A Guide to Tofu Types and What to Do With Them

You can get dried tofu skin in Asian markets. It's not really yuba per se since its not freshly skimmed from soy milk and lacks the uber delicate texture and flavor of Japanese yuba. But its made the same way, just thicker. It's dried, then reconstituted before use so the texture is firmer, and the flavor earthier and beanier than yuba. Its called doufu pi or fu zu. It's great in stir fries or soup.

A Look At New York Mart, The Best New Supermarket In Town

@labrill: Kinda out of line, don't you think? Food is food, whether you regard this particular creature as edible for yourself or not.

My Latest Obsession: Pork Floss, Chinese Cotton Candy-esque Dried Pork

Love it over jook with century eggs.

Also its integral to a Taiwanese street food dish as a topping over sticky rice, braised chopped pork belly and a soy sauce egg

The Nasty Bits: Foie Gras Butter

Why can't we have a discussion about foie gras without people coming in and not talking about foie gras. Stay on topic, folks.

I'd love to try this one day. I think I shall place this on my bucket list. It may very well be the thing that kills me, slams my heart shut for good or perhaps just kills me with can almost taste it in my daydreams.

Best and Worst of Food Trends of 2010?

Hate cupcakes. HAAAAAAATE. Hate overblown, teased and gussied fondant cakes.

LOVE backyard gardening and locavorism. Don't care who says they or their parents were in it first and that all the hipsters doing it now are johnny come lately-s. What's with the elitism THERE, guys?

There's nothing fundamentally bad about the idea of getting your food from closer to home rather than having it flown with hundreds of gallons of jet fuel from China. So what if it's too cool to be cool any longer? It's still a good idea now as it was decades ago, even if the hipsters are all over it.

It's always been a hobby for my mom and I but we never had a full blown garden. In recent years I've been growing things out of containers on the back patio. It's fun, is tasty and you know exactly what you've put into them and can be assured the food is clean and natural.

We've always received gifts of summer bounty from family friends with more proficient gardening prowess and more space. It just made things seem tastier when you knew the person who grew it, how much time and effort they put into it and that they cared to share it with you.

The Nasty Bits: Wild Venison Heart

@13tracker: Nah, I have a 6ft+ fence around the entirity of my backyard. Not so much as a raccoon back there. The raccoons don't look tasty anyway.

The Nasty Bits: Wild Venison Heart

This board's not about the morality of hunting guys, don't let it go too far down that road.
Let's just concentrate on how delicious that dish looks and how I wish I had access to fresh venison heart. Or someone to share one with.

@Missypants: There are people from all walks of life on this board, not just city folk whose closest acquaintance with their source meat is a shrink wrapped package in a chill case.
I myself live in the heart of suburbia and the wildest my food ever gets is the container of tomatoes I grow in the backyard in the summer. I like hearing about other people's food gathering exploits.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Belle Farms Foie Gras

Smoked bone-in, skin on duck over rice vermicelli noodles, garlic chives, bean sprouts in a rich broth made from smoked duck bones. Sometimes a dollop of ground pork braised in a shallot and soy sauce broth is a nice addition.

An open letter to the pie crust recipe I attempted last night

I tried a new "fool proof" (Chez Pim's to be exact) recipe the other day. The texture was fantastic, flaky like nothing else I've ever made...
Everything seemed peachy keen except when it came time to bake. It shrank! I've never had pie dough shrink on me before! Even with weights in it!

The horror! So much for fool proof! I'm going back to Cook's Illustrated Pie Dough recipe...

Essential spices for Chinese cuisine?

Not all are spices, but the common condiments and ingredients in my house are: soy sauce (dark and light), sesame oil (dark and light), vinegar (white and black), rice wine, shaoxing wine, garlic, ginger, scallions, cilantro, five spice powder, cinnamon, star anise, oyster sauce, fish sauce, fermented black beans, corn starch, fried shallots, some kind of salted gourd strips that I can't for the life of me remember the name of right now, sour apricots (like umeboshi), dried scallops, dried shimp, dried squid, various medicinal herbs and roots that end up in food like dong gui, goji and dried morning glory, sacha sauce, and yes, we do have a small container of "taste powder" to be used judiciously now and then.

Rice and Bacillus Cereus

Of course I do. What's not eaten that night is thrown into a plastic bag or take out tub and refrigerated. There's nothing wrong with it and I've never had any problems.

