The Serious Eats Tomato Shopping Guide

Thanks for the great info! I am fortunate enough to have locally grown tomatoes at the grocery stores I frequent but there is still nothing better than getting them straight from the farmer at the farmers market. There isn't a ton of variety at the farmers market but they still can't be beat since they are picked red and awesome. Summer is the only time I ever eat BLTs since tomatoes really make or break the sandwich.

The Chain Breaker: A Dairy Queen Like No Other

@SarahCL I remember that too, it was basically a dilly bar that was slightly thicker and one side had the fudge and peanuts on it. It was easier to eat and I really have no idea why they changed to the cup style they make now. Maybe they're easier to make the current way. I'd take either one right now too now that you've got me thinking about it!

10 Common Crimes Against Cheese You Don't Have to Commit

I admit to using plastic wrap (or ziplock bags) and I'm sorry! I always keep my wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano vacuum sealed in a reusable bag. I open it up, grate off what I need, and reseal and revacuum it right away. It stays good for a long while that way!

The Chain Breaker: A Dairy Queen Like No Other

I live in Kankakee Illinois where the first DQ ice cream was served even though we don't actually have the first store. Our 3 DQs in the area look pretty close to this store here and we've never had a DQ Brazier at all. It is only in the last 5-10 years actually that any of the stores have been open year round. One of the local DQ stores used to actually sell Christmas trees during the off season actually!

The Best Charcoal Grills Under $500, 2015 Edition

I'm glad to see Weber still gets top billion as the value priced but still good quality charcoal grill. I have the version that is probably about one step up from the cheapest one and it is still just fine after the 9 years that I've owned it plus the probably 5 years that my dad used it before that. I replace the grates when necessary of course but couldn't be happier with the value.

@Max Good I'm sure I can find reviews aplenty on your website but are you going to be doing a piece on charcoal for Serious Eats as well sometime?

The Serious Eats Mushroom Shopping Guide

@danny6114 I don't know if it applies to all images on SE but in this particular post you can right click on the image and select "open image in new tab" (in Chrome, the wording might be different for other browsers) to see a larger image. Making them clickable for a bigger image wouldn't be a bad idea though.

12 Grilling Mistakes You Don't Have to Make (But Probably Do)

I have always used a chimney starter when grilling but I used to have problems where occasionally the paper would be done burning and not light the charcoal. I don't know if the charcoal was damp or not enough air flow. Ever since I started putting a bit of vegetable oil on my newspaper as Alton Brown used to show on Good Eats I have not had a single problem with getting my chimney starter to light charcoal.

2 Awesome Homemade Vegetarian Burgers Even a Carnivore Will Crave

I've never tried the vegan burgers at all but can attest to the fact the black bean burgers are awesome. If you don't believe Kenji just look at the comments section on the recipe and on the corresponding article.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak

@Dr. Borcht You might want to do some homework before making assumptions about how safe (or not) food is. Pasteurization does in fact begin to happen at 130°F, it just takes a lot longer to happen. If you look at Kenji's charts above he actually specifies that anything cooked at below 130°F should not be cooked longer than 2.5 hours for food safety reasons. If you really want to geek out on food safety and other sous vide type things, check out this piece from Douglas Baldwin

Use Your Sous-Vide Cooker for the Juiciest, Most Flavorful Chicken Salads

@Colleen7 @badseed1980 The recipe linked in this post already has directions for the beer cooler sous vide method included. It's too bad you guys missed the Anova One deal on Amazon for $99 a few days ago though. That was a great deal! I need to try out this recipe with my Anova Precision Cooker sometime though.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak

Good timing Kenji, I have a ribeye in my fridge that I was going to sous vide for tonight's dinner. Not a lot that I haven't read in the past here but it's good to have it in one spot!

I also dig the table of contents with quick jump links at the top of the article. I'm not sure how new it is since I'm behind on my SE reading but it is nice.

The Good Bagel Manifesto

I think that the crazy toppinged "bagels" are just covering up for their inferiority really. Your list is good for when you're dealing with real bagels (except cinnamon raisin shouldn't be there) and such but once you leave bagel land and land in round bread land all bets are off. That asiago cheese "bagel" from Panera Bread might just be a round piece of bread (there isn't even a hole in the middle!) but I think it is still a tasty hunk of bread.

