New to the area, foodie in the making. Love to cook Asian and Italian, bake breads and cupcakes.

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  • Location: Washington DC
  • Favorite foods: Carbonara, dumplings, red velvet cupcakes, fried rice, sesame noodles

Kind of gross, and I probably shouldn't eat it, but can't resist

hockey rink nachos. I am a sucker for these... especially if a rink ups the ante with salsa, jalapenos or sour cream

Flushing recommendations, please.

If you're new to Korean food, you'll be fine sticking in K-town (32nd-ish) for bulgogi (Korean bbq), bibimbap (Korean ricebowl - spciy) and most of the staples.

Flushing is more authentic - for those looking for off-the-beaten path traditional meals and the "authentic" Korean service.

Serious Heat: 10 Things to Do with Kimchi

Maangchi is the BEST place for Korean recipes- including her easy, DIY mak kimchi (cut, rather than hand stuffing each leaf of a whole cabbage)

I made it here last month.

How did kimchi burgers not make this list? They're one of the easiest things to do with kimchi besides stew.

Other Korean approved uses: kimchi pajeon (spring onion pancakes, served as an appetizer), kimchi fried rice (season rice with garlic, ginger, and kimchi liquid, then fry with chopped kimchi), topping on kogi-style tacos (which was sort of mentioned in passing).

Quesedillas, grilled cheese are a toss up - because cheese isn't entirely native to the Korean diet, but they *are* obsessed with tossing cheese into random things, such as kimbap or ramyun.

Kimchi jjigae is fairly simple though -- just cover the kimchi with water, add as much liquid from the kimchi jar as you can, simmer at least 45 mins until kimchi is very very soft. Mix in drained tuna, cubed tofu and cook another 15-30 mins. Add gochuchang (red chili paste) or gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) if it's not spicy enough.

Serve with white rice!

Gift ideas for my foodie boyfriend?

I second the recommendations for books by Keller, Ruhlman, Chang and Bourdain. I'd also add Mark Bittman to the list.

Penzey's has some amazing grilling spice mixes - you might grab a couple of those?

Nice serving pieces (heavy antique silver platter to hold the smoked meats, perhaps?)

Credit at his "favorite but can't afford it" butcher or part of one of those new "meat-only CSA" groups

Dinner Tonight: Roasted Rice Cake

@lemons tteokbogi is a Korean "street food" -- most Korean restaurants don't serve it (and yes, they might get offended if you try to order it -- imagine if someone came into a nice American-style restaurant and ordered hot dogs or a giant pretzel with cheese)

this dish is usually made with gochuchang, Korean red chili past, and some David Chang's recipe at Ssam bar uses both gochuchang AND ssamjang, blended with silken tofu to make the sauce creamier.

I would also recommend using sesame oil (or part canola part sesame) to grill the rice cakes. You will get a way better flavor!!


Korean rice bowl (bibimbap)

Grill with enoki, onions, garlic and rib eye for bulgogi

Korean glass noodle salad (chapchae)

Leeks in Stock?

It's actually a great way to use up the dark parts of a leek!! If you know you'll be making stock in the near future, just hang on to them in your veggie drawer. If you don't make stock often, start an "odds and ends" bag in your freezer -- throw in cheese rinds, dark parts of leeks, chicken bones, etc. to flavor up your stock!

Gift Guide: Kitchen Equipment

Ooh, a mandoline has been on my list for ages. I hope Santa pops one under the tree for me this year.

I'm on the fence about the potato ricer (what else can I do with it? I've had a year+ ban on single-use kitchen gadgets)

And I love, love, love microplanes to give as gifts. They're super economical, and everyone (that I've gifted to) is always glad to receive one.

Calling all penny-pinchers!

Check your area for large ethnic grocery stores. When I lived in Washington this was the biggest way that I saved money -- produce and meat were all cheaper. You can feed yourself for a LONG time if you can buy a whole chicken for $4.

Also check the prices on grains in bulk -- you can get a ton of rice, dried beans, quinoa, etc. usually for cheap.

Save all of your odds and ends -- bones/carcasses, ends of veggies (like the dark part of leeks, etc), stems from fresh herbs, rinds from cheeses -- they will help to flavor up stocks and soups.

Chili is usually incredibly cheap to make - especially if you use dried kidney beans. Stock up on tin tomatoes and ground beef when they are on sale -- they can be made into meat sauce, chili, tacos & salsa, etc.

the best ways to save money are to see what's on sale in the circulars every Sunday, plans your meals meticulously, make a shopping list and stick to it. If fish is on sale, have fish. If pork is on sale, have pork. Eat veggies that are in season. Make your own bread.

