Lechon for Party

Assign a friend who is kitchen savvy to pick the pig after everyone has eaten. There will be meat left over for the next day, and if it is your birthday, you wouldn't want to have too much to drink and forget the pig and leave it sitting outside all night in the summer heat. Not that I know anything about that...

airport security

Twinkies stuffed in my husband's pocket made it through.

What Are You Having For Dinner?

Tuna steaks, sweet potato, maybe salad. And later a DQ treat for dessert :-)

What do you top your burgers with?

Fast food burger - mayo, cheese, all the veggies and for some reason, I always dunk just the last burger bite in the ketchup left over from my fries.

Home burger - Roasted Hatch pepper or jalapeno slices, mayo, cheese and some avocado slices. Not guacamole, fresh slices of avocado.

Premium White Rum

+1 for Havana Club and Flor de Cana

Help cooking grass fed ribeyes

Gamey flavor I have no problem with. But the texture was terrible :-(

gin & tonic with lemon

A very good friend of mine loves her G&Ts with lemons. She asks for a small rocks glass full of lemons, and adds up to 5 slices. I like it that way too, tastes like a grown up lemonade.

gin & tonic with lemon

I love Crown Royal and a splash of ginger ale, rather than Coke or Sprite. Not as sweet.

Help cooking grass fed ribeyes

Not sure of the grade, just says lean. I wanted med rare to medium. Not sure of the final temp, but the color on the inside was correct for med rare to medium. In fact, they looked great, cut easily, but was like chewing leather. I will try pounding them with the mallet.

Is bundt cake the new cupcake?

Nothing Bundt Cake in Austin, and now I see one called I Like Big Bundts in the Metroplex. Cute name, but still not sure if it's going to get me to go in.

Vacation Advice: US Virgin Islands

If you can swing a trip over to St. Croix, head to Norma's, not for the food, but for the Mamawanna. It's bush rum, or Caribbean moonshine as I call it. All I know is it has rum, herbs, spices and honey and is buried in the ground. It's potent and awesome. Plus, Norma's is also the home of the beer drinking pigs. Pay a few bucks to give the pigs non-alcoholic beer and take pics. Def a unique experience! Some VI dishes to try: goat curry or stew goat, potfish, rotis, johnny cake, patty (pronounced pa-tay), fish & fungi (pronounced foon-gee - fungi is like a cornmeal dumpling), conch in butter sauce if you can get past the texture, soursop or hibiscus juice, stew oxtail. Pass on the bullfoot soup. Have fun and congrats!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Will there be recipes from this year's Cookie Swap?

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Sriracha Lover's Ultimate Gift Pack

EEEE, pick me, pick me! I love to mix Sriracha in ketchup, and then dip fried catfish in it. I will also order plain hot wings and douse them with Sriracha. My pizza guy finally asked why we always ordered plain wings, did we not like his sauce?

Oh, I hope I win, lol!

Christmas ham and ?

Thanks guys! I am leaning towards tamales or lasagna at this point. Ya'll are the best!

canned hominy??

Perini Ranch Hominy Casserole - this is the one you want to make! Saute the onions in the bacon grease. You can also place it all in a slow cooker for 2 hours on low instead of baking, if you are taking to a pot luck. If you have Hatch green chiles, even better. This has become a requested dish at family gatherings.

kitchen collections?

Along the top of my cabinets, I have Muppet lunchboxes from the 70s and 80s, metal and plastic, along with a Sigmund & The Seamonsters, Dark Crystal and Muppet Babies thrown in. And I have decided to start a new collection of food themed t-shirts. So far I have Sriracha, Magi, Pie Makes Me Happy (from the Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, TX) and Slurm, lol. I thought about collecting salt and pepper shakers as well, but I don't have any place to display them. Also, my mother-in-law has a HUGE collection of roosters, so I think those may end up in my kitchen one day as well. Fun question!

Favorite handy kitchen tips/tricks?

Instead of disposable plastic gloves for handling peppers, I just slip sandwich sized baggies over my hands. I can move my fingers just fine, while keeping them protected from pepper seeds/juice etc. It's really nice because I can remove the baggies if needed, and then slip them right back on, as opposed to using and removing a glove, which is almost impossible for me to get my hand back in to. The baggies are cheaper too.

Absolut Tune, A New Sparkling Wine-Vodka Hybrid

I was interested until I saw $32 for the bottle. Thanks for the post!

Austin: We Eat Everything on the Menu at East Side King

Yeah, I was wondering what the line/wait situation was. Oh well, more time to drink beer.