My sister and brother-in-law came back from Frankenmuth MI one time with these crazy "bagels" that were topped like a pizza complete with sauce, pepperoni, and congealed mozzarella cheese. They weren't bagels but still tasty enough in their own right.

8 Spices Truly Worth the Splurge

I have a few different varieties of cinnamon in my cupboard actually. Amazing how much different the different varieties smell. When I first got them (from The Spice House) I had the bright idea of making multiple versions something that features the taste of cinnamon in order to highlight the differences between the varieties. Sadly I never got around to it though. At this point I probably need to replace the cinnamon with fresh if I decide to do that since they have probably lost a lot of their flavor by now.

The Good Bagel Manifesto

Sigh, I still don't have a decent bagel place within 30 miles of home. Panera Bread is pretty much the best I can hope for. So I guess toasted it is.

All About Geoduck: The Life of a (Delicious) Oversized Mollusk

I've never had the opportunity to try geoduck but I've known how to pronounce it ever since Mike Rowe helped with harvesting some on Dirty Jobs. I would definitely be up to trying it but I doubt I'll get the opportunity any time soon living in very land locked Illinois.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Scrambled Eggs, Your Way

I actually like to put in a bit of cream cheese in instead of milk/cream, it works better if the cream cheese is softened a bit before since it melts faster once it goes in the pan. I've had scrambled eggs all 3 of these days and my favorite is definitely the soft scrambled eggs for sure.

The Real Rules of Making Polenta (Hint: They're Not What Everyone Says)

I'd be most curious about a sous vide method as well. This article is good timing though since I just recently bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill polenta but didn't really know how to even cook it really.

How to Make Mexican Tamales

Serious Eats doesn't have a spell checker, that would be your web browser spell checker that doesn't know what a tamal is. Even Webster's dictionary recognizes tamale but does not recognize tamal at all. It wouldn't be the first foreign word that was mistranslated when English speakers started using it and I'm sure it won't be the last.

How to Make Mexican Tamales

Is the steaming of Tamales integral to having the right texture of the final product or is it just a means to get them cooked? I'm wondering if it would work at all to vacuum pack tamales and then cook them sous vide. I am still trying to find every opportunity to use my Anova Precision Cooker :) I suppose if I can't cook them that way I could at least reheat them later that way.

Do Wheat-Enriched Corn Tortillas Bring Us the Best of Both Worlds?

Has anyone tried the TortillaLand all corn tortillas at all? I've tried them and they are fine but I've not had a lot of other corn tortillas to compare them too. HUGE fan of the flour tortillas though from TortillaLand.

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Pork Dumplings

I am still lamenting the great pork and chive dumplings that I used to be able to get from a local Chinese takeout place. They changed to a different inferior dumpling probably 10 years or more ago now but I still miss them. They sound a lot like the description of the Way Fong dumplings but the little bit I can see of the dumplings themselves look way too small. I've tried a number of times to make it from scratch too but I doubt I'll ever get it right since I can't get Chinese chives where I live.

Everything You Can Do With a Can of Chipotles in Adobo

Canned chipotles are a pantry staple for me as well. They aren't that spicy to me but they add great depth of flavor. I usually add more than the recipe calls for too. There is almost always a partially used can sitting in my fridge but I never think to do some freezer trick so I don't have to always throw away half the can. Anyone know how long it is safe to use the leftover chipotles if left covered in the fridge?

Ask The Food Lab: Do Grill Pans Actually Mimic Grilling?

So I had an accident with my grill pan a while back where I basically burned some bbq sauce onto the pan. It is basically charcoal now and won't come clean even with scrubbing. I think I'm gonna have to resort to using my grill to burn it off so I don't sent off my smoke alarm in my apartment. Not sure what I'd do if I didn't have a grill outside at all.