Making caramels

If you're a first-time candy maker, I would recommend going for the "soft ball" candy stage (I think it's about 225 or 230 but go with the cold water test! It's the easiest way)-- because if you fumble around at all on the timing, you'll have only gone past 1 stage to hard ball and the candy is still edible. Your caramels will also be easier to cut if they're stopped at soft ball stage, rather than going all the way to hard.

(cold water test: drizzle a tiny amount of your boiling mixture into a cup of ice water. Fish it out with a spoon and taste. You want it to hold its form, but still be relatively soft and chewy -- unless you are going for hard candy)

This is the recipe I used with a cheap $10 candy thermometer:

After nearly breaking a tooth on the first batch, I followed the water test closely (test the caramel about every minute or so when you think its reaching the temp) and they were perfect!

ISO a somewhat quiet, mid to large size food processor

I have the 9-cup Stainless Cuisinart DLC-Prep and love it. On very very rare occasions I do wish I had sprung for the 11 cup, but then when I have to put it away and take it out again, I'm glad to have the mid-sized model.

The only requirement of yours it does not meet is that it is *not* quiet. But then, I doubt you're going to find any food processor or blender that works quietly!

Seriously Asian: Korean Rice Cakes

Tteok is also hitting the mainstream -- it's featured on the menu at Momofuku ssam bar

Seriously Asian: Korean Rice Cakes

@kazari your tip about leaving tteok in soup (ie: tteok guk) is spot on -- and most recipes fail to mention that point.

I always have at least 1 bag of the tubes and 1 bag of the slices in my fridge/freezer for tteokbogi and tteokguk. Thanks for highlighting such a key Korean ingredient, Chichi!

Korean Rice Cakes (Dok Boki)

tteokbogi sauce should be thick and velvety -- I use about 1/2-1 cup of the water used to boil the tteok to thin the gochuchang (chilli paste), and also finish the sauce with a drizzle of sesame oil.

Tteok should also include sliced spring onions! Boiled egg slices, cabbage, or noodles often pop up in tteokbogi as well.

NYC to DC-Advice Please.

Just left DC -- and LOVED the food there.

Great Ethiopian places on H Street (esp. Dukem)
Pho and pupusas in Columbia Heights
Kushi (down past Chinatown)
Kramers, James Hobans, Front Page, Levantes (DuPont Circle)

VA has a ton of great Korean restaurants (Annandale area)

And I'll second @kathleen's push for Oyamel and Churchkey

And if I were leaving NYC I'd stock up on Momofuku pork buns and buttered rolls from the breakfast carts.

Need a good Sangria recipe

Mine's pretty simple. I buy the jug of Carlo Rissi "sangria" wine.

Soak bite sized apple pieces, strawberries, pineapple and orange wedges in brandy and/or grenadine overnight or at least 1 hour.

Mix the wine with the fruit. Add a splash of orange juice. Best served after allowing to soak overnight.

College Student living with reticent eaters? Help!

My roommates in college were perfectly happy to eat noodles with butter and cheese and animal crackers, so we shared few communal food items: butter, eggs, mayo/condiments, etc. Sometimes we would split the Costco bag of frozen chicken breasts.

But I think in your situation, I would move toward cooking for yourself and buying your own groceries.

Looking for a simple food processor sauce

My favorite is a quick salsa: 1 lg can diced tomatoes, 2-4 cloves garlic, 1/4 onion, 1/2 bunch cilantro, juice of 1-2 limes, 2 pinches sugar, 1 pinch salt, 1 jalapeno, cumin or smoked paprika to taste

Help me spice up my hummus

roasted garlic in place of fresh
crumble some feta on top
cayenne or red chili flakes or a drizzle of chili oil

Silly coffee question, Cream first or last?

I always put cream and sugar in first -- I take a lot of creamer, so I like to make sure I don't run out of room! dumping out coffee once you've realized you're out of room makes a huge mess in my experience!

What's your favorite bread?

a good fresh sourdough -- I take special pleasure in finding this, since I've never successfully made a sourdough from scratch.

Homemade: cheese & herb pull apart bread, multigrain with sesame, poppy, fennel & pumpkin seeds topping

From Mom's kitchen: pumpkin gingerbread smeared with cinnamon cream cheese icing

What Kitchen Item Should You Not Scrimp On?

