Profile

engmcmuffin

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Favorite foods: eggs! I was a strange kid. Other kids had favorite foods like ice cream and pizza and french fries. I loved eggs. In any form. random comfort food: falafel :]

Father's Day Giveaway: Win a KettlePizza Pro 22 Kit

One time we had leftover pizza in the fridge. It disappeared. We have never figured out who ate it. I have my suspicions. . .

Father's Day Giveaway: Win a Baking Steel!

My dad likes to be "creative" which means adding new and weird ingredients to anything. He also likes things colorful.... so... I'm going to go with... ham, red peppers and olives or something.....

Ask The Food Lab: Is It OK To Probe My Meat?

I can't really afford a thermapen at the moment. Can you recommend an alternative?

Cook the Book: 'The Adobo Road Cookbook'

Chinese food, all the varieties. For us, "Food is love" is the name of the game.

AHT Giveaway: Tickets to NY Burger Week's Beer, Bowling & Burger Festival on May 3

Probably an IPA.

Video: How to Poach Eggs, the Foolproof Method (Really!)

Great video! I think the video is a bit long, considering how short the actual tip is. I appreciate the stuff about egg freshness, but some of the other bits were less essential. Thanks! I know what I'm having for Saturday breakfast!

Cook the Book: 'Stewed'

soondubu jigae really hits the spot during the wintertime.

Holiday Giveaway: The Amazing Thermapen Thermometer

Cranberry glazed ham for Thanksgiving #2!!! :)

Where to Get Congee in Chinatown, NYC

I looooove congee. Especially pork and century egg. I've never been a fan of the chicken variety.
I just wanted to mention that the lack of chicken-y flavor in your congee may be from the way the restaurant serves it. A lot of restaurants have a gigantic pot of plain congee on the stove constantly. When its ordered, they scoop it into a smaller pot with the add-ins. Many will then toss in the aromatics (scallions, cilantro, ginger and maybe peanuts) on top right before serving.
In addition, this might introduce variation in the thickness of the congee. The longer that giant pot has been on the stove, the more broken down the rice gets. But it also means that more water boils away, making it thicker.
Personally, I prefer to make congee at home. Then I can add anything I want to it. Unfortunately, it never gets quite as creamy as the restaurants' because I am too impatient to wait.

Cook the Book: 'Mac and Cheese'

kraft mac and cheese always has a special place in my heart.

We Try Every Species of Goldfish

Now I really really want some goldfish. I usually buy Goldfish Baby because its included in sales but the package is 7.2 ounces instead of 6.6 ounces. Better unit price! I know its not a big difference, but they taste the same as the regular sized cheddar ones. :)

Rice Cakes with Chili Paste, Fermented Black Bean, and Sichuan Peppercorn

When using frozen ones, do you thaw them beforehand? OR can you toss them in while frozen? We have a lot of issues with the rice cakes sticking to each other.

San Diego: Pete Mayo's Waffle Burgers are Only Tasty in Theory

Sounds like they're hoping to ride on the novelty of this idea. Its too bad, the idea is great. Might need to whip up some savory waffles for myself this week.

Win Two Tickets to Plate by Plate on October 5th

Confession: I'm A Crystal Light Fan

I'm a fan of crystal light! I often find it too sweet though and add extra water. I also like mixing flavors; I'm a sucker for Arnold Palmers. Unfortunately, generic brand versions are terrible. They cross to too-artificial line. At that point, I'd rather just drink water.

Cook the Book: 'This is a Cookbook'

goat cheese pear arugula salad? trendy enough? how about when its eaten with a delicious square slice?

Win The Rubin Museum's Guide to NYC Himalayan Food and Culture

I have a weakness for dumplings, so momos it is!

Taste Test: Taro Ice Pops

Is the icyness or gumminess from freezer burn or melting and refreezing? Or just being in the dang freezer too long? Based on the packaging alone (my rule of thumb when I compare brands at the Chinese supermarket), Shao Mei looks the most promising. Is it too late in the summer to start experimenting with making these myself? We used to make red bean ice pops as kids, but I don't think we ever did taro...

Win Two VIP Tickets to the 2012 Vendy Awards on Saturday, September 15th

I'm a big fan of Taim.

Cook the Book: 'The Mile End Cookbook'

pastrami is always a winner in my book.

Food Policy: Are You Still Shopping for Organics?

I have never really favored organic products when I shop. Mainly, the high cost of organic products is prohibitive for my poor wallet. For some packaged products, if I find I like it and it just so happens to be organic I will return to it.
As for whether organic farming is better or worse for everyone, I think the jury is still out. Lots of people in developing countries are still using traditional methods to grow crops. These would be considered organic. But none of them are able to make a living from that.

Grocery Clerk - What Would You Do?

Even though this situation sounds slightly fishy, there isn't much you can do.