Fried rice was INVENTED to use up leftover rice. Jook also uses up leftover rice nicely as well.

Yes, rice can go bad rather quickly if it's kept in a warm, moist environment (like kept inside the rice cooker and not taken out), but in that case you'll know. It'll be sticky, maybe a little wet and begin to smell a bit like sweet vinegar.

But I've been known occasionally to be a little lazy and leave the rice in the rice cooker for a day or so and it's still fine.

I'm sick of eating local.

I'm usually quite happy to hear that someone had the enthusiasm to grow something delicious in their garden and the generosity to share their bounty with me?

Carton of eggs from their own hens out in the backyard? Thanks!
Mutant zucchini? More young yam leaves than I know what to do with? A bunch of overgrown scallions? It's all good and it really does make me more excited to taste it when I hear someone's produced it themselves.

I have no quandries with this "fad".

Chicken gizzards: what should I do?

Season liberally and roast them close to the heat until crackling on the outside, tender on the inside.

How Often Do You Eat Meat?

Meat = the flesh of any living, sentient, mobile organism in my book. I have to facepalm every time someone says they're vegetarian but eat chicken and/or fish.

Anyway, I eat meat several times a day, occasionally not at all, it's not usually premeditated, but thise household is devoutly omnivorous.
But red meat, pork and chicken are usually used like condiments, as part of dishes for texture and flavoring.

Poll: Do You Care About Cupcakes?

Can REALLY do without the hype and mania about any one single type of food.

A cupcake at the end of the day is just a small cake. Sure it can be delicious if done right, it's NOT done right, IMO.

Most of these "cupcakery" confections are a tiny, mediocre cake topped with a ton of frosting/cutely colored fondant. If you ask me, if you have to use that much frosting, you're trying to hide something. When you buy from one of these shops, you're really just paying for frosting.

'New York' Magazine's Approval Matrix Confirms: The Food Lab Is Brilliant

Congrats Kenji and SE team!

Asian Street Food - Too Adventurous or Fair Game?

Always up for street food no matter where I am. Its where a lot of the good stuff is. You can't confine yourself to hotel restaurant meals, after all.

What is umami?

Why the hate?

Any word can get over used, but its a useful phrase to describe the way a food is perceived.

Also umami is NOT Msg. Glutamic acid in its many forms and deriviatives is what is present in many natural foods that give them it's full, rich, almost "meaty" character. MSG is a commercial compound of glutamic acid.

MSG as it comes in it's little shaker or tin is NOT naturally present in whole foods.

Seriously Asian: Natto

People once again let their imaginations run away with them before good sense kicks in when it comes to food like natto.

It looks odd and may smell a little funky, but put words like "snot" and "slime" out of your mind and its really a very innocuous food. It tastes really pretty mild without the help of the soy sauce and mustard.

I never thought it smelled that bad, especially when spooned over rice and you're not sticking your face into the container after freshly unwrapping it.

For those of you who like cheese, the scent of natto is no more potent or off putting than a nicely ripened piece of cheese.

And how much do you want to bet there will be less people using eloquent words like "eew" and "yucky" about a nice chunk of brie compared to a spoonful of natto.

It's only gross 'cause it's foreign, amiright? It's all in the perspective folks.

Chocolate cake recipe for molded pan?

Spray the HECK out of that pan with baking spray, preferably one with flour in it. Cakes with chocolate in it stick to smooth surfaces, they'll stick even worse in the nooks and crannies of a complex mold. Unfortunately im trying to find a chocolate cake recipe I like, too so none on offer right now.

Fish Tonight...What's your favorite?

Cod, really fresh bass, fried fat smelts with roe and sweetfish (ayu).

Oh beautiful beautiful sweetfish, so tiny, ephemeral and tasty

Seriously Asian: Chinese Chives

Hey! My mom and I made jui cai he zi just this morning!
We used the crop from a small planting pot we have in the backyard.

We planted it last spring and it yielded well into summer. We trimmed it and covered it up with some mulch for winter and basically ignored it until today when it was sprouting a bountiful crop of tender, fresh greens. I snipped it all and now we have a good stash of the tasty empanada-esque pastries.

They sure are stinky, though. But so delicious.

SE loading slow?

I'm still experiencing a literal browser freeze every time I load a new page on Serious Eats. It's those darn fancy pants Continental ads! We don't need EVERYTHING to move on the site!

I have to stop scrolling and wait for the ad to load and do its fancy little twirl before I can continue towards the content I actually want to see.