I went the wrong route with my kitchen and bought a lot of things, but cheaply.

Am now catching up to some solid logic:first buy only things you will use 4+ times a week, then items you will use at least once a week. And buy the nicest one of each you can afford.

the main exception to this rule, IMO, would be single-task tools. Either don't buy them, or don't spend a ton of money on them

Seriously Asian: Cooking with Kimchi

Sometimes for a quick lunch, I"ll just boil up any noodles (rice, egg, glass, sweet potato) I've got on hand, toss with kimchi and scallions.

Kimchi chiggae gets even easier than the Momofuku recipe mentioned: Mix all the liquid from bottom of the kimchi jar with 4-6 c water, simmer kimchi until tender (1 hour). Mix in cubed tofu & 1 can flaked tuna meat, cook another 15 mins. serve with hot white rice or chapchae noodles.

Or the way Koreans eat it: wrap a nori square around a bite of rice and kimchi, pop into your mouth! Simple and delicious.

Otherwise, I second kimchi bokkeum bap (fried rice) and kimchi pajaeon (the pancakes -- but should be made with pajeon or pancake batter, not shredded potatoes)

Bibimbap stone bowl replacement?

I'd recommend trying to find one in stores (Korean/Asian markets, if you're in an area with a Korea town, etc).

Paying to ship one of those online (they're easy enough to find online) would be ridiculous - probably more than the cost of the bowl(s) itself.

But, as @smile said, it's not absolutely necessary for bibimbap, only if you're trying to make dolsot style.

The crunchy bottom (the Korean name of which, I can't remember) comes from heating the stone in the oven at about 500 degrees F, pouring sesame oil in bottom, then dumping in the rice.

So, it seems likely you could re-create that with cast iron.

Kimchi question

@chuck - if you don't have it, don't sweat it -- unless, as others have mentioned, you were planning to make daikon radish kimchi. (though, I doubt you would be posting this q if that were the case) Korean cooking often comes down to "use what you got" and everyone's kimchi is a little different.

@CJ I'd be wary of kimchi after a month. I usually say 2-ish weeks but in the 3rd week you could make kimchi chiggae (cover with water, mix in 1 can tuna meat, 2 c. small cubed tofu, simmer 1 hour until kimchi is soft), bokkumbap (fried rice with kimchi) or kimchi pajeon (kimchi green onion pancakes)

The "funky" smell is fairly distinct. Fresh kimchi is more garlicky and sharply spicy. Funky kimchi is sour and pungent.

ISO decorative icing recipes

I'm working on practicing cake decorating for a friend's upcoming special event. Does anyone have any favorite recipes for icing to use in a piping bag? something easy to make, easy to color, easy to work with?

Suggestions for favorite gels to work with for tinting icing?

I'd also greatly appreciate any blog posts/links to videos about simple cake decorating, piping 101, any of your favorite resources.

Many thanks!

Help with sukiyaki!

Hi all -
The SO and I recently discovered Sukiyaki (Japanese hot pot stew) at a local restaurant and loved it.
unfortunately, our parents paid our meal, as it was a restaurant WAY out of our price limit.

So, SE-ers - I firmly believe that I can recreate this dish at home but I'm stuck on the broth.

Anyone a definitive source on making the broth sweet and savory? Otherwise, I will probably rely on konbu, dashida, bonito and some garlic and ginger.

Many thanks in advance!

Habanero Jelly

My SO's parents dropped off a little jar of habanero jelly this weekend. I know I've seen references to chili jellies before, but nothing immediately sprang to mind.

We probably have about 6 oz. of the stuff. It looks yummy, but I don't want to waste it by noodling around with it. SE'ers, what do you all use it for?

World of Misfit Pot Lids

I'm in the midst of unpacking all of my kitchen gear (thankgoodness... I've been going crazy not being able to cook) and realized I have an inappropriate number of pot lids (though, I think in equal number to my pots) and have no good way to store them.

Has anyone got a good/cool/minimal system for storing mistfit pot lids?

BF's mom disses Sandra Lee's "lasagna" recipe

Did anyone else see the NYT writeup of NY1's interview with state attorney general Andrew Cuomo's mother? Mrs. Cuomo takes issue with her son's girlfriend's lasanga recipe that calls for condensed tomato soup and cottage cheese. Has anyone else actually tried this recipe?

Original interview

NYT Diner's Journal post

"But Mrs. Cuomo wasn't afraid to stir the pot when it came to another issue near and dear to her heart -- lasagna.