1. Blind people who use guide dogs aren't necessarily completely blind. So its possible that he still has adequate visual acuity to read labels on packages if held close enough to his face. Or perhaps he wasn't reading, just trying to verify the package by color/shape of the logo.

2.If someone states that he is using a service animal you cannot force them to somehow prove it. In this case, he said that he was blind. Barring anything really obvious (i.e. he's driving or something), you can't prove that he is lying. But service animals are not limited to use by blind people. Also, the definition of "service animal" has been debated quite a bit.

3. Be careful about accusing someone of lying about a service animal. If you deny service or discriminate based on this, they are under the protection of the ADA. Violation of ADA regulations can result in fines and lawsuits.

Bake the Book: The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking

chocolate chip cookies

Folding Pizza Wheel: Does It Make the Cut?

you can never go wrong with a chinese cleaver. I think my aunt uses one to carve the thanksgiving turkey. She's the best bird carver I know.

Cook the Book: 'Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard'

cherries! I can't resist eating them fresh, so they never make it into any baked goods, though.

Recipes using fig leaves?

As the summer is winding down, our fig tree is pushing out its last fruits. I've heard that fig leaves can be eaten or steeped as tea. As usual, I found a lot of chatter on the internet, but I'd like to hear from Serious Eaters. Have any of you tried this or have recipes to share?

DIY Mint Extract

Mint has a tendency to take over the garden. Aside from sprinkling into just about any dish I'm cooking, I've been trying to utilize it better.
I've browsed a bit for tips on making mint extract, but haven't found much.
Have any of you tried it?
Do you have any advice?
Is this a terrible idea?
Do you have alternative methods of using and/or preserving lots of mint?

Need advice about scotch

I want to get a gift for my academic advisor (finally finished my Master's!) to give him at graduation. I've been told he's a serious scotch drinker. But... I don't know the first thing about buying scotch.
What do I buy him? Brand? Blended? Single Malt? Any specific stores to go to (NYC area, please)? Cost is a consideration, but not a huge one. It is an important gift, after all.

I need a primer on basmati rice

I was at home last week and found that my parents had purchased a sizable bag of basmati rice. They are strictly jasmine rice people and complained that they don't like basmati. They went so far as to suggest throwing it out.

I realized that they are cooking it exactly the same way they cook jasmine rice and expecting to get the same results: namely, tossing it in the rice cooker with the same rice:water ratio they always use. The main complaint is that its "too dry" or "not sticky like jasmine rice". I think they just expect all types of rice to be interchangeable (which is a whole other issue entirely...)

I feel mildly foolish asking this, but googling turns out different instructions.
So tell me, how do I make basmati rice? And what should do you do to make it interesting?
Soak or not? Water : Rice ratio? Wash? Rice cooker?

Starbucks for the non-coffee-drinker

Quite often, my friends who want to hang out default to meeting up at one of the many many Starbucks in New York. If possible, I try to steer them towards other places that are less specialty-coffee-focused, but I can't always do that.
I don't drink coffee for various reasons (tummy problems, caffeine causes headaches and insomnia) and I have to limit my dairy intake (more tummy problems!). Sometimes I don't order anything but that can make things awkward than necessary (especially if said friend is offering to pay).

Sure, I could just get a tea or decaf, but I wanted to know if you guys have favorite non-coffee drinks from Starbucks.
Thanks!

If you went to the SE New York meetup, check your receipts!

I was going through my credit card statement this month and I noticed that Radegast accidentally charged me incorrectly (almost twice what my bill was). It was super crazy that day, so I can see how stuff like this might happen. It was probably just an isolated incident, but I just wanted to drop a line to all of you, just in case.

Alternative to a Salad Spinner?

I have two issues to deal with:
1. I feed my pet rabbit a small bowl of fresh leafy vegetables every night. To cut back on time, I usually make a large batch (enough for several days) and store it uncovered in the fridge.
Inevitably, when I get close to the bottom of the container, the vegetables have started to wilt or get soggy. I know that a salad spinner would probably help with this issue by getting the veggies as dry as possible before storing. However:

2. I already have way too many colanders and wash basins. There must be some weird cosmic wormhole that deposits more colanders into my cabinet or something. I do realize I could replace a bunch of colanders with a new salad spinner, but it just seems wasteful to throw something away. Also, I'd rather not take up more cabinet space with a new kitchen tool.
Finally, I'd like to avoid using tons of paper towels.

Any ideas or DIY solutions?

Help me restock my mustard stash!

I ran out of mustard! I don't really know how that happened... but I managed to finish all of my jars/bottles. In the past, I've never really thought that much about mustard... I just used whatever was in the fridge. It wasn't until recently I started using it much more. I guess that's why I ran out.
So.. now is the time buy some really good stuff! Why waste my time and tastebuds on junk? I would love to have several different kinds but I have limited fridge space, so I think 3-4 is a compromise what I can handle.
(yes, I've seen the SE mustard taste test. I might not be able to get some of the brands they recommended, though.)
What should I get? And whats your favorite usage for your recommendation?