Why Sonic's Cherry Limeade Is The Best

@Les ah - Yes! When I was a kid, my aunt would often take me to Sonic after she got out of school, to get a Cherry Lime of course! She had a collection of the little plastic monkeys on her visor. I couldn't wait til I was driving and got a car, so I could have my own collection. By the time I was old enough, they had stopped giving those out :-( This was in Texas. Kenji forgot to mention the maraschino cherry at the bottom!

Recipes for cooking ahead?

Breakfast burritos, they don't take too long to prepare. Scramble a dozen eggs or so. Make an assembly line of cooked eggs, drained black beans, chiles or salsa if you like, cheese and flour tortillas, the smaller sized tortillas. Fill burritos, not too full, roll and place seam side down on a plate to freeze. Once frozen, remove from plate and store in a freezer bag. When ready to eat, microwave 2 minutes or so and then turn over and nuke for 2 more minutes or so.

Pizzapartment, the Missing Storage Solution You Might Need

Why can't I come up with this stuff? Lol!

Serious Entertaining: An All-Avocado Meal

In the Caribbean, they are sometimes referred to as pears. I call them delicious!

Ever Tried Peanuts in Coke?

Been doing this since I was a kid in the 80s in Texas. Today, if hubby and I are on a long road trip, I must have it at least once.

What's your favourite Canadian food?

So what is a beaver tail dessert?

Help cooking grass fed ribeyes

I picked up some grass fed ribeyes in the marked down beef section at the store. I have tried cooking them every way I can think of - super hot pan for a quick sear with a finish in the oven, Kenji's flip often method, low and slow in the oven with a marinade. I set them out for an hour before cooking, and salt liberally. Yet, 3 out 3 times now, they have sucked. Dry and chewy. I know grass fed beef has a different texture than regular beef, but I am beginning to think I just bought crappy steaks. What now? I also have buffalo ribeyes from the same company, I haven't ever tried those out. Thanks!

Christmas ham and ?

We are having ham at Christmas dinner. I don't particularly care for ham, like I would eat one piece, but my father-in-law is cooking it. He is cool with having another main, however I am uninspired on what to prepare. I was thinking a casserole of some kind or maybe roast chicken. There will be at least 8 of us, maybe more. What do you serve alongside ham for the non-ham folks? Thanks!

Steel cut oats for oatmeal cookies

I have a ton of steel cut oats (Bob's Red Mill) and a craving for oatmeal cookies. I've seen some recipes for cookies where the oats were cooked ahead of time and added to the dough. Other recipes call for grinding them first, or not doing anything to them or using a mixture of rolled outs and steel cut. I am leaning towards cooking the oats first as I think using them raw would leave me with a gritty cookie. Has anyone tried using steel cut oats for cookies and what was your experience? Thanks!

Brown Bag Apple Pie

Recently ran across a recipe for apple pie, baked in a brown paper bag. As far as the recipe, pretty standard: make crust, add filling, top with a crumble mixture. You slide the whole pie in the bag, fold the end, and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Anyone heard of this before or tried it? Thanks!

Increasing phyllo in a recipe

I've only used phyllo once before, so I'm not too familiar with it. I want to make the recipe above, but use more phyllo dough, at least 12 sheets instead of 6. Will that affect cooking time? I want to make sure all the layers of dough get cooked :-)

Boiled my cast iron skillet dry - now what?

After using my skillet, my cleaning routine is to boil with water to remove any food bits and grease, rinse under hot water while scrubbing with a brush, rinse, dry, oil and store. Well, I got distracted and the next thing I know, my skillet boiled dry. It must have sat that way for a few minutes as it was very brown by the time I smelled it burning.

I let it cool, rinsed it under hot water, and then removed from water and proceeded to scrub and scrub with salt, sponges and a very stiff brush. It looked clean, with the browning gone, so I re-seasoned following Kenji's instructions. Now, the color is black again and the surface is shiny, but the bottom still looks rough and patchy. I haven't tried cooking anything on it yet.

Do I need to scrub again? With something stronger like sandpaper? (Eeek!) Re-season? Cook on it and then decide?

I looked through the articles on cast iron from this site, but I always value SE readers' feedback. Thanks!

Oatmeal cookie tweak

Started this under a different thread than the Weekend Cook n Tell. I want to use up my cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, thought about incorporating it into an oatmeal cookie. I was going to use the classic Quaker recipe:

1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

Since the cranberry sauce has some sugar but is still a little tart, should I keep the amount of sugar in the recipe the same? And should I heat the sauce and thin with water to make it more of a liquid than a jelly consistency? That would affect the liquid ratio.