The dispute is over Lee's recipe for the Italian staple. The TV food star uses canned tomato soup and cottage cheese. And the dish is reportedly Andrew's favorite. But his mother says she doesn't buy it.

"I don't know that that's true. You know, maybe she puts cottage cheese because he doesn't want to put on weight. That's not the way you make a lasagna," Cuomo said.

Mrs. Cuomo tells NY1 she prefers to use fresh ricotta cheese, herbs, and parmesan in hers."

Freezing eggs, best practices?

I've seen a few references to people freezing their egg whites and egg yolks (separately, I guess) for later uses and I've never done this (all those wasted yolks and whites down the drain!!) It seems like a really good idea, but I've got a few questions (and yes, they may be dumb ones... I'm warning you in advance. Kindly don't mock me)

Any tips for how best to do this? In a plastic baggie, I'm guessing...

How do you thaw them (or do you?) when you want to use them?

How do you measure them once they are co-mingled and frozen?

Do you start a new container every time you have a new egg white/yolk to add? or can you just add them to the frozen mix?

And does using frozen whites/yolks have any effect on recipes? anything to definitely not use them for?

Thanks, in advance, for the help!

Intro to cheesecloth

I recently purchased cheesecloth for the first time and used it for straining my cold-brew coffee (way easier than hand straining it cup by cup).

Problem is, it cost $4 at the grocery store and I didn't see a way to wash it and reuse it. It's still cheaper than buying my coffee at Starbucks - but long-term this seems like a poor solution.

So my questions:
a) can you reuse cheesecloth?
b) are there better/cheaper ways to purchase cheesecloth
c) what about those really thin flour sack towels -- I used them once with an aunt to squeeze cabbage for pierogies - anyone know where to buy this?

I have access to a Target, Whole Foods, Giant, Safeway and Trader Joe's - but not Costco (at least not most of the time - if Costco does sell either of these items in bulk for cheap, I'd be interested to know)

Where do you guys pick these items up, and how much do you usually pay for them?

soy sauces, dark v. light

OK, so I'm gearing up (at the SO's request) to tackle Ezra Klein's Kung Pao Tofu recipe and his posts talk about how in developing his sauce, using *both* dark and light soy sauces is key.

I'm long past the point of purchasing Kinkomans or the grocery store stuff. I get a nice (giant) bottle at H-Mart these days. But I have no idea if it's the dark or the light.

Anyone have definitive answers on lights/darks? And a stab-in-the-dark at which I already own?

Many thanks!

Truffle oil reccomendations

Ok, first time buying truffle oil. A friend cautioned against buying ones that are flavored with chemicals - though am not entirely certain how to do so. An initial read of ingredients at the 2 varieties at Giant Foods yesterday was inconclusive -- does "truffle essence" count as a real ingredient?

So, SE-ers, do you have any great recommendations for your favorite truffle oil (and where to buy it)? I have access to a Whole Foods, Trader Joes and the usual suspects: Safeway, Giant, etc. I don't want to spend a huge amount on this, but also want to get a medium sized bottle.

And, while we're at it - your favorite uses for truffle oil (aside from mac-and-cheese, and grilled cheese)

Many thanks!

Veg recipes for St Pats

I'm hosting about half dozen or so for St Patrick's next weekend, but have 1 friend who is vegetarian. I usually boil my cabbage and potatoes in the stock made by boiling the corned beef and will probably do a smaller portion in veg broth for him, but am looking for another alternative recipe that fits with St. Pat's themed dinners that is veg-friendly.

Any ideas greatly appreciate!

Fried chicken batter

I tried making Korean fried chicken for the first time last night and had really good results.

The only thing I'd like to improve on in the future, is finding a way to get the fried batter to stick to the chicken better. The ones I made last night had a tendency to pull apart as you bit into the chicken.

My methods and recipe are here:

If anyone has a good solution to this problem, please let me know! Thanks in advance. :)

Tofu help!

Hey all - this is kind of a weird question, but can any one explain the differences in texture of tofu to me?

I know silken is used in Korean cooking for things like soondubue (which I've never done). I usually use tofu either in stir fry dishes or in soup - like hot and sour or kimchi chiggae. I tend to gravitate toward firm or extra firm, but have no solid reasoning to do so.

Any advice? Are the different textures better or worse for certain uses?


ISO great Tortilla Soup recipe

Still playing with my new food processor - but over the weekend had a bit if a blending blunder. I usually make a great chicken tortilla soup with black beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken, cilantro and a ton of spices.