Maybe its not a big deal in the long run, but it is a very palpable hitch in the browsability of the site if EVERY page on the site does this.

'Brutta ma Buona' in Taiwan, Part 1: Fan Tuan

OMG YES. A feature on Taiwanese local food! Be still my beating heart!

You might be a foodie if....

I think only foodies think "foodie" is a bad term.

I'm a foodie, most people who I know who aren't so much into food instantly get how you identify if you tell them you're a foodie.

You're a foodie when you go out to eat at a new place with friends, you're the one ID-ing all the mystery dishes. I'll not only tell you that's a fishcake in your noodle soup, I'll tell you what fish it's made out of it, too.

You're a foodie if you read cook books as in-bed reading before lights out. It puts me in a happy place, ready for some shut eye.

You're a foodie if you have a block of Plugra and a stick of regular butter in the fridge. The Plugra is gone within a week and the butter languishes forever.

You're a foodie if you're staring at the backyard and wondering if a in ground pool would be a problem for grazing chickens.

SE loading slow?

Does anyone else notice Serious Eats loading a little slow lately?

I believe it the fancy pants animated ads causing the problem.
The ads load up very last, first showing up as a big blank ad-shaped box, then filling in gradually with an ad, then finally revealing it's browser breaking animation.
I usually can't scroll or click around without severe lag before the ads finish loading.

Now my connection is by far NOT slow (fiber optic) and I'm using the newest update of Firefox on a computer not a year old. I don't think it's my computer or connection.

The ads contribute to Serious Eat's engaging food-centric, mouthwatering layout graphically (as well as financially...), but I was just wondering if anyone else was exasperated with how they take hostage of your browser until they're through loading all their bells and whistles.

Return of intrusive pop ups

Hey, SeriousEats Team.

I just wanted to notify you of a very annoying pop up I got while browsing the Talk section of the site (more specifically the recent Food Shopping Road Trip topic).

Screencap is here:

If that weren't annoying enough, even alt+f4ing out of it immediately prompts another popup that resembles the windows desktop and makes it look like its running a scan. If that weren't scary enough, trying to get out of that will prompt yet ANOTHER pop up that tries to get you to click OK once again to run a "free scan".

So yes. 3x the intrusiveness.

I'm running a scan now on my computer to make sure that very persistent ad didn't plant anything in my comp, but I just wanted to let the staff know that there's stuff like that lurking on the site.

Working with extremely short doughs

Lately I've been fiddling with recipes out of Asian language cook books. I tend to like the flavor of Asian-style pastries over Western ones, so I figured I would try my hand at making them.

Many of their pastries are flaky and so delicately tender that sometimes they crumble at a touch.

Naturally this calls for shortening, butter, lard and other kinds of fats quite often.

Now I don't know whether these Asian cookbooks just don't have as high a standard of editing as ones we typically see in our bookstores in the U.S., but I often find the recipes seem deceptively easy but the dough is rather finicky when you start to work with it. "Roll and cut" it says, but the dough only stretches and falls apart.

Because of the high amount of fat, even chilling sometimes doesn't help make the dough any easier to work with.
The dough remains almost pastelike.

Do you guys have any experience working with short doughs like these and have any tips?

Recommend me some good knives?

So I'm searching for a Christmas present befitting my mother who is one of the types who always says she wants nothing but the success and happiness of her children.

My mother is an epic cook. She is responsible for me loving food as much as I do today and knowing what good food is.

Now we have some knives in the house, but one by one they're meeting their demise, mostly at the hands of my father.
The good serrated was rendered toothless when he gave it to the landscapers to cut their sheets of sod with.
One of the good chef's knives snapped today when he dropped it on the floor.

I'd like to get my mom a good knife. One as trustworthy as those old ones that she's used for almost 30 years.

The criteria are that it must be easily managed. No fussy diva knives that have to be sent off to the special place to get sharped every few months.

As she is a petite woman who cooks everyday, I'd like to look into something lighter in weight. I could spend hundreds on a famous brand like Wusthof but those things feel like you could club a cat with them.

So tell me, SE, what knives have you used and what knives have served you best?

Dry vs. Liquid Measures

Super long story short, I'm trying to make the crust for traditional Cantonese egg tarts.

First try was a flop, dough was too dense and not tender with flaky layers as it should have been. My mother was the one who did the initial measuring of ingredients.

