order again.

sausage making book gift

For Christmas, I am getting my mom and stepfather the meat grinder / sausage stuffer attachment for their kitchen aid mixer (which was last year's gift from me and my brother). I would like to also include a book on sausage making. I'm looking for something that covers the basics, with techniques and a few simple recipes.

I wouldn't classify either of them as "foodies", but they are not beginners or clueless either. My stepfather owns a smoker and has been cranking out some semi-decent BBQ recently. My mom is an above-average home cook.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

reheating BBQ ribs?

A month or so, my mom smoked ~30lbs of ribs. They were pretty good day-of, maybe a little tough for my taste even though they were on the smoker for 12ish hrs. She vacuum sealed a few racks for me to take home, and they have been in my freezer since. I put them in the fridge last night to defrost, but now I'm wondering what the best way to heat them up. I was thinking of basting them with some kind of bbq sauce in a casserole dish, covering with foil and putting them in a low oven for a while, but I'm not sure if they will just be super soggy? Anyone have any better ideas?

ID my cast iron?

A while ago I posted about "saving" a cast iron skillet I found in the back of a cabinet when I moved into my new apartment. Well I finally got around to it...after several rounds of spraying/scrubbing with oven cleaner, I gave up and chucked the thing in the automatic oven cleaner cycle. After about 3 hours, everything burned off to dust and I'm left with a clean pan ready to season, which I'm going to start tonight after I de-rust it a bit.

So now I've been searching online to see if I can ID the darned thing. It is a skillet with 2 pour spouts and a short oval handle (i.e. looks like every other cast iron skillet ever). The only markings are an "8" on the top of the handle near where it connects to the skillet, and a "J" on the underside of the handle. The flat bottom is completely smooth, it doesn't have any brand marking or a heat ring. The inside cooking surface feels smooth as glass, which makes me wonder if it could possibly be pretty old. But, the lack of any markings on the bottom makes me think it's just some cheap store brand kinda thing. Either way, I'm happy with the find and I am looking forward to cooking in it, but just curious if anyone who has any kind of expertise in this sort of thing might be able to ID it.

is this cast iron worth saving?

So I moved into a new apartment last week and found a cast iron skillet in one of the kitchen drawers. It looks REALLY gross. Super caked on old burned food covering the entire thing, inside and out, it's actually worse on the outside then inside. And it's not coming off too easily. I don't really have the right tools (need to get some steel wool or a wire brush or something, my stiff plastic scrubber did NOTHING), but my question is if this thing is even worth the work I could put into cleaning and seasoning the thing, or if I should just buy a new one and season from there. The pan doesn't have a stamp or any identifying marks anywhere. It also doesn't feel particularly heavy, like I remember my mom's cast iron pan feeling. I know I've read lots of articles recently about how awesome old cast iron pans are, but I just don't know how to tell if one is particularly worth putting in the effort or if a new Lodge would be better.

leftover carnitas "stock"

So I made Kenji's carnitas over the weekend, and have some leftover defatted "stock" from the roasting process (Side note: the recipe says you should get about 1/2 cup of stock to use in the salsa but I always wind up with 1-2 cups. I think my oven temp might be off slash I don't pack the pork in my baking dish well enough. Still comes out freaking delicious though). I made a double batch to freeze for Super Bowl prep, so now I've got a good 4 cups of stock - which is basically pork juice flavored with orange, cinnamon, garlic, onion and bay leaf. Its OK tasting on its own, kinda meaty/latin flavored broth, not too strong. It gelled up beautifully in the fridge.

Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on what else I could make with this? I know there is the obvious use in a soup/sauce/random dish in place of chicken stock, but wondering if anyone had any better ideas. I have never really cooked with pork stock before (or cook much pork in general), so looking for any suggestions you might have.

Variation on chicken with pan sauce?

OK, so for a quick weeknight dinner once or twice a week I make the following dish. It's more a method than a dish:
- dredge chicken cutlets (or whatever boneless chicken I have lying around) in seasoned flour
- sauté in butter until brown on both sides
- removed from pan and cover with foil
- add splash of wine to pan, reduce
- add chicken stock to pan (sometimes homemade if I remember to defrost, other times boxed or water+bullion)
- reduce until sauce-like (sometimes I thicken with a little Wondra, sometimes not)
- add chicken back to pan with any juices
- sprinkle around some capers, possibly a squeeze of lemon if I have it on hand
- simmer until chicken is cooked through

I usually serve with a simply veggie side, something that will cook in the same amount of time as the chicken, green beans, broccoli, leftover mashed potatoes, whatever.

I'm looking for any variations anyone might have on this theme. This is a dinner that can be on the table in 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken). There is NO CHOPPING, which I like.

Any ideas of what else I could do to jazz this up?

What to do with excess poblanos

So, I got a dozen poblano peppers in this week's CSA. They are big, ripe, purple/red peppers, I haven't tasted yet but I think they are going to have a bit of a kick to them. I've got a couple pounds worth in my fridge right now. Any suggestions on what to do with them? If I can't use them up in time I'll probably wind up chopping/freezing to throw into tacos/stir fry/stews for a while, but I'd like to do something creative with them in the mean time. I'll probably do some sort of stuffed pepper, maybe roast a few for a mole/salsa verde type thing, but I'm looking for other ideas.

Also, does anyone have any experience drying peppers? It would be cool if I could turn these into anchos, but I have no clue where to even start with that...

Collard green ideas

I got a giant bunch of collard greens in my CSA this week, so large it won't even fit (that's what she said?) in my veg drawer in the fridge. I have NO clue what to do with them. I have never cooked them before, I've only ever had them at a southern food restaurant (traditional hamhock cooked for ages kind of deal). Is there a "summery" way to prepare them? Or am I doomed to have a boiling pot this week in my already too hot kitchen?

Ideas for peaches

Hi all - I got peaches 2 weeks in a row as part of my CSA...and I'm wondering if you have any suggestions on what to do with them all. I probably have about a 1-2 pounds lying around, some fresher than others. I'm making a cobbler/crumble tonight, any other ideas?

Also, any tips on storage (out on the counter, fridge, etc)? I stuck last week's batch in the fridge in a paper bag, and they got a bit wrinkly, still good but a bit dried out. Maybe should have put them in a sealed ziptop bag? In a two person household, there are only so many peaches we can eat, and I don't want them to go bad!

kale chip variations

So, I got a giant bunch of kale in last week's CSA basket. I haven't managed to eat it yet (we also got a bunch of swiss chard and a bunch of collards, as well as a head of butter lettuce, so I'm feeling a little greened-out this week), so I wanted to try making kale chips for the first time.

I've seen the basic recipe out there (olive oil, salt, pepper, bake), but I'm curious if anyone has tried any variations - add garlic different spice blends, soy wasabi coating, etc. I've never made these before, and don't do much with kale other than saute with onions/garlic otherwise. Does kale play well with any other flavors?

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