A search of cranberry oatmeal cookies brings back plenty of returns using dried cranberries, but not gelled cranberry. I never bake, so I am trusting the expertise here. Also, I am aware that adding cranberry sauce will probably make my cookies pink, and I'm ok with that :-) Thanks!

Caring for wooden rolling pin

I picked up a wooden rolling pin in a thrift store for a buck, I am guessing it is from the 70s or 80s. I did some research online, but wanted to come to the experts, the SE crew, to find out: what is the best way to clean and care for an older wooden rolling pin? Thanks!

Casseroles - to cover or not

Why do some recipes call for casseroles to be covered while cooking and other recipes do not? Just curious, do you think there is a scientific reason perhaps because of ingredients, or is it more likely the cook's prerogative? Thanks!

Tamale steamer as a water bath for canning?

It is a large aluminum stock pot that has an insert about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom that has holes in it. I was thinking of putting the jars on top of that insert so that they dont touch the bottom of the pot. Then filling with water 1-2 inches over the jars. Will this work so I do not have to buy anything?

Gloves needed for handling roasted chilies?

I have mild and hot Hatch chiles that have been roasted, peeled, seeded and frozen. When ready to use, do I still need to wear gloves to chop and handle the chilies, so I don't get burning fingers? Seems like a waste since I only wear the gloves for a few minutes. Thanks!

What to do with green chili powder?

I went to New Mexico in early May, near the Hatch area. The green chilies weren't in season yet, and as I didn't have the means to transport some frozen ones from last season, I purchased green chili powder. Now, I don't know what to do with it. Use it the same as red chili powder? I would like to make a green chili sauce of some sort with it, but not sure how to start. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Spicy Margarita recipe

My sister-in-law has been hunting for a recipe for a drink she had 4 years ago. It was a Spicy Margarita and it was served at Dona Ameilias in Austin, which is now closed. Every restaurant we go to, she always asks the bartender if he/she knows how to make a Spicy Margarita. SIL describes it as cool and refreshing but with enough spice to make your lips burn and tongue tingle. She thinks it has passion fruit juice and guava nectar, but isn't sure. So, has anyone heard of this drink and has a recipe to share so I can get her to shut up about it already? :-) Thanks!


My grocery store has this fish on sale. I've never heard of it. From what I have read, it is similar (or the same?) as catfish, but can't be called catfish in the US. So, for those of you who have tried it, how does Swai taste? Like catfish or something else? Thanks.

Suggestions for drive-in food

My husband and I are going to be managing a family friendly drive-in this summer. I would like to give the concession menu a boost, to try and increase profits and to give customers a little variety/something special. The items currently sold in the concession are: popcorn, different types of ice cream (push-ups, drumsticks, etc along with ice cream candy bars), sodas, bottled water, sweet and unsweet tea, hot dogs (chili, cheese, kraut and onions available for extra), nachos (jalapenos extra), frito pies, sunflower seeds, pickles and all sorts of candy. None of the items are homemade. I do have access to a griddle/grill if we want to have the gas turned on. I don't want to add anything too time consuming to make. I was thinking of adding snow-cones, maybe burritos, possibly burgers. I would love to do fresh fries, but not sure about investing in a fryer.

The drive-in is struggling to hang-on, and it's important to me to try and do everything to keep it going and maybe even make some money. I also believe the drive-in concept itself is poised for a comeback, as you can take your kids, talk on your cell phone and not bother anyone.

What do you remember eating at the drive-in? What would be a good addition to the concession? We are in a small town, but we try and attract visitors from Dallas and Fort Worth. Thanks!

Homemade stewed tomatoes

I love canned stewed tomatoes for soups, and started thinking about making them myself. From what I have read online, it looks like you blanch and peel the tomatoes first, then cook them with peppers, onions, sugar, butter and salt and pepper for about 20 minutes. After that, could they be canned (in a water bath?) and put up for the winter, or would it be best to freeze? I am looking ahead to summer tomatoes. Any insights or techniques are appreciated!

Recipes from Philosophy skin care

I have two bottles of shampoo/shower gel/bubble bath from Philosophy. Each bottle has a recipe on its label. One is for Chocolate Chip Cookies and the other is for Vanilla Birthday Cake. They both smell yummy, but was wondering about the recipes...has anyone ever cooked from these labels? (PS I do not work for Philosophy :-)

Cake in a cast iron skillet

I want to make a cake in my cast iron skillet. I was going to prepare the pan in the same way as for corn bread - place pan in hot oven for about 15 minutes, add oil til heated, then dump in batter and bake, which makes a nice crust. Another method I saw was to melt butter in pan on stovetop, then add batter and bake, which might be better for a sweet cake. Any other tips? I don't bake often, but I love my cast iron pan so far and want to use it as often as possible, so any advice is appreciated. Oh, it's an apple cake, not the exact recipe from today, but similar. Thanks!