Well blended, those fabulous colors: black, yellow, red, chicken, and green turned... a little less than appealing.

My favorite chicken tortilla soup comes from Eddington's Soup Factory (in Minneapolis) -- which, we of course do not have in Washington. It's thick, creamy and sort of a dark orange color. It definitely does not look like the end of a night with too many tacos and too much tequila.

Any one have a great, and beautiful (or at least semi-attractive), tortilla soup recipe? Greatly appreciated!!

Best "on the cheap" kitchen cheats?

What are your best shortcuts or money savers in the kitchen?

I cook a TON of Asian, and buy beef or pork (which ever is the cheaper on sale at my local Korean market) pre-marinated, which saves my staples (soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar) from being discarded as marinades AND makes it quicker to toss the meat into the pan -- dinner in 5 mins.

Best food processor uses

I just got my very first food processor! (which I, of course blogged about using) So far I've used it for hummus, pie dough and am planning to use it to blend up some soup ( this weekend.

A friend suggested making homemade pasta using my new fave toy, anyone else have unusual or cool suggestions for experimenting in the kitchen?

Greatly appreciated!

Caramel wrapping

A friend of mine made caramels this week and I'm dying to recreate them. It was her first time (and will be mine too!) and she ran into the following hitch :

"These buggers can sometimes be difficult to unwrap no matter the temperature. I blame this on my poor wrapping skills (I used wax paper). If you've made caramels before and are an expert wrapper (Anna, not rapper), please leave a note with your advice in the comments section."

Any ideas on what she might have done wrong, or how to make this easier?

Many thanks!

Snickerdoodle help!

This has probably been brought up before, but I cannot for the life of me bake cookies that are cute and puffy like my mother's or the ones in the magazines.

I baked wonderfully soft and chewy snickerdoodles over the weekend that were less than 1/2 inch high.

I cooled the baking sheets between baking, rotated the cookies halfway, took them out 1 minute early while they were still underdone in the middle, aerated the butter as best I could, chilled the dough before rolling cookies.... all tips I've heard before on this.

Anyone else have conclusive advice?

Korean rice and beans?

When I lived in Korea we occasionally had purple rice in the house where I lived.

I believe this was achieved by soaking and cooking the rice with some kind of bean or grain mixture. Anyone know what I'm talking about and have the details? (what this is, how it's made, where to find?)

It was great and I'd love to recreate this dish! many thanks,

Perogies at home

Went to Veselka in the East Village last weekend and had *real* perogies for the first time. I tried a few with potato filling and a few with a cheese filling I couldn't quite place -- it was creamy and sweet. Not sure what kind of cheese it was.

Have never made them at home before (except out of a box... never again), looking for tips/recipes!! Help help!

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Make Carnitas (Without a Bucket of Lard!)

Carnitas. The undisputed king of the taco cart. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork, at their best they should be moist, juicy, and ultra-porky with the rich, tender texture of a French confit, and riddled with plenty of well-browned crisp edges. Our version is easier than the traditional bucket-of-lard method, and produces results that are juicier and more flavorful. More

Cakespy: Sweet and Salty Super Bowl Brownies

tarting with a basic brownie recipe, I made these ones extreme by packing them chock-full of gooey caramel and dark chocolate, roasted peanuts, and salty pretzels. The sweet plays offense, pummeling your taste buds with a rich, chocolate-filled flavor, with salty bringing up the defense, with a crunch and savoriness from the peanuts and pretzels. Yes indeed, when sweet and salty team up, everyone wins. More

ISO great Tortilla Soup recipe

Still playing with my new food processor - but over the weekend had a bit if a blending blunder. I usually make a great chicken tortilla soup with black beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken, cilantro and a ton of spices. Well.... More

Delicious delicious naan?

An Indian restaurant I used to frequent recently closed down, which makes me a sad, sad man. Mainly because they had this fantastic bread (pretty sure it was a naan) that was filled with a mixture of honey, cashews, and... More

Seriously Asian: All About Dumplings

"There's a difference between the pleasantly doughy boiled dumpling and the chewier, semi-translucent steamed dumpling." I may be from Shanghai, but I think I make some pretty mean dumplings for a Southern gal. From buns, bread, and noodles, the Northern... More

Seriously Asian: Hooked on Udon

"Finally, these were the noodles of my dreams, noodles with the kind of the flexible yet creamy strands that I had only ever tasted with homemade Italian pasta." Note: Every week, SE intern Chichi Wang will be discussing some aspect... More