The Elements of Great Gravlax, the Easiest Luxury Food You Can Make at Home

I've been wanting to try this for a while but it's one of those things I've never gotten around to. I think I would definitely try using smoked salt though since I love lox

The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs

Thanks as always Kenji for looking at this. I noticed a long time ago that parsley lasts longer in a cup of water than it does in the grocery store bag but I never really thought of covering it to make it last even longer. It is really nice to have fresh parsley around all the time, I just wish that chives could last as long as parsley does. At least dried chives from a good source (like The Spice House) still have some flavor unlike dried parsley from any source.

Pinterest button question/suggestion

I'll admit it, I do use pinterest. I pretty much only use it as a dumping ground for recipes that sound good and I want to try sometimes. Is there a way to get the Pinterest button on SE to automatically retrieve the title of the article/recipe your attempting to pin? Other websites I've used will automatically put text (usually the recipe title) into the description of the pin box, but SE has never done that. On SE I usually just end up doing a copy/paste of the recipe title, but it'd be handier to not have to do that.

(Firefox 18 on Windows 7 if that matters)

New to Whole Foods

I saw a talk thread a couple weeks ago asking the same question about Trader Joe's, so I figured I'd start one about Whole Foods. There is finally a Whole Foods market opening up in the southern suburbs of Chicago (Orland Park IL to be precise) in a couple weeks. I know the nickname is "Whole Paycheck" and all that, but without worrying a whole lot about money what are the items that Whole Foods excels at? and what sort of stuff should be avoided?

I won't be going there every week or anything since it still a decent drive to get there, but it will be a much more reasonable drive than any other Whole Foods that has existed in the Chicago area before now.

Pizza Steel instead of Pizza Stone?

Has anyone ever tried using steel in place of stone for oven pizza cooking? I just noticed this kickstarter linked below that claims steel makes for great pizza. I would think that steel would lose its heat faster than stone but I suppose that might be a good thing if that heat is going into the pizza faster. It just seems to me that stone vs steel for pizza baking would be like the difference between cast iron and aluminum for a frying pan. Both can get very hot, but the second options wouldn't be able to build up as much heat as the first.

Pizza Steel Kickstarter
(disclaimer, I am no way associated with this kickstarter at all, not even a backer as of right now)

Best brand of Vanilla?

Seeing as how the Christmas holidays are coming up and everyone seems to bake a lot more this time of year, I think this question could help a lot of people.

My mom has always used the standard McCormick pure vanilla extract from the grocery store baking aisle. She did at least use pure extract instead of imitation. A while back I tried a different brand, Wilton I think, and was surprised that there was a noticeable difference.

I have used the Wilton bottle up now and can't find any more in the store where I got it before. I would like to know what your favorite brand of Vanilla is so I can buy some. I was looking at the King Arthur Flour site and noticed that their vanilla is rated well by their viewers, but I don't know if there is something better out there.

Emailing an article not working?

Over the last week or two I have tried emailing a couple of posts to someone using the email button at the top of the article, but it doesn't seem to be working because the recipient hasn't gotten anything. I tried emailing myself an article with the same method an hour or so tonight and I still haven't received it either. Has anyone else successfully used the email feature lately at all?

The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

The secret to peeling hard boiled eggs? Well "secret" might be a bit of an exaggeration. Here's the truth: there is no 100% fool-proof method I've found, and I do believe I've tried them all, many, many times over. That said, a bit of the old scientific method has helped to greatly increase my success rate. I can now pretty routinely produce perfectly boiled eggs with clean-peeling shells, and you can too! More

The Best General Tso's Chicken

If the British can proudly call Chicken Tikka Masala their national dish, then surely it's time that General Tso got his chicken in our national spotlight. Everybody knows the candy-sweet take-out joint version, but I firmly believe that it has the potential to be so much more than that. How great would a homemade version of General Tso's be, with a flavor that shows some real complexity and a texture that takes that crisp-crust-juicy-center balance to the extreme? Our version does just that. More

The Food Lab: Bringing Home General Tso's Chicken

If the British can proudly call Chicken Tikka Masala their national dish, then surely it's time that General Tso got his chicken in our national spotlight. Everybody knows the candy-sweet take-out joint version, but I firmly believe that it has the potential to be so much more than that. How great would a homemade version of General Tso's be, with a flavor that shows some real complexity and a texture that takes that crisp-crust-juicy-center balance to the extreme? More

The Serious Eats Guide to Whole Grains

Grains have been a staple of the human diet for the last, oh, 10,000 years. And if you think about it properly—by which I mean with a few debatable leaps of logic and some generous omissions—grains are also basically responsible for all the best things: beer, adorable pets, beds, cheesy popcorn, and, yes, internet. In that fertile crescent-agricultural revolution-cradle of civilization sense, that is.