Souvenir from China/HK?

Some friends of mine are headed to China (Shanghai and a bunch of other cities) and Hong Kong next week. And they have offered to bring me back something. But I can't think of anything in particular that I can't get here. Perhaps some sort of food/snack or a kitchen tool?
Obviously, this needs to pass customs. Light weight or compact items are a plus!

HELP! Grainy/oily deviled eggs filling

Everything was going fine. I shut off the food processor, decided to add just a little more olive oil, so i turned it back on. I guess I added it too fast, and the filling broke!!
Anyway to salvage this? I don't think I have enough eggs left for another batch. This is for a potluck tomorrow. And I was really hoping to bring something not-terrible.
What can I do??
...sigh...

The Family Meal, where to start?

I just won a copy of Ferran Adria's Family Meal in a raffle this weekend. Just quickly looking at it, I LOVE IT. Step by step photos and a cooking schedule for each menu. I haven't gotten to read it all just yet. But where should I start?? Anyone have favorites from this book? Is it everything you hoped for?

Eats in El Salvador!

I'm headed to El Salvador next week for a public health project. Aside from flying into San Salvador, we won't be spending much time there. We'll be in Morazan, working in some villages near Perquin. Hopefully, I can do some culinary exploring on some of our days off.
Aside from pupasas...what do I need to eat or drink while I'm there? (what should I avoid? Anything unsafe to eat?)
Also, what should I bring back? Snacks/Candies? Spices? special kitchen tools?

Chipotle sour cream ideas?

I recently had a phase of bringing wraps to work/class for lunch or dinner. But then i ran out of wraps, so i got more wraps, but then ran out of fillings, and bought those and then . . . the cycle continued for several weeks...

Anyway, i bought some chipotle sour cream (because it was on sale) but now my vicious cycle of wraps has stopped. Any general ideas for what I can do with it?

I added a bit into some egg salad last week. Pretty good, but I avoid making egg salad too often.
I'd rather not go out and buy any "special" ingredients because I'd like to clean out the fridge...
I'd also like to avoid heavy/cheesy/condensed soup casseroles and such.
How about baking? Or would the "chipotle" flavoring make that weird?
Brainstorm with me!

Kidney beans keep splitting when soaking

The last few times I've made kidney beans, they split when I soak them! Ever since Kenji's chili Food Lab, I always soak my beans overnight in salted water.
Whats going on? Do I need more salt? This hasn't happened with other beans I've soaked/cooked (chickpeas, white beans, pinto beans, etc) recently. Did i just get a bad brand?
When I cook them, they dont soften particularly quickly, so I dont want to just not soak them.
Any ideas?

Favorite popcorn toppings?

I'm trying to get into the habit of making popcorn at home to eat as a snack. Its filling and has a bunch of fiber and I can control how much oil/butter I put into it.
I've been making it in the wok and its been working well. I like the curved sides and heat distribution. A bit heavy to shake, though.

I could use some flavoring suggestions!
What are you favorite ways to season popcorn?
Anyone have good tips for kettle corn? I am wary of burnt sugar..

I'd like to pack some to eat at work, class, or on the train, so I'd like to keep it non-messy and will hold up for a day or two.

Pre-Hurricane Habanero Harvest-Recipe Needed!

Help! Before Hurricane Irene came through here, we picked as many of our habaneros as possible. Almost all of them are still green. I'm ripening some on the counter.
I'm super excited! But I know I can't use them all right now. I'd love to make some hot sauce or something. But I've never done it!
Can you guys give me some ideas or tips for making use of all these peppers?
How do I make a hot sauce?
Should I dry them first?
What about making some with the green habaneros instead of waiting for ripeness?

Your best coleslaw (and variations!) recipes

Lately I've been a bit obsessed with coleslaw and cabbage in general. All too often, its mediocre at best in restaurants. I've made it myself many times, but would love some variations!!!

So share with me:

do you add any special additions?
alternatives to cabbage?
alternatives to mayo?
healthy variations especially welcome!!!!

Using up basil for a barbecue/picnic dish

My extended family is having a barbecue together this weekend. And my parents' basil plants are thriving but my mom doesn't know what to do with it!
I'd love some ideas for a side dish or salad that uses up a bunch of it.
Keep in mind that its going to be a cold/room temperature dish.
We don't really have picky eaters in the family, so anything goes!

Thanks in advance!

Cooking with flavored yogurt?

So, in general, I don't buy plain yogurt much unless there's something specific (like a dip or something) I would make with it. I do, however, buy cups of flavored yogurt because its fast and easy to carry for lunch.
Every so often, I'll be cooking something and think "yogurt would be great for this!" but end up not having any plain yogurt on hand.
Does any one cook with flavored yogurt? And I mostly mean savory meal applications. Are there any issues with it?
Of course, share a recipe if you have a good one!

