Profile

samiamb

I love to experiment and make a mess in the kitchen. I also love reading (esp. reading "the classics") and cats and Baroque stuff. I'm interested in growing my own herbs and vegs, but the deer where I live are very, very cheeky.

  • Location: Northern NJ
  • Favorite foods: Sashimi, oysters on the half-shell, food from Northern New Mexico, Camembert, eggplant, rose-flavored black tea, fresh French bread, almonds, raspberries, sake, vindaloo. Dove brand (!) dark chocolate. Coffee.
  • Last bite on earth: A Delmonico steak done rare with wild onion compound butter and really good frites.

Are you a serial sampler?

There was this gourmet/neighborhood market in Maywood, NJ I used to visit. Had a very generous sampling policy of cheese and crostini spreads. I think they must have had 20 different kinds of gouda to try. This really helped when I didn't have enough to eat. And it was delicious, too. If I didn't live so far away from them nowadays, I would reward them with my business.

Midnight Munchies...Sleep or Eat?

I usually sleep instead of eat.

Almond milk

I totally love the taste of unsweetened almond milk, but I stopped buying it when I learned in Nutrition Action how few almonds actually go into it. I'm back to drinking milk now.

Giveaway: Enter to Win This Panasonic Breadmaker

Seedless rye bread. The bakery kind.

Snapshots from France: Nutty Sweets and Biscuits from Brittany

Yum. Yum. Yum.

I heard that the French are not fond of peanuts in their chocolate, though. Their loss?

Shirataki Noodles

Interesting comments. Thanks, everyone!

What's your secret kitchen "cheat" tool?

I have a little plastic contraption that I got a long time ago with a set of Ron Popeil Ginsu Knives -- it efficiently juices citrus when you insert it into the fruit and squeeze, and I guess that counts.

Served: Leaving Restaurants for Groceries

I'm the same way with grocery stores. Sometimes I prefer to call them "food museums." Good luck with the new job!

Bake the Book: 'Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home'

The first time I tried green tea ice cream.

Hurricane Eats: What are you stocking up for the storm?

We're going to try something a little different. I heard that we're supposed to open the fridge/freezer as little as possible so that it can stay cold in the event the power goes out. With that in mind, I decided to take a bunch of refrigerated items out of the fridge in advance and keep them in an ice chest for the duration of the storm, eating them as it progresses. I also have tons of ramen and all the fixings - as well as a gas stove. Hopefully it won't come to that. Yesterday I visited the grocery, the drug store, and the gas station, and everywhere it was a madhouse with people making preparations. It's already beginning to look threatening out (Saturday morning going on 8:30.)

Scott's Pizza Chronicles: San Marzano Fact vs Fiction

Very edifying article, thanks.

French in a Flash: Campanelle with Eggplant Caviar

I have a nice big container in the fridge right now of eggplant caviar that I made. I've been wrapping it in large basil leaves as a snack, but I love the idea of serving it as a meal with toasted pine nuts and pasta. Thanks!

Carpe diem! Not much summer left....Dinner plans 8.24.11

It was too cool to go to the swimming pool this afternoon, so I made a cool-weather dinner as a preview of things to come. I cut some boneless chicken breasts thin, coated them in panko crumbs, and sauteed them in canola oil. While keeping them warm, I cooked some Japanese rice. Then I made a Japanese vegetable curry, with potatoes, carrots, onions, and shredded granny smith apple. I assembled the curry on top of the rice. Then I sliced the chicken cutlets, which turned out nice and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside, and placed the slices on top of the curry. My mother and I loved it.

Cleaning out the fridge before moving - help!

@PoorOldMama, I'm gonna try that recipe. I have quite a lot of cranberries in the freezer that I'd been looking to put good use to as well. Thanks.

25 Malaysian Dishes You Should Know

I loved this article. Thanks!

Cook the Book: 'The Glorious Pasta of Italy'

I never met a penne alla vodka I didn't like. But maybe my most memorable pasta dish was hand-harvested mussels from a friend's summer house on Long Island along with linguine and a nice white wine mignonette and, of course, a good crusty bread and wine to drink and a simple green salad.

Labor Day Giveaway: Tenderloin Filets and Cedar Grilling Planks

Burgers, steaks, and vegs such as eggplant and zucchini sliced lengthwise and big mushrooms.

excess onions

I use onions so often that it's not a worry for me. I put the leftover onion in a zipper bag in the crisper and use it in the next day or two. I agree: if you have LOTS of leftover onions, you can chop and freeze them.

non-celebrity chefs that have influenced you

Just the French family I stayed with for a summer. I asked a lot of questions about the meals they prepared, and they were generous with answers. They enjoyed educating me in provincial French cuisine, and I certainly enjoyed learning. It's stuck with me ever since.

BraveTart: In the Hall of the Dairy Queen

I love the Blizzard, but my fave flavor is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Never much cared for the other kinds.

Photo of the Day: Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond Has a Messy Kitchen Too

I'm definitely a clean up as you go type. But I used to have a miniscule galley kitchen with a tiny sink and next to no counter space -- that made cleaning up as I go a terrible challenge, and I'd end up putting my dirty dishes on the kitchen table. The table wasn't as big as the one in the photo, but the photo brought back unpleasant memories of scrambling to make things fit in that ridiculous apartment kitchen. My heart goes out to everyone here who has to cope with a tiny kitchen!