Hominy - yes please or no thank you?

Thinking of serving a hominy side dish (Perini Ranch Steakhouse recipe) at Thanksgiving for two reasons - I hated hominy as a kid but am willing to give it another shot and it would be something different we have not had at Thanksgiving before.

Do you like hominy?

Pear preserves - 1st batch not quite right?

This is the recipe I followed:

Pear Preserves

* 1½ cups sugar
* 2½ cups water
* 6 medium cored, pared, hard, ripe pears, cut in halves or quarters (about 2 lbs)
* 1½ cups sugar
* 1 thinly sliced lemon

Yield: About 5 half-pint jars

Procedure: : Combine 1½ cups sugar and water; cook rapidly for 2 minutes. Add pears and boil gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sugar and lemon stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until fruit is clear, about 25 minutes. Cover and let stand 12 to 24 hours in refrigerator.

Sterilize canning jars. Heat fruit and syrup to boiling. Pack fruit into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Cook syrup 3 to 5 minutes, or longer if too thin. Pour hot syrup over fruit, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.


After the 24 hours, the liquid was still very thin and watery. I reheated to boiling, packed the fruit in jars and continued boiling the syrup for at least 30 minutes, trying to get it to thicken. I added more sugar and even some liquid pectin, and it thickened slightly, but not to the consistency I thought it should be.

Finished the jars in a water bath and let cool. The instructions say let the jars set for 3-5 weeks for best results. I had to try one small jar early - flavor was good, pears were slightly firm, but of course the syrup was a thin, even after sitting in the icebox.

What should the syrup consistency be?

(The only pear preserves I have ever had came from Aunt Ruby, whose preserves were a deep brown color with a very thick syrup. I asked her about her recipe, but she just cooks them "til they look right." She can't peel the pears anymore because it's too hard on her arthritic hands, and I have to agree, peeling those pears is like peeling rocks.)

Ordering off the menu or buffet?

I went to a restaurant today at lunch. I had a choice of the buffet, featuring 2 sides, 2 mains and soup, or ordering off the menu. As I had never been to this place before, and I specifically went there to try some new cuisine (Pilipino), I ordered off the menu. There was a hint of annoyance from the waitress that I chose the menu, but afterwards the meal and service were great.

Have you felt any pressure to choose the buffet over the menu?

(BTW I ate Kwek Kwek which are hard boiled quail eggs fried in batter similar to a scotch egg, and Lechon which is fried pork bellies with skin, it came with fried rice and a fried egg on the side yum! The buffet was grilled vegetables, steamed rice, stewed fish, something else I can't remember and beef soup)

The entertainer who doesn't feel like entertaining this year

Wasn't exactly sure where to post this, so here goes...

I live abroad, and have a good circle of ex-pat American friends. We do not get Thanksgiving day off, but it has always been important to us to keep our 'merican traditions going. Last year, I did a Thanksgiving dinner for 25, and had a great time.

However, when thinking of this year's Thanksgiving, I just don't have a big to-do in me. My mother has been ill, job stress, etc. over the last few months, and I am just tired.

I think my friends are expecting me to put something together, because my hubby and I always host these type things. Should I let them know I'm not, or just not say anything and leave everyone to plan something else?

I was considering hosting a Thanksgiving dessert gathering for pies, cookies, wine, coffee, etc. A few hours in the evening, nothing huge, as we all have to work that day and the next. Has anyone done something like that before? Thanks.

Beach Breakfast on the grill

Inspired by Ina Garten, who did an outdoor birthday breakfast on the grill - I would like to do a similar thing this weekend on the beach. Here is the menu I have in mind:

Breakfast Burritos - scrambled eggs done in pan on grill, tortillas warmed on grill, plus cheese, and guac and beans done ahead of time

Pioneer Woman's stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon - make before heading to beach, keep warm on grill or at room temp

Beer Bread Cinnamon Rolls - Bake before heading to beach, warm on grill - I am worried about them getting soggy

Smoked Salmon and Bagels - bagels toasted on grill

Any pitfalls?


Also, inviting 30 people, so trying to figure out how much to buy. I'm thinking 3 dozen eggs, 1 dozen jalapenos to split in half for a total of 24 stuffed peppers. Make 2 dozen mini cinnamon rolls. 1 package of salmon and 1 dozen bagels.

((I don't think all 30 will be in attendance.))

Thanks all!

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