Second try today, I did the ingredient measuring and saw that we had quite a bit less dough than before. My mother told me she had used glass liquid measuring cups.

I had used metal dry measuring cups. It resulted in MUCH less dough since I suspect the liquid measuring cups hold A LOT more than the dry ones do. Possibly twice as much. I'm worried how things will turn out since there is such a drastic difference in amount of flour used.

Supposedly, a cup is a cup is a cup, but what would account for my 1 cup liquid measuring cup being so freakishly large compared to my 1 cup dry measuring cup?

Bad dining experience?

So I went out for dinner tonight, picked a Portuguese place in the Ironbound district of Newark that seemed to have a lot of good reviews and an interesting menu.

The service was fine, but when the entrees came around I was extremely disappointed. I had ordered a paella and it came swimming in a puddle of unabsorbed broth. It tasted like someone had dumped a couple of packets of Lipton soup mix on top of supermarket boxed rice then tossed in some frozen bagged veggies and chicken hacked into hideous hunks. There were a couple of anemic looking shrimp of the ilk you might get in bad Chinese take out.
They topped the whole thing off with a mangled piece of beet, some shredded red cabbage and a half a radish.
Very strange and the whole dish just smacked of cheap corner cutting in the kitchen.

My mom seemed to enjoy her bacalao all right.

I hate to waste food so I had half of it packed up to go (don't ask me what will happen to it, I'm hoping someone else will eat it), but the smell of it in the car bugged me. It smelled like airplane food.

The dinner wasn't cheap and the bad food kinda ruined my night.
I'm a little distressed about the fact that I've gotten so picky that I'd let some subpar food get to me so badly.

The waitstaff seemed a little worried that I barely touched my food but I couldn't find it in myself to tell them that I thought the dish was absolutely wretched. The check came with a little comment card and I didn't fill it out. Everyone else seemed to be enjoying their food just fine.

What do you guys do when you get bad food? Bad service is one thing, but what if the food is just not to your taste? Do you say something or do you hold your tongue?

Not digging the ad redirects

Today I started to get redirects to those annoying ads with the timers in them while browsing Serious Eats.

You know the type, you click a promising link on the SE page and are instead sent to a whole page with just one really incredibly fugly ad to some dark, dank place on the internet with the count down timer on it. Sure you can click "Skip Ad" but I never thought SE would stoop to those invasive ads.

Is this something SE staff know about or have any control over? No ultimately it doesn't take a lot of time to skip out of them, but they are incredibly unsightly and unprofessional and annoying as they forcefully submit you to bad ads.

Can anyone tell this is one of my net surfing pet peeves...?

How to make better bread?

So yesterday, I made my first loaf of bread ("Hi, I'm Fuu and I use my oven for storage, not for baking" ) from scratch.
I used a very basic recipe for white bread from A Year in Bread.

The loaf was visually stunning, rather picturesque in its loafy shape and color. The insides were nice and soft and a little bit chewy.

Only I think its really rather bland. It doesn't taste like much of anything, not salty, not sweet, not wheaty. The crumb is a bit gummy (you wouldn't know until you started chewing a bite of a slice) and the crust could stand to be crisper.

Any of you more experienced bakers know how to improve a baking novice's blase loaf?

Snow crab and mixed salad greens in search of dressing!

So I have snow crab and salad greens sitting on my kitchen counter. But now I need an appropriate dressing.

My first thought was butter and citrus (all we have is fresh oranges, actually), salt and a little cracked pepper.

But the thought of that greasy melted butter is starting to make me queasy. Is there another, less cloying fat to use? Better yet, any other dressing ideas?

Help me Serious Eaters, you're my only hope!

Baking novice - Piecrust question

So I'm thinking about tackling some pastries for Christmas using piecrust dough.

Since I only have some free time tomorrow before the party, I intended to get the dough out of the way beforehand and assemble and bake the pastries the day of.

Now I'm 98% certain pie crust can be frozen for later use with no ill effects, but for how long? Am I better off just refrigerating it?

The party is the 26th, and I would be making the dough tomorrow on the 23rd. Any expert bakers know anything about storing pie crust dough?

Grom gelato!

I had the chance to try gelato at Grom in NYC yesterday. I was very excited ^_^;
I had the pistachio and wasn't disappointed.

All the other esoteric flavors under their mysterious little silvery lids...I can't wait to try more!

Has anyone else been to Grom? How do you like it? How does it compare to other gelateria in the city?

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