Weekend Cook and Tell: Celebrating Sardines and Anchovies

What I've heard left and right about anchovies adding "umami" to a dish is true. I sautee some anchovies in olive oil when I make a red clam sauce. The anchovies just disintegrate, and they provide great flavor.

I also like them on pizza sometimes! Or on top of a salad.

Or even plain.

"Seriously Indian"?

If only someone over there at SE could be sponsored for a trip to India. Not only would I appreciate the recipes; I'd also love the photos!

Maybe by tackling one region at a time.....

I've had mixed results with my forays into Indian cooking. Chana masala, it's fair to say I've nailed. I've also been experimenting with vindaloo. But I'd always welcome a SE supplement to my cookbooks and the websites I've bookmarked. With photos!!

SE Staff Picks: Our Favorite Non-Pedestrian Cheeses

That was seriously entertaining.

This time, coffee near Times Sq.

Empire Coffee. It's a coffee and tea purveyor with a coffee bar. The east side of Ninth Avenue, somewhere around 42nd or 43rd Street. Like, a half a block uptown of the back of the Port Authority. No seating, though. I think they have a website you can look at, too.

SE Print Jumbled Up

I'm getting very tired of being unable to read Serious Eats because the type is jumbled up on top of itself. I'd hate to stop coming to the site because of a technical issue like that, because the writing and photos and threads are so good! But it's driving me crazy lately. I seriously doubt that this is because of my computer. All other sites I visit are without problems.

Shirataki Noodles

What's the story with shirataki noodles? I think I heard somewhere that they're good for diabetics, or something like that. Does anyone have experience with cooking/eating them? Are they better than other kinds of noodles in anyone's opinion? Is there a special way that anyone likes to prepare them?

Stuffed Grape Leaves

I've made stuffed grape leaves once before, but my recipe calls for only partially cooking the rice, and then lining the pot with extra grape leaves and weighing the whole recipe down in the pot with a heavy plate.

Can I make stuffed grape leaves instead with fully cooked rice and without cooking the leaves, or would that affect the taste? I'm going for a standard mint/dill rice mixture (and actually would like to use brown rice, come to think of it), and I'm using jarred grape leaves in brine.

Grapeseed Oil 2: Good for Tempura?

The post on pepperoni-tempura, and a recent dining experience which left me thinking I could do it better, is causing me to wonder if it'd be good to deep-fry tempura in this grapeseed oil I've bought. It occurs to me that it might work well, due to the relatively high smoking point and it's flavorlessness. Has anyone tried it?

Would certainly look forward to a possible post from Kenji in the Food Lab or elsewhere on SE about the rules of the tempura game! I made it once and it turned out fine, but that was a long time ago. And it'd be an interesting topic :)

Microwaving Japanese Rice?

I don't have a rice cooker. I'm wondering if it's possible to make good sticky Japanese rice in the microwave. I've had much success using the microwave with other kinds of rice. Has anyone tried this? I'm looking to cook just a cup of it dried.

Custard for Puff Pastry Fruit Tart

My mother fell in love with a dessert we had in a restaurant, and I'd like to replicate it for her birthday. It was a rectangular sheet of puff pastry on the bottom, with glazed assorted fruit slices on top. It's the custard in between the fruit and pastry that I don't know how to make. I don't have much custard experience. Can anyone help me make a custard that would go with these other elements of the dessert?

JFC/Karaage

I just came back from a Japanese lunch and tried karaage chicken for the first time. It was ridiculously succulent and absolutely delicious -- so much so that I may just have to break my general rule of not trying to deep fry anything myself. Has anyone here attempted Japanese fried chicken before? Any pointers if so?

Pizza In/Around Little Falls, NJ

First, I scrolled through the NJ section of the Pizza tab and didn't find much, if anything, very close to me. I'm not too familiar with that part of SE.

I've heard conflicting reviews of Sun Ray Pizza, a takeout-only joint which has been around for a long time and which seems to specialize in Sicilian style pizza. Some people swear by it and some think it's very middling. Has anyone on SE tried it?

I've heard generally good things about Pizza 46, which serves a rather thin-crust pizza and many different kinds of it. I'm leaning toward them for my next pizza experience.

Any other pizza joints worth trying in or near Little Falls, NJ? (I live in North Caldwell.) I'm thinking about fried calamari lately, too. (Versailles Diner in Fairfield serves it and sometimes it's great and sometimes it's really not -- seems to depend which cook is in at any given time.)

I apologize in advance if this is too local for y'all!

Working with Ancho Chiles

I've never cooked chile or chili sauce with whole ancho chiles before, only the powder. I know I have to reconstitute them in a hot liquid, but then what? I guess I'm doubting whether they will really break down in the blender. Advice? (Making Frito pie.)