Lunch near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Prospect Park)

I'm headed home this weekend for Mother's Day and I suggested to my mom that we should make a trip to the BBG together. Enjoy the nice weather and the cherry blossoms. I won't be able to take her out to dinner, but perhaps a nearby lunch would be nice?

Any good suggestions? Preferably a place that isn't too loud/busy on a Saturday.
It might be a late-ish meal.
My mom isn't too picky about food but I'd like it to be something she doesn't eat just any day.
Nothing too "fancy" or too hip/trendy because I want her to feel comfortable, you know?
Simple food is fine, she has an event to go to in the evening.

Thanks for your input!

Mini-bundt recipes

I recently bought a set of silicone mini-bundt baking cups on a whim (they were super cheap) and I want to try them out.

Honestly, I've never had a bundt pan, in any size, so I'd like to do more than just pop some cake/quick bread batter into these.

Does anyone have a great recipe?

A whole pot of caramelized onions, what now?

After hearing about using a crockpot to make a huge batch of caramelized onions, I decided to use up all of the onions I have left to do this. So... after a whole day of my apartment (and me!) smelling like onions..... what should I do with them?

At some point, I'll probably want to make french onion soup, but right now, I don't want to use the whole pot right away!
(I have a small "bachelor-sized" crockpot, there isnt' mountains of this good stuff)

Anyone have awesome applications for this?
Thanks in advance!

49 Pasta Recipes We Love

One of the best things about pasta is its incredible versatility. Whether you prefer tomatoes and meat slow-cooked into a heavy sauce, or something light and lemony tossed with fresh herbs, or a comforting cheesy casserole, you can easily find your next dinner here. More

The Vegan Experience, a Retrospective: All 28 of Kenji's Vegan Recipes

Kenji's monthlong Vegan Experience has come to an end. Over the course of that animal-product-free month, he shared many vegan recipes with us. And whether you're vegan or not, you have to admit, these soups, sandwiches, and shoot even a vegan Frito pie (!), looked pretty darn delicious. Here's a roundup of all 28 of his vegan recipes. More

Sauces for eggs?

I have an unexpected visitor coming into town tonight and I know for a fact that her favorite food is the incredible, edible egg. Now, I know a million and one different ways to cook an egg, and an equal... More

The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough

If there's one thing that instills fear into the hearts and minds of American cooks, it's pie crust. I know. At one time, I was one of those people. Pie crusts were the Mumm-ra to my Lion-O, and it was all because they were a mystery to me. What makes them flaky? What makes them tender? And most importantly, how come mine used to come out like pliant pieces of leather instead of buttery and delicious? More

The Best Falafel Sandwich in New York City

It's hard work, but someone had to do it: hunt down the best falafel sandwich in New York. What makes it the best? Falafel with crispy shells and tender interiors, not too dry, with a good internal balance of chickpea, parsley, and spice; pita that's fresh-tasting and delicious; sauces and toppings that add to the total package. Here's the Top 7, ending with our winner—the best falafel in New York. More

Dinner Tonight: Cilantro Chicken (Dhania Chicken)

At first, this Kenyan recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's From Curries to Kebabs seemed like a mad cross between Hainanese chicken rice and Leo Maya's tomatillo chicken. It's a stewed chicken dish with a whole bunch of ginger and garlic, along with way more cilantro than I've ever used for one recipe before. I figured it'd be a perfect spring dish, but I was wrong. It actually comes out tasting like a rich beef stew—a delicious beef-like stew, but still. More

The Burger Lab: The Fake Shack

More than enough has already been written about the Shack Burger from New York City's Shake Shack. I decided to recreate it at home, which meant I had to eat it, dissect it, deconstruct it, research it, eat it some more, rebuild it, break it down again, reconfigure it, taste it, eat it one more time, and finally reconstruct it again. Here are the results. 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

Mastering Barbecue Side Dishes

Photographs courtesy of the Paupered Chef What's barbecue without its accoutrements? Meat may play center stage, but as in so many meals, the sides are just about as important as the main event. Serious Eats contributor Nick Kindelsperger tackles slaw, hushpuppies, and black-eyed peas over at The Paupered Chef.... 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

A Guide to the Best Blueberry Muffins in New York City

This city is flooded with blueberry muffins. Plain ones, sugar-dusted numbers, big ones, itty bitty ones, and others still, paired with everything from bran to corn. We loved some, hated others, and passed on a few. Our conclusion? There's one we can honestly call "the best" and many others which are simply great and worth a detour. In the end, blueberry muffins, like most sweets, are totally subjective. Taste is personalized, so we've made sure to included seriously delicious muffins on all ends of the spectrum. More