But have you ever listened to someone wax rhapsodic about the delights of whole grains and thought to yourself, meh? Welcome to the club that I totally just quit.


How to Make Jerk Chicken at Home

Spicy, sweet, camphorous, and a little woodsy, jerk chicken is a wholly unique experience. The skin should be a burnished mahogany, crisp and redolent of warm spices like nutmeg and allspice, laced with thyme and ginger. I set out to find a way to bring jerk chicken to my own backyard. Turns out it's easier said than done. See our step-by-step directions in the slideshow. More

The Burger Lab: How To Make Oklahoma Onion Burgers

Onions and beef go together like baths and bubbles, like Wallace and Gromit, like hitchhikers and towels, get the picture. They belong together, long for each other's company. A burger without onions is still a burger, but tuck a few slices of raw sweet onion underneath or spread a pile of deeply browned caramelized onions on top and you've got yourself something that is suddenly more than a sum of its parts. Nowhere is this fact more well-known than in Oklahoma, home of the Onion Burger, a burger that is nearly as much onion as it is meat. Today we're gonna talk about how to make your own at home. More

The Serious Eats Pizza-Making Guide

Welcome to our brand new pizza index! Over the years, our staff and readers have worked to build a treasure trove of pizza recipes and techniques, ranging from regional classics to home kitchen adaptations and twists. Have we covered it all? Absolutely not—that would take all the fun out it! One of pizza's greatest qualities, at least in our humble opinion, is how difficult it is to pin down or define. Ideally, this list will continue to grow and evolve indefinitely. In the meantime, we've done our best to organize our existing pizza resources to make things a little easier for all the home cooks and aspiring pizzaoli out there. Have at it, Slice'rs! More

City Grit Chef Sarah Simmons's Creamy Parmesan Grits

I grew up with grits. Whether they were instant with extra salt, slow-cooked with chunks of cheddar, or tented with a Kraft Single and a puddle of Tabasco (a la Waffle House), I'd eat them every which way. And I'd still eat them every morning if I didn't have to mail-order a good bag. Even though menus today are replete with Southern-inflected versions of the Bible Belt breakfast staple, it is still surprisingly difficult to find a bag of white ground corn labeled "grits" above the Mason-Dixon line. It's a good thing Sarah Simmons's recipe for Creamy Parmesan Grits from Food and Wine's new book America's Greatest New Cooks still works with "polenta." More

The Pizza Lab: Foolproof Pan Pizza

I've got a confession to make: I love pan pizza. I'm not talking deep-dish Chicago-style with its crisp crust and rivers of cheese and sauce, I'm talking thick-crusted, fried-on-the-bottom, puffy, cheesy, focaccia-esque pan pizza, dripping with strings of mozzarella and robust sauce. If only pizza that good were also easy to make at home. Well here's the good news: It is. This is the easiest pizza you will ever make. Seriously. All it takes is a few basic kitchen essentials, some simple ingredients, and a bit of patience. More

Maple Baked Beans

As with many recipes, the secret ingredient to world-changing baked beans is pork. Good quality, salty, cured, fatty pork will make you look down on the ketchupy, mushy baked beans of your past and look forward to years of tinkering with this recipe until you finally reach your own bean nirvanna. More

Provençal White Bean Dip

While in Napa recently, I found and loved a white bean dip at Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Yountville, which came served with pain epi. It was creamy, mild, and mellow, but not bland at all. And it had a distinct advantage over butter—I could slather on as much as I wanted without guilt. More

How to Make Swiss Buttercream

Now that it's become de rigueur to cover and decorate celebration cakes with fondant, the flexible sugar dough that's become exceedingly popular thanks to cake TV shows, Swiss buttercream has become an afterthought. For me, a cook who believes that it's never worth it to sacrifice flavor for appearance, the demise of buttercream cakes is a travesty. More