Amazon $ to Burn

Boredom is setting in over here, and I'm thinking a have a nice Amazon gift card leftover from last year's birthday, and I'd like to spend it on food/ingredients I can't normally get a hold of easily. So far, I've thought of Bhujia chaat mix (Indian) and some coconut water. If you had money to burn on Amazon for imported food, what might you spend it on? I especially like French, Indian, and Japanese cuisine, but I'm adventurous.

Vanilla Syrup for Coffee?

It occurred to me that I can replicate one of those fancy Monin or Torani coffee syrups, vanilla flavor, just by using water, sugar, and vanilla extract. Has anyone ever done this before? If so, let me know what proportions worked for you. Elsewise, I'm just going to experiment.

Stinky Daikon

First, I found a market near me that carries daikon radishes. My regular supermarket doesn't. I was overjoyed when I found them, and I took one home. I ate some of it raw and decided to pickle the rest of it, but the day after I did I opened the container and the thing stank up the whole kitchen. It doesn't taste rotten or bad or anything, it just smells. Is that normal for a daikon radish? I've smelled something similar in Korean pickles, but I'm not sure if they were daikons; if they were then they were dyed yellow.

Other than that, I'm still getting more daikons. I enjoy eating them raw, and they keep for a long time. But will they also stink if I try to cut them up and roast them, or pan-fry them?

Thai Red Curry Sauce

I just bought my first bottle of Thai red curry sauce yesterday (Trader Joe's), and I'm interested in your suggestions as to how to use it. I'd like to keep my first experience of it relatively simple.

A Sauce for Broccoli

I love broccoli. Sometimes I steam it, sometimes I blanch it, and sometimes I stir-fry it with a pinch of sugar. But I've been hankering for a sauce to put over it lately. I think something other than a cheese sauce or a hollandaise. Any ideas?

Club Soda and Seltzer

I usually cut my fruit juice with a generous amount of seltzer to make a spritzer. But I've been wondering, does anyone know what the difference is between seltzer and club soda?

How to Blind Bake a 9" Pie Crust?

I used to know at what temperature and how long to bake an empty pie crust, but it's been so long since I've made a pie whose filling goes in the fridge instead of the oven that I've lost track of my notes. Does anyone know? I'll fill the shell with beans.

What to do with Turkey Gravy?

My gravy has lasted longer than my turkey, probably because I cubed the turkey and made a big salad out of it. (I added plenty of freshly ground pepper, some paprika, some Lawry's seasoned salt, some diced scallions and red onions, a lot of celery, and mayonnaise, and a couple of tablespoons lemon juice. I like to dice up the turkey and the onions quite small. It worked out well enough to get compliments when served in whole wheat pitas lined with Romaine lettuce.) I have about 2 cups of gravy left over, and I'm looking for ideas about how to use it. The only thing I can think of at the moment is putting it over french fries, and I don't feel like it.

Microwaving Trader Joe's Brown Basamati Rice

I was overjoyed to find that Trader Joe's carries brown basamati rice, but I'd really like to microwave it, and there are no non-cooktop intructions on the package. I went so far as to email Trader Joe's requesting a recipe, and they promptly responded, telling me they had nothing.

My Bombay Market brand white basamati rice comes with microwave instructions. I actually like the way the microwaved rice comes out better than the traditional way; it's easier and it comes out fluffier.

If anyone has found a good way of microwaving brown basamati rice, please let me know so I can try it for myself. I know that brown rice requires more time cooking than the white. Thanks!

Pie Crust Ingredients Conversion

I've been meaning to ask this question for some time, but I've been a little embarrassed. I plan on making a mushroom tart using a pie crust tomorrow, though, so I figure I should ask it now.

I've been very happy with the Joy of Cooking basic pie crust recipe over the years, but I notice lately that it's not been making _enough_ crust. I'd like to keep the same proportion of ingredients but make enough crust this time to use a slightly larger pie plate (when using the regular pie plate made far too little crust in the first place).

I'm not great at math, and I'm not sure if simply making one and a half of my recipe will make a good amount without too many leftovers anyway. Forgive the stupidity of this question, but I always run out of crust these days using the following Joy of Cooking recipe. Can anyone come to my rescue?

2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted, then measured, then resifted with:)
1 teaspoon salt, with
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup chilled butter
approximately 5 Tablespoons water.

Obviously I'm not enough of a baker to weigh my ingredients, and I don't plan to anytime soon.

Of course I could just use more than half of my regular recipe to make a deeper-dish mushroom tart tomorrow, and then make, like, jam hand pies with the leftover crust -- but I'd like to have a recipe that I can simply halve when making a bottom-crust pie, or use whole for a two-crust pie.

Salsify

Has anyone eaten salsify? It seems like this might be a good time of the year to try it. Any recipes or techniques they'd like to share?

Sour Salt a.k.a. Citric Acid

I saw a spice shaker of sour salt in the Kosher aisle of the supermarket yesterday. I know that citric acid has many commercial purposes, but how would it be used for the home cook?

Crumbly Cranberry Bread

I have received some complaints over some cranberry bread I made this week - too crummy. How do I adjust my recipe so that there are less crumbs? My guess is to increase either the oil or the orange juice, but I'd rather get the advice of someone who knows how to bake better